Adventures in homemade, budget aware cooking.

Mexican

Enchiladas Verdes

 

These aren’t your typical “Enchiladas.”  Or at least they aren’t what I normally think of when I think Enchilada… Instead, they are more like tacos… Anyways, this one authentic recipe.  I hope you’ll like it!

  • 2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breast
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 small white onion

Bring a pot of water to boil.  Add the chicken, garlic and onion and poach in boiling water until chicken is cooked through.  Drain the water (or reserve as a chicken stock) and shred and salt the chicken.  Set aside.

  • 1 lb tomatillos (green tomatoes), casings removed, rinsed
  • 1 to 3 jalapenos
  • 1/4 cup cilantro
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 a small onion, chopped

In a medium saucepan, bring water to a boil.  Add the tomatillos and the jalapenos.  Cook until tomatoes are soft.  Place all the ingredients in a blender with 1/2 cup of the cooking water.  Pulse until blended.  Heat 1 tbsp of oil in a large skillet.  Pour in the salsa and heat 5 minutes.

When you are ready to serve, heat corn tortillas in oil in a small skillet, then with tongs, dunk them into the salsa.  Fill with chicken and roll up.  Repeat.  Serve with shredded lettuce, Mexican cheese, sour cream, cilantro, and additional salsa verde.

I forget to get a picture of the finished product… sorry.

 

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Grilled Chicken Tacos

Sometimes you just have to cheat.

I cheated big time with these grilled chicken tacos… first of all, they were supposed to be FISH TACOS!  I hate fish (which is weird considering I grew up on an island… but there you have it) so I used chicken instead.  Secondly, they are supposed to be grilled but my husband wasn’t home from work yet and I was hungry… so I just used the George Foreman.  Why didn’t I just get the BBQ out myself and do it properly? you might be wondering.  Well, I have no good excuse.  The truth is I’m scared of the BBQ.  I fear it blowing up in my face.  I know it’s stupid…

Anyways, despite my shortcuts, these were pretty good.  If you can grill them though, do it.

Grilled Chicken Tacos (adapted from “The Culinary Institute of America: Grilling”)

  • 8 flour tortillas

Chicken:

  • 2 lbs chicken breast (or mahi-mahi if you wish)
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 tbsp lime juice
  • 5 tsp chili powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 1/2 tsp minced garlic
  • Salt, to taste

1. Cut meat into sixteen equal pieces.  Combine all ingredients and marinate the chicken in it.  Grill over medium heat (2 minutes per side for the fish, until the juices run clear for the chicken).  Grill the tortillas until they have grill marks (15 sec per side).

Southwestern Slaw:

  • 2 cups finely shredded cabbage
  • 2 tsp lime juice
  • 2 tsp honey
  • 2 tbsp minced red onion
  • 2 tsp minced jalapenos
  • 2 tsp chopped cilantro
  • Salt, to taste

1. Combine all the ingredients.  Allow the mixture to marinate for 30 min (up to 8 hours).

Chipotle Pico de Gallo:

  • 1 cup medium-dice tomato, seeded
  • 4 tsp red onion, minced
  • 1/2 tsp lime juice
  • 1/2 canned chipotle pepper, minced
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 tbsp cilantro, minced

1. Combine all the ingredients and mix well.  This can be used immediately or stored in the refrigerator for up to two days.

Mexican Crema:

  • 1/2 Mexican Sour Cream (or regular sour cream if you can’t find this)
  • 1/2 tsp grated lime zest
  • 2 tsp lime juice

1.  Combine all the ingredients and mix well.  Use immediately or refrigerate up to 2 days.

To assemble the tacos, put 2 slices of chicken or fish in each tortilla.  Top with Southwestern Slaw, Chipotle Pico de Gallo and drizzle with Mexican Crema.


Garlic-Cumin Black Beans

I was under the impression that rice is tricky to cook.  Then I tried to make beans.  My impatient cooking-style did NOT co-exist very well with the lengthy process of cooking dried black beans.  It took me several months, but I finally built up the courage to try again.  This time, I left the beans on low and went to an appointment for a few hours.  I think that helped.  I also started to cook them well before it was dinnertime, and well before I was hungry so I didn’t even feel the need to rush them along so I could eat.  My beans don’t hold a candle next to real ones, cooked by Latin Americans who know what they are doing, but they weren’t bad.

Garlic-Cumin Black Beans (adapted from Mark Bittman’s “The Best Recipes in the World”)

  • 1 lb dried black beans
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • ½ cup minced onion

Soak the beans overnight in water.  Drain them, put them in a pot and cover them with fresh water.  Cook on medium-high heat.  When they boil, add the crushed garlic and the cumin.  Partially cover and simmer until they are tender, 2-3 hours (or maybe 5 if your beans are like mine…)  Add the salt, pepper, minced garlic and more cumin if you like.  Cook another 5 minutes.  Stir in the onion.  Serve warm.

