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Mexican(-ish)

As I mentioned in an earlier post, we did not receive a single head of cabbage from our CSA last week – or today either.

Maybe cabbage season is over, I have no clue. My almost non-existant interest in growing vegetables coupled with my remarkable ability to kill even house plants led us to remove the electric fence that the previous owner of our house had so carefully installed around the vegetable garden and begin mowing it as if it were grass.

I have decided that peach season must be in full swing in Indiana because we have gotten bags of peaches in our last three CSA boxes. We have had grilled peaches, now peach salsa, and there will be more peachy dishes to come because I just got six more peaches at my CSA pick-up today.

Have I ever mentioned that we have peach trees here at Duke’s House?

We have many of fruit trees in our yard, about 45, 98% of which are still alive. They must be too hearty for my outstanding gardening skills. I typically put off mowing the grass in our orchard until last in the rotation because it is a pain in the neck to mow under and around all of the trees.

I kind of wonder if I would find even more ripe peaches if I went out there? We may have quite a bit of peach salsa in our future!

Adapted from Pink Parsley

Peach Salsa

  • 2 ripe peaches, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 3 medium tomatoes, seeded and coarsely chopped (I used canned tomatoes, Chris does not appreciate the flavor of raw tomatoes.)
  • 1/2 medium sweet onion, coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup diced jicama
  • 1/2 jalapeño, seeds and membranes removed, and diced
  • 1/2 cup cilantro leaves
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 Tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly cracked pepper

Directions:

  • Chop all ingredients.
  • Combine in bowl.
  • Chill before serving.

Servings ~ 8
Calories ~ 31, Fat ~ 0g, Carbohydrates ~ 8g, Protein ~ 1g

The first summer that we lived in our house, I bought a jicama a few times. We baked jicama “fries”, grilled the jicama, but never thought to eat it raw. It turns out that we were way off the mark! Eating jicama raw is the way to go!

It is a shame that it doesn’t get served more often. For those of you who are not familiar with it, jicama is a root vegetable, well actually it is a legume, that is usually softball size or larger. The skin and flesh are about the same color as the skin and flesh of a potato and the flavor and texture bring to mind a cross between an apple and a potato. Jicamas are fairly hard to peel, kind of like peeling rutabagas, but don’t let that stop you. It is well worth the effort!

After making dramatic changes to the recipe I intended to follow, Chris and I decided that we were extremely happy with this creation. I used mine as a burrito filling, while Chris preferred to eat his with tortilla chips as a salsa. Yum!

 

Inspired by Cooking Light and PreventionRD.

Ingredients:

  • 1  cup  corn kernels (I used frozen)
  • 1  cup  finely diced peeled jicama
  • 1  cup  canned black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • 1 clove elephant garlic, minced
  • 4  tablespoons  chopped fresh cilantro
  • 3  tablespoon  fresh lime juice
  • 1  teaspoon  ground cumin
  • salt to taste

Directions:

  • Chop ingredients, toss together, and refrigerate to chill.

Servings ~ 8
Calories ~ 100, Fat ~ 4 g, Carbohydrates ~ 15 g, Protein ~ 3 g

We made two batches of Black Bean and Mango Salad last week. We finished the first one really quickly, so quickly that I did not feel satisfied that I had eaten enough of it. Within a day or so, I was back at it making more.

The first batch of Black Bean and Mango Salad was eaten as a side with chicken, then again for lunch as a burrito filling. I prefered it as a side, Chris seemed to like it better in a burrito. Figures. We know that he loves burritos in any form and favors foods that do not require him to use plates or silverware.

We ate the second batch of Black Bean and Mango Salad in its first two incarnations and also used it as a salsa with guacamole. The possibilities are endless. I have a feeling that we will be making this stuff often!

Adapted from Branny Boils Over.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups black beans
  • 1 mango, diced
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 3 tbsp finely chopped cilantro
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/3 cup diced sweet white onion

Directions:

  • Dice mango, avocado, and onion.
  • Combine with drained black beans.
  • Season with salt and chili powder.
  • Mix in lime juice and cilantro.
  • We are some right away, but it was much better after it was left to marinate for a few hours.

Serves ~ 4
Calories ~ 213, Fat ~ 7 g, Carbohydrates ~ 32 g, Protein 8 g

Mango on Foodista

It has been a while since I did a cooking post. The last few weeks have been crazy at Duke’s House and we are doing well to feed ourselves, let alone try cooking new things. I think our crazy schedule is about to settle down some, so I expect to be back in the cooking game!

