Shrimp Tacos

at mimi's table mexican shrimp tacos

Simply put: This is one of the most delicious taco recipes ever! Jessica and I made this for “Cinco de Mayo.” Marinated and grilled shrimp offers up the perfect shrimpy bite. And I mean PERFECT! These shrimp tacos are an amazing combination of flavors and textures. They’re refreshing, too. Do I sound excited? Oh, my mouth is watering!

And a Negra Modelo. Doesn’t get any better. Truly! My son-in-law introduced me to Negra Modelo a long time ago when he and my daughter went to a late lunch. So good and flavorful – it’s the perfect beverage with good Mexican food.

When Richard and I vacationed in Mexico a few years ago, I ordered Negra Modelo. The beer was delivered in a tumbler-sized glass filled with ice. Lime juice freshly squeezed over the ice, and a healthy portion or lime juice. The Modelo was served alongside to pour over the ice and lime juice. Oh, so refreshing!

The cooked shrimp are placed in warmed corn tortillas, doubled, so two tortillas for each ta top. Then a layer of finely shredded cabbage for a nice crunch topped with this amazing sauce from Indian chef Aarti Sequeira at the Food Network. I didn’t have banana peppers, but if you like a tangy bite with a little heat, I’d put a few of those on, too, before digging in.

at mimi's table shrimp tacos grilling shrimp

In fact, this is Arati’s Fish Taco recipe. I substituted shrimp and added the guac. I’ve made this dish with fish, too, and it’s equally delicious. Thanks, Arati!

at mimi's table shrimp tacos zachy endorsed
Zachy Endorsed

If you try your hand at Shrimp Tacos, I’d love to know what you think!

Let’s make up a batch, shall we?  

Shrimp Tacos
These Shrimp Tacos are a delicious bite of heaven. Quick and satisfying. Serve with a chilled Negra Modelo for a perfect meal.
Author:
Cuisine: Mexican
Serves: 3-4 servings
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Ingredients
  • For The Shrimp
  • 2 lbs raw large shrimp (21-25/pound count), peeled and deveined
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 2 teaspoons ancho chile powder
  • Pinch cinnamon
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • For The Sauce
  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ancho chili powder
  • 1 lime, juiced, plus extra if necessary
  • Kosher salt and pepper
  • At Service
  • 24-6" corn tortillas, wrapped in foil and warmed in the oven at 225 degrees for 10-15 minutes
  • Finely shredded cabbage or angel hair coleslaw mix
  • Pickled banana peppers
  • 1-2 fresh limes cut into wedges
Instructions
  1. Rinse shrimp in a colander under cool running water. Line a baking sheet with a double thickness of paper towels. Put the shrimp on top and cover with another layer of double paper toweling. Pat dry.
  2. In a large bowl, mix the marinade ingredients. Add shrimp and toss until it's well coated. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside for 30 minutes.
  3. In a small bowl, mix the sauce ingredients. Cover with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator to let the flavors blend.
  4. If you're serving homemade guacamole, now's the time to put that together. Keep in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
  5. Divide tortillas into two stacks. Wrap tortillas with aluminum foil and set inside a 225F degree oven to warm.
  6. On the stove, heat a grill pan over medium-high heat. Begin to grill the shrimp in batches making sure not to overcrowd the pan. Grill for two minutes on each side, or until the shrimp turn pink. Be sure not to overcook the shrimp, because they will become tough.
  7. As the shrimp cook, remove them to a bowl covered with aluminum foil.
  8. To Serve
  9. Set out warm tortillas, cooked shrimp, shredded cabbage, guacamole, sauce, and banana peppers buffet-style. Let everyone assemble their own tacos with whatever they like.
Notes
Shrimp Tacos may be served with refried beans, Mexican rice, or a salad. I've never cooked seafood on an outdoor grill, so I can't comment, but they certainly could be grilled. Enjoy!

 

Chili 101: Mimi’s Favorite Chili

at mimi's table mimi's favorite chili 101 #1

It’s that time of year! Here in central Indiana, we’re having the coldest winter of any I remember here in quite a long time. In fact, it’s been warmer in Billings, Montana, my former home. Temps reached -16°F last night. No weather for man nor beast. But a perfect time to warm up with a steaming bowl of Mimi’s Favorite Chili.

(Uh, don’t be put off by the green stuff mixed in with the sour cream in the above picture. I served Mexican dinner on Christmas Day and my husband mixed the guacamole and sour cream together. It looks questionable, but was delicious!)


I’ve made this chili recipe for as long as I can remember, seriously forty years or more. Sometimes we eat as pictured. Sometimes I’d make up some macaroni and serve the chili over that. A friend of mine used to serve her chili over cooked rice – another option.

Funny. Richard and I were in Costco the day before I made the chili pot. A customer overheard us talking about making chili, and immediately invited himself over. Our conversation wandered to the topic of what to serve with chili. This fella said he insists that his chili is served with a peanut butter sandwich. “Well, of course!” I said. Our new friend and chili connoisseur told us he was having a difficult time winning over his wife to the idea.

In the mid-century olden days, the school cafeteria always served chili with peanut butter/honey sandwiches and carrot and celery sticks. We settled it must be an Indiana thing.

Any way you like it, a hot bowl of chili, mild or spicy, is a surefire way to warm up your bones!

Let’s make some!

at mimi's table mimi's favorite chili 101 #2

First, brown your meat in a heavy 6-qt dutch oven or other heavy pot. Oh, and don’t forget to add a Tablespoon or so of cooking oil to the pot, bring up to medium-high heat, then add the meat. Even though there’s fat in the meat, the oil helps the process along. You may use ground beef or ground turkey, as long as it’s pretty lean. I normally use 90% lean ground beef, but don’t be afraid to use turkey. It’s delicious and we really can’t tell the difference once the chili is finished.

