Jalapeno Creamy Sauce “That Green stuff”

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I know you’ve seen and tasted this creamy, spicy, light green sauce at taco stands, Mexican and Tex Mex restaurants here in Texas. This creamy green sauce is incredibly good and addictive. It’s tangy and spicy profile is irresistible. Why “green stuff” ? Its ingredients are a mystery when you taste it. The creamy texture makes you believe it has avocado or maybe some sort of cream or mayonnaise. I’ve tried to make this sauce many times with no success, until now. I even tried to buy this sauce at a super market chain here in Austin that started to sell it. After trying this supermarket version with its whopping thirty-one ingredients which did not even taste or resemble the creamy tangy spicy “green stuff sauce”.

Determined to make my own, I decided to take action and start my research. This traditional Mexican salsa was not easy to figure out, although I had sampled it many times in my life in Mexico, a very common condiment for tacos, and street food. My first encounter with this sauce was in Baja at a fish taco stand. I experimented with 3 or 4 recipes that I was given by different taco stands and restaurants. I had to eat a lot of tacos in order to get the flavors and ingredients correct or to even attempt to ask how it was made. Such are the sacrifices I make for my readers…Oh well.

After asking a few different sources, I learned the principle of how the creamy sauce was made and to my shock and surprise I discovered that this green creamy sauce is made with just five ingredients! Not a single drop of dairy, cream or avocado is used. Now my mission was figuring out the amounts. It knew it was going to be a matter of trial and error. I started to play with the five ingredients: Fresh Jalapenos, Onion, Garlic, Corn Oil and Salt . I combined them in the most sensible way possible. I attempted to recreate the recipe about three or four times by adjusting the spicy and creamy taste I had in my memory.

I tried different methods like roasting, pan frying, blistering, and boiling the chiles as referenced by my sources. Finally on the final attempt I got it! The green creamy sauce is here before your eyes and I’m sharing it with you with no edits. Easy as 1-2-3-4 steps and five ingredients.

You can make this epic sauce for a fraction of the cost and a thousand times greater in flavor in a blink of an eye. Bettter news yet, it is good for all my Vegan friends, because there is not a single drop of dairy in it.

What can you use this sauce on? EVERYTHING, from ANY taco(on fish tacos..amazing!), carne asada, fish, pork, lamb, roasted chicken, tofu, quesadillas, eggs, sandwiches, burgers, chips, roasted veggies, BAKED SWEET POTATOE FRIES (did I said, baked sweet potato fries?), roasted potatoes, pizza, hot-dogs, you can even combine this sauce with some sour cream and transform it into a dip for chips.. you name it.

Go wild!…I’m in total love with it and so glad I can share it with you. I hope you fall for it too!

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Jalapeno Creamy Sauce “That Green stuff”

Makes about 2 – 2-1/2 cups.

6 large fresh Jalapeño chiles. I weighted mine it was about 7 oz / 200 gr. give it or take.
¼ of a large yellow onion
2 large garlic cloves
½ cup corn oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt

Note: depending on how spicy are your chiles, adjust using a little splash of apple cider vinegar to brighten up the flavor.

Preparation Method:

1. In a small pot filled with water, boil the jalapenos and onions. Remove stems after they are cooked.

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2. Using an immersion blender, a food processor or a regular blender, combine the corn oil, the garlic cloves, salt and the strained jalapenos and onions.

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3. Blend until smooth and creamy.

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4. Taste for salt, adjust if necessary. Transfer to a squeeze bottle, and refrigerate. It will last for about a week… If you can contain your self! Enjoy!

Warning:

This sauce is really spicy when is warm. Please, do not panic, once the sauce cools down and its refrigerated, the extra spiciness will settle and will have a comfortable mild bright spicy flavor.

6 Jalapenos too much for you?
Substitute 3  jalapeños for 1 large or 2 small poblano peppers, remove seeds and veins. Add a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar to brighten up the flavor. Blend, Enjoy!

