Roasted Corn Salsa

Last night I made my third batch of Roasted Corn Salsa in less than a month which can only mean two things…  One, this salsa is awesome and two, it’s high time it makes an appearance on the blog!!

Roasted Corn Relish 1

This bright, flavorful salsa features grilled corn, roasted peppers, fresh tomatoes, cilantro, and lime juice.  It pairs perfectly with grilled fish and grilled avocado (<– my new favorite way to eat avocados).  We’ve also tried the salsa on shrimp tacos and, although Matt thinks it’s a bit too lime-y for eating straight, I personally really enjoy eating it with tortilla chips.

Last night’s batch of salsa is being refrigerated until we have Matt’s parents over for dinner tomorrow night.  Making it ahead of time will save me prep time on Saturday and the extra hours in the fridge will allow the salsa flavors to fully combine.  I’ll post pictures of the final meal (grilled salmon!) next week.

Roasted Corn Relish 2

Roasted Corn Salsa  (adapted from MyRecipes.com; makes 6-8 servings) 

You will need…
Cooking Spray
4 ears Corn, husked
4 Anaheim Peppers or 4 Cubanelle Peppers (for less heat), or a combination of the 2 types
1 cup diced Tomatoes (from approx. 2-3 Roma Tomatoes)
6 tablespoons freshly squeezed Lime Juice (from approx. 3-4 limes)
1/4 cup chopped Cilantro
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1/4 teaspoon Ground Pepper

Directions:

Lightly coat the grates of a grill* set to medium heat with cooking spray.   Place the corn and peppers directly on the grill.  Allow the corn and peppers to cook, turning occasionally, until the corn kernels start to brown slightly and the peppers become soft and dark splotches start to form on the green skins.  Transfer the roasted corn to a plate to cool.  Place the roasted peppers in a large bowl and cover for 10-15 minutes.

Cut each corn ear in half, then place the flat end down on a cutting board and slice the kernels off of the cobs.  When the peppers are cool enough to handle, peel and discard the skins and remove the stems, seeds, and membranes.  Slice the peppers into 1/4″ pieces.

Combine the corn, peppers, tomatoes, lime juice, cilantro, salt and pepper in a large bowl.  Serve immediately or cover tightly and refrigerate up to 3 days to allow the flavors to intensify before serving.

Serving suggestions:

  • Serve over grilled salmon or another grilled fish (salmon recipe coming soon!)
  • Spoon over grilled avocado (slice avocado lengthwise & remove pit; brush grill with oil and place avocado halves directly on grates for 2-3 minutes until grill marks appear)
  • Serve as a fresh, citrus-y salsa with tortilla chips

Roasted Corn Relish 3

*If you don’t have a grill, use boiled corn on the cob or thawed frozen corn kernels.  The peppers can be roasted in an oven… here are some basic instructions on how to do this from Ina Garten.

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Pork and Green Chile Stew

Hello there, blog world!  It’s been a while since I’ve posted but that’s because Matt and I have been in Las Vegas!  We were there all of last week and just got home late last night.  Being home after a long work trip is definitely nice but I do have to admit that I’m already missing Nevada’s weather.  Every afternoon the temps climbed into the mid-sixties and the sky was always perfectly clear and sunny.  Here in Pennsylvania, on the other hand, we’re about to get hit with another “Polar Vortex.”  Once that icy blast of cold air arrives tomorrow it’s going to stay below freezing for four days straight.  Brrr!

Pennsylvania’s winter weather does have its benefits, however.  Take for instance winter comfort food.  I’ll bet a hearty slow-cooked stew tastes WAY better in 20° Pennsylvania than it would in 60° Las Vegas, right? 😉  I could actually really go for a nice stew tonight for dinner.  We don’t have the ingredients on hand though so I’ll satisfy my craving by posting about this Pork and Green Chile Stew that I made last month.  Doesn’t it look yummy?

Pork and Green Chile Stew close up

I found this Slow Cooker Pork and Green Chile Stew recipe at Skinny Taste.  It was extremely easy to make – just cube and brown the pork and simmer all of the ingredients together in a crock pot for 4-5 hours – and the cooked pork was tender and moist.  Matt and I garnished our plates with cilantro, avocado and sour cream and these Mexican flavors added a really nice, bright finishing touch to the stew.  For anyone looking for a good Polar Vortex meal, I highly recommend this!