While the meat is browning, dice up a nice large yellow sweet onion, set aside. Mince 2-3 cloves of fresh garlic, set aside. Measure the chili powder, cumin, black pepper, cinnamon, and paprika into a small bowl, set aside. Open up your cans of tomatoes and beans. The goal is to have everything at the ready so the dish comes together quickly.


Chili 101

AMT Here's a tip iconNow’s the time to have a discussion about heat – like hot peppery heat. Not everyone shares the same enthusiasm for peppery spicy food. I, myself, like the heat from peppers or Tobasco sauce or ground cayenne, but enjoy the flavors in moderation. I like the simple spike of heat, but not so hot that’s it’s uncomfortable to eat.

If you like the flavor of pepper but not the heat, add one diced green pepper, or throw in a stalk of diced celery, or both.

Need to add a little extra heat? Add 1-2  finely diced jalapenos or 1-2 finely diced serranos, which are hotter than jalapenos. Set them aside with the minced garlic.

What I do is add a finely diced jalapeno, a finely diced serrano, and add dry ground cayenne to the dry spices. A couple shakes of red pepper chili flakes goes in there, too. And a couple shakes of Tobasco sauce as the chili cooks.

You can always add more hot peppers to the mix if you like spicier chili or include the pepper membranes and seeds into the dice, which adds another level of heat. Remember, however, to add peppers to the browned meat when you dump in the diced onions. If you decide to ladle the chili into serving bowls over macaroni or rice, keep in mind that will lower the heat level, too.

If you’re serving children, look out. In my experience, they don’t tolerate peppery heat at all – enter macaroni or rice and lots of cheese.


at mimi's table mimi's favorite chili 101 #3

Now the meat is nicely browned. Add the onion and peppers (hot or mild). Stir over medium-high heat until the onions begin to soften. Add diced celery, if you’re using.

Add the garlic. Continue to cook until you smell the aroma of garlic, about one minute.

at mimi's table mimi's favorite chili 101 #4

Add the dry spices: chili powder, cumin, Mexican oregano, cayenne, crushed red chili peppers, and cinnamon. Stir all the spices together and heat until you can smell the spices, 1-2 minutes max. (Adding the spices this way intensifies their flavors.)

at mimi's table mimi's favorite chili 101 #5

Dump everything else into the pot: diced tomatoes, whole tomatoes, dark red kidney beans. Add 2-3 cups of liquid:  beef or chicken stock or just plain water if you don’t have stock in the pantry. Stir and bring to a simmer. Turn down the heat to continue the simmer. Cover with the lid not quite covering the pot so steam is able to escape.

at mimi's table mimi's favorite chili 101 #6 at mimi's table mimi's favorite chili 101 #7

After 45-60 minutes, your chili is ready! See how much liquid was evaporated?

Ladle generous portions into deep bowls and add your toppings: Monterey jack or cheddar cheese, sour cream, guacamole, additional finely diced hot peppers, finely diced sweet yellow onion.

On this particular night, I had some leftover tostada shells and we used them to break into our bowls instead of crackers.


at mimi's table mexican food iconChili Thoughts

  • I think chili is one of the first dishes beginning cooks learn to make. It’s easy. The ingredients are inexpensive. Everyone enjoys a hearty bowl.
  • Serve with peanut butter sandwiches or cornbread.
  • Don’t be afraid to mix up the ingredients. You can add corn. Use canned pinto beans, light red kidney beans, or black beans.
  • Try a can of beer in place of some of the stock/water. If so, you’ll want to add the beer to meat/spice mixture before you add tomatoes, beans, etc. Let it cook a bit after adding to burn off some of the alcohol.
  • Cinnamon is uncommonly used in chili unless you’re in Cincinnati. Just 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon is all you’ll need. Cinnamon evens out the flavors.
  • If you need to thicken your chili, add a Tablespoon of cornmeal stirred into 1/4 cup of water. Add to the chili after the cooking is finished and stir to incorporate.

at mimi's table signature 2 fallI would love to know how you make your chili special! What tips and tricks do you have up your sleeve?

 

Chili 101: Mimi's Favorite Chili
It's that time of year when a steaming bowl of Mimi's Favorite Chili warms us to the very core. Learn Chili 101 and how to make my easy and satisfying recipe along with a couple of hints.
Author:
Cuisine: American
Recipe type: Chili
Serves: 6-8 servings
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Ingredients
  • 2 pounds lean ground beef or ground turkey
  • 1-15oz can of dark red kidney beans drained, or pinto, light red, or black beans, drained
  • 2-14oz cans fire-roasted diced tomatoes.
  • 1-28oz can whole tomatoes
  • 2-3 cups of beef or chicken stock, or water, or a combination
  • 1 large sweet yellow onion, diced
  • 1-2 jalapeno peppers, finely diced or 1-2 serrano peppers, finely diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 Tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 Tablespoon cumin
  • 2 teaspoons Mexican oregano
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • ⅛ to ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • Options to replace jalapenos and/or serranos
  • 1 green or red pepper, diced
  • 1 stalk celery, diced
Instructions
  1. Over medium-high heat, add 1 Tablespoon cooking oil into a heavy 6-quart dutch oven
  2. Add ground meat. Brown until there is no pink visible.
  3. While the meat is cooking, chop onion, mince garlic, dice peppers. Set aside.
  4. Measure dry spices into a small bowl. Set aside.
  5. When the meat is ready, add chopped onion and hot peppers. (Add green or red pepper and celery if using.) Stir and continue to cook until the vegetables are softened.
  6. Add minced garlic and cook until fragrant, one minute.
  7. Add dry spices, stir to distribute and cook until fragrant, 1-2 minutes max.
  8. Add all the tomatoes, beans and stock &/or water. Stir to distribute.
  9. Bring the chili to a simmer. Cover the pot, but not completely so steam escapes and thickens the chili.
  10. Turn down the heat. Simmer for 45-60 minutes.
  11. Check for seasoning. Add 1-2 shakes of Tobasco sauce, if using.
  12. Serve with peanut butter sandwiches or cornbread.
  13. This chili can also be served over cooked macaroni or cooked rice.
Notes
1. You can substitute one can of beer to replace an equal volume of stock/water. Add the beer to the meat mixture before adding tomatoes. Let the mixture cook for a bit to allow the alcohol to cook off.
2. To thicken chili, if needed, add 1 Tablespoon cornmeal to ¼ cup of water, mix. Add the slurry to the chili while stirring.