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Cheesy Eggplant Flautas

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Roll e’m up, folks! These Flautas ~a.k.a~ rolled tacos are scrumptious! They are filled with quickly sauteed eggplant and a strip of Oaxaca stringy cheese in a thin flour tortilla. THis recipe is quite different from your regular eggplant recipes. The eggplant marries to the cheese inside of the crunchy warm rolled-up flour tortilla, making the filling into utterly creamy vegetable goodness.
They are best served on a bed of crisp fresh lettuce, drizzled with some liquid sour cream or Mexican cream. You can make my fabulous Tomato-Cinnamon sauce for dipping it is slightly spicy and sweet, the cinnamon warms up the tomato flavor is a match made in heaven with the eggplant. A Salsa Verde  also works divine… you choose, or make them both, why not?!

I struggle to find a great variety of quick dishes for eggplant. Cheesy Eggplant Flautas are a great way to utilize those extra eggplants and a fun vegetable option that makes for a great, simple and delicious entree.

Don’t feel like frying?…then brush the rolled flautas with some vegetable oil and bake them!…

Now, get those eggplants rolling. Have fun!

Cheesy-Eggplant-Flautas_EggplantsCheesy-Eggplant-Flautas_ingredients

Cheesy Eggplant Flautas

Makes 8 Flautas

1 large eggplant cut into thick strips.
½ pound of Oaxaca cheese.
8 thin flour tortillas
4 cups of corn oil for frying.
1-2 cups of finely shredded Romain lettuce.

For the Tomato – Cinnamon salsa:

1 large red tomato such as red prudence or 2 Roma tomatoes will do too.
¼ cup fine diced sweet onion.
1 pinch of ground clove
1 pinch red pepper flakes
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon.
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon turbinado sugar or light brown sugar.
1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar
1 small glug of grape seed oil or mild olive oil.

For the Salsa Verde click here

Preparation Method:

1. Make the Salsa

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2. Boil the tomato and puree it.
3. In a small pot add oil and saute the onions until soft and translucent.
4. Add the spices and salt stir until well combined and fragrant.
5. Add the tomato puree and the sugar and cook for 5 minutes.
6. Turn off the heat and add the apple cider vinegar, adjust seasonings.
7. Saute the thick eggplant stripes using a little olive oil, season salt and pepper. Set aside.

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8. String the cheese into a thinner stripes.
9. Slightly warm up the flour tortillas, place one or 2 eggplant stripes and some cheese strings roll it tightly and secure the end with a wooden toothpick. Proceed with the rest.

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10. In a medium size heavy bottom pan add the 4 cups of oil and warm up until your thermometer reaches between 350-375 degrees.
NOTE: Take care while frying to avoid any skin contact with hot oil. Watch the pan and carefully monitor the temperature. Avoid all distractions since these flautas cook very quickly.
11. Fry the flautas until evenly golden brown around 2-3 minutes or less. Watch them at all times.

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12. Pull them out on a cooling wire rack

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13. Serve immediately on a bed of lettuce, drizzle the crema, dip into the salsa roja or verde…. bite, dip-bite-repeat. Enjoy!

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Where did I get this amazing Eggplants?…

At my favorite Urban Farm in Austin: Boggy Creek Farm

Hurry up and get yours before they are gone!

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ONE Year of Blogging for you and with you!

 

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Its time to CELEBRATE. We are thrilled to have accomplished one year of blogging with you!
We truly cannot believe it’s been one year already. This year has been an intense with constant learning and exploring in every sense. I remember a year ago I was in urgent need of a career change. Ian and I would talk for long nights and days trying to decide what to do and how to start pursuing a career that let us develop our passions. We knew we wanted to do something together that involved our skills and our love for visual arts and food. Not a restaurant, nor a food truck was not on our minds. We like to produce things but we wanted the option to create a new recipe every day. We preferred not to become accountants and administrators. Something good had to come out out of our years of college and acquired skills. Between Ian’s Fine Arts bachelor plus his 14 year photography experience and my Bachelor in Architecture and a Culinary Arts two year certificate we felt we had good ingredients to start creating.

