Category Archives: Mexican Food

Coconut-Lime Fish Tacos

This special-occasion dish beats all the fish tacos in town we have tried.  The toppings and tortillas can be prepared 1 day ahead.

Coconut-Lime Fish Tacos with Chipotle Dressing

The components of this dish are grouped into 3 categories:

1.  Lime-cilantro slaw:

1 c. thinly sliced cabbage

1/4 c. thinly sliced red onion

zest of 1 lime

juice of 2 limes

2 tbsp. diced cilantro

salt and pepper

2.  Chipotle dressing:

1/2 c. sour cream (cultured organic best!)

2 tsp. adobo sauce from can of chipotles

1 chipotle pepper, finely diced

1 tbsp. diced cilantro

1 tbsp. diced chive or green onion

squeeze of lime juice

salt and pepper

3.  Crispy Breadcrumb Coating:

4 wild-caught white fish fillets, such as tilapia or mahi, sliced into 2 oz. sticks (abt. 4 pcs. per fillet)

1 c. panko breadcrumbs, or homemade breadcrumbs

1/3 c. desiccated coconut (dried, no preservatives)

zest of 1 lime

salt and pepper

flour or arrowroot powder for dredging

1 egg, lightly beaten.

Lard, ghee, butter or coconut oil for frying – about 1 inch’s worth.

15-20 tortillas

1/4 c. Roasted Chipotle Salsa, optional

First, prepare the slaw so that it has a chance to marinate in it’s lime-juicy goodness.  Combine above ingredients and allow to sit at room temperature about 1 hour or overnight in fridge.

Next, prepare the chipotle dressing by combining the ingredients above and reserve in fridge.

Last, make a dredging station.  Get out 4 plates.  On one plate, place cut fish pieces.  On another, have arrowroot or flour for dredging.  On the next, combine the breadcrumbs, lime zest, and coconut.  On the last pour in your beaten egg.  Salt and pepper each plate (layer).  Heat oil over high heat, then reduce heat to medium-high.  Do not let it smoke (370-ish).  Use a candy thermometer to be exact.  Dredge fish in arrowroot, then egg, then breadcrumb mix.  Reserve on original plate until oil is hot enough.  Add pieces, 2-3 at a time, and fry until golden brown, then flip, totaling about 4 minutes per piece.  Reserve on wire rack until ready to serve or place in warm oven.

Heat or cook tortillas while frying.

To assemble a taco, place about 1 tsp. chipotle dressing in middle of taco.  Place fish on top, then top with about 2 tbsp. slaw.  If you like and for a more spicy experience, top with 2 tsp. roasted chipotle salsa.  Enjoy!!

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Mexican Chilli

Make this chilli convenient by using whatever meat, stock, and beans you have on hand.

Mami’s Mexican Chilli

1 large onion, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped
3 tbsp. butter
1 tbsp. chili ancho powder (add more if you like spicy!)
20 oz. fire-roasted tomatoes tomatoes with juice, pureed if you don’t like chunky-style
3 c. un-rinsed homemade beans*

optional:  cheddar cheese and chives or green onions for garnish

salt and pepper to taste

—————————————————————————————

Choose between:

2 c. chicken broth //2 c. beef broth
2 cups shredded or chopped chicken or turkey//1 to 1-1/2 lbs. ground beef

Heat rimmed skillet to med-high and melt butter.  Add onion and sautee on medium until translucent.  Add ground beef, if using.  Add ancho powder, tomatoes, chopped bell pepper, beans, stock, and chicken or turkey.  Simmer on low heat for 20 minutes or until flavors combine and chilli thickens.  Add salt to taste.  Serve with grated cheddar cheese on top and some chives for garnish.

Cook’s Notes:

*If using canned beans, be sure to rinse first.

Credit – recipe adapted from Hartman family blog.

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Homemade Beans

These beans are full of flavor and freeze easily.

1 lb. dry **black beans

2 tbsp. whey

2 quarts water

Soak this mixture overnight.

In the morning:

Add above to a pot and bring to a boil.  Skim the foam from the top when it boils.  Add:

1 roughly chopped white onion

4 cloves garlic, smashed and peels removed

2 tbsp. salt

Cook about 2 hours, or until beans are tender.  Add more salt to taste.

**Variation:  To make pinto or white beans, follow recipe exactly as above, but omit whey in the soaking.  Pinto beans taste even better with fire-roasted tomatoes mixed in after cooking.

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Michelle’s Rice and Beans

1/2 c. homemade black beans

1/2 c. cooked brown rice

1 tbsp. chopped cilantro

1 tsp. chopped chives

Combine ingredients while hot in a bowl.  Serve with glass of milk.

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All About Beans

Beans and rice are 2 of the most frugal, versatile staples in the dry goods pantry.  Everybody has a version because they have been around forever and were accessible to all.   Millions of healthy children have been nourished by this simple fare for generations.  In many cases the working classes did not have the money to eat meat, so beans, bone broths, and other plant foods stood in their place.  I imagine that this was one of the foods that the kids would wince and say, “Maaam, beans again?!”  One way to avoid this is to serve different kinds of beans.  You could serve pinto beans in a soup on Monday, and then re-fry them for Wednesday’s lunch, and then make black beans on Thursday, etc.  If you want to go Italian or American, try white navy beans or kidney beans and prepare chillies and soups that way.