These are great with any Mexican dish.  You can also follow this basic recipe with pinto beans as well.

Oh, and anyone have a good recipe for Baked Alaska?  The prospect of baked ice cream intrigues me…


Pozole

My friend Hilary eating some real PozoleI have a t-shirt that says “Hecho en Mexico.”  While some Mexicans are pasty white and have ocean blue eyes, I am not one of them, at least not by birth.  Growing up, Tex-Mex Tacos constituted my repertoire of Mexican food.  After a year and a half in Southern California, my culinary and cultural boundaries were blown to pieces.

I loved the traditional sopes, enchiladas, burritos, taquitos, tostadas, arroz con leche, horchata, carne asada, pozole, etc.  I lived those 18 months in bliss, food heaven.  However, when I came home, I was in shock.  I initially tried to survive by dosing everything in Tapatio (Hot Sauce).  Eventually, I realized that I was going to have to learn how to cook authentic Mexican food or suffer for the rest of my life.

A few days ago I found a recipe for Pozole for a crock pot (two of my favourite things! Yipee!)  It was delicious!  The husband’s response says it all: “You should keep that recipe!” Before we get to the recipe part, let me share with you some disgusting history of the soup/ stew Pozole.

Apparently, “pozole was made to be consumed on special events. The conjunction of corn (usually whole hominy kernels) and meat in a single dish is of particular interest to scholars because the ancient Mexicans believed that the gods made humans out of cornmeal dough. According to research by the National Institute of Anthropology and History and the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, on these special occasions, the meat used in the pozole was human. After the prisoners were killed by having their hearts torn out in a ritual sacrifice, the rest of the body was chopped and cooked with corn. The meal was shared among the whole community as an act of religious communion. After the conquest, when cannibalism was banned, pork became the staple meat, as it “tasted very similar”, according to a Spanish priest.”  (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Posole)

While that little tidbit of information might be unappealing, Pozole certainly is not.

Pozole for the Slow Cooker

  • – 2 lbs shoulder chuck pork, fat trimmed, and chopped in 1/2″ pieces
  • 2 tbsp oil olive
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 can oven roasted chilies (7 oz)
  • 2 cans white hominy (15 oz)
  • 6 cups chicken stock
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 cup minced chopped cilantro

Heat oil in a skillet on medium-high.  Brown meat in portions.  Add to the slow cooker.  Add all ingredients through cumin.  Stir.  Heat on low for 5-6 hours.  Add salt, pepper and cilantro.  Cook for another hour. Laddle soup into bowls.  Serve with shredded lettuce, chopped onions, cilantro, lime wedges and heated corn tortillas.  (Sometimes it is served with radishes too, but I don’t like radishes.)

(It is red or green depending on whether you use red or green chilies)


Arroz Con Leche

A few years ago, I spent a year and a half in Southern California serving a mission for my Church. I spend that time with the Hispanic population in the area, and came to love their culinary traditions (well, some of them).
I could never quite fall in love with Menudo (a traditional soup made from cow stomach) or anything that involved tongue – but this sweet rice and milk dessert gained a favourable place on my palate. I love the thick, hearty porridge-like consistency and the way the raisins soften as though they are slowly transforming back into grapes.

Rice is such a huge staple in Latin American cooking, but that doesn’t make it easy for us gringos to get right. Growing up, I remember joking about the fact that Mum’s rice was usually soupy. And perhaps to counteract that, my first endeavors to make rice resulted in hard, crunchy grains that my husband and I both pretended were fluffy and, well, cooked… Arroz con Leche scared me for a long time. My food cravings eventually overcame my food fears, and, I’m happy to report it turned out well!

Arroz Con Leche (rice with milk)
– 1/2 cup rice (short-medium grain)
– 4 cups milk
– 1 cinnamon stick
– 1/2 cup brown sugar
– 1/2 raisins
– 1 tsp vanilla
– 2 tbsp butter
– ground cinnamon to garnish

In a saucepan, combine rice, milk and cinnamon stick. Heat on medium-high just until milk starts to boil. Lower heat to low and let mixture simmer, stirring often (scraping sides and bottom of pot) for 45 min. Add the sugar and the raisins and continue cooking on low for another 15 min. Stir in the vanilla and the butter and cook another 5 min. Garnish with ground cinnamon. Serve hot or cold.

I like to eat some when it’s hot, refrigerate the rest and eat it cold the next morning for breakfast. Sabe muy rico!