Enfrijoladas

Enfrijoladas_easy-to-make-weekday-diner

Enfrijoladas are a humble dish. I almost can imagine some Mexican grandma in a hurry trying to make a meal with ingredients for two that will serve four or six with the beans she had. So Bad-a-bim! …she created a sauce, in order to stretch the beans, for all to eat. Aren’t these kinds of recipes the ones that everybody loves the most?…Serendipity in the kitchen can work love spells, just like this recipe.

Imagine fresh corn tortillas smothered in a smooth velvety bean sauce that has been seasoned and tinted with dry chiles. This dish features smokey anchos and a bright flavor guajillo chiles, sauteed onions and a couple of garlic cloves, all seasoned and blended to create a light and velvety bean sauce. Enfrijoladas are the cousins of enchiladas, only lighter. This velvety sauce, has a mild spice flavor, that in combination with the earthy and creamy bean texture make the most luscious bean sauce.

Enfrijoladas are typically filled with a mild creamy cheese called requeson, which would be the Mexican ricotta, creamy morsels of soft cheese mixed with crisp diced onions. Many other fillings are welcomed for a heartier meal like shredded roasted chicken, chorizo, spinach and cheese, zucchini, mushrooms, the combinations are endless. Put a sunny side up egg on it and call it breakfast!,
I personally like them served straight up. I love the flavor of the bean sauce. The chiles, onions, and garlic cloves season the creamy beans with out compromising the bean flavor; earthy, mild spicy, light and smooth. If you are feeling adventurous add some extra crunch and sprinkle some pork skin crumbs (chicharrones), to die for.

For me these bean cousins of enchiladas are my simple pleasure, beans, queso fresco, my mucha muchacha salsa, avocado, and a dollop of crema that will make me happy any day! Summer or winter, rain or shine.

Just make them, Enfrijoladas are a sure love at first bite, extremely easy to make, wether you make them as a casserole or plate them as you go, this
simple ingredients treated with a little extra love, will always “madly” love you back!
Enjoy!

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Enfrijoladas

2 cups cooked pinto beans*
2 cups bean broth
1 cup chicken stock or water
3 tablespoons sunflower oil
1 medium chile ancho, de-seeded and tail removed
2 long chile guajillo, de-seeded and tail removed
½ cup diced with onion
2 large garlic cloves
½ teaspoon salt

½ cup extra of water or milk to adjust the bean sauce consistency.

16 corn tortillas, 5” regular store bought.
For home made corn tortillas** use about a walnut size dough ball to make a 5”round
2-3 tablespoons sunflower oil

For the filling:

½ pound queso requeson(mexican ricotta), queso fresco doble crema, or crumbled goat cheese
¼ cup small diced red onion
salt to taste.

Garnish with:

Queso Cotija
Crema Mexicana
Avocado Slices
Salsa Mucha Muchacha recipe here
Quick pickled Red onions:
Thinly slice ½ medium red onion, rinse under running water really well. Place onion slices in a small bowl, squeeze ½ lime, add a generous pinch of sea salt, a pinch of dry oregano and 2-3 tablespoons of water.

*How to cook your beans tutorial
**How to make homemade corn tortillas tutorial

Preparation Method:

1.On a large sauce pan, over medium heat, warm up the oil. Add the pieces of dry chiles, onion, garlic and a pinch of salt, saute until onions are softened, dry chiles have a bright color, and slight blistered. At this point add the cooked beans along with the bean broth, and chicken stock. Bring to boil and let it simmer for about 10-15 minutes, until the dry chiles look re-hydrated and plumped.

2.Set beans aside cover for 5 minutes. Place the sauteed beans, onions chiles into a blender.
Remember to always be extra careful when transferring hot liquids into a blender. You can also use an immersion blender, or a food processor to make this sauce, although I’ve found that the blender works best to leave a smooth airy velvety sauce.

3.Transfer back the sauce into the sauce pan, keep it warm at the lowest temperature stirring now and then. Taste, and adjust for salt, or liquid if to thick. To test thickness submerge a wood spoon on the sauce, and run your finger over the back of the spoon. If the two sides remain separated, the sauce is on point. This bean sauce, should feel smooth creamy but not overly thick. If to thick add a bit more water, or milk. If it is to thin, cook up some of the liquid whisking at all times.

4.Warm up each tortilla by quick frying in a little oil, you want them soft and playable, but with a little color. Gently submerge each tortilla into the warm bean sauce. Place them into a platter fill them with the requeson-onion mixture (mexican ricotta cheese) and fold them in half or into fourths like you would do with a crepe. Once you have them all folded keep them warm in the oven. Reheat the reminder of the bean sauce and add a little more milk or water to adjust consistency.

