I was born and raised in Kansas and learned to cook alongside my mother. Now, along with my wonderful husband, I have taken the plunge into the city life in New York. These are my food adventures: in my own tiny kitchen, and in the many restaurants of the city.

Showing posts with label Tex-mex. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Tex-mex. Show all posts

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Bean and Cheese Taquitos

Sometimes life surprises you with its twists and turns. Yet other times the changes it throws your way were foretold long ago and you just didn't have the proper clarity to see them.

I picked up photography at the ripe old age of 10. Signing up for 4-H for the first time my mom allowed us two choices each for our first year to keep us from getting bogged down and for some reason the camera called my name. Over the years I took classes and workshops, even attended photography camp. I spent hours and hours in the darkroom with fellow 4-H'er Kendra--that time led us to become best friends (a title we hold for each other to this day). I shot for the newspaper and yearbook in high school.

Once college rolled around, however, my focus turned toward theater. Sure, I carried my camera to parties and contributed significant numbers of pics to the annual theater banquet slide show, but I no longer was a student of the form. After college I stopped even carrying a camera most of the time.

Yet last fall as I trudged through the Food Media intensive that I was involved in, my love for photography pushed itself back to the surface. I remembered the thrill I get from capturing a fleeting moment and preserving it for the future. I even realized that I can get some of the same joy out of working in the digital Lightroom as I did the old school darkroom (though I do miss the company). Somehow this old hobby has slowly reemerged as a strong component of my current and future career. It's something I never expected.

As I relearn and continue to evolve my craft, I've embarked on a Project 365 that started on January 1: posting a photo a day to force myself to think with a photographic eye, to make sure I'm carrying my camera more often, and to help capture the moments that make up my year. You can follow the project on my Tumblr or check out all the photos so far on my Flickr.

Bean and Cheese Taquitos
Regardless of changes in life it's always nice to come home to a simple meal. Canned beans get a bump in flavor by cooking with some onions and spices then get mashed and rolled up in tortillas with plenty of cheese. Baking them adds crispness without too much oil. Then they are served topped off with a homemade chunky salsa, whipped avocado, and sour cream.

5 TB cooking oil, divided
1 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic
1 large can black beans
1 t. cumin
1/2 t. chili powder
1/4 t. seasoned salt
1/4 c. stock (or water)
2 c. cheddar cheese, shredded
1 1/2 c. cotija cheese, shredded
12 flour tortillas

for the salsa:
1 c. chopped cherry tomatoes
1/4 c. finely chopped onions
1 clove garlic, chopped
1/2-1 jalapeno, chopped (depending on heat preference)
2 TB cilantro, chopped
1 TB lime juice

for the whipped avocado
2 avocados
2 TB sour cream

Sour cream, for serving

Heat the oven to 400.
Drain the beans and rinse them under water.
Heat 2 TB cooking oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and saute until tender. Add the beans and the cumin, chili powder, and seasoned salt. Stir together and cook until the beans are warmed through. Add the stock or water and mash the beans slightly. Remove from the heat.

Place the remaining 3 TB cooking oil in a small bowl. Use a pastry brush to brush the bottom sides of the tortillas with the oil. Spread a couple of tablespoons of beans on the inside of each tortilla and then sprinkle with cheddar and cotija cheese. Roll up tightly and place on a baking sheet. Bake until browned and crispy, about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile make the salsa. Mix together the chopped cherry tomatoes, onion, garlic, jalapeno, cilantro, and lime juice. Add a bit of salt and pepper to taste.

For the whipped avocado, scoop out the flesh of the avocados into a bowl and beat vigorously with the sour cream.

Serve the taquitos topped off with the salsa, whipped avocado, and a dollop of sour cream.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Corn and Bell Pepper Salsa

Did you see this brilliant video that PBS put out to celebrate Julia Child's 100th birthday?

I think it is impossible to watch Julia or read about her without feeling infected by her passion for food and cooking. It just flows out of her with pure joy. Do you ever feel that way when  you are cooking? I've found that I'm constantly in awe of how a certain technique will turn random ingredients into something completely different--sugar melting into a rich caramel or flour becoming bread. Or how the addition of just a pinch of an ingredient, say red chili flakes or lemon juice, can completely make a dish. The way science and art combine in the kitchen always surprises me and makes me happy. It helps make the act of preparing a meal a relaxing, enjoyable endeavor.

