Archive for the ‘Mexican’ Category

Mexican Anybody?


2010
03.29

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Whenever I make my occasional visits to the office, my Boss always treats me with a good lunch. It is his way of appreciating the 60 mile commute I make to reach there. He’s either  plain nice or he’s too busy to realize that he signs my pay checks and that these gestures of politeness are totally unnecessary, and whether I like it or not, I  darn well need to get my fat behind there when he requires me to.  I hope though, it is the former. Because I’d hate the day when he’d recover from his amnesia and I’d be left to eat those cold sandwiches from the next door deli. What can I say? My belly has been spoilt rotten with these elegant treats!

At first, when he suggested a nice Indian place, I gladly agreed. Assuming it was the popular preference among my All-American colleagues, I gave no second thought to it. But, during the second and subsequent 3rd and 4th visit when we had exhausted all the fine Indian restaurants of the Marin county, and were redoing the circle, it slowly dawned on me that they were doing it all for me. Me? ME? A thorough bred Indian, who cooked and ate three, sometimes four (I can’t help it, I get hungry) Indian meals a day? No offence implied, but, would you offer a fish cold water? Look, look there’s ice in it. Get excited!!!

Well, I had to get out of it. I couldn’t deprive my greed of those fabulous restaurants and cuisines in the North bay, so waiting for me to explore. I hatched up a plan. I decided to  play the pregnant woman & nausea card. It came easy for me. Sincerity has never been one of my finer virtues and I always try to make the best use of the card I’m dealt. So, the next time at work when a colleague, for politeness sake, asked me how I was doing, apart from my usual rants about the discomforts of carrying a 6 lb something being inside me, I threw in how horribly nauseous I was and how Indian food made it worse. I caused sufficient distress in my desperate efforts, volunteering unsanitized and unsolicited information that I literally turned faces green!!! Eventually the whole office had an ear about my beef with Indian food, and come lunch time, the Boss had a miraculous change of plans. That afternoon we all sat at the fine Las Camellias, where we were treated with one of the finest Mexican food that I’ve ever eaten. I was so happy to get out of the previous set up that I couldn’t help but exaggerate how impressed I was. And what do you know? The next time I was making one my sporadic visits, guess where we went for lunch? Las Camellias again!!! I wasn’t joking when I said I went overboard with the praises. My Boss, the nice man that he is, didn’t think twice about taking me anywhere else. All because I’d declared – oooh the food is so divine, I could die here.

So, its been Las Camellias ever since. But, I’m not complaining. The food is indeed divine there. The dying part, I’m not sure though. But, I love it so much, that all the Mexican food I attempt to make, I try to recreate with my memory from there. And the fact that I’ve eaten there quite a number of times now ;), the spices are well registered in my buds that I’ve almost succeeded in making it exactly like they do. Though I hope the chef there never ever ever gets to read this ;)!!!!

Mexican Rice with Bell Peppers

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This rice was my saving grace when I was pregnant with Nish. Though horribly nauseous all the time, I still craved for rice. Now, don”t ask me how that works ..[read more]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Shrimp And Red Pepper Quesadillas

IMG_5948Quesadillas are like burgers you can make them any which way you want as long you have tortillas and cheese with you. Everything else that goes inside depends on what you are looking ..[read more]

 

 

 

 

Refried Black Beans

IMG_5946 While making refried beans, though pinto is more popular, I usually use Black beans. Some one once told me they were healthier.,,[read more]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chicken Mole Poblano 

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This is one dish, when I make I can be assured, doing the dishes will be easy. Roy, literally wipes (licks?) clean all the pots, pans, bowls, plates, spoons, everything that has had even a remote acquaintance ..[read more]

 

 

 

 

 

Chicken Mole Poblano


2010
03.29

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This is one dish, when I make I can be assured, doing the dishes will be easy. Roy, literally wipes (licks?) clean all the pots, pans, bowls, plates, spoons, everything that has had even a remote acquaintance with the dish. It is not a pleasant sight. But I think for a guy, who sacrifices so much, including his mind, to keep me happy, the least I can do is suppress my disgust and smile as he slurps through the entire dish in a matter of minutes.

I use  skinless chicken breasts and simmer them for a long time in mole, made with a combination of dried chili peppers (chipotle and ancho), chocolate, cinnamon, cloves, nuts, tomatoes, onions and garlic. You can vary the combination of peppers and the quantity, to your taste. We are a family that likes food really spicy. So, I don’t deseed any of my peppers. But, I wouldn’t recommend that you do the same unless you have paralyzed taste buds like ours.