As I have mentioned before, Chris loves Mexican food, so when I saw this recipe on Branny’s website I couldn’t wait to try it out. I knew that it would be tasty and healthy and it did not disappoint.

While I was preparing the enchiladas I told Chris, “Just to set your expectations, these are going to be veggie enchiladas. They don’t have any meat in them.”

He replied with, “Brit, most enchiladas are veggie.”

“Yeah, but not quite like these.”

He finally made his way into the kitchen to see what I meant. He had been envisioning gooey, cheese filled, enchilada bliss. What he saw, was a skillet full of squash.

He also saw that I was roasting tomatillos and garlic and making green sauce from scratch. “Brit, you know they sell cans of that stuff, right?”

Of course I know that, but what fun would that be?

The verdict, these were great. I will consider doubling or tripling the recipe for the green sauce next time. I will also consider incorporating queso fresco.

From: Branny Boils Over.

Ingredients (enchiladas):

  • 3 cups (cooked) black beans, about 210 g dry if cooking from dry beans
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 poblano pepper
  • 1 jalapeño
  • 1 large zucchini
  • 1 small yellow squash
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 12-14 5″ corn tortillas
  • (optional) sour cream and hot sauce as a garnish

Ingredients (tomatillo sauce)*:

  • 6-8 tomatillos, husks removed and washed
  • 3 tbsp garlic, minced
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro
  • water as desired (I did not add any.)

*I will consider doubling or tripling this recipe next time. We like sauce a lot.

Directions:

  • Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees. 
  • Place tomatillos and garlic in a pan for roasting, and spritz with olive oil spray. 
  • Cook 35-40 minutes, turned once or twice, until the vegetables soften.
  • Dice peppers, onion, zucchini, and squash. 
  • Saute vegetables over a medium heat in a pan sprayed with olive oil for several minutes, until the veggies soften.
  • Season with all chili powder, cumin, oregano, and lemon juice. 
  • Add black beans and cook 3-4 minutes longer. 
  • For the green sauce, combine tomatillos, garlic, and cilantro in a food processor. 
  • Process for a few seconds and check to see if water is needed. Add water as needed to reach desired consistency and continue processing until desired texture is achieved.
  • Place 1/3 of the sauce in a saucer or shallow.
  • Slightly warm the tortillas by placing them in the oven briefly.
  • After they are warm enough to be pliable, dip the first corn tortilla into the tomatillo sauce so that it is covered on both sides. 
  • Fill tortilla with several spoonfuls of the bean mixture. 
  • Fold over tightly and place seam side down in a baking pan that has been sprayed with olive oil spray. 
  • Repeat as needed until no filling remains. 
  • Spread the remaining 2/3 portion of the tomatillo sauce over the enchiladas and bake, covered, at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Servings ~ 4-5
Calories ~ Difficult to estimate. Branny estimated hers at about 94 calories per enchilada. I think 100 calories per enchilada is a fair ballpark figure, but it is hard to calculate because of varying zucchini and squash sizes, different brands of corn tortillas, different amounts of filling, etc. I would eat 2-3 enchiladas plus some sides for a reasonable dinner.

In an effort to use all of our fruits and vegetables before they go bad, we often have to use veggies that are common between several meal in a week. This is often challenging when it comes to fish taco fixings.

Or is it?

Cabbage and pico de gallo mixed into ground turkey. Can it be?

Chris said no. “This burger will fall apart. It can not be grilled.”

I briefly considered cooking it in the grill pan, but I have shunned our grill pan since the first time I used it. The grill pan is basically a slow cooking George Foreman grill. Gross.

Chris agreed to grill the self destructing burger but made no promises. His masterful grilling skills paid off. This was the best turkey burger I have ever eaten.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. extra lean ground turkey
  • 2 cups finely shredded cabbage
  • 1 cup pico de gallo
  • 1 avocado
  • 1/2 onion
  • mayonnaise, mustard, or the burger topping of your choice

Directions:

  • Combine ground turkey, cabbage, and pico de gallo.
  • Divide mixture into four equal parts and form four burger patties.
  • Grill until cooked through.
  • Serve with thinly sliced avocado, onion, and mayonnaise (for me) or mustard (for Chris).