It wasn't always so. If you remember, I recently discussed how before I discovered the art of mis en place there was a lot of profanity being thrown about while dinner was cooked. Part of that anger/frustration also came from the lack of knowledge. I think anyone who spends much time in the kitchen remembers the time before it was second nature--when you worried over every detail and were never quite sure how a dish would turn out. Often times people who don't cook much don't realize that everyone who does started out at this place and that practice, practice, and more practice is the only way to move past it. It's wonderful to now be at that level where more or less I know a dish will turn out thanks to all that time spent screwing up in the past. This knowledge also leads to the comfort of preparing dinner. It's almost like playing an instrument at a concert--the movements just come out of you naturally as you beat out the rhythms of the recipe. It flows through your body without a thought, even when preparing a dish that is new to you.

This corn salsa is my own invention and I had made it once before, but didn't have a recipe to follow the second time around, a couple of years after the first batch. The memory of how the dish tasted was still there, however, and the ingredients and quantities came together without hardly a thought. It seemed natural that this was the way this salsa was supposed to come together.

Now I will finally get it down "on paper" and share it with others in hopes that they will enjoy it as much as I have, and perhaps one day prepare it from their own taste memory and experience.
Bon apetit, indeed!

Corn and Bell Pepper Salsa
3 ears of bi-color corn
2 small to medium purple bell peppers
1/4-1/3 c. chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 c. chopped onion or shallot
2-3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 jalapeno, finely chopped
juice of 2 limes
1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. pepper

Shuck the corn and clean well. Cut off the kernels and place into a medium mixing bowl.
Cut the purple bell peppers in half and remove the stems, seeds and ribs. Chop into small cubes. Toss into the bowl with the corn. Add the chopped cilantro, onion, garlic, jalapeno, lime juice, salt and pepper. Toss all of the ingredients together and taste. Add more salt and pepper if needed and more jalapeno if you want a bit more heat. Keep chilled until ready to serve with tortilla chips as a dip or on top of tacos.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Vegetable Tortilla Soup

My little sister got married last week. It's still hard for me to believe. Despite the fact that we are both grown ups and I have been married for 5+ years myself, I think I still see her a bit as a kid. But it fills me with so much joy to see her settling down with a man who makes her laugh and who is brimming with love for her. I've been smiling all week with remembrances of moments from the wedding and the busy week leading up to it. It was lovely to pass the time with my sister and mom checking off all of the little last-minute tasks. I even got to sleep in the same bed as my sis for a couple of nights--something we haven't done since the night before my wedding--and talk and catch up as we drifted off to sleep. The quality family time was just the peaceful jolt my soul needed.
My beautiful little sister and her husband.

Joe and I arrived back from Austin to an extra rainy, dreary week here in NYC. To settle back in and to waste away a relaxing Monday off together, we whipped up a batch of tortilla soup. This is my favorite version we've made to date, so I'm sharing it with you even though I didn't get any pictures to go along with the recipe. I hope you get the opportunity to prepare this comforting soup and share it with your own loved ones soon.

Vegetable Tortilla Soup
serves 6-8
2 TB cooking oil
1 large onion, chopped
4 stalks green garlic or green onions, whites and greens chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 1/2 c. frozen corn
1 10 oz. can enchilada sauce
1 c. water
32 oz. chicken or vegetable stock
1/4 lb. cremini mushrooms, sliced
2 c. sliced kale
10 oz. can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
2 t. seasoned salt
1 t. chili powder
1 t. cumin