Pork and Green Chile Stew

Slow-Cooked Pork and Green Chile Stew (Recipe from Skinny Taste)

Stew Ingredients…
2 lbs. Pork Loin roast, trimmed of fat and cut into 2″ cubes
Salt and Pepper
Olive Oil
2 tablespoons All-Purpose Flour (or use a gluten-free flour for G-Free preparation)
1 medium Yellow Onion, diced
2 – 4 oz. cans Diced Green Chiles, drained
1-2 Jalapeño Peppers, diced with seeds and stems removed
1 – 10 oz. can Ro*Tel Tomatoes & Diced Green Chiles (not drained)
1/2 cup Low Sodium Chicken Broth
1 tablespoon Cumin
1/2 teaspoon Garlic Powder

Other Ingredients/Garnishes…
Cooked White or Brown Rice
Sour Cream (omit for Lactose-Free)
Sliced Avocado
Chopped Cilantro

Directions:
Season the cubed pork liberally with salt and pepper.  Heat olive oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat and add the cubed pork.  Cook the pork for approximately 4 minutes or until browned on all sides.  Gradually stir in the flour and allow the pork to continue browning for another 30 seconds to 1 minute.

Transfer the browned pork to a crock pot.  Add in the remaining stew ingredients (onion thru garlic powder) and stir gently to combine.  Cover and cook on high power for 4-5 hours or on low power for 8 hours.  When done, stir the mixture and, if needed, add salt and pepper to taste.  Serve the stew over rice and garnish with sour cream, avocado and cilantro.

Pork and Green Chile Stew

Rotisserie Chicken Taquitos

Believe it or not, one of the most popular recipes on this blog is my take on Rotisserie Chicken Burritos.  I’m guessing it must be the combination of cheesy deliciousness and the ease of using precooked rotisserie chicken that makes the burritos so popular. (And did I mention the melted cheese? YUM!)  With that in mind, Matt and I set out to see what other easy weeknight meal we could make with rotisserie chicken.  These baked chicken and poblano chile taquitos are the satisfying result!

Rotisserie Chicken Taquitos

Taquitos are basically little burritos that are bite-sized and perfect for dipping.  Just like burritos, taquitos are created by wrapping a tortilla around tasty filling, but unlike burritos the taquitos are baked in the oven (or fried) to give them a nice crispy texture.  The firm outer shell of the tortilla helps each little taquito hold its shape as you dip it into your choice of salsa, sour cream or guacamole.

We made our taquitos rather plump which worked out well since they were our main dinner entree.  If you wanted to serve these as an appetizer you could make them a little thinner.  Also, we made up our filling as we went along and we’ll probably continue to tweak it when we make these in the future, so have fun and play around with your own combination of shredded meat, veggies, and seasonings.  Just don’t forget the cheese!  🙂

Homemade Taquitos Montage

Baked Rotisserie Chicken Taquitos with Poblano Chiles

You will need…
3 small Poblano Peppers
1/2 Yellow Onion, finely diced
1 clove Garlic, minced
1 large Rotisserie Chicken Breast, meat removed from bone and chopped
1 teaspoon Chile Powder
1/2 teaspoon Cumin
1/2 teaspoon Paprika
1/2 teaspoon Mexican Oregano
Salt and Pepper, to taste
Approx. 1 cup Shredded Mexican Blend Cheese
Handful Cilantro Leaves, roughly chopped
1/4 cup Peanut Oil
12-18 Small Corn Tortillas
Sour Cream and Salsa, for serving

Directions:
Place the poblano peppers on a rimmed baking sheet and broil on the top rack of an oven for 10-15 minutes, turning occasionally, until the pepper skin is blistered and starting to blackened.  Remove from the oven and transfer the peppers to a glass bowl.  Cover the bowl for 5-10 minutes with a dish towel to hold in the moisture.  Then, carefully peel the skin off of the poblanos (it should come off pretty easily), remove the seeds and finely chop.

Saute the diced onions and garlic in a non-stick pan over medium-high heat until translucent.  Add in the chopped poblanos, chicken and seasonings (chile powder through salt and pepper) and stir well.  Saute until ingredients are heated through then transfer to a large bowl.  Stir in the shredded cheese and cilantro to complete your taquito filling.

