All posts tagged: mexican

Pressure Cooker Mexican Pork Stew With Summer Vegetables

I learned about the “Three Sisters” – corn, squash, and beans – on my trip to Oaxaca earlier this year. These three crops were the basis of pre-Hispanic Mexican agriculture. They work together as they grow, providing nutrients, shelter, and protection to each other. More important, they are a balanced diet when they are eaten together. Of course, my thought was: “Squash, corn, beans…that sounds like my CSA box in August. I can use up zucchini in a Mexican meal?” Technically, Mexican squash are not the same thing as zucchini. But they are a close relative. Hey, any excuse to use up zucchini in August. Now, you might think, “A stew? In summer? I’ll save the hearty eating for the winter.” OK. OK. Wait. You can make this recipe in the middle of winter, with frozen corn, canned tomatoes, out of season green beans, and zucchini flown in from the southern hemisphere. And it will be good. But, trust me – you want to try this stew at the height of summer, with sweet corn, …

Pressure Cooker Tortilla Soup (Sopa de Tortilla)

What surprised me the most during my trip to Mexico? Soup. In Oaxaca, soup was everywhere. For breakfast, there was a pre-Hispanic era squash and corn soup. For lunch, barbacoa carts offered a cup of the broth with the tacos. Dinner at the market was my choice between lamb tacos, goat tacos…and my favorite, a bowl of chile-laced goat consommé, served with a platter of thin sliced vegetables. And, of course, there is the garlic soup we made at Seasons of My Heart cooking school, one of the best things I ate on the trip. There is one Mexican soup that has broken through in America – tortilla soup. Why? My guess: it is essentially chicken noodle soup. Just substitute fried tortilla strips for the noodles, add the flavors of salsa (now America’s favorite national condiment), and you’re done. The other reason? It is fantastic refrigerator Velcro. This recipe is the real deal version…but my other version is a weeknight “what can I do with this leftover chicken?” recipe. No pressure cooker? No worries. See …

Pressure Cooker Sopa De Ajo (Mexican Garlic Soup)

It’s Mexico week on DadCooksDinner. I spent five fantastic days at Seasons of My Heart cooking school in Oaxaca, Mexico. I’ll be sharing what I learned for months, but here’s the first batch of posts. I came back from my week at Seasons Of My Heart cooking school, stepped out of the Cleveland airport, and winter welcomed me home with a cold slap to the face. I needed Susana Trilling’s garlic soup. Sopa de ajo was a revelation. There isn’t much to it – chicken broth, a few spices, garlic, croutons, cheese cubes. But, oh, the flavors in that simple combination of garlic and broth. A whole chile de arbol, simmered with the soup and then discarded, adds a hint of warmth. Not enough to make me notice that the soup is spicy, but a nice touch in the background. Susana’s full version included sauteed squash blossoms – good luck finding them in the middle of a Northeastern Ohio winter – but I didn’t need them. The broth is exceptional without them. Technique matters, because this …

Guacamole Sauce (Salsa de Guacamole)

It’s Mexico week on DadCooksDinner. I spent five fantastic days at Seasons of My Heart cooking school in Oaxaca. I’ll be sharing what I learned for months, but here’s the first batch of posts. What was my first food discovery in Mexico? Guacamole. Yes, really. In Oaxaca, Guacamole is not the thick, chunky dip I am used to. My first day in Oaxaca, I went to lunch in the 20 de Noviembre market for the hall of Carne Asadas – an entire hall of grilled meat. (I was in heaven.) After choosing my meat and taking a seat, I ordered guacamole to go with my grilled beef and chorizo. What arrived with a bowl of thin sauce, the bright green color of ripe avocados, with a spoon floating on top. Was this the guacamole? Yes. Oaxacan guacamole is thin, ready to drizzle off of the spoon and onto my tacos. Much to my surprise, I preferred it to my usual, chunky guacamole. Saucy guacamole works better if it is meant to be a topping. It …

