Sopa de fideo

Recipe courtesy of my co-worker, Ms. Carchichabla and the blog Isabel Eats

Ingredients:

  • 2 plum tomatoes, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • small onion, chopped
  • 1 packet Goya Sazón Seasoning with Azafrán
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin
  • 6 cups chicken/vegetable broth
  • rosemary, thyme
  • vegetables (e.g. celery, carrots, cauliflower, potato, bell pepper)
  • 8 oz. fideo pasta
  • olive oil
  • black beans, cooked (we used canned)
  • garnish: lime and cilantro, Mexican Queso Fresco and diced avocado. (optional)

Directions:

  1. Cut up two plum tomatoes, 2 garlic cloves, little bit of onion and sautée until soup-like. We also added diced jalapeño pepper (I recommend removing the seeds as much as possible), but you can also add red pepper flakes.
  2. Add a packet of Goya Sazón con Azafrán.
  3. Add 3 – 4 cups of water (or broth) to boil.
  4. Then, put in the veggies — we used celery, carrots, potato, and turnip.
  5. To make the fideo, which is the (bow tie) pasta, you’re going to toast it in a pan in olive oil. Don’t toast it too much or it will burn, just toast it till gets to a tannish-yellow color.
  6. After putting the fideo in the soup along with the veggies, add the beans. (The beans should already have been cooked before!) Add some salt, rosemary, a pinch of thyme.
  7. Let it cook for 15-20 minutes or whenever you feel it’s ready. Taste. Add some salt if necessary. Garnish with cilantro, etc.

It’s a perfect meal for the fall/winter weather. Additional soup ingredients can include vegetables such as bell pepper, onion and garlic, tomatoes, tomato sauce, chicken, chili peppers, vegetable oil, salt and pepper. I quite liked my second attempt too, with canned tomatoes!

~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

Tex-Mex chicken burrito (bowl)

Adapted from Mexican Please and My Latina Table

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup pico de gallo or fresh salsa (I chopped a Roma tomato and Vidalia onion to make one quick)
  • 1 14-ounce can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 6-7 chicken thighs, seasoned, baked, shredded
  • 1/4 cup roughly chopped fresh cilantro
  • Kosher salt
  • 4 burrito-size flour tortillas
  • 1 1/3 cups cooked white rice, warmed
  • 1 1/3 cups shredded Monterrey jack cheese (I used mozzarella and cheddar)
  • Guacamole, for serving (whenever possible)
  • sour cream

For the Guajillo Salsa:

  • 3 Tomatoes
  • 1/4 Onion (white)
  • 2 cloves garlic (large)
  • 1/4 cup Heavy Whipping Cream
  • 1/4 cup Chicken Stock
  • Salt (to taste)
  • Pepper (to taste)
  • 1/2 tsp Cumin
  • 1/2 tsp Paprika

For the baked Mexican chicken:

  • 2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/8 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 juice of 1 lime (about 3 tablespoon)
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt
  • 2 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 3 tablespoon chopped cilantro
  • 1 white onion, sliced (substituted from jalapeno — baby can’t handle too spicy)
  • 6-7 chicken thighs
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil (I used peanut oil)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

  1. Heat the vegetable oil in a medium pot over medium-high heat. Add 1/2 cup pico de gallo and peppers if you have on hand (we didn’t); cook until the mixture starts to sizzle, about 2 minutes. Add the beans and 3/4 cup water; bring to a low boil, then stir in the chicken and cook until the mixture is slightly thickened, about 2 minutes. Stir in the cilantro and season with salt.
  2. Heat the tortillas as the label directs. Arrange the rice horizontally in the lower half of each tortilla, leaving a 1 1/2-inch border on all sides. Top evenly with the cheese, chicken mixture, sour cream and the remaining pico de gallo.
  3. Fold the bottom edge of each tortilla snugly over the filling, tuck in the sides and roll up tightly. Cut the burritos in half and serve with guacamole.

For the Guajillo Salsa:

  1. Roast the tomatoes, onions, and garlic together on a frying pan until slightly browned. 
  2. Put the tomatoes, onions, and garlic into a blender with the spices, the chicken stock, and the whipping cream and blend until smooth. (No blender, hence the orange sauce with tomato and onion you see in the photo — great topping for leftovers!)

