Category Archives: Recipes

We love to prepare Mexican food or find ways to put Latin flavor into our daily cooking.

Food of Día de los Muertos

Filo making green salsa sopes for breakfast over an open fire. My absolute favorite! Thin and crisp, tangy and creamy at the same time. Mmmmm!

When we go to Mexico to visit family we very well fed. Mex’s sister’s cook for us and everything is always delicious. However, Día de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, is a very busy time for them.

Preparing tejocotes for the ofrenda

The focus from October 30th to November 2nd the main focus is preparing food for deceased family members so we were a little out of luck in the “getting spoiled” department.  There are a number of traditional foods Mex’s family prepares for their ofrenda or offering for their deceased relatives. We tried to let our son participate as much as possible.

Our son loved helping his dad and Aunt Sofia peel tejocotes. Tejocotes are a small fruit, about double the size of a cherry. First the are boiled in water until their skins pull loose. Once they are all peeled, the tejocotes are simmered with sugar and cinnamon. After about an hour, the liquid starts to thicken and become syrupy. The finished product has an intense, delightful sweetness but don’t eat too quickly because the fruit has a small pit.

Simple green mole with chicken

Mole (MOH-lay) is often called the national dish of Mexico, with each region claiming their own version of the recipe. Stemming from the Nahuatl word mulli, meaning sauce, mole comes in a rainbow of colors; green, red, yellow, black and all shades in between. My family in Mexico says green mole is the only type made for the deceased spirits. Though mole has a reputation as being complicated, with up to 35 ingredients, this green mole is surprisingly simple.

The balance between tomatillos and pepitas (shelled pumpkin seeds) is very important according to Filo. For every pound of tomatillos, use a little over one cup of shelled pepitas. First the tomatillos are roasted slightly in a pan with some vegetable oil (you could put them under a broiler for about five minutes as well) then they are pulsed in the blender with the pepitas and a couple serrano chiles until smooth. The sauce is simmered with some epazote and salt. That’s it. No garlic (gasp!).  It is a very well-balanced sauce. The nuttiness of the pepitas takes the tartness out of the tomatillos.

It is amazing to see my sister-in-laws spend hours each day, staying up almost all night preparing food to serve the spirits. Besides tejocotes and green mole, they make tamales wrapped in corn leaves, sweet squash that cooks over an open fire for two days, and rice pudding.

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Filed under Food, Holidays and Celebrations, Mexico, Morelos State, Recipes, Tetelilla, Morelos

Goat Cheese Arepas with Black Bean Salsa

Arepas (ah-RAY-pahs) are more common in South America, originating in Venezuela, where they are the national dish. They are delicious, mouth-watering little corn cakes with a slight crisp on the outside and a soft, steamy sweetness on the inside. In fact, these sumptuous snack cakes are getting so popular, New York City actually has an Arepa Bar (Caracas Arepas – with locations in Brooklyn, Manhattan and Roneria) which was featured on an episode of Bobby Flay’s show “Throwdown” (and the sister’s who opened the place won!). They can be served for breakfast, lunch, dinner, late night snacks, stuffed, topped, sauced and salsa’d. You are only limited by your imagination with these golden goodies.

This recipe was inspired by a cooking class we took in 2009 at Kitchen Window on vegetarian appetizers. I apologize that I do not remember the chef who taught the class.  These are gluten-free, and vegetarian. The dough works well for our “Mexican” kitchen where we always have Masa Harina on hand. However, purists will tell you that true arepa dough is made from Harina P.A.N. which is pre-cooked cornmeal, instead of the corn flour of Masa Harina which is used to make tortillas. All you need to add to the Harina P.A.N. to make arepas is water and salt (and this would turn in to a vegan option).

Ingredients – Arepa dough

2 cup – fresh or frozen yellow corn kernels (we suggest not using canned corn as it has more moisture which can throw off the texture of the final product)

1/2 cup – milk, scalded – (can be any kind of milk, we use Skim only because that’s what we have on hand. To scald milk heat on medium until just before it gets a skin across the top)

1 cup – Masa flour (for tortillas) or extra-fine yellow cornmeal

1/2 cup or 4 oz – goat cheese, (preferably garlic herb) crumbled

3 TB – butter

The little bit of golden crisp = delicious!

