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Chiles Rellenos

Chiles Rellenos

Serves: makes 6 to 8 chiles rellenos

Chiles Rellenos


6 to 8 poblano chiles (about 2 pounds)

1 batch red sauce or salsa roja (recipe follows)

3 to 4 cups grated melty cheese such as Monterey Jack, mozzarella or Muenster

4 eggs, separated

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

Vegetable oil, for frying

To Prepare

To prepare the poblano chiles for stuffing: Place chiles on a tray under the broiler, directly on the grill, or directly over the open flame. I prefer to broil them. Whatever method you choose, turn them every 2 to 3 minutes for a total of 6 to 9 minutes. They must seem charred and blistered on the outside, while the flesh must be cooked but not burnt. Place them immediately in a plastic bag, close it tightly and let them sweat for 10 to 20 minutes. Lastly, under a thin stream of cold water, remove the charred skin, which should come right off. Make a slit down one side of the pepper and remove the cluster of seeds and veins. Once cleaned, pat them dry.

Stuff each of the poblano chiles with about 1/2 cup grated cheese, or as much as will fit, allowing them to close. You may seal with a toothpick. Place 1/2 cup flour on a plate, roll the stuffed chiles in the flour and let them sit. The flour coating will help the batter coat and stay on the chiles.

To prepare the batter: In a stand mixer, beat the egg whites until they hold stiff peaks. Gently, on low speed, fold in the egg yolks and only beat enough so that they are incorporated, a few seconds.

To cook the chiles: In a large casserole, heat about 1/2-inch of oil over medium to medium-high heat. Once hot, test the oil, by dipping a teaspoon of batter into the oil; if there are active bubbles all around it, it’s ready. Dip each of the stuffed and floured chiles into the egg batter, making sure that they are entirely covered in batter.

In batches, place them in the hot oil without overcrowding, trying to have the side that was open or sealed with the toothpick facing up. Spoon some of the hot oil on top, so that it will seal the chile. Fry for about 2 minutes per side, flipping genly with a slotted spoon, until golden brown. Transfer to a paper-towel covered drying rack or platter.

Heat the salsa roja. Serve the chiles with a generous amount of salsa roja spooned on top. Alternatively, you can place the chiles in a casserole and top with the heated salsa roja. Eat while hot and melty!


Red Sauce
Salsa Roja

Serves: makes about 4 cups


2 pounds ripe tomatoes

2 garlic cloves, with skin on

1 1-inch thick slice of a large white onion (about 2 ounces), outer skin peeled off

3/4 teaspoon kosher or coarse sea salt, or to taste

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 cup chicken or vegetable broth

To Prepare

Place the tomatoes and garlic in a medium saucepan, cover with water and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes until the tomatoes are completely smooth, cooked and mushy.

Place tomatoes and garlic in a blender along with the onion and salt, and process until completely smooth.

Heat the oil in medium saucepan, set over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, pour in the tomato sauce, cover with a lid partially and simmer for 5 to 6 minutes, stirring here and there. Add the chicken broth, stir and cook for another 6 to 8 minutes, until well seasoned and lightly thickened.


Chicken in Salsa Verde Tamal Casserole

Chicken in Salsa Verde Tamal Casserole
Cazuela de Tamal de Pollo en Salsa Verde

Serves: 12

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Cazuela de Tamal de Pollo en Salsa Verde" />


Vegetable oil to grease the baking dish

1 batch of corn dough or masa from tamal recipe

1 batch salsa verde (recipe follows)

2 cups shredded cooked chicken

1 1/2 cups Mexican crema, or Latin-style cream, crème fraiche or sour cream

2 1/2 cups (about 10 ounces) grated Oaxaca cheese, mozzarella or Monterey Jack

To Prepare

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Grease a large baking dish with oil. Spread half of the tamal dough or masa in a single layer over the bottom of the baking dish. Set aside 3/4 cup of salsa verde and combine the rest with the shredded chicken. Spread the chicken and salsa verde mix on top of the masa. Cover with the rest of the masa in a second layer. Cover with aluminum foil and place in the oven for an hour.

