Thursday, May 5, 2011

Cinco de NAFTA

Americans are great at having holidays where they celebrate other nationalities. This is generally done by making foods that natives of that particular country have probably never heard of and by consuming mass quantities of that country's one large beer import. In some cases this may involve a spirit or cocktail. Also it is not uncommon to see Americans dressing up like members of that particular nationality.

It's very hard to tell the difference between when Americans celebrate a nationality and when they're just mocking it.

After my insult to all that is Polish with last night's sauerkraut soup, I decided to take on Mexico tonight! After all it is Cinco de Mayo!

Since Mexicans everywhere are probably feeling full of embarrassment from all the Tostitos and Coronas being consumed today I decided to go in a slightly different direction.

Cinco de Mayo Dinner

I had this veal shoulder from Provitello Farms in upstate New York so I opted to turn that into something vaguely Mexican. I rubbed it with olive oil, smoked paprika, chili powder, cinnamon, oregano, cumin, salt, and pepper. In a pan I cooked some crushed garlic, spring onions, carrots, and celery. After the vegetables had softened slightly I browned the veal, covered with half chicken stock and half milk, and braised it in the oven for a little over two hours.

Milk Braised Veal Shoulder with Cumin Chili Rub

I'd never braised meat in milk before tonight. I think that's a very French thing to do (I'm not actually sure). It turns out that it is quite tasty. Imagine that. The French figured something out about cooking!

Avocado Lime Salad with Cilantro and Grape Tomatoes

For side dishes I fire roasted some poblano chilies, and roasted some sweet potato with chili and cumin. I also made a quick salad out of avocado, lime, red onion, grape tomato, cilantro, salt, and pepper. Just for good measure I also made some lime and cilantro rice. That last part is what I like to call a little Tyler-Florence-Mex but it went nicely with everything else prepared.

Rickard's Dark

I was in no mood for Corona or Dos Equis or even Negra Modelo. Besides, we'd just returned from Canada with a huge amount of beer so I opted to try yet another beer. To pair with this meal I cracked open a Rickards Dark.

As I savored the beer I smiled in smug self-satisfaction at the fact that I'd made a Cinco de Mayo meal without the use of sour cream, salsa, gaucamole, tortillas, or any sort of Mexican beer. Strangely, this was probably a more

However, this meal did not only represent Mexico, it represented all of North America. We had veal from upstate New York, vaguely Mexican preparation, and beer from Canada. I can't think of anything better than celebrating the unity of North America in such a fashion. The only thing that could make next year's Cinco de Mayo more festive would be if we defeated the French Army.

That would be the greatest Cinco de Mayo of all.

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