Pinch of salt

Oil – (olive, canola, or vege) for the griddle or pan

Mixing it up

  • Use a saucepan to heat butter, scalded milk, and corn until it simmers. Put it in to a food processor and coarsely grind the corn and put in mixing bowl. Corn mixture will still be chunky.
  • Add Masa, cheese, and salt. Mix thoroughly by hand or with a spatula until the Masa is totally absorbed and the whole mixture is fairly smooth with the cheese evenly distributed. Drape a towel over the bowl and let the dough rest for about 30 minutes.
  • Use a large melon baller or a small kitchen scoop to get some dough (about the size you would use for a cookie) and pat until flattened like a small pancake, about 2 – 3 inches across, smaller if appetizer, larger if main course. Put on to an oiled griddle or cast iron pan over a medium low heat until golden brown. About 3 minutes on each side. (TIP: do NOT every use soap on a cast iron pan. When you first purchase the pan treat it by rubbing it with salt and oil and heat up. Wipe off. Rub with more oil and heat again.)

Black Bean Salsa

One of the most colorful and fresh tasting salsas we make - even "cheating" with canned beans

2 cups cooked or 1 – 14 oz can Black beans (if you are making fresh beans, soak beans at least 3 hours before cooking or overnight if you have time. Soaking helps reduce bean-caused gas, and also helps them cook faster)

1/4 Cup – onion, either yellow, white or possibly green onions for a flavor twist

1/2 cup – Cilantro – chopped (you can put in less if you wish)

3 cloves of garlic – chopped fine

1 jalapeño pepper – minced (take out seeds and white interior ribs to reduce heat)

1/2 Bell pepper – any color – chopped (yellow is the “prettiest”)

2 med tomatoes (usually we use Roma) seeded and diced

Bright and colorful!

1/2 lime, juiced

Salt to taste

  • Combine all ingredients and stir well. Best to make the salsa at least an hour ahead of time, cover and let sit in fridge so the flavors have a chance to mix.

Serving it up

Spoon a generous helping of Black Bean salsa on top of the hot of the griddle arepa. Drizzle with Mexican crema (or mix regular sour cream with a little milk to thin it out). Add roasted red peppers or chipotle pepper to sour cream and mix in a blender for an extra layer of flavor. Top with some chopped avocado if you have some laying around.

The finished product.

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Filed under Food, Recipes, Vegetarian Recipe

Shrimp Ceviche

Yes, Mex perfectly hand chops all the ingredients into perfectly uniform pieces!

This is one of our absolute favorite recipes. Most of the magic in this recipe is the fact that my husband, a cook by trade, chops everything into tiny, even pieces. A shortcut would be to purchase pre-chopped pico de gallo. Then you would only have to add chopped shrimp, squeeze some lime juice, add salt, and add jalapeño for heat.  This is a really hard recipe to recreate on paper since every time Mex makes it, the ingredients and quantities vary based on what we have on hand, how big the bag of shrimp is, etc. However, below should be a good starting point and then ingredient quantities can be adjusted to suit individual tastes.

Shrimp Ceviche

Recipe:

about 2 lbs shrimp – cooked & deveined – chopped in small pieces (we always by frozen shrimp and thaw in fridge for 2-3 days. If you just thaw it by running water on it the ceviche becomes watered down and the shrimp doesn’t seem to absorb as much lime flavor. WISH we could get fresh shrimp here in Minnesota!)

1 lime – juice only

2 jalapeños – chopped fine, remove ribs and seeds to minimize spice

5 cloves of garlic – minced (we are always heavy-handed on garlic. You may want to reduce amount.)