Serve with any variety of toppings: shredded Monterey Jack &/or cheddar cheese, sour cream, guacamole, diced sweet yellow onion, diced jalapeno or serrano peppers.

 

Chicken Pibil Sandwich with Pickled Onions and Avocado Crema

at mimi's table pati's mexican table chicken pilbil sandwich


Here’s a Thanksgiving leftover tip! Substitute turkey to build these fabulous sandwiches! YUM!!

Star of the Show!
Pickled Red Onions with Jalapeno

Pickling fresh vegetables seems to be all the rage these days. And there’s a good reason. Pickled veggies don’t take a lot of time. The ingredients are cheap and simple. A small sweet and tangy crunchy bite for almost anything. And you can make pickled veggies in small batches.

at mimi's table red pickled onions

It only takes 10 minutes to put everything together. And if you make a large batch, Pati says these delicious pickled onions will last in your refrigerator for two weeks.

Pickled Red Onions
Tangy and sweet pickled red onions add a flavorful crunchy bite to any sandwich, taco, salads. Whatever your little heart desires!
Author:
Cuisine: Mexican
Serves: 2 cups
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Ingredients
  • ¼ cup each grapefruit juice, orange juice, lime juice and white distilled vinegar
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
  • ½ teaspoon kosher
  • 1 large red onion thinly sliced, about 2 cups
  • 1 jalapeno charred
  • 2 bay leaves
Instructions
  1. Place the grapefruit juice, orange juice, lime juice and vinegar in a mixing bowl along with the black pepper, allspice, and salt. Mix well.
  2. Add the red onions and bay leaves.
  3. Char or broil the banana pepper in the broiler, on the grill, on a hot comal or dry skillet set over medium heat or directly on an open flame, for 3 to 6 minutes. Turn it once or twice, until its skin has lightly charred.
  4. Add to the onions.
  5. Toss well in a canning jar and let the ingredients pickle at room temperature from ½ hour to 2 hours
  6. Put the jar in the refrigerator. Pickled Red Onions will keep in the refrigerator for 2 weeks.

 

This Chicken Pibil Sandwich is one of my favorites from Pati’s Mexican Table. Spicy chicken topped with crunchy pickled red onions and slathered with avocado crema is a satisfying bite. It’s a quick sandwich to put together, too.

at mimi's table fall logo 2017
Let’s make a batch!

Chicken Pibil Sandwich with Pickled Onions and Avocado Crema
Nicely seasoned chicken or turkey topped with tangy, sweet pickled red onions and slathered with avocado crema. Quick, easy, and very yummy!
Author:
Cuisine: Mexican
Recipe type: Sandwich
Serves: 4-5 servings
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Ingredients
  • ½ pound ripe tomatoes
  • ¼ red onion outer layer removed
  • 3 cloves garlic unpeeled
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 cups low sodium chicken broth, divided
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • ¼ cup freshly squeezed grapefruit juice
  • ¼ cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • ¼ cup freshly squeezed lime juice
  • ¼ cup white distilled vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons achiote paste chopped (the paste that comes in a bar, not a jar!)
  • 6 cups cooked shredded chicken from homemade broth or rotisserie chicken (may substitute turkey)
  • Soft buns
  • Avocado Crema
  • Pickled Red Onions a la Yucateca
Instructions
  1. Preheat the broiler. Line a baking sheet or roasting pan with foil. Place the whole tomatoes, onion and unpeeled garlic cloves on the foil and set under the broiler, 3 to 4 inches from the heat. Broil for 4 to 5 minutes, until charred on one side. Flip over and broil for another 4 to 5 minutes, until the skin is blistered and completely charred. The tomatoes should be very soft with the juices beginning to run out. Remove from heat.
  2. Once cool enough to handle, quarter the tomatoes and place in a blender jar along with any juices from the baking sheet. Peel the garlic cloves and add to the blender along with the onion, salt and 1 cup of the chicken broth. Puree until completely smooth.
  3. Heat the oil over medium heat in a casserole or soup pot until hot but not smoking. Pour in the puree and cover partially, as the sauce will sizzle and jump. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 7 to 8 minutes, or until the sauce thickens and darkens considerably.
  4. Meanwhile, combine the grapefruit juice, orange juice, lime juice, vinegar, oregano, cumin, allspice, pepper, chopped achiote paste, and the remaining cup of chicken broth in the blender and puree until completely smooth.
  5. Stir the puree into the tomato sauce and bring back to a simmer. Simmer 5 minutes, then add the shredded chicken. Mix together well and continue to cook, uncovered, until the chicken has absorbed most of the sauce, about 5 minutes. The finished dish should be very moist but not wet or soupy.
  6. To serve, scoop about 1 cup of the chicken pibil onto the bottom half of a bun. Top with avocado crema and a few pickled red onions.
Notes
Read Pati Jinich's recipe at https://patijinich.com/recipe/fast-track-chicken-pibil-sandwich/

Avocado Crema: 2 ripe avocados; ½ cup Mexican crema;1 minced clove garlic;1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice; ½ teaspoon kosher salt or to taste. Combine all ingredients in a food processor or blender. Blend until smooth.

