Category: Mexican

Chorizo and Garlic Shrimp Burgers

We spent the weekend in San Francisco — partly for Andrew’s birthday and partly because Inter Milan was playing Real Madrid in Berkley. It was perfect timing really. I hadn’t been to SF in at least four years, I’m guessing. It’s been a long time. We rented a sweet little apartment in The Mission near where our friends live. It was close to BART and a million things to eat, and it had a great view of the city from the rooftop deck.

The weather was practically perfect, if not a little hot. After spending nearly all of Saturday outside, I was sporting a lovely sunburn on my forehead and my nose. It’s already peeling, so yay. It was a super short trip thanks to a cancelled flight on Friday. We arrived at nearly 11pm on Friday and were flying out 7pm on Sunday. Short. Friday night we had super quesadilla suizas from El Farolito Taqueria. On Saturday I had the Franciscan scramble at Kitchen Story,  a pastrami sandwich and the best pickleback of all time from Giordano Bros., and the most thoughtful Campari and soda at Double Dutch. The bartender took the time to rub the lemon peel over the rim of the glass. It makes such a difference! The original plan was to have dinner at Beretta, but a two hour wait was not something anyone wanted to deal with. Inter Milan won by the way for anyone who is interested. It made the day that much sweeter. Sunday was spent getting an Americano and ginger scone from Ritual Coffee , a watermelon salad with rocolla, white balsamic vinaigrette, pumpkin seeds & ricotta salata cheese and a homemade biscuit from The Vestry, and brown sugar and fennel ice cream from Humphrey Slocombe. It was like Salt and Straw without the wait. I had forgotten what that was like. We finished up the trip with a sandwich to go from Ike’s Place eaten on the roof deck. I love that city. Next time needs to be at least another night. There is so much to see, do, and eat in that city.

Remember how last year seemed to be the summer of burgers? It also seemed to coincide with Portland’s inaugural Burger Week, which starts soon by the way. SO EXCITED.  Anyway, I made this burger recently, and it was the first burger of the summer. It’s surprising it took this long, but when the mood strikes, you can’t ignore it. I can’t even remember the last time I bought shrimp. Buying a two-pound bag for eight shrimp makes sense, right? You’re going to see a little bit more shrimp around here. Anyway, these burgers? AWESOME. Mexican chorizo is so good. The recipe gave you instructions to make your own, but we have a little market by the house that sells it by the pound size link. It’s hard to say no to that. If you actually make the real deal, let me know! I’d love to hear about how it tastes.

Paprika mayo and manchego cheese make this whole thing. I’ve been on a manchego  kick since we got back from Spain. It’s such a versatile and creamy cheese. Have you had Sir Kensington’s Mayo? It’s my latest find at New Seasons. I don’t eat enough mayo to justify buying a huge jar, so this little jar is perfect. Make the burgers if you have even the slightest bit of love of chorizo. You don’t even have to make the shrimp if you don’t want to, but it makes them that much better. I promise.

Inspiration: Lady and Pups

Ingredients

  • 1lb of chorizo, remove from casings so you can make patties
  • 8 large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 3 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 3 tablespoons of mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon mustard
  • juice of one lime
  • 4 buns
  • 1/2 cup of shredded manchego
  • 1-2 thin slices of tomato per burger
  • flour for dusting the burgers
  • olive oil and butter for the pan

Preparation

Divide the chorizo into four equal portions to make patties. I brought out my trusty scale to make sure they were approximately the same size. I can’t eyeball things that good. Place them in the fridge until you’re ready to use them.

In a small bowl, mix the shrimp with the olive oil, garlic, thyme, salt, and pepper. Place in the fridge until ready to use as well.

Whisk together the mayo, tomato paste, paprika, mustard, and lime. Set aside. Try not to eat it by the spoonful.

Preheat a skillet on medium high heat. Dust the patties with a bit of flour so they can get a nice crust. Add about a tablespoon of oil to the pan. Once it’s shimmering, it’s hot enough. Add a little bit of butter before placing the burger in the pan. If yours is large enough, you could do two at the time, but I didn’t want to risk it. One at a time for me. Don’t touch them for a good 3-5 minutes until you notice a crust forming on the bottom of the patty. Flip and add 1/4th of the shredded cheese to the top before covering for a minute or two. Once the cheese melts, remove the patty from the pan and set aside. Continue this with the rest of the patties.

