Pickled, condiments and Salsas

Vegetable Taco Fillings A Mexican love letter to Vegetables

Vegetable Taco Fillings_Ideas_ recipes _Yes, more please!

Feelings…. nothing more than Fillings”… Hello friends, we’re back.We have been on a roller coaster; from a vacation in Mexico, to Slow Wine Festival, meeting new people, giving cooking classes, Ian giving lots of photography classes…we have been busy, but you have always been on our minds.

Visiting my Mexico after more than eight years was reinvigorating. Being back in my birth country was very fulfilling and I felt my roots strongly. We were welcomed at the airport with a big familiar smile and , thankfully, we did not have to get in the long customs line. During the visit we could eat and breathe the delicious in-season ingredients that Baja produces; from papayas, to avocados, chiles, lettuce, pineapples, limes, guanabanas, tomatoes, chard, radishes, you name it!. I just felt like a fish back in the water, especially walking along the pristine coastline. Now I’m melancholic… its hard to forget the people, the laughs, the air and the sea… and the food. From freshness, flavor, aroma, ingredients, preparations, sazones… can you imagine? Good thing we just visited one little town…Phew!

I have harnessed the melancholy and channeled it into a love letter to every Vegan and Vegetarian who has felt neglected by the Taco Love. Yes baby, not one, not two, but EIGHT vegetable fillings that will add vitamin “V” (vegetable) on any Taco night!

Continue Reading →

View Post or View Comments 1

Salsa Mucha Muchacha AKA Salsa Macha

Salsa-Mucha-Muchacha-a.k.a-Salsa-Macha_Yes,-more-please!

This is one of my salsa obsessions. In the chile kingdom and its spice scale, this Mucha muchacha salsa has the best flavor and intensity in my opinion. Chiles are one of my dearest ingredients because by preparing them in different ways they transform and have multiple flavors and textures to offer far beyond simply spicy and hot. The level of spiciness can be tamed by the cook and by combining different chiles one can create new flavors. From smoking, toasting, roasting, frying, charring, grilling, steaming, boiling, its an endless combination that ends with a delicious result and the best accent for a meal.

Like this salsa.

This salsa will make your heart sing, and speak in tongues.

Continue Reading →

View Post or View Comments 7

Grilled Lamb and Autumn Chimichurri

Grilled-Lamb-Chops-with-Fall-Herbs-Chimichuri_Yes,-more-please!

This recipe is one from our grill. It was inspired by that fire kiss char flavor one gets from cooking over coals. Francis Mallmann, one of my culinary heroes, discovered his true culinary craft in his birthplace, Argentina. He embraced his roots, and cooks from the primal force: Fire. Taming this element is what he does best, his instincts and knowledge based on French disciplinary techniques gives him the perfect alibi to be one with fire. It’s his passion, intuition, and adventurousness that make him the king of char. I had the opportunity to meet him at the presentation of his book “Seven Fires” here in Austin, Texas. Its a cookbook I can recommend to anyone who wants to explore and understand open fire cooking.

It wasn’t until I tried his technique on my own little grill that I experienced Mallmann’s big flavor world. Besides discovering and loving the char flavor, one of my favorite recipes from his book is the Chimichurri. It is made, gaucho style with fresh herbs married to the extra virgin olive oil and a salt solution called salmuera. This kind of chimichurri is not the one that resembles pesto, the herbs are finely chopped transforming the oil and brine into a magical loose herbed infusion in which you can taste all the herbs in harmony and discord at the same time.

Fall-Herbs-Chimichuri_chopped-Herbs_Rosemary,-Thyme,-Oregano

Continue Reading →

View Post or View Comments 0

Saffron Garlic Aioli

Saffron-Garlic-Aioli_-saffron-vinegar_Yes,-more-please!

Hello, hello I hope you had a great 4th of July, grilling and celebrating. Ours was kind of quiet, we grilled on a Sunday and had a very relaxing situation. I have three things to say about this aioli, Make it today! No excuses no apologies, once you try this creamy, velvety aioli you are gonna fall in love.