 

Pati’s Mexican Table

Pati Jinich

I’m no stranger to Mexican cooking. If you’ve read a few of my Mexican food posts, I frequently mention my ex-mother-in-law who was my introductory mentor.

Over the last 40 years, as Mexican food and cooking became an American obsession, I was increasingly intrigued by all the chiles, spices, foodstuffs, utensils, and techniques. I sought out Mexican/Latino grocers and ingredients. I wanted to broaden my horizon to include a variety of South-of-the-Border dishes and not the usual American restaurant fare.

Because I learned from a real Mexican cook, I knew dishes would be delicious and better going the homemade route using traditional ingredients and techniques.

Enter Pati Jinich. Her show on PBS, Pati’s Mexican Table was nominated for two James Beard awards and two Emmy awards. Pati begins her sixth season in September 2017.

Pati has an interesting story. She was born in Mexico City to Mexican-Jewish parents, and was raised in Mexico City. Not until she was married did Pati and her husband move to Texas.

Pati’s career began as a political policy analyst. Eventually, at the urging of her husband and family, Pati decided to migrate to another career doing what she’s passionate about, Mexican food.

Here’s Pati’s bio on her website.

Why I Love Pati’s Blog

I’ve learned a lot about Mexican ingredients and cooking methods from her blog and television program. Pati has a simple, welcoming style. It’s clear she loves to teach and share what she learns.

Pati’s blog is divided into three sections: Recipes, The Basics, and Ingredients.  If you’re looking to build a well-stocked Mexican pantry, be sure to visit her Ingredients section – everything from spices and chiles to grains, beans, and vegetables. Browse in The Basics section for tips on cooking techniques and utensils. The Recipe section is amazing. Pati has included so many dishes I’ve never imagined to try.

at mimi's table pati's mexican table mole poblano

Mole Poblano Yes You Can!  is her recipe for the dark, richly flavored cooking sauce that coats chicken, tortillas for enchiladas, served with eggs, potatoes, and napoles (cactus). Pati solves the mystery of making a batch of this famous Mexican food staple, and breaks down making it yourself in easy to follow steps, coaching along the way with ingredient pairings, descriptions and why they work.

at mimi's table pati's mexican table chicken pilbil sandwich

Fast Track Chicken Pilbil Sandwich is another of my very favorites. Scrumptious, creamy, crunchy, it’s all those things. The avocado crema is phenomenal.

at mimi's table pati's mexican table pickled red onions

Pickled Red Onions a la Yucateca has become a family favorite not only for the Pilbil Sandwich, but to top tacos. They’re crunchy, not too sweet, not too vinegary – they’re a perfect accompaniment for any sandwich, grilled meat, eggs. These onions are addictive. Learn about bitter orange as the unique ingredient for the pickling liquid.

Here are a few of Pati’s recipes I’m eager to try:

Lime Rubbed Chicken Tacos with Corn Guacamole

Big Brunch Enchiladas

My Favorite Tamal of All Time: Chicken in Green Salsa

Learn more about Pati Jinich and Pati’s Mexican Table here.

at mimi's table signature 2 fall

Carmen’s Mexican Rice

at mimi's table mexican rice

Yes, this plate of Cheesy Enchiladas in Molé is scrumptous!

However, the star of the show in today’s post is the side dish in the upper right hand corner of the plate: Carmen’s Mexican Rice.

I’ve written frequently about my ex-mother-in-law, Carmen, and how she influenced my Mexican cooking skills and palate. One side I learned very early in the process was Mexican Rice.

It’s a staple of most south-of-the-border meals, breakfast, lunch and dinner. Served with beans of any sort, rice and beans is a complete protein. In fact, rice and beans is a fabulous vegetarian/gluten-free option. You’ll find recipes for beans and rice all over southern and Latino cooking sites on the web. Such an amazing and healthy combination.

Anyway, I digress.

Many years ago, a younger Mimi, husband, and new baby visited Carmen’s homestead in Grand Island, Nebraska. Her mother still lived in the same house where the family was raised.  Imagine the curiosity aroused when a “gringa” showed up and actually volunteered to help with dinner preparations!

I remember uncles, aunties, and Grandma Garcia (the matriarch) watching over my shoulder as I confidently whipped up a batch of rice to serve for the evening meal. Nods of approval and Spanish spoken praises were received and well-appreciated. Maybe their beloved Anthony hadn’t done so bad after all!

Nevertheless, Mexican Rice is so easy to put together. Carmen’s recipe included onions as the only vegetable. Peas, carrots, green beans were not in the mix. And Mexican Rice is inexpensive. Paired with beans, flour tortillas, grated cheese and a side salad, this dish is very frugal.

at mimi's table mexican food icon

                           

                            Let’s Cook!

Mexican-Rice-1

This is my favorite rice cooking vessel. It’s an old Guardian Ware aluminum pot that belonged to one of my grandmothers. Both used Guardian Ware, and I was the lucky recipient of this one.