In the pan with all the drippings, add the shrimp for about 1 minute on each side until they’re cooked through. Remove and slice in half when they’re cool enough to touch.

Toast the buns if you’re into that sort of thing. Add some mayo to the bun, top with a burger, four slices of shrimp, and a slice or two of tomato. Enjoy.

Grilled Chicken Fajita Nachos

Are you noticing a theme with these titles? I am. The grill is just too easy. It’s my oven substitute, perfect for those summer days.

But first, let’s talk about Ox. If you’re following my stomach on Instagram, you saw the deliciousness already. We went to this hugely popular restaurant for a friend’s birthday, which I’ve decided is the best birthday party ever. An excuse for a super good meal? Count me in. I’ve been itching to go since it opened, but there is always a ridiculous wait. You can only get a reservation for groups of six or more.

The fare is Argentinian inspired, which means an emphasis on grilled meats, but I can assure you that they do amazing, amazing things with vegetables, too. I had the hardest time narrowing down what I wanted. Highlights included — the cauliflower bisque amuse bouche [served in an espresso mug!]; bruschetta of dungeness crab, avocado, radish, cucumber, shiso; maple-brined pork loin chop; heirloom hominy, braised pork belly, fava beans, chiles, cilantro, olive oil-fried duck egg; cocoa-braised lamb shoulder, sautéed spinach, chickpeas, shiitake mushrooms, peaches, cilantro. It was way more delicious than a piñata, and arguably just as fun.

So nachos.

We eat nachos a lot. There is a taco shop down the street that has them for practically no dollars, and they’re the best thing on the menu. I wanted to use up the two avocados on my counter make my own, though. I could sneak on a few more vegetables, use less oil, and throw them on the grill. Win-win. In a fit of laziness, I threw chicken fajita fixins into a big pan on the grill so they could roast and marinate together. Hot Hatch chilies are so good [and they make me think of my grandpa]. They lose a lot of their heat in the cooking process, though. I had to add more chili flakes of my own, and a bottle of Tapatio was polished off in the devouring of these nachos.

They’re easy enough on your stomach that you can, in fact, make it to a restorative yoga class an hour afterward without any severe consequences to you or your fellow mat mates.

Ingredients

  • 1lb chicken breasts, chopped into bite sized pieces
  • 4oz can fire roasted roasted chilies, drained
  • 15oz can chopped tomatoes, drained
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, sliced into half moons
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili flakes
  • salt/pepper
  • tortilla chips
  • 4oz shredded jack cheese
  • avocado, hot sauce, cilantro

Preparation

Preheat your grill to medium [approx. 400°]. If it has three burners, turn off the middle one. In a 13″x9″ baking pan, layer the onions, green peppers, chopped chicken, tomatoes, and chilies. Sprinkle the top with salt, pepper, garlic powder, cumin, and chili flakes. Place the pan, uncovered, on the grill. Cook for 20 minutes, stirring every 5-7 minutes to prevent burning.

In a large rimmed baking sheet, create a layer of tortilla chips. Sprinkle on half of the cheese. Spoon the chicken fajita topping over the chips. Cover with remaining cheese. Return to the grill for approximately 3-5 minutes until the cheese is melted.

Top with your favorite garnishes. Enjoy straight from the pan or use a spatula to break them apart.

 

Huevos Rancheros

Another amazing, ‘not a date‘ with Jenny for the books. Has it seriously been since June, Jenny? Wow. We went to The Woodsman Tavern. I’m in love with the space. Dark. Brick. Kinda old school country, but not in a western kind of way. All I can say is cedar-steeped Campari, domestic ham plate, brussels and sunchokes with anchovy vinaigrette, the best grilled pork chop, and meyer lemon cream pie. Holy freakin’ delicious. Go there. Take me. Thanks.

Sometimes I need something other than an egg sandwich on the weekend. That’s usually the go-to in the house. If I’m eating breakfast out, I’m getting the craziest thing on the menu, so those middle of the road breakfasts are the things that miss my affection. That’s unfortunate. There is so much good breakfast food, it’s hard for a girl to choose.

Huevos rancheros are definitely not something I’d order when I’m out, and I really don’t have a reason. Maybe it’s because I don’t usually think Mexican food when I think breakfast [unless it's a breakfast burrito from Gonzales Taqueria]? Maybe it’s because I don’t see them a lot on menus? They’re good, though. I mean, is it really possible to have a bad one? It’s a simple combination of flavors coming together on a crunchy tortilla. The star of these huevos is the black bean mash. I’m a sucker for refried black beans, and these are just like it, only not fried. Bacon grease doesn’t hurt either. 

