November 20, 2009

Viva la Mexicana!

I love Mexican food. I seriously love everything about it from the spicy salsa, to the creamy guac, to the succulent fajitas. Really I think I could eat it everyday. And thank goodness that most of it is gluten free. Don't get me wrong. I desperately miss the delicious tender flour tortillas laden with goodies. But at least celiacs have a substitute. The delicious corn tortilla and really thank you Mexicans for creating this wonderful substitution.

Last year we were unable to find corn tortillas. There was an abundance of flour tortillas, but no soft corn tortillas. Instead we were able to find hard taco shells, which I am going to be honest about....I don't really like them. For me they always cut up my mouth and fall all over my plate. AND most importantly you can not use them for fajitas, which is my ultimate favorite Mexican meal. So this year I got a bit more savvy and I brought my own masa harina flour! I had tried last year to create a corn tortilla with corn flour, which I am pretty sure was some sort of polenta flour, and let me just say.... It was a disaster. However, this year I am starting to become a tortilla making pro. OK no, I take that back. FP is becoming a tortilla making pro, I am just in charge of frying them.

The first time we had Mexican food we invited over two French guys from the team. One of which had never tasted the deliciousness of Mexican food and the other claimed his mother made it every now and then. But let me inform you first that French people, or Europeans for that matter, do not know what true Mexican food is like. They have the occasional Mexican restaurant placed around Europe, but it is nothing like the Mexican food you will find in the states. It has bizarre add ins such as wurst and veggies you have never heard of. So when the French guy claimed that his mother creates Mexican masterpieces, I was seriously skeptical! I decided to show them what a real Mexicana dinner was like, complete with guac, mexican rice, homemade pico, and of course fajitas!!! Everyone loved it, although both the French guys concurred that my rice was too spicy. I personally thought it had just the right zing to it and could in fact have used more jalapeno, but they went through glass after glass of water claiming their mouths were on fire. If they thought that was spicy, I have no idea what they would make of Indian food.....But then again many people in Europe aren't used to spicy food. They think a dish with pepper in it is spicy!

The second time I made Mexican food was the other night. It really was a team effort between FP and I. I made the pico, the guac, the dough for the tortillas, and the rice. FP grilled the fajitas and rolled my tortillas out with pure finesse. I am trying to get him to join me for some serious pie making for Thanksgiving next week since his rolling pin skills have become impressive, but I think he may just become MIA for that afternoon!

So if you feel like taking a trip south of the border that does not involve going to taco bell, I suggest making a couple of these delicacies, or why not just make a whole night of it! Put on a sombrero, mix up a Margarita, and salsa around that kitchen cooking up these enticing dishes!

Pico De Gallo

-6 plum tomatoes
-1 small onion diced
-1-2 cloves garlic
-salt and pepper to taste
-1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
-Juice of 1-2 limes

Chop tomatoes and place in a bowl. Add diced onions, you may need more or less that 1 small onion. When I make this I never use real measurements. I just eyeball everything and make it according to how many people will be at dinner. Add garlic, cilantro, lime juice, and salt and pepper. Mix together and let sit in the fridge for about an hour before you serve it. This allows the flavors to marinate together. Try it after a bit and add more lime, salt, or cilantro if needed.


-1 avocado
-2-3 T finely diced tomato
-2-3 tsp. finely diced onion
-1 clove garlic minced
-salt and pepper to taste
-touch of lemon juice

Remove skin of avocado and seed. Whip the avocado with a fork until smooth. Stir in onion, garlic, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Whip all ingredients together. Taste and add more salt if needed.


-1-2 limes juiced
-3 T chopped fresh cilantro
-3 cloves garlic minced
-2 T olive oil
-1-2 tsp. ground cayenne pepper
-1 tsp. whole coriander crushed
-1 tsp. salt
-1tsp. pepper
-1-2 tsp. cumin
-1 lb chicken breasts

Combine all ingredients together. Marinate chicken for 12-24 hours. Then place breasts on BBQ (make sure BBQ is hot and coals are ready to cook). Cook 7-8 min. on each side or until chicken turns white all the way through. Chicken can also be cooked in a frying pan on stove.

Corn tortillas(makes 7 small tortillas)

-1 cup masa harina flour
-2 cups water
-touch of salt
-touch of lime juice (optional)

Knead ingredients together. Allow dough to rest for 10 min. Roll into 7 equal balls. Place one ball in between two pieces of parchment paper. Press with either a tortilla press or heavy pan. If using a pan, then roll out the tortilla until reaching desired thickness. The tortilla dough will be kind of delicate. If you mess up, knead the dough up and try again. fry for 30 seconds on one side med. heat (no oil in pan). Then fry the other side for 1 min. Flip tortilla back to the first side and cook for another min. or so (until tortilla starts to fluff). Your first tortilla will probably be your trial tortilla. It is ok if you mess up, they still taste good!

Mexican Rice

-2 cups rice
-4 cups water
-1 can crushed tomatoes
-1-2 tsp diced jalapeno (to taste)
-1-2 tsp cumin
-1-2 tsp paprika
-1 cube chicken bouillon
-1/2 cup diced onions
-1 clove garlic minced
-1-2 T butter

Saute garlic and onions in butter. Once they are almost done, add rice and saute for 2-3 more min. Add water, crushed tomatoes, bouillon cube. Bring to a boil. Add cumin, paprika, and jalapeno. Cover and simmer until rice is done and liquid is evaporated.

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