Posts Tagged ‘Mexican/ Tex-Mex’

Food-writing class: Recipe writing

For the food-writing class I’m taking at the Muse, we have an assignment to take a badly written recipe and rewrite it in proper format with good directions. Patrick gave us several to choose from and we practiced in class.

This selection sounds like it would make a good casserole for a potluck, and since this is the season … enjoy.

Garden veggies from our 2008 garden
From our 2008 garden: ingredients that could be used in this dish

Black Bean Tortilla Casserole

A meatless meal with lots of zip. Good for vegetarians and those on a budget.

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium onions, chopped
2 green bell peppers, chopped
4 ounces jalapenos, minced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes, undrained (or, if in season, 2 large tomatoes, chopped)
3/4 cup salsa
2 15-ounce cans black kidney beans
12 6-inch corn tortillas
2 cups Monterey Jack cheese, shredded (divided use)

2 medium tomatoes, sliced
2 cups lettuce, shredded
3 green onions, sliced
1/8 cup black olives, sliced
1/2 cup sour cream, optional

Heat oven to 350 degrees. In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add onions, peppers, jalapenos, garlic and cumin. Saute for five minutes. Stir in undrained tomatoes and salsa. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes. Stir in beans.

Spread 1/3 of the bean mixture over the bottom of a 13”x9”x2” baking dish. Top with half of the tortillas, overlapping as necessary, and half of the cheese. Add another 1/3 of the bean mixture, the remaining tortillas, and the rest of the bean mixture. Cover with foil and bake for 30-35 minutes until heated through.

Sprinkle with remaining cheese and let stand 10 minutes. Top with tomato slices, lettuce, green onion and olives. Cut into squares and serve with sour cream.

Slow-Cooker Carnitas by Eric

Grow Your OwnDad is here for Christmas and brought with him my cousin’s (Margaret) husband’s (Eric) slow-cooker recipe for pork carnitas, or pork cooked in its own fat. They can be served on their own or as a filling for tacos, burritos, quesadillas, etc.

The Orange Crush is an unusual ingredient, but the carnitas did taste quite good. And it may seem like a lot of jalapenos, but we thought it had a pleasant but not searing heat.

Dan and Dad had the carnitas with rice and beans, but I made soft tacos with mine. One of the toppings is homemade pickled onions – yummy!

And have a very Merry Christmas!

Slow-Cooker Carnitas by Eric

5 lbs. pork shoulder roast
1 large red onion, trimmed, peeled and cut into large chunks
6 jalapeno peppers, stemmed and cut in quarters; you may remove seeds and membranes for less heat
3 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed a bit with the side of a chef’s knife
12 oz. Orange Crush
toppings of choice: lettuce, tomato, cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese, pickled onions, hot sauce
Optional: rice and beans; flour tortillas

Trim excess fat from pork shoulder and place in the slow cooker. Place the red onion, jalapenos, garlic and 8 oz. Orange Crush in a blender and puree. Pour contents over the roast, then pour the rest of the Orange Crush into the slow cooker. Turn heat to low and cook for 10-12 hours. Shred with two forks.

Serve with rice and beans, or as a filling for tacos.

Tacos with Pork Carnitas

We grew the jalapenos in our garden last summer, and had a bumper crop yet again. Even after sharing with some co-workers who like hot food, we had plenty to freeze. Just put them on a baking sheet, so they don’t stick together in a clump, and place in the freezer till frozen solid. Transfer to plastic bags. When you’re ready to use one or more, leave them on the counter for 1/2 hour or so to thaw, or put them on a microwave-safe plate and microwave for 30-45 seconds.

This is my entry in the food blogging event Grow Your Own, originated by Andrea of Andrea’s Recipes.

Pork & Tomatillo Posole

The first time I had posole, a Mexican pork stew, was at my friend Liz’s house a few years ago. She and Walter are from Colorado and served this after an art gallery opening of Walter’s, and some of Liz’s, artwork. I could not stop eating it.