1 avocado, sliced
sour cream
shredded cheddar cheese
tortilla chips

Heat the cooking oil over medium high heat in a large dutch oven. Add the onion and cook until slightly tender, about 4 minutes. Add the green garlic and bell pepper and cook until these are also slightly tender, about 3-4 minutes. Add the frozen corn and stir for a minute, then add in the enchilada sauce, water and chicken or vegetable stock and bring to a boil. Then add the cremini mushrooms, kale, kidney beans, seasoned salt, chili powder and cumin. Cook until it all comes to a boil and the mushrooms are slightly tender and the beans are heated through, about 5 minutes. Taste and add salt and pepper as you please.
Serve in bowls topped off with the sliced avocado, a dollop of sour cream, a good handful of cheddar cheese and tortilla chips.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Taqueria Style Tacos, Taco Seasoning and Guacamole

I was craving tacos last week in a major way, but I really wanted to try something a little new as well. I came across a recipe on allrecipes that got rave reviews and decided to give it a try. I'm so glad I did because it was delicious. I will be making these again and again. The marinade is perfect for these tacos, but would be great for just grilling the steaks as well.
Alongside of the steak tacos I also served regular ground beef tacos with a simple seasoning mix, some guacamole, and the fresh corn pancakes.

Taqueria Style Tacos

3 pounds flank steak
1/3 cup white vinegar
1/2 cup soy sauce
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 limes, juiced
1/2 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon ground white pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon paprika

1 white onion, chopped
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 lime, juiced

2 large tomatoes, chopped
2 jalapeno peppers, chopped
1 white onion, quartered
4 cloves garlic, peeled
4 dried New Mexico chile pods
1 pinch salt and pepper to taste

1 (32 ounce) package corn tortillas
2 cups grated cotija cheese (optional)
2 limes, cut into wedges

Lay the flank steak in a large glass baking dish. In a medium bowl, whisk together the vinegar, soy sauce, 4 cloves of garlic, juice of two limes, and olive oil. Season with salt, black pepper, white pepper, garlic powder, chili powder, oregano, cumin and paprika. Whisk until well blended, then pour over the steak in the dish. Turn over once to coat both sides. Cover with plastic wrap, and marinate for 1 to 8 hours.
In a small bowl, stir together 1 chopped white onion, cilantro, and the juice of 1 lime. Set aside to use as a relish for the tacos.
Heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Toast chile pods in the skillet for a few minutes, then remove to a bowl of water to soak for about 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C).
Place the tomatoes, 1 onion, jalapenos, and 4 cloves of garlic onto a baking sheet. Roast in the oven for about 20 minutes, until toasted but not burnt. Place the roasted vegetables, and soaked chile pods into a blender or food processor, along with salt and pepper. Puree until smooth.
Heat vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cut the marinated flank steak into cubes or strips. Cook, stirring constantly, until the meat is cooked through and most of the liquid has evaporated.
Warm the tortillas in a skillet for about a minute on each side to make them pliable. Tortillas may also be warmed in a microwave oven. Arrange two or three tortillas on a plate, and lay a generous amount of beef over them. Top with a sprinkle of the onion relish and a large spoonful of the pureed salsa. Add as much cheese as you like. Garnish with lime wedges, and serve.

Taco Seasoning
1 TB chili powder
1/2 t. garlic powder
1/4 t. onion salt
1/4 t. red pepper flakes
1/4 t. dried oregano
1/2 t. paprika
2 t. ground cumin
1 t. salt
1 t. black pepper
1/4 t. celery salt
1/4 t. cayenne pepper
Mix together and use as seasoning for ground beef for tacos.

3 avocados, peeled and and chopped
1 tomato, diced
1/2 jalepino, finely diced
1 t. salt
1/2 onion, finely chopped
2 TB cilantro, chopped
1 TB hot sauce
1/4 t. cayenne pepper
1/2 t. pepper
2 t. garlic powder
Mix all ingredints together. For a non-chunky guac (as my husband enjoys it), place into a food processor and pulse until it reaches the consistency you desire.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Fall in the City

Autumn is finally coming to New York. It is my first fall here in the city and so far I am in love with it. The cool air seems to have pushed out any of the strange smells that linger during the summer and brought with it a refreshing, invigorating scent. It also seems to help awaken the senses out of the summer grogginess and make me feel more alert and aware of everything around me. And my favorite part of all, it brings along the season for soups, hearty meals, and baking! Almost every day while walking in the crisp fall air I have the urge to run home and make some bread or cookies.
This weekend I was heading to a friends house for a house warming party and decided to bring them some banana nut bread alongside with some wine. For some reason it turned out a little more crumbly than usual. I don't know if it was because the bananas were not mushy enough or if I used too much flour, or if the recipe was just a little different than the one I usually use (I used the Better Homes and Gardens recipe, but while growing up I used Betty Crocker's). Either way, it still tasted just as good.

