food for thought

by michelle

Posts Tagged ‘mexican food

eggplant mexican style

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Eggplant (aubergine), not a common ingredient in traditional Mexican food, is now appearing in modern Mexican cuisine. Here it’s served with a sauce made with tomatillos and chipotle chillies in adobo sauce. Both are sold in cans and widely available where Mexican ingredients are sold.

Slice some eggplants lengthwise into thin slices. Season with salt and pepper and brush with oil. Cook on a barbecue or a hot griddle over medium heat until the eggplant has some colour and is soft inside. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, sauté 1 chopped onion and 2 finely diced cloves of garlic until the onion is translucent. Add 4-6 roughly chopped tomatillos (green tomatoes). Cook for a few minutes until they are softened. Transfer them to a small blender, add some fresh coriander (cilantro) stems and 1 chipotle in adobo sauce as well as some of the sauce. Blend to a suitable consistency and serve over the eggplant. Crumble fresh cheese over the top (I used goat’s cheese) and garnish with some coriander leaves. I served my eggplant with avocado dressed with salt and lime and buttered corn on the cob.


Written by michelle picker

June 5, 2019 at 12:22 am

seafood stew

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This hearty seafood stew (Cioppino) is Mexican in heritage and was lovingly recreated by Mary from this Rick Stein recipe. Instead of monkfish, Mary substituted Rock Ling.

Remove the heads and shells from 12 large prawns (shrimp), leaving the last tail segment in place. Set the prawns aside and simmer the heads and shells in 700ml (1½ pints) of fish stock for 20 minutes before straining and discarding them. Set the stock aside. (If you intend to leave out the first step make sure you have a good quality stock.) In a small saucepan bring 3 tablespoons of red wine vinegar and 1 tablespoon of sugar to boil, reduce to a couple of teaspoons and set aside. Now heat 1 tablespoon each of olive oil and butter in a large saucepan. Add 5 minced cloves of garlic, ½ a finely chopped onion, 1 finely chopped stick of celery and 1 finely diced green pepper and cook over low heat until the onions have wilted and become translucent. Add 100ml (3½ fl oz) of white wine, 1 teaspoon of salt, plenty of freshly ground black pepper, ½ – 1 teaspoon of chilli flakes, a 400g (14 oz) can of chopped tomatoes, the fish stock and the vinegar reduction. Simmer for 30 minutes adding 1 teaspoon of oregano for the last 5 minutes. To finish add 250g (8.8 oz) of fresh fish cut into chunks, 20 cleaned raw mussels and the reserved raw prawns. Cover and cook for 5 minutes. To serve, toast some sourdough bread, rub with raw garlic and drizzle with a little olive oil. Garnish the stew with chopped parsley.

Written by michelle picker

May 8, 2019 at 12:11 am

meringue cake with strawberries

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Cindy made this Mostachon (big moustache), a speciality of Monterey in Mexico. The cake has a deliciously chewy walnut meringue base and a rich cream cheese topping which droops around the edges – hence the name? It’s always served with fruit, in this case it was strawberries.

Preheat oven to 170°C (340ºF). Grease and line the base of a 22cm (9″) springform cake pan. Using an electric mixer, whisk 6 egg whites with a pinch of salt until you have soft peaks. Continue whisking while adding 1⅓ cups of caster sugar, a little at a time until you have stiff peaks. Add 2 teaspoons of pure vanilla extract and combine. Fold in 150g (5.3 oz) of plain sweet crushed biscuits and ⅓ of a cup of crushed walnuts, then spoon the mixture into the pan and smooth the top. Bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown and dry to touch. Remove the cake from the oven and allow it to cool completely before adding the topping. To make the topping beat 250g (8.8 oz) of cream cheese for 5 minutes until smooth then beat in 250g (8.8 oz) of sour cream, 2 tablespoons of powdered sugar and 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract.  Spread this over the cake and top with sliced strawberries.

* from this recipe by Phoebe Wood


Written by michelle picker

May 1, 2019 at 12:20 am

tuna mornay mexican style

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No time to shop? Here’s a new twist on an old-fashioned favourite using canned tuna.

Finely dice an onion, a red or green pepper and some Jalapeno or Poblano chillies and fry them gently in some vegetable oil until the onions start to wilt. Add some frozen corn kernels and cook for a few minutes more. Sprinkle in 2 tablespoons of flour and some oregano, ground cumin, smoky paprika and salt to taste. Cook for 2 minutes then slowly add 600ml (20fl oz) of milk, stirring constantly to avoid lumps. Cook until thickened. Drain a 425g (15 oz) can of tuna and reserve the liquid (you might need this if the mornay becomes too thick). Flake the tuna and add it to the mixture along with ½ a cup of breadcrumbs and ½ a cup of grated cheese. Serve with brown rice dotted with pumpkin (pepita) seeds and a salad of tomato, avocado and coriander (cilantro) simply dressed with salt and lemon juice. Don’t forget the hot sauce!