I like it because it’s sturdy. The walls are thick. The lid fits well and retains heat nicely. Every pot of rice I conjure up comes out perfect no matter the recipe.

If you don’t have one of these handy, rice is successfully cooked in an enameled cast iron pot or a heavy pot will a tight fitting lid.

Mexican-Rice-2
at mimi's table Carmen's Mexican rice oil
at mimi's table Carmen's Mexican rice browning rice

Before you begin, measure out your ingredients:

  • 1 3/4  cups of low-sodium chicken stock or water mixed with 1/4 cup tomato sauce
  • 1 cup long grain white rice
  • 1 medium onion, cut in half and then into chunks
  • 1-2 teaspoons Mexican oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt

Over medium-high heat, add 1-2 Tablespoons vegetable oil or olive oil. (I like olive oil.)

Once the oil is hot, add the rice. Begin to stir so all the rice is coated with oil.

Continue to cook until some of the rice is translucent and other kernels are lightly browned.

Add the chopped onion to the rice. Cook for a minute or two until the onions begin to wilt and become lightly browned.

at mimi's table Carmen's Mexican rice add onion
Mexican-Rice-6

Add the chicken stock or water and tomato sauce. Careful – the liquid may steam and spatter.

Add the oregano and garlic salt. Stir to distribute everything. Bring to a gentle boil. Reduce temperature to a simmer and cover.

at mimi's table Carmen's Mexican rice with onions liquid and spices

Let the rice simmer for 13 minutes. Once it’s done, immediately remove from the heat and set aside to let the rice finish cooking. You can put the pot in a slow oven (185°F) to finish cooking for 15-20 minutes to keep it warm before serving.

You can lift the lid and fluff up the rice, but I usually don’t. My daughter tells me the “money bite” is the rice, onions, and oregano that settles to the top.

Now, If I’d had my act together, I would have remembered to take a picture when the rice was finished. Must have been hungry this day and in a rush to get dinner on the table. Ooops . . .

at mimi's table mexican rice

Carmen’s Mexican Rice is awesome served alongside Huevos Rancheros. My mother used a version in her recipe for Retro Pork Chops with Spanish Rice, Peas, and Potatoes.

My young family would eat leftover rice, refried beans, tamales, and warm tortillas for breakfast. Ah, the good old days when I didn’t have to worry about all those carbs and calories!

Enjoy!

Click here for recipe

at mimi's table taco icon

Mimi’s Fast & Easy Shrimp Fajitas

at mimi's table shrimp fajitas featured image

During the hot days of summer, we are all looking for a flavorful, healthy and quick meal. I frequently turn to fresh seafood as an alternative to traditional grilled burgers and dogs or dinner salad.

A family favorite and crowd pleaser, you can’t go wrong with are Mimi’s Fast & Easy Shrimp Fajitas.

Oh, so simple! Oh, so quick! Oh, so DELICIOUS!!

I serve the fajitas, whether they’re shrimp, chicken or beef, with warm flour tortillas along sides of Mexican Rice or Refried Beans, and a simple green salad. As an added bonus, this dish is gluten-free, if you use gluten-free flour or corn tortillas. If you’re filled with ambition, you should make or learn to make homemade flour tortillas.Takes the “quick” out of it, but still. Some store-bought brands can be very good, like El Milagro. But like everything homemade, they’re just better tasting. I did make my own every week for many years to serve at breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Awesome!

I think my Mexican-ex-mother-in-law would get a kick out the fact that I cook so much Mexican food – mainly inspired by her. My mom would make out-of-this-world tacos, but rarely ventured out of that comfort zone. When I married, I learned so much about Carmen’s Mexican cooking. She taught me a lot. She always made her own tortillas, and she was lickity-split! Amazing!

at mimi's table mexican food icon

Let’s Cook!

at mimi's table shrimp fajitas shrimp 1

I like to buy raw shrimp in the 20-25/pound range that have been shelled and deveined. It makes the process simple and quick. You can use frozen shrimp – it doesn’t take long to thaw. All you do is put the frozen shrimp in a bowl and fill it with cool tap water. In about 20 minutes, the shrimp are ready to use. I plan on 1/3 pound of shrimp per person. One pound will feed three gracious eaters or two voracious ones.

Sometimes even cleaned and shelled shrimp can leave behind bits and pieces of the black vein running down the middle. I always run the tip of a paring knife down along the track to make sure the black stuff is gone. According to seafood sources, you don’t have to. But why wouldn’t you? It looks awful. And it’s good to run your fingers through the water to check for any pieces of shells wandering aimlessly around.

Rinse the resultant shrimp well in cold water, drain well, and layer on a baking sheet lined with a double thickness of paper towels. Place a paper towel on top, and pat dry. It’s good to have the shrimp as dry as possible so they’ll sear well in a hot skillet.

Now, spray the tops lightly with cooking spray. Season lightly with salt and pepper. If you want to add some spice, it’s a good time to sprinkle with any or all of your favorite Mexican spices: ground cumin, chili powder, cayenne pepper. Whatever you prefer. Set aside while you prep the vegetables.

at mimi's table shrimp fajitas vegetables

For one pound of shrimp, I use one medium onion cut in half and then into strips. One red bell pepper, cored, seeded and cut into strips. One large jalapeno pepper, cored, seeded, and finely diced. And one clove of garlic, minced.

Shrimp-Fajitas-Onions-1
Shrimp-Fajitas-Peppers-Garlic-1
Shrimp-Fajitas-Onions-Peppers-Garlic-1

The next step goes quickly. Have a serving plate or serving bowl at the ready for the vegetables as they come off the heat.

