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Carne en su Jugo Jalisco Style

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This recipe is dear to my heart. A traditional dish from the city I was born: Guadalajara, Jalisco Mexico. It brings me lots of memories from my Mom’s cooking. You see my Mom is not an avid cook; but the dishes she prepared for my brother and I when we where little, where always prepared in a delicious manner, and well seasoned with love. This is one of my Mom’s best dishes for sure.

Now, how can something so simple and humble as a combination of beans, meat, and a simple broth can be so darned good? I do not know, but once you make sense out of this combination of ingredients that seems to want to be a guisado, but is not a guisado, and wants to be a soup, but its not a soup, once you prepare it, you will understand why I like it so much.

What is not to like about thinly sliced juicy meat, flavored with a little bacon, simmering in its own juices, along with fresh cooked beans and their broth, some herbs, chile and tomatillos? The result it is far better than it reads, or than it looks. It is a loose stew. Perfect for the transitional weather, when you almost want it to be Fall or Winter but its not there yet. And of course it is a must make dish on a rainy or cold weather day. Easy to prepare, one pot situation.

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Black Sesame Seared Ahi Tuna Tacos

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I’ve been craving Fish Tacos. But not any kind of Fish Taco, I mean Ensenada, Baja California Mexico Fish Tacos. The real deal. These “the” original fish tacos are often imitated, and sad to say but rarely duplicated. How can something so simple in principle, can be so hard to replicate? I really believe its all in the ingredients and the particular sazon of the cook. Have you ever tried the authentic Baja tacos?… If not, please do. Tale says that the Baja tacos were created by the street stand “Tacos El Fenix” in Ensenada Baja California, Mexico. What is so special about a Baja taco? Well, let me describe it. Imagine a tempura-like battered piece of the freshest morning pacific caught white flesh flaky fish, on a Mexican corn tortilla, light mayo-crema, shredded cabbage, pico de gallo, and a spoonful of spicy green or red spicy salsa and a squeeze of lime. The bite is ethereal, crunchy, tender, fresh, savory, acid, spicy your tastebuds go on ecstasy.
I have not eaten Baja Fish Tacos in almost 10 years!, would you believe that?…No?, me neither.

Recreating a craving from a memory of flavor could be a little daunting. I did not want to even attempt to relay into my 10-year taste buds memories to try to replicate these unique Baja tacos.

So I opted for a 360 degree of separation alternative recipe to tease and ease up my Fish Taco craving. I made these Black Sesame Seared Tuna Tacos. Sometimes my taste buds act in mischievous ways. On these tacos, I opted to seared Ahi Tuna steaks covered in Black sesame seeds instead of the deep frying battered fish.

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Summer Rolls with Mango Ginger dipping sauce

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The noodles in my head are fried. August in Texas is no joke. Our Thermostat is on a bi-polar rampage. We are trying to deny the existence of such a thing called “electric bill”. We better stay still and attempt to use the stove much less on these days. Its sad but true, I’m not even craving BBQ or to go out for lunch or dinner when the temperature outside reads 90 F degrees even at 9:00pm. I’m Summernating!

So whats for lunch and dinner these days? The freshest crunchy vegetables, cucumbers, carrots, jicama, crispy lettuce, and thin rice noodles cooked in less than 4 minutes. Summer rolls or Gỏi cuốn which translate in “rice paper rolls, are found all over in East Asia and Southeast Asia cuisine. A fine sticky rice paper is the wrapper which holds vermicelli rice noodles and vegetables. Usually these Summer Rolls are served as a popular appetizer. Odds are you have had them if you eat in Vietnamese or Thai restaurants here in the U.S. But why not make them for dinner as the meal itself?

So what are you going to need? You can find the round rice paper at almost any supermarket with an ethnic foods aisle. Or of course you can shop for them in Asian markets or Wholefoods. They are very inexpensive. If you can’t find them, well you can easily order them online if you are Summernating like me.

These rolls are filled with julianne fresh vegetables, vermicelli noodles and a lean protein, usually shrimp or pork. I used in-season ingredients like fresh cucumbers which I spiralize to create noodles. If you don’t have that handy apparatus you can use a Juliane peeler or your handy-dandy knife skills to make fine vegetable strips of your carrots and lettuce. In this version I added avocado and shrimp.
In addition of the traditional peanut sauce, I prepared a dipping Mango-ginger sauce to make them fresher and add a bit more sweetness. These Summer Rolls are what I’m craving these days.