PS – I paid $2 for this avocado by the way. I wept.

Inspiration: The Sprouted Kitchen Cookbook – Pg. 28

Ingredients

  • 1 can of black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/4 cup greek yogurt or sour cream
  • 2 green onions, green and white parts sliced
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • salt and pepper
  • 4 slices cooked bacon, chopped
  • 6 small corn tortillas
  • Olive oil for brushing or spraying
  • 1 tablespoon butter [unless you kept your bacon grease]
  • 6 eggs
  • White cheddar cheese, shredded for topping
  • 1 avocado, peeled and sliced
  • cilantro and lime for serving

Preparation

Warm the beans over low heat in a small sauce pan. Add about 1/4 cup of water and the greek yogurt/sour cream. Mash the mixture with a fork or potato masher. Puree if you’re feeling saucy. Add the bacon and taste for additional salt and pepper.

Turn the broiler on high. Spray or brush the tortillas with olive oil on both sides. Place the tortillas in the oven, watching them and flipping them as they brown. When they are lightly browned on each side, remove them from the oven and set aside.

In a large frying pan, melt your butter if you didn’t use the bacon grease. Gently break the eggs in the pan and cook to your desired level of doneness. Build your tostada with the tortilla + a nice layer of beans + egg + cheese, avocado, and cilantro. Use hot sauce and lime to your hearts content.

Ground Pork, Zucchini, and Goat Cheese Enchiladas

Summer is trying to stick around. It’s been in the upper 80ºs the past few days, and honestly, I’m totally okay with it. It meant that yesterday we could keep the windows wide open all day, and while it was warm, the air was kind of sweet as only fall can bring. If I don’t make any sense, that’s nothing new. I took advantage of the nice weather to prepare the only burgers I made on the grill this summer. I topped them with sharp white cheddar, black pepper encrusted bacon, and a heap of sauteed mushrooms. Grilled zucchini on the side? Gladly.

I don’t think I’ve ever taken advantage of zucchini season as much as I have this summer.

Or goat cheese.

I’ll spare you another post dedicated to it.

Have you checked out Sprouted Kitchen? Sara creates easy, flavorful meals on the regular, and her enchiladas were my inspiration for the ones I made. I substituted ground pork for the black beans, and increased the amount of red onion since I sauteed it with the zucchini. I used green enchilada sauce instead of red. Basically I took the idea of zucchini and goat cheese in an enchilada and ran with it. Shocking, I know.

While I love a hearty, cheesy, ooey, gooey enchilada or four as much as the next girl, there is something really refreshing about a light spread of goat cheese on the inside. There are dollops on the outside, too, but it’s definitely lighter. It was a nice change. Seeing blue corn tortillas in it also made a difference visually. Blue tortillas, green sauce, sauteed zucchini and ground pork. It was quite the look. The taste, though, was phenomenal. Because it wasn’t doused in grease cheese, they had crispy edges and soft middles. The pork wasn’t an in-your-face flavor. It was more of a filler, a protein filler. Looking back, I could have definitely used ground chicken to take the lightness even further, or y’know stuck with the beans.


Inspiration: Sprouted Kitchen

 

Ingredients

  • 10 small corn tortillas, about 6″ in diameter
  • 2 small zucchini, diced
  • 1 small red onion, diced
  • 2 teaspoons lemon pepper seasoning
  • 1/2lb ground pork
  • 4oz goat cheese [I didn't use all of it, more like half, but I would rather have too much than not enough]
  • 12oz can green enchilada sauce

 

Preparation

Preheat oven to 425º, and get out an 11×7 baking dish. I sprayed mine with olive oil [or cooking spray] and it didn’t stick at all. Win!

In a large skillet heated to medium high, brown the ground pork until it’s mostly cooked through. While the pork cooks, toss the zucchini and red onion in a lemon pepper seasoning. If you don’t have it, salt and pepper works just fine. When the ground pork is almost done, add the zucchini and red onion.

Stir, coating thoroughly with the juices from the browned pork. As the zucchini cooks and softens, prepare a station to create your enchiladas. Having that ready helps a lot. When the zucchini and onion is soft and starting to caramelize a bit, remove from heat. While it cools off so you can actually touch it and not burn your hands, pour half of the enchilada sauce in the bottom of the baking dish. Make sure you coat the whole thing.