Heat a griddle over or a large skillet to medium-high heat. A cast iron griddle or skillet would be ideal, but not imperative. I use a 12″ iron skillet when I’m cooking one pound of shrimp, and a larger griddle over two burners when I cook larger quantities.

Add two tablespoons of olive or neutral cooking oil to the skillet and spread it around to cover the bottom. Add the sliced onions, sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper, and cook quickly, stir-fry style, until the edges begin to brown and the onions begin to wilt. Quick cooking will help the onions keep their shape and stay crunchy.

Add the red peppers, jalapeno, and garlic to the skillet. Again, quickly stir-fry the vegetables until the peppers are heated through and the garlic becomes fragrant.

Put the cooked vegetables in your serving bowl or plate. (I use a flat oval 3-quart Pyrex dish.) Set aside and keep warm. Don’t cover with foil or plastic wrap, because the veggies should keep their bite. Covering them will steam them, and the vegetables will be mushy. Still delicious, but you know. I usually put them in an unheated oven or in the microwave.

In the same skillet over medium-high heat, layer the shrimp in a single layer, seasoned side down.

Cook for 2-3 minutes until the shrimp just begin to turn pink and a little carmelization is happening around the edges.

One-by-one, flip the shrimp to cook on the other side – 1-2 minutes max. The shrimp should be cooked through, but tender. Overcooking will make them tough. Sprinkle with the juice of half a lemon.
Spoon the shrimp over the cooked vegetables.

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And there you have it!
Fresh, fragrant, juicy, steamy, delicious!
And QUICK!

Here are some condiment
suggestions for the fajitas:

Let’s Eat!

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Cheese Enchiladas in Mole

at mimi's table ultimate cheese enchiladas jeff mauro

This recipe comes under my blog heading of “Tasty Tryouts.” Recently, I decided to try different recipes I discover on cooking shows, food magazines and blogs and share my new favorites with you.

Ultimate Cheesey Enchiladas is a recipe from Jeff Mauro (The Sandwich King), who is one of the hosts of Food Network’s The Kitchen, and winner of Food Network Star in 2011. His recipe appealed to me because I love Mexican food and I adore anything that resembles molé. (Eating Rick Bayless’ molé at his Chicago restaurant, Frontera Grill, is on my bucket list.)

My Mexican mother-in-law introduced me to molé in the 1970’s when she made enchiladas with leftover Thanksgiving turkey. Wow! My taste buds were changed forever, and her enchiladas became a family and friend staple made with turkey or chicken. I developed a craving that was intensified with every bite. Here’s Carmen’s way of making Turkey Enchiladas in Molé.

While Mauro’s enchilada sauce is not a true molé, it’s awful close to the real thing – a dark rich sauce flavored with cocoa, ancho and chipolte chile powders and it’s quick to put together. I would substitute his in a heartbeat for anything molé based.

There’s a generous helping of cheesy goodness for the enchiladas. This time in addition to the cheese I added some leftover shredded chicken and roasted Anaheim or long green peppers commonly used for chili rellenos (a recipe I have yet to master).

Normally, I use flour tortillas rather than corn. In the old days, I made my own, as did my mother-in-law. But now, I rely on tortillas from El Milagro, corn or flour, you can’t go wrong with this brand. I’ve eaten them since my childhood, and nothing else store bought comes close. If you’re adventuresome, many Mexican grocers sell their own homemade concentrated molé in paste form that can be reconstituted with chicken stock. A good idea to try one.

Cheese Enchiladas in Molé is not difficult to make, but there are several steps. Don’t be intimidated. It’s a delicious recipe well worth trying. We loved it! Thanks, Jeff! Tasty, indeed.

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Let’s Get Cooking!

at mimi's table cheese enchiladas in mole roasting chiles 1
Roast the chiles on all sides until the skin blisters on all sides. Remove to a plastic bowl covered with plastic wrap or into a ziploc bag. Let the chiles steam until easy to handle.Remove the skin, seeds and inner membrane.
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Dice the chiles. I used one. Or you can skip this step and substitute a can of roasted green chiles from the store. I think you get a better flavor with the real deal, but I also had lots of time on my hands. HA!


Second step, make the molé. The sauce requires a roux of oil and flour. Because the flour can brown very quickly, I like to have all my ingredients measured out and at the ready once the roux is thickened.

So, in a small bowl add:

  • 2 Tablespoons ancho chile powder;
  • 1 Tablespoon chipolte powder;
  • 2 teaspoons cocoa powder;
  • 2 teaspoons Mexican oregnao;
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder (not garlic salt);
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin.
  • Mix and set aside.

Measure 2 cups of low-sodium chicken broth or stock or homemade stock. Set aside.

In a heavy-bottomed 3-quart pot heat 1/4 cup of vegetable oil (canola is fine, too) over medium-high heat. Add 3 Tablespoons all-purpose flour and whisk the oil and flour until it begins to foam up. Continue whisking until the roux becomes slightly thickened. (2-3 minutes) Don’t let it brown.

Add the spice mix and continue to whisk until the spices become fragrant. (1-2 minutes). Don’t overcook the mixture so you don’t burn or seize the cocoa.

Add the chicken stock. Continue to whisk until the molé is slightly thickened. You don’t want a paste, but a smooth, rich sauce. Add 1 Tablespoon cider vinegar. Stir to combine. Ladle 1/2 cup of the sauce in the bottom of a 9″x 13″ pan. Set aside.