5.Serve 3-4 Enfrijoladas per plate and ladle one or two spoonfuls of the bean sauce on top, add a dollop or squeeze some crema, sprinkle the cotija cheese, garnish with avocado and red onions…and a little drizzle of “that” Salsa Mucha muchacha

A comer!…Enjoy!

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A few drops of my mucha muchacha salsa… Mmmm!

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Let’s cook!

Music pairing: Bonito – by Jarabe de Palo

 

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Oaxacan Frittata

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Frittatas are the best way to transform simple ingredients into a magnificent meal. It’s the goodness of pie without the crust. With their lightly crusty edges, creamy soft centers, easy comfort, and the fact that almost every ingredient can play and sing along embedded in custardy creamy eggs, frittatas are the perfect Summer companion, and this Oaxacan Frittata is the one you want this summer by your side.

This Frittata is all about the Oaxacan Jewel tomatoes I grew in my little garden. I love how the combination of custardy eggs and “Quesillo” a.k.a Oaxaca Cheese, compliment the flavor of the tomatoes with out masking them. Even when cooked, the tomatoes hold their fresh and juicy flavor. The melted strings of Oaxacan cheese along with fresh herbs and a sprinkle of flaky sea salt make this Frittata the object of my Summer affection.

A Frittata for breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner, under-dressed, over-dressed, with a glass of Texas Rose’ wine or a glass of milk, crusty artisanal bread or a simple green salad, warm or cold, one gorgeous ingredient or with leftovers from your vegetable basket, a Frittata is a bare necessity,  a recipe you should always have under your sleeve.

Enjoy the Summer!

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Oaxacan Frittata

A few tricks and bits, like using a cast iron skillet is a must, it makes for an evenly cooked frittata along with a good drizzle of oil in combination with butter to crisp up the frittata’s bottom and edges.
When frittatas are cooked slow and at low temperature in the oven or on the stove top it produces the most magical situation; a crusty bottom and edges while keeping the top and center creamy. Always cover with a lid if you want to avoid the flipping. If you like a crusty top, sprinkle some dry cheese like parmesan or manchego, or a combination of one of these cheeses and a few panko bread crumbs on top of the frittata right at the end of the cooking time. Place the frittata under the broiler or salamander for a quick 1-2 minutes until slightly golden brown, and you’ll have the so desirable crusty top.

Serves 4 hungry gardeners

1-1/2 lb Heirloom tomatoes I used a combination of Oaxacan Jewel “hint the recipe name”, Cherokee, and Cherry tomatoes
2-3 green Mexican onions, if using scallions use 4 including the white part
1 serrano, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons Sun Flower oil
1 tablespoon butter

8-10 eggs
1/3 cup Mexican Crema Oaxaca style if possible. (Crème Fraîche will do to)
2 cups shredded Oaxacan cheese
1-2 fresh sprigs of Oregano remove leaves, and roughly chop.
1 fresh sprig of Epazote, or/ Mexican Marigold Mint. Remove leaves, and roughly chop.
Sea salt and Black pepper to season

3 extra serranos for garnishing
Lime juice and sea salt.

Cooking Preparation:

1. Cut the tomatoes.
I like to cut each tomatoe differently so you and your guests can recognize each tomatoe when is cooked. Besides, the fact it looks more appetizing, they hold their shape better when cooked, and by removing some of the fleshy seeds your frittata will not get soggy. So, I sliced the large tomatoes, halved the cherry tomatoes, and cut in wedges, and removed the fleshy seeds on the the medium size cherokees.

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2. In a 9″ cast Iron pan quick sauté green onions, garlic, and serrano until bright green. Set aside to stop cooking.
3. Quick sauté the tomatoes. Set them aside.
3. Whisk the eggs, crema, black pepper a pinch of sea salt, sprinkle some of the herbs.

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4. Into the cast Iron pan, add a drizzle of sunflower oil, a layer of half of the tomatoes, 2/3 of the sredded oaxacan cheese and half of the custard. Then add the rest of the tomatoes, on an even layer, and top with the rest of the Oaxaca Cheese sprinkle the rest of the herbs, crank some fresh black pepper, sea salt, and a drizzle of olive oil.

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5.Place the frittata in the oven, and bake at 325F for 12-15 minutes or until top and center is just set but slightly giggly. Remove from oven and cover for a few minutes. The remainder heat will cook the egg center, with out over cooking the edges.

 If you like a crusty top, sprinkle some dry cheese like parmesan or manchego, or a combination of one of these cheeses and a few panko bread crumbs on top of the frittata right at the end of the cooking time. Place the frittata under the broiler or salamander for a quick 1-2 minutes until slightly golden brown, watch at all times to avoid  burning, and you’ll have the so desirable crusty top.

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6. Let Frittata set for 5- 10 minutes before serving, it will help set and you can slice it easily. Serve along with a green salad, crusty bread, or what ever rocks your boat, Enjoy!