For the baked Mexican chicken:

  1. In a small bowl, mix together chili powder, ground cumin, onion powder, dried oregano, paprika, garlic powder, lime juice, olive oil, sea salt, apple cider vinegar, cilantro and sliced onions.
  2. Place chicken thighs in the bowl and toss marinade over thighs. Mix well together. Let the chicken marinade in the refrigerator for 20 minutes or overnight. (We did it promptly.)
  3. When ready to cook, preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  4. Heat coconut oil in a large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Place chicken thighs skin side down and cook until skin begins to get crispy and slightly light brown, about 10-15 minutes.
  5. Flip thighs over, transfer skillet to oven and bake for 10 minutes. Season with more salt and pepper to taste and garnish with more cilantro and onion slices if desired.

My sister Jennifer likes easy to make meals, as a mother of two. She had some chicken thighs defrosting in the fridge, ready to go, so I tried to go extra authentic Mexican on this Tex-Mex favorite. I used the spice mixture from Isabel Eats to bake the chicken 35 minutes. Next time I’ll make the arroz rojo properly. To make the Goya black beans, I followed the back of the can recipe. So really this was three separate recipes: the baked Mexican chicken, the Guajillo salsa, and the black beans. Not bad for Spring Break full on meal.

~Jessica

Huevos rancheros

IMG_2664Adapted from smitten kitchen

black beans (Deb used a can of Black Bean Soup — will try next time)
tomatoes
cilantro
salt
lime juice
poblano pepper
red onion
fresh Mexican sour cream
flour tortilla
Monterey Jack and cheddar cheese, grated
1 egg

Dice the tomatoes, peppers, onion small. Mix this with salt, lime, and a few sprigs of cilantro. Set aside. Heat your griddle/pan. Toast both sides of the tortilla before adding the grated cheese. Crack one egg on top. Wait a little while, then flip to cook the rest of the egg. Remove to serving plate. (Here I heated some black bean-red bean-corn from quesadillas night). Add the salsa fresca, beans, and a dollop of sour cream on top/the side of your cheesy egg tortilla, whichever you prefer. Serve immediately.

~Jessica

Quesadillas

Adapted from smitten kitchen‘s taco torte recipe

vegetable oil
1 medium onion, chopped small
1 clove garlic, minced
1 fresh jalapeno/habanero/serrano pepper, chopped small (optional)
ground cumin, chili powder to taste
1 can chopped tomatoes, drained, with 1/3 cup juice reserved
2 cans black, red and/or kidney beans, drained and rinsed
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 can corn, drained
rough-chopped spinach leaves
6 flour tortillas (I like the corn ones, cause you can’t find them in Germany)
shredded cheddar cheese and Monterey Jack
3 scallions, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon lime juice (only had lemon juice)
Chopped fresh cilantro, sour cream and/or salsa for garnish (optional)
2 radishes, sliced thin (didn’t have)
1 avocado, sliced (not ripe)

Saute onion, garlic, poblano pepper (and I threw in celery) in pan over medium heat until fragrant. Add the spices. Add the tomatoes and drained beans. Season with salt and pepper. Add the corn. I could have added mushrooms, but decided against it after having had mushroom risotto last night.

How to decide between authentic Mexican street foods (antojitos)? There are burritos, gringas, enchiladas, nachos, panuchos, salbutes, tacos, taquitos/flautas, tlayudas — all original Mexican dishes made with tortillas. Flour tortillas are often used for burritos and quesadillas, while corn tortillas are used for the rest. Lesson learned: Fajitas are Tex-Mex!

~Jessica

Guacamole en molcajete

IMG_20190424_173705

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

The world’s best cuisines

According to…

CNN
10. United States
9. Mexico
8. Thailand
7. Greece
6. India
5. Japan
4. Spain
3. France
2. China
1. Italy

Lonely Planet
1. Thailand
2. Greece
3. China
4. France
5. Spain
6. Mexico
7. Italy
8. India
9. Japan
10. Indonesia & Malaysia

Rough Guides
10. Singapore
9. Mexico
8. Indonesia
7. France
6. China
5. Vietnam
4. Japan
3. India
2. Thailand
1. Italy

This subjective topic came up when I found some Europeans who did not consider French food to be all that special, but most Americans think French is haute cuisine. Do you agree? Bold countries made all three lists! =)

~Jessica

References
“THE BEST CUISINE IN THE WORLD – AS VOTED BY YOU”

“Which country has the best food?”

“The best countries for food”