Mimi's Tips

See! There’s really nothing to it. Be forewarned, the chipolte powder has a bit of a kick. If you like it hot, leave it be. I you want a milder molé, use regular or mild chili powder in its place.

at mimi's table cheese enchiladas in mole oaxaca cheese
Shred 16oz of oaxaca; 4oz of sharp cheddar cheese, and 4oz of Monterey Jack cheese. Place in a deep bowl and mix chicken and/or roasted green chiles, if you’re making that addition.

I neglected to take a picture of the shredded cheese in a bowl. Sorry. But here is the star of the show: Oaxaca Cheese. You can find it in any Mexican grocery. I found mine at Kroger. Substitute mozarella, if needed.

According to cheese.com:

Oaxaca, also known as Queso Oaxaca, Asadero or Quesillo is a Mexican name for a semi-soft, white, string-type, Hispanic-style cheese made from cow’s milk. Similar to a Mozzarella, Oaxaca is a stretched curd cheese, kneaded and sold in long ropes gently wound in balls.

One of the artisanal cheeses, Oaxaca has savory mellow buttery flavour and is a great melting cheese. The little salty and mild flavour make it is one of the most popular cheeses for preparing quesadillas. In addition, Oaxaca is an excellent stuffing cheese in baking recipes. In both texture and flavour, it can be compared to a young Monterey Jack cheese. Although the cheese lacks a strong flavour, its mild taste is a favorite with kids.

Learn more about the Oaxaca region of Mexico.

at mimi's table cheese enchiladas in mole wilt corn tortillas

Let’s “wilt” corn tortillas:

Yellow or white corn tortillas, it really doesn’t make a difference. Mauro uses yellow. I used white.

In a medium skillet or iron skillet, heat 1/2 cup of oil until it sizzles when you put a tortilla in. Fry the tortilla for 5 seconds on each side. Yes, 5 seconds per side. You don’t want the tortillas to crisp up, but to “wilt” or pliable to make filling them easier.

Remove the wilted tortillas to a baking sheet lined with paper towels in a single layer, putting paper towels between the layers. For 12 tortillas, I used 3 sheets of paper towels.

This is a standard technique for any enchilada you wish to conjure up.

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Whenever I make enchiladas, I like to roll them on a small baking sheet. Doing so keeps the filling confined, nice and neat. Put 1/4 cup of the filling in the center of the tortilla. Tightly roll the tortilla around the filling, tucking the cheese inside. Place the enchiladas in two rows of six each.

at mimi's table cheese enchiladas in mole in the oven

Pour the rest of the sauce over the enchiladas. Bake uncovered in a 375º oven for 15-20 minutes.

Remove from oven and sprinkle on the remaining cheese filling.

Return to the oven for another 10-15 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the sauce is bubbling.

I served the gooey, cheesy goodness with sour cream, jarred pickled jalapeno peppers, and a thinly shredded, undressed romaine salad topped with tomatoes. You can also add a side of Spanish rice and/or refried beans, if you want to fill out the plate.

at mimi's table cheese enchiladas tasty tryouts

Olé Molé!!

Delicioso!!

Buen Provecho!!

Mimi

BAM! Best Veggie Chili

You won’t miss the meat – truly.  Trust your Mimi.

Don’t be skeptical.  Walk on the Wild Side with a heaping bowl of this fabulous and flavorful chili.  Take a look.  How can you resist??  I can’t.

at mimi's table BAM best veggie chili

UH OH! – what is that nestled among all those yummy vegetables?  OK – You may be right – shhhh, it’s ground chicken.  Guess I’m busted, eh?

Truthfully, the day I decided to make this delicious chili, I wasn’t going to shell out $12 for all the portabello mushrooms called for.  BAM! Best Veggie Chili is, essentially, a frugal recipe.  You know? . . . So, I substituted a pound of browned ground chicken at $3.99/pound for some of the portobellos I wasn’t willing to pay for at the grocery.

However, if you find portabellos cheap, I wouldn’t hesitate using them, leaving out the chicken.  I’ve done it before, and it is FABULOUS!  Or substitute cremini mushrooms, which really are baby portobellos and cheaper.  My “meat-lover” husband loves this chili with or without the ground chicken.

I’m not a big zucchini fan, but it goes into the pool with all their veggie friends.  This dish is such a happy one!

What’s to love?

The finished flavor is perfectly balanced.  It’s not spicy hot, but has subtle heat from the serrano chilis, chili powder, and cumin.  What you’d expect in chili.  Use whatever canned beans you enjoy:  pintos, kidney, black, or a can of chili beans.  This day, I used a drained and rinsed can of black beans and a can of regular chili beans with all their liquid.

The sweet crunch from corn is irresistible.  It makes the dish. Do not be tempted to leave it out. I always use frozen corn, but if canned is all you have in the larder, what the heck. And canned petite diced tomatoes.  You can use fresh tomatoes and dice them yourself if you have access to lovely ones and the time to prepare them.  Or a sous chef . . . just sayin’

One serving suggestion is to make some brown rice and scoop 1/4 – 1/2 cup into the bottom of the bowl and ladle the chili over that.  A slab of freshly made cornbread is another good idea.  If you like a little more spice in your bowl, add a shake or two of Tabasco, or use Pepper Monterey Jack cheese as garnish.  Don’t be shy either.  Add a dollop or two of sour cream and diced avocado.  You won’t regret it.

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This is also an awesome slow cooker dish.  Like any good chili, it’s great the next day and freezes beautifully.

