“Cooking can be a great stress reliever. Where else can you chop, grate, beat, cut and char something with delicious results?” ~ Unknown
I’ve written before about rhythm and repetition and their calming effects. Thus the use of music or meditation to lower stress and anxiety. For me, the rhythm of cooking is relaxing.
Having traveled to attend my older sister’s memorial service; I find myself remaining in town to sort through some of her belongings. Family photos. Geneaology records from both sides of our family that have been clumped together in boxes and which I will have to sort. The stress and grieving doesn’t end at the end of the service. It continues on.
I frequently have to take breaks. Photos bring back memories that are painful. It’s depressing to see photos of how my sister looked before the ravages of Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis wore her down. Not counting the fact that she was restricted to a power-scooter the past few years, a vibrant young woman who once stood at 5’4″ ended up shorter than my 5’1″ self.
The easiest way to relieve my stress is to run, but it’s cold and raining – ehhhh not my cup of tea.
The next easiest way is . . . to cook.
Mexicali Pork Tacos
1 yellow onion, diced
2 lemons, quartered
1/2 bunch cilantro, chopped
1.25 # ground pork
1.5 t. each – chili powder, smoked paprika, cumin, pepper
1/2# red cabbage chopped
4 T. mayonnaise
4 T. tomato paste**
12 taco-sized flour tortillas
1/2 c. Monterey Jack cheese
Sour cream to taste
2 t. olive oil
2 t. sugar
salt & pepper to taste
- If you like a spicier version, you can substitute 1-2 T. Siracha for tomato paste.
In a large bowl, mix together the red cabbage, mayonnaise, half the cilantro, sugar, a dash of salt and pepper and the juice of one of the lemons. Mix thoroughly and set aside to let the flavors meld. Heat a non-stick pan with the olive oil on med-high heat. Stir in the onions, seasoned with a pinch of salt, cooking until clear. Add the ground pork, chili powder, cumin, paprika, and pepper. Stir, breaking up the meat until it is cooked thoroughly, about 6 minutes. Drain any excess grease. Blot with paper towels if you’d like. Stir in the tomato paste until the meat is coated. Wrap the tortillas in damp paper towels and heat in the microwave for about 30 seconds. Fill each tortilla with the pork mixture, topped with the cabbage mixture, sour cream, cheese and cilantro.
These are so easy to make and the recipe can be doubled easily for a crowd. Both the slaw and the filling can be made ahead of time and reheated for a quick on-the-go meal. Even my picky eaters gave these the thumbs up. They are filling and nutritious as well which makes this momma happy.