It’s time-consuming to make, so I usually start cutting things up a day or two before, to make it easier to get started with the cooking. Once everything is together in the pot, it simmers for a couple of hours and makes the house smell really good 🙂 The pork becomes buttery soft and the broth is full of flavor. Delicious. I like to serve it with cheese and roasted red pepper quesadillas, for a little crunch, and of course, margaritas.

Pork & Tomatillo Posole

4 pounds pork butt or shoulder, trimmed of fat and cut into bite sized pieces
Coarse alt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup canola or corn oil
2 yellow onions, diced
1 1/2 pounds tomatillos, husked, cored and chopped
4 jalapenos, stemmed, seeded and minced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon, dried oregano (preferably Mexican)
8 cups chicken stock
2 cans hominy
1 bunch cilantro, chopped

Garnishes (posole is traditionally served with these garnishes; I just serve with some lime wedges)
1/4 small head green cabbage, thinly sliced
1/2 small red onion, finely diced
10 radishes, trimmed and thinly sliced
2 limes, cut into wedges

Heat the oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat. Add about 1/3 of the pork in an even layer and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Brown pork on both sides, making sure to get them nice and golden. Remove the browned pork to a medium bowl, then add another 1/3 of the pork, season and continue till all the pork is browned and in the bowl.

Add the onions and a large pinch of salt to the pot. Saute for about five minutes, scraping up the brown bits on the bottom of the pot. Add the tomatillos, jalapenos, garlic and oregano and continue to cook for another few minutes to soften the vegetables.

Add the reserved pork, pork juices and chicken stock to the pot. Cover it, turn the heat to high and bring to a boil. Remove the lid, turn the heat to low and simmer until the pork is tender and starting to fall apart, 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Add the hominy for the last half hour.

Stir in the cilantro and taste. Add salt and pepper if necessary. Ladle the soup into bowls and serve with the garnishes.

Pork & Tomatillo Posole

Bobby Flay’s Tomatillo-Avocado Salsa

Well, try as I might, sometimes I miss these food blogging event deadlines, but I like this relish so much, and it looks so good, I decided to post it anyway. Yummy and good for you, and soon we will be able to make it with tomatillos from our own yard.

Bobby Flay’s Tomatillo-Avocado Relish
3 ripe Haas avocados, peeled, pitted and diced
3 tomatillos, husked, washed and diced
juice of 2 limes
3 tbsp. canola oil
1 tbsp. honey
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 green onions, white and green parts, thinly sliced
3 tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro

Carefully combine avocados, tomatillos, lime juice, oil, honey and S&P to taste in a medium bowl. Mix in the green onions and cilantro. May be made up to 30 minutes in advance and refrigerated.

This is great served with grilled chicken, or as a dip with tortilla chips.


Original Recipes: Mexican Casserole

Culinarty Original Recipe Food Blogging EventA couple of weeks ago, we had a potluck lunch at work, the annual Fall Fling. Amy in HR had begged me to bring the pesto pasta I took last year – she had never had pesto before, and loved it. But I like to bring something different each time, so this time, I ended up making up my own recipe.

That was because the recipe I started out with turned out rather dry and bland. So I bumped it up a few notches and came up with something really good. It’s perfect for a potluck, too. It’s a casserole, so after making it the night before, I put it in my Crock-Pot crock in the fridge overnight. I took the Crock-Pot to work and set it on high, and by lunchtime, it was nicely heated up. So I took the heated Crock-Pot to the lunch and it stayed good and hot during the entire hour and a half or so. And it got rave reviews – several people asked how it was made.

Next time I bring something that’s a bit ambiguous, though, I’ll put a little sign next to it. I heard from a few people that they didn’t try it because they didn’t know what it was. To me, that’s a reason *to* try it, but some people aren’t so adventurous.

