This is a Mexican delicacy which has its mystic in its simplicity. You have three main ingredients, corn tortillas, salsa, and cheese. From this starting point, you can make infinite variations adding other ingredients such as chicken, beans, onions, or by changing the main salsa type. I will show you my recipe for the basic dish, and you can get creative afterwards.
Many people debate whether Chilaquiles should be soft or crunchy. Personally I like them more on the crunchy side, but my wife prefers them softer. The trick to getting crunchy Chilaquiles is starting up with fried corn tortillas. If they sell them like this in your store you will skip a step. If not you can fry them yourself. Don’t be tempted to use Tostitos, or Doritos or similar chips since they will not withstand the cooking process and you will end up with something that resembles mashed potatoes. You need real corn tortilla chips for Chilaquiles. It is also a good idea to make your favorite salsa ahead of time before starting the dish.
For Red Salsa for Chilaquiles
2 Garlic Cloves
1 Serrano Chile (optional)
1/2 teaspoon Oregano
Pinch of Salt
Add all the ingredients to a blender. You can omit or add more chile according to your spicy tolerance. Add a 1/4 Cup of water. Blend until all the ingredients make a purée. The salsa will be bright red. Add to a frying pan. Turn the heat up to high heat and cook for 5 minutes or until the salsa changes from bright red to a darker richer color and the sauce becomes thicker. Let it rest for a while. Salsa tastes better when rested. You could even make the salsa the day before. Variations – You can experiment with other varieties of chiles, such as the jalapeño, chipotle, or serrano. You can also try the salsa with green tomatoes instead of red.
4 Cups of Fried Corn Tortillas Chips or about 15 Corn Tortillas
Red Salsa for Chilaquiles (recipe above)
1 Cup Grated Mozzarella Cheese or Monterrey Jack Cheese
1/2 Cup Diced Onion
1 Cup Cooked Shredded Chicken Breast
Sour Cream (optional)
3 Tbsp of Olive Oil
Add the Olive Oil to a large Frying Pan on medium high heat. Start by cooking the diced onion until it is translucent. If you don’t have Fried Tortilla Chips, you can make the cutting regular corn tortillas into 1 Inch Squares (or strips) and fry them up until the become hard and crunchy. Add the Fried Tortilla Chips to the frying pan and mix in 1 Cup of Salsa. Cook for 3 minutes. The tortillas chips will start to get soft. You can add as much Salsa until you reach the desired Chilaquiles tenderness. Be careful to add Salsa slowly and in small amounts. Too much Salsa you will end up with soggy mess. Serve in plates, and top with chicken and cheese. Variations – My wife likes to add a spoonful of sour cream on the top. I also like to add a layer of fried beans on the bottom.
One of my favorite salads of all time, the Caesar Salad. If you have ordered one in a restaurant, it is one of those dishes that the chef walks up with the cart and makes a show of the preparation. It is a wonderful thing to see. The magic of this dish is the flavor complexity accomplished with the ingredient’s simplicity.
Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad
Many people mistakingly believe that this salad was invented in the Caesar Palace. This common misconception is wrong. It was invented by an Italian-Mexican in Tijuana named Caesar Cardini. Another topic of debate surrounding this dish is one is the use of anchovies. The original recipes contained no anchovies according to its creator. For my preference I can go either way, depending if I want a stronger taste or a much lighter taste. It is customary to serve the romaine lettuce leaves whole, because originally the dish was meant to be served as bar finger food. The addition of grilled chicken is one of those variations that work very well with the dish.
For Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad
2 Chicken Breast
1 Teaspoon Oregano
2 Garlic Cloves
1 Teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce
4 Anchovies (optional)
4 Heads Romaine Lettuce
Flatten the chicken breast with a kitchen hammer. Marinate the chicken breast with a dash of salt, a dash pepper, and oregano. Brush both sides with a little olive oil. Cook in a frying pan on high heat until golden brown on one side. Turn over, and cook until the other side is golden brown. Cover in aluminum foil and let them rest. In a bowl mash the garlic cloves and 1/2 teaspoon of salt until you form a uniform paste. If you are going to add the optional anchovies, blend into the paste at this moment. Add the juice of 2 limes, an egg and the worcestershire sauce. Mix. Slowly mix in 1/2 cup of olive oil. Add salt and black pepper to taste. Mix until the caesar dressing is emulsified. Slice the chicken breast into 1/2 inch pieces. Wash the heads of lettuce. Shred the lettuce into small 1 inch pieces. Add the lettuce to the plate. Add 2 to 4 Tablespoons of caesar dressing per plate. Add the chicken pieces. Grate parmesan cheese over the salad. Add the croutons. Optional – you can leave the lettuce leaves intact and serve them as finger foods.
Spaghetti alla Bolognese could be quite simply Italy’s best know pasta dish. What is interesting about this is that this dish does not exist in Italy, since it is an American creation. In Bologna, you will find that they serve Ragu alla Bolognese, which resembles the meat sauce, but they will never serve over spaghetti. They will only serve it tagliatelle, which is a thicker pasta that is simillar to fetuccine.
Spaghetti alla Bolognese
As with the Americanization of many other favorite foods, this is a recipe that I have enjoyed since I was young. For me it doesn’t matter if they do not serve it in Italy, and even if the original idea has been changed around it still makes for a wonderful dish. I usually do not like to take shortcuts in my recipes, but for this one I will make an exception. I will use ready made spaghetti sauce. Since we are already breaking with the Bolognese tradition, lets Americanize this with full force. It also saves like 3 to 4 hours in making a real ragu. So in keeping with a new tradition, please enjoy my recipe for Spaghetti alla Bolognese.
