Tag Archives: Mexican Cuisine

Green Corn Soup

…or if you want the Mexican name, Sopa Verde de Elote.

One of the many New Year’s resolutions I have this year include understanding Mexican cuisine. And when I say “understanding”, I mean realizing that most of the Mexican Food found in the restaurants in my neighborhood are either more ‘Tex-Mex’ or Americanized versions of Mexican cuisine. Not that there’s anything wrong with these types of food. I simply wish to see more authentic Mexican Food.

To that end, I picked up Diana Kennedy’s most wonderful book “The Essential Cuisines of Mexico”, which contains this recipe.

A recipe, by the way, that received a critical ‘thumbs-up’ from the members of my household.

  • 1/4 cup corn oil
  • 1/2 white onion, diced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2/3 cup tomitillas, cooked and pureed
  • 4 1/2 cup corn kernals, frozen
  • 5 cups chicken broth
  • 2/3 cup peas, frozen
  • 6 sprigs cilantro
  • 5 leaves romaine lettuce, chopped
  • 2 poblano chiles, charred and peeled
  • salt, to taste
  • sour cream and tortilla strips, for garnish

In a skillet, heat the corn oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until translucent. Raise the heat to high and add the pureed tomitillas. Cook for three minutes and then transfer to a stockpot that has been placed oven medium heat.

Place the corn, 2 cups of the broth, peas, cilantro, lettuce and chiles into a blender. Blend for 1-2 minutes, ensuring the mixture is smooth. Pour the blend through a strainer into the stockpot.

Take the remnants of the puree mixture and return to the blender. Add one more cup of broth, and blend for another minute. Pour this blend through the strainer into the stockpot. Discard any remaining solids.

Add the remaining broth and salt to the soup. Lower the heat to low and allow to simmer for up to 1 hour.

Serve with sour cream and tortilla chips. A dash or two of tobasco sauce wouldn’t hurt either.

Serves 6

Technorati Tags: recipes, soup, corn soup


A burrito is NOT a sandwich

Thank whatever higher beings that we’ve finally resolved THAT issue.

Panera has a clause in its lease that prevents the White City Shopping Center in Shrewsbury from renting to another sandwich shop. Panera tried to invoke that clause to stop the opening of an Qdoba Mexican Grill.

But Superior Court Judge Jeffrey Locke cited Webster’s Dictionary as well as testimony from a chef and a former high-ranking federal agriculture official in ruling that Qdoba’s burritos and other offerings are not sandwiches.

Now if we can only get a judge to rule that cheese powder isn’t actually cheese.

via bb


Mexican Restaurants in Seattle

Picture in your mind two Mexican restaurants somewhere in America…Seattle, for example.

Place 1 serves housemade refried beans, tacos, enchiladas and offer both green and red salsas for your corn chips. The food is competently done. but often not remarkably so. Their idea of an entree means that the burritos come with beans and rice. The floors are tidy, but worn from years of foot traffic. The walls are decorated as if someone had decided to go to a Tijuana garage sale at the last minute and had only twenty dollars to spend. The cost for a dinner at this place? Seven dollars…nine, if you include a tip.

Place 2 also sells tacos, enchiladas and burritos, but dresses them up a bit. Instead of shredded beef tacos, they sell carne asade tacos. Names like Habenero enchiladas and Chipotle smoked Prawns dot the menu. Entrees are sold with a side of black beans and rice. The restaurant itself is presented in soft light, and candles pepper the space like a Roman Catholic Church on Lent. A fireplace is prominent in the center of the room. The walls are a soft wood paneling, and the skulls of several bulls can be found, giving the place the earth

The price for a dinner at the second place? Seventeen dollars on average, including tip.

If someone were to ask me which place I would prefer, I’d have say the first, for reasons I can’t quite put my fingers on.

