I woke to a farm shrouded in heavy mist. Our neighbors disappeared in the fog making it seem like we were living on an island.
I love these kinds of mornings, especially when I’m not feeling so good. Yesterday was spent at the hospital undergoing tests, examinations, injections, etc. Down the road all these things will help get me better, but today they’ve left me in great pain, feeling weepy and exhausted.
It will get better, I know it, but on this eerily beautiful day, I need to rest and watch movies and take naps and drink homemade cocoa and stir Mexican black beans on the stove and simmer savory shredded chicken in the crock pot and take quiet walks through the dripping trees.
Mist is like sneaky rain. You can’t see it until it clings to feathery weeds, delicate branches, or your eyelashes.
But then it’s magical, like someone decided it would be a splendid idea to deck humble weeds with glittering diamonds.
Weather like this makes me want to read Russian novels or British murder mysteries and drink copious amounts of tea laced with maple syrup and coffee spiked with rum.
This may be my home, but today it feels like a fairyland I’m visiting, a place of safety and comfort and peace.
Even the animals are quiet today, goats hunkered down in their shed to keep warm, chooks ruffling their feathers until they look like little old ladies in enormous fur coats.
I feel hugged by the weather today, thankful for the mist obliterating even a glimpse of the outside world, helping me focus on all that is good and wonderful.
Like the crippled little runt duckling that survived against all odds and is now toddling about with his big brothers and sisters.
Pressies from dear friends overseas that remind me I am loved and cared for.
And just enough popcorn kernels left to make myself a bowl of salty, buttery goodness.
My other happy thing today is more Mexican food, specifically, carnitas.
How I love carnitas! That exquisite dish of slow-roasted pork so moist and tender it falls apart yet with crispy, caramelized edges that make you swoon.
There are numerous ways to make this delicious meat dish, but it boils down to this: seared pork simmered for hours in a savory broth then crisped in the oven until the broth evaporates and all you’re left with is flavorful shredded pork begging to be folded in tortillas and topped with pico de gallo, frijoles negros, and queso fresco.
I like to simmer mine with water, citrus of some kind (orange or lime are my favorites), and some whole milk (it helps to caramelize the carnitas).
What are some good things in your life today?
1 large pork roast (shoulder)
1 orange or mandarin or clementine or lemon or lime
1.5 cups full cream milk
salt and pepper
- Preheat oven to 375 F (180 C)
- Cut roast into large chunks, season with salt and pepper and brown well on all sides in a lightly oiled saucepan.
- Remove pork to oven-proof pot, preferably cast iron, and pour over any drippings remaining in pan. (If they’re stuck to pan, add a bit of water, heat, and scrape until all the tasty bits are free).
- Halve and squeeze citrus fruit over meat, tuck in between meat chunks.
- Pour milk over meat.
- Season with salt and pepper.
- Add enough water to almost cover meat.
- Cover pot tightly with aluminum foil.
- Slow-roast for 2.5-3 hours until meat is fork tender.
- Remove from oven (but leave oven on!) and remove citrus rinds. Using two forks, shred pork meat.
- Return to oven uncovered and roast 30-40 minutes until edges are crispy and caramelized and cooking liquid has evaporated.
- Serve with Mexican black beans or tuck into tortillas and top with fresh pico de gallo.