Tag Archives: Mexican

moist individual spiced chocolate cakes

chocolate and cinnamon

The seared duck dinner we made for Valentine’s Day was a bit more involved than usual for a weeknight for us (especially after a full day at work and then going to the gym), so I wanted to make a pretty simple dessert.  The good news is that there are a ton of recipes out there for indulgent, decadent chocolate cakes that are really easy to make.

chocolate and cinnamon

I already had plans to make something along the lines of individual chocolate desserts of some kind and then when we were on the chocolate tour at the Taza chocolate factory, I snagged a card with a recipe for molten spiced chocolate cakes.  It was perfect timing.

spices in spiced chocolate cake

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guacamole

It seems to me that almost every conversation about guacamole has at least one or two people claim that they make the best guacamole ever.  I mean, the thing about guacamole is that it is always pretty darn delicious.  But, not to toot my own horn or anything, I’ve had several people try my guacamole and proclaim that even though they thought they made a pretty mean guacamole, mine was even better than theirs.  Ok, I know, I am tooting my own horn.

avocado, lime, jalapeno, cilantro, tomatoes

de-seeding tomatoes

I think the thing that makes my guacamole so good is that I try it out as I go along and add more of things as I see fit. I had never, ever measured quantities until last night when I made this.  But the thing is that avocados seem to have this neutralizing power.  You can put a whole lot of jalapeño in there and barely get any spice.  So I will often try the guacamole and decide that it needs more garlic, more cilantro, more jalapeño, and more salt.  It always needs more salt than I think it will and the heat level of peppers can really vary.  So I add more stuff in and then try it again.  I know, it’s lot to ask to keep trying the guacamole.  But it’s in your best interest in the long run, so soldier up and grab a chip (or two, or three, or four, or…).

guacamole ingredients

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chipotle chilaquiles

chilaquiles

We concluded our week of Rick Bayless recipes with the recipe that first introduced us to the genius of Rick Bayless: chipotle chilaquiles.  I didn’t even know what chilaquiles were until we went to dinner with our friends, Christina and Adam, about a year ago.  They made served us this spectacular green stuff unlike anything that I had ever had before that I just loved: chilaquiles.  I begged for the recipe and Christina replied that it was ridiculously easy.  You basically take a jar of salsa (they had used salsa verde) and cook it with some tortilla chips.  It couldn’t be any easier and it was so tasty!

chipotle peppers, tomatos, garlic, onions

I googled chilaquiles when we got home and we decided that we could try making the sauce ourselves.  We were already aware of and really liked Rick Bayless from Top Chef Masters and when I saw his recipe on foodandwine.com, I figured, hey why not?  Little did I know the impact it would have.  We loved it so much that we began to make it nearly weekly.  Then we bought his cookbook, Everyday Mexican, and began cooking our way through it.

tortilla chips

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creamy corn soup with ham and roasted poblanos

creamy corn soup with ham and roasted poblanos

The next recipe in the lineup from our week-long celebration of Rick Bayless is a wonderful, creamy corn soup.  In the recipe, Bayless says that you can use either chicken or ham and ham just seemed like an obvious choice to me.  Of course chicken would work wonderfully, but I really liked the idea of some yummy, well-seasoned ham with the mellower corn flavor.

fire roasted poblano

My favorite part of this soup, however, is not the ham, it’s the poblano chile.  It gives the soup a lovely mild spice that hits at the back of your tongue.  You roast the chile first, giving it a smoky kick. Spice-phobes need not be afraid – it has a very mild kick.

cubed ham

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smoky chipotle salsa with pan-roasted tomatillos

chipotle salsa

I LOVE this salsa.  It’s amazing how 4 little ingredients make something so good.  The chipotle chiles give it a smokiness, the tomatillo lends it some tang, and then the roasted garlic…well, it’s roasted garlic!!  Fantastic.  I poured it all over my red chile chicken and rice with black beans, it would be great over eggs, with chips, in a burrito, really, with just about anything.

tomatillos

sliced tomatillo

Not only is it delicious, but it’s really easy to make.  Just husk the tomatillos, cut them in half and throw them in a skillet with the garlic to brown on both sides.  You don’t even need to mince the garlic!  Then you just throw it all in a blender with a couple chipotle peppers, whirl it around, toss in some salt, pour it in a bowl and you’re good to go! Continue reading


red chile chicken and rice with black beans

For as long as I can remember, black beans and rice has been one of my favorite dishes.  I went to this awesome bilingual daycare in DC when I was really little and every Friday we got black beans and rice.  I lived for those black beans and rice….

