Pico de Gallo

August 9, 2011 at 5:57 am | Posted in Appetizers, Mexican/Southwest | 36 Comments
Tags: , , , , , ,

Wow, has this ever been a slow culinary week around our house. I really can’t come up with anything very bloggable at all. One night was a quasi-interesting tomato and fresh mozzarella pizza with a crust that we could have used to drywall the unfinished basement. Another was a lack luster whole wheat spaghetti concoction which produced only a single comment of “leaves a funny taste in your mouth!” Another evening we found take out and dried out sushi on the table. It’s been sad folks.

So, just as our local news channels do during a slow news week, I’ve come up with a whimsical piece as filler until some breaking news comes along.

Once our Colorado produce starts coming in, it seems like my mind-set automatically shifts towards Mexican food. Fresh and simple with lively colors and exciting flavors. I just don’t think there’s anything that showcases our state better, especially when the chile roasters get fired up. The aroma is intoxicating.

Pico de Gallo…yup, even a monkey could make this one and that’s exactly what this monkey did. Twice this week, I’ve chopped up fresh Early Girl tomatoes from my garden, diced some sweet onions and jalapenos and sat on the couch with my Costco 55-gallon drum of organic corn chips and enjoyed some delicious fresh fare.

Here’s my pico recipe, nothing earth shattering, but you pico purists will notice I use sweet yellow onion as opposed to red onion. Let’s take a look.

My Pico de Gallo

2 diced tomatoes
1/2 C. diced sweet onion
1 diced jalapeno, seeded and deveined for us
1 tablespoon minced garlic
Juice of 1 lime
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
1 Hatch green chile, roasted and skin removed, chopped
a sprinkle of dried Mexican oregano, or about a teaspoon of chopped fresh oregano
Salt and pepper and a smidge of sugar

Taste and adjust any ingredients and flavors.

Pico de Gallo and a 55-gallon drum of Costco Corn Chips…It’s What’s for a Summer Snack.



No Recipe Required: Fresh Sweet Corn with Avocado and Cilantro

July 22, 2011 at 2:29 pm | Posted in Mexican/Southwest, No recipe required, Quick and Easy, Vegetables | 34 Comments
Tags: , , ,

  • Fresh sweet corn from three ears of corn
  • Place in a microwave safe bowl, sprinkle with salt and pepper and top with a pat of butter
  • Microwave for one minute
  • Top with sliced avocado, chopped cilantro and a sprinkle of red pepper flakes

Fresh Sweet Corn with Avocado and Cilantro….It’s What’s for a Summer Side Dish.

Wedding on Top of a Mountain and Breakfast Enchiladas

July 16, 2011 at 2:56 pm | Posted in Breakfast, Chicken, Mexican/Southwest | 29 Comments
Tags: , , , ,

Ever tried drinking and dancing for hours at 11,500 feet? It’s a tough job. Even raising a glass of champagne to toast the bride and groom can cause a slight shortness of breath. 🙂 Nonetheless, seems like we managed. A couple of weeks ago Brian, son of friends Tom and Kathy got married to Melanie on top of a mountain at a ski lodge above Keystone Resort. It was hands down the most beautiful wedding I’ve ever attended.

Continue Reading Wedding on Top of a Mountain and Breakfast Enchiladas…

Mexican Dinner Menu: Tangy Green Guacamole

December 31, 2010 at 11:07 am | Posted in Appetizers, Mexican/Southwest | 30 Comments
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Looking for an interesting twist on Guacamole? Traditional guacamole is so delicious that I have to admit I found it difficult to add odd ingredients in order to try a different version. But this one turned out to be a surprisingly tasty addition to my Mexican dinner. It was my idea to put the green pimento-stuffed olives on top and we thought it complimented and even added more tangy zest to the overall flavor. Plus the recipe introduced me to a great new Frontera brand sauce. I look forward to trying it in some other recipes.

Tangy Green Guacamole, adapted from a Rick Bayless recipe:

  • 3 large ripe Hass avocados
  • 1/2 C. Frontera tomatillo salsa
  • 1/4 c. chopped cilantro leaves
  • 1/2 t. salt
  • 6 sliced pimento-stuffed green olives
  • Tortilla chips, sliced radishes and jicima for serving
  • ½ cup Frontera Tomatillo Salsa
  • sliced olives for garnish
  • Salt, about 1/2 teaspoon

Cut each avocado in half by slicing straight down through that spot where the stem was attached until you reach the pit. Then rotate the knife all the way around the pit. Twist the two halves apart and take out the pit. With a spoon, scoop out the soft flesh from the skins, collecting it in a large bowl as you go. Coarsely mash with the spoon (you could use an old-fashioned potato masher or large fork). 