I toasted my tortillas over my gas burners on the stove. You can use a pan as well. The crisp/char that results really makes the tortilla more stable to roll up the enchiladas. Once the tortillas are done, hold one in your hand, and using a butter knife, spread a thin layer of goat cheese over the bottom in a line. Top with the pork filling, and roll up. You’ll find out really quickly how much filling you can put in them. Place them seam side down in the baking dish. If you want, secure them with toothpicks. I didn’t. I kind of wish I did now, so now I’m passing that knowledge onto you.

Continue this process with all of the remaining tortillas. If you have left over filling, put it on top of the prepared enchiladas. Think of it as a crumble topping, only y’know, savory. Pour the remaining enchilada sauce over the top, and use small dollops of goat cheese to cover the enchiladas.

Place the enchiladas in the oven for 15-20 minutes. The edges to the tortillas should be crisp, and the sauce thick and bubbly. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for a few minutes before serving.

 

Shredded Pork Tacos (Crock Pot)

Another awesome weekend in the books, minus the fact that it was nearly 100° the whole time. That’s rough for a girl who doesn’t like it to creep over 80°. Portland has generally mild summers, but there are always a handful of days that really tests my everyone’s patience. That’s a lot of heat and sun.

Andrew played a lot of soccer in it. How? I’ll never know. I hid from the sun and did a lot of necessary cleaning. Lots of food that doesn’t involve turning on the stove was eaten. We watched the Timbers draw. Watching that happen in the heat was like pouring salt over an open wound. We showed some friends from out of town some of the city. There is seriously nothing more fun than playing tourist in your own town [other than being a tourist in another town...]. It’s an excuse to see things and do things that you wouldn’t normally bother with. We ended up an a pod of food carts in N. Mississippi Ave., and I ate a most delicious Chinese flatbread sandwich with Szechuan red oil chicken, garlic ginger braised Chinese greens, and pickled vegetables from Prickly Ash, a Chinese street food cart. Good is an understatement. The chicken was piled high that it was hard to wrap up and eat. That’s my kind of sandwich. The rest of the day was seriously too hot to eat. I had some fro-yo and a few slices of cucumber and feta. My healthiness knows no bounds.

We even busted out the crock pot to beat the heat. We picked up a pork roast from the Mexican market, and I grabbed it purely to try this recipe from Eat, Live, Run for carnitas. There’s no marinade, just spices and fresh veggies and some time under low heat. The house smelled awesome when I got home, so Andrew working upstairs with it like that must have been brutal. The pork was fork tender and super juicy. Jalapeño was a must. It was nice and spicy. I could have easily added another. We killed off the entire roast in one sitting [shocking] taking liberties with lime and avocado. I put a bunch on top of some leftover Mayan quinoa. That was the best idea of all.

Inspiration: Eat, Live, Run

Ingredients

  • 2lbs pork roast
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • 1 green pepper, chopped
  • 1 jalapeño, diced [take out the seeds if you don't want it too spicy]
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • tortillas, avocado, cilantro, lime, etc for serving

Preparation

  1. Mix all of the spices in a small bowl.
  2. Place the pork roast in the bottom of a crock pot.
  3. Cover with half of the spices.
  4. Flip the roast over and cover with the rest of the spices.
  5. Cover the roast with all of the onion and peppers.
  6. Turn the heat on low and leave for 8 hours.
  7. The meat should be fork tender. Shred and serve immediately or shred and let it soak up the juices for a bit before serving.

Mayan Quinoa

So while this isn’t a taco, it’s definitely something we had with tacos. There is only so much you can do with a taco, but there is a ton you can do with the sides. I wanted something that we might end up having leftovers for lunch. I wanted something light, but filling, and full of fresh flavor. I wanted something with quinoa. Confession: I used to hate dislike corn on the cob [and corn in general] with a fire of a thousand suns. I don’t know why. Then I got braces in my early 20s, and it gave me further reason to avoid the stuff. Then Sweet Tomatoes happened. Some of you might know it as Souplantation. Basically it’s a salad lovers playground. Unlimited salad, soup, and bread [there is pasta, but I've never enjoyed it]. I always make the most massive salad, taking a spoonful [or three] of almost every vegetable on the buffet. That includes corn. For some reason, I felt compelled to put its bright yellow kernels upon my heaping salad pile. Every time. Then, I stopped turning it down elsewhere. Now I sometimes buy ears of it. I still don’t eat it off the cob [permanent retainers and all that], but I do cut the kernels off and eat them with reckless abandon [as does Roma because those suckers fly everywhere in the kitchen when this happens].