When I was 19, I spent a couple months living with a host family in Honduras while volunteering with Amigos de las Americas and we often got beans and rice for dinner, but they were never mixed together.  My host mom watched in amazement as I excitedly stirred them together on my plate.  After a few weeks I no longer had black beans on my plate.  When I asked, I was told there were none left, they were out of season. I didn’t know that could happen! I was devastated.  But then a couple of days before I left, my host mom served me lunch with a huge grin on her face.  She had gotten some black beans and had already mixed them in with the rice for me. I ate those rice and beans with every meal until I headed back to the States a couple days later.

sautéing rice onion and spices

Once I was cooking on my own for the first time, black beans and rice became a staple for me.  When I was in college, I would cook up a huge pot of black beans and rice and eat it all week long, adding in another veggie or two every couple of days to make it a little different.  It was cheap, it was healthy, it was easy, and I loved it.

ancho powder

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chipotle shrimp

chipotle shrimp on rice

This is a Rick Bayless week for us.  On Sunday we sat down to figure out what we wanted to make for the week before heading to the grocery and we surrounded ourselves with a bunch of cookbooks. Somehow every single recipe we decided on ended up being from Bayless.  I guess because it’s been freezing cold and snowy here in Boston and some nice hot, spicy food just sounds really appealing, not to mention the fact that we haven’t made a Rick Bayless recipe that we haven’t loved.

wild maine shrimp

While I had seen this shrimp recipe (and drooled over the succulent shrimp in the picture), it didn’t make our list and I forgot all about it.  But when we got to the store and saw that they had a great deal on wild Maine shrimp, we couldn’t pass it up, though we didn’t have any plans for it.  When Joseph picked me up from work on Monday, he said he already had a plan for the shrimp and we already had all of the ingredients.  He had found the recipe in Everyday Mexican and it just so happened to be the very recipe for the picture that I had been drooling over the night before.  It was meant to be!  That’s my husband — knowing what I want even when I’ve already forgotten all about it!

chipotle in adobo, cilantro, garlic, and broth

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chicken a la veracruzana

Joseph is on this great kick where he’s trying all these slow cooker recipes from Rick Bayless’ Mexican Everyday.  It’s wonderful.  Slow cookers are great because you just throw stuff in the slow cooker and then several hours later you open it up and there’s your meal, hot and succulent, just waiting to be ladled and eaten up.  I think it would be great on a snowy day.  Just imagine going out to play in the snow and this spicy dish welcoming you home to a warm kitchen.

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Chicken in Escabeche of Caramelized Onions, Carrots, and Jalapeños

My main contribution for this dish was eating it.  Yes, that’s right, Joseph did all the work and I came along, snapped some photos, ate it up, and now I’m writing it up here like I have some ownership of it.  That’s what marriage is for, right?

The recipe comes from Rick Bayless’ Mexican Everyday.  We fell in love with Rick on Season One of Top Chef Masters. My love wavered briefly when Joseph, who was reading The United States of Arugula, told me that that Bayless had received lots of criticism for selling out to Burger King by appearing in a commercial endorsing the low-calorie Santa Fe Fire Grilled Chicken Baguette Sandwich.  I was back to being a fan when Jessica and Adam, my sister and brother-in-law, went to one of his Chicago restaurants and Jessica got an awesome photo of Adam with Rick.  Well, It’s a picture of Adam and Rick is in the background, but it’s a really nice photo and they said the food was amazing.  And I believe it because I’ve loved every recipe of his that we’ve made. I’ll have to tell you about his chilaquiles recipe some time….

carrots onion garlic

My favorite part of the chicken in escabeche were the big chunks of garlic that are sweetened from the simmering and get a kick from the jalapeños.  The carrots and onions are also nicely transformed by the sauce and the chicken was juicy and perfectly seasoned.  Serve over some rice and you’ve got a tangy, deeply satisfying meal.  Be forewarned that leftovers are delicious (and surprisingly moist because of all the broth you’ll put in with it) but pack more of a wallop since the jalapenos have had more time to infuse the food.  According to Rick, it can be served cold or hot, but so far we’ve only had it hot.

We served it with a crisp, bright Spanish Albariño from Burgans Winery.


chicken and albarino

Chicken in Tangy Escabeche of Caramelized Onions, Carrots, and Jalapeños
Adapted from Rick Bayless

Serves 4

1 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
2 teaspoons dried oregano
salt
4 (2 lbs total) chicken breast halves, bones and skin intact
2 tablespoons vegetable or olive oil
1 large white onion, cut into 1/4 inch slices
2 large leftover carrots, sliced 1/4 inch on a diagonal
4 garlic cloves, peeled and halved
1/4 cup cider vinegar
2 to 4 canned pickled jalapeños, stemmed, seeded, and thinly sliced
1 cup chicken broth

  1. Combine pepper, allspice, oregano, and 1 teaspoon salt.  Sprinkle half of the mixture over the chicken reserving the rest for step #4.
  2. Heat the oil in a large (at least 12 inch) skillet over medium heat.  Place the chicken, skin side down, and cook, turning once, until browned (3-4 minutes on each side).  Remove from heat and place the chicken on a plate, leaving as much oil as possible in the pan.  Don’t worry, you’ll finish cooking it in step #4.
  3. Add the onions and carrots to the skillet and cook, stirring regularly, until the onion is browned (about 7  minutes). Add the garlic and stir for another minute. Add the remaining seasoning mixture, the vinegar, jalapenos, and broth. Place the chicken  into the mixture skin side up, nestling it into the sauce and veggies. Cover the skillet and simmer over medium-low heat until the chicken is just cooked through (about 15 minutes).
  4. Season with additional salt if necessary and serve the chicken with a generous portion of the veggies and broth over rice.