Alambre de la Patrona

I haven’t written much here about my favorite taquería in Chicago, La Lagartija, but have always widely recommended the place to anyone who asked me in person, on Facebook or Twitter about where to get an authentic Mexican meal in my hometown. I wasn’t exactly trying to keep it a secret, but it’s definitely a gem and I always appreciated the neighborhood charm and the way that the meseras and owners always remembered us and greeted us like family. I have so many photos stowed away of memorable meals we ate there, and it was the only place in Chicago where we’d regularly eat tacos al pastor.

But one of my favorite standby meals there, the alambre de la patrona, is both succulent and super easy to recreate at home. The owners are from Mexico City, and this dish on their menu is actually a version of a popular dish at one of our favorite taquerías in Mexico City, El Charco de las Ranas. This dish is sometimes known as alambre de chuleta and is best served with warm tortillas, but you can skip the tortillas if you like and just eat it with a fork.

alambre_de_la_patrona_tacos… 

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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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Chile chicken tacos in the slow-cooker

I’ve been working late into the evening recently so I decided to break out my slow cooker and put it to work for me! On top of the late nights, the brutal heat wave we’ve been having over the last few weeks has made me less than happy about spending time in the kitchen after a long day, especially if it involves heating up the oven or even the stove top for more than a few minutes because I don’t want to be any hotter.

This recipe for chicken tacos is great for a few reasons: it’s super easy to make, it takes very little effort to prepare and it can be used as a filling for three different dishes so if you make a little extra you can turn it into more than one meal.

It can be used just as a regular old taco filling, rolled and fried in a tortilla to make taquitos or even rolled and bathed in salsa and topped with cheese as enchiladas. The biggest bonus of all: It won’t heat up the kitchen…. 

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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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Happy National Paella Day! {RECIPE}

Yesterday was National Paella Day, so in honor of this fantastic holiday, I’m going to share a recipe! (OK, so it’s probably a made-up holiday, but what better excuse to share a paella recipe and give away a paella cookbook?) Our family has roots in Spain, and we love paella! My suegra actually has a family tree written out on a huge parchment scroll tracing back every generation to before they arrived in Mexico via boat from Spain. It blows my mind that my name is now on that scroll and someday, my children will be on it, too! I’m a big genealogy nerd, so I love digging into our family roots and learning as much as I can, especially when it comes to cuisine!

I recently had the pleasure of taking a paella class with Chef Tim Cottini at Chicago’s Café Ba Ba Reeba, one of our favorite places for Spanish tapas and paella. In fact, José says he thinks they have the best paella in the city, so when I told him I was thinking about taking the class to learn their recipes, he practically forked over our credit card on the spot to reserve my space!

I learned a lot of new tips to make my paella GREAT. I’ve made paella in the past at home (and you may recall we ate it in Cuernavaca last year at a dinner party), but it was never what I’d call awesome. I experimented with different ingredients and portions but it lacked something. I suspect in part because I never had a proper paella pan. I think Chef Tim helped me acquire my paella mojo, though! When I recently made a recipe that I learned in the class at Café Ba Ba Reeba, it had José begging for seconds. He ate the leftovers the following day and said he couldn’t wait until I made it again. … 

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CROCK-POT FRIJOLES DE OLLA

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I love, love, love the little community we’ve grown on our Facebook fan page. A week or two ago, I posted a question asking fans what their favorite Mexican recipes are that they’ve adapted for crock-pot cooking. Overwhelmed with the number of delicious suggestions, I decided to whip up a batch of slow-cooked frijoles as my final tribute to National Slow-Cooking Month. (Thanks to Tortilla fan Annette for giving us the basic cooking instructions she uses.)

The results were tremendous, so I recorded a video recipe to show you just how I did it. As we’re preparing for a blizzard here in Chicago this week, I’m glad to have leftovers of this hearty, warm bean dish that is great as a snack, a side dish, or a main dish…. 

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