Monday, May 25, 2009

Rufus Newton Wilson

This is a picture of me with a member of the "greatest generation". His name was Rufus Newton Wilson, and he was born in November of 1921. He died February 17, 1945, he was, like so many, taken away from us in the prime of his young years.
It looks like he is in the U.S. Army's Aviation Cadet program when this picture was taken. I suspect that it was in El Monte California, probably in 1943 or 1944 (do I look to be about five or six?). El Monte is outside of Los Angeles, east, on the way to San Bernardino. There was a pilot training base at March Air Field during the second World War. You'll note the military attire for both of us in one picture and the natty white shirt and blue short-pant suit in the second. I have often wondered about the prophetic nature of this picture. Me in military attire, idolizing my cousin, never imagining what he'd go through in a few short years. I have waited too long to do this research. It is late in the day right now and I'll have to continue tomorrow. Needless to say, his life was ended in Europe, when his aircraft was shot down by hostile fire. I don't know where for sure. I'm not sure what kind of aircraft it was. More later about Rufus - my hero.

Friday, May 1, 2009

¿Where's The Beef?

For dinner last night we had the salsa (see yesterday), guacamole (made with the salsa) and carnitas (my effort to reduce carriers of the so-called "swine flu"). Everyone seemed to like the combo, so I'll let you in on the secret to a great carnitas. What is it? Time. Four hours or more, to be exact. The recipe is pretty simple.
Take (purchase, really) a three pound or so boneless pork shoulder or "butt" or whatever they call those things. You know what I mean. Place it in a dutch oven (I use our old, 40 years plus, pot we got as a wedding present). Quarter a large onion or two and put them in, also, 2 cans of "Ortega" green chiles, four cloves of garlic, smashed, four bay leaves, a generous amount of fresh ground black pepper and a can of chicken broth. If you like it spicy, you can put a fresh jalapeƱo pepper, cut in half lengthwise. Place the pot, uncovered in the oven set at 350 degrees. The broth may or may not cover the pork, it doesn't matter. Let it cook for an hour and flip the meat over. Another hour and it might start to come apart a bit. Try to pull it apart, as the desired outcome is a sort of "pulled pork". Work with it for the next couple of hours, pulling the meat apart and stirring in the brown parts. The whole thing will start to dry out a little. You may want to add a cup of water or so in case it's not getting tender and pulling apart. Ideally, when it's cooked you'll have a pot of meat all shredded, the onions and chiles will have disappeared and there will be crispy bits throughout. It's good. Typically you don't need to add salt because of the sodium in the chicken broth.
We serve it as a filling for soft tacos with beans and a bit of shredded cabbage with guacamole, salsa and cheese. I always put some of the meat in the beans to help season them.