Chilaquiles

If I had to pick a favorite class of food as of late, I’d have to go with Mexican.
The flavors are always big, bold, and exciting, the food looks rustic and mouth-wateringly good, and it never fails to hit the spot. So you might discount me some given my predisposition when I say that this dish is absolutely incredible comfort food: chilaquiles.

So what are chilaquiles? They’re like nachos but far more awesome and actually authentic rather than some over-priced pub appetizer. I think the best way to describe it is a casserole of stale/fried corn tortillas, a sauce of your choosing (red, verde, molĂ©–whatever), and a whole bunch of whatever else you have handy (chicken, eggs, avocado, radish, cheese, crema, etc). This dish is meant to be relatively simple to prepare, a great way to make the most of leftovers/random odds and ends, and most of all, is said to be great hangover food. Chilaquiles… click to read more…

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Carne Asada Tacos with Pico de Gallo and Elote

A while back, I had tried a playful twist on carne asada in the interest of trying something different, so I thought it would only make sense to simplify, satisfy my craving, and try the real deal: carne asada.

Carne Asada Tacos with Pico de Gallo and Elote

Honestly, the actual inspiration for this came from another direction. The side dish was what planted the seed for this in my head. I had seen a curious recipe for something called elote, that I had to try. Honestly, the idea of mayo + corn sounded….bizarre…to say the least, but I’d heard of it on more than one occasion (and for those who are skeptical, I have to say, this is probably one of the most incredible ways to eat corn. I will preach the gospel of elote to anyone who will listen from now on. Its tangy, bright, zippy, and somehow, cornier than plain corn). So with elote on the menu, I figured Mexican was… click to read more…

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Bean and Quinoa Chili

After having finally tried my hands at making beans the real way rather than from a can, I’ve been meaning to do it again because man oh man were those good. I wanted to do something more than just feature beans as a side dish though, so I decided to try to make them the star of one of my favorite meals: chili. Since this wasn’t going to be loaded up with beef like I’m used to though, I thought I needed to ensure there was still a good amount of protein, so in addition to the beans, I also added some quinoa after seeing the two together.

Bean and Quinoa Chili

Now I realize this meal could have gone all vegetarian, but I couldn’t help myself–I live in swine country, so I used a bit of pork for seasoning (some chorizo and fatback) to enrich the flavor of the dish. The result… click to read more…

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Avocado, Mango, and Beef Risotto

Despite me pushing them on her many times before, my wife has recently (finally!) discovered the wonder that is an avocado. Served with simply a dash of salt, its a fantastic thing. Given how many more avocados I’ve suddenly found consumed in our house, it only seemed appropriate that I center a dinner around it. Many ideas came to mind, but it had been awhile since I’d made a risotto, and given how creamy and rich those tend to be, this seemed like a match made in heaven.

Avocado, Mango, and Beef Risotto

The tricky thing with avocados is I think they disappear into a dish very easily, becoming an indistinguishable source of creaminess and I really wanted their unique flavor to be at the forefront. They can also be a bit tricky in that you can’t really cook them. My solution? I began with a lemongrass infused stock for cooking the risotto. I opted to flavor the rice with… click to read more…

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Chipotle, Cheddar, and Chorizo Corn Chowder

I love when corn is in season. I tend not to cook with it all that much–I usually just grill it by the day and eat it straight off the cob. But after seeing this chipotle corn chowder, I knew I had to do something similar. I originally planned to replicate the recipe as is, but as I started making changes, I found I was tending to add a bit of a South American flare to it, so I ran with it.

Chipotle, Cheddar, and Chorizo Corn Chowder

Now I had no interest in making a soup–I wanted a chowder, and a chowder needs a bit more body to it. So to add a thick, starchy base, I opted for green plantains instead of the usual suspects like roux or potatoes (although I did add a bit of corn meal, but hey, its a corn chowder, so that’s different, right?). Melting cheddar into the soup towards the end also added a bit… click to read more…

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Mexican Inspired Paella Verde

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I love paella. This Spanish cousin-of-risotto leaves itself wide open to modification and reinterpretation, and so in keeping with my recent interest in Mexican flavors, I decided to focus this paella on a bunch of my favorite green Mexican produce, grabbing peppers, limes, avocados, and tomatillos before seeing where this took me.

Mexican Inspired Paella Verde

I was originally worried this dish would come out almost too green in color, but instead, the rich, chili flavored stock colored the rice with a fantastic brown/amber that made the other components of the paella really pop out visually (and when it comes to paella, appearance matters since you typically serve it straight from the pan).

Discussions about appearance aside, what about the flavor? The paella was delicious! It had a surprisingly full, earthy, nutty, solid foundational flavor brought by a rich chili-centric stock. The tomatillos added pockets of sweet/sour tanginess while the… click to read more…

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