Friday, July 11, 2008

We Let Them Sleep In

So Mom and Dad slept in half an hour this morning. Emma and I were a little hungry. But no worries..we took care of the problem. Luckily there was leftover birthday cake from last night, and we would have hated to wake up our tired parents...

Friday, July 4, 2008


I guess there are some people out there who are interested in making Mexican food so here are some of my recipes. Hope you like them.

People are always asking me for my beans recipe. I think the key to perfect beans is TASTE THEM AS YOU ARE ADDING SPICES AND STICK TO THE BASICS I MENTION. Mexican food is so simple. It's always just a handful of fresh ingredients every time. I just do it as simple as possible--beans are SO easy. All that is required is being home for a few hours.
3 cups of dried pinto beans
Rinse and sort beans--sorting means pulling out the funky shriveled ones and the broken pieces--but don't stress. In a large pot--put all the beans in and cover with 2-3 inches of cold water. Put the beans up to high, bring to a boil, then reduce to low-ish.Simmer for 3 to 4 hours. Add more water if it gets too low. They'll start to be soft. Turn the beans off and let them cool if you are going to store them. And voila! the hard part is done.
Usually this makes enough beans that I will fill a pot with enough beans for a few days (we eat them just about daily) and then fill a freezer container with the rest. Freeze. NEVER DISCARD ALL THE BEAN WATER! It's good for you and will make a difference in flavor and etc when you prepare the beans.

Here is where you can decide how you want them.

You can eat them as whole beans. Rewarm the beans and liquid. Add salt, pepper, onion powder (or onions,) garlic powder, a little or a lot of taco seasoning, maybe a little cumin. Just don't stray from those spices. Top them with a little cheese when you serve them. (Use a strainer spoon.) You'll get rave reviews and sometimes it's a nice change from the smashed stuff.

NOTE--If you are adding onins--chop them super fine and add them as you start cooking the beans.

You can refry--I never do. You pour some oil in a pan, let it get hot. You'll want to not have too much juice when you add the beans, but SAVE THE BEAN WATER. Dump in the beans. Cook, cook, cook. (And stir.) Add a little bean water. Continue as in unrefried beans recipe.

Unrefried beans--my preference. Add beans and juice. Cook until its smushable and then start smashing. Use a smasher thing as best you can but if you like it creamy--you can process some of it. I like to not process all of it cause then it has a nice handmade texture. Use the same seasoning as whole beans.

(Same as traditional rice: 1 part rice=2 parts water)
2 tablespoons oil, canola or olive preferably
2 cups white rice (we prefer Calrose or Jasmine, but any will work)
2 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons onion (optional)
1 small can tomato sauce
4 cups water
Seasoned salt, onion powder, garlic salt, and/or pepper
In large deep frying pan with lid or soup pot warm oil over med-hi heat. Add garlic and onion, stir. Add rice (you should have just enough oil to coat all the rice.) Stir continuously until golden brown. Have tomato sauce and water prepped and ready to pour in. Add tomato sauce, stir coating rice evenly. Add water, stir. Season to taste. Bring to a boil, cover , then reduce heat to med-lo. Cook for approx. 20 mins, taste-testing the center and the outside edge for doneness. Never stir!!!

SALSA Soooooo good for you!!!!!
Cristela’s Recipe
Blend the following ingredients (in blender.) HINT: If you need more spice, add more chiles. IF IT’S TOO SPICEY: add another tomato (or two.)
3-4 big ripe tomatoes
¼ white onion
2-5 Serrano chiles
salt to taste

Pico de Gallo (my personal favorite)
3-6 tomatoes
a handful of cilantro--long stems removed
1/3-1/2 a white onion
1-3 serrano chiles
Chop and mix. Add juice from 2-3 lemons. Add salt and pepper to taste (it may take more salt than you think.) Add a dash of olive oil. Chill or at least let sit for a little while.
If you are in the mood for a flavorful snack--add small cooked shrimp and several drops of Cholula or Tapatio hot sauce. Let chill and then enjoy.

