Thanksgiving, Cabral style: The story of my mom’s turkey on Saveur’s Thanksgiving issue

Photo Credit: Todd Coleman

Between taking Stat 50. and English 1C classes, moving out for the first time, getting involved in a stupid amount of multiple new (paid!) projects and my blog getting viciously infected with Malware, my blogging has suffered severely – almost beyond repair.

But, I refuse to give up! After all, if it wasn’t for this little blog, I wouldn’t be where I’m at now. Thus, I will now reveal that after many hours of lost sleep, this blog is finally getting a revamp! A whole new makeover. Estimated to be unveiled January 1st 2013! Of course, more regular writing is will come with that!

For now, I will leave you with this. It is the story of my mom and my family’s Thanksgiving Zacatecano-American turkey tradition – on this month’s Thanksgiving issue of Saveur!

mom

It’s pretty crazy, growing up I always knew her turkey was something special, rubbed with a spiced chile rojo paste and then served with chile’d turkey drippings. I always felt the pressure of recording her recipe for future generations, leave it to a national food magazine to get me to stop procrastinating and finally do it.

Cabral Turkey

Watch Me On Sundance Channel Tonight! (Ludobites America: Redondo Beach)

Give a chef some Mole Zacatecano and you feed him for a day. Teach a chef to make Mole Zacatecano and you feed him for a lifetime! Everyone remember “Mexican For A Day: Teaching Ludovic Lefebvre the Art of Mole Zacatecano”, that story I wrote two years ago telling the story of how my mama and I taught Chef Ludo how to make our ancestral mother sauce? Well, watch the next best thing to making that post into a feature-length movie tonight!

ludo and me
The French chef & I two years ago

Enjoy the debut of my dramatic acting career on Ludobites America! as I join Chef Ludo in the mean streets of East LA….nooooot!

Kidding, kidding! No but seriously, check out the episode if you have cable and get a chance. I got the opportunity to personally guide L.A’s, revered pop-up French Chef through an East Los Angeles Mexican landmark! For what? Well, watch it tonight and find out!

The episode airs on the Sundance channel tonight at 9 PM (regular cable) and 6 PM (satellite) in the west coast.

Cheers!

The Reviews Are In! The Recipes on My Saveur Piece Work! (Asado de Boda)

As many of you already know, in addition tot the 3,500ish word cover feature I wrote for Saveur, I also painstakingly compiled every single one of the recipes featured too! Yup, all 20+ of them!

Seeing as this was my first time experimenting into the “recipe” oriented way of professional food writing, I was curious to see if anyone would actually try the recipes, and sure enough…someone did!

Hey – I just wanted to let you know that I made the recipe for Asado de Bodas from your Saveur article – it was super good! I never had anything like that in any restaurant before, and I’m super glad I made it – it went into my recipe box. So… Thanks! and, if you know of any restaurant in the LA area where I could try it out to see how other people make it, I’d appreciate the tip. Thanks again, and nice blog!
–Jeanie

Yup, someone actually took the time to recreate my family’s interpretation of Zacatecas’s most popular, traditionally acclaimed dish of Asado de Boda. The highly-flavorful, minimalist pork mole usually eaten during special events as per the name “boda” = “wedding.” She also went on to include a a link to photo of her yummy rendition on flickr.

Asado de Bodas
Jeanie’s Rendition of The Recipe for Asada De Boda from Mexico Feeds Me! (Taken From Her Flickr Account)

And to answer her question about where she can find Asado de Boda…well, nowhere really unfortunately. The only place I know that has something SIMILAR BUT NOT EXACTLY Asado De Boda is Teresita’s, East L.A’s resident Zacatecano restaurant. They have a dish they call “Costillas de Puerco en Chile Negro” that I have found to have a similar feel and taste to Asado De Boda. Other than that, you are pretty much on your own if you want to taste this rustic Mexican dish!

I hope you all would feel inspired enough to cook this dish after reading all this hype about it so without further adios, I present to you my family’s recipe for Asado de Boda (as featured on Saveur’s Article: Mexico Feeds Me)

    Asado de Boda

SERVES 8–10

8 dried New Mexico chiles, stemmed and seeded
2 dried Guajilo chiles, stemmed and seeded
1/2 cup almonds
1/2 cup unsalted peanuts
1/2 cup raisins
1/4 tsp. ground cumin
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
3 cloves garlic, smashed
2 whole cloves
2 oz. Mexican chocolate, such as Ibarra, roughly chopped
1/4 small yellow onion, chopped
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 tbsp. canola oil
2 lb. boneless pork shoulder, cut into 1? chunks

Heat chiles in a 12? skillet over high heat and cook, turning, until lightly toasted, about 5 minutes; transfer to a blender. Return skillet to heat and add almonds and peanuts; cook, stirring often, until lightly toasted, about 3 minutes. Transfer nuts to blender, reserving skillet, and add raisins, cumin, cinnamon, garlic, cloves, chocolate, onion, and 5 cups boiling water; season with salt and pepper, and puree until smooth. Set sauce aside.

Heat oil in skillet over medium-high heat. Season pork with salt and pepper and, working in batches, add to skillet and cook, turning as needed, until pork is browned on all sides, about 12 minutes.

Stir the sauce into the pork and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, until pork is tender, about 1 hour.

Eat with plenty of warm, griddled tortillas please!

Teresitas Restaurant
3826 East 1st Street
Los Angeles, CA
90063-3602
(323) 266-6045

Its Here: “Mexico Feeds Me: Exploring Mexico’s Culinary Heritage” My First Cover Story on Saveur Magazine

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Photo Credit: Todd Coleman

Its here.