Part of it is the fact that Mexican food as we Americans know it, is so blessedly effortless. My favorite place for Mexican in Seattle is a little place called El Puerco Lloron, and the food is simply marvelous. You order one of ten dishes from the board, pick a drink from their choices of beers and sodas and then you have a seat at a card table on folding chairs that appear to have been last used a church social. The meat (mostly pork) that comes with what ever dish you have chosen is so moist that it falls apart in your mouth without the aid of your teeth. Their pico de gallo sings upon the tongue. With a bottle of cold beer, this meal is near perfection. That’s all that is really needed.

Places like those similar to the second restaurant mentioned above try to impress with atmosphere, yet seemingly have done nothing in the way of proving why one should pay twelve dollars for tacos. They have a fully stocked bar, over 50 beers to choose from, several tequilas and yet have added nothing food-wise beyond what I could get at El Puerco Lloron. There’s no mole, no pozole, not even an arroz con pollo upon the menu.

I know that perhaps my expectations are too high. This is Seattle after all, not San Diego, or Albuquerque. There are also many fine upscale Mexican Restaurants in the area that either offer more than burritos, enchiladas and tacos, or bring something additional to these standard recipes.

What we have is a new “Kate’s Law“. Let’s call it Kate’s Law of the Proportional Cost of Burritos. This law states that the more money spent on a burrito, the higher probability of disappointment in the dish. This law can be applied to many Mexican Standards, including enchiladas, tacos, etc. etc.

You folks can have your Fifteen dollar Enchiladas. I’ll stick to the ones in the four to eight dollar range.

Technorati Tags: Food, Mexican Restaurants, Restaurants


Chile Rellenos

Chile Rellenos

There are times when I simply amaze myself. No, no, it’s not those times when I’m particularly humble. I mean those times when I “get” a recipe and can recreate it without looking at a recipe. It’s akin to trying to play guitar and singing at the same time. One moment you can’t do it, then something clicks. Your mind goes “a-HA!” and suddenly you realize that your skill set for a particular task has increased +1.

Yes, that was a Dungeons and Dragons reference. I may be amazing, but I’m also a geek with a long history of geek activities.

Where was I? Oh, yes, Chile Rellenos. I love Mexican food, but it’s not my forte in the kitchen. Not because the food is any more difficult to prepare, but rather because it’s a different set of ingredients and different set of preparation skills that I don’t use all that often.

In researching this recipe, I found hundreds of different variations. In my mind, it clicked that I had a great deal of leeway in preparing this recipe, as long as I stuck to a few basic ground rules: I had to stuff a chile with a filling of some sort. I had to use roughly Southwest American or Mexican Ingredients. I had to cook the chile. The following is my result.

Warning: This recipe calls for you using hot oil on your stove top. For goodness sake, be careful!

Chiles and Filling

  • 12 Anaheim Chiles, or other similarly large chiles
  • 1 lb Chorizo Sausage, ground
  • 1/4 cup dried apricots, chopped
  • 1/4 cup golden raisins
  • 1/2 cup Jack cheese, shredded
  • 1 teaspoon cumin

Batter

  • 6 eggs, separated
  • 1 1/2 cups AP Flour
  • 1/2 cup corn meal
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Turn on the broiler of your oven. Place the chile peppers evenly on a cookie tray and place under the broiler heating element. Cook for 5 minutes, turn over, and cook for another 5 minutes. You should have a blackened skin on your pepper that looks as if it’s about to fall off. Remove the skin or not, as there’s benefits for either choice. I chose to remove the falling skin which made it holding the filling in more difficult. Set aside and allow to cool.

In a medium skillet, cook your sausage until browned, but not overly so. There should be no pink meat remaining, but you don’t want to cook the sausage like it’s breakfast time either. Drain any fat and put the sausage in a mixing bowl. Allow to cool for 10-15 minutes. Combine the sausage with apricots, raisins, cheese and cumin.

Set up your frying process. In one bowl, whisk together the egg whites from six eggs until you get firm peaks. In another bowl, mix together the six egg yolks. Combine the egg yolks and whites and fold them carefully together. It doesn’t have to be perfect, but one should try not to remove the fluffiness of the egg whites either.