Heat the peanut oil in a small pan over medium heat.  Use tongs to place a tortilla in the oil.  The oil is hot enough when small bubbles appear around the outer edge of the tortilla.  (It’s too hot if the oil is bubbling wildly and/or causing the tortilla to lift up out of the oil.)  Allow the tortilla to heat in the oil for 20-30 seconds, then use the tongs to flip it over and cook for another 15 seconds.  Lift the tortilla out of the oil, allow the excess oil to drip off, then transfer to a cutting board.  Fill the tortilla with a small amount of the filling (approx. 2-3 tablespoons), roll it up, and place it seam-side down on a baking sheet.  Repeat this process with the remaining tortillas.

Bake the taquitos in a preheatead 350°F oven for 20-30 minutes or until the tops are golden brown.  Serve with sour cream and salsa.

Taquitos!

Skirt Steak Tacos

Back in early July Matt and I made some yummy grilled steak tacos with a spicy, red chile pepper marinade. We’re going to make these tasty tacos again this weekend so I thought that now would be the perfect time to post the recipe… mostly so I can remind myself of how to make them! 🙂

Zacatecas Skirt Steak Taco

Don’t be intimidated by the red chile sauce. It has a lot of ingredients and took some time to make, but it also keeps well (just freeze any extra in an ice cube tray and bag the frozen cubes for storage) so you can definitely make it ahead of time. Also, keep in mind that the skirt steak needs to marinade overnight so plan accordingly.

~ ~ ~

Skirt Steak Tacos from Zacatecas
(from Tacos by Mark Miller; tweaked slightly for ingredients we had on hand)

Ingredients for the Red Chile Sauce:
1 tablespoon Olive Oil
1 White Onion, chopped
8 Roma Tomatoes, blackened (to blacken remove stems and broil in the oven for 5 minutes until blistered)
8 oz. (25-ish) dried New Mexico Red Chiles, dry roasted and re-hydrated, soaking water reserved
2 cloves Garlic, roasted and finely chopped (to roast place unpeeled cloves in a 350°F oven for 20-30 minutes until soft)
1 teaspoon Cumin
1/2 tablespoon Dried Mexican Oregano
1 teaspoon Salt
2 tablespoons Peanut Oil

Ingredients for the Skirt Steak:
1 pound Skirt Steak, excess fat trimmed away
8-10 cloves Garlic, dry-roasted and chopped (see above)
2 tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce
2 tablespoons Red Wine Vinegar
1 tablespoon Chile Powder
1 tablespoon Salt
2 teaspoons Black Pepper
1 teaspoon Cumin
2 teaspoons Onion Powder
1 tablespoon chopped Cilantro
1/4 cup Vegetable Oil (we used canola)
2 tablespoons Red Chile Sauce
1 teaspoon Chipotle Puree (simply puree a can of Chipotles en Adobo in blender; refrigerate any extra for up to a month)

Other Taco Ingredients:
Corn Tortillas
Garnishes, including: shredded Cabbage, thinly sliced Radishes, Chopped Onions, Chopped Tomatoes, Fresh Cilantro, Lime Wedges, and Shredded Cheese

309 Zacatecas Skirt Steak Taco

Directions:

Start by making your Red Chile Sauce in advance. Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat and saute the onion for 6-8 minutes or until browned. Transfer the onion, tomatoes, rehydrated chiles, garlic, cumin, oregano, and salt to a blender. If the reserved chile water is not bitter, add one cup to the blender mixture. If it is bitter, add a cup of normal water instead.

Blend the mixture thoroughly until a fine paste forms. Then, heat the peanut oil in a (clean) skillet over high heat and refry the blender mixture “at a sizzle” for 3-5 minutes while stirring constantly. The refried sauce should be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. If too thick, stir in more water.

A day before you want to eat your tacos, prepare the Skirt Steak. Use a butcher’s mallet to pound the steak until it is about 1/4 inch thick. Combine all of the remaining ingredients (chopped roasted garlic thru chipotle puree) in a large bowl or dish and stir well to create a marinade. Rub the marinade over the meat, cover, and allow to marinate overnight in the refrigerator.

Marinating and Grilled Zacatecas Skirt Steak

Marinating steak (left) and grilled steak (right).

When you are ready to make your tacos, season the steak with more salt and pepper and grill it over direct medium-high heat for approximately 6 minutes total, flipping once halfway through. Remove the cooked steak from the grill, allow it to rest for a few minutes, and then slice it against the grain into 1/4″ thick strips.

Build your tacos by arranging strips of steak on warm corn tortillas and topping with shredded cabbage, chopped onion, and any other garnishes that you like. Enjoy!