My first 2,390-word cover feature for freaking Saveur Magazine, including 14 (painstakingly-acquired!) original Cabral family recipes and a 500 word “Kitchen Glossary” story on my favorite fruit, Mexican Tunas (prickly pears) …is out on newsstands nationwide now.

Read the full story on www.saveur.com if you can not wait, but please go out and buy the print edition and support the print cause!

What else can I say? Other than thank you to everyone who has read and supported me over these last five years of my coming-of-aging through food writing. A big thank you to everyone at Saveur that made this whole thing happen, especially James Oseland for granting me the opportunity and Todd Coleman for making everything look lovely. Check out his tasty slide-show on the trip, here.

It is the greatest accomplishment for me thus far in my twenty-two year old life to have my mother and father’s recipes from los ranchitos Zacatecas up there in the cuisine pantheon of the world. This article is a turning point in my life as I vow to keep following my dreams…no matter what. This magazine finally made my parents understand what exactly I do.

As I dig deeper into the craft of writing and discover myself along the journey, I hope all of you will be there next to me, both the new and old readers alike!

To many more cover stories in the future and a long life full of humble writing!

Salud!

New Beginnings, My Epic Saveur Zacatecas Piece Featured In May Issue & Writing About Food/Punk Rock For OC Weekly

I Am Here

So, it has been an absolutely RELENTLESS last month for me.

To start off, I have recently experienced some pretty antagonistic life realizations lately. Well, I will just say I underestimated the imminent reality of transience in life. Things that once were, will not always be. “Con tiempo…todo se acaba, nada es eterno en el mundo, ni teniendo un corazon, que tanto siente suspira por la vida y el amor” (Antonio Aguilar). But I can not let that stop me in my tracks now, not after all I have accomplished…on my own.

3895966131_d1a9da7da4_o
A Prickly Pear Blossoms No Matter What (photo courtesy of Foto Martien on Flickr)

Like countless rancheras, punk rock anthems, gangster veteranos and Descartes have told me, one must “Conquer yourself, rather than the world [homie]”. Alcabo, “uno viene a este mundo solito, y pues, mejor ser solito que mal acompañado. Asi no me meto en compromisos, ni me dejan mal parados.”

Nonetheless, I am happy to say I am finally taking school seriously again, yup, twelve units of educational hell at Pasadena City College. Finally tackling the general ed. classes that I put off for so long, so if anyone out there wants to tutor me in math, feel free to drop me a line because I need the help. And whatever already, I am majoring in Journalism/Communication and will transfer to USC, there I finally made up my mind.

Also, proud to say I now happily call Gustavo Arellano mi jefe! Yup, the fellow Zacatecano, life mentor, role model who writes “Ask A Mexican” is now my editor. I scored this sweeeet (yes, even if unpaid) Internship at OC Weekly in Costa Mesa. Got my own pinche cubicle and everything! Ahh raaaza! As if it couldn’t get any better, I cover food and punk rock events. Thank you universe for smiling at me. I just finished writing my first print “weekend pick” for their calendar section on the freaking Dickies and Adolescents show next week in Long Beach. I will also be covering shows too, so its going to be nice to write about my first love in life too. I am already covering the Punk Rock Picnic and PUNK ROCK BOWLING FESTIVAL IN VEGAS!).

Here is a rundown of the food pieces I have written for them so far:

Announcing Stick A Fork In It’s First Intern: Javier Cabral, a.k.a. The Glutster!

Free Tickets to Aquarium of the Pacific This Saturday for First 100 People Who Dress ‘Cheesy’

What NOT to Do While Recording a Cable TV Food Show (and How to Score One Yourself!)

‘I Used to Be a Vegan’ by Zion I & the Grouch: Vegan Underground Rap, Yo!

Suffice to say, this new schedule is bad ass, and my energy, passion for it is not going anywhere. Even if I have to drive all the way to Costa Mesa and then back to P.C.C for a night class on the same day, yes that is almost a four hour commute by the way. Umm, unfortunately, I can not say the same for my wallet and ass; $20 a day and numbing.

Also, I am freelancing (unpaid again) for The Alhambra Source, so be on the lookout out for them. Here is an article I have written for them already.

From high school misfit to The Glutster, via Wahib’s

And now for the biggest news! *fast punk rock drumroll with base drum please….

I have finally finished the my epic piece for Saveur Magazine!. The Mijos Journey will be out on newsstands across the world in the last weeks of April and whole month of May! Extremely happy to say that I worked my ass off for a to compile a 4000+ word narrative on visiting the beloved ranchitos of my parents beautiful home state of Zacatecas for the first time. It was a journey of getting to know my roots through food, it comes complete with 20+ family rancho recipes, including, are you ready? My mom’s world famous Menudo (as made famous on the Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern: Los Angeles). All this, within a week and a half.

todd snapping quesadilla
Saveur Executive Food Editor Todd Coleman Snapping Away At My Mom’s Enchiladas

This piece is a huge milestone for not only myself but for my family, to painstakingly distill the ancestral recipes of my deep rancho roots and have them up there with the other great cuisine in the world is a life accomplishment for me. Saveur flew my mother and I out to Zacatecas last year and issued us one of the best food photographers in the world to come along for about a week…it was a turning point. I still can’t still quite fathom everything is actually happening. This will also help to finally show my family better understand what it is exactly that I do in my career, and it is not “just me on the computer.”

la familia
My Mom, My Aunt Marta and My Tia Margarita: Making Cheese in La Yerbabuena

I am planning on having a “Reading Party” somewhere so stay tuned to find out where, thank you all for reading me and inspiring me to keep on going. Salud!