Thursday, March 3, 2016

Climbing Out of a Food Rut

(This is a before and after post.  The beginning I am writing at the meals genesis and the ending will be a brief summary of ease of prep, taste, whether it will be added to the rotation, and what changes I will make if it makes the cut.  I have never written a post in this format and am not sure if I will like it but you are stuck with it today, either way.)

Part 1
Am I the only one who regularly cooks the same meals over and over and over and over ad nauseam? Occasionally I will breakout and try something new but for the most part we have grilled (name your poison) with a side salad.  I am beyond bored with eating the same meal again and again. Tonight I am putting the grill aside to try something we have never eaten before.  Which may be really good or possibly really bad.  No matter, it will be different, and I need different. Gotta make a quick run to The Pig.

Part 2
The Pig had Boston butts on sale, and I just ran up to grab one and also to get some achiote seasoning.  Never heard of it??  Me either until today.  Lucky for me ThePig has a pretty substantial Latin section, so I found it quite easily.  If they did'n't have it I was going to have to punt and cook the roast in cider vinegar, apple juice with onions and apples.

I understand this is a very run of the mill dish in Mexico, but this will be the first time I have ever made it, much less eaten it. So for better or worse here is the recipe.

 Cochinita Pibil

2 tablespoons coconut oil
1 3ish pound Boston butt pork roast (also called a shoulder roast)
1/2 pack achiote paste (Actually looks more like little bricks)
1 small can diced medium heat chilis (undrained)
1 large yellow onion, sliced thinly
1 red onion sliced thinly
3/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
1 cup salsa
salt and pepper to taste

Brown the pork roast in the coconut oil that has been heated in a large Dutch oven.  When it has browned on each side add the achiote paste and lime juice.  Stir well to blend, then throw in the rest of the ingredients.  Turn the heat to low and let it simmer about 4 hours until the meat is fall off the bone tender.  I served this over toast and wilted spinach in a large bowl.  Make sure you include lots of the delicious sauce.

Part 3


The achiote paste is made primarily of ground annatto seed, cumin and garlic, but you could taste hints of clove and possibly allspice.  It also has a little heat, but it is not at all overpowering. Supposedly annatto is used primarily in the Yucatan region of Mexico but I do not know it to be a fact.  I have never eaten anything like it before, but it is not going to be the last time I do. And you know what the best thing about this dish is? Leftovers, lots and lots of beautiful leftovers!

Next time I will probably cook a pork tenderloin rather than a butt and will cook it in the crock pot for 5 hours?  I won't serve it over toast again. I understand from TheHub the toast added nothing to the meal.  I think next time I might quarter 3 sweet potatoes and let them soak in that delicious sauce which will add enough heft to the dish that toast would be unnecessary.  I will still serve it over wilted spinach though.

Right now I just wish it were tomorrow morning so I could warm it up and eat it again!

Part 4

I don't like posting this way so I will go back to the old "think, cook, eat, describe" format.


  1. When my kids were growing up, I often felt I cooked the same meals repeatedly. I solved the problem by seeking new recipes, and by letting my children plan the meals. They got to take turns choosing our supper menu once a week. They couldn't select dessert as the main course. The meal had to include a vegetable. It was fun.


    1. I keep telling TheHub I enjoy cooking but not thinking of what to cook. The only thing he suggests is not what he had for lunch. Maybe I should call my sons and ask them what they would like if they still lived here.

  2. Its interesting from reading your posts, your cooking doesn't seem in a rut to me. You post about food fairly often and rarely do you have something you grilled. Or that's my perception and of course you know, that life is not reality, it's perception.

  3. In reality I grill or toss something uninspiring together probably 8 of 10 times I cook. I am very bad about taking pictures of something I made, beginning a post and then letting it sit unfinished for several days. It looks like I am making back to back meals when it might have been 2 weeks since I cooked the actual food.

  4. I think most of us get into food ruts. Or perhaps I am saving that to make myself feel better?
    Loved that you cooked outside your comfort zone - and that it was a success.

  5. I try to step outside my personal normal sometines, not just in cooking but other experiential things. If I dont I get brain rut which is probably harder to deal with than a food rut. If my old knees would just cooperate I would try even more, but that's just not happening.

  6. Rest assured that once I am child-free I will eat in a totally different way. I find I still cater to Kazi's taste and so yes, we eat the same things again and again. I want to go more East Indian and I love soups and stews and meatless meals. She only eats chicken and fish so finding new ways to cook chicken is a constant chore.

  7. I know there are a zilllion ways to cook chicken, but I rarely think about what I am cooking until right before dinner time, Hence the throw it on a grill and make a salad to go with it. It is fine and certainly edible but I get bored with it. I am a soup or stew person but TheHub is not so I try to limit those meals

  8. My problem is I can only cook a few things well so we eat them a lot. Den isn't a big salad guy, I get a lot of complaints when I serve them.

    1. I can cook pretty well and we still end up eating the same things over and over. TheHub likes hot food, so he even likes his sandwiches grilled. I blame his upbringing!