Gently stir the salsa into the avocado mixture, along with the cilantro. Taste and season with salt. Garnish with cilantro sprigs.

Top with the sliced green olives and serve with tortilla chips, or sliced cucumber, radish and jicama.

This is the last post for my Mexican Christmas Dinner. I did serve a delicious non-Mexican Easy Cranberry Cake from Ina Garten. I saw this beautiful dessert over at Cathy’s blog, Wives With Knives.  After looking at her gorgeous photo, who could resist. Also not pictured is the crock of chow-chow as a topping for the beans, warm soft corn tortillas and sour cream for the pork and pickled onion tacos and of course the people.  Note to self, take photos of people.

Happy New Year To Everyone and look forward to seeing what on your New Year’s Eve Celebration Table.

Tangy Green Guacamole…It’s What’s For Jicima And Radishes…and chips

Mexican Dinner Menu: Mexican Christmas Eve Salad

December 27, 2010 at 12:52 pm | Posted in Mexican/Southwest, Salads | 42 Comments
Tags: , ,

When researching salad recipes for my Mexican Christmas dinner, this colorful Christmas Eve Salad jumped out with festive enthusiasm in almost every search result.  Each recipe was a little different but the list of ingredients usually included lettuce, beets, oranges, bananas, jicima, pomegranate seeds, peanuts and even small hard candies.  A pinata in a bowl if you will. 

I really couldn’t find much of a history, or where this recipe originated,  just the reoccurring theme of beets and fruit, served in a glass bowl and is a traditional salad during the holidays in Mexico and in the Southwest. All in all, you couldn’t ask for a more eye-catching dish. With the glass bowl and layering of colorful ingredients,  it almost reminded me of an English trifle. It was promptly placed on my menu and all I had to do was pick through the array of ingredients and decide upon a creamy or vinaigrette dressing. Yes, there were as many versions of dressings as salad ingredients. I chose a creamy. Let’s take a look.

Mexican Christmas Eve Salad (my version):

  • 2 red beets, roasted peeled and sliced
  • 2 golden beets, roasted peeled and sliced
  • 1 small jicima, peeled and sliced
  • 1 navel orange, peeled and sliced
  • 1 head romaine lettuce, coarsely chopped
  • Seeds of one pomegranate
  • 1 handful chopped peanuts
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Layer all ingredients in a glass bowl lightly salting and peppering as you go.

I decided on a creamy dressing recipe that I found on one of my favorite blogs, Homesick Texan.

For the dressing:

1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup sour cream (Mexican brand if you can find it)
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 tablespoon orange juice
1 canned chipotle chile, minced
Salt and black pepper to taste

The results:

  • A salad that you practically had to wear sunglasses to look at
  • A salad that was a little hard to dish up, I would chop next time instead of slice
  • A salad that was incredibly festive on my Mexican Feast table
  • The creamy dressing was absolutely delicious, especially using a Mexican style sour cream
  • A delightful concoction that has now found a place in my recipe database (minus the hard candies)

Mexican Christmas Eve Salad…It’s What’s for the Holidays.

Mexican Dinner Menu: Pickled Red Onion Recipe

December 21, 2010 at 5:01 pm | Posted in Mexican/Southwest | 42 Comments
Tags: , , , , , , ,


Friends don’t let friends eat Mexican food without pickled red onions!

Our first Christmas celebration was with friends Greg and Cauleen. I decided on serving up a Mexican theme. Stay tuned for more dishes from this dinner, but for now let’s start out talking about pickled red onions.

So easy and with so much impact, there’s absolutely no excuse not to give these a try. Tart and sweet, add a hot bite from the onions, some heat from the red pepper and these onions bring the Fiesta to any Mexican meal. Scoop a heaping spoonful onto tacos, enchiladas, tostadas or even a hearty serving of pinto beans and you’ve got yourself a new flavor experience.

The first time I had pickled onions was as a topping for fish tacos at a local, now sadly defunct restaurant, Chama, created by my favorite local restauranteur, Sean Yontz. I thought they were the best thing since sliced bread.  Yontz has since opened up a new restaurant, El Diablo, and the fish tacos topped with these beautiful onions live on. 

This is my third attempt to duplicate Yontz’s recipe, combining ingredients from several versions I found on the Internet.  I believe I’ve come pretty close.

Pickled Red Onions

3/4 cup white vinegar
3 tablespoons sugar
pinch of salt
1 bay leaf
5 allspice berries
5 whole cloves
a small, dried chile pepper (I used 1/4 of a dried ancho chile for medium heat)
1 large red onion, peeled, and thinly sliced into rings

In a small non-reactive saucepan, heat the vinegar, sugar, salt, seasonings and chile until boiling. Add the onion slices and lower heat, then simmer for 30 seconds. Remove from heat and let cool.