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Preparation of these rolls is a sticky affair but I have a nice trick which helps. If this is the first time making Summer Rolls my best advice: “Do Not” follow the instructions on the package, Heheehe. Everything will be easy after that…

Most of the packages and cookbook instructions out there which (for this roll-up process I call them “des-tructions”) call to dip the rice paper in water, to soften and rehydrate. Then to carefully transfer this world’s stickiest, see-thru, delicate, rice paper film into a wood surface or a plate… Let me tell you, this is sticky fingers, crinkled edges, tear apart of a nightmare.

To avoid this situation, I will share with you my secret weapon to make these Summer Rolls, roll easily. I use a spray bottle.

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Hatch Carnitas Home Made Style

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Hatch it all! The favorite New Mexico Chiles are back in season, and here in Austin hatch season is in full swing.

Hatch everything, I mean everything. Even the things you don’t want to Hatch they will be Hatched.

This green spicy capsicum grown in the Hatch Valley along The Rio Grande, New Mexico is irresistible. The fruity and one-note spicy chile get’s you every time. It is the kind of heat that builds up little by little and suddenly you just feel like screaming FUEGO!

This sneaky and delicious chile is the August town fever here in Austin, Texas.

With this contagious spicy Hatch fever, I thought about a new spin on a classic dish from Michoacan, “Carnitas”, Hatch Carnitas is my recipe.

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Me being from Jalisco, the neighbor Michoacan state, the “carnitas” are prepared slightly different than original authentic Michoacanas. Why? Well isn’t it always like that? Different versions upon ingredients and regional. You see the authentic Carnitas are made in a huge copper pot, and if this pot comes from the coppersmithing town Santa Clara del Cobre even better! The whole pig is broken down into pieces and fry in its own fat within this large single pot. And if the pig comes from La Piedad Cabadas where the best pork is raised in Mexico, even better. Typically they are cooked outside on a wood fire, where the copper pot its triveted and set with pork lard and a huge wood paddle is used to stir the bubbling unctuous meat. Sounds like fun right?…Well not so much, when you live in the city. Honestly, you have to leave this huge production to the experts of Quiroga, Michoacan was the Carnitas were borne. If you have the chance to travel try them. They are a manjar of gods and the real deal.

Slowly but surely this Carnitas recipe traveled to the neighbor states and people adjusted the recipe to a smaller scale, fitted to a more homestyle recipe. The Copper pot gives the authentic color and flavor to the carnitas. With this in mind these recipes have been adjusted by adding different ingredients like orange juice, condensed milk, herbs and spices that mimic a little the authentic flavors. All these alternate recipes are great, in their own style.

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What I attempted with this recipe is to recreate the “Carnitas” texture and succulent juiciness without using too much fat. I used a neutral oil instead of lard. Grapeseed oil lets the flavor of the sweet pork meat shine. I used pork shoulder that I trimmed a bit to leave a leaner cut of meat, without compromising the flavor, after all, you have to remember the Carnitas origin and live some flavor. I also adapted the recipe to the flavors of the Hatch peppers. I used fired roasted hatch peppers that added a medium spicy fruity flavor, that gave the meat a great color and a sticky crusty spicy coat in combination with the sweetness from the pineapple juice. These two ingredients balanced the sweet and acidity flavor that in combination with the pork fat its the bomb. Milk and herbs as supporting cast of flavor and tenderness while it braises.

I don’t own a copper pot, but my beloved enamel cast iron red pot it’s my best accomplice. I know you are wondering why not use the slow cooker? Well, I like to be able to control the heat at any time. When you Braise on the stove like this carnitas, I cook them with a lid on for an hour and a half and then uncovered at a bit faster pace for 45 minutes or so, to obtain the best results; crusty glazed exterior and succulent moist inside. I have used the slow cooker in other attempts and the results taste more like pulled pork to me. I’m also including a Simple quick pickled vegetable that is KEY to serve along the Carnitas. This element brings them alive, an acid-spicy-sweet -crunchy and fresh component that just round up every bite. Make them its so easy and it’s a must, I could not imagine Carnitas without this pickled vegetable concoction its a classic… Slowly but surely these braised Hatch Carnitas will drive you to the moon and back, It is a great version to make at home.
Enjoy the Hatch fever!