A Tale of Three Gabys…

So discarding the would-not’s, we started filling the “YES” gaps on our list. But we could not figure out our what these conclusions amounted to!?…
I have three friends named Gaby ( yes I know, way too many Gaby’s). They are close friends from my early years; each of whom I’m grateful to have in my life. When I talk to Ian about them I have to refer them by the city of which they live; Gaby-Barcelona, Gaby-Madrid, Gaby-Guadalajara. I keep in touch with them all through Facebook where I would often post photos of the dinners I made before I began blogging. I had great comments from my friends and they often asked for my recipes. On one occasion many of their comments synchronized. My dear friend Gaby-Barcelona, said “you should start a cooking blog” and I received the same comment twice more from each of the other two Gaby’s.
~ Could I pull off a cooking blog? Who would look at it? Isn’t my kitchen is too tiny? I hardly ever follow recipes!…You can imagine all the ‘not’s’ and knots in my head. One night I had a dream about it. The next day I woke up and knew what to do. I quit my unfulfilling job and the next day I planned the first recipe. Ian was on board and fully supportive of the idea and the project, although a bit ‘confuzzled’ as to how we would make it happen (~believe me no more confused and puzzled than me!~). In our relationship, Ian is always the more thoughtful and careful character… He likes to “analyze and investigate” which is great as long as you do not get stuck in the search. I’m the crazy one, impulsive and the “lets’ go and do it now” type of thinker which is also helpful but sometimes naïve. Nonetheless, despite these two extremes of character, we make a great team. We just decided to take the plunge into blog adventure.

Let’s get started!

After we decided on the name of our blog and cooking theme (and this process deserves it’s own post~ heheh), for more than two weeks I immersed myself into the tech-world of how to design and understand the “cosa nostra” of the WordPress world. This process is complicated for some one who has not been in contact with web technology for a long time. Eager and fully committed until my brain was about to explode… I kept going. I remember Ian leaving for work in the morning and he would come back home and we would celebrate the fact that I figured out how to change the color of the font on the titles!!!~Wha! Once that I recognized I was staring idly at the screen I knew I needed extra help. Tutorials were helpful but I did not speak “tech” and I had to look up two words out of three. Bottom line: I needed help. That’s when my dear friend Andrea came to my rescue. She was my angel of mercy. She taught me with great patience and care. I will always be in debt to her. ~Love you Andrea!~ Now I was getting the ball rolling! Then I started to work on the logo. I made at least 37 logos with various fonts, colors, and names. The first one I finished did not look at all at “our”current logo. Even now we are thinking of refreshing it… oh boy! But at the time the most important part for us was to just get started and keep going.

The 1st shooting…

Our first shooting day was a long one; we spent at least 5 continuous hours. We had to figure out light quality, photo angles, and the composition. The recipe was the easy part. I have tested the recipe before and we have had it many times for dinner or lunch. A simple and delicious Jalapeno honey cornbread and tomato salad. Since it was tomato season I could not have being happier for a tomato recipe to be our first post. The best reward after the shooting was the recipe for lunch, and that’s still true today. We shoot live. When I say “what you see is what we eat” it literally it is. In manny occasions we are so tired after the shooting that we just take the whole display board to the table and eat the “beauty shot” as we call the final image. That’s when I do my final recipe adjustments if needed. Ian is my best judge.

The first post…

So with bits and ends on a Thursday July 11th of 2013, I managed to assemble our first live published post. It was terrifying and liberating. It felt like sending a message to the universe, with no answer but once we saw it on the screen. We felt really good about it. With crickets chirping in the background and our friends and family, we began to get views and a great little response. Our first day we had 153 views!lol!.. But how do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time right?

On the go!

So, we have kept going and shooting and creating recipes. We have had the worst fights of our life and the best happy feelings and joy at the same time. We have argued over a piece of radish, cutlery on the side of the plate, light placement, flavors, textures, colors, dishes, all in an effort to always give you the best recipes we can share with you.
The recipes represent who we are, what we ate, and what we are craving. I’ve learned tons about photography and Ian has learned lots about cooking. Its been the most intense year of our lives and one heck of a ride! And I’m sure we would not trade it for anything.

We can not put into words how rewarding it is to get to know new people and knowing they are enjoying the recipes. Our friends and family write comments that keep us going. Sharing who we are through our food and our visual journey is what we love to do. In total we have posted 84 times and around 82 recipes in 52 weeks. We have hundreds of viewers who visit every day in over 17 countries (shout out to Finland!). Food is a great universal language.

We aspire to inspire YOU to cook, to live up the experience and to enjoy the cooking process. Preparing a meal whether it is for one, or two, or two hundred will make your day a better day and when you share food with family and friends you are building up great memories for tomorrow. We believe homemade meals taste better when you put a little extra love to the cooking process.

To serve you cyber food its our great pleasure and we will continue sharing the love of food with you.

Thank you for being here with us all year long! Cheers for the next one to come!

