Cooking Combat at the Kenmore Live Studio: Chilaquiles

Back in November, I did a cooking show with a live studio audience at the Kenmore Live Studio in Chicago. It was so much fun, I can’t wait to do another! For those who may have missed the show in person or couldn’t watch the live stream online, Kenmore was kind enough to put the show on YouTube so I could share with all of you.

¡Buen provecho!

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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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CHILAQUILES VERDES

Chilaquiles are a staple in my house – great for any meal: breakfast, lunch or dinner. When making them for breakfast, I serve an egg (fried or scrambled) on top; for lunch and dinner I usually add shredded chicken, but that can be left out if you’re serving it to a vegetarian. Whenever I go to a potluck dinner or any kind of event where I have to bring a dish, this is my tried and true recipe that always disappears quickly once served and the guests always end up calling me for the recipe the day after. And, ahem… chilaquiles are also known as the quintessential Mexican cure for a hangover.

Chilaquiles verdes #recipe from theothersideofthetortilla.com #mexicanfood #comidamexicana

This past weekend I made my famous chilaquiles verdes for my Salsa Showdown cooking show at the Kenmore Live Studio and they were a huge hit. The video of the show will be available soon, but I’ve already gotten dozens of requests to post the recipe! A lot of people from the audience came up to me after the show to say that they were impressed with not only the taste of the dish, but also how simple it was to prepare and that they felt confident they could make it at home. That’s always my goal here ­– to teach you recipes and break them down so you feel comfortable making them on your own. I hope you’ll try my chilaquiles, and if you do, please leave a comment below to let me know how you liked them!

One of the great things about the salsa verde for my chilaquiles is that it’s a very versatile salsa that can also be used for enchiladas as well as a few other dishes. Be sure to check back later this week for my recipe for enchiladas verdes…. 

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The Salsa Showdown is tomorrow! And we’ve got a {GIVEAWAY}!

I’ve been receiving lots of encouragement here on the blog, on our Facebook fan page, via Twitter and email from all of you about my Salsa Showdown at the Kenmore Live Studio! Thanks for all your support!

Don’t forget: the showdown starts tomorrow night at 7 p.m. CST! You can attend in person in Chicago or watch from home live over the internet via the Kenmore Facebook fan page’s Live Studio tab. Watch our promotional video for the show and click on the Kenmore Live Studio button below the video to reserve your free tickets to attend the show in person tomorrow. We had lots of fun shooting the promo video, and I assure you that Chuy’s very nice despite all the tough-guy acting in the video. And if you come to the show, please introduce yourself afterward! I love meeting fans of The Other Side of The Tortilla!

No chefs were harmed in the filming of this video.

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To reserve your FREE ticket and get details with the studio address and directions, please click the Live Studio button below:

{GIVEAWAY/SORTEO}

And, we’ve got a very special giveaway this month!

Head over to our Facebook fan page and click “LIKE” for a chance to win a 2011 culinary calendar from our good friends at Muy Bueno Cookbook. The calendar, beautifully photographed by Jeanine Thurston, has a sneak preview of what will be in Muy Bueno’s cookbook, which I’m hearing will be out later next year. We’ll be posting some instructions on Facebook on how to win starting today. We’ll choose one lucky fan of The Other Side of The Tortilla as a winner once we hit 250 fans, so hurry and tell your friends about us!


Muy Bueno has partnered with The Denver Foundation to donate a portion of the proceeds from each calendar sale to their Strengthening Neighborhoods (SN) program. It’s a grant program that helps residents in 10 struggling Denver neighborhoods improve their communities “from the inside out.” The Grants help pay for resident leadership training, and community projects such as food pantries, tutoring programs, neighborhood gardens and school safety patrols. They have also helped with park and school cleanup, among other projects. If you are interested in learning more about this innovative program, please visit their website at www.denverfoundation.org and click on Strengthening Neighborhoods.

You can also try your hand at winning a calendar through Muy Bueno’s site and submitting a recipe. If you win, they’ll also photograph your recipe and post it on their blog.

  • ¡Suerte! Let me know what you think of the video in the comments.

COCHINITA PIBIL

taco de cochinita pibil

taco de cochinita pibil

Earlier this summer, I found myself searching every ethnic food aisle and every Mexican grocery store in Chicago for Chata-brand canned Cochinita Pibil. Having had it before, I knew it wasn’t as good as the real thing but I was yearning for that delicious achiote-flavored pork. Sadly, it was nowhere to be found. In a moment of desperation, I even searched the internet to see if I could order it from somewhere—finding out I was going to have to pay nearly $10 for a 14-ounce can, plus shipping.

