Merry Christmas and Pernil

Merry Christmas from the Diabetic Kitchen. I hope you had a wonderful holiday with your family and ate amazing meals. The holidays are more about the food than the gifts, at least for me it is.

Pernil – the definition of pork yumminess that can only be called Puerto Rican.

A traditional Puerto Rican Christmas meal always has pernil at the table. Always. And you never mess with traditions. NEVER.

Growing up as a half breed, Mumika chose the English traditions over the Puerto RIcan ones. I have always understood her reasons behind this – Dad died, and she was making sure his traditions were a permanent part of my life. However, in the process, I didn’t know these yummy Puerto Rican traditions until I accepted myself as a Boriqua and researched.

Ironically, Mumika did try to make pernil once. It was 2011. The very pork that sent me to the hospital and nearly killed me. And here I am, making it myself, 3 years later.

The major different is, I got my pork shoulder butt at HEB where I know there meat are prime.

A few things about this Pernil:

I didn’t get the picnic pork shoulder because the HEB where I live didn’t have it. If I had waited until the next day, when I was at a different HEB, I would have found it. So essentially, any pork butt or shoulder or whatever, will do.

Because I didn’t get the picnic pork, there’s wasn’t any fat at the top that melts down into the meat itself creating a crispy skin. So if you don’t want that, don’t get the picnic cut. Some may say, “But you’re missing the best part.” You’re not.

I ended up wrapping the pork in plastic wrap after I put the marinade on there and let it sit in my fridge overnight. So do that. Let the flavors penetrate into the meat.

Also, don’t listen to your Mumika about how long to cook the pernil. She always ends up drying her meat out. As time progressed and we kept sampling the meat to see where we were at, she was adamant about the temp and time. Make sure you have a meat thermometer to poke the pernil with. When it gets to 180, it’s pretty much done.

One of the biggest things to keep in mind is that you are using a mortar and pestle to crush the garlic and combining it with the other ingredients to pretty much make a paste. If you don’t have it, just crush the garlic with the wide end of your knife until you hear a pop and chop it. I ended up crushing the garlic in the roast pan to make sure the garlic was at the bottom of the butt.


6 pounds Pork Shoulder or Pork Butt
6 Cloves of Garlic, pressed
1/4 teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
1 teaspoon Oregano
1 1/4 tablespoon Olive Oil
1 1/4 tablespoon White Vinegar
4 teaspoon Salt

Combine garlic, pepper, oregano, olive oil, vinegar and salt.

Rub pork with garlic mixture all over pork.

Stab pork repeatedly (my favorite part, it lets me relieve any murderous ideas) and stuff the knife openings with the garlic.

Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.


Put pork into a roasting pan.

Preheat oven at 400 and cook to pork at 400 for about 50 minutes.

After that, lower the temperature to 300 for the rest of the time.

This is where research gets tricky. Some people say cook for 20 minutes per pound, others say it’s 35 minutes per pound.

I say, check with a meat thermometer and cut a piece off every time you check it until its where you want it. When it gets all cooked and crispy like, it’s pretty much done.

Makes a lot.

It came out amazing. Tasted just like Puerto Rico.

I was actually quite impressed with the results. And it was nice and moist, and happiness.

And I have all sorts of ideas for it – Cuban sandwiches, pernil empanadas, pork buns.

It’s going to be amazing.

This is definitely going to be a new tradition in this house.


Quick Pickled Red Onions

I came across a recipe that required pickled red onions.

Turns out you can’t find these things at a grocery store. I searched everywhere. Pickled cabbage, picked red cabbage, pickled pearl onions, pickled peppers (try saying that 5 times fast), pickles….no pickled red onions.

Why are there no pickled red onions? Why? Is it because there isn’t a demand for them? Is it too weird? Time consuming? Frustrating?

These are serious questions.

Which means I have to find a recipe for the bloody things. Which I’m fine with. No big deal.

Until I found out this is a time consuming process of evilness. Ain’t nobody got time that. Shee-it. (Yeah, might have been watching too many pop culture youtube videos)

I don’t have time to simmer, vinegar, boil jars, vacuum seal, spice, and what have you. I need a quick easy 5 minutes tops and you are done version.

And then after hours of scouring the internet. I found it. Bahahahaha. And it was glorious. And the angels and archangels bowed down singing praises of hallelujah in hip hopera form while having one hand up on their ear while the other hand is waving around all sassy like Mariah Carey in the middle of a vocal riff. There was a backbeat. Maybe a beat boxer. (Yeah, definitely been watching too much youtube)


Quick Pickle Onions

3/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced


Find a old pickle jar that your husband always leaves in the bloody fridge that no longer has pickled whatever cuz he ate them all. (Oh, your husband doesn’t do that. That must be nice. Mine does. Pisses me off. But now, I found a use for all those evil empty jars full of pickled liquid)

Clean this jar until it no longer smells of pickles, banana peppers, olives, whatever.

In a small bowl, combine red wine vinegar with sugar and salt; stir until dissolved.

Place onion slices in a glass jar.

Pour the vinegar mixture over the onions, seal, and refrigerate overnight.

Makes 1 thing of pickled red onions. Calories: 78, Carbohydrates: 19 grams, Sugar: 13 grams, Fiber: 2 grams, Protein: 2 grams.

Badabing badaboom, you are done before you know it. Super easy, super fast.

Now I know what you are thinking. Overnight? That’s it?

Yeah. I was thinking that too. But it works. And it’s amazing.

The red wine vinegar gives it an extra oomph. Do not use white wine vinegar. I’m serious, only the red. You want that extra flavor. You want your taste buds to do the Macarena in your mouth. I hate pickled things except pickles, but I loved these pickled red onions.

My husband fell in love with these red onion. Yummy was the word he used.

It goes great in salsa, tacos, fajitas, on it’s own, chicken and rice.

Wanna be fancy, or rather sophisticated, for Cinco de Mayo – make these. Pair it with some pork carnitas street tacos using a corn tortilla and this will be the life of the party. And people will be all, where on earth did you get these and you can smile a sneaky smile and say something like it’s my abuela’s abuelas recipe. That way they know it’s a secret because it’s been passed down two generations of abuelas even though you’re white and have no abuelas.

But you’ll know and I’ll know, you did this in a jiffy like a pro the night before.