Banana Bread (BH & G)
1 1/2 c all purpose flour
1 1/2 t. baking powder
1/4 t. baking soda
1/4 t. ground cinnamon
1 egg
1 c. mashed bananas (3 medium)
3/4 c. sugar
1/4 c. cooking oil
1/2 c. chopped walnuts or pecans
Grease the bottom and 1/2 inch up the sides of an 8X4X2" loaf pan; set aside. In a medium bowl combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and 1/8 t. salt. make a well in the center of dry mixture; set aside.
In another bowl combine the egg, bananas, sugar cooking oil. Add egg mixture all at once to dry mixture. Stir just until moistened (batter should be lumpy). Fold in nuts.
Spoon batter into the prepared pan. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 50 to 55 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted near center comes out clean. Cool in pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove loaf from pan; cool on rack. Wrap and store over night before slicing.

Last night I decided I would try my hand at one of my favorite recipes from my mom, her Crazy Quilt Crust Pie. It's a mexican casserole she would make when we were kids and it was one of my favorite dishes. A slightly crispy, very flaky crust filled with sour cream and hamburger, refried beans and cheese, it is hearty and perfect for a cool fall evening. After finishing up with dinner, I had to try out a cookie recipe I found for Cappuccino Crinkles.

Crazy Quilt Crust Pie (from my mom)

(for the Crust)

1/2 c. flour

1/2 t. salt

1/2 t. baking powder

1/4 c. shortening

1/2 c. sour cream


1/2-3/4 lb ground beef, browned and drained

1/2 package taco seasoning

1/2 c. sour cream

3/4 c. refried beans

3/4 c. crushed tortilla chips

1 c. shredded cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 425. Lightly grease and flower bottom and sides of a 9X9 casserole dish. Combine all ingredients for the crust and stir until blended. Batter will be slightly lumpy. Spread batter thinly on the bottom and thickly up the sides of the casserole dish. Spread refried beans for first layer on the dough. Next, mix together the hamburger, sour cream and taco seasoning and spread as the second layer on top of the refried beans. Top with cheese and then with the crushed tortilla chips. Bake for 25 minutes.

Cappuccino Crinkles (BH&G)

1/3 c. butter

1 c. packed brown sugar

2/3 c. unsweetened cocoa powder

1 TB instant coffee granules

1 t. baking soda

1 t. ground cinnamon

2 egg whites

1/3 c. low-fat vanilla yogurt

1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour

1/4 c. granulated sugar

In a large mixing bowl beat the butter or margarine with an electric mixer on medium to high speed about 30 seconds or till softened. Add the brown sugar, cocoa powder, coffee granules, baking soda and cinnamon. Beat till combined, scraping sides of bowl occasionally. Beat in the egg whites and yogurt till combined. Beat in as much of the flour as you can with the mixer. Stir in remaining flour. Place the granulated sugar in a small bowl. Drop dough by a teaspoon into sugar and roll into balls. Place 2" apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 8-10 minutes till edges are firm. Transfer cookies to a wire rack and let cool.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Chicken Tortilla Soup and Foccacia Bread

I'm so excited for the fall. It means that my kitchen is cooler and I can spend more time in it, plus it brings on the season for hearty, delicious soups. I love this slow cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup that I found on Allrecipes.com and decided it was time to try out a homemade Foccacia Bread for the first time--this recipe also from Allrecipes. I learned that next time I won't make the dough so thin before baking it because I like my foccacia a little thicker, but the flavor was wonderful and paired nicely with the slightly spicy soup.

