Tex-Mex Archive

Thursday, July 21, 2011

charred corn tacos with zucchini-radish slaw

charred corn tacos

I would not say that previous to the last year, we were not taco people. I can think of several carnitas that have brought me nearly to tears (and definitely to tears when they stopped delivering) and we’ve been doing an egg-tortilla thing for years. But at some point in the last six months, I got bit with the taco bug bad and now I can hardly think of anything else to eat. Saturday afternoon and the toddler is napping and suddenly we’re hungry? Black bean tacos! Nothing but a couple zucchini in the produce drawer? Roasted zucchini tacos for dinner! I’m about thisclose to becoming the sort of person who puts peanut butter and jelly on a taco. The taco has become the answer to all questions.

slaw to be
tiny matchsticks

It’s this obsession that finally got me to unearth a dish I’ve been meaning to put my spin on for two years. That’s more than a lifetime, if you’re this guy, and even he doesn’t know why it took me so long. The dish is called esquites and from what I understand but have sadly not yet experienced yet in person, it is a street snack in Mexico. Corn is cooked in butter with onions, garlic, chiles, an herb called epazote and salt. It’s then seasoned with lime juice, chile powder and served with mayo in small cups. Oh hi, are you still here? I’m not, because every time I read that description, I run to JFK and book the next flight to Mexico.

charring the corn, duck!

Continued after the jump »

Monday, September 27, 2010

beef chili + sour cream and cheddar biscuits

beef chili + sour cream cheddar biscuit

Abruptly, and likely surprising nobody more than my husband, I have decided to be a Good Football Wife this year. Finding it impossible to summon any actual enthusiasm for the game but refusing to fulfill the sitcom wife-cliché of grumbling about my husband’s Sunday afternoon routines, in the past, I’ve mostly tolerated it. But with months of cold and/or wet Sundays ahead of us, I finally came to the realization that football season is the perfect excuse to embrace some much-needed Lazy Sundays. A morning bagel, park and farmers market run routine segues nicely into an afternoon of bumming around, or you know, however the person at hand defines it. For Alex, football, with the requisite pre- and post-game Sports Shouting episodes. For Jacob, removing books from the bookcases one by one, then attempting to stand on them to reach higher shelves, so he can remove them too. He naps, we replace the books, he wakes up and starts again. Ah, Sundays.

garlic, beans, onions, peppers, carrots
beef chili

I made a giant pot of beef chili that I found from an old (like, 20 years!) Gourmet magazine, which, like almost all Gourmet recipes I run across, makes me sniffle and miss the magazine (in its original incarnation, that is, I haven’t made sense of this app thing yet) even more. Here, they gathered all of the things you’d normally dollop on top of a bowl of chili — cheddar, sour cream and pickled jalapeños — and formed them into a biscuit, which they use to serve the chili shortcake-style. I bet you didn’t know chili could be so cute! I just want to stand up and applaud their creativity but instead I’m very sad, because I’ve been bereft of fresh batches of it for nearly a year. I did not cry into this chili, however, because it was awesome, so awesome that the member of our family who a) does not know how to use a spoon, b) wants to eat what you’re eating but c) refuses to be fed from a spoon actually honored us with the privilege of letting us feed him. And tucked away a frightening amount of chili. The chili is that tremendous.

white cheddarsour cream biscuit doughcutting the shortcakessour cream and cheddar shortcakes

Continued after the jump »

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

black bean soup + toasted cumin seed crema

black bean soup with toasted cumin cream

So, I told you about the brisket. Or, the way we talk about it, thhhuuuuh brisssssket, it’s deliciousness making our syllables stretch out melodramatically. We pulled it into tacos with slaw and pickled onions and it was a great end to a great year. But I bet I know what you’ve been wondering since then, “But no appetizer?” Well, let thie question vex your brain no longer: we had soup. (Jacob, however, got into the margaritas. Again.)

dried black beans
red onions

My friend Jocelyn made a wonderful black bean soup and she topped it with a toasted cumin seed crema and I just about died, the crema was so good. I mean, the soup was delicious but the crema was one of those toppings that was in lock-step with the soup: the richest, creamist, smokiest accent to a spicy, hearty soup. Since I’ve been slow cooker obsessed since that very day, I vowed to make a version entirely in my new BFF, and to top it with that toasted cumin seed cream. Frankly, the soup is just an excuse to get to it.

onions, beans, peppers and garlic

Continued after the jump »

Saturday, January 2, 2010

southwestern pulled brisket

southwestern pulled brisket

I had the very best New Years Eve meal, and I can’t wait to tell you about it. But first, I must scroll back to tell you my favorite kind of story, one about what an idiot I am. Yes, another one.

Nearly five years ago, we received a slow-cooker as a wedding gift. I looked at it with suspicion, determined it squarely in the realm of 1970s housewives and those that still cooked like them, and stuffed it, still-boxed, in the far reaches of a closet. In the five years that this box has been collecting dust, I started a home cooking site and not a month went by that a person didn’t innocently ask if I have any good slow-cooker recipes and I’d pfft back, “Meh, not my thing.” In the five years that this box has been collecting dust, we have moved twice, each time taking this still-boxed machine with us, and stuffing it in another closet.

pulling the brisket

And this week, I unpacked it. At 11 p.m. on December 30th, I unwrapped a piece of brisket nearly the size of my baby, browned it in a pan, laid it in the stoneware liner, threw in some onions, a pile of spices, cups of tomatoes and water on top, turned it to low, and at 9 o’clock the next morning woke up and nearly fainted from the deliciousness all around me. Dinner. Was. Made. I had done nothing. And it was the most perfectly cooked piece of brisket I had ever seen. Why did I wait so long? I am consumed with regret.

saucing
green onion, red cabbage slaw

Continued after the jump »

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

cantaloupe salsa

cantaloupe salsa

I wish I could tell you that I’m putting my time into more exciting things* but fact is, it’s nothing but boring stuff keeping me out of the kitchen this week: a new oven that needed installing, pipe work shutting off the water in our apartment today, more doctors appointments than any healthy person should ever require, long classes to teach us the proper diapering of a tiny baby butt, and the kind of steamy heat outside that would make it absurd to turn on the oven anyway (though I should, you know, confirm that it works, right?). Banal, right?

cantaloupe
cantaloupe cubes

But as usual, this has not kept me from bringing home gobs of produce each week. I can’t help it: everything is just too pretty and tasty. Fortunately, you don’t actually have to cook peak-summer produce to make it taste good. Heck, the hardest thing is not eating it straight even after you’ve set your mind to rendering it into something else.

salsa ingredients

Continued after the jump »


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