All I could think about was the last time I’d eaten cochinita pibil in Mexico. After a big Christmas celebration with our extended family in Mexico City, we took a trip to Cuernavaca to ring in the new year with my husband’s parents and sister. We spent our vacation playing Mexico City Monopoly (with properties like Xochimilco and Chapultepec instead of Park Place and Broadway) and endless hours of domino. Laughter and shouts of “tramposo!” could be heard any time it was suspected that José was cheating…which was often, because he always likes to win.

On our way back to Mexico City, we stopped at a Yucatecan restaurant called El Faisán, where my suegros often visit after spending a weekend with friends in Cuernavaca. It was the first time both José and I had been there.

I know if El Faisán wasn’t as authentic as anything you’d eat in Mérida, my family wouldn’t eat there. They suggested I try the queso relleno which had a picadillo-style mixture incorporated into the cheese; it’s a favorite of one of our tias. My cuñada ordered sopa de lima and shared it with me. But what pleased my palate the most was an order of three little tacos de cochinita pibil. In fact, we ended up asking for three orders, and there was a mad scramble to get more than one little taco each. Paired with a tall, ice-cold glass of horchata to drink (another one of my favorite things), I was in little piggy heaven.

José was skeptical when I ambitiously said I was going to make cochinita. “In a regular oven?” he said, “it’s gonna be yucky.” In the Mayan language, “pib” means an underground pit for cooking, and that’s the traditional way to make cochinita pibil. Obviously that would be difficult to accomplish living on the sixth floor of a condo building in downtown Chicago, where we have no backyard. But when all was said and done and he tasted his first little taco, he gave me his standard stamp of approval—two thumbs up—and his blessing to make it again.

chile habanero

chile habanero

RECETA:

SALSA DE HABANERO Y CEBOLLA

  • 5 habanero peppers, roasted and finely chopped
  • Juice of  ½ an orange
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • 1 medium red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp white vinegar

Roast habaneros in a skillet on medium heat until they start to get a few dark spots. Cut top off the pepper and discard stem. Finely dice the habaneros.

Mix the diced habaneros with the chopped onion in a bowl (or directly in the container you intend to store the salsa in, preferably in a glass jar). Pour juices over the habaneros and onions and then add the vinegar. Toss lightly to moisten and refrigerate for at least 4 hours before serving. Keeps refrigerated for about 5 days.

COCHINITA PIBIL

  • 3 lbs pork shoulder, cut into large stew-sized chunks
  • 2 large hojas de platano (banana leaves; if you can’t find them fresh, you can usually find them in the freezer section with other ethnic foods. My grocery store carries Goya brand frozen banana leaves)
  • A roasting pan
  • Aluminum foil, preferably heavy duty

Marinade:

  • 100 grams achiote paste (one box, also called annato seed paste)
  • 1 ½ cups fresh squeezed orange juice
  • 2 cups fresh squeezed lime juice
  • 4 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • A big pinch of salt
  • A little freshly ground pepper if desired
limones, achiote 7 naranjas

limones, achiote y naranjas

Cut achiote paste (comes in a block) into small chunks. Put into food processor with orange and lime juices to break up the paste and fully incorporate into the juice. Add the garlic, salt & pepper to the juice.

Pour into a gallon-sized Ziploc bag and add the chunks of pork. Remove air and seal the bag. Place the sealed bag in a large bowl and refrigerate overnight (about 12 hours).

In the morning, remove the meat from the juice and reserve the juice. You can put the meat and the juice back into the refrigerator until you’re ready to start cooking.

To prepare the banana leaves, turn your stove burners on low heat and place the leaves over the flames. You need to heat the leaves enough so they are pliable, but you don’t want them to cook and turn brown. The leaves will turn a brighter green when they’re heated through.

Heat the oven to 325 degrees.

cochinita pibil before cooking

cochinita pibil being wrapped in banana leaves before cooking

In a roasting pan, place the banana leaves one over the other like a cross. Transfer the meat directly into the pan on top of the banana leaves. Pour about half of the reserved juice over the meat—the juice will help steam the meat so it becomes very tender. Gently fold the banana leaves over the meat, being careful not to rip them but so that the meat is completely enclosed within the banana leaves. Cover the roasting pan tightly with two pieces of foil. It’s important that steam won’t escape, so make sure the foil is really secure.

Place on the middle rack of the oven, once it reaches 325 degrees. Cook for about 2 ½ hours, or until meat is tender enough to shred gently with a fork.

Shred all the meat.

The meat can be served as a main dish itself, with side dishes such as fried plantains, black beans or rice, and as tacos or on panuchos (smaller, fried tortillas, with refried black beans in the middle). If you’re going to make them as tacos, spread refried black beans on the tortilla and then place the meat on top of the beans. Garnish with salsa de habanero y cebolla.

Yields 4 servings (3 tacos each).

SALSA VERDE (Cooked and Raw)

Tomatillos GAL

tomatillos milperos

Salsas are the lifeblood of just about every Mexican dish. They can be cooked or raw, made in the blender or in a molcajete. Salsa can make or break any dish, add a special dimension of flavor or even make a dish edible (you wouldn’t eat chicharrón without cooking it in salsa to soften the dried meat).