Grilled Skirt Steak Tacos with Jalapenos and Onions

When I can’t think of what to cook, my fallback position is tacos. That’s good, because today’s blog post feels like a fallback position. I just got back from vacation, and I’m hurrying to get a post finished. The pictures and recipe are from a month ago, sitting in my “to finish” pile, but this headnote is a rush job. Skirt steak makes great tacos, as long as you slice it thin, on the bias, and against the grain. (Don’t worry if that doesn’t make sense – I’ve got pictures below.) Technically, these are fajitas – fajita means skirt steak in Spanish – but I’m so used to the Tex-Mex definition including grilled green and bell peppers that I can’t bring myself to call them that. Tacos are best with fresh corn tortillas, from a local tortilleria or homemade. On a busy weeknights I cheat, and use store bought flour tortillas, wrapped in foil and warmed up on the grill. Don’t buy corn tortillas at your grocery store unless there is a lot of turnover. …

Grilled Mexican Short Rib Tacos with Poblanos, Onions, Pineapple, and Tomatillo Salsa

Why heat up a grill and only cook meat? I want to grill everything. EVERYTHING. Taco night is the perfect grilled meal, because I don’t have to turn on the stove. I found thin-cut short ribs at my local Mexican market. They are the same cut I use for Korean grilled ribs, but I went with a Mexican lime-garlic marinade. For the rest of the meal, I’m using recipes I’ve mentioned on the blog before, mainly to use up the veggies I got from my CSA box. I’m grilling tomatillo salsa, peppers and onions, and pineapple. *Even the tortillas are warmed up on the grill. I wrap the stack of flour tortillas in aluminum foil, then heat them while I grill everything else. My grill is big enough to handle all this food at once. If your grill is smaller, cook in two batches. Start with the vegetables and fruit; they take longer. The thin-cut short ribs cook through in about five minutes, so cook them as the second batch; while the ribs cook, make …

Spicy Jicama Sticks

Jicama reminds me of apples – it has the same crisp crunch, with a hint of a sweet taste. Think of a granny smith apple, but crunchier, milder, and less tart. I have eaten it a number of times, but I never had an opinion about it one way or the other. That is, until I had it as part of an appetizer at Frontera Grill in Chicago. Rick Bayless took a page from Mexican street vendors and sprinkled the jicama with a blend of chile powder and salt. The crunch and hint of sweet were enhanced by the spicy salt. Spicy jicama sticks are now my go-to party appetizer when I want to bring something interesting but healthy. The chile salt is best with guajillo chile powder (look at your local Mexican market), but ancho chile powder makes a decent substitute. Recipe: Spicy Jicama Sticks Adapted From: Rick Bayless Fiesta At Rick’s Cooking time: 10 minutes Ingredients 1 medium Jicama, about 1 pound 2 tablespoons guajillo powder (or ancho chile powder) 1 tablespoon fine …

Slow Cooker Mexican Shredded Pork with Dried Chile Pepper Sauce (Pork Deshebrada)

I’m a food geek. I get enthusiastic about recipes like yakitori chicken skewers, pressure cooker Pho Bo, and rotisserie duck with a pomegranate glaze. But what recipe do my friends and family love? Slow cooker shredded pork. That recipe has a lot of bang for the buck. Toss everything in the slow cooker, come back ten hours later, and you have shredded pork that would fit right in on a Mexican roadside taqueria. Little league baseball is back in season, and my nights are getting hectic. I’ve already made my slow cooker shredded pork a couple of times this season; it is time for something new. This is a riff on mole, the long simmered Mexican sauce. I’m using the slow cooker’s long cooking time to give me the advantages of a mole without all the work. The dried peppers soften in the slow cooker, along with some other aromatics, and I use the defatted pork juices as the liquid in the sauce. A quick whiz in the blender, and I have a complex, sweet, …

Grilled Guacamole with Sun Dried Tomatoes

It’s Super Bowl week! The Super Bowl is the fifth most important American food holiday. Time for recipes for your party! *Thanksgiving, Christmas, Forth of July, Memorial Day, Super Bowl. Actually, I think the Super Bowl has passed the Forth of July and Memorial Day, and moved up to #3, right behind Christmas… Guacamole is a Super Bowl* standby, but it has a couple of problems. The first is ripe avocados. Sometimes they are perfect; black on the outside, soft on the inside. Other times they’re not ready yet – green with black on the bumps, or even worse, an entirely green peel. Green avocado peel translates to rock hard. I solve the “not ready yet” problem by grilling the avocados. This softens them up and adds a smoky flavor to the guacamole. *I know I’m not supposed to use the copyrighted phrase “Super Bowl” if I haven’t paid licensing rights to the NFL. I’m supposed to use a euphemism like “the big game”. When their lawyers come to get me, you’ll know why. **Hopefully …

