Yum, yum! Everytime I think about good food I think about my grandma. I guess you could say she inspired me at a young age to start cooking. I was always amazed at how many delicious things she could make over and over again, with out ever using a recipe! But, that's how grandma's work, isn't it? Being Mexican, I was lucky to grow up with home made flour tortillas, freshly cooked pinto beans, and queso fresco. This was probably the simplest of meals, but a staple in the mexican everyday diet and so good. I can still see my grandmother, in her night dress, waking up bright and early to get started on making testales (little balls of dough for flour tortillas) for the week. It was a pretty laborous ordeal, since she didn't use any mixing machines.. everything was done by hand. Of course, now, she is older and has started buying the almost home made style raw flour tortillas we have available at the local super market. Needless to say, her cooking has lost none of it's flavor or ability to take me back to childhood.
Aside from tortillas, one of my favorite dishes was entomatadas. I am not sure if many people outside the hispanic community know what these are... but they are delicious corn tacos filled with queso fresco and topped with tomato sauce. Sound simple? Well, it is! and it is so delicious. I often dreamed about learning to make these, because I craved their sweet and spiciness often. However, my mom would always make them when I'd ask her to so I never bothered learning how to make them. I know, lazy. Last year though, I was determined to learn how to make those classic plates I enjoyed during childhood in order to pass them on to my baby girl when she's older. These entomatadas were the first thing I made and believe it or not, I just took brief directions from my grandma and mom over the phone! They turned out pretty fabulous and I've continued to make them since.
In celebration of Cinco de Mayo, I made these but never got around to posting about them. Better late than never- So here it is!
- 8 or 9 medium sized roma tomatos
- 1 serrano pepper
- 1/2 to 1 tsp. of sugar (optional)
- salt and pepper (season to taste)
- vegetable oil
- corn tortillas (2 or 3 per person)
- 1- 8 oz. package of queso fresco
- 1/4 a small yellow onion (optional)
Place tomatos and serrano pepper in a deep pan, fill with water and set to boil. This process should take about 10 minutes, until the tomato skin has busted open and tomatos are soft.
Do not drain the tomatos when they are ready because you will be needing this liquid. Place the tomatos and pepper in a blender. You don't have to worry about removing the tomato skins, but don't forget to pop the top off the pepper. The ratio of tomato to pepper ensures that the sauce won't be too spicy. It's just a little added kick. If serrano peppers are too spicy for you, you can always substitute for a small fresh jalapeno.. or just leave it out all together. Add about 1 to 1 1/2 cups of the boiling liquid to blender and close the lid. Always use a small kitchen towel over the blender top, just incase the hot liquid bursts out of the blender. I usually pulse and remove the top to let out steam until the sauce is completely smooth. Taste the sauce for sweetness. If the tomatos weren't ripe you will need to add the sugar. This can be skipped if you have ripe tomatos. Then add salt and pepper to taste and blend again.
Heat a skillet with a teaspoon of vegetable oil and pour the sauce in to reduce slightly, while you prepare the tortillas and crumble the cheese.
If you don't mind the bite of a raw onion, you can finely chop the onion and add it to the cheese. This is optional. My grandma always made half the cheese with onion and the other half without because some people didn't like the onion.
In another skillet, pour some vegetable oil in the pan. You only need about 1/2 tsp. because we aren't frying the tortillas, it is just to soften them. Once the oil is hot place the corn tortilla in the pan and let it heat through. It shouldn't take more than 30 seconds to do both sides of the torilla. Then place heated tortilla on a plate... without a paper towel. If you do have a paper towel, the torilla will stick to it and make a mess because they are only softened, not cooked to a crisp. Just make sure to hold the tortilla over the pan for a few seconds to let the excess oil drip off. Don't forget to turn off the tomato sauce at this point.
After finishing the tortillas, flip them over so you have the freshly cooked ones at the bottom. This makes handling them much easier, because you won't burn your fingers and they won't tear. Using tongs, dip the tortillas into the sauce and onto a plate for filling. Fill each tortilla with cheese and roll them, so the seam of the taco is facing down. Place them close to each other so they keep themselves from rolling. Then pour sauce over them and sprinkle a little cheese. That's it!
- 1 cup of long grain rice
- 2 cups of water
- 1/2 stalk of celery
- 1 cube of tomato bouillon
- 2 tbs. of tomato sauce
- 1 tsp. of vegetable oil
Add vegetable oil to pan and allow it to be heated. Then add rice and toast rice until it resembles an oatmeal color. This should take about 5-7 minutes. Pour in the water, add the celery, bouillon, and tomato sauce. Stir slowly to make sure all the ingredients have been dispersed through out the rice. Then cover and let simmer over a medium heat until the liquid is absorbed. Once liquid is absorbed, remove from heat and remove the lid until ready to serve.
- 2 medium sized baking potatoes
- 2 peeled carrots
- 2-4 oz. of Mexican Chorizo (not the hard Spanish Chorizo)
- Vegetable oil
Heat pan and oil, while the you peel and dice the potatoes and carrots. Add the potatoes to the pan until they are slightly cooked. Then the carrots. Once both vegetables have a nice brown color add in the chorizo. The chorizo should not take more than 5 mintues to be fully cooked. The dish is ready to be served along side the rice.
So, there you have it! A simple Mexican dish. Aprovecho!