If you want to know more about this Capsicum New Mexican Hybrid please click  here or here

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Zucchini Goat Cheese Entomatadas

 

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Entomatadas;//Adjective, En=in / tomat= from the word tomato /adas adjective termination that denotes action,”adas”
I would say that the closest translation of the word “entomatadas” or “entomatado” would be “smothered in tomato”.

These Entomatadas are the mellow cousins of the Enchiladas. They have the same concept and construction, rolled tortillas filled with infinite possibilities and covered with a sauce made with dry chiles.  The sauce used in entomatadas is made with red tomatoes, as its name suggests. Roma, or Tomboys tomatoes, or jitomate “bola” in Spanish is usually the tomatoes of choice when making this sauce, but certainly any red round meaty and juicy tomatoes, along with mild herbs and spices will work.

The basic Entomatada sauce is very mellow and showcases the best in tomatoes. In this version of mine, I rock it out a little bit by adding a single serrano, that mimics the black pepper and adds deep of flavor to the sauce. The sauce consist of boiled tomatoes, that are skinned, blended, and then sautéed with onion, garlic and fresh epazote or mint. Then its pureed for a second time to produce the most velvety and creamy tomatoey sauce. The creamy sauce contains no dairy however, which makes the sauce light and fresh. Also on the virtue of looking for a healthier, lighter version of the classic way to make entomatadas which calls for frying the tortillas, I warmed up the corn tortillas and I drizzled them with a bit of a delicious green… a grassy extra virgin olive oil! This step not only adds another layer of flavor, but also prevents soggy tortillas when the salsa is added.

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These Entomatadas of mine are filled with sautéed zucchinis, onions, sweet corn, and goat cheese. Once I roll them up, they are smothered with the piping hot tomato sauce which warms them through. These Entomatadas are best eaten warm almost tepid temperature.
Pouring the sauce separately when making any kind of enchilada is my favorite way to make them; It avoids enchilada uni-blocks. Best of all, by using this technique on these Entomatadas, is that it makes them BAKE-FREE!!! keeping you and your house odor free when you have closed the windows to run the A/C. If you don’t understand how that works, then come further South.

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Entomatadas are great for entertaining. I usually have them rolled up and when its time to serve them. I pour the piping hot tomato sauce all over, drizzle of Mexican crema or in this case I use a diluted Greek yogurt and sprinkle of queso fresco to keep them on the lighter side. Take them to the table and serve on a bed of shredded fresh lettuce and avocado wedges. I’m telling you, these Zucchini Goat Cheese Entomatadas scream Summer out loud! Whether its a midweek dinner or a potluck this recipe, its a must try! I know you will like them as much as we do!…

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Ceviche de Pulpo-Octopus Ceviche

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Octopus, the smartest, flexible and unique looking creature of the bottom of the sea. Eight arms, purple skin, side eyes, camouflage expert and a bag of attitude that will ink any snoozy neighbour. Why is this mollusk so intimidating? texture?, tentacles? I think Octopus are phenomenal, lots of personality and intelligent creatures.
Please, Do not judge by appearances this invertebrate is so delicious!. The meat is extra white, when is cooked properly, the texture is tender and mildly fishy, almost sweet. If you are lucky enough to get a fresh octopus you will taste the freshness of the sea water. You will have to tenderize the hell out of it before cooking,  like people from the Mediterranean smash their octopus against beautiful sea rocks right after being caught, or massage them until their arms are floppy and relaxed. But if you buy it previously frozen, from a good Sea food source half of the work is done for you and it saves you from doing the villain job.

 

If you follow my simple recipe instructions your Octupus will be tender, and flavorful, ready for ceviche, or just a simple drizzle of Extra Virgin Olive oil sea salt, lemon, smokey paprika and you have “Pulpo a la Gallega”. But, today, for me on a Summer day, Ceviche is my dish of choice. Trust me on this one.

