I started my job on January 2nd, which I think is an ideal time to begin any job or big endeavor. It really gives meaning to the whole, "new year new you" saying. A true fresh start. My position was newly created as a response to the mortgage department's increasing sales volume, so it was nice that I didn't have to fill a predecessor's shoes or anything like that. I get to pave my own way in terms of setting standards and establishing norms for my position. Fifteen days in I still can't quite come up with an accurate description of what I do, other than "mortgage processing," which entails more than you'd ever imagine, especially with all the strict new regulations. I've learned something completely new every day! I love the variety, the challenge of multi-tasking and prioritizing the plethora of things that I do, and I've found that I'm a lot more interested in mortgages than I originally anticipated. Granted, I don't actually ever get to meet the customers (which is somewhat of a blessing), but seeing the process from start to finish behind the scenes is very cool. I still haven't gotten used to waking up in the morning and not dreading going to work. It's very refreshing, and I hope it stays that way.
Carl was out of town the past few nights for a work event, so to celebrate his homecoming I made Red Pozole with Beans, another recipe from Michael Natkin's Herbivoracious. Pozole, I learned, is a Mexican soup or stew- stoop, as Rachel Ray would say!- with hominy, beans, tomatoes, and chiles. Shopping for ingredients proved to be quite an endeavor. I'd never even eaten hominy before tonight, so trying to find cans of hominy in the vegetable aisle was like looking for a needle in a haystack. I actually had to Google images of hominy so that I knew what i was looking for. I almost gave up after about five minutes of feeling like a freak for staring so intently at the canned veggies, but I'm glad I persevered. In case you're like me and haven't tried hominy before, it tastes a lot like tortillas... which makes sense when you think about how tortillas are made. Carl and I had a big 'duh' moment as we were discussing this during dinner prep. I also had issues locating the dried chiles that the recipe called for. Publix is usually pretty good about carrying somewhat obscure ingredients, but I could not find a single dried chile in that entire store. I tried Food Lion because they have a big Hispanic food section and sure enough, that's where I found them. Once I got my ingredients gathered, here's what I had:
|Two cans of hominy, vegetable broth, a can of pinto beans, and some fire-roasted diced tomatoes. Two limes, two dried chiles, garlic, onion, and cilantro. Not pictured: vegetable oil and oregano.|
To start, you cut the stems off of the chiles and then boil them whole in a little bit of water (just enough to cover them) for about 20 minutes. I realized towards the end of the boiling period that my water had all evaporated, so be sure to check on it a few times. Once the chiles are softened you blend them and the remaining liquid to make a chile puree:
|Scary chile fire-water! Mine actually didn't turn out too spicy- not sure if it's because I had to replace my water or if these particular chiles weren't as hot as others.|
Set the chile water to the side for a while.
Then you sautee the onion and garlic, adding the tomatoes, about 1tsp of oregano, and broth/water after a few minutes. Bring it to a simmer and then add the beans and hominy (rinse and drain first). Let it all cook for about 10 minutes and then add the juice of the limes and the chile puree.
That's it! It was super easy, especially since Carl chopped the onion and garlic for me. We topped the pozole with some cilantro and served it alongside nachos:
|Yes, I'm aware that I burnt the nachos.|