¼ cup yellow or white onion – chopped fine

½ cup cilantro – chopped

4 Roma tomatoes – chopped

1 tsp salt

Combine all ingredients and mix well. Add more salt or lime to taste. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to let the flavors combine.

Tostitos scoops make perfect little ceviche boats!

Serve with Saltine crackers or chips (the Tostitos scoops are my favorite). Serves around 15 people as an appetizer. You could serve on tostadas with avocado slices on top as a dinner, would serve 6 to 8.

Nutrition Information: (We used an online recipe calculator and cannot guarantee the accuracy of this information)

Serving size: 4 oz,  Calories: 78, Fat: 1 g, 0 g sat fat, 0 g trans fat,            50 mg Chol, 694 mg Sod, 4 g  Carb, 0.7 g fib, 15 g protein

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Rice pudding – Minn-exican version

Though my husband claims Mexicans do not eat dessert, all of my Mexican cookbooks disagree. I decided to try this recipe after an open house where I provided food to potential clients (yes, I’m a generous Realtor… or at least one who believes in bribes!  😉  Courtesy of LeeAnn Chin’s, I ended up with a LOT of extra white rice. This is a combination of a number of recipes with the intention of making the bare bones, simple version of this creamy, sweet treat. All ingredients are common enough that you should be able to cook up a batch at any time.

Rice Pudding

Recipe:

2 cup cooked white rice

1 cup sugar 

4 tsp butter

3 ½ cup of milk

1 tsp Mexican vanilla

Dash of salt

3 eggs beaten

2 TB brandy (optional- we usually don’t use it)

In a large saucepan heat milk, rice and butter over medium heat for 5 minutes.  Do not over boil. Mix eggs, sugar and salt until smooth. Combine egg mix into rice and mix until thickened. Put in baking pan inside large pan with water. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour. An inserted knife should come out clean. 12 servings

I love sprinkling cinnamon on top and adding a dollop of Cool Whip. Yes, I said Cool Whip. Call me crazy, but to my taste buds, this hydrogenated, globulous mass of fake cream wins over the real whipped cream every time. Raspberries or blueberries are also good toppings. Another favorite serving idea is stirring in raisins and topping with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream (Breyer’s is my preference). Mmmmmm…..

Nutrition Information: (we calculated this ourselves with an online recipe calculator so can’t guarantee accuracy)

Serving size: 1/12 of pan,  Calories: 160, Fat: 2.7g, Saturated fat: 1.3g, Cholesterol: 58 mg, Sodium: 62 mg, Carbohydrate: 30g, Fiber: 0g, Protein: 4.7g

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Slow-cooked Mexican chicken

Everyone needs a party recipe! Here is a crowd pleaser for sure. Great flavor, not spicy, and very versatile.  We recently held a Mexican dinner fundraiser for our church and this recipe was a hit with all 100 people who attended.

It can be served on rice, in tacos, on tostadas… the possiblities are endless. Use left-overs as a filling for enchiladas later in the week!

Slow-cooked Mexican Chicken

Recipe:

20 lbs chicken breast cut into strips

½ bag Guajillo chiles

½ bag Ancho chiles

2 tsp cinnamon

1 TBSP cumin

8 fresh garlic cloves

1 TBSP seasoning salt

2 tsp black pepper

3 whole cloves

¼ cup white wine vinegar

¼ cup olive oil

12 small avocado leaves

Put all ingredients (except chicken and avocado leaves) together in a grinder and grind until a fine paste. Rub paste over raw chicken. Put in refrigerator to marinate overnight in a sealed container in the fridge. The next day put chicken with avocado leaves spread on top (like you would do with bay leaves) in the oven at 300 degrees for 4 hours or until chicken shreds with a fork.  Serves 40+ people.

Nutrition Information: (We calculated this ourselves using an online recipe caluculator and can’t guarantee accuaracy)

Serving size: 4 oz,  Calories: 197, Fat: 4 g, Cholesterol: 96 mg, Sodium: 384 mg, Carbohydrate: 0 g, Fiber: 0 g, Protein: 35 g

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Filed under Food, Recipes