I chose slightly different vegetables than the commun ceviche, like Cherry and Sun Gold tomatoes, which balance the acidity of the traditional ceviche adding a sweet balance. Also instead of red onions which for me are too strong and can overwhelm the delicate Octupus flavor, I chose shallots, they have a milder, onion and garlic profile that complements the Octupus. A good punch of heat with sharp and bright Serranos thinly sliced, that tickle your tong with out setting it on fire. Fresh cilantro, Mint and seedless cucumbers which add a lot of crunch and freshness to the dish.

If you want to eat like a Mermaid along with your Sailor this Summer, this Ceviche de Pulpo-Octopus Ceviche recipe is for you.

Jazz it up!

 

Ceviche de Pulpo-Octopus Ceviche

Serves 2 hungry sailors or 4 mermaids…

2 Medium Octopus, I used previously frozen from …*
3/4 cup Cherry tomatoes cut in halves
3/4 cup Sun Gold tomatoes cut in halves
1/2 English Cucumber, small diced
2 Shallots thinly sliced
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1-2 Sprigs of Mint just the leaves torned.
1 Serrano thinly sliced
1 Habbanero thinly siced optional
3 Juicy limes = 1/3 cup fresh lime juice approx.
1 lemon, the juice and the zest
1 glug Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Sea salt
Fresh cracked black pepper to taste, optional

1-2 Avocado Hass
Corn Tostadas, or crackers…
Extra lime for wedges
Cholula, Valentina, Hiuichol or Tabasco hot Sauce

* Thanks to Steven, Fish Monger at Whole Foods Market- Domain, Austin for saving me some octopus!

Preparation Method:

1.Fill a large pot with at least 1.5 Gallons of water. Add 1 tablespoon sea salt and 1 large bay leaf. Bring to a boil. Once Water is boiling place the two octopus into the pot and lower the heat to low simmer. Cover pot with a lid and cook for 25-35 minutes.
Cooking times:
Usually this medium-small octopus cook very fast and they are tender. If you decide to use a bigger Octopus, increase the cooking time at least for 1 hr. and 30minutes, depending on the size.
How to tell when is cooked?,Use a fork and prick the wides part of the leg. or in between the leg and head if it feels tender and inserts with no trouble, octopus is done! Remove from hot water into a iced water bowl to prevent overcooking.Octopus-Ceviche-de-Pulpo_how-to-cook-octopus_Yes,-more-please!

2. Meantime your octopus is cooling off, Chop all your vegetables, do your prep.

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3. Once your octopus has cooled down slice each arm into 1/4 inch to 1/4 inch slices, discard the center and slice the head like if you where slicing a calamari, or into dice, what ever you prefer. Place into a plater and squeeze the lime juice, add salt and olive oil.

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4. Add All the chopper Vegetables, Toss well and live it rest for 15-20 minutes. Smash 1-2 Avocados season with a bit of salt an lime juice. This will be the glue when you built your tostada.

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Call all the Sailors, Mermaids and Drummers!

Serve with tostadas and a cold beer…Enjoy!

Music Pairing: Caravan Written by Juan Tizol and Duke Ellington

Version from the movie Whiplash

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Sweet Corn Crab Cakes with Saffron Aioli

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This recipe has a long name but short preparation. Crab was never on Ian’s or my menu when growing up, but we really enjoy seafood: Mussels, Oysters, Razor Clams, Lobstah’, shrimp, fish… we love seafood the same way we love all food we sea.

So I decided to give it a shot, and make some crab cakes. I always liked how Seafood is prepared in Spain, simple, fresh but there is always an element of kick. Either from the freshest olive oil, a pinch of paprika, garlic, or a simple side of pimientos del padron. There’s always that good unexpected accent.

With this in mind I create today’s recipe  which combines sweet corn, orange zest, green onion action and sweet Louisiana crab with a delicious creamy saffron aioli with a garlic kick.

The first time I made these crab cakes we just fell in love with their flavor. These subtle flavors are a match made in heaven with the sweet crab. I could go on and on about them, but I think the photos will do the talking…Shhh, They taste even better than they look…
Crispy panko bread crumbs surround the outside of this cakes and a tender flaky and moist inside the crab just sings. The sweet corn kernels add great texture and sweetness. They are serve warm with a squeeze of lemon and the bright creamy saffron-garlic aioli on the side…mmmm, seriously good.

