Not Fried Chilaquiles

As a hispanic person in America, I often have to explain to people that I’m not Mexican.  People just assume we’re all Mexican and that all our food is the same.  It’s not.  That’s cool.

Growing up I didn’t really eat Mexican food.  Now that I’m marrying a Mexican, I’ve eaten my fair share of Mexican food (and I’m not talking about burritos and carne asada fries).  So this brings me to chilaquiles.

Last year, Jesse and I went to Guadalajara to hang out with his family for a few days.  That’s where I first tried chilaquiles (you’re probably wondering how I grew up in Southern California and never ate chilaquiles, right? I have no idea).

I had them in a market in Guanajuato for breakfast and roughly 3 hours later, I threw them up at a gas station.  All sorts of cute, right?

Needless to say, chilaquiles did not leave a good impression on me.  I think those ones were just super greasy and I was sick.  It was not a good combination, and I sort of decided I didn’t need to eat chilaquiles again.

But recently, Jesse has been talking about chilaquiles (side note: this is what Jesse does. He gets really excited about making certain dishes until he finally does).  He swore to make the most delicious chilaquiles without all the oil (because usually the tortillas are fried).  So I said why not?

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They were delicious and best of all, I didn’t puke them up.  (I’m really selling chilaquiles over here).  I liked them so much that he made them again so I could blog about them.

So if you’re looking for a fun, lightened up weekend brunch that is pretty simple (and natural! no canned things!), here’s your go to:

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Not Fried Chilaquiles

6-8 corn tortilla
3 Tomatoes
1 Serrano Pepper
3 Chiles de Arbol
2 Cloves of Garlic
Salt to Taste
1 1/2 tablespoons corn/vegetable oil
2 Eggs
Queso Fresco
Diced Onion
Chopped Cilantro
Sour Cream

Preheat oven to 300F.  Slice tortillas into strips.

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Place on a rack on top of a baking sheet and bake about 20 minutes or until crispytortillas2tortillas3

In the meantime, make your chilaquiles sauce.  Boil 3 tomatoes with 1 serrano pepper and 3 chiles de arbol in enough water to cover tomatoes.

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Boil until soft (about 15 minutes).  Next blend together tomatoes, serrano pepper, chiles and garlic until smooth with 1/2 cup of boiling liquid (discard rest of liquid).  In the sauce pan that you used to boil the ingredients, heat one tablespoon of oil.  Once hot, carefully pour in the sauce. Let it cook a bit longer until ready to use.  At this point, add salt to taste.

Now you can start to assemble.  In a pan, heat 1/2 tablespoon of oil.  Add crispy tortillas and toss them.  Then crack in two eggs and scramble them around the tortillas.

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Once the egg is cooked, pour the sauce on top of the tortillas and serve.

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Top with fresh chopped onion and cilantro, queso fresco and a dollop of sour cream.  Serve with beans if you’d like.

This is enough to feed 2 people a good amount.

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A note about spiciness: I like spicy, but not too much.  To accommodate my tastes, Jesse only used half the serrano pepper.  You can also discard the seeds from the serrano pepper and chile de arbol to make it less spicy.  For more heat, add a few more chiles de arbol.

Make chilaquiles! You’ll like them!

What’s your favorite Mexican breakfast dish? I’m a big fan of eggs and beans.  This is probably why I had never tried chilaquiles.

 

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How to Roast Hatch Chiles

If there’s one thing you learn while growing up in a latino household, it’s how to roast chiles.

Roasting chiles is common, not just in Mexican cooking but also in Guatemalan.  A lot of traditional dishes (like pepian!) include roasted or grilled tomatoes, red peppers and onions.  Our salsa even includes grilled tomatoes.  It’s amazing.  It helps the chiles release all the flavors, and is surprisingly quick and easy.

Remember a while back, Melissa’s Produce sent me one of their produce boxes to try out and with it I made some lettuce wrap burgers?  Well, they were also kind enough to send me an enormous box of hatch chiles (they also have a cool looking Hatch Chile Cookbook in case that interests you.  I haven’t seen it but I like the idea of lots of chiles!.

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I’m going to be honest.  I had never eaten a hatch chile before, but I was up to the challenge of experimenting with them.  I’ve seen hatch chiles a lot on the blogosphere lately, so clearly they’re becoming more common.  But since I had never tried them, I did a bit of research.

Hatch Chiles are from New Mexico.  This is exciting because I just started watching Breaking Bad and all of a sudden New Mexico is the coolest (err most intense?) place in America.  Clearly, I was excited to give these a try.

One of the first things to do before enjoying these chiles is to roast them.  While roasting is not necessarily required (aka you won’t die if you eat it raw), roasting helps them taste amazing, so why not give it a try?

If you’ve never roasted a chile before (and you can do this with any type of chile: poblano, bell pepper, anaheim, etc), here’s a bit of a step by step on how.