I used this Saffron garlic Aioli as complement, that works more like an accent on my Sweet Corn Crab Cakes recipe.  Also it works great on: Grilled vegetables, smother some on grilled corn on the cob, shrimp, grilled salmon, any fish, fish fillet, fish tacos, calamari, octopus, pasta salad, hamburgers, grilled chicken,  poached eggs, sandwiches, crostinis, tomato salad, COLESLAW!, toss a bit of this bright yellow aioli on your deviled eggs, on a green salad, on your old shoes, your arm, forehead, cherry tomatoes, … I’m telling you this Saffron Garlic Aioli is the bomb!…The Saffron flavor shines, with a floral, smokey and bright yellow tint in combination with the garlic sharpness. A tangy note from the vinegar, and its incredible creaminess is what makes this aioli irresistible. Transatlantic ingredients = BIG bold flavors give it a shot what else is there to ask for this will make you crave your vegetables in such a way that should be illegal.

You will need just 5 ingredients, 10 minutes, and an immersion blender… then you are hooked!

With no more to say, Enjoy.

Saffron-Garlic-Aioli_-ingredients_Yes,-more-please!

To make this Creamy- dreamy Aioli you will need…

Continue Reading →

View Post or View Comments 0

Cucumber Avocado Pico de Gallo Salsa

Cucumber-avocado-Pico-de-Gallo-and-Salsa-tips-Yes,-more-please!

Hello friends, a quick recipe for your weekend. This is a great fresh salsa-guac! It is not a guacamole, it is not your usual Pico de Gallo, its both! The cucumber adds crunch and extra freshness and the avocado adds a bit of creamy goodness. What else could you ask for?… It is a quicky to make just what you need on a long weekend, something fresh to snack on along with some refreshing drinks, perhaps like this fabulous Texas Caipirinha… ehehm…

Besides the recipe which is so easy to make, I would love to share with you a few of my tips when making Fresh chopped Salsa fresca, mostly known here in USA as “Pico de Gallo”. Enjoy!

Sharp knife:
Everything has to begin with a sharp knife. Nothing ruins good salsa more than a dull knife. Mushy cuts do not make a salsa very appealing and ruins the texture. So, sharpen those blades, baby!
Tomatoes:
Mix them up! Juliet, Cherry tomatoes, Sun golds, Lemon Boy, Roma, Heirloom, right now is the right season were there is plenty tomato goodness to choose from. 
My favorite Tomatoes in Austin, TX are the ones that Boggy Creek Farms produce. Click here to visit this beutiful Austin Urban Farm is one of the best.
Cucumbers:
English cucumber, or Jade are my favorite since they don’t have to many seeds, thin skin, they keep their crispy texture when marinated.
Red Onions:
Red onions  are  sharp in flavor. My advice is after dicing the onions give them a quick rinse, drain them and add them to your salsa. Rinsing them will make them milder by washing away that milky pungent liquid. You, your loved ones and your guests will appreciate the little extra care!
Avocado Hass:
This kind is the creamiest of all avocados. They have a fleshier inside and small oval pit. Choose the ones that are firmer to the touch it should feel like well done steak. These level of ripeness will hold better in this kind of salsa-guac, creamy, not mushy.
Dicing Jalapeños:
Rub a bit of cooking oil in your hands before cutting a jalapeño, this will protect your hands from the spicy burn.
Remove seeds and vein or leave them up to how spicy you want it!
 A good way to know when a pepper is spicy, is to smell the pepper. Cut the pepper length wise. Smell it. If it smells like fresh-cut grass it will be very mild. But, if it smells like fresh cracked black pepper you hit the jack pot is a spicy one. Watch out! maybe you just one one jalapeño in your salsa…
Limes:
Use limes, instead of lemons. They have a sharper acidity that balances great with the sweetness from the tomatoes.
Sea salt:
Why Sea salt instead of Kosher? It tastes fresher and the salt crystals brighten up the salsa flavor.
Fruit:
You can add other fresh fruit if you feel adventurous like Mangos, Strawberries, Green papaya, Pinneapple, Jicama, Peaches, the world is your canvas!

I hope these simple tips help you to get inspired and give a refresh spin to your salsa. Do you have any tips when making salsa? I will love to read about them.
Share them here and shoot us a comment!

Relax and have a great weekend!

Cucumber-avocado-Pico-de-Gallo-and-Salsa-tips-chips

Cucumber Avocado Pico de Gallo Salsa

Makes 1, 2, 3 or 4 people dance!