The recipe makes about 10 crab cakes if you use a standard ice cream scoop to portion them. They can also be made with a smaller size scoop and make bite size appetizers, Small to bigger crowds will love them.

If you are in a crabby mode, please consider this recipe as one of your top contenders.
Serve them along with green bib lettuce and some fresh tomatoes, these Sweet Corn Crab Cakes with saffron aioli it is all you need for a great Summer dinner. Have fun!

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Peperoncini Shrimp Ceviche Stuffed Avocados

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After a rainy, muggy and wet Spring, Summer arrived early here in Austin.

Temperatures are on the rise and bright sunny days with blue skies are here. Vacation time is upon us. This means get out of the kitchen!!! Enjoy the outdoors, and whether you are planning a vacation to the beach a picnic or a staycation at home, there are always ways to enjoy this great weather.

This recipe is a fresh and light option, for gatherings, entertaining, or to take to a picnic or just to enjoy by the pool, patio or in the comfort of your house watching your favorite movie or reading a book. The goal is to relax and enjoy something fresh and delicious and pamper yourself.

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These stuffed avocados are a party on a plate. The Peperoncini Shrimp Ceviche is out of this world a punch of flavor, fresh, light and serving it on avocado halves makes it just irresistible. All the delicious summer flavors: cucumbers, pineapple, onions, limes, orange juice in combination with a pepper kick from the peperoncinis and the creamy avocado make this recipe a win win situation.

Healthy? Yes, indeed. Fun to make? Yes! Peperoncini Shrimp Ceviche Stuffed Avocados It is just what you are craving on your Summer vacation.
Good music, refreshing drinks, a relaxing attitude and these  are all you need to bring the heat and enjoy your Summer vacation… Let’s cook!

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Peperoncini Shrimp Ceviche Stuffed Avocados

Serves 4 to 6 with a bit of left over to refill the avocado halves.

2-3 Medium Avocados Hass is the preferable variety from Mexico (check the sticker!)
1 pound small medium shrimp peeled, deveined and cooked.
1 small tomato small diced
½ english cucumber small diced
1 small purple onion slivered
1 cup fresh pineapple small diced
8-10 pieces of Peperoncinis sliced.
¼ cup parsley finely chopped
2 glugs or 3 round drizzles of ExtraVirgin Olive Oil
1 lime juice
1 small orange, the juice and the zest
2 tablespoons of the peperoncini brine
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
¼ teaspoon celery salt
2-3 good cranks of fresh Black pepper
Pink Himalayan salt to your taste

Preparation:

1.In a medium size bowl combine all the chopped vegetables, shrimp, and the sliced peperoncinis. Add the lime juice, the orange zest and juice, 2 tablespoons of the peperoncinies brine, extra virgin olive oil, garlic powder, celery salt, Black pepper and one or two pinches of Pink Himalayan salt to taste. Toss throughly, cover, refrigerate and let marinate for at least 30 minutes.

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2.When ready to serve, cut Avocados in half length-wise, remove pit, and slice a sliver from the backside of each half to flatten the rounded side and make them stable on the plate. With a paring knife carefully cut the interior of the avocado into a grid. This will help to make it easier to eat.

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3.Drizzle some lime juice and a little pink salt, on each avocado half place them on a serving platter and stuff with the Peperoncini Shrimp Ceviche. Garnish with lime and orange wedges, plantain chips or water crackers, Enjoy!

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Welcome the Summer!

If you are on Vacation mode, weather if it is staycation, the beach, pool party or a picnic this give away is for you!

Enjoy your Summer and Bring the Heat!!!

Thank you to Mezzetta for sponsoring today’s post and inspiring us to try your delicious peppers!

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Music Pairing: Zorba The Greek `original Sound track from the 1964 Movie

https://youtu.be/66dJoVawkb8

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. The Mezzetta company sponsored it and compensated Yes, More Please! via a cash payment, gift, or something else of value to write it. Regardless, Yes, more please! only recommends products or services we use and believe to be good fit for our readers. We are disclosing this post in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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