Tex-Mex Archive

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

red bean chili

red bean chili

Last week someone said to me, “You know, my tastes are more Julia Child but my lifestyle is more 30 Minute Meals,” and I thought–really quite smugly, I’m embarrassed to say–”I’m so glad I have all this free time.”

This week I am more certain than ever of the crack I was smoking. Seriously, does anyone else have such denial over what their schedules are and are not? Let me tell you what actually happens in the Smitten Kitchen most nights of the week: My husband, being management and all (I tease), leaves work at 5 p.m. but first asks me if we need anything from the store. I IM him some goofy aspirational shopping list in segments (“this is for dinner,” “this for a side dish,” “and these are for the frozen yogurt I am making for dessert,” “and this is so I can get a head-start on the cake I am baking this weekend!”) and then actually end up leaving the office at 6:30 p.m., running two errands, coming home dead exhausted and always a bit winded from four flights of stairs to a neat cluster of grocery bags on the kitchen floor and say meekly “Order sushi?” Because if there is anything I am not going to be starting at 8 p.m. on a Tuesday night, it’s dinner. And a side dish. And frozen yogurt. And cake.

Continued after the jump »

Thursday, April 26, 2007

tequila lime chicken + green onion slaw

margarita chicken

If it’s true that the definition of stupidity is to do something over and over again and expect different results, then I am indeed guilty as charged, because I made something for dinner last night that I know I never, ever like. Somehow I believed it would be better this time, and when it wasn’t, I proceeded to take two bites and then returned to the kitchen to make myself a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

yeah yeah

It seems unfair to blame the margarita chicken, as Alex ate it without complaint, but he’s always been the kind of boy who knows on which side his bread is buttered. Frankly, not only do I not blame the margarita chicken, I was downright jealous of it for getting to marinate for 24 hours in a freshly-squeeze, potent cocktail while I marinated in front of a flat screen monitor, shivering in an over air-conditioned low-walled cube. But in the end, I just can’t give an objective review of the recipe because guess what? I don’t like grilled, boneless skinless chicken cutlets and I never have.

Continued after the jump »

Monday, April 23, 2007

black bean confetti salad

bar stools
a week's view

Sweet speckled sunshine, that was a good week. Never underestimate the power of blinding sun, square canvas umbrellas, swing barstools and ten thousand renditions of guantanamera to turn your mind back to tabula rasa. What did I do this week? Wish I could tell you, but every time I try to recall stretches of time, they skitter off like pieces of paper in a gusty breeze, just leaving me with small, unconnected bits, like the perfectly round, golf ball sized limes everywhere, sun so bright it demands your undivided attention, long piers that end in shade and a Havana-style eatery built from worn white wood, lounge chairs so comfortable, so well thought out you could lose a day–no a week–in one and not miss it at all. And so we did. And the only thing I cooked was grilled cheese sandwiches.

Continued after the jump »

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

fish tacos

[Guest Post] In honor of Deb’s vacation in Playa Del Carmen, I wanted to share this recipe I learned from friends that live there for fish tacos. My first trip down there was with my BFF Victoria and about 10 guy friends. I highly recommend this arrangement: the boys would scuba dive and spear fish while we sun bathed and then the boys would bring up their catch of the day to the Mexicans at a beach front cabana cook-out place. They would turn the catch of the day into the best fish tacos I had ever had. So I made them teach me how.

In a large pan or a wok throw together some white fish (I used tilapia), fresh cilantro, a small amount of oil (I use coconut oil), chopped onion and chopped red bell or poblano pepper. Squeeze fresh lime juice all over and simmer for approx 15 minutes. I usually flip the fish often and let it break up into small pieces.

Fish Tacos

When you are done scoop onto a flour tortilla and add toppings. You can use whatever kind of cheese is your favorite, I use the sharpest cheddar I can find, fat-free sour cream, fresh chopped cilantro, Santa Barbara Mango & Peach Salsa and mixed greens. Wrap up and enjoy!

Fish Tacos

Continued after the jump »

Tuesday, August 1, 2006

chicken tacos + salsa fresca

chicken taco with salsa fresca

I had my first taco when I was about seven, at the home of a down-the-street neighbor who used to watch me after school until my parents got home from work. As she began to arrange fixings for a greatly-anticipated feast they called Taco Night, I baffled the lot by telling them I didn’t know what one was. (I could have baffled them further by explaining the proper way to boil and then eat a whole artichoke thus proving that no I was NOT raised under an epicurean rock but I refrained. I’ve since lost such restraint.).

She assembled one for me with some mess of ground beef and taco seasonings, a pile of shredded cheese, lettuce and tomato in an El Paso shell and then zapping it in the microwave for a minute. I took one bite and it crumbled, dripping orange-ish grease down my shirt and oh, I did not like it AT ALL. Who invented these shells and how come they get to sit on a pile of money while I’m scrubbing taco out from under my fingernails? You cannot bite into a bent shell filled with messy things without it breaking into several pieces, and yet this is supposed to be something you eat while holding it? Not that you have a choice, really, since they won’t stand up on their own. They’re fundamentally flawed and I haven’t had one since, or at least not until a fit of nostalgia and Mark Bittman’s feature in the New York Times Dining Section called The Taco Joint in Your Kitchen, got the better of me Sunday night.

salsa fresca

Continued after the jump »