Jesse’s chili

Ingredients:

  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 – 3 jalapeños (depending on spice preference), seeded and cored, chopped. Can substitute serrano or habanero peppers if you like spicy.
  • 1 lb. of grass-fed ground beef (or bison)
  • 1.5 tbsp chili powder
  • 1.5 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp basil
  • 1/2 tsp cocoa powder (can sub with any unsweetened chocolate)
  • 4 tomatoes on the vine, quartered
  • 1 can of black or red beans, drained
  • 3 oz. (1/2 small can) of tomato paste
  • enough beer (~1/2 can) or red wine (~1 cup) to cover
  • toppings: cilantro, sour cream, Mexican grated cheese, etc.

Directions:

  1. Start a dutch oven on medium heat.
  2. Sauté the onion, chili pepper (jalapeños) until aromatic. Add the garlic and spices, cook for 1 more minute.
  3. Add the beef, stir to break up. Cook until browned, about 3 – 4 minutes.
  4. Add the tomatoes, beans, tomato paste, and the alcohol to the pot. The liquid should just about cover the ingredients.
  5. Turn down the heat to a simmer. Simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally, about 1 hour or so. The consistency should thicken, until you have a nice sauce-y chili.
  6. When consistency achieved, serve with cornbread or parboiled rice. Garnish with cilantro, sour cream, and/or grated cheese, as you prefer.

A beer we chose to add was a brown ale made in New Hampshire: Pig’s Ear Brown Ale, made by Woodstock Inn Brewery. It was about an hour west of our Air BnB. The beer pairs well with the chili, but we chose to pair it with a red wine, a nice Smoking Loon Merlot Jesse was familiar from previous experience. This is probably the best chili I’ve ever had, just sayin’.

~Jessica

Frijoles charros

Adapted from Isabel Eats and Jessica Gavin

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. dry pinto beans
  • 1.5 tbsp kosher salt
  • 8 cups cold water
  • 1/2 large onion
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 dried bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

Directions:

  1. Pour the beans into a large bowl. Pick out and discard any beans that are shriveled or split as well as any small rocks that may have made their way into the bag. Toss any broken dried beans. Add them to a colander and rinse with cold water for 1 to 2 minutes.
  2. Fully cover the beans with water (at least 3 inches over the top of the beans) and salt. Set on the counter to soak for 8 hours or overnight.
  3. Transfer the beans to a large pot or Dutch oven. Add 10 cups of water (and the other seasonings).
  4. Bring beans to a boil, then reduce heat to a low simmer. Cover and cook for 2 to 2 1/2 hours. (I recommend checking them at the 2 hour mark and giving them a taste. They should be tender and fully cooked through, but still a little firm and not mushy. Cook a little longer if they’re not quite done.)
  5. Remove from heat and use them in recipes like refried beans and charro beans, or let cool completely and store in an airtight container in the fridge.

So in the beginning, I wanted to use up these dry pinto bean my grandmother got from her senior center, but in the end, I just cooked this as charro (cowboy) beans. I also had a couple medium potatoes, so I threw those in too, diced. I did not have 2 cans of diced tomatoes — I just added 2 diced tomatoes on the vine. It’s hard to find recipes that don’t use an InstaPot. Thank goodness for ol’ stovetop classic standbys. I had gotten this 2 lb. bag of dry pinto beans a long time ago from my grandmother (from the senior center). I never thought I’d want to go through the effort of cooking with them. Surprise! Summer break! I didn’t have real chicken stock, so I did throw in a few bouillon cubes, which I’m trying to use up anyhow.

~Jessica

Fish tacos with salsa verde

Adapted from My Latina Table and also salsa

Authentic Mexican Salsa Verde Ingredients:

  • 5 Tomatillos
  • 1/4 – 1/2 bunch fresh Cilantro finely chopped
  • 2 Cloves of Garlic
  • 1/4 Onion
  • Jalapenos, 1 (less spicy, could have handled more!)
  • Salt to taste
  • Olive Oil

Salsa Verde Directions:

  1. Slowly saute the tomatillos, the onion, and the jalapenos in a preheated frying pan with some olive oil for 5 minutes.
  2. After 5 minutes, add the garlic cloves and continue cooking until the tomatillos are slightly browned.
  3. Remove from the heat and blend the ingredients with the cilantro and salt in a blender.

Tacos Ingredients:

For the Fish Marinade:

  • 2 pounds of tilapia or other similar fish (we used 3/4 lbs. cod)
  • Juice from 1 lime (lemon)
  • 1 teaspoon of the following: garlic powder black pepper, salt, cumin, onion powder

For the purple cole slow:

  • 1/2 purple cabbage cut into thin slices (green)
  • Chopped Cilantro
  • 1/4 white onion chopped
  • 1/4 cup of olive oil
  • Juice from 1 lime
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Tacos Directions:

  1. Marinate the tilapia fish with all of the marinade ingredients for at least 25 minutes.
  2. Once fully marinated, place in the center of a large pan, and fry a few minutes on each side, until the meat separates into chunks.
  3. For the Purple Cole Slaw, Combine all of the ingredients in a large bowl, and refrigerate for at least 10 minutes.
  4. For the guacamole, follow this recipe.
  5. To Form the Tacos, Cut the cooked fish into smaller pieces and add to the previously warmed tortillas, followed by the purple cole slaw, the guacamole, Goya black bean soup, sour cream, and the salsa verde.

Breakfast tacos were made for the morning after, but with scrambled eggs instead of fish! The green salsa verde was surprisingly easy and quick! If I were going to redo this recipe, I would (beer) batter the fish next time for some crispy.

~Jessica

Guacamole en molcajete

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Adapted from ROSA MEXICANO. Makes 4 servings

Chile Paste Ingredients:

  • 1/2 white onion, finely chopped
  • cilantro, freshly chopped
  • 1/4 jalapeño, finely chopped
  • salt as needed

Guacamole Ingredients:

  • 3 ripe but firm Hass avocados
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • cilantro, chopped fresh
  • 1/4 white onion, finely chopped
  • salt, if necessary
  • splash of lime juice
  • Tortilla chips and/or fresh corn tortillas

Directions:

  1. Make the chile paste: Grind the onion, cilantro, jalapeño, and salt together in a mortar until all the ingredients are finely ground. Alternatively, I used a fork to mash all the ingredients to a paste in a wide bowl.
  2. Cut each avocado in half. Twist the halves to separate them and flick out the pit. Rest an avocado half cut side up on a folded dishtowel in your palm. Make 3 lengthwise cuts through the avocado flesh down to the skin, without cutting through it. Make 4 crosswise cuts in the same way. Scoop the diced avocado flesh into the mortar. Mix all, serve immediately with the tortilla.

We made this for an easy appetizer before hosting dinner for six + 2 toddlers who ran around more than they ate anything.

~Jessica