Tag Archive: salsa

PIco De Gallo to Celebrate Cinco de Mayo

Let’s get this party started! I have several posts for Cinco de Mayo.

First, Cinco de Mayo isn’t, as many people think, Mexico’s Independence Day — that takes place on Sept. 16. Secondly, it isn’t even widely celebrated south of the border, though that’s beginning to change.

What Cinco de Mayo is is a largely American tradition, co-opted by alcohol companies, that’s based on an arguably miraculous military maneuver during the 1862 Battle of Puebla, when a ragtag group of Mexican militiamen defeated the invading French Army. It was a David versus Goliath moment and Mexicans on both sides of the border saw cause for celebration. Cinco de Mayo (Google)

May 5th – Cinco de Mayo – is a big deal in El Paso.  I think it’s an excuse to eat Mexican or Tex-Mex flavored dishes every meal for at least a week.  While enchiladas and tacos are good standbys I like to add those flavors to a regular meal.

I made a grilled pico de gallo and have used it for breakfast, lunch and dinner.  Very simple to make and it adds a little spice to any meal.

In Mexican cuisine, pico de gallo (Spanish pronunciation: [ˈpiko ðe ˈɣaʎo], literally rooster‘s beak), also called salsa fresca, is a fresh, uncooked condiment made from chopped tomato, white onion, and chilis (typically jalapeños or serranos). Other ingredients may also be added, such as shrimp, avocado, lime juice or apple cider vinegar, fresh cilantro (coriander leaf), cucumber, radish or firm fruit such as mango.  (Wikipedia)

Grilled Pico de Gallo

I like the lime. When the pico de gallo is used with warm dishes you can taste it just a bit. I like the acid. I have used red wine vinegar if I don’t have the fresh limes.

Now it is ready to use and will add such a nice flavor to eggs, veggies, or meats.  Here is one to get you started.

Green Chile Crab Cakes

Fusion Cooking -(East Coast Meets West Texas)

I like crab cakes and I love green chiles.  Why not give them a try together?  It turned out delicious.  Just the right amount of smokey chile flavor.  The only thing I would do next time is make a tomatillo sauce to serve with them.  Other than that it was a great mix of two of great flavors.  Thanks to Cook’s Illustrated for the no-mayo crab cake recipe. My oldest, Krista, doesn’t like mayo.  How did that happen?  She says this lets the taste of really good crab go un-marred.  All I had to do was roast and peel the chiles and add them into the mix.  Then I topped them with Big Sister’s Pineapple Salsa.  As I said, I would make a tomatillo sauce next time.

Green Chile Crab Cakes

  • 1 pound lump crab meat (Phillips Premium Crab Jumbo or Miller’s Select Lump Crab Meat)
  • 1 cup milk
  • 11/2  cups bread crumbs
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 celery ribs, chopped or diced
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 4 roasted, peeled, seeded and diced Hatch green chiles (or 1 can chopped green chiles)
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 4 ounces shrimp (size does not matter…will chop and use for filling)
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon Old Bay
  • 4 tablespoons vegetable oil

Add crabmeat and milk to a bowl submerging all the crab meat.  Cover and refrigerate for thirty minutes.

Pulse celery, onion and garlic in a food processor or finely chop.  Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a 10 inch non-stick skillet over medium heat.  Add chopped vegetables, salt and pepper .  Sautee 4-6 minutes or until soft and moisture is evaporated.  Put cooked vegetables in a large bowl and allow to cool to room temperature while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.  Add chopped green chiles to the cooling celery and onion.

Remove crabmeat and strain through a mesh strainer pressing to remove the milk but don’t break the crab meat.  Set aside.

Add shrimp to the small bowl of the Kitchen Aid food processor and pulse about 12-15 times.  Scraping sides if necessary.  Once finely ground, add cream and pulse until combined about 4 times.

Add shrimp puree to room temperature vegetables and add mustard, hot sauce, lemon and Old Bay.  Stir until combined.  Fold crab meat in gently with a rubber spatula.

Divide into 16 balls.  I used a tablespoon to measure.  Roll into ball and flatten into patty about ½ inch thick.  Make sure they are the same size.  Put on baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Cover tightly with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.

Remove patties from refrigerator and coat with bread crumbs.  Heat a 10 inch non-stick skillet to medium with one tablespoon of oil and one tablespoon butter until shimmering.  Add patties and cook until browned about 4 minutes per side.  

Be careful not to crowd the pan and add more oil and butter as necessary.

 

 

 

 

I will be entering these in the Vanilla Clouds and Lemon Dreams, Sweet Heat challenge.

Mexican Fiesta

As I have said before I try to eat healthy.  Sometimes nothing will do though but to have a good mexican dinner.  My favorite is enchiladas with all the trimmings.  Here in the West Texas town of El Paso everyone has the best recipe for tacos, rice, salsa, beans, tamales and most importantly enchiladas.  My best are traditional with red sauce. To go to the fancier side, I do Suiza sauce.  Here are the recipes.  I gotta go eat!

Baked Tortilla Chips

  • 6 wheat or white corn tortillas
  • Pam non-stick cooking spray
  • Kosher Salt

Cut the tortillas into quarters or sixths, place on a baking sheet and lightly spray with the non-stick cooking spray.  Sprinkle with salt.

Bake at 425° for 10 minutes.  Watch closely so they don’t brown too much.