Mexican food is almost always simple. Keep it simple for best results.

6 Tortillas
1-2 tbsp Oil
½-1 cup Salsa
Handful of cooked, chicken, beef, roast or etc, optional
1/8-1/4 cup Onions
Handful of Shredded Cheese
Warm oil in a large fry pan between med and med-hi heat. Using a pizza cutter, quarter the tortillas. Add all of the pieces to the oil. Stir around so all the tortillas get heated and crispy. Add onions, salsa and optional meat. Stir around. Add cheese. Stir until melted. Serve. Enjoy!!

To casserole-ize this, follow instructions up to adding salsa. Put whole mixture in casserole dish, layer on meat, then cheese. Bake or broil until warm and cheese is melty. Hint: Maybe top either dish with cilantro and fresh tomato, sour cream, and/or guacamole.

Store-bought tostadas
Refried (or unrefried) beans
Meat of choice, cooked and cut in small pieces
Shredded Cheese
Chopped Lettuce
Diced fresh tomatoes
Sour Cream or substitute
Guacamole (optional)
Layer beans and remaining ingredients in order on top of tostada. Add a splash of Tapatio or Cholula sauce for a kick. Enjoy with Mexican rice.

*Taquitos a.k.a. flautas
Regarding amounts: You will need about 2 tbsp of meat mixture for each tortilla. 1 tortilla =1 taquito
Corn tortillas
Cooked meat, cut into small pieces(This is one of the dishes that I can add a few veggies undetected: in my food processor, I process carrots, zucchini, onion, garlic, or other veggies; then I stir that in with the meat.)
Salt and Pepper to taste
Garlic powder (if not in w/veggies)
Warm the tortillas in a barely-open ziplock bag for 1-2 minutes. They should be steamy. If they cool off during the process, resteam them.Mix and season meat mixture to taste. Warm 2-3 tbsp oil in fry pan over med to med-hi heat. To fill taquitos, place 1 heaping tbsp of meat mixture on one side of the tortilla and begin rolling on that side. Place in hot oil with the seam on the bottom. Hold in place with a fork if needed until tortilla holds the roll. Or you may want to try a toothpick. Fry and turn until golden colored all the way around. Drain on a paper towel or napkin.Serve with Sour cream, guacamole, shredded cheese, and/or salsa.


A great dessert is called "milojas," literally, one thousand leaves. Authentic milojas have tons of layers with cajeta de leche a.k.a. dulce de leche spread between each. Here, it’s next to impossible to find the pastry just right, but this recipe is pretty close and tastes delicious and unique.
Take a sheet of premade, frozen puff pastry, thaw and roll it out a little, cut into thirds (where the folds were) then thirds or fourths. Spread on a lined baking sheet. Bake the puff pastry as box directs until golden. Allow to cool. Separate gently into as many layers as possible. Note: Don’t stress yourself out making this perfect, it’s just gonna be eaten anyway, and it will still be exceptionally flavored. Gently spread cajeta de leche (you can find in the Mexican foods section or market; or a recipe follows), or hot caramel sauce (aka ice cream topping) in between the layers. Drizzle with a confectioners' sugar glaze, chocolate glaze, cool whip, strawberries, or just sprinkle with powered sugar. Keeping it plain is an option too, and believe me, no one will complain.
P.S. Remember the keep it simple rule!

Cajeta de leche/Dulce de Leche
These are the exact same thing; however, in Mexico it’s called cajeta (pronounced caheta.)

This stuff is Easy!!! But it does take a while. 1 can of Sweetened condensed milk. Peel the label. Stick it in a large pot of water. Make sure water covers the jar by at least 1-1/2 inches. Cover pot with lid. Boil closed can for three hours at med-lo heat. After three hours, uncover pot, put it in the sink and run cold water over the can for ½ hour. When you open it, it should be butterscotch/caramel colored and creamy. It makes a delicious topping on treats, dip for fruit, EXCELLENT mixed into brownie mixes (I know, I tried it. Also add marshmallows and chocolate chips:).