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Oaxacan Summer Frittata

Music Pairing: Jeepers Creepers 1958 Louis Armstrong and Jack Teagarden

One of  the best versions out there, ever recorded!

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Ceviche Verde

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To hot to cook fish? Let the Limes do it. This Ceviche Verde, is refreshing, light, green, tangy, zesty, crisp and crunchy vegetables, tender tuna marinated in lime juice, surrounded by creamy avocados… are you with me?…Yes!

Ceviche is an original dish from Peru. Peruvians are the kings of making the best out of fresh fish. To corroborate this statement you need to know about Peruvian Chef Gastón Acurio.  Chef Gastón has placed Peru, their culture, and Ceviche at another level in his country and internationally, all through a labor of love that started in the kitchen, that for me, no other chef has achieved with his cooking.

Recently I watched the movie “Finding Gaston”  I was extremely moved by his culinary life, the way he changed his course of action as a chef, his way of living, and how he decided to remain humble and rooted by his Peruvian culinary traditions in the kitchen. Through his cooking, Chef Gaston transformed the way he chose to embrace his culinary endeavors. He created a forceful network that helped his country economy. By honoring the relationships with the people in the fields, the farmers, the fisherman, the artisans and eliminating the middle man, he deals and exchange products directly with the working people. In doing so, he not only trade products, but experiences ways of life, and he gives back the respect and full understanding of all the efforts that are involved in their pursuit of craftsmanship. All this labor and these relationships, bonds and enrich his cooking authentically. At the same time this exchange awakens in people a sense of pride and honor in their traditions.

I strongly believe cooking and culture go hand in hand. If you strengthen your cooking traditions, you can pull people together; friends, families, neighborhoods, towns,  countries, all can start in the kitchen. That’s why is so important for us Yes, more please! bloggers ~Ian the photographer and Mariana the cook~, to illustrate our recipes with step by step photos, to empower and give you the confidence that you can cook!…I love it when people start caring, they nourish their cooking habits, and spark some inspiration in their cooking.

You can move mountains with cooking… or little grains of sand… little or big every effort is equally important to me. Cooking creates memories, habits, roots, traditions. You can start creating today. Thats why this movie, was fascinating.  I was really moved by Chef Gastón philosophy of work and how it empowers and awakens the caring for their roots and pride in their craft, in other cooks.

With all these elements in mind, I was inspired to create this Ceviche Verde “my style”.  México also has inherited Ceviche in their own way,  it is a common dish in the coastal towns. It always has been part of our culinary traditions. Mexican Ceviche is categorized as street food with a few exceptions to the rule. Being from Mexico,  Ceviche has its own place in my heart, its the healthy street food for us and a Summer must. I remember fondly  the ceviches in Ensenada, Puerto Vallarta, Todos Santos-Baja California and the Ceviche from my Aunt Paloma.  They are many versions of Ceviche Verde out there, this is mine.

I humbly dedicate this Ceviche Verde recipe to Chef Gastón Acurio!
      “Esperando algún día, el poder alinear y llevar acabo estas ideas en mi cocina Mexicana”… Gracias y Salud!

Ceviche-Verde_ingredientsCeviche-Verde_Yes,-more-please!

Ceviche Verde

Serves 4 sailors 6 mermaids

Notes for the Cook, please when in making this recipe, very carefully read the instructions.  I’m giving you very specific easy to follow instructions, some of my little secrets about how to make the best ceviche at home. This ceviche verde is served with corn tostaditas, plantain chips, or thin salty crackers. It Makes for a great lunch or light summer dinner.  If you are entertaining, ceviche can be served in avocado halves one half per person, stuffed with 2-3 generous spoonfuls of this ceviche will make a great appetizer. I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we did. Lets cook!

1.5 lbs Fresh Tuna, sushi grade.  I used SkipJack fresh tuna*
1/2 cup lime juice aprox. 4-5 large juicy lemons
1 yellow lemon
1/4 teaspoon Sea Salt

All the following ingredients finely chopped:
1/2 small white onion
4 scallions white and green parts
1/2 cup cucumber de-seeded
6-8 small tomatillos
1 tablespoon capers
4 tablespoons Parsley

1 green apple small diced

1 thinly sliced Serrano pepper
10-12 Mexican Hierbabuena or Mint Leaves chiffonade
1/2 cup Castelvetrano Olives

Garnish with:

Avocado
Limes
Mint
Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Serve with: Crackers, Plantain Chips, Corn chips, OR Tostadas

*If you want to know more about different kind of tuna and the safest way to consume it click here to view a green peace full report on the matter.