When I got home from work on Friday, I could not wait to try this recipe out! After I finished making the red bean version of these burritos, I offered some to Chris and his friend.

Me: “Chris, do you guys want some burritos? They just came out of the oven.”
Chris: “Bry, do you want any of those sweet potato burritos?”
Bryan: “Nah, I’m good.”
Chris: “Nah, we’re good.”
Me: “They’re not the sweet potato ones, but they are made from a recipe that I got from Branny’s website.”
Chris: “Different Branny burritos? Now I’m curious. Bry, they are different ones from the same girl. Can you bring two out?”

This tells me two things:

  1. Chris trusts Branny’s cooking more than mine.
  2. Chris really is always up for a burrito.

When I brought the burritos out, I warned the guys that they were not ‘Mexican-y’ burritos. Maybe it is just the addition of Sweet Thai Chili Sauce, but these almost make me feel like this is what you would get if you if you ordered a burrito in Southeast Aisa. Kind of like Indian food in Japan, California pizza, or any other foreign flavor that has been adapted to the local ingredients and flavors.

Anyway, these were amazing. We somehow devoured ten of the turkey and red bean burritos that I made on Friday in time for me to make ten more of the turkey and lentil variety on Sunday. Thirty-six hours later, there is only one lonely burrito left in our refrigerator. Needless to say, I plan to try out a tofu and red bean version sometime soon!

This burrito does not photograph particularly well, but it tastes great!

Directions:

  • 140 g (dry) red beans or lentils (about 1 cup dry or 1 can)
  • 8 oz. lean ground turkey
  • 1 3/4 cup (1 can) diced tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup red wine
  • 3 tbsp Sweet Thai Chili Sauce
  • 1 onions, chopped
  • 2 tbsp garlic, minced
  • 1/4 green bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 large apple (I used a Fuji), finely chopped
  • 60 g raisins (about 1/2 cup)
  • 4 scallions, chopped finely
  • 4 egg whites (scrambled)
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 10 wheat tortilla

Directions:

  • Cook red beans or lentils until tender.
  • Sautee ground turkey and chopped onion in a large skillet until the turkey is browned.
  • Add tomatoes, wine, Sweet Thai Chili Sauce, green pepper, garlic, apple, raisins, salt, and pepper and simmer for several minutes.
  • Scramble 4 egg whites.
  • Add scallions and egg whites.
  • Continue to simmer until the mixture is dry enough to stuff a burrito with.
  • Stuff burritos.
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Servings ~ 10 burritos
Calories (using lentils) ~ 240, Fat ~ 6 g, Carbohydrates ~ 33 g, Protein ~ 19 g

Before heading out for our weekend camping trip, Chris decided to spend some extra time and make a more indulgent breakfast than usual. These breakfast tacos sure did hit the spot!

Ingredients:

  • 4 eggs
  • 4 corn tortillas
  • 4 oz. chorizo
  • 1/2 avocado
  • 1/2 cup pico de gallo
  • 8 tbsp sour cream
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • hot sauce (We used Sriracha)

Directions

  • Heat tortillas in oven.
  • Heat chorizo.
  • Cook eggs over medium.
  • Place eggs on tortillas,
  • Layer chorizo, chopped avocado, and pico de gallo on top.
  • Mix sour cream and milk to form a sauce.
  • Add several spoonfuls of sauce to the top of each taco.
  • Drizzle with hot sauce.
  • Enjoy.

Servings ~ 1-4 (I had one, Chris had 3. I guess it is up to you!)
Calories (per taco) ~ 254, Fat ~ 13 g, Carbohydrates ~ 17 g, Protein ~ 17 g

As a native Angelino and avid longtime surfer, Chris has many fond memories of surf trips to Baja where he would eat fish tacos from roadside stands and his favorite beachside cantinas. Unfortunately, Chris’s move to the Hoosier State has precluded weekend jaunts south of the border. Bummer.    

I had no pictures of surfing Chris, this is Chris in his current state instead. The fishing is fine in Duke’s Pond. This fish was not harmed in the making of these tacos.

In order to win Chris’s heart, I have spent years perfecting the art of preparing Baja-style fish tacos (sans authentic atmosphere). Hopefully my efforts more closely resemble the tacos from the cantinas than those from the roadside stands.      

There are several important components to this dish, the guac, the pico de gallo, the seasoning on the fish, the taco shell, the cabbage, and the hot sauce.   