In another bowl, mix your flour, cornmeal, baking powder and cayenne pepper.

In a large skillet (preferably cast iron), fill with corn or canola oil up 3/4 the side of the skillet. Bring up to medium high heat.

Now, back to the chiles. Place a 1/2″ to 3/4″ slice at the thickest part of the pepper. You can choose to remove the seeds if you wish, but you may be inviting disaster if you do so. Add the filling to the pepper. Repeat the process until you’ve filled all your chile peppers. If the chile has difficulty staying together, toothpicks can be used to hold them.

By this time, your oil should be up to temperature. Roll your pepper in the egg mixture and then coat with the flour mixture. Place carefully into the oil. Cook for 2-3 minutes, flipping them over with tongs if necessary. Fry until a nice golden crust has developed. Remove from oil with tongs and allow to drain on a paper towel. Repeat as needed, cooking between 2-3 peppers at a time.

Plate and top with Salsa, or other tomato-type sauce, and a bit of cheese.

Serves 6

Technorati Tags: Food & Drink, Recipes, Mexican Food, Chile


Chilaquiles

*sigh*

I’m not hitting very well on my recipes of late. Twice now, when reading a recipe, I’ve made a statement to myself along the lines of “well that doesn’t sound right”. Then I’ll sally forth without listening to my own instincts.

This recipe is based off of one in Mark Bittman’s new cookbook The Best Recipes in the World. There are several items in the recipe that I had made my own adjustments to, and then one critical step which I did exactly what the recipe called for. I’ve fixed the faux pas in the recipe below.

His initial recipe does not call for tempering the eggs before putting them into the tomato sauce. Like a fool, I did not adjust, thinking that the recipe knew best in this instance. I was wrong.

The taste of the dish, however, is still pretty good. Tara and I sat through dinner thinking of all of the different ingredients that would add to this dish. Shredded turkey, spinach, black beans and ham were all individually mentioned. Thinking on it now, any ingredient which can be put into an ommellette, can be put in this dish. What I’m trying to get at here is that, although this recipe can stand on its own, it should also be considered a basis for other recipes.

  • 15 five inch corn tortillas, cut into 1-inch strips
  • Corn oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 6 serrano chilis, seeded, destemmed and minced
  • 2 cans diced tomatoes, drained
  • 2 cups of chicken stock
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 2 1/2 cups queso asadero (Chihuahua or Menonita can also be used)
  • 1/4 cup sour cream (optional)
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro leaves(optional)

Place a large skillet over medium heat and add 1 inch of corn oil to the skillet. Bring to temperature.

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees F.

When the oil is hot, add a handful of the tortilla strips and allow to fry until golden and crispy. Remove and drain on paper towels. Repeat with the remaining tortilla strips until all have been fried. Set aside.

Drain all but 2 tablespoons of the oil. Then set the heat under the skillet to medium high. Add the onions, garlic and chilis to the skillet and cook for 3-4 minutes. Add the tomatoes, and cook for 5-7 minutes. Drain any excess water from the skillet, then add the chicken stock. Bring to a boil. Lower the temperature beneath the sauce to a simmer and allow to cook until thickened , approximately 20-25 minutes.

In a seperate mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs. After the tomato sauce has completed cooking, take 1/8 cup of the sauce and slowly mix it into eggs. Whisk together well. Then pour the egg mixture into the tomato sauce. Season with salt and pepper and stir.

Coat a 3-quart pyrex baking pan with a layer of the tomato sauce. Top with a layer of tortilla chips, and the a layer of cheese. Repeat this tomato-chip-cheese layering, ending with the sauce and cheese.

Cover the baking dish with foil and place into the oven. Cook for 20 minutes. Remove from oven, and allow to cool and set, approximately 5-7 minutes. Cut into squares and serve, topping with sour cream and cilantro to garnish.