These are our favorite combinations:

White beans:  In Italian salads and soups, in chilli, also use as puree in sneaky recipes.

Black beans:  Black bean soup, in Mexican chilli (with chile ancho powder, yum), refried in manteca with onion as side dish, in salads with salsa-ranch and corn, in bean dip, enfrijoladas (tortillas dipped in pureed beans topped with chicken and cheese), rice and beans.

Pinto beans:  Prepared as side dish/soup with pureed fire roasted tomatoes.  Refried with onion as a side dish.

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Mexican Pot Roast – Crock Pot

2 lbs. lean grass-fed steak (economy cut) brought to room temperature

2 bakers potatoes, peeled and cut in large pieces

6-8 carrots, thick chop

2 large sprigs fresh thyme

2 tbsp. chilli ancho powder (this barely spicy, don’t worry)

(1) 14 oz. can fire roasted tomatoes and juice, pureed

1 tbsp. salt

4 c. homemade beef broth (or combination broth and water)

1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

1 white onion, chopped in slices

4 cloves of garlic, diced

4 tbsp. butter

1.  Salt and pepper both sides of steak.  Preheat skillet to high and melt butter.

2.  Place steak in hot skillet and turn heat to medium.  Sear until brown, about 4 minutes, flip and repeat.  Leave skillet on medium heat.  Place steak at bottom of crock pot.

3.  Sautee onion to a golden brown, about 8 minutes.  At 8 minutes, add garlic.  Cook 2-3 minutes, add to pot.

4.  Add to crock pot potatoes, carrots, thyme, tomatoes, ancho powder, salt and pepper.  Last add the broth and/or water.  Add only enough to reach the level of the veggies.  If you add more, it will yield more soupy results than stew.

5.  Cover and cook on high 1 hour, then cook 4-6 on low.  Really you can leave it up to 8 hours on low.  That’s the beauty of the crock pot!

Enjoy with fresh bread or rolls, or serve with tortillas and roasted salsa.

Cook’s Notes:

Grass-fed beef, all though superior in taste, is a bit tougher than factory meat.  For this reason it is important to cook it only when it’s come to room temperature, as not to shock it in a hot pan and make it tougher.  Also low and slow is perfect for grass-fed.  The stronger flavors (tomato, onion, chile) are a great combo for first-time grass-fed eaters.

Fire-roasted tomatoes add a wonderful flavor to any dish and are very affordable on amazon.com’s Subscribe and Save.

Store leftovers in fridge or freeze 1 c. portions for quick lunches.

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Empanadas

All of you can tell when my budget for food is run out when I start making Mexican food. It’s delicious and very economical. We usually eat about 1/2 Mexican food and 1/2 “other” food – which ends up being mostly Italian and some American. That way I can splurge on some great meals (a great cheese and super-quality marinara, for example) and balance them out with cheaper meals (tostadas or empanadas, for example).

EmpanadaEmpanadas (serves 3-4)

This recipe requires that you work with maseca.  It’s what I make all my tortillas from since the HEB on DeZavala stopped making corn tortillas.  I must admit, I’ve worked with Maseca and masa (the dough that is made by mixing Maseca with water) quite a bit.  This recipe is probably not for Maseca beginners.  I would say that tortilla-making is for beginners, and if you have that down, you’ll be fine.  If any of you would be interesting in learning how to make corn tortillas (gluten-free!) leave a comment.

Ingredients:

Abt. 2 c. Maseca and 2c. water, enough to make soft, not sticky, dough (masa)

3 ” of oil for frying (lard would be the traditional choice, but that white brick found in the baking aisle is NOT lard!)

Fillings:  Ham, turkey, ground beef (picadillo) chicken, mozzarella or other delicious melting cheese.

I used:

1/2 lb. deli ham, chopped in ribbons and 3/4 c. chopped queso oaxaca (fresh melting cheese much like                                   mozzarella)

1/4. cup roasted red salsa (any salsa will suffice)

1/4 c. creme fraiche or crema mexicana

1/4 c. queso anejo or fresco (optional)

Heat oil on med. high until very hot, test oil by adding small ball of masa to it.  If it fries up without jumping out of the pan and making a loud pop (too hot) it’s ready.  The empanadas should fry up in about 4 minutes, 2 per side, otherwise your oil’s not hot enough and you’ll get a chewy one.

Take a large ball of masa (3″) and press it in your *tortilla press (lined with plastic).  Add 1 tbsp. cheese, and 1 tsp. ham.  Close tightly by folding plastic in half and pushing down.  If you want to get really fancy, take one side of the plastic down and press seam with a fork or cut in a wavy shape with a small paring knife.  Add to hot oil.  Flip after 2 mintues.  When ready, both sides should be dark golden brown (these will be crispy).  Using tongs, remove from oil, allowing to drain excess oil back into pan, and place on a layed of paper towels to drain.  If making for a large crowd, heat oven to warm setting and place directly on rack in oven to keep warm.  (Warning – If left too long this takes away from crispiness.)  Repeat until desired quantity reached.

Plate topped with salsa, crema, and additional cheese.  Serve green salad alongside.

*I have an extra tortilla press if anyone wants it!  It’s only for beginners, though.

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