Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Mexican Night

We were in the mood for Mexican last night and didn't feel like going out. We love the Coyoacan market style fried quesadillas made at Fiesta Mexicana in Rosedale and I was in the mood for fresh veggies and since I had the day off on MLK Monday, I decided to play.
We love the smoky taste of chipotle peppers and I had a huge flank steak in the fridge that we were never going to eat in one meal, so I took some of that, seared it in olive oil, added some onions and sauteed them for a bit, then added garlic and a hot pepper, sauteed for a bit longer and added mexican oregano, a chipotle in adobo and some tomato sauce. I let this simmer for about 2.5 hours, shredded it and put it back in it's sauce, YUM! Deep, rich chile and tomato flavors. This would be stuffed into the quesadillas and fried.

At H-mart on Friday I saw some nopales which are paddle cactus. I've eaten them before at cookbook club but decided I'd try and use them again. I have the Elote Café Cookbook which I got when we were in Sedona and it has a wonderful recipe for a zucchini and tomato dish. I also found this recipe and decided to combine the two and take it a step further, adding a smoky depth by roasting a poblano and adding it.

My sweetie was nice enough to do the prickly work of scraping off all the spines and slicing and dicing the nopales, the zucchini, the garlic, onions, jalepeno, tomatoes and roasted poblano. I'll follow with the recipe below.

Here it is simmering away.

Then it was on to the quesadillas. I like playing with corn masa flour. I mixed it up, let it sit, then decided I'd make some fried tortilla chips as well as the yummy quesadillas.

I really need a tortilla press. I rolled the masa into balls then pressed them between plastic with the bottom of a heavy pot. I rolled them a bit thinner with the rolling pin and plopped the tortillas onto the hot tortilla pan. 50-60 seconds a side, and then you take them off. I'm not a fan of soft tortillas (gasp) so I fried them up, playing with shapes. I made one large tostada, then cut some into triangles for chips and some into strips. I like the chips best, they were great for scooping up the veggie dish.

Next I played with the Quesadillas. I took a ball, pressed it out again, then, leaving it on the plastic, put some fresh caseara cheese and some of the chipotle meat mixture and folded the plastic over it. I wanted to fry a few at a time so I made all 5 (believe me, five was plenty) and then fried them up. The picture isn't great, but here's what they looked like before I fried them. They were tasty and golden brown and delicious as you can see from the first photo.

Braised Mexican Vegetables

1/2 cup chopped onion 1/2 inch dice
2 nopales or cactus paddles stripped of spines, cleaned, and chopped in 1/2 inch dice
2 zucchini chopped in 1/2 inch dice
1 medium poblano pepper, roasted, seeded and cut into 1/2 inch dice.
Olive oil
2 garlic cloves minced
1/2 jalepeno minced
3 whole canned tomatoes
1/2 tsp mexican oregano
1/4 c chicken broth
2-3 tbsp heavy whipping cream
Cholula hot sauce to taste

Saute the chopped onion in 1-2 tbsp olive oil until golden. Add a pinch of salt and garlic and jalepeno. Saute 1 more minute. Add oregano and saute 30 seconds. Add nopales, zucchini, poblano and tomatoes and 1/2 tsp salt. Saute 2 min and add chicken broth. Let simmer until zucchini becomes translucent. Add whipping cream and bring back to a simmer for 1-2 min. Taste for salt and heat, adding cholula hot sauce and salt if necessary.

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