Chicken Tortilla Soup
1 pound shredded, cooked chicken
1 (15 ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes, mashed
1 (10 ounce) can enchilada sauce
1 medium onion, chopped
1 (4 ounce) can chopped green chile peppers
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups water
1 (14.5 ounce) can chicken broth
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 bay leaf
1 (10 ounce) package frozen corn
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
7 corn tortillas
vegetable oil

Place chicken, tomatoes, enchilada sauce, onion, green chiles, and garlic into a slow cooker. Pour in water and chicken broth, and season with cumin, chili powder, salt, pepper, and bay leaf. Stir in corn and cilantro. Cover, and cook on Low setting for 6 to 8 hours or on High setting for 3 to 4 hours.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
Lightly brush both sides of tortillas with oil. Cut tortillas into strips, then spread on a baking sheet.
Bake in preheated oven until crisp, about 10 to 15 minutes. To serve, sprinkle tortilla strips over soup.

Focaccia Bread
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon white sugar
1 tablespoon active dry yeast
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1 pinch ground black pepper
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 cup water
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup mozzarella
In a large bowl, stir together the flour, salt, sugar, yeast, garlic powder, oregano, thyme, basil and black pepper. Mix in the vegetable oil and water.
When the dough has pulled together, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface, and knead until smooth and elastic. Lightly oil a large bowl, place the dough in the bowl, and turn to coat with oil. Cover with a damp cloth, and let rise in a warm place for 20 minutes.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C). Punch dough down; place on greased baking sheet. Pat into a 1/2 inch thick rectangle. Brush top with olive oil. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and mozzarella cheese (I only had about 1/8 c. of mozzarella cheese, but it tasted delicious anyway!).
Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes, or until golden brown. Serve warm.

Saturday, June 30, 2007

WC Platinum Chef Challenge #2

The ingredients: Blueberries, Hot Peppers, Cheese, Corn, Citrus Fruit.

My experience with this round: This is one of the best meals I have made, but the pictures are some of the ugliest!! I promise these dishes both taste a lot better than they look!

Blueberry-Chipotle Enchiladas
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 Tblsp oil
Juice of two limes
1/2 t. cumin
1/2 t. chili powder
1/4 t. garlic powder
8 oz. shredded Monterrey Jack cheese
4 large (or six smaller) tortilla shells

For Sauce:
1 8oz. package cream cheese
1/2 cup blueberries, chopped in half
chipotle peppers in adobe sauce, chopped (to taste--I added too many and it was a little too spicy)
1 can black beans
1/2 cup corn
1/2-3/4 cup Monterrey jack or cheddar cheese to top

Top the chicken with lime juice, garlic powder, cumin, and chili powder. Cook in skillet with oil over medium high heat until chicken is cooked through and juices run clear. Remove from skillet and shred (I've found that using one fork to hold the chicken in place while using the other fork to shred works well for this).
Fill each tortilla shell with 1/4 of the shredded chicken and cheese and roll up. Place seam down in a greased 9x13 pan.
Mix cream cheese, blueberries, corn, black beans, and chipotle peppers together in a small bowl. Pour mixture over tortillas in pan and then top with the extra cheese. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes.

Orange Spice Cheesecake Rolls
1 can mandarin oranges, drained
2 Tblsp brown sugar
1/2 stick butter
1/8 t. chili powder
1/4 t. cinnamon

For cream cheese filling:
4 oz. cream cheese
1 8oz bar white chocolate, melted
3/4 c. powdered sugar
1/2 t. cinnamon
1/4 t. chili powder
1/2 t. almond extract

1 large tortilla
2 Tblsp oil
cinnamon and sugar mixture

Mix together oranges and brown sugar. Melt butter in a small saucepan, then add oranges, chili powder, and cinnamon. Bring to a boil, turn down heat, and then cook, stirring constantly for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
Mix together cream cheese, white chocolate, powdered sugar, cinnamon, chili powder, and almond extract in a small bowl.
Spread cream cheese mixture onto the middle of the tortilla shell. Top off with 1/3-1/2 cup of the orange sauce. Carefully fold in the ends of the tortilla and roll up. Heat oil over medium-high heat in a skillet pan and then put in filled tortilla roll. Cook until brown and then flip and cook other side. When finished remove from pan and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar mixture.