For Spaghetti alla Bolognese
8 Ounces of Spaghetti pasta
1/2 Pound of Ground Beef
1 Cup of Spaghetti Sauce (Ragu brand is the one I use)
1/2 Cup Diced Onion
1/2 Teaspoon Oregano
1/2 Teaspoon Marjoram
1/4 Teaspoon of Black Pepper
1/4 Teaspoon of Salt
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
In a large stock pot, add 8 cups of water and bring to a boil. Add the pasta an cook for 10 minutes. Drain the pasta n a colander. While the pasta was cooking, add the olive oil to a 12 inch frying pan and set to medium heat. Dice the onion in a 1/4 inch dice. When the oil is hot, add the onion and cook for 1 minute. Add the ground beef and cook until the meat is brown, and the onions are semi transparent. Add the oregano, marjoram, salt, and black pepper and let it cook for 30 seconds and longer and you will burn the spices. Add the spaghetti sauces and about 1/4 cup of water. Cook until the sauce reduces a little. Serve the pasta in the plates, and top with the cooked spaghetti sauce. Garnish with as much grated parmesan as you like. Optional – Some people like to salt the water in which the pasta cooks, since it gives a better flavor and reduces the time water requires to boil. If you want to salt the water add 2 Tablespoons of salt to the stock pot water before adding the pasta to cook.
When its summer time, you want to be outside. You want food that tastes refreshing and that does not weigh you down. Today I am making Greek Salad with Soft Goat’s Milk Cheese. It is a very refreshing salad, with a strong blend of flavors from the cheese, onion and garlic.
Greek Salad with Soft Goat's Milk Cheese
This is a simple dish to do, and I cant be created in at very short notice. The cheese I am using is a Soft Goat’s Milk Cheese, which should not be confused with Feta Cheese. It has a cream like consistency with an acidic taste. This balances all the flavors out , just like in my Apple Pecan Salad with Honey Mustard Vinaigrette.
For the Salad
1 Head of Romaine Lettuce
10 Cherry Tomatos
1/4 Red Onion
1/4 Cup of Kalamata Olives
1/2 Cup of Salad Dressing
Wash the lettuce. Cut into small Pieces. Serve directly in the plates. Peel and slice half a cucumber. Layer the cucumber over the lettuce. Dice 1/4 of red onions. Add over the cucumbers. Cut the Cherry Tomatoes in half. Add over the onions. Add the Kalamata Olives and the Goat’s Milk Cheese. Add 2 or 3 Tablespoons of the salad dressing per plate.
For the Salad Dressing
4 Tablespoons of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
3 Tablespoons of Red Wine Vinegar
2 Teaspoons of Oregano
2 Cloves of Garlic
1/2 Teaspoon of Black Pepper
Finely mince the cloves of garlic. Add the garlic, olive oil, red wine vinegar, oregano, and black pepper to a small mix bowl. Mix until you have incorporated all the ingredients. Add kosher salt according to your taste.
Gyros are a very delicious food that has meat, onions, tomatoes all topped with Tzatziki Sauce. The meat is placed on a vertical spit and it is rotated in front of a fire rack. Where I live there are not many places were you can get a good gyro, so I had to learn how to make my own. It turns out it is not that hard to do once you know how to season the meat. You can even make it in your oven, since most of you will not have a spit or a rotisserie.
My brother ate gyros yesterday, and he asked me If I had a good recipe. “Of course!”, I said. Here you have my family approved gyros recipe.
For Greek Gyros
1Lb Lean Ground Beef, Ground Pork or Ground Lamb
1 Large Onion
2 Cloves of Garlic
1/2 TableSpoon Oregano
1/2 TableSpoon Marjoram
1 Teaspoon Black Pepper
1 Teaspoon Salt
Chop the half of the onion and the garlic in a food processor. Add the meat, oregano, marjoram, black pepper, and the salt and and blend until it forms a smooth paste. Form a square shape with the meat and place in a ovenproof glassware. Preheat the oven to 350F. Cook the meat in the oven for 15 minutes. Turn the meat over and cook for 10 minutes more or until the meat is browned. Cut the meat into 1/4 inch thick strips. Dice the remaining half of the onion. Dice the tomato. Peel the cucumber and slice in half. Slice into thin strips one half of the cucumber. Place about 6 slices of cucumber over the pita bread. Add several strips of cooked meat. Add a several spoonful of diced tomatoes and diced onion. Cover with two o three tablespoons of tzatziki sauce. Fold the pita bread into a roll and wrap in aluminum foil. Edit — I recently tried this recipe with ground pork, and I think it tastes better than ground beef.
For Tzatziki Sauce
1 Cup Unsweetened Plain Yougurt
1/2 Cup Dice Cucumber
2 TableSpoons Sweet Pickles Relish (optional)
1 TableSpoon Fresh Dill
1 TableSpoon Fresh Mint
1 Dash Garlic Powder
1 Dash Salt
Add the yogurt to a mixing bowl. Core the remaining half of the cucumber. Dice the cucumber and add to the bowl. Finely mince the dill and the mint. Add the relish, dill, mint, and garlic powder into the bowl. Mix all the ingredients. Salt according to taste. The sauce tastes better when you let it rest. This lets the ingredient flavors blend.