Mexican Casserole

Mexican Casserole

2 lbs. ground beef
2 medium onions, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup chopped green chiles (I used Anaheims from the garden)
3 tbsp. ground red chile pepper (I used ancho chile powder)
2 tsp. cumin
2 tsp. chili powder
8 corn tortillas, torn into pieces
2 14-oz. cans white or yellow hominy
1 14-oz. can diced tomatoes
1 can Rotel diced tomatoes with chiles
1 8-oz. can tomato sauce
1/2 lb. grated sharp cheddar cheese
salt and ground black pepper

Brown the beef and pour off all but 1 tbsp. fat. Add onions and garlic and cook for 3-4 minutes. Add green chiles, spices, hominy, tomatoes and tomato sauce and mix well. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add half of cheese and stir well.

Place the mixture in a 5-quart slow cooker and put on low to keep warm for serving. Or, chill and serve within 2-3 days. Place mixture in slow cooker and put on high for 3 hours to warm up, then put on low to keep warm for serving.

You can also divide the mixture and freeze half for later. Put half the mixture in a 2-quart dish and freeze up to four months. Bake the other half in a 350*F oven for 45 minutes. Top with the remaining cheese and serve.

This is my entry in the food blogging event Original Recipe, hosted by Culinarty. The roundup of all the recipes is here.

Grow Your Own: Ceviche

Grow Your Own 2008I just love ceviche. For years, I was afraid to try it – I was concerned about getting sick somehow from eating raw fish or shellfish, even though it’s “cooked” in acid (lemon and lime juice), which probably kills pretty much all the pathogens that might be on it.

Then a couple of years ago, my friend Barbara and I went to visit our friend Liz in Colorado. Of course, Mexican food is very popular there, and we ordered ceviche one night at dinner. It was great! Tangy, spicy, with the sweet shrimp and savory cilantro. I fell in love. There’s a Peruvian restaurant in Norfolk called Imperio Inca that has some delicious ceviche, as an appetizer and a couple of dinner platters. I tried making it myself once, but we weren’t crazy about how it turned out.

Then last month, Liz had a gallery opening at the d’Art Center and a party at her house afterward, where she served homemade ceviche, which was fabulous. Well, now I had to try it again. After looking through my cookbooks, I found a wonderful recipe for it in Cook’s Illustrated’s The Best International Recipe. So I made it again, and it was deee-lish! I bought a bag of lemons and limes so I can make it again!

Shrimp Ceviche

1 lb. large or extra-large shrimp, large sea scallops, fish fillets or a combination
1 tsp. grated zest of 1 lime
1/2 cup juice from 4 limes
1/2 cup juice from 4 lemons
1 small red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded and chopped fine (I used a red pimento pepper)
1 small jalapeno chile, stemmed, seeded and minced
1 medium garlic clove, minced
1/4 cup olive oil
4 scallions, sliced thin
3 tbsp. cilantro, minced
1/2 tsp. sugar
Ground black pepper

If using shrimp, peel, devein and slice in half lengthwise (I also cut them into thirds). If using scallops, remove the side tendon and slice into 1/3-inch-thick rounds. If using fish, remove any bones and slice into 1-inch squares about 1/3 inch thick.

Stir the lime zest, lime and lemon juices, bell pepper, jalapeno, garlic and 1/2 tsp. salt together in a bowl. Gently stir in the seafood, cover with plastic, and refrigerate until seafood is firm, opaque and appears cooked, 45-60 minutes (mine took about 75 minutes – the shrimp should be pink). Stir about halfway through marinating.

Place the mixture in a fine-mesh strainer, leaving it a little wet, then return it to the bowl. Gently stir in oil, scallions, cilantro and sugar. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve with tortilla chips.


This is another entry for Grow Your Own, the twice-monthly food blogging event started by Andrea of Andrea’s Recipes about a year ago, and hosted this month by Noob Cook. GYO celebrates the food we grow ourselves. The red pimento and jalapeno peppers came from our garden. And check out the tomato jam, also from our garden!

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