Category Archives: mexican


This falls under the “best use of leftovers” category.  Lately, I’ve been addicted to THIS Spiced Millet Breakfast Bowl.  As per Sarah’s recommendation, I have been making a huge vat of millet and using it throughout the week.  As an aside, the correct pronunciation is mill-IT.  However,  I prefer to call it “mill-AY”, because I’m fancy like that.  If you would like more info on this grain (I refuse to call it bird seed, because that will only gross you out, and you should not be afraid), check out what BOB has to say about it. PS – I buy mine from the bulk section of our local store to save me some duckets.

Anyhoo.  I came home from a long ass day work, and had a serious craving for a burrito bowl.  And when I have a craving, don’t nobody wanna get in my way!  Upon perusing my fridge, I found leftovers from Sunday night’s meal of grilled flank steak…

….and knew I was in business.  Toss in the leftover mill-AY, black beans, a few other veggies, and VOILA, I was a happy girl.  I love burrito bowls because you can use whatever you have on hand, and they are always d-to-the-licious.  Last night’s shmorgishborg included the following:

Leftover flank steak, sliced paper thin, then doused in fresh lime juice.  Let it come up to room temp while you prepare the rest.

For a large vat of cooked millet: bring 4 cups of water to a boil, add 2 cups of millet, simmer covered for 20-30 minutes, until all water is absorbed (stores well in the fridge for the week).

In a 12 inch skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of oil over medium heat.  Toss in about 3 cups of cooked millet, 1 teaspoon chili powder, 1/2 teaspoon cumin, 1/2 teaspoon of coriander, and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt.  Heat the millet through, and adjust seasonings to your preference.  (Sidebar:  chipotle powder would be great here, but alas, I was out.)

This part is totally optional, but I like a little dressing on mine (it eliminates my need to slather everything in sour cream…. not that I’m judging – if that is what you want to do, go for it!).  I also eyeball my dressings, so use this as a guide and make changes as needed:
1/3 cup canola oil, 2 teaspoons agave, 1/2 teaspoon chili powder, 1/4 teaspoon cumin, juice of half a lime, salt to taste.  Whisk it together well and adjust.  (I also added a dash of cider vinegar to mine, just to give it some kick)

The sky is the limit.  Here is where you can really get creative with whatever you have available.  I vouch for the following:  diced heirloom tomatoes, rinsed black beans, corn, fresh cilantro, green onion, diced yellow bell pepper, a bit of finely shredded lettuce, and a sprinkle of crumbled goat cheese just to make things fun.  I assure you that avocado would have been invited to this party as well, but I was out.  Sigh.

Avocado or not, it was scrumdiddlyumptious.  Super light and fresh, without giving me the dreaded “gut bomb” that I sometimes experience after such a meal.

Oh.  And did I mention that it’s MAY?!  I can smell dirt and freshly cut grass.  Yessssss!  Bring.  On.  Summer.  That is all I have to say.



Filed under dressings, meat, mexican, quick and easy

Salsa Fresca

Want to know the secret to making the most delicious salsa on earth?  It’s simple: grow yo’ sh*t.   You don’t need a garden to grow your own tomatoes, a large container will suffice, and they taste so much better than the impostors at the supermarket.  There really is no comparison. Last spring,  Sunset Magazine had a great article on “salsa in a pot”, so I tried it out this year.  I grew tomatoes, jalapeños, and herbs in large containers, then grew the onions in my raised bed.  It’s fun to freeze jars of garden salsa to enjoy during the oh-so-dreary winter months.   D-to-the-licious. This has been my simple go-to recipe all summer:

6 large, super ripe garden tomatoes, seeded, chopped coarse
1 large white onion, peeled, chopped coarse
1 or 2 jalapeño peppers, roasted, seeded
2 large cloves of garlic, crushed (I tend to go big here)
1 teaspoon blue agave sweetner
zest +fresh juice of one lime
salt + pepper

My mother, a veteran burn nurse,  is not going to be pleased with the above photograph.  Sorry, mom!   I always roast my jalapeños over an open flame before chopping them up.  I like the deep flavor and the charred little bits.  My host mom in Mexico used to do this all the time, but she was a pro….so…attempt at your own risk. 🙂

Put everything in the food processor, reserving a handful of chopped tomatoes.  Process until smooth but chunky (does that make sense?!  You know what I mean)…

Then toss in the reserved tomatoes and pulse a few times, depending on how chunky you like it.

Grab a bag of Juanita’s chips (the best, most addictive chips on the planet) and chow down.