Ian and Mariana

 

Our Headquarters !!!

Check out our little kitchen. If we can cook, eat, shoot, dance, fight and have fun in this little happy place you can do it to! Nothing is stopping you to have an awesome time enjoying and making the most of what you have.

~ Let’s cook!

We wish we could of invited you all… but as you can see it would be a bit crowded; hey! maybe next time you could come and cook with us?! Shoot us an e-mail if you want to be our guest, you are welcome any time.

Meantime welcome to our little happy place…Welcome-to-our-little-mighty-kitchen_Yes,-more-please!B&W

Welcome-to-our-little-mighty-kitchen_the-team_Yes,-more-please!

What the new year will bring us?

New web design coming soon…a refreshed look, printable recipes, tutorials, a section of our favorite ingredients, gadgets, books, and a more accessible music pairing gallery…stay tuned!

We are marinating the idea of publishing a book. Any ideas, contacts, or publishers are welcomed. ; )

We would love to travel our cooking, so invite us to your city, we will cook for you!

We would love to be closer to you!

The screen is our medium so shoot us a comment, tell us what you would like to see this year, what you need, what rocks your boat, what music or spice are you hooked on! We are here for and because of you!.. Don’t be shy and please share your thoughts.

All along this year we had people who helped us to become better bloggers,

to all of you readers and followers THANK YOU so very much!

 

Musika! One of our favorite local bands : Spoon!!

 

Extra Special thanks to all the people who helped us to put the extra cherry on the cake!

My friend Drea for her continuous help, support, and friendship!

Thomas for all the patience in the world and great support on the “cosa nostra” of the WordPress. For teaching me valuable tips and hints and for rescuing me every time I had to do a back up!  ~Keep calm and ask Thomas~

To all our friends who helped us with the frantic voting for The Kitchn, “Homies awards 2014″contest, hehehe, it was an unexpected and fun experience.

To The Kitchn website editors… for picking our blog as an Editor’s choice in the contest.

My Mother and our families who always have been our best cheerleaders!

Our number one follower Tamra!!! I think she has done almost all the recipes on the blog… if not all … almost close. Thank you!!!

Our Friends and bloggers from Austin Food Blogger Alliance, Adri and Matt, Maggie Perkins, Kristin Sheppard, Megan Myers, Katryn Hutchison they do an awesome work as leaders for the AFBA and in helping spread the Austin blog love! This is a great group of people in pursuit of good food and good information. I’m looking forward to a great year of active blogging adventures!

Our Special Supporters:

Sharlie Douglass from Nikon , Paul and Natalie Bardagjy unconditional friends and recipe lovers, Kirk Tuck , Mandy Earnshaw and all the good folks at Precision Camera and Video here in Austin, TX.

Our Farmers Market Friends from:

Boggy Creek Farms
My favorite happy-enchanted place in Austin, hands down they have the best vegetables in the city!
Carol Ann, Stephen, Dana, Lorig, Tina.

Johnson Back Yard Garden at the Sunday’s Muller Farmers Market,
Hector (Chef Boyardee) for always receiving us with a big smile at the farmers market stand, Thank you Hector!

Smith and Smith Farms
Great delicious eggs and the best chicken to roast. Thank you so much Colby!

Gilbert Market in Arizona
Thanks for loving sharing our recipes!!! We hope to visit you soon!!!

One-year-of-bloggin_

Thank you, thank you, thank you!

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Mexican Shrimp Cocktail

Mexican-Shrimp-Cocktail_Yes,-more-please!

Hold your horses! Hide the children! What you are about to see is food rated “R” at its best! My Mexican Shrimp Cocktail is to die for. Fresh, delicious, and savory; it’s the perfect simple light meal for a hot summer afternoon. This juicy cold and light savory cocktail is a meal in itself. What makes it Mexican style? Well the whole combination of vegetables, accoutrement, and the cold broth. It’s a savory broth made with shrimp shells and seasoned with fresh orange and lime juice, ketchup, and some dashes of hot sauce. The result is this light fresh savory broth that goes incredibly well with the shrimp. In my opinion there’s no need to buy those bottled clam juices when you can get the most natural flavor out of your shrimp!
This Mexican Shrimp Cocktail is an entrée rather than an appetizer with a dipping sauce as served in the States. In Mexico, this cocktail is typically served on the coastal cities as an iconic refreshing staple and a must have if you are spending your day on the beach. In the city, shrimp cocktail is widely known as the number one ‘hangover elixir.’
There are many variations in which more than one shellfish is added to this concoction. Common ingredients include octopus, clams, oysters, baby scallops. It is called “Vuelve a la vida” which translates to “come back to life” because its invigorating attributes. That, I can not guarantee, however I assure you that it will refresh and invigorate you on a summer afternoon. In my case, I just love the simplicity of flavors and the way the shrimp skins cooked as a base produce a magic broth with depth and character!

