Tag Archives: mexican

Recipe: Tofu Rancheros

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This recipe deals with two issues at one go. It’s a huevas rancheros recipe for those who don’t want to eat eggs (I’m looking at you, Sharon) and it uses a carton of silken tofu that’s been sitting in my pantry since I bought it over a year ago.

This recipe works beyond the expectations I had when I thought it up. If you get organised, marinade the tofu over night, it will definitely increase the flavour.

Tofu Rancheros photo DSCN0880_zps777aadb7.jpg

Ingredients
100g silken tofu, sliced
juice of 1 lime
1/2 red onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1/2 red pepper, chopped
1/3 red chilli, finely chopped
1 small tin chopped tomatoes
pinch oregano
1/2 tsp balsamic vinegar
1 spring onion, chopped.
1 tbsp coriander, chopped

Marinade the tofu in the lime juice for at least half an hour (or overnight for best results!).
Soften the onion, garlic, pepper and chilli in a little oil in a small frying pan for about five minutes.
Add the tomatoes, oregano and balsamic vinegar and stir until thoroughly mixed.
Season with salt and pepper.
Make two dents in the mixture and place a slice of tofu in each one.
Simmer for five minutes until the sauce has reduced past the watery stage and the tofu is heated through.
Sprinkle with the spring onion, coriander and serve.

Traditionally they should be served on a warmed flour or corn tortilla, but they taste just as good on a couple of slices of toast.

Serves 2

Recipe: Black Bean Chilli Soup

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I know that this is summer and everyone should be eating fresh salad stuff straight out of the garden, but I think there is still a place for something quick and tasty that uses store-cupboard ingredients. Especially when the weather rains off the picnic on the lawn!

This is practically a store-cupboard soup, if you omit the red pepper and lime, but it is full of the gutsy flavour of a good chilli.

I have used black beans here, but red kidney beans or adzuki beans would be perfectly good substitutes. This recipe is dairy-free, but you could add a grating of cheddar cheese instead of lime as a garnish.

Black bean chill soup photo DSCN0747_zpsbf795e93.jpg

Ingredients
1 red onion, finely chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
2 fat cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp smoked paprika
400g tin of black beans, drained and rinsed
400g tin of chopped tomatoes
200g frozen sweetcorn
750ml vegetable stock
lime slices for garnish (optional)

Sweat the onion and pepper in a little oil until the onion is translucent.
Add the garlic and stir for a couple of minutes.
Add the spices and stir until the vegetables are coated in them.
Add the rest of the ingredients apart from the lime.
Season with salt and pepper.
Simmer for half an hour.

Serve with the lime slices as garnish.
Serves 4

Recipe: Quesadilla/Sincronizada

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Loads of food cultures have a variation of cheese and bread heated together. We have the cheese toastie. In Mexico they have the quesadilla, using corn or flour tortillas. There are two variations, the quesadilla where one tortilla is filled and folded in half and the sincronizada where the filling is sandwiched between two tortillas. In both cases the tortilla is dry fried (or fried) on a frying pan or griddle. You’ll tend to find sincronizadas called quesadillas if you see them in restaurants and having started writing this blog entry I think that’s because quesadilla is easier to spell.

They’re a great and easy snack/lunch to make. Once you have the technique down pat, then there are a wide variety of versions you can make. I’ve listed some ideas at the bottom. In my experiments with this I’ve found flour tortillas slightly easier to handle, although the corn ones have more flavour. I would also warn people to keep the filling fairly frugal to be sure that it cooks through properly and to make it easier to eat.

I’ve done two recipes in this entry, a cheese based one and a vegan option. To be authentic for the vegan one, I should be using refried beans, which you can find in some supermarkets now, but in fairly large tins. As I’m giving the recipe for two people, I’m going to use baked beans. If anyone wants to report me to the Mexican Embassy over this, their number is 020 7499 8586.

Quesadilla photo DSCN0725_zps381529f6.jpg

Ingredients – cheese
50g cheese, grated
1/4 red onion, finely chopped
1 tomato, deseeded and finely chopped
1/3 red chilli, finely chopped
1 tbsp coriander, finely chopped
4 small flour or corn tortillas

Ingredients – baked beans
1 small tin baked beans
1/4 red onion, finely chopped
1/3 red chilli, finely chopped
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 tbsp coriander, finely chopped
4 small flour or corn tortillas

Add the filling ingredients to a bowl and mix well. If you’re doing the baked beans version, try and mush the beans together a little as you mix.
Season with salt and pepper.
Put a small frying pan on a medium to high heat.
When it’s hot add the first tortilla and spread half the filling over it.
Heat until the bottom of the tortilla is looking a little browned and crispy.
Cover the lower tortilla and filling with a second tortilla and press down.
Using a fish slice or a spatula, carefully turn the tortilla sandwich over.
Heat the tortilla until it is now toasted.
Remove from the pan and cut into quarters.
Repeat with the remaining ingredients.

Serves 2 as a light lunch or snack.

Once you have mastered this technique then the variations are only limited by imagination and taste. Off the top of my head you could try tapenade and mozzarella; hummus and chopped green olives; mozzarella, tomato and basil; crumbled falafel and tapenade. You could even try a sweet version with peanut butter and grated chocolate or Nutella. Cheese on toast was never this good.

Recipe: Huevas Rancheros

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A couple of years ago I went to Las Vegas for a sci-fi convention. I had a great time and amongst the highlights were the best margaritas I’d ever had and the best guacamole I’d ever had. It was also the scene of one of the most disappointing breakfasts I’d ever had. Do not have the huevas rancheros at Las Vegas airport. The eggs were OK, but the sauce was underflavoured and watery.

Which is a shame because huevas rancheros is one of the great egg dishes of the world. The eggs should ooze their runny yolks into a lovely, tomato sauce with a real kick of chilli. It makes a fabulous weekend breakfast/brunch dish. It is also a great hangover cure (or so I’ve been told).

Huevas Rancheros

Ingredients
1/2 red onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1/2 red pepper, chopped
1/3 red chilli, finely chopped
1 small tin chopped tomatoes
pinch oregano
1/2 tsp balsamic vinegar
2 eggs
1 tbsp coriander, chopped

Soften the onion, garlic, pepper and chilli in a little oil in a small frying pan for about five minutes.
Add the tomatoes, oregano and balsamic vinegar and simmer for another five minutes until the sauce is reduced. You don’t want it dry, but it shouldn’t be watery.
Season with salt and pepper.
Make two dents in the mixture and crack an egg into each of them.
Put a saucepan lid over the eggs so that they will cook in the steam.
When the eggs are cooked so the yolks are still runny, sprinkle over with the coriander and serve.
Traditionally they should be served on a warmed flour or corn tortilla, but they taste just as good on a couple of slices of toast.

Serves 1