Serves 6
Technorati Tags: food, recipes, chilaquiles


Frijoles Negros Maneados

This recipe makes a great side dish, especially if the main course is along the lines of carne asada.

This recipe also proves beyond the shadow of a doubt that pork goes well with beans…ahh..ummm.. Okay, that’s hardly breaking news. It sounded more profound in my head than it did on the computer screen.

Heed my warning tho…this is a hot dish. It goes remarkably well with beer as a beverage choice. Okay, not so much of a warning as it is a tasty recommendation.

  • 2 tablespoons of shortening (or lard if it’s on hand)
  • 1 white onion, sliced
  • 1 Tablespoon salt
  • 8 oz. ground chorizo
  • 7 oz chipotle peppers
  • 4 cups black beans (2 14 oz. cans)
  • 1 Tablespoon corn meal
  • grated jack cheese (to top)

If your peppers are dried out, rehydrate them in water for 30 minutes.

Melt the shortening in a skillet (preferably a cast iron skillet if you have one handy). Add the onions and fry until nearly translucent. Salt.

Add the chorizo, and fry until brown. Add the peppers and beans, and mix in the corn meal to thicken the sauce. Simmer over medium heat fro 10 minutes, stirring regularly.

Serve with grated cheese and chopped scallions

Serves 6


IMBB 11.0: Beans: Huevos Motuleños

Talk about coincidence. This months topic for Is My Blog Burning happens to be beans, hosted by Cathy of My Little Kitchen…which also happens to be the ingredient I’m researching at the moment (for those new to my site, I generally focus on one ingredient for a series of recipes…I also, seperately, focus on a cuisine as well, but I digress).

So yes, this fit into my plans nicely, but the problem was finding a recipe that could be interesting enough to publish. Let’s face it, beans aren’t one of the more exciting foods out there.

To combat that, I decided to head to Mexico in order to find a recipe that interests me enough. I found it in one based off of a Rick Bayless recipe, found in his book Rick Bayless’s Mexican Kitchen. Called Motul-Style Eggs with Roasted Tomatoes and Black Beans, you can find this recipe throghout the Yucatan Peninsula.

Sauce:

  • 4 large tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup corn oil
  • 1 white onion, sliced
  • 2 habenero peppers, sliced in half
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt

The Rest:

  • 6 corn tortillas
  • 2 cups black beans
  • 6 oz. ham, sliced into strips
  • 1 1/3 cup of frozen peas
  • 1/2 cup crumbled queso fresco (feta cheese or other salted farmers cheese can do in a pinch
  • 6 eggs

Heat your broiler to 500 degrees. Roast the tomatoes on a baking sheet 4 inches from the broiler. Allow the tomatoes to become blistered and blackened, turning over once while cooking. This should take about 12 minutes, 6 minutes for each side of the tomato.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Peel the tomatoes and place in a blender. Puree.

In a medium sauce pan, heat the vegetable oil over a medium-high heat. Add the onions. Cook until a golden brown and slightly darkened on some of the onion slices. Add tomatoes and habaneros. Lower heat to medium-low and simmer for 15 minutes. Season with the salt and remove the peppers…I can’t emphasize how important it is to remove the peppers.

Keep sauce over low heat as you cook the rest of the meal.

Using a large skillet, heat up 1/2 cup of corn oil. Fry tortillas until crisp an you have what is essentially a tostada. Drain on paper towels and set aside.

In a small pan, warm the black beans over low heat. In a seperate pan, heat up strips of ham until browned. Add the peas and cook.

Using the large skillet that you used for the tostadas, fry your eggs. Cook the eggs long enough to solidify the whites, but the yolks remain somewhat runny.

Place the tostada on a plate and spoon a bit of beans on to the corn tortilla. Top with an egg, ensuring the yolks do not run. Drizzle the top of the eggs with the tomato-habanero sauce. Sprinkly the plate with ham, peas and cheese. Serve immediately.

Serves 6