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Filed under appetizer, condiments, garden, mexican, tomatoes, vegetarian


Photo by Leigh Beisch for Sunset Magazine

The chilly fall temperatures have converted me into a full fledged soup-aholic.  This recipe, from January 2010 issue of Sunset Magazine,  has become a favorite.  It is a quick and easy version of the popular Mexican stew.  We top ours with avocado, lime, sour cream, and a few sprigs of cilantro.  It’s also great served with warm tortillas or cornbread.

Chiles 101: 
Poblano Chile: These mild peppers usually vary in color from green to reddish-brown.  While we definitely prefer it with the poblano chiles (especially when they come from our friend Catherine’s garden!), you can substitute the mild pasilla chile for poblanos if you can’t find them.

New Mexico Chile:  This recipe calls for a ground version of the brick red chile, which can be found in specialty markets and in the Mexican section of some supermarkets.  If you can’t find New Mexico Chile powder,  California Chile powder is a good substitute and is easy to find.

Follow this link to the recipe.  It yields 4 or 5 servings (we had friends over for dinner and four of us easily devoured it as a main course):
Speedy Chicken Posole with Avocado and Lime

Buen provecho, amigos!

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Filed under mexican, soup


This recipe is an amalgam inspired by America’s Test Kitchen and The Pioneer Woman Cooks.  Ree Drummond offers the following disclaimer at the beginning of her post:

First, an important clarification: The Pioneer Woman Cooks is not meant to be an encyclopedia of innovative gourmet recipes. It is a reflection of what is going on in my kitchen day in and day out, whether that’s necessarily thrilling or not.

I would like to echo her sentiment.  There is nothing fancy going on here,  other than my need to satisfy a mad craving for enchiladas after a long day at work.   I regret that I don’t have worthy photo documentation of this process,  mostly due to the fact that:  A) pictures of hamburger are gross and B) I was so hungry that I just wanted to get it on the table.

I have walked past “El Pato” on the international shelf at the supermarket countless times, but I had never actually cooked with it.  I am grateful to “P-Dub” for showcasing El Pato’s spicy tomato sauce, as it will now be a staple in my pantry.  (I should also point out that El Pato is Spanish for “The Duck”,  so as a former Oregon Duck, I felt a certain kinship with this brand.  I also happened to watch the Ducks kick the living crap out of  solidly defeat the UCLA Bruins while I ate these enchiladas.  It was a good night.)

This picture doesn’t really do them justice, so you’ll just have to take my word for it: they are heavenly.

serves 4 – 6 (depending on hunger level)
1 TBSP vegetable oil
1 onion, minced
2-3 garlic cloves, crushed 
2 TBSP chili powder
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp corriander
1/2 tsp oregano
1/8 to 1/4 tsp cayenne 
salt to taste
1 pound lean, good quality ground beef
1 1/2 cups (divided) “El Pato” spicy tomato sauce
1 tsp brown sugar (I like mine heaping, but reign it in if you don’t like sweet and spicy together) 
1 2.25 oz can sliced black olives, drained and divided
1 can refried beans (warm them in a sauce pan so they are easy to spread)
mexican blend cheese 
8 soft taco sized flour tortillas
preferred toppings 

preheat oven to 400 degrees
beef filling: 
HEAT the oil in a large skillet.  COOK the onion and 1/2 tsp salt until softened.  ADD garlic and spices, stir until onion is evenly coated and garlic is fragrant.  STIR in the ground beef and cook until no longer pink.  ADD 1/2 cup of the spicy tomato sauce and allow to simmer until thickened.  STIR in brown sugar (optional).  ADD 1/2 of the black olives.  SALT to taste.

COAT a 9 x 13 inch baking dish with vegetable oil spray.  NUKE the tortillas for 30 to 60 seconds in the microwave.  PLACE a spoonful of heated refried beans down the center of the tortilla.  ADD 1/3 cup of beef mixture over the beans.  SPRINKLE cheese over the beef and beans.  ROLL the tortillas tightly, burrito style, and place seam side down in the baking dish.  SPRAY the rolled enchiladas lightly with cooking spray and cover evenly with remaining El Pato tomato sauce.  SPRINKLE with cheese and remaining olives.

COVER the baking dish with foil.  BAKE, on the middle rack, at 400 degrees for about 25 minutes. REMOVE foil and continue to bake for another 5 minutes, until the edges are nice and crispy (my favorite part).  REMOVE from the oven and allow them to rest for 5 or 10 minutes before serving.

toppings (all optional): 
DRIZZLE more tomato sauce over the top.  DOT with sour cream.  SPRINKLE shredded lettuce, diced tomato, avocado, and cilantro over the top.  DIG in.

**note:  if you have left over tomato sauce, seal it in a ziploc bag and freeze it for future use! 

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Filed under meat, mexican