2 cups diced fresh tomatoes of your choice, check out my tips above.
2 cups finely chopped cucumbers
½ cup finely dice white onion
1 medium size avocado Hass chopped in small cubes
1-2  jalapeños small diced one with seeds one with out.
1 small bunch of cilantro, finely chopped
2 large juicy limes
2 good pinches of dry mexican oregano
1 teaspoon sea salt

Corn Chips… lots of them!

Preparation:

In a large bowl combine all the chopped ingredients, season with salt and add the oregano by rubbing between your fingers like if you where to snap the oregano at it. This warms up the herb and makes it into smaller pieces which flavors the salsa better. Add the lime juice 
toss and serve with corn chips and your fabulous Texas Caipirinha like this on the side…Enjoy!

Cucumber-avocado-Pico-de-Gallo-and-Salsa-tips-make-salsaYes,-more-please!

Make your Salsa dance…

Music Pairing: Salsa – Tito Puente

View Post or View Comments 0

Red Plum-Ginger-Jalapeño Chutney

Red-Plum-Ginger-Jalapeno-Chutney-Plums_Yes,-more-please!

My mouth waters with this recipe…Juicy and sweet red plums chunks, a hint of spice from the jalapeño, aromatic cinnamon, clove and fresh ginger to brighten up the flavor. The kitchen smelled like a sinful geisha wardrobe. This Chutney is very versatile. It pairs great with some grilled pork chops, purée a couple of tablespoons and use as glaze for baby pork ribs, serve along grilled or roasted chicken, Pan seared Mahi-mahi or any white flesh fish. Toss one or two spoon fools into a steamed bowl of quinoa, add a couple of pinches of salt and you will have a great side. As an appetizer will go wonderful with some triple cream brie, baked brie or goat cheese, some crackers or crostinis… sigh*

Of course on a simple toast with a little butter, to wake up with a kick in the morning a cup to tea or the ultimate pairing: On a melted ham and cheese sandwich…Oh! yes my friends, a sinful combination. Before your eyes something so simple can become so ridiculously good…

Have a great Memorial weekend, and enjoy the simple pleasures! Make this Red Plum-Ginger-Jalapeño Chutney, put it on your pocket, take a road trip, place it on your basket of goodies along with cheese and crackers, snack, rest, repeat…Enjoy!

Red-Plum-Ginger-Jalapeno-Chutney-sliced-and-pitted-plums-Yes,-more-please!

Red-Plum-Ginger-Jalapeno-Chutney-diced-jalapenos_Yes,-more-please!

Red Plum-Ginger-Jalapeño Chutney

Makes 2 cups

8-12 ripe Red plums pitted and cut in quarters and eights.
¼ cup turbinado sugar
6 tablespoons of honey (Adjust honey amount depending on the plum sweetness)
1 teaspoon of olive oil
1-2 small diced jalapeno
1-2 teaspoons of fresh grated ginger
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 stick of mexican cinnamon
A dash of ground clove.

Making the chutney:

Over medium high heat in a stainless steel pan place the plums, sugar, honey and cinnamon stick. Let the plums warm trough about 4-5 minutes. Once that the sugar and honey start looking bubbly, add the grated ginger, diced jalapeno, cider vinegar, olive oil and the dash of clove. Let simmer for about 5-6 minutes, until the juices look translucent and some of the plums have started to get soft and you can smash them easily with a spoon. Turn off the heat and set aside. Keep on a glass jar, refrigerate after cooling down, it lasts for 1 week in the refrigerator… if you are lucky!

Red-Plum-Ginger-Jalapeno-Chutney_making-chutney_Yes,-more-please!

Red-Plum-Ginger-Jalapeno-Chutney_Yes,-more-please!

Red Plum-Ginger-Jalapeño Chutney

I know it might be a little early for plums, but this weekend you can find them the weekend

at the Farmers Markets here in Austin, Tx!

Music pairing: Electric Light Orchestra: Mr. Blue Sky

View Post or View Comments 0

Jalapeno Creamy Sauce “That Green stuff”

Jalapeno-creamy-sauce_'that-green-stuff'recipe-Yes,-more-please!

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!

Jalapeno-creamy-sauce_'that-green-stuff'

Jalapeno Creamy Sauce “That Green stuff”

Makes about 2 – 2-1/2 cups.