 

Mexican Chicken Enchiladas with Suiza Sauce

Sauce

  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 3 1/2 cups milk
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken stock
  • 1/2 pound shredded pepper jack cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Enchiladas

  • vegetable oil
  • 12 corn tortillas
  • 2 cups cooked cubed or bite size chicken meat
  • 1 small can chopped green chiles
  • 1 cup chopped green onions
  • 2 cup shredded pepper jack cheese
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves, for garnishing, if desired
  • 4 ounces Queso Anejo, shredded (substitute Parmesan if unavailable)
  • 1 cup sour cream, for serving, optional
  • Salsa or Pico de Gallo, for serving, optional

Sauce 

Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Whisk in the milk, little by little, until thoroughly combined. Add the chicken stock and bring sauce to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook until thickened and flavorful, about 10 minutes. Add the pepper jack and stir until melted. Season with the salt and remove from the heat. Set aside, covered, while you assemble the enchiladas.

Enchiladas

Heat a small skillet over high heat. When hot, add some of the vegetable oil and 1 of the tortillas. Cook until soft, turning midway, about 30 seconds per tortilla. Transfer to a plate to assemble the enchilada.  (You can’t stop to answer the phone now.)

Place some of the chicken down the middle of the tortilla, top with some of the green chiles and grated cheese.  Spoon about a tablespoon of the sauce down the center of the chicken/cheese and roll the tortilla.  Place seam-side down in the baking dish.

Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil and bake for 25-30 minutes at 350°. Remove the foil and continue to bake for about 10 minutes more, or until the sauce and cheese are bubbly and light golden brown on top.

Serve immediately, garnished with a dollop of sour cream, chopped cilantro, Spanish Rice and a spoonful of Grama Jo’s salsa, if desired.

Mid-Week BBQ

I guess I am still hungry for Fourth of July festivals as I woke up this morning craving BBQ.  Good thing that I know just the quick fix to cook all day while I am at work.  I’ll set up my crock pot and let it cook dinner.  Throughout the day I began to elaborate on the Tuesday night party.  Maybe I want some Mexican and something fresh and fruity too.  How am I going to get this all in one dinner?  That is how my kitchen experiments start.  I began to imagine the recipe below.  It was good.  Real good.  I have leftovers in case I need some more this week.

Pulled Pork Tacos with Grilled Pineapple Salsa

For the pork:

  • 1 pork tenderloin fat trimmed
  • 1 bottle of your favorite BBQ Sauce
  • 1 16 oz bottle of Dr. Pepper
  • 1 tablespoon of chipotle chili powder
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Corn or Flour tortillas
  • Cheese and/or toppings

In the morning place all the ingredients through the salt and pepper into the crock pot and set to low.  Leave to stew for 6-8 hours.  Before removing from the pot fix the salsa (see below).

When ready to eat remove to pan and finish the shredding.  This should be very easy and almost done for you.  Serve with warmed tortillas, salsa and your favorite cheese.  I used Cotija.

 

 

For the salsa:

  • 2 pineapple rings
  • ½ of a red onion finely diced
  • 2 jalapeños finely diced
  • 1 cup of tomatoes finely diced  (I take mine as I get them from the garden, today’s crop was cherry tomatoes)
  • 2 tablespoons of cilantro finely chopped
  • Juice from ½ a lime
  • Salt

Pre-heat your grill or grill pan to medium.  Spray with cooking spray and add pineapple rings.  Spray the top side with cooking spray and let cook for three minutes or until deep grill marks appear.  Flip.  Cook 2-3 minutes more to char the other side.  Remove from pan to a plate and put in the refrigerator to chill.  When they are about room temperature, cut into small pieces.

Add all of the fruits and vegetables to a bowl and pour lime juice in and stir.  Salt to taste.  Serve over tacos.

I grilled a few extra pineapple rings for dessert!

Sharing Salsa!

Sharing this week with Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays.

I think a lot of people have wonderful family recipes that they never write down.  It takes a lot of time to explain how to make something you have made forever and make it clear and correct so someone else can make it.  This is one of those recipes.

I have a friend at work who has the most wonderful mother.  She is a dedicated mom, grandmother and great-grandmother.  She sounds like a lively lady and makes her daughter laugh a lot.  She cooks dinner for Nelda and her boys a lot of days.  I never had the pleasure to come home to a home-cooked meal, unless I got up early and got things started in the crock pot.  That is such a nice thing to do.  I always hear them talking about dinner as the day goes on, so I check out their menu selections.  Sometimes I get a good idea.

One day she shows up at the office with a jar of salsa her mom made.  I immediately had to come up with a meal to serve this with.  So I made enchiladas, rice, tostados and a salad.  I shared some of the salsa with my daughter too.  It was so good, and so much better than the bottled stuff off the shelf.  Very fresh and you know what is in it.

This would be easy and good to make for your party snacks.

Grama Jo’s Salsa 

  • 10 jalapenos
  • ½ yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 – 14 ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 1 –  8 ounce can tomato sauce
  • 3 -4 garlic cloves
  • 1 cup water (maybe a little more)
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons garlic salt

Boil the jalapenos in a pan with a lid until they are soft.  Cut off the stems (leave the seeds in) before you put them in the blender.  Add the onion chunks, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, garlic cloves, the water, salt and garlic salt.  If you want to cut back on the salt you can eliminate the 2 teaspoons of salt, but not the garlic salt.  Blend until chunky.  Don’t make it into a puree or you will have a salsa smoothie, Grama Jo says.

Put in clean jars with lids and store in the frig. (It won’t last very long around hungry spicy food lovers.)  It makes a lot.  Everyone is addicted to it.  Enjoy!

Thanks, Jo for sharing your secret recipe with us.