It’s hard to believe that The Sunny Palate turns six years old this month. I first started this site when we lived in Oregon, and I was working as a private chef for a sorority at Oregon State University. It was really just a fun way for me to share my recipes with family and friends and to express myself creatively. Those were the days when I would spend a whole day on a recipe and shoot my photographs on “auto” under the hideous orange glow of kitchen lights (exhibit number 1). Before I knew better.
I kind of miss those days before the insanity of social media really took hold, before complicated algorithms, before using hashtags became a small research project. I think back and am soooo grateful that Pinterest became a thing AFTER our wedding. I can’t imagine the pressure that would have added.
Fast forward six years and here I am, still enjoying this process, but having learned a few things along the way. Sure, I’ve learned which window in my house gets the best diffused light for pictures. I’ve learned the magic of bokeh. I’ve even learned how to use those hashtags. But perhaps more important than all of those things, I’ve learned a lot about myself. Specifically, how just being REAL, helpful, and not taking yourself too seriously is SO important.
In the social media world, there is so much emphasis on perfection. I think we are human and of course we all like to SEE perfection, but if we are being honest, it can be a little paralyzing. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve saved or bookmarked an amazing looking recipe or DIY project someone else did, but rarely do I ever get around to actually DOING it. Sometimes trying something new can just be so daunting or overwhelming to think about, especially when you’ve got little ones to occupy every free second of your day.
All of this is to say, I hope this site is a place where you can find delicious recipes you can easily tackle, even amid the realities of daily life. I so appreciate the encouragement I’ve received from so many of you, and am so thankful to have such supportive readers. Cheers to #6!
Barbacoa Beef Tacos (Instant Pot Recipe)
Yields: enough for about 8-10 tacos
Start this recipe: about 2 hours before you want to eat
2 lbs. boneless chuck roast, cut into about 6 large chunks
2 Tbsp. Kosher salt
2 tsp. cumin
2 tsp. garlic powder
2 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. thyme
1 tsp. dried oregano
1.5 cups beef stock (I love using these)
1 poblano pepper, chopped (or jalapeño for more spice, bell pepper for no spice)
1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
1 packet achiote seasoning (optional)
about 2 Tbsp. oil (olive, canola, or vegetable)
Serve with: corn or flour tortillas, chopped onion, chopped cilantro, salsa or hot sauce, limes, avocado, and cotija or feta cheese (or any cheese you like)
Press the sauté button on the Instant Pot and wait till it says “hot.” Combine all seasonings and salt in a bowl and liberally season the pieces of beef. Once the pot is hot, pour in the oil (should coat the bottom of the pot). Add the beef and sear for a couple minutes on each side until it is seared and caramelized on all sides. You will probably have to work in batches, depending on how big your Instant Pot is. Remove all the browned beef, and add the onions and poblano pepper and sauté for a few minutes. Add the achiote seasoning if using and give it all a stir. Add the beef back to the pan, and pour in the beef stock. Close the lid, slide to lock, and adjust the vent to “sealing” position. Push the “keep warm/cancel button”, then push the “meat/stew button” and adjust the time to 70 minutes. Wait to hear the beeps, then it will start building pressure. When “70” comes on the screen, it has started cooking. Use this time to prepare any toppings or side dishes.
When it beeps at the end of 70 minutes, turn the vent to “venting” position to release the steam. Using tongs or forks to break up/shred the meat, then let it sit in the juices (on the keep warm setting) until you are ready to serve (this actually helps it soak up more flavor). When ready to serve, use a strainer or slotted spoon to transfer the beef to a serving dish (you want some of the juices for flavor, but not enough to make the tacos soggy). Serve with toppings of your choice (some ideas listed above) and enjoy!
You can also use a dutch oven to braise this. Just follow the steps above using the dutch oven on the stove top. Saute the beef and veggies over medium high heat. Use about 3-4 cups of beef stock instead of 1.5. Place the whole pot with lid in a 325 F oven for about 3 hours or until it shreds.