Remove from the oven. Carefully remove the aluminum foil and spread on the remaining 3/4 cup of salsa verde. Top with the cream and cheese. Place back in the oven, uncovered, for 10 more minutes, or until the cheese completely melts and begins to brown along the edges. Serve hot, cut into squares.


Salsa Verde

Serves: makes about 4 cups


2 pounds green tomatillos, husks removed and rinsed

2 garlic cloves

2 serrano or jalapeño chiles, or more to taste

1 cup cilantro, leaves and upper stems

1/4 cup roughly chopped white onion

1 teaspoon kosher or coarse sea salt, or to taste

2 tablespoons safflower or corn oil

To Prepare

Place the tomatillos along with the garlic cloves and chiles in a pot and add enough water to cover. Place over high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer for about 10 minutes, or until the tomatillos change in color from bright green to a pale green, are cooked through, and are soft but are not coming apart.

Transfer the tomatillos, garlic, chile (you may want add only 1 chile at first), and 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid to a blender and puree until smooth. Incorporate the cilantro leaves, onion and salt and process again. Taste for salt and add more if need be. Also taste for heat, you may add the other chile in pieces until you reach your desired heat level.

In a medium saucepan, set over medium heat, pour the oil. Once hot, pour in the salsa verde, bring to a simmer and cook for 6 to 8 minutes until it thickens a bit and deepens its flavor and color. Turn off the heat.

Allow to cool to room temperature and serve. Or, once it cools down, you may store it in a closed container in the refrigerator for weeks.


Pasta Seca con Jitomate, Chorizo y Crema

1 1/2 lbs ripe Roma tomatoes(about 6 to 8 tomatoes)
1 medium clove garlic
1/2 cup tomato cooking liquid
1/2 cup medium white onion, coarsely chopped (about 1/2 cup)
3/4 tsp kosher or sea salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
8 oz fresh, uncooked Mexican chorizo, casings removed and coarsely chopped
1 tbsp safflower or corn oil
8 oz dried spaghetti, angel hair or fettuccine, broken into smaller pieces
2 cups chicken broth
2 bay leaves
1 to 2 tbsp sauce from canned chipotles in adobo, plus 1 whole canned chipotle chile for more heat (optional)
6 oz queso fresco, fresh cheese, farmer’s cheese, or a milde feta, crumbled
Mexican or Latin cream, as much as needed (!) or substitute for creme fraiche or sour cream
1 ripe Mexican avocado, halved, peeled, cut into slices

Place tomatoes and garlic in a medium saucepan. Add water to cover and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Simmer for about 10 minutes, until the tomatoes are thoroughly cooked, they look mushy and the skins have started to come off.

Transfer the tomatoes, 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid and garlic to a blender along with the onion, salt and pepper. Let cool slightly and puree until smooth.

Cook the chorizo in a large, deep skillet over medium-high heat for 5 to 6 minutes, until it has browned and crisped; use a wooden spoon or spatula to break it into smaller pieces as it cooks. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the cooked chorizo to a bowl.

Add oil to the same skillet used to cook the chorizo, over medium-high heat. Add the spaghetti or fettuccine pieces and cook for a few minutes, stirring often, until the pasta changes color and starts to brown. Do not let it burn!!

Pour the tomato puree on the pasta. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring often, until the sauce thickens and the color darkens to a deeper red. Add the chicken broth, bay leaves and adobo sauce, plus a whole chipotle chile in adobo, if desired.

Mix well, cook uncovered for 10 to 12 minutes, stirring often to keep the pasta from sticking, until the pasta is cooked through and the tomato sauce has thickened considerably. Discard the bay leaves.

Add the chorizo and stir to incorporate. Divide among individual plates; serve hot, topped with crumbled cheese, fresh cream and avocado slices.

Huevos Rabo de Mestiza: con Salsa de Jitomate y Rajas de Poblano
Serves 6 to 8

The sauce can be made ahead of time and the dish cooked right before you want to eat it.