Transfer the onions and the liquid into a covered container and refrigerate. These should keep for a couple of months in the refrigerator.

Pickled Red Onions….They’re What’s for a Mexican Dinner.

Flashback To Old College Taco Salad Recipe

November 20, 2010 at 9:41 am | Posted in Mexican/Southwest, Salads | 40 Comments
Tags: , , , ,

The last time I made this I was wearing bell bottom jeans which had been split at the hem to insert a flowered cloth panel to make them even more bell bottomed, a tie-dyed t-shirt that I dyed myself and Cat Stevens was playing in the background “Ooo baby baby it’s a wild world”.

A couple of weeks ago a message came through from Food Buzz offering coupons for Fresh Express salad mixes. Since I eat salads practically every day for lunch and buy Fresh Express salad mixes and salad kits often, I jumped on my first   “freebie” offering.  To receive the coupons you had to reply with what you were going to make out of Fresh Express packaged salad mixes and agree to blog about it. 

At this point, I experienced my first ever official flashback and this old Taco Salad recipe popped into my head.  

Between this recipe and boxed Kraft Macaroni and Cheese (which I swear has drugs in it to make it so good, hence the official flashback) this is what I lived on while receiving my higher education.

I’m assuming this recipe was on a Kraft Catalina dressing bottle, but however we found it, it was a staple.  I honestly haven’t made this in ages. I don’t have a recipe, it doesn’t appear in my official lifetime recipe data base, but I made it often enough in College that I thought I could whip it right up. 

Let’s take a look:

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1/2 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 package taco seasoning
  • 1/2 bottle (or so) of Catalina or French-style dressing
  • 1/2 C. water
  • 1 can chili beans, drained
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • Frito chips

Brown hamburger and onion in fry pan.  Add taco seasoning, dressing and water and simmer until thick (about 15 – 20 minutes). Stir occasionally so it doesn’t stick. Drain beans and stir into the meat mixture after it’s thickened. Take a hand full of Fritos and lightly crush over the meat and bean mixture. Top with grated cheddar cheese.  Spoon up a serving in your Corelle bowls or plates, pour a glass of Annie Green Springs cherry wine and you’ve got dinner.  I can’t remember if any lettuce was originally involved and if it was, it was most certainly iceburg. Did we put chunks of iceburg lettuce and mix it into the hot beef/bean mixture???

As you can see, I couldn’t bear to buy Fritos, so built my salad on an organic tostada shell, spread with  beef/bean mixture, topped with handful of Salad Express Spring Lettuce Mix, chopped tomato and shredded cheese, and some chopped avocado. Served on my Fiestaware plates with a glass of Australian Shiraz it really tasted delicious.

So what were you eating, drinking and listening to in college?

Old College Taco Salad Recipe…It’s What’s For Dinner.

A New Mexico Inspired Sandwich

November 13, 2010 at 4:55 pm | Posted in Chicken, Mexican/Southwest, Sandwiches | 42 Comments
Tags: , , , , , ,

Ever been to Santa Fe? Even though it’s just a hop skip and jump away from Denver, it’s been years since we’ve been. It’s a wonderful town bustling with lots of art and unique New Mexican cuisine. 

But wait a minute, just what makes New Mexico style food different from Tex-Mex or Mexican?

This popular form of southwest cuisine  is very different. Its most defining characteristic is the dominance of the New Mexican chile, the state’s largest agricultural crop.

In New Mexico, the green chile is an ingredient in everything from enchiladas and burritos to cheeseburgers, french fries, bagels, and even pizza. The most famous of these New Mexico grown chiles is the Hatch chile from Hatch, New Mexico.

I read that before the arrival of Europeans, New Mexico’s current borders overlapped the areas of the Navajo, Mescalero, and Chiricahua tribes. The Spaniards brought their cuisine which mingled with the indigenous dishes and flavors. At the end of the Mexican-American War, New Mexico became part of the United States, and was strongly influenced by incoming U.S. tastes. This history combined with the local terrain and climate has resulted in its significant differences and is what makes New Mexican cuisine unique.

New Mexico has bragging rights for bringing us the blue corn tortilla, the stacked enchilada, green chile and sopapillas.  

For a gift last Christmas, I received this wonderful cookbook full of unique recipes from Cafe Pasqual’s, a popular restaurant in Santa Fe. Cafe Pasqual’s has been in business over 30 years, is located in downtown Santa and specializes in Old Mexico, New Mexico and Asian cuisine.