Prepare this dreamy cocktail for yourself ! You can make it in advance, since it is served cold on chilled glasses. For parties you can serve it with all the vegetable accoutrement on the side which allows your guests to customize their own. Keep it ice-cold at all times. It is truly a great summer crowd pleaser. Enjoy!

I can assure you this recipe will be part of your repertoire for many years to come.
Happy Summer, Enjoy!

Mexican-Shrimp-Cocktail_ingredients

Mexican Shrimp Cocktail

Serves 2 as a meal or 4 as an appetizer. It can easily be doubled or tripled depending upon family size, or friendly party crowd.

1 – ½ lbs. Jumbo shrimp, You can use a smaller size, extra-large, large and medium-large will work too, I do not recommend smaller than medium-large.
1 medium size red tomato small diced
1 small white or purple onion small diced
1 medium seedless cucumber small diced, such as jade or English cucumber.
¼ cup finely chopped cilantro
1 chile Serrano or Jalapeno with seeds.
1 small Hass avocado
The juice of one small Valencia orange
3 large limes + 1 or 2 more to garnish.
2 celery stalks
¼ wedge of a white onion.
2-3 sprigs of fresh thyme
¼ teaspoon black pepper
¼-1/2 cup ketchup sauce
A few dashes of your favorite Mexican Bottled Hot Sauce, I prefer Cholula, Valentina or Huichol.

Serve with:

Saltine crackers or Tostadas
Plantain Chips
And a really cold light Mexican beer (I prefer Modelo Especial or Victoria oh yeah!)

 

Preparation Method:

1. Place two glass serving bowls in the freezer. (Mason jars, or glass mugs will work too.)
2. Peel and de-vein the shrimp, reserve the skins and leave 4-6 unpeeled, tail-on shrimp for garnish.

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3. In a non-reactive pan place the shrimp skins, along with the celery stalks, onion wedge, thyme, a pinch of sea salt and some cracked black pepper. Add 3 cups of water and simmer for about 15- 20 minutes.

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4. Meantime, prepare all your vegetable accoutrement. Dice and chop the tomato, cucumber, onion, serrano or jalapeno peppers, limes, avocado and cilantro. Set aside.
5. Check on your broth. With a slotted spoon, remove the skins and all the vegetables from the broth. Add the peeled and deveined shrimp to the hot broth and simmer the shrimp for about 2-3 minutes or until they change color and curl up.~Shrimp cook very fast so be attentive! You do not want rubbery overcooked shrimp!~

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6. With a slotted spoon, pull out the shrimp a little before you think they are ready. They will keep cooking with their residual heat. Place the shrimp on a plate with ice underneath. (see picture below).
7. Fill a bowl halfway with ice and place a metal or glass bowl on top of the ice. Place a fine sieve on top of the bowl and drain the broth. With a wooden spoon, start whisking to cool off the broth until the temperature of the broth feels fresh and cooler.

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8. You should have around 2 to 2-1/2 cups of broth left, transfer the broth into a liquid measuring cup if you have more than 2 ½ cups discard the extra broth.
9. Start seasoning the broth. Squeeze the juice of 3 limes, the juice of 1 small Valencia Orange, add Ketchup (I used my favorite: Sir Kensington’s spicy ketchup!) add a couple of dashes of hot sauce, the sea salt, and whisk. Taste and adjust flavor for salt or pepper.

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10. Pull out the frozen glass serving bowls and start arranging your cocktail. Start by layering the ingredients and add the seasoned broth at the end. No rules here! You can add as much or as little veggies as you want. Avocado is a must, highly necessary!, A little extra squeeze of lime juice, sprinkle some cilantro and an extra dash of hot sauce…Prepare for the stampede!.. you are gonna love it. Enjoy!

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You know you want it!

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