6 large fresh Jalapeño chiles. Mine weighed about 7 oz / 200 gr. give it or take.. you can make it half a pound why not!
¼ of a large yellow onion
2 large garlic cloves
½ to 3/4 of a cup corn oil, grapeseed oil, sunflower oil or extra virgin olive oil, or a combination of two.
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. Remember you can use any other chile you prefer, like Serranos, Poblanos, Habaneros, Bell peppers, Anaheims, Gueros, California, Hatch… or a combination of them!

Preparation Method:

1. In a small pot bring water to a boil, enough water to cover the chiles and piece of onion.  Simmer the jalapenos and onions for about 15-20 minutes until they change in color and are fork tender, but not mushy. Carfuly remove stems after they cool down a bit and strain some of the excess water.

Boil-the-Jalapenos-and-onionsJalapeno-creamy-sauce_'that-green-stuff'_add-all-togehter
2. Using an immersion blender, a food processor or a regular blender, combine the corn oil, garlic cloves, strained  jalapeños onions and salt.

Jalapeno-creamy-sauce_'that-green-stuff'_blend-until
3. Blend until smooth and creamy, about 3-4 minutes  using an inversion blender, about  5-6 minutes on a blender or food processor, until it looks frothy, creamy and pale green.

Jalapeno-creamy-sauce_'that-green-stuff'_smooth_2
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 and Notes:

*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.

**If sauce is to thick add bit of the water in which the jalapeños were cooked, or a dash of apple cider vinegar. It always its more lose when recently made, once its refrigerated it tends to congeal, just give it a couple of nice shakes and it will be alright.

Keep in the refrigerator. It last about 2 weeks… if you are lucky!

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!

Jalapeno-creamy-sauce_'that-green-stuff'-Yes,-more-please!-spicy

Music Pairing: 17 Hippies – Just like You

 

4.97 from 31 votes
Print

Jalapeno Creamy Sauce “That Green stuff”

Course Condiments, Salsas, and Sass
Cuisine Mexican
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes

Ingredients

  • 6 large fresh Jalapeños, about 1/2 pound
  • 1/4 large yellow onion
  • 2 large garlic cloves
  • 1/2-3/4 cup Corn Oil, Sunflower oil, OR Grape seed oil
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt

Instructions

  1. 1. In a small pot bring water to a boil, enough water to cover the chiles and piece of onion. Simmer the jalapenos and onions for about 15-20 minutes until they change in color and are fork tender, but not mushy. Carfuly remove stems after they cool down a bit and strain some of the excess water.

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

    3. Blend until smooth and creamy, about 3-4 minutes using an inversion blender, about 5-6 minutes on a blender or food processor, until it looks frothy, creamy and pale green.

    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!


Recipe Notes

Warning and Notes:

*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.

**If sauce is to thick add bit of the water in which the jalapeños were cooked, or a dash of apple cider vinegar. It always its more lose when recently made, once its refrigerated it tends to congeal, just give it a couple of nice shakes and it will be alright.

Keep in the refrigerator. It last about 2 weeks… if you are lucky!

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!

***Depending on how spicy are your chiles, adjust using a little splash of apple cider vinegar to brighten up the flavor. Remember you can use any other chiles you prefer, like Serranos, Poblanos, Habaneros, Bell peppers, Anaheims, Gueros, California, Hatch… or a combination of them!

 

View Post or View Comments 137

Red Charred Salsa

Salsa-Roja-Asada_Ingredients

It seems like magic to me how with just a few ingredients you can achieve a whole lot of attitude, an incredible amount of deep of flavor, and spice. I’ve seen lots of recipes calling for way more trouble and ingredients than this one and they do not end up tasting half as good. This recipe has only four ingredients.

What makes this salsa dance?…It’s all about the cooking method. Slow charred tomatoes, toasted dry chiles and a lot of arm work make this salsa like no other you’ve ever had.

If you have the time to disconnect for a bit and make this recipe the old fashioned way, you will find the salsa bright center of the universe. What is the difference between blenders, food processors and immersion blenders versus mortars or pestles? Well its in the name. All a blender does well is as its name describes; it blends, which leaves more whole seeds in the salsa than you might wish for. Now, let’s talk about mortars-molcajetes. For me, there is a tremendous amount of nostalgia in using a mortar/molcajete because the act of using a stone vessel is a whole different experience in the kitchen. It relaxes me and makes me conscience of the transformation of the ingredients and therefore I savor the whole process. Besides the romantic aspect, the difference I see between blenders and Mortars is that mortars pulverize the seeds, as you smash them against the stone adding extra flavor to the salsa. The stone adds flavor to the sauce and you are able to enjoy the earthy aromas when smashing the garlic and the sea salt, the toasted chiles, the smell of the fruity tomatoes as the consistency of the salsa changes. I would recommend you try to make the salsa this way for the simple pleasure of it.