This is a super simple salad. It takes as long as it does to make up a batch of quinoa. It tastes good as soon as its made, but it tastes even better when it’s had a chance to chill in the fridge. Plan accordingly.

Inspiration: Mayan Couscous

Ingredients

  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 clove unpeeled garlic
  • 1 15oz can of black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 large ear of corn
  • 1/4 red onion
  • 1 jalapeno
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 small limes
  • 1/2 heaping teaspoon cumin

Preparation

  1. Rinse the quinoa thoroughly under running water. I place mine in a mesh strainer and go to town. Put the rinsed quinoa on in a pot on the stove. Pour in the water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cover with a lid. Set a timer for 15 minutes. When the timer goes off, just turn off the heat and let it sit for another 5-10 minutes before removing the lid and fluffing with a fork.
  2. Toss the red onion and jalapeno into a food processor. Mince together and set aside.
  3. Cut the kernels from the corn. Good luck keeping them contained.
  4. Heat a skillet on medium high heat, and place the unpeeled clove of garlic in it. Flip it occasionally until the peel starts to turn brown/black. Peel and mince the nicely roasted piece of garlic.
  5. Once the quinoa has finished cooking, add it, the onion/jalapeno mix, black beans, corn, and garlic to a large bowl and stir to incorporate.
  6. Pour in the olive oil and juice from the two limes and stir again.
  7. Top with the cilantro and cumin and stir.
  8. Serve immediately or preferably after it has been chilling in the fridge.

Serves 6-8 as a side

 

Chorizo, Kale, and Potato Tacos

It’s unofficially taco week in our house. You’ve been warned.

There is a super good taco shop in St. Johns called Tienda Santa Cruz. Okay, it’s technically Tienda Santa Cruz #2, but its number is irrelevant. Besides it’s #1 to me [cue awwws]. I remember finding this shop not long after I moved in. They touted $1 tacos. That’s a steal. The icing on the cake is that they’re actually really, really good. Like ‘best in town‘ good. Sure, they have a typical taco shop menu, but their burritos aren’t very good, they don’t have quesadillas, and I want nothing to do with combo plates. They can keep the rice and beans, thanks.

 

To get to the shop, you have to pass through a market. It’s an awesome Mexican market filled with all your Mexican wants and desires. They’ve always won me over with the Mexican pastries in the back and the stacks of cheap tortillas, but the newest addition is the meat counter. It’s an honest to goodness meat counter complete with everything I could ever want—carne asada, chorizo, marinated steak, roasts, chicken, etc. It’s cheap, too.

When we went in last Sunday for some dinner, we picked up 5-6lbs of meat for less than $14. I told you it was unofficial taco week. We started things off with some chorizo. We usually save this stuff for breakfasts, but something struck me that day at lunch that I had to head to Whole Foods at lunch for some potatoes, kale, and onion. Potato for filler and kale for the obligatory greenery. I figured if we were eating meat all week, we could sneak in some green stuff somewhere. It all sautes down into a delicious mess resembling a hash. I could have easily tossed a fried or poached egg on top of the pan and called it a day. Tortillas weren’t necessary, but then I’d be violating unofficial taco week, wouldn’t I?

Ingredients

  • 1/2lb chorizo
  • 1/2 bunch curly green kale, stems removed, torn into bite sized pieces
  • 1/2 large yellow onion, diced
  • 2 red potatoes, diced
  • tortillas, cheese, cilantro, and salsa for serving

Preparation

  1. Choose your favorite method for par-baking the potatoes, boiling in water or in a microwave. You want them somewhat soft already so they don’t take 2890328392 years to cook in the pan.
  2. Heat a large skillet to medium high heat.
  3. Prep the pan with some cooking spray or oil.
  4. Once hot, add the onion.
  5. Stir occasionally until it starts to turn translucent, 3-5 minutes.
  6. Remove the chorizo from the casing, and add to the onion, breaking the meat up with a spoon as you cook it.
  7. Once the chorizo is 3/4 of the way cooked, add the potato and the kale.
  8. Stir really well to incorporate. The kale will wilt much faster if it’s pinned under some of the meaty goodness.
  9. While this finishes, prepare any toppings and your tortillas.
  10. Serve while hot.

Serves 2 — I had two tacos and Andrew had four.