Sunday, March 29, 2009

In the News, Cooking & Daughters...

News worthy time spent South of the Border~

The long overdue trip to Mexico by our first born finally arrived 2 weeks ago. She hadn't been to visit Monterrey since her Birthday Celebration a couple of years ago which happens to coincide with Diez y Seis (aka: September 16th, Mexican Independence Day.) True, we have seen our girls since we travel home frequently but she had not had a recent opportunity to visit here, wine, dine & relax. I won't give too many details of her trip as the first born kids in our family never lack for words & she did give a fine detailed account of her visit in her Blog here:

Our Bytes-from-Texas girl had the chance to visit & meet up with several friends as well as find out that visiting Gringos often make it on the local television station! We traveled out to Presa de la Boca on Dia de Benito Juarez for sun & fun on the water only to find out when we arrived that a slow news day here can merit a television crew! Seriously, boats on a lake in Mexico are not all that newsy but Gringos as I am told are a tiny bit of comic relief on the evening news! Thank God for a slow news day in Northern Mexico...recent activities put a negative spin on life here & we were only to happy to be a "kinder, gentler, type of news story". I actually turned the camera on a particularly nosy cameraman who trained his camera at length on our boat. A seriously invasive Azteca News camera guy!! What is good for the Americanos is good for the locals in my book. The tiny photo at the top of the blog is a guy beside the news van with the camera trained on our boat.

We thoroughly enjoyed all of our time together. As always in the Texas to Mexico house a good deal of time was spent cooking. Slow meals south of the border are always better with loved ones. I always love cooking with my girls. We especially enjoyed the Spanish Tapas style meals with small bites & our favorite Latin American wines.

Mushroom & Jalapenos with Chorizo Stuffing
3 tbsp. olive oil
1/2 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
6 jalapeno peppers, seeded & split
8-10 large mushroom caps, stems removed & gills removed with spoon.
8 oz. hard Spanish Chorizo, casing removed & diced
1/4 cup black Spanish olives, seeds removed & roughly chopped.
2 cups homemade breadcrumbs*, divided
1/2 cup chicken stock
3 tbsp. chopped fresh Italian parsley
1/4 inch cubes of Manchego Cheese

Saute the Chorizo over medium heat in a large skillet until the pieces begin to crisp and brown, about 5 minutes. Add 1 cup of breadcrumbs and the chicken stock and saute for another couple of minutes. Remove to a bowl.

Make the toasted breadcrumbs by brushing the breadcrumbs with the butter and quickly running them under the broiler. You’ll want to watch them the entire time to ensure they don’t burn. Once they come out of the oven, mix them with the parsley, olives, next add in the cubes of Manchego cheese & blend well.

Stuff each pepper or mushroom cap with as much of the stuffing as you can fit and set aside. Once they’re all stuffed, place into an oven safe dish & bake @ 375 for 20 minutes or until tops of stuffed peppers/mushrooms are browned & crispy looking. Serve immediately. *We ate these with a nice Alamos Malbec wine.

Monday, March 2, 2009

A Taste of Texas in Mexico, an Independent Meal

As surely as the Battle of the Alamo transformed the likes of Davy Crockett & Jim Bowie into epic heroes, the cuisine of Mexico has shaped the taste buds of Texas. In celebration of Texas Independence Day we shared a meal this evening which combined a true favorite: Texas Chicken Fried Steak & with a tangy Mexican Salsa Veracruzana. Salsa Veracruz is normally served with Fish however this tangy sauce is great with fish, chicken or beef or even served as a side.
Texas Independence Day celebrates the signing of the Texas Declaration of Independence in 1836 & is an official holiday in the State of Texas. While this is hardly a celebration South of the Border (hmm, can't imagine why...) March 2nd is a holiday for any true Texan no matter where they reside. John Steinbeck in fact stated facts quite well when he said "A Texan outside of Texas is a foreigner". This evening regardless of where we dined, we were Texans! Even in Mexico our hearts were deep in the heart of Texas this Independence Day.

Salsa Veracruzana

3 Tbsp. Olive oil
1 Garlic clove; peeled & minced
1 Onion; chopped fine
1 1/2 lb Tomatoes, diced
12 Capers, large
12 Pimiento-stuffed olives
4 Tbsp. fresh diced Poblano Pepper
1 Bay Leaf
2 Tsp. Fresh chopped Thyme
2 Tbsp. Chopped Fresh Parsley
Salt & Black Pepper to taste

Heat olive oil in skillet over medium heat. Add garlic clove & onions cook,
stirring often, until onion is translucent, about 3 minutes. Add tomatoes,
stir well and cook, stirring occasionally, 15 minutes. Add capers,
olives, poblano peppers, bay leaf, thyme and parsley. Cook,
partially covered, until thickened, about 15 minutes more. Add salt to taste.

Texas Chicken Fried Steak~like your Grandma would make!

cube or tenderized round steak
flour seasoned with salt, black pepper & red pepper
2 beaten eggs + 1 Tbsp. water
bread crumbs or cracker crumbs
oil for frying

1) Dredge the meat in flour seasoned with salt & peppers
2) Dip in egg wash (=2 beaten eggs + 1 Tbsp H2O)
3) Press bread crumbs or soda cracker crumbs into meat.
4) Fry in about 1/2 inch vegetable oil, heated @ medium high. Cook turning once till golden brown. Drain on brown paper or paper towels, serve immediately.