2 lbs Roma tomatoes
1 garlic clove
2 bay leaves
3 tbsp corn or safflower oil
1/2 cup white onion, slivered or thinly sliced
3/4 lb poblano chiles, or about 3, charred, sweated, skinned, stemmed, seeded, cut into about 2″ slices (may soak in hot water with 2 tbsp brown sugar or piloncillo to tame heat)
1/4 tsp dried marjoram
1 tsp kosher or sea salt, more or less to taste
8 eggs
1 cup queso fresco, crumbled, my substitute for farmers or a mild feta
Corn tortillas or toast, optional

Place the tomatoes along with the garlic and bay leaves in a medium saucepan. Cover with water and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, simmer until thoroughly cooked, about 10 minutes. Place tomatoes, garlic and bay leaves in the blender and puree until smooth.

In a large, heavy bottomed pan set over medium heat, pour in the oil. Once hot, cook the onion, stirring now and then, until soft and translucent, about 4 to 5 minutes. Stir in the poblano rajas and let them cook for 1 or 2 minutes. Pour in the tomato sauce, sprinkle the marjoram, salt and pepper, and let it season and thicken for about 10 to 12 minutes. You can make this sauce ahead of time and refrigerate for up to 4 days.

When ready to make the eggs, reheat the sauce, then lower the heat to medium-low and add the eggs one by one. It is easier if you crack the eggs into a small bowl or cup and slide them into the sauce. Sprinkle a bit of salt on top of each egg and cover the pan with its lid. Let the eggs poach until cooked. I like the yolks, still runny, which takes like 4 to 5 minutes.

Serve on plates and sprinkle crumbled cheese on top. Have warm corn tortillas or toast on the side.

June 21, 2010
Oaxaca 3-thumb-510x342-1165

Oaxaca cheese is a mild tasting, gently salty, stringy white cheese with a deliciously chewy, full and filling bite. It is made in the same way as Mozzarella cheese. In fact, they taste very similar! Once the curds are formed, they are heated in water, stirred, and heated in water again. Throughout the process, as they are heated and stirred, they are made into very long threads that are pulled once and then again, until the desired consistency is achieved.  Then the long threads are wrapped into balls.

In Mexico, and recently in some places abroad as well, you can find freshly made Oaxaca cheese, as it is usually found in small town and open air markets. You can also find commercially processed Oaxaca cheese in grocery stores, but the flavor and consistency changes considerably from the fresh ones.

Continue reading Oaxaca Cheese

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Oaxaca Cheese


April 1, 2010
Queso Fresco A-thumb-510x342-1953

Queso Fresco, which translates to Fresh Cheese, can be found throughout Mexico with slightly different variations. It is also called Queso de Pueblo,  Queso de Rancho and sometimes just Queso Blanco. In some small towns it may be found sold wrapped in banana leaves and if you are lucky, in the small baskets where they are sometimes made.

It generally comes in rounds. Though it appears to be  firm and can hold its shape nicely when cut into sticks or squares, it is very soft and crumbles easily. It is used in many ways, such as a side to guacamole and salsas, crumbled on top of hundreds of antojos like tacos, tostadas, enchiladas, refried beans and even soups. I also love it diced or crumbled in salads. Possibilities are endless.

Continue reading Queso Fresco

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Queso Fresco


May 19, 2009

I am so surprised tostadas haven’t become wildly popular in the US. Here are some reasons for my surprise…

They can be assembled in a couple minutes, as ingredients can be prepared beforehand or store-bought. They can be eaten anytime of day, depending on what you layer on them. They are a wholesome one stop meal, for proteins, vegetables and carbohydrates happily mingle in there. They are accommodating, you can decide how much to add of each topping. They are forgiving, choices can vary from one tostada to the next. Moreover, they are fun to prepare, eat and share.

In a sense, they are the perfect dish for casual entertaining. So much of Mexican food just lends itself to being in a Fiesta mood.

Continue reading Tostada Buzz: To infinity, and beyond!

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