Zacatecas Skirt Steak Taco

Mexican Pizza

I love pizza and I LOVE nachos so tonight I decided to combine these two culinary delights into one delicious meal: Mexican Pizza!  I made up the recipe as I went along and, after sinking his teeth into the first sausage-y, cheesy, tomato-y bite, Matt declared that this pizza was my best-ever made up recipe of all time!

Mexican Pizza!

The ingredients are simple: pizza dough, cheese, and your favorite nacho or taco toppings.  I used fire-roasted corn, beans, red onions, green onions, jalapeños (from our garden), cherry tomatoes (also from the garden!), and sausage that was crumbled and cooked with a bit of taco seasoning.  The sausage that we had on hand was actually bratwurst which obviously isn’t the most Mexican of sausages but it ended up tasting just fine.  If I was going to plan for making this again I’d try some nice fresh chorizo sausage instead.  Yum!

Mexican Pizza

Annie’s Mexican Pizzaa The Little GSP original!

You will need…
1/4-1/2 cup Corn (I used frozen corn)
1-2 Jalapeño Peppers, sliced into thin rounds
2 Fresh Sausages, casings removed and roughly chopped/crumbled (I’d recommend Chorizo or Italian Sausage)
1-2 teaspoons Taco Seasoning (optional; good if you’re using a mild sausage like bratwurst!)
1 package fresh Pizza Dough
1/4 cup Red Onion, finely chopped
1/4 cup Black Beans, rinsed and drained (about a quarter of a 15 oz. can)
8-10 Cherry Tomatoes, halfed
2-3 handfuls shredded Mozzarella
1-2 handfuls shredded Mexican Cheese Blend
Sliced Green Onions, to garnish
Cholula Hot Sauce, to taste
Sour Cream, to taste

Directions:
Heat a skillet (I used my wok) over medium high heat and add the frozen corn.  Allow the corn to thaw and then dry roast in the pan for approx. 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the corn is starting to blacken slightly.  Transfer the roasted corn to a bowl and set aside.  Put the sliced jalapeños into the hot skillet and roast for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the pepper slices start to soften.  Transfer the jalapeños to a bowl and set aside.

Add the crumbled sausage to the hot skillet and spread it out in one layer on the bottom of the pan.  Allow to brown for 2-3 minutes, then stir the sausage frequently until browned and fully cooked.  If using a mild sausage (or if you want an extra kick), stir in the taco seasoning.  Transfer the cooked sausage to a paper towel-lined plate and set aside.

Preheat the oven to 500°F and, if you’re using one, allow your pizza stone to heat up in the oven.  Prep the pizza dough according to the package instructions.  I used a package of fresh Trader Joe’s pizza dough and made a 12-14″ pizza on our new pizza peel.  I used flour to keep the pizza from sticking to my hands and stretched it out in all directions without over-handling it.  If you are making two pizzas and/or don’t have a peel, just split up the dough and shape it to fit on a greased cookie sheet.  (For more information on how I stretch pizza dough, check out my Homemade TBM Pizza recipe.)

Uncooked Mexican Pizza

Now here’s the fun part… building your Mexican pizza!  I started with a sparse sprinkling of red onion followed by a bit of Mozzarella, a scattering of black beans and a generous helping of roasted corn.  Then I added a thin, even layer of Mozzarella over the whole pizza before spreading all of the crumbled sausage onto the pie.  After a final sprinkling of Mozzarella I added on the cherry tomatoes, jalapeños, and a few more bits of red onion.  Finally, I topped off the pizza with a little shredded Mexican Cheese Blend to give it some nice color.

Bake your Mexican Pizza in the 500°F oven for 10-12 minutes or until the crust is puffed and fully cooked.  If using a pizza stone, you’ll have to transfer the uncooked pizza from the pizza peel onto the hot stone in the oven (a skill that we’re still working on!) and then slide the fully cooked pizza back on the peel to be cut.  Sprinkle the chopped green onion over the top of the pizza, slice the pizza, and serve with hot sauce and sour cream.  Enjoy!

516 Mexican Pizza

Carnitas Tostadas

A few weeks ago we made delicious pork carnitas tacos during our Engagement Photo Session. To make those carnitas, we slow-cooked a bone-in 4 lb. pork butt for 8-10 hours and then shredded it and seasoned it once it was fully cooked. That recipe turned out great but we decided to try a (slightly) quicker version of these tasty pork bites just to see how they would differ. In this latest version, the pork is cut up into 1 1/2 inch cubes before cooking, then slow-cooked with an array of seasoning for just 6 hours.