Pork Picadillo Tacos

Picadillo. I think this is where the travesty known as taco seasoning mix came from. Picadillo is common in Latin American cuisines; ground or finely minced meat, cooked with spices and tomato or tomato sauce, used to make a filling for tacos or to serve with rice. We took that and turned it into a filling for hard-shell tacos, a packet of spices to rip open and pour over ground beef. Now, taco seasoning mix is a travesty, but not because of the results. I fondly recall that seasoned ground beef mix of my youth.**Sitting there in the bottom of a taco shell, waiting. Waiting for that first bite. That first bite would shatter the taco shell and dump the greasy beef, cheese, tomatoes, and a few shreds of lettuce down my arm. Ah, memories. My gripe is with that 1.25 oz package of spices. I hate pre-made spice blends. I really hate calling this a spice blend at all. According to the package, the first three ingredients are yellow corn flour, salt, and maltodextrin. Starch, …

Grilled Mahi-Mahi Fish Tacos with Red Cabbage Slaw

I missed my one chance at San Diego’s famous fish tacos. Back when I was a fledgling food fanatic, I made my lone visit to San Diego. I didn’t know there was such a thing as a fish taco. That is, until I got home. Then, every magazine I read for the next year had an article about the glories of fish tacos. Doh! I had to learn to make them myself, to find out what I had missed. Nowadays, instead of the traditional fried version, I grill my fish tacos. Mahi-mahi is my fish of choice. It is sustainable (according to Seafood Watch), easy to find in my local stores, and relatively inexpensive. Mahi-mahi is a firm fleshed white fish with a neutral taste; it works well as a carrier for spice rubs, and the firm flesh does not disintegrate when I flip it on the grill. Mahi-mahi’s neutral taste (read: bland) needs some help. I like my meal to have some punch, so I rub the fish with spices, including chipotle chile powder …

Slow Cooker Mexican Shredded Pork (Pork Tinga)

Pork shoulder and slow cookers were made for each other. Slow cookers try to overcook everything; most meat dries out during the long cooking time. Pork shoulder gets better the longer it is cooked; it needs long, slow cooking to melt all the fat and connective tissue it holds. Properly cooked pork shoulder is juicy, and shreds at the touch of a fork. It is the perfect cut for stews, braises, barbecue, and today’s recipe, slow cooker Mexican shredded pork. Shredded pork is a great weeknight dinner. I start it in the morning (on low heat) or at lunchtime (on high heat), and come dinnertime I have a roast that is tender and ready to be pulled apart. I use the shredded pork for taco night, and then I get creative with the leftovers. I’ve used it in soups and topped it with cornbread to make tamale pie. But, I usually serve it in cheap white hamburger buns. If I want Tex-Mex sandwiches, I top the pork with salsa and shredded cheese; If I want …

Pork Tenderloin with Tomatillo Salsa and White Beans

In Rick Bayless’s Salsas That Cook, there is a Sunday dinner worthy recipe for roast pork loin simmered in a tomatillo salsa and white bean sauce. The flavors are a revelation; the meaty pork loin, spicy tomatillo salsa, and creamy white beans are a brilliant combination. I love that recipe, but I never make it anymore. My adapted version is this quick weeknight recipe. Instead of long-cooking pork loin, I use pork tenderloin. The tomatillo salsa and white beans make a quick pan sauce, and the whole thing finishes in the oven. When I’m prepared, and my freezer is stocked, this is a homemade recipe. I’ll have homemade tomatillo salsa and beans in the freezer. When my stock of homemade ingredients is dwindling, canned beans and store bought tomatillo salsa* come to the rescue. Either way, this is a remarkably easy recipe – brown the pork, dump the can of salsa and the drained beans, heat through, and it is ready to eat. *My preference is for Rick’s Frontera Tomatillo Salsa, out of loyalty to the original …