 

Credit for this recipe goes to Emeril Lagasse, renowned chef and restauranteur, thus the title.  Here’s the link on Food Network.  Don’t be intimidated by the plating.  It’s a little foo-foo.  Not very Midwestern, if you know what I mean.  In any regard, this is one great bowl of chili.

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BAM! Best Veggie Chili
This is an extremely flavorful vegetarian chili with portabello mushrooms as the meat substitute. Don't care for mushrooms? Substitute ground chicken or turkey. This is a fabulous dish that can be made on the stovetop or in a slow cooker.
Cuisine: American
Recipe type: Main
Serves: 6-10
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Ingredients
  • 2 Tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
  • 1½ cups yellow or sweet onion, diced
  • 1 cup red or yellow bell peppers, diced
  • 2 Tablespoons garlic, minced
  • 2-3 serrano peppers, minced
  • 1 medium zucchini, cut into small dice
  • 2 cups fresh or frozen corn kernels
  • 1½ pounds portobello mushrooms, wiped clean and cubed
  • 1 28 oz can petite diced tomatoes
  • 2 Tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 Tablespoon cumin
  • 1¼ teaspoons salt
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne
  • 2- 15 oz cans black beans, or pinto beans, or kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup vegetable stock or water
  • ¼ cup cilantro, chopped, optional
  • Shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • Sour cream, optional
  • Diced avocado optional
Instructions
  1. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, add the onion, serrano peppers, and bell peppers. Sautee for 10 minutes, until the onion is translucent.
  2. Add garlic, and continue to sautee for 1 minute or until you can smell the garlic.
  3. Add onions, serrano pepper, bell pepper and garlic into a large slow cooker.
  4. Add the next 10 ingredients to the slow cooker. Omit the cilantro. Stir to combine.
  5. Cook on high heat for 3-4 hours or on low heat for 7-10 hours, stirring occasionally.
  6. Just before serving, add the chopped cilantro, if desired.
  7. At serving, sprinkle cheese over hot chili. Add a dollop of sour cream, diced avocado, and serve with a wedge of lime as garnish.
Notes
Cooking Options: Substitute browned ground chicken or turkey in place of some of the portobello mushrooms.
Serving Options: Serve with ¼ to ½ cup of cooked brown rice in the bottom of the bowl, then ladle chili over rice. Serve with hot corn bread.

 

 

Westward HO! Salt Lake City – Red Iguana

Salt Lake City Tour

Salt Lake City is one of my favorite places.  While we were out for a late breakfast, I asked Richard why I liked Salt Lake so much?  “It’s young.  It’s clean.  There’s a lot of energy,” he replied.

And that’s exactly why I love it.  It’s vibrant.  The city is surrounded by mountains, the home of the University of Utah, and host of the 2002 Winter Olympics.  And the food. Over several visits to SLC, we’ve had as many awesome meals.  One place on my food bucket list was the Red Iguana.

Here’s one dining experience to die for – Killer Mexican Food

at mimis table westward ho red iguana salt lake city utah

Red Iguana is a Salt Lake City institution that started business in 1965 with traditional Mexican recipes from the Cardenas family.   The restaurant remains owned and operated by the family.

Red Iguana’s legacy is the mole – seven different kinds!

at mimis table westward ho red iguana salt lake city

We were greeted with a basket of tortilla chips and homemade salsa.  Because the restaurant is known for it’s mole variations, our waitress brought us a “flight” of their seven different moles – all made by Red Iguana.  We scooped up samples with tortilla chips.  Richard preferred Mole Amarillo made with golden raisins, yellow tomatoes, yellow zucchini, guajillo, aji and habanero chile.  I liked the traditional Mole Negro.  (I use a powered version in Turkey Enchiladas in Mole.)

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Richard ordered a chimichanga with Mole Amarillo, served with homemade refried beans that were perfectly done, and homemade flour tortillas, perfect, too.

at mimis table red iguana combo plate red iguana westward ho salt lake city utah

I came for much heartier fare.  Yes – the Red Iguana Killer Combo Plate!  Come to Mimi! One-cheese enchilada, a Taco a la Iguana, a beef flauta topped with guacamole and sour cream, a chile relleno and  . .

at mimis table red iguana combo plate beef tostada red iguana westward ho salt lake city utah

a beef tostada.  OMG  – seriously yummy.  And a Negro Modelo with lime to wash it all down. Ole!!!

at mimis table red iguana westward ho salt lake city utah

Such happy campers are we!  And, yes, my husband drove me from Jackson, Wyoming to Salt Lake City just so I could eat here!  I am loved, beyond comprehension – lucky girl.

Red Iguana is very popular, so be prepared to come early or late (closed on Sundays). During normal dinner hours, the wait can be up to two hours, but so well worth the wait! There are two other locations in the city. This location, close to downtown (736 W. North Temple), does not have a bar where you can sit and have a drink while waiting for your table.  But there’s free valet parking in an adjacent, on-site lot, and the serving staff is phenomenal.

Here’s a link to their menu:  Red Iguana

Huevos Rancheros Two Ways

Everything I know about Mexican cooking, I learned from my ex-mother-in-law:  homemade flour tortillas, salsa, Mexican rice, enchiladas, tostadas, guacamole – a real fiesta! She was a patient teacher, and I was a willing student.

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Huevos Rancheros or “Ranch Eggs” Cooked Two Ways – One cooked on the stove top the other baked in the oven.

Everything I know about Mexican cooking, I learned from my ex-mother-in-law:  homemade flour tortillas, salsa, Mexican rice, enchiladas, tostadas, guacamole – a real fiesta! She was a patient teacher, and I was a willing student.

Continue reading “Huevos Rancheros Two Ways”