Written by michelle picker

January 30, 2019 at 12:07 am

Posted in fish & seafood

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mexican brunch

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We love our lazy late breakfast or brunch. And Mexican food is the perfect way to wake up your tastebuds.

Finely chop 1 onion, 1 red pepper, 1 chorizo and 1 fresh chilli and fry them in a little oil until the onions are translucent and soft. Add a drained can of kidney beans, some frozen corn kernels and 1 or 2 chopped tomatoes. Cook until the tomatoes are at least a little melted, add plenty of coriander (cilantro) and season to taste. In a separate pan fry some eggs. To assemble, place some of the bean mixture onto the plate, top with a fried egg or two and garnish with crumbled tortilla chips. Serve with hot sauce.

Written by michelle picker

November 21, 2018 at 12:15 am

huevos rancheros

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Here’s a great wake-up breakfast – fried eggs served the Mexican way.

If you want to make your own fresh tortillas (and there’s nothing better!) see how to do it here. These ones were made with blue corn masa which is a little coarser than white corn masa and therefore results in thicker tortillas.

To make refried beans, a classic accompaniment for all Mexican meals, 1 cup of beans and 4 cups of water will produce 2½ cups of cooked beans. If you remember, you can soak them overnight but a quicker method is to boil them for 4 minutes and then soak them for 1 hour. Next they need to be cooked for 45-60 minutes (or 10 minutes in a pressure cooker) until tender. Drain, retaining the liquid, and set aside. In a saucepan, heat a generous amount of vegetable oil and sauté 1 finely diced onion and 1-2 cloves of garlic until translucent. Add any or all of the following dry herbs and spices to your taste: cumin, oregano, chilli, smoky paprika, cayenne pepper. Add the beans and fry over medium heat for 5 minutes, stirring to prevent sticking. Now add some of the liquid and salt to taste.

For the ranchero sauce  place 4 large tomatoes and 5 fresh serrano chillies over an open flame, on a barbecue or under a hot grill until you see some charring. Place them in a blender with 2 cloves of garlic and process to a textured sauce consistency. Heat some vegetable oil in a saucepan and add a small finely diced onion. Cook gently until translucent then add the blended ingredients and ½ a teaspoon of sea salt (or to taste). Cook over high heat until slightly reduced and thickened, stirring from time to time.

Now all you need is fried eggs. When they’re cooked to your liking, place them on the tortillas, top with some sauce and garnish with coriander (cilantro). On the side, refried beans and avocado lightly salted and drizzled with lemon juice.

Written by michelle picker

August 15, 2018 at 12:10 am

mexican beef skewers

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From Chef Gabriel Gambou of Arrecife Restaurant in Colima, Mexico, this recipe was published in The Taste of Mexico by Patricia Quintana. Tender barbecued beef skewers are served with a rich and dark sauce made with cascabel chillies (shown here with refried black beans).

For the beef, use strips of sirloin or hanger steak, preferably with some fat marbling for tenderness. Thread the beef onto skewers, alternating with onion and green peppers if you wish. In a mortar and pestle crush 1-2 cloves of garlic with some salt, add freshly ground black pepper and ground cumin to taste and combine with ¼ of a cup of vegetable oil. Brush the oil mix onto the meat skewers and leave them to rest in the fridge while you prepare the sauce. For the sauce, fry 6 dried cascabel chillies in some oil until fragrant. Drain and soak them in hot water for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, roast a whole tomato by heating a dry griddle or heavy pan and cooking the whole tomato until the outside is charred. When the chillies are softened, drain them and keep the soaking liquid. Remove and discard the seeds and place the flesh into a blender or food processor. Add the roasted tomato, ½ a white onion, 4 cloves of garlic, 1 teaspoon of cumin seeds, 2 bay leaves and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Add a little soaking liquid and blend until you have a good consistency. Cook this sauce in a little oil until the onions and garlic no longer taste raw. Season with salt and a little sugar to taste.

To cook the beef, brush with a little more oil and some clarified butter and cook on a barbecue, turning regularly, until the beef is to your liking. Serve with corn tortillas and other accompaniments such as re-fried beans, guacamole and fresh salsa.

Written by michelle picker

March 14, 2018 at 10:58 am

Posted in meat

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