Elotes (Mexican street fair corn) salad

July 27, 2012 § 23 Comments

I’ve been meaning to make this corn salad for a ridiculously long time, ever since Joel first told me about the amazing grilled corn he used to eat when he lived in Mexico.  As far as I could tell, he couldn’t bring it up often enough, it was that good.  And from his description, I believed it was exactly as delicious as he remembered it being.

Elotes is grilled corn smeared with mayonnaise, rolled in crumbled cheese and spices, and spritzed with lime.  If you ask me, that hits pretty much all the most important food groups and flavor categories.  It sounded like something I wanted to be able to shovel into my mouth by the forkful.

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Florence, and welcome home chili

October 18, 2011 § 13 Comments

We’re ensconced back in Boston now, back amidst the crowded three-home Victorian buildings, the fall leaves grown burnished golden and sparse, and a distinct lack of cappuccinos everywhere you turn.  All it took was a 30 hour day, the heavily-accented services of AirFrance (who, by the way, offer Champagne as an aperitif, for free, in coach.  I think I need to fly with them more often, though Charles DeGaule is a catastrophe of an airport), and a wonderful and generous friend to pick us up at the airport.  Air travel still amazes me.

We slept hard and woke up early yesterday morning with piles of work and places to be already tapping us persistently on the shoulders.  But, it’s nice to be home.

However, I feel as if I would be remiss in my duty of being that random person who overshares about her life, and what she eats, if I didn’t at least tell you a little bit about our visit to Florence.  Florence, is a wondrous and inspiring place to visit because it has the best gelato in all of Italy.  Oh, and a little thing called the Renaissance started there.

Like many of the great old cities, Florence has an energetic, and slightly incongruous feeling, way of weaving together ancient history with hustley bustley, cell phone pervaded modern living.  People don’t necessarily live differently there because there are still buildings that are from the middle ages or statues and paintings that were the first to, oh say, rediscover perspective (I’m in awe every time I think about that.  Have been since European history with Mr. Jensen in the 11th grade).

And yet, having some of the very deepest foundations of the way we live now visible to you on every street corner must make some difference.

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Shrimp and avocado tacos

August 22, 2010 § 4 Comments

Even though I generally think of myself as falling into that category of “people who like to cook“, sometimes I kind of wonder.  Right now, for example, I feel more like resting on the laurels of “one who has cooked well and enjoyed it at times” rather than wanting to actually cook up anything notable.  Also, lately, every time I’ve noticed I’m hungry, I look up and discover I’m either in an airplane, visiting someone, driving the hour and a half commute to my summer worksite, too grouchy to be trusted with a knife, or too hot to consider eating anything other than flavored dry ice.  Not exactly a recipe for being inspired to cook.  And I find it so much more of a schlog to cook when I’m not inspired (gee whiz, there’s a surprise).

Mostly I’ve simply been adding salt and pepper to everything that crosses my path and putting it on the grill.  And, while fulfilling the role of “home cooked food that nourishes and does not offend the palate”, it’s not particularly interesting.  Someone get this girl a tantalizing recipe, stat!

Thankfully, inspiration fell out of my freezer (literally) in the unlikely form of a bag of  frozen shrimp and some corn tortillas.  Shrimp tacos!  Now that’s something worth hauling the frying pan out over.  Especially shell-on shrimp.  I know, I know, shell-on shrimp seem like way more of an effort and are way messier than already peeled shrimp.  But, you see, they cook up infinitely much better.  Peeled shrimp almost always wind up over-spiced and over-cooked to a rubbery texture.  The shell protects this from happening, keeping moisture against the delicate meat to keep it tender and lightly flavored.  Plus, it’s really kind of wonderful and fun to get your fingers goopy and sticky, peeling shrimp to put into your taco.  So, why not just go for it?!

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Pork tortas with jicama slaw (Mexican style pork sandwiches)

June 4, 2010 § 2 Comments

I wish the Earl of Sandwich were alive today, so I could write him a very thoughtful, personalized thank you note.  What a stroke of brilliance, the sandwich!  Deciding to stick your meal between two pieces of sliced bread is like, I don’t know, the best thing since slicing the bread in the first place.  I’m hard pressed to think of foods that aren’t good, or even improved by, being added to bread.  And, I think it’s entirely possible I would be quite happy eating only sandwiches for meals for the rest of my life.  Would it be good for me? Probably not (though you could do worse, especially if you’re using all sorts of interesting whole/sprouted grain breads).  But it would be oh so crusty, and tender, and juicy, and succulent, and crunchy, and spicy, and salty, and all the other wonderful things sandwiches can be.  (When I was in France, everyone who was complaining abut weight gain was blaming the fact that they had started eating sandwiches  for lunch, instead of nice sit down 3-course meals.  Having access to those baguettes, and that Camembert and pate, I could easily see how 3-courses may accidentally be replaced by 3 sandwiches before your stomach had time to override your tastebuds!).

On a standard day, I eat an open faced sandwich for breakfast, and another open faced sandwich at lunch (just classic smørrebrød, for those who are familiar).  Then on a happy day, I might also get to have a messy, finger-licking, stacked sandwich just packed with goodies for supper.

On special occasions (also known as: random days when we decide to get together and grab a bite to eat) my friend Megan and I sometimes like to go to a teensy-tinesy little restaurant in downtown Boston that we call “The Fancy Sandwich Place” (it’s real name is Mike & Patty’s).  Now, I’m more apt with sandwiches than with any other food to look down at it and say, “oh my gosh, this is the best thing I have ever eaten!”, and at “The Fancy Sandwich Place”, I think I’ve done this to every sandwich I’ve gotten there.  They make them with uber-fresh, high quality ingredients, and assemble them with care and a chef’s flair.  You absolutely can’t go wrong with any of the sandwiches there, but one of my favorites is the torta, which is kind of like a burrito put onto a sandwich: beans, cheese, vegetables, meat, guacamole.  The best, is the one made with carnitas – slow-cooked, juicy pork, that’s falling to pieces it’s so tender.  It’s topped with a slaw made of jicama root, which adds a wonderful sweet crunch. « Read the rest of this entry »

Chile beef and roasted tomatillo enchiladas

May 14, 2010 § 1 Comment

Our hosts this month, Barbara of Barbara Bakes and Bunnee of Anna+Food have chosen a delicious Stacked Green Chile & Grilled Chicken Enchilada recipe in celebration of Cinco de Mayo! The recipe, featuring a homemade enchilada sauce was found on www.finecooking.com and written by Robb Walsh…

Yeah, I joined an online group called the Daring Kitchen.  It kind of makes me feel like I belong to some crazy underground cell of culinary superheroes with secret cooking powers.  “Souffle Man!”  “The Chiffonade-inator!”  “Tagine Girl!”  Unfortunately I have yet to meet any of these particular denizens of the Daring Kitchen.  I also have not yet taken the step of wearing a spandex suit while cooking (or have I?…).  But, I did think it would be fun to join because each month you get a challenge of something new to cook, and I thought it might be good for me to be intentional about slightly expanding my repertoire of cooking techniques, lest I find myself roasting absolutely everything I run into.

I was really excited that this month’s challenge was Tex-Mex because that’s something that I don’t do a lot of, but am always happy to eat, in particular because I think cilantro and avocados are so delicious I would be happy to merge with them and become a cilantracado and eat myself.  (Wow, I totally sound like a crazy person!  Er, sorry about that.  I just really like avocados.  Anyway, back to a pretense of normalcy…)

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