This is a great little cookbook, full of wonderful recipes, beautiful tinted photographs and Mexican art throughout.

Let’s take a look at a sandwich inspired from this cookbook.

This recipe focuses on the Chimayo chile pepper named for the town where it’s grown…Chimayo, New Mexico.  It’s slightly hotter than a cayenne pepper. 

First off, I baked a loaf of corn bread to use as the base. This isn’t your normal fall apart corn bread, but more the consistency of a dense style bread, calling for more flour than corn meal. Add some fresh corn, yeast, cream and the unique flavor of the Chimayo chile pepper and you’ve got a flavorful bread on which to build the sandwich.

Taking a slice of bread, I smeared it with some Hatch chile mayonnaise. Simply some mayonnaise blended with cilantro and chopped Hatch Chiles and of course a sprinkle of the Chimayo Chile Powder.  Every year I buy a few bags of freshly roasted Hatch chiles and they’re tucked away in the freezer to use in dishes all winter long.

The sandwich is then topped with shredded cooked chicken breast which has been marinating in olive oil and garlic for 24 hours.

Over the chicken breast spoon on some carmelized onions and jalapenos. For this I sliced one large sweet yellow onion, sautéed it in olive oil for about 20 minutes. I then added in three sliced jalapenos sprinkled all with about two tablespoons sugar and cooked for an additional seven minutes.

Topped with some shredded Manchego cheese and popped under the broiler for a few minutes and you’ve got a wonderful ooey-gooey tasty New Mexico inspired sandwich. The star of this sandwich was the flavor of the corn bread. The bread is sweet and with the earthy heat and flavor from the Chimayo chile you’ll be finding yourself wanting to dig through your jewelry box to find that turquoise bracelet to wear.

And you cannot ignore those carmelized onions and jalapenos. What  a wonderful flavor combination, especially with the melted Manchego cheese melting in between the rings of flavor.

Served with some sliced mangos sprinkled with Znax2Go. Znax2Go is a seasoning that you sprinkle over fruits or vegetables, a delicious combination of hot chile powder and sugar. I think it’s great on mangos.

New Mexico Sandwich…It’s What’s For Dinner.

Black Bean and Chorizo Torta

August 24, 2010 at 2:06 am | Posted in Mexican/Southwest | 19 Comments

Christo over at Chez What? is having a sandwich throwdown and this is my contribution to BATTLE SANDWICH. A black bean and chorizo torta.

Torta is a Mexican sandwich, served on an oblong variety of 6-8 inch sandwich rolls, called teleras or bolillos. Telera is a soft, round bread; Bolillo is a torpedo-shaped French roll with a thick and crunchy crust. Tortas can be served hot or cold.

This sandwich would fall into the “soft” bread category and by the time I got it plated, photographed and with both cold and warm items assembled, was served at room temperature.

An easy fix:

For the filling:

  • 1/2 sweet onion
  • 1 can black beans, half drained
  • 1 link good quality chorizo sausage
  • 1 t. cumin
  • 2 T. olive oil

In a fry pan, add the olive oil and when hot add chopped onion and cook until tender. Add beans and cook for a few minutes slightly mashing as they warm. Remove casing and cut chorizo into chunks and add to the fry pan along with the cumin. 

For the bread, simply fine chop a fresh jalapeno, grate some cheddar cheese on top of the telera and broil briefly until cheese is melted.

To build the sandwich, simply smear the bottom bun with some Queso Fresco, or goat cheese, and layer on some sliced avocado. Top that with some coarsely chopped cilantro leaves. Add your mixture of black beans and chorizo. A squeeze of lime before you top with the cheesy lid and you’ve got a great sandwich. This large sandwich cut in half served two.

Served alongside some delicious super sweet fresh Colorado corn on the cob.

Black Bean and Chorizo Torta.

It’s What’s For Dinner.

Tacos al Pastor

July 31, 2010 at 10:25 pm | Posted in Mexican/Southwest | 40 Comments
Tags: , ,

It seems like Tacos al Pastor are everywhere lately…my favorite little taco joint here in Denver has them on the menu…Rick Bayless sent over a recipe via his newsletter…Food and Wine Magazine talked about them in their taco truck article…Gourmet Magazine referenced another Denver Mexican restaurant with Tacos al Pastor as a “must order”. So it seemed like this was a “must make” for me. 

I mean really, who can resist slow roasted pork slathered in a Mexican Red Sauce served on steamy corn tortillas topped with sweet grilled pineapple and carmelized onions.

Continue Reading Tacos al Pastor…

Next Page »

Blog at WordPress.com.
Entries and comments feeds.