Preparation Method:

1. Start by preparing the tuna. Place fresh tuna block into the freezer for about 10-15 minutes before cutting. Prepare your plastic cutting board, and a set of nesting wide shallow bowls or platters one with ice cubes and place the second bowl on top of the ice, to keep the diced tuna as cold as possible while you dice it. Using the sharpest long knife you have, cut tuna into 3/8″ of an inch medium dice cubes, about 1X1x1 cm. Place the diced tuna in the iced bowl as you go, to keep it cold and temperature safe.

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2. Line the tuna dices in the shallow bowl into one layer, add the lime juice and 2 small pinches of salt. Discard de ice of second bowl. Place the top bowl with the tuna into the refrigerator and let macerate for 15-20 minutes.

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3. Diced tuna should have white edges and a soft pinkish color, with deep red centers. If it looks like this, your tuna is ready, unless you prefer your fish more cooked, give it another 5-10 minutes.

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4. Discard about 3/4 of the lime-tuna juices. This pink liquid is known as “leche de tigre”, “tiger milk” some people reserve this juice and mix it with hot sauce, onion, cilantro, or coconut milk and  serve it as a little side shoot. Tale has it that is not only delicious, it also gives lots of energy and vigor. I can not attest of this benefits, yet I can say the little cocktail concoction is delicious.  If you feel adventurous give it a shot, if not just stick to the ceviche plan preparation and discard this juice.

What I do know for sure is that this step of removing the lime juice -tuna juices it is quintessential to the flavor and ceviche preparation. Often the biggest mistake I have found while watching other people prepare their ceviches is living this juice in it. Why? well, for many reasons, one is flavor, it makes the dish extremely acid, cloudy, muddy and unbalanced. By removing all this juices you clear out the flavors leaving the fish flesh to shine. Another and MOST important reason, by removing this lime juice, you stop the cooking process so your fish does not overcook and stays on the right consistency and texture. And third your vegetables stay crisp and crunchy, and of course the ultimate reason you give yourself and other people the opportunity to try that “Tiger Milk” …. hehehe…

So, please make sure you remove all those lime-tuna juices before adding the rest of the ingredients.

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5. Now time to re-season the tuna. Add 2-3 good drizzles of a green and grassy extra virgin olive oil, the rest of the sea salt, gently toss, add a pinch of sugar, gently toss .

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6. Add all the chopped vegetables and herbs, white onion, scallions, cucumbers, tomatillos, green apples, capers, parsley, serranos, olives, mint, and the juice of 1/2 yellow lemon about 1 tablespoon. Toss well and taste. Adjust seasoning if necessary with sea salt, . Gently toss well let flavors marry for about 10-15 minutes.

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7. When ready to serve, plate the ceviche in a nice cold platter, avocado slices on the side, a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. Garnish with mint, and slices of lemon. Enjoy

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“How we use the power of cooking to transform the life of our people, our loved ones” ~ Gastón Acurio

Want to know more about Ceviche origins:

Check this link http://www.foodrepublic.com/2012/04/13/the-mysterious-origins-of-ceviche/

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Coconut Lime Mint Paletas

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Summer is here, and that Strawberry Moon was driving everybody crazy!… Like this crazy refreshing Coconut Lime Mint Paletas will drive you crazy too. Creamy, light and tangy, not overly sweet, the addition of mint make them light and fresh.

They are a breeze to make and sooooo E A S Y!…

As Cliché as it sounds: “put the lime and the Coconut…Yes, you call me in the morning, you call me in the morning
I’ll tell you what to do if you call me in the morning… Doctor!
Woo-oo-ooh, ooh-ooh-ooh
Woo-oo-ooh, ooh-ooh-ooh
Woo-oo-ooh, ooh-ooh-ooh, ooh-ooh-ooh

Enjoy the Summer, stay cool.

Coconut Lime Mint Paletas

Makes 12-14 Paletas about 2-2.5 oz each or upon how large your paleta molds are…

2 – 13.5oz cans of unsweetened Coconut Milk*
2/3 of a can “La Lechera” Condensed Milk**
1/2 cup shredded organic coconut plus a bit more to sprinkle some on the top.
8 large leaves of Mexican Hierbabuena or Spearmint.
the juice of two large limes, about 1/4 cup of juice
The zest of 1 lime
1 pinch of salt

One 12 Paleta Mold and 12-14 wood paleta sticks.

Directions:

1. Place all ingredients on a blender, blend until mint leaves are little speckles and the concoction is creamy and homogenous.

2. Poor into each paleta mold and freeze for 20 minutes, then insert wood sticks and continue freezing for about 3-4 hours.

3. Unmold, sprinkle some extra shredded coconut, lick, bite, repeatEnjoy!

*I used Chaokoh Coconut milk brand, I like it’s  fresh and creamy taste. You can usually find this brand at any Asian Market, it is worth to look for it!
** La Lechera condensed milk by Nestle,  is one of the few brands that do not use corn syrup so I like it!

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Stay cool!

Music Pairing: Put the Lime and the Coconut – Harry Nilsson

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