Pork Carnitas Tostadas

The resulting pork was tender and juicy and quite different in flavor and texture than our first take on carnitas. I think that I maybe liked these a little better, but they also required more prep work so it’s really a toss up depending on how much time you have! We used our carnitas to build Mexican tostadas… towers of beans, pork, cheese, salsa, and sour cream atop crispy, fried corn tortillas. Yum!

Pork Carnitas Tostadas

Pork Carnitas Tostadas

Ingredients for the Pork Carnitas:
(Carnitas recipe from Williams-Sonoma’s The New Slow Cooker Cookbook)
2 lb. Boneless Pork Shoulder, trimmed of excess fat and cut into 1 1/2 inch cubes
3 cloves Garlic, minced
2 teaspoons Dried Mexican Oregano
1 teaspoon Cumin
1 tablespoon Sherry Vinegar (we substituted in 2 tsp Apple Cider Vinegar & 1 tsp Sherry)
Salt and Pepper
1 Yellow Onion, quartered
3 Bay Leaves
1/4 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
1/2 teaspoon Chile Powder

Ingredients for the Tostadas:
1 – 15 oz. can Refried Beans
1/2 Jalapeño Pepper, finely chopped
Peanut Oil
6 Corn Tortillas
Shredded Cheese (we used a mix of Mozzarella and Mexican blend)
Salsa
Sour Cream
Chopped Cilantro, for garnish
Lime wedges, for garnish

Directions:
To make the pork carnitas, mix together the first six ingredients (pork thru salt & pepper) in a slow cooker. Add in the onion and bay leaves, then cover and cook the pork on low for 6 hours. When cooking is complete, use a slotted spoon to transfer the pork to a plate or bowl. Skim the fat off of the cooking liquid and remove and discard the onion piece and bay leaves. Pull the pork apart using two forks, then season with the cayenne pepper and chile powder (to taste) and add in several spoonfuls of the cooking liquid until the pork reaches your desired level of juiciness.

To make the tostadas, start by combining the refried beans and chopped jalapeño in a microwaveable bowl. Heat the beans in the microwave on high for 2 minutes and stir well.

Meanwhile, coat the bottom of a small frying pan with peanut oil (enough to just allow a tortilla to float on the oil but not enough to submerge it completely). Heat the oil over high heat and then, using tongs, carefully place one tortilla in the oil. The oil around the edge of the tortilla will boil rapidly. (If it doesn’t bubble, increase the heat until it does.) Allow the tortilla to fry in the oil until the bottom side turns golden brown, then use your tongs to flip the tortilla over and fry until that side is golden brown as well. Transfer the tortilla to a paper towel-lined plate, then repeat this frying process with the remaining tortillas.

To assemble your tostadas, cover one side of each tortilla with a liberal amount of the bean mixture. Top with a few spoonfuls of the pork carnitas, then sprinkle a handful of shredded cheese on top. Broil the tostadas for 2-3 minutes or until the cheese is melted. Top with spoonfuls of salsa and sour cream and garnish with cilantro and lime juice. Serve with a cold beer and enjoy!

Pork Carnitas Tostadas

Fun Recipes for Cinco de Mayo

I love preparing and eating Mexican foods. Although I don’t normally need an excuse to make a batch of salsa or a tray of enchiladas, the upcoming Cinco de Mayo holiday gives us all a good reason to have some fun with Mexican flavors in the kitchen! Here are some recipes that would be perfect for the occasion:

(Scroll down for links to each recipe.)

Matt and I are going to celebrate the holiday a few days late with a “Diez de Mayo” potluck party. We’re going to provide margaritas along with rotisserie chicken and pork carnitas tacos for our friends and then they’ll bring additional dishes with them. I can’t wait!!

Our Fiesta invitation postcards for Diez de Mayo

Do you have any special party or food plans for Cinco de Mayo? Please tell me about them in the comments section! 🙂

Recipe Links for the Cinco de Mayo Dishes shown above:
Pork Tinga TacosMargaritas on the RocksChorizo-Bean Tortas
Rotisserie Chicken BurritosPoblano Sausage TacosFrozen Strawberry Margaritas
Salsa Verde EnchiladasPozole VerdeJalapeño Garlic Chicken Quesadillas