How to Roast Hatch Chiles

Put them in a pan without any oil.  Turn the heat on to high.  Let them hang out there for a few minutes.  Once they start to blister, rotate them and let them sit a little longer.  Now it is a good idea to turn on your hood fan if you have one, or open all your windows and potentially turn off your smoke alarm because these babies smoke…

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Ha! That meme makes me laugh.  Once you got them good and blackened all around, you’re ready to move on.  Also FYI, you can do this on the grill outside to avoid the smoke and smell (even though I think it smells great.  Embrace the chile.) The idea is just to blacken them all around so the skin is practically falling off, like so:

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Put them in a plastic bag and close it up.

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I know.  That’s a little ghetto.  But if you live in a latino household you know that plastic bags are the way to go.  (Note: they’re also a great way to steam tamales and keep tortillas warm… clearly we’re not worried about chemicals because everyone does it.  BPA who?)

But if you’re worried about hot plastic, use a brown paper bag.  The idea is to let the peppers sweat so the skin comes off easily.  Let them chill in the bag for about 15 minutes or until they’re cool enough to handle.

Then, take them out of the bag and peel.  The skin will come off easily.  Slice them in half, remove the tops and scrape out the seeds with a spoon and discard.  I recommend using gloves for this.  I didn’t and my hands were burning the rest of the night (granted I roasted and peeled about 30 chiles so I wasn’t messing around).

Once your chiles are peeled and seeded, they are ready to use!

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At this point, you can store them in the fridge or freezer in an airtight container until you’re ready to use them.  Or you can heat up some tortillas and queso fresco and enjoy right away!

hatch chile and panela

Confession: Jesse and I had this for dinner twice.

Seriously.  Tortilla + Roasted Hatch Chile + Queso Fresco + Avocado and a bit of salt.  Delicious.

Hatch chiles are a good spice level for me.  Less spicy than a jalapeno (with the seeds removed) but full of flavor! If you’re worried about the spice level, mixing them with cheese, cream or sour cream will help bring down the heat level.

I have a few more recipes to come using Hatch Chiles.  I can’t wait to 1. take pics and tell you about it and 2. eat the delicousness that is to come.  Stay tuned for the goodness!

Have you tried Hatch Chiles before?  What’s your favorite way to enjoy them?

Spicy Black Bean and Kale Grilled Cheese

So a few weeks ago I told you about how Green Mountain Mustard sent me some of their mustard for me to try.  I originally proposed to make a grilled cheese sandwich and then stumbled upon the epic idea that became my German Nachos(ish).  But ever since, I’ve been thinking about how delicious their mustard is, because really it is, and how I NEED to make a grilled cheese with it.  But not just any grilled cheese, an amazing one and so I finally did.

Yesterday, all I could think about was grilled cheese, and since it was Meatless Monday, why not make something epically delicious to show the world how wonderful meatless can be.

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I mean. Can we take a minute and observe the cheesy goodness?

 

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Now I’m going to have to come clean with you.  I probably ate this in about 3 minutes.  I didn’t have a stop watch, but before I knew it, it was gone.  I think that’s a good sign.  Then my mouth was a little bit on fire, because this mustard is straight up PICANTE.  If you’re a fan of spice, you’re going to love this.  If spicy isn’t your thing, it’s cool.  We can still be friends, use regular mustard, or skip it.

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Spicy Black Bean and Kale Grilled Cheese

1 tbsp onion, finely chopped
1 tbsp red bell pepper, finely chopped
1/2 tbsp cilantro finely chopped
1 kale leaf, veined and chopped
1/3 cup black beans, cooked

1/4 tsp cumin
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 tbsp butter, softened
2 slices of whole wheat bread*
1 tbsp Barn Burner, Red Habanero Mustard

2 slices sharp white cheddar

Grease small skillet and turn on to medium heat.  Add onion, bell pepper, and kale.  Sautee a few minutes until soft.  Add black beans, cilantro, cumin and salt and pepper.  Cook a few minutes then transfer to plate.  Using a fork, mash beans lighly and set aside.

 

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(Note: I didn’t fit all of this in the sandwich so I just ate it on it’s own and it’s delicious. The end.)

Spread bread with butter and turn over then spread with mustard.  Lay 1 slice of cheese on each side (on the mustard side, since you’ll be grilling the buttered side).  Spread one side with black bean mixture and put the sandwich together.

Place sandwich on griddle heated to low.  Cook a few minutes until golden, flip and cook a few more minutes until golden and cheese is melted.  Remember when it comes to grilled cheese, slow and steady wins the race.  In case you forgot here are my tips for fabulous grilled cheese.

 

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Serve immediately and slice if desired.

*Note: I got my bread at Black Market Bakery. If you’re in OC, try it! Amazingly delicious, fluffy and fresh! Also free of preservatives!

This combo was amazingly delicious.  Obviously I’m biased, because I LOOOOOVE black beans, but you should definitely give this a shot.  I think this would be even more amazing dipped into sour cream, because who doesn’t love dipping sandwiches in sauces?