Ingredients
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1small onion, chopped fine
1 tomato, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/4 tsp ground cumin 
1/4 tsp cinnamon clove spice mix
2 chipotle peppers
2 ancho peppers
1 cup chicken broth
1 tbsp peanut butter
1 tbsp shavings of bittersweet chocolate preferably Mexican)
1 lb chicken breasts
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp oregano (preferably Mexican)
1 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
salt and black pepper to taste

Directions

  • Marinate chicken seasoned with salt and pepper with lemon juice for about 30 minutes.
  • Tear the ancho and chipotle peppers and soak them in warm water for about 30 minutes till they are soft
  • Heat 1 tbsp oil in a heavy bottomed skillet.
  • Add onions, garlic and sauté until the onions turn translucent.
  • Add tomatoes and sauté until they form a mush.
  • Transfer to a blender, add the soaked peppers, cumin, peanut butter, spice mix, oregano and chocolate and blend to a smooth paste.
  • Heat 1 tbsp of oil in the same skillet and brown the chicken on all sides.
  • Pour in the mole sauce and chicken broth and let it simmer for 45- 50 minutes until the chicken is cooked tender and the sauce is thickened.
  • Garnish with fresh cilantro and serve hot.
  • Shrimp And Red Pepper Quesadillas


    2010
    03.28

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    Quesadillas are like burgers you can make them any which way you want as long you have tortillas and cheese with you. Everything else that goes inside depends on what you are looking for. You can add tomatoes for the tang, onions for the crunch, meat to make it hearty, vegetables to make it healthy, guacamole if you think it is not rich enough already, and spices if you want to make it interesting. I use jack pepper cheese because you know, being Indian and all, I just can’t kill my addiction to heat! You can serve it as the main or as the side. Depends on what else you have on the plate.

    Ingredients

    1/2 cup red bell peppers, diced small
    1/2 pickled jalapeno, chopped
    1/2 cup red onions, chopped
    5 -6 medium sized shrimp, coarsely chopped
    1 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped
    4 6-inch flour tortillas
    3/4 cup shredded jack pepper cheese
    2 tbsp tomato sauce (from the can)
    1 tbsp butter or 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
    big pinch of ground cumin (optional)

    Directions

  • Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a nonstick sauté pan.
  • Add onions and peppers, sauté until the onions are translucent.
  • Add tomato sauce, jalapeno and the shrimp. Sauté for a couple of minutes until the shrimp is cooked.
  • Add cilantro. Divide the mixture and three equal portions.
  • Heat a little butter on a wide non stick pan.
  • Place a tortilla, spoon over the cooked mixture onto the tortilla. Sprinkle 1/4 cup cheese.
  • Top with another tortilla and press down.
  • Cook, undisturbed, until golden brown and crisp on the bottom.
  • Carefully turn to the second side, and continue cooking until golden on the second side.
  • Take off the pan, and on cutting board, cut into wedges.
  • Repeat with the remaining quesadillas.
  • Serve hot with sour cream and other Mexican sides or by itself.
  • Refried Black Beans


    2010
    03.28

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    While making refried beans, though pinto is more popular, I usually use Black beans. Some one once told me they were healthier. I never bothered to confirm it though. So, don’t pound on me with info. I use it because that’s just stuck in my head and of course because I love the taste.

    Ingredients

    2 cloves of garlic chopped fine
    1/2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
    1 (19-oz) can of black beans
    1/2 cup chicken stock or vegetable stock
    1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
    salt to taste
    chipotle pepper to taste
    big pinch of cumin (optional)
    1-2 tbsp of lime juice
    1/4 cup sour cream (optional)
    shredded cheddar cheese for garnish

    Directions

  • Heat oil on medium heat.
  • Add garlic and sauté for a minute until fragrant.
  • Add beans and chicken stock and mash with the back of a large spoon to make a coarse purée.
  • Add cumin , salt and pepper. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until mixture is hot.
  • Stir in sour cream.
  • Stir in more stock to thin to a creamy consistency.
  • Serve hot, garnished with cilantro and cheese.
  • Mexican Rice with Bell Peppers


    2010
    03.28

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    This rice was my saving grace when I was pregnant with Nish. Though horribly nauseous all the time, I still craved for rice. Now, don”t ask me how that works. Apparently, nausea and craving go hand in hand during those most confusing months in the lives of many women. While I longed for rice, I was put off by the smell of any kind of rice preparation. In his desperate quest to find something to plug the whining gob of his wife, Roy, discovered that the Mexican Rice did the trick. It got him at least a couple of hours of relief from her  incessant annoying drone and heaving. I think it had to do with how simple the rice is. Everything about it is subtle. Perfect for a preggy’s oversensitive olfactory system.

    Called arroz, which means rice,  it is served along side the main dish. It can be made with or without the vegetables. I usually use vegetables to keep it healthy, but limit it to just one kind. That helps retain its identity and not over power the dish.

    Ingredients

    1 cup long grain rice
    2 cloves of garlic, diced fine
    1/2 cup of onion, chopped fine
    1/2 cup puréed tomato (I prefer to use the can since the sauce is more dense)
    2 cups chicken broth (or vegetable stock)
    1/2 cup of bell peppers diced small
    2 –3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
    1 chopped pickled jalapeno (optional)
    2 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro

    Directions

  • Heat oil in a heavy bottomed pan.
  • Add in the rice and sauté over medium heat for a minute or two until the rice is nicely toasted.
  • Add onions, garlic, jalapeno and bell peppers and sauté for a minute or until the onions turn translucent
  • Pour in the chicken broth and tomato purée and bring to boil.
  • Reduce the flame to low, tightly shut the pan and let it simmer for about 15 – 20 minutes till the rice is cooked.
  • Fluff up the rice gently using a fork. Garnish with cilantro and serve hot.