Salsa-Roja-Asada_Molcajetes&modern-blenders

I know nowadays we all are creatures of convenience; if you are not as romantic as me about the whole traditional process~ Hey! Food processor or immersion blender are my weapons of choice. They get the job done in a fraction of a second and get you ready to enjoy the salsa in less that 5 pulses. Best of all is that with this recipe you can still achieve a great deal of flavor by using them.

Flavor wise this salsa has a smokey background and medium moderate spiciness. Please don’t be scared about the amount of chiles. Dry chiles when toasted, become smokey and very pleasantly pungent. Combining these kinds of chiles balances the act. Chile de arbol brings the spicy note and chile cascabel adds deep, color and character. The charred tomatoes and the garlic make this salsa extra savory. Fresh onion and chopped cilantro add a bit of fresh texture that makes the salsa irresistible to eat with chips.

Despite your method of choice, I assure you this red charred salsa will make you dance. It is a staple at our house I make a batch every other week. It keeps really well in the refrigerator for up to ten days.
It is quite a versatile salsa. I use it to top ranchero eggs, breakfast tacos, pork loin, carne asada, beans, bean soup, shrimp, whole fish (like red snapper), and if you add more tomatoes it is a great salsa to use in chilaquiles rojos. And of course its great with chips and salsa a good pilsner beer for spicy little snack. Enjoy!

Salsa-Roja-Asada_Yes,-more-please!

Red Charred Salsa

Makes 4 cups

3 medium large tomatoes about 4”round is what I used.
(like Better boy, Big Beef, Bush big boy. Any juicy, meaty tomato with high acidity content work best)
8-10 dry chiles de arbol
3-4 dry chile cascabel
2 medium garlic cloves, peeled
1-1 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
water

Garnish with:

½ medium size red onion and small bunch of cilantro, finelly choped

Preparation

1. In a cast iron pan or “comal” toast the chiles at medium heat, turning them constantly using a wood paddle. Once they look evenly toasted and showing an intense dark red remove the pan from fire and let them cool a bit until easy to handle. Remove chile stems.

2. Using the same cast iron pan, place tomatoes upside down, set the heat over medium, cover them with a lid to apply some pressure on them so heat will cook them more evenly. Turn them upside up and keep rotating them until well blistered, charred skins and they look cook through. About 8-10 minutes.
Once the tomatoes are charred and cooked set them aside until easy enough to handle. Remove skin, and with a paring knife remove the core of the tomatoes.

3. If making salsa in the food processor or blender:
Place tomatoes, garlic, sea salt, and toasted chiles in blender or food processor and pulse until coarsley or smooth blend. Add a little water if needed. Taste and adjust for salt if needed.

4. If making salsa in the molcajete or mortar:
Place garlic cloves and sea salt in the mortar, smash until pureed. Add toasted chiles 2 at the time and smash until a coarse paste, make sure you smash almost all the chile seeds. If you need more traction add a pinch of sea salt. Once you have a paste, add one tomato at the time into the mortar and smash until well combined. Repeat until you add all 3 tomatoes. Taste and adjust for salt and salsa consistency. This is entirely up to you. Add a bit of water at a time, until you feel is the right consistency for you.

Salsa-Roja-Asada_Toasting-chilesSalsa-Roja-Asada_grinding-chilesSalsa-Roja-Asada_Grounding_chilesSalsa-Roja-Asada_chilie-pasteSalsa-Roja-Asada_detail-smashed-seedsSalsa-Roja-Asada_Chard-tomatoesSalsa-Roja-Asada_grinding-the-tomatoesSalsa-roja-Asada_Yes,-more-please_spicy!

Red Charred Salsa

Top with fine diced onion and cilantro, serve at room temperature,

along with chips and a nice cold beer. Eat with abandon!

Salsa-Roja-Asada_Yes,-more-please!_chips+salsa+lime+beer

View Post or View Comments 5