Please also note that if you decided to add bacon and avocado to this, I wouldn’t judge you.

If I could, I would invite you all over for this spicy black bean grilled cheese, but since we’re far away, make it and tell me if you love it.  How does that sound?

What’s your favorite grilled cheese combo?

Chipotle Fish Tacos

Cinco de Mayo just happened.  You’re probably tired of Mexican food, but let’s be honest Corona and Guacamole don’t really qualify as Mexican food.  That doesn’t really qualify as food.  That’s a snack.

And it’s Tuesday.  Taco Tuesday.  How about some tacos?

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Trust me.  You need these tacos in your life.

I remember the first time I ate these tacos.  Jesse made them for me, pretty early on in our relationship, and I was skeptical.  But I swear it was love at first bite.  I’m talking about the tacos here.

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Ever since that first time, I’ve probably had them a dozen times with a million variations: shrimp, chicken, etc.

But these are the best.

Chipotle Fish Tacos

3 pieces of tilapia, cut into small pieces
1/2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 an onion, diced
1-2 chipotle peppers in adobo, chopped
1/4 cup cilantro
Juice of 1/2 lime
salt and pepper
1-2 cups cabbage, thinly sliced
1 diced tomato
1/4 cup mayo
1 tbsp sriracha*
a few lime wedges
1 avocado sliced
6 tortillas

Heat oil in the pan.  Add 1/4 of onion (so you’ll have 1/4 of onion left for putting on the tacos) and cook for a few mins.   Add fish and chipotle (depending on how hot you want it use 1-2 or more, for less spice just use the adobo sauce, not the chile itself), cook for a few minutes until fish is no longer translucent.  Stir in juice of 1/2 lime, about a tablespoon of cilantro and season with salt and pepper.  Set aside.

taco ingredients2

Stir together sriracha and mayo.  Thin out with some lime juice or water.  Depending on how spicy you like it, the ratio of sriracha to mayo  might be different for you.  Add a bit, try it and add more if you’d like.

Now you can start assembling your tacos (this recipe will make about 6 tacos).  Heat up your tortillas.  Start by laying some fish in the center.

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Then you add your ingredients of choice.  We like to have it all on a plate at the table and assemble as we go.

taco ingredients

Lay on the cabbage, tomato, onion, cilantro and avocado.

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Then drizzle with sriracha mayo.  Squirt with a wedge of lime and devour.

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That’s exactly what I do.  I devour these, because they’re amazing.

Happy Taco Tuesday!  What’s your favorite kind of taco?

I love fish tacos, but I think shrimp tacos are my favorite.

Moving Myself

My former (but quited beloved) roommate, Christina, would always say “I’m going to go move myself” before going to the gym.  So in the spirit of missing her… today I moved myself and it was great!

I came home from work, had a snack:

2 egg white and a banana that for some reason look like they’re smiling at me.  Don’t you think?

Then I headed over to Nancy’s, and we walked to the river for a nice jog along the water.  The weather was perfect.  We didn’t go too fast, and I was pretty pleased with life.  After our lovely jog in the perfect 65F Roman sunshine, I headed to the dark dungeon that is my gym.  I’m not sure I mentioned this before, but my gym is in a basement, which is no fun.  It usually sticky and humid down there, probably because there’s no ventilation and tons of people sweating in close quarters.  Not cute.

Per usual, I was a sweaty mess there for a while.  But hey, at least I moved myself a little bit.

Then dinner:

Who says healthy has to be boring?

Certainly not my Palak Chana (Spinach and Garbanzo bean) Masala with Chicken on rice with green beans.  Basically chana masala with spinach and chicken added.

Ready for a recipe?  It’s been a while since I’ve had one of those:

Palak Chana Masala

adapted from Manjula’s Kitchen

1-3 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp cumin
2 tbsp flour
1 tbsp fresh ginger, finely chopped
1 can of tomato puree
4 tsp coriander
1 tsp turmeric
1/2-1 tsp chili powder
1 cup water
1-2 cans of garbanzo beans, rinsed (I used one since I added chicken)
few handfuls of spinach
1/2 tsp garam masala
3 grilled chicken breasts, sliced (optional, I actually used less)

Heat the oil in a pot.  Once the oil is hot, add cumin and flour and stir and cook for 1 minute.   Add ginger and tomato puree and stir.  Add the remaining spices (except garam masala) and stir.  Add the garbanzo beans, water and spinach (and chicken if you want to use it), cover and simmer on low for about 10 minutes.  Lastly stir in the garam masala!

Serve with rice and/or vegetable of choice and a dollop of greek yogurt!

Serves 4-6.

Vegetabley mess, just how I like it!

Well, I should probably go do some exit project editing, but let’s be honest, I’ll probably watch an episode of my new (to me) obsession… Alias.

Goodnight!