The simple combination of tomatoes (jitomate or tomatillos/red or green), chiles (of any variety) and other ingredients like onion, garlic and spices is essential to many traditional dishes in Mexican cuisine. Salsa verde is certainly a staple in my house, whether it’s cooked and used for guisados like chicharrón en salsa verde, or raw salsa used for garnishing tacos.

You’ll notice this same cooked salsa recipe will be used over and over again in a number of dishes you’ll read about here and I’ll reference back to it often and sometimes modify it (for example, when making chilaquiles, I substitute fresh chicken stock in place of water).

In Mexico, we’ve eaten similar recipes to mine at many of our favorite restaurants, though some places use epazote in their cooked salsa (an ingredient I don’t use). In Chicago, we haven’t found a place that makes salsa verde the way we like it—or anywhere near it, really. Because of this, we sometimes order take out from our favorite Mexican restaurants and bring it home to eat it with our own homemade salsa.

Chile Serrano WEB

chiles serranos

 

Salsa verde (cooked)

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

25 minutes

Salsa verde (cooked)

How to make Mexican cooked green salsa.

Ingredients

  • A little over 1 pound of small (milpero) tomatillos, dehusked & thoroughly washed
  • 3-6 serrano chiles (depending how spicy you like it; start with less and add them to increase heat), stems cut off
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic
  • 2 1/4-inch slices of white onion
  • A big pinch of Kosher salt

Instructions

  1. First, remove the husks and wash the tomatillos well. You’ll notice they’re sticky, which is a sign of ripeness, and probably slightly dirty under the husk. Sometimes I find that warm water isn’t enough, and I use a few drops of dish soap diluted in a bowl of warm water. Then I put the husked tomatillos in the bowl and gently rub each one in the slightly soapy water to remove the dirt and sap. Rinse them well in cool water to remove any soap residue.
  2. Fill a pot with water (large enough to fit all the tomatillos) and bring to a boil. Put the tomatillos in and cook in the boiling water until the tomatillo flesh begins to get transparent.
  3. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the tomatillos to a blender. Add the onion, garlic and salt.
  4. Cut the stems off the serrano chiles and cut each chile into a few pieces so they’re easily chopped in the blender. Start by adding 2 chiles to the blender with about ¾ of a cup of water and blend on high (liquify or puree) until smooth and the chiles and tomatillos are completely incorporated. Taste the salsa to see if it’s too hot; if it needs more chile, add them one at a time, blending & tasting the result until you are happy with the level of heat from the chiles.
  5. If it seems the salsa is not quite liquid enough, add another ¼ cup of water. The salsa will reduce slightly when cooked.
  6. Pour blender contents into a saucepan and heat over medium flame until the salsa boils, occasionally stirring. Remove from heat and allow to cool before storing in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Notes

Stores well in the refrigerator in an air-tight container for about 10 days.

http://theothersideofthetortilla.com/2009/08/salsa-verde/

Tip: for extra flavor with salsa verde cocida, you can also add 2 strips of chicharrón (with meat still attached) to season the salsa. You should add the chicharrón during the end stage when you cook the salsa until it boils for a few minutes, then remove from heat and allow to come to room temperature before storing to infuse the chicharrón flavor. This flavor infusion method only works with the cooked salsa.

Salsa verde cruda (raw green tomatillo salsa)

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Salsa verde cruda (raw green tomatillo salsa)

How to make Mexican salsa verde cruda (raw tomatillo green salsa)

Ingredients

  • A little over 1 pound of small (milpero) tomatillos, dehusked & thoroughly washed
  • 3-6 serrano chiles (depending how spicy you like it; start with less and add them to increase heat), stems cut off
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic
  • 2 1/4-inch slices of white onion
  • A big pinch of Kosher salt

Instructions

  1. First, remove the husks and wash the tomatillos well. You’ll notice they’re sticky, which is a sign of ripeness, and probably slightly dirty under the husk. Sometimes I find that warm water isn’t enough, and I use a few drops of dish soap diluted in a bowl of warm water. Then I put the husked tomatillos in the bowl and gently rub each one in the slightly soapy water to remove the dirt and sap. Rinse them well in cool water to remove any soap residue.
  2. Put the raw tomatillos directly into the blender with all other ingredients. Add the chiles to taste, starting with 2 and adding more if necessary. If it's too dry, add a few tablespoons of water to the ingredients and blend well until smooth.
  3. Serve immediately and store any leftovers in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Notes

Stores in an air-tight refrigerated container for up to 3 days.

http://theothersideofthetortilla.com/2009/08/salsa-verde/

  • What do you do differently in making your salsas verdes or where is your favorite place to eat a dish that includes salsa verde?
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