 

First, the guac. You need a fairly ripe avocado or you will have a heck of a time mashing it. It then needs the right balance of cumin, cayenne pepper, salt, and lime juice. If we weren’t cooking within the parameters of Duke’s House Budget, we would also add some diced jalapeño. If we weren’t cooking for Chris who hates raw tomatoes, we would add some finely chopped grape tomatoes. 

   

Next the pico de gallo. Ours is just finely chopped onion, preferably the white or red variety, and fresh cilantro.     

   

On to the fish. Nearly any type of mild flavored, crumbly fish will work, at Duke’s House we use whatever is on sale. This week tilapia was 4 lbs. for $9, so tilapia it is. Pollack, haddock, grouper, and flounder also work. Use your imagination. We usually season the fish with lemon juice, paprika, cumin, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. This isn’t fine fish, the point is to make sure that you don’t taste it.   

     

The taco shell must be a soft corn tortilla! Nearly the entire Hoosier state is staring wide-eyed at that last sentence. A whaaa? That’s right. No crunchy taco shells, or at least not the yellow U-shaped ones that you are thinking of. Not a four tortilla, not even if it is whole wheat. I’m talking about the 6″ corn tortillas that come bagged in stacks of 84. Don’t worry, I am pretty sure that they will stay fresh for a year or more in your refrigerator, not that they will last that long anyway. After you try these, you will be going through corn tortillas like nobody’s business!   

Lastly, the hot sauce. We have quite a hot sauce collection at our house: Tabasco, Sriracha, Frank’s Ret Hot, Cholula, we may even have some El Yucateco hidden in the back of the pantry, but at Duke’s House we only use Tapatio for fish tacos.   

The cabbage is pretty self explanitory. We usually buy ours pre-shredded because we’re lazy very hungry and short on time when we get home from work. Chopping it up from a head of cabbage would be great as well.   

We generally make up all of the individual components of this dish, warm up the tortillas, and assemble the tacos as we go. Note, if you do not warm up the tortillas, they will break and you will be wearing your dinner.   

   

Fish Taco Fish:   

Ingredients:   

  • 6-8 ounces of crumbly, mild tasting, light colored fish
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:    

  • Combine fish, lemon juice, and spices in a foil packet.
  • Grill over a medium heat until fish is flaky and cooked through.

   

Guacamole is a staple in Duke’s House. We like to eat it on chips, on tacos, on sandwiches, and sometimes even straight out of the bowl. Here you have it!

Ingredients (based on making 1 medium avocado worth):

  • 1 medium avocado
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp lime juice
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 jalapeño, minced (optional)

Directions:

  • Pit and peel the avocado. If you have not done this before, see the notes below so some person like Chris doesn’t make fun of you.
  • Cut the avocado into chunks, put them in a bowl, and mash them with a spoon.
  • After the avocado has been mashed to adequate creamy-ness, add the spices and lime juice and mix thoroughly.
  • If you did not buy enough avocados/would like less caloricly dense guac/or need to stretch the guac for any reason, I recommend adding a few spoonfuls of fat-free or reduced fat sour cream.

Peeling and Pitting an Avocado:

  • The easiest way to do this is to slice around the edge. Think of it as an egg, start at the top by the stem, slice around to the bottom, keep going until you reach the stem again.
  • Twist the two halves apart, kind of like opening a jar.
  • Hold a knife in your dominant hand and the pit-side of the avocado in the other, carefully whack the knife into the pit, like you are some kind of martial arts master. The knife blade will stick into the pit.
  • Twist the knife, the pit should pop out.
  • Now take a spoon, your silverware probably came with big ones and little ones, go for a big one, and one half of the avocado. Slide the spoon between the avocado meat and the skin. Scrape the spoon around the edge kind of like you would do to a pancake before flipping it. This will detach the avocado meat from the skin without wasting much of the avocado. Repeat on the other half.

A must-have for fish tacos, among other things, here it is (tomato-less) pico de gallo. I recommend adding finely chopped grape tomatoes, if Chris dug raw tomato I totally would.

Ingredients:

  • 1 large onion (I prefer either white or red)
  • 1/2  bunch fresh cilantro
  • Squirt of lime juice

Directions:

  • Finely chop onions and cilantro (and tomatoes if you are including them).
  • Combine in a bowl.
  • Add a squirt (or squeeze if you are using fresh limes) of lime juice.
  • Stir well.