Carnitas Tostadas with Strawberry Salsa
Slow cooker pork carnitas tossed with sweet & spicy strawberry salsa and served on fresh corn tortillas for a Springtime tostada.
Last week was Spring break and we planned an Epic Midwestern Loop. We'd visit friends and factory tours, literary and artistic venues, natural wonders and iconic American landmarks. I came down with a cold at the first stop on our tour and messed up our plans. Instead of spending the week driving around the midwest, we were headed back home after just a few days.
|Best costumed interpreter ever.|
Yes, we did manage to drink freshly brewed beer and learn what the whole 'beechwood aged' thing was all about, ride to the top of the arch in a tiny barrel, and see both the Louisiana Purchase document and the World's Largest Golf Tee. It wasn't a total bust.
Returning home unexpectedly meant that not only did I not have any food in the house, I also didn't have a food plan for the week. My amazing spouse picked up milk, salad, and pizzas while the dogs reunited with the kids and I tried not to blow out the contents of my skull, one tissue at a time.
I had the foggy idea to rummage around in the freezer and was rewarded with a few meals for the kids to make. This recipe is not the result of some gorked-out by cold medicine creativity. As if--I wasn't cooking much less photographing or eating food. I'm getting to my point in a minute. My daughter thawed taco meat and corn to make nachos one night, we had spaghetti with sauce from roasted vegetables another night, and my son emptied the little freezer so I could rearrange and rediscover some leftover Chinese food I'd planned to stretch/reimagine. We survived/thrived.
My point is this: if you eat meat, buy the big hunk of ________ [in this recipe a pork shoulder/Boston butt], cook it, and freeze a 'your family size' portion. It's so much easier to plan a meal around a ready-to-go protein than to stand in the kitchen cluelessly wondering where to start.
When we eat at Chipotle, carnitas is our favorite protein. When I make it at home we've got easily 12 to 15 servings which is a bit much for our family of 4--even with 2 teens who love meat. I automatically freeze half of the cooked and cooled meat, knowing that when I pull it out again the effort of initial cooking is done and I just get to play.
These tostadas are a nice Spring meal. While they are warm and filling for a cool evening, the sweet spiciness of the strawberry salsa reminds me that our berry patch is waking up and I'll soon be savoring fresh strawberries. [I'll wait for the local ones. Life is too short to eat flavorless food.]
[It's interesting what comes out of my pen when I wake up at 3 am because I have not been coughing. Yes, I woke up concerned because I was not coughing. I know. Weird. Just try the recipe.]
|Love the strawberry seeds in this photo.|
Carnitas Tostadas with Strawberry Salsa (serves 4)
8 corn tortillas (I use the raw ones and cook them according to package directions)
½ cup strawberry salsa (here's how I make mine)
2 cups prepared carnitas (I used this terrific recipe--don't forget the final step of crisping in oven)
1½ cups shredded Mexican blend cheese
to serve, chopped peppers, red onion, and guacamole (optional)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Lay cooked tortillas on a backing sheet and spread with a tablespoon of strawberry salsa. Top with crisped carnitas, about ¼ cup per tortilla. Top with a handful of cheese. Bake for 5 to 8 minutes until tortilla is warmed and cheese is melted. Add optional toppings--peppers, guacamole, red onion. Enjoy!
|For extra credit I will now illustrate telophase.|
|Behind the scenes--I ran out of daylight with the first batch, then ran out of guacamole before the second batch. My daughter's leftover lunch on the kitchen counter.|