Archive for ‘Mexican’

January 17, 2012

Best Topping for Tacos | Cactus with Prickly Pear Vinaigrette

I was recently forwarded this Nigel Slater article that really drives home the importance of doing some big cooking on the weekend (such as this roast pork shoulder in the article) so that you have enough for several meals that require minimal prep for the rest of the week.  I love cooking in this way.  And pork shoulder is literally one of the most cooked cuts in this house.  It’s economical and super, super flavorful.

Our leftover roast pork was converted into tacos one night.  And one of the things I often find elevates the humble taco is the quality of the crispy cold salad on top.  At good taco stands, you’ll find some cold radishes, or perhaps some chopped onion and cilantro, maybe a bit of lime to squeeze on top of that rich carnitas or barbacoa.  I love the contrast in flavors, textures and temperatures.

This quick cold salad is tasty enough on its own for lunch, but is fantastic on some of that pork.  You can sub some radishes and apples (add lovely sweetness) for the cactus or jicama, if you have trouble finding them.   But the cactus is so full of gorgeous green flavor, and the jicama so sweet and crunchy, do make an effort to stop in a reputable Hispanic market with brisk turn over in its produce department to track some down to try.  Next time I make this, I might also toss in a green onion thinly sliced and perhaps some pomegranate arils for extra crunch.

Nopales and Jicama with Prickly Pear Vinagrette

For the salad:

1 small cactus pad, carefully trimmed well of all spines, rinsed, then cut into small batons

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January 16, 2012

Persephone’s Drinks Cabinet | Prickly Pear Rum Punch

Sometimes I need a bit of liquid en[courage]ment to get moving in the blog posting realm again.

Enter the cocktail.  I whipped up something with the few bits and bobs that we have ’round the house.  I know, I have prickly pears in my house.  In January.  Hush.

Because of this cocktail, I’ve been inspired again to dive into some typically Mexican edibles, primarily all things cactus.  Nopales, as they’re called, are eaten with great relish despite,

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March 24, 2011

Persephone’s Cocina | Tamales

In San Antonio, tamales are an important tradition around major holidays leading to long lines at some of San Antonio’s favorite spots like Delicious Tamales and Ruben’s.  I had always considered them something that might be too much work on my part, but as it turns out, they’re really not as much as I thought they’d be.  Especially if you happen to have a few pinto beans leftover from a recent meal.

Last weekend’s trip to my favorite Mexican grocery store yielded dried corn husk wrappers and set me off on the wild idea to make a few for myself.  So this afternoon during Cherub’s “quiet time,” i.e., the thing you do when a preschooler no longer naps, I made tamales with refritos.  And because I used a recipe for the masa from Rick Bayless, which used a stand mixer (read: five minutes of work) and the beans were essentially already made, the tamales came together pretty quickly.  And while I’m not suggesting you make these on your own (have a sister or a friend around to gossip with while you do it on a Saturday afternoon), they are not the daunting delicacy that you might have presumed.

And for that pleasurable bit of work and chat, you are rewarded with a tender and ethereally light corn dumpling filled with smoky, spicy beans.  Truly, these are something that you need to be careful

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March 20, 2011

Sunday Breakfast | Huevos, Persephone Style

There’s something about Mexican food lately.  I’m just loving the spices and the fats and the flavors and the family feel of the meals.  This morning, since we had so many ingredients of Mexican origin in the fridge, I decided to do a take on huevos rancheros.  It’s not really rancheros; it’s just a delicious breakfast with spicy Mexican ingredients on a crispy tortilla, topped with a huevo.

I realize that this morning’s recipe is going to look a bit too involved.  But it has a couple of different simple components (the chile paste, the avocado crema) that you might consider making at some point and stashing in the freezer or have a bit leftover for a breakfast like this.

Huevos Persephone, serves two

Small link of Mexican chorizo, casing removed and sausage crumbled

1/4 of a small onion, diced

1 potato peeled and cut into small cubes

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March 20, 2011

Quick Flavor Boost | Dried Chile Paste

I have been using chile paste in a lot of my cooking lately, because it’s just so flavorful.

I make my own and use it in braises, sauces and marinades.  (In chili. Duh.)  It takes just a bit of time, and if you portion it out in ice cube trays and freeze it, you’ve got a little bit to add whenever you want a little kick in your cooking.  And a little kick is kind of nice.

Chile Paste

4 dried pasilla chiles

2 dried chipotle chiles

4 dried Guajillo chiles

In a tall container, combine chiles and cover with boiling water.  Allow to stand for 30 minutes.  Drain.  Remove the stems and the seeds.  Do a thorough job removing seeds if you don’t want your paste too spicy, leave a few if you love heat.  Add the cleaned chiles to the bowl of a food processor or a blender.

Now make sure you wash your hands really well.  PK tip: Don’t touch your eyes, for God’s sake, you’ll go blind.  At least temporarily.

Add a bit of water (1/4 c to start) and blend until smooth.  If the chiles need a bit of help blending, add a bit more water (a tablespoon at a time).

Portion out the paste into ice cube trays or small containers.  Freeze.  If you used an ice cube container, pop out the cubes once they’re frozen and put into a Ziploc.

Playlist included Oh My Heart, by R.E.M.

 

March 8, 2011

The Real Deal | Taqueria Los Guachos

Owly Images

The Tacos, Quesadillas and Volcanes at Los Guachos

Top picks from Persephone include anything with the very tender lengua (tongue), especially the quesadilla.  Also worth ordering  are the volcanes topped al pastor (pork and pineapple and heaven).

Lovely and loud with soccer on the two TVs, it’s a great spot to pop in for a quick snack washed down with sugary Cokes and Jarritos. The staff is friendly and fast and fawns over kids.  I can’t wait to go back.

Los Guachos | 5221 Godown Road | Columbus 43235 | 614.538.0211

More comprehensive location info and reviews can be found on AltEats and Taco Trucks Columbus.

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