Arrachera borracha con rajas de pimiento

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I’ve been experimenting in the test kitchen lately and coming up with some new recipes. Today I’m sharing my newest recipe for the #MizkanLatino cooking challenge, arrachera borracha con rajas de pimiento, or drunken skirt steak with grilled bell pepper strips. “Sabroso Grilling” was the theme for this challenge and the challenge ingredient was to use one of Mizkan’s World Harbors marinades, so I chose the Mexican-style fajita marinade…. 

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Mexican Chimichurri Marinated Flank Steak

Who doesn’t love to grill? With the 4th of July coming up, I know that we’re going to be out on the patio all weekend to enjoy the sunshine while sipping on some limonada with friends, grilling up some cebollitas and this tangy new recipe I came up with for the #MizkanLatino cooking challenge.

José, Mr. Picky-Picky when it comes to me experimenting with new ingredients, said this dish both smelled and tasted fantastic! With his stamp of approval, you know it has to be good. A note about the use of jalapeños in this recipe: you can absolutely leave the seeds and veins in the jalapeño if you want to give your chimichurri a little kick. I removed them in the video so that the chimichurri wouldn’t be spicy, but would still have all the flavor of a jalapeño so that I could serve it to guests who were a little apprehensive about eating spicy food.

I used flank steak here (also known as falda de res) but you can substitute with another cut such as skirt steak (arrachera) if you like.

Be sure to check out the linky below throughout the week to see more videos and recipes from others participating in this challenge with me. You can also find out more about Holland House products on the Mizkan website.

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MILANESAS

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Milanesas are a favorite in our house in part because they’re so easy to make. They’re great with beef, pork or chicken cutlets and the rest of the recipe never changes! Whenever I’m in a rut and not sure what to make for dinner and am short on time, this is usually my go-to recipe. The best part is that you can prepare the meat and dredge it the day before and just refrigerate overnight so all you have to do is cook them. Just be sure to separate each cutlet so they don’t get stuck together and store in an airtight container.

Served with lime wedges and a little salsa to garnish, our favorite way to eat milanesas is of course, as a taco. José also likes milanesas de puerco served with papas fritas. I like milanesas de pollo with rajas de chile poblano y cebolla. Really, there are lots of ways you can serve them, so be creative.

I typically use a little oil as possible – not in an attempt to be healthier because fried foods just aren’t healthy – but to keep the breaded cutlets as light as possible. If you use too much oil, it’s possible for them to get heavy and greasy. With less oil they stay lighter and, dare I say, a little less unhealthy because they’re not soaked in grease…. 

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CROCK-POT COCHINITA PIBIL

When I found out that January was National Slow-Cooking Month, I knew exactly what recipe I was going to adapt first for Crock-Pot cooking. I’ve always wanted to test my theory that cochinita pibil can be done in a slow cooker, so the fact that it was a nationally recognized month-long culinary holiday-of-sorts was the perfect chance to take on the challenge.

And, ahem… Super Bowl Sunday is right around the corner, so if you’re planning a party with some Mexican food, this is an easy and delicious way to treat your guests to something new!

Yes, we’ve posted a recipe here before for cochinita, but let me tell you why this one is different. We’re using a different cut of meat (boneless country-style pork ribs), an easy spice mix made from scratch (no achiote paste in brick-form here, amigos), and as with most slow-cooker recipes, you can set it and forget it, making it relatively hassle-free compared to the traditional method of making cochinita. If you’re making it for guests, you can still serve it wrapped in warm banana leaves to impress them. Just check out our original recipe for cochinita pibil for directions on how to heat the banana leaves so they’re pliable.

And finally, we’re not going to serve our cochinita pibil as a taco like you might expect–we’re going to make a version of panuchos Yucatecos instead. In some places, they put the black beans inside the little tortillas and fry it before adding the meat, salsa and any garnishes on top, but we’re going to use a simpler method using small store-bought tostadas. After all, the point of a slow cooker is to make your life easier by letting you spend less time in the kitchen preparing food, so there’s no need to deal with the mess of stuffing and frying your tortillas. Plus, this recipe is a bit healthier because we’re leaving the frying out. If you can’t find small tostadas or picaditas at your grocery store, you can make your own by either heating corn tortillas in the oven until they’re dry and crispy, or you can get the same result by cooking them longer on your comal…. 

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FILETE DE RES A LA CHIAPANECA

During my last visit to Mexico, one rainy afternoon I spent several hours leafing through my suegra’s cookbooks looking for some new tricks and some family recipes.

After writing several recipes down, I decided to just use my phone to take a photo of each recipe card so that I could have all the recipes without all the work of writing them down. Plus, they’d be easy to access in the kitchen and as an added bonus, they’re in the original handwriting of whichever relative gave my suegra the recipe. Some of them were even typed on a typewriter!

A month or two ago, José discovered my little secret while browsing the photos on my phone and he was like a little kid opening presents on Christmas. Now he’s always stealing my phone when he’s hungry! Last week he was scrolling through the recipes looking for something different that I hadn’t yet attempted to make and he came across this recipe for filete de res a la Chiapaneca, or Chiapas-style steak. It’s another recipe of Tía Carola’s and it came with minimal instructions as usual. I had to modify the recipe slightly because on the first taste test of the salsa, José said it didn’t taste quite right. But this version I’m sharing here is super sabroso and sure to delight the whole family…. 

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FRIJOLES CHARROS

frijoles charros

For weeks, José has been bugging me to make his Tía Carola’s frijoles charros. Outside of El Charco de Las Ranas, his favorite taquería in Mexico City, Tía Carola’s frijoles charros are the only ones he has ever raved about.

Until now.

When I asked for the recipe a few weeks ago, it felt like I was playing “teléfono descompuesto” with at least three people – where something surely gets lost every time someone relays the message on to another person. José called his sister, who called his aunt; then his sister called him back and he translated the ingredients to me. Note that he only relayed the ingredient list and not the portions. And he only got a vague set of instructions. Apparently, Tía Carola is not exactly keen on lots of details and also hasn’t made this dish in at least 10 years. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a bit nervous about making this vaunted recipe with such a vague idea of what I was supposed to do.

I returned from the store with a big bag of frijoles pintos (in English: pinto beans). José argued with me that I had bought the wrong beans because they were supposed to be frijoles bayos. I knew that, but couldn’t find them at the store so I settled confidently on a hand-sifted bag of carefully chosen pinto beans. I settled the argument with a quick google search that ended in my favor, which had me secretly feeling proud on the inside that I knew frijoles pintos and frijoles bayos were not the same, but often interchangeable because of their similarities in taste, color and texture ‑ especially in this recipe.

I knew when José argued with me about the beans that he was going to be a tough customer to please. I lit one of my San Judas Tadeo candles (the patron saint of lost causes and desperate situations) and hoped for a culinary Hail Mary pass with my limited instructions and the guesswork lying ahead. I was short on time with no room for mistakes since I was making the frijoles charros for lunch on a weekday and all I had as a backup were some emergency TV dinners in the freezer. Who could have ever imagined there could be so much pressure behind a pot of beans?

As I served the frijoles charros, my stomach was in knots. Would they live up to Tía Carola’s recipe? I waited for the verdict as he savored the first spoonful…. 

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