Vegetarian Tequila Queso

Vegetarian Tequila Queso

Vegetarian Tequila Queso

Personally, I would put chorizo, beef, chicken or pork in this recipe, but sometimes you want a cheesey dip that is a little lighter than the traditional.  I like this one.  It’s hot, melty and very tasty.  Try it with your favorite beer and chips.

Ingredients

2 T. olive oil

1 small white onion, diced small

1 jalapeno, seeds removed, diced small

1 – 14 oz. can diced tomatoes, drained

1/4 C. tequila

1 clove garlic, minced

2 C. mexican cheeses or monterey jack

Directions

Prepare heavy pot with olive oil and turn stove onto medium high heat.  Saute’ diced onions and jalapenos for about four minutes.  Stir in the tomatoes and minced garlic and cook 2 minutes more.   Deglaze with tequila.  Be careful here because alcohol is flammable.  Stir together until combined.  Stir in cheese and mix thoroughly.  Pour into a heat proof dish and serve with chips!

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Mexican Chop Salad

This is a quick and healthy weeknight salad.  I actually saw a beautiful picture of a Cobb salad in one of my cookbooks that inspired it.  On a quick break from work, I ran over to the store to grab a couple of ingredients and bought a pre-roasted rotisserie chicken.  When I returned home for the night, it didn’t take much to get this on the table.  It’s spicy and refreshing.  You can use the dressing featured here or your own.  This is a salad you will repeat.

 

Ingredients

1 medium head of romaine lettuce, chopped

1 C. chopped tomatoes

1 C. chopped red pepper

1 ½ C.  rotisserie chicken, chopped

2 avocados, pitted, peeled and cut into ½ inch squares

1 14 oz. can black beans

1 C. shredded cheddar or Mexican cheese

¼ cup chopped green onion (optional)

Dressing:

1 C. plain greek yogurt

4 T. half and half

1 T. chopped Chipotle Chilies in Adobe sauce

 

Directions

You’re going to need a wide, flat serving bowl to hold the salad.

Wash your lettuce and spin dry.  Lay a bed of lettuce on your serving bowl.  Starting in the middle of the bowl, lay down the chicken in a straight line.  Next to it, lay down your black beans.  Repeat this step with remaining ingredients.   For the best outcome, cut the white pithy part off the peppers so they are nice and vibrant and remember that those ingredients that have high contrast to each other should be next to one another.  For example, don’t put your red peppers and your tomatoes together because they are both red, etc.

To make the dressing, mix all ingredients together in a small bowl until combined.  If you desire a thicker consistency, use less half and half.  If you desire a creamy consistency, use more half and half.

Enjoy!

Tacos Al Pastor

Tacos Al Pastor

A TACO TRUCK IN THE VINEYARD
You’re going to laugh.  I ran into these tacos while wine touring.  How does one do that?  Well, I’m not really sure.  What I do know is that I attract unusual circumstances.  It’s been that way all my life and one day I’m going to write a book about it.  This day, it was a taco truck in the vineyard.  My sister, her beau, my husband and I were touring Washington wine country and at one of our last stops before the long drive home we drove to a vineyard on a bluff overlooking Rattlesnake Hills called Knights Hill Vineyard.  The vineyard was situated up a gravel drive.  In the dusty sunshine we crested the hill and there it was.  The glorious……taco truck.  Bright yellow, it seemed a vision of heaven for very hungry wine enthusiasts.
We had our priorities in order.  Wine tasting first, then tacos.  After making our wine purchases, we got in line to read the taco menu posted on the side of the truck.  Tiffany (my sister), pointed us in the direction of Tacos Al Pastor.  She said they would be the best around.  One thing I know for sure is that you never come between my sister and a taco.  Never.  I never ate Tacos Al Pastor but when one is staring in the eyes of the taco truck, the smell of the grill is wafting out the door and Tiffany is very enthusiastically convincing us this is the way, we were all listening and pooling our cash.  They were wonderful.  She was right.  I took a few photos to share with you all and researched recipes when I got home.  I made them and my husband and I shared them only communicating with raised brows and eyes open wide.  “It’s a hit.  It’s going in the blog” I said.
There are several methods for making Tacos Al Pastor, but since I do not have a rotisserie or a spit, or time for that matter, I did mine in the crock pot for a weeknight meal, but it is wonderful roasted to perfection in the oven.

 
Tacos Al Pastor
Ingredients
1 1/2 lb pork loin meat, cut into striplike pieces
1 C. white vinegar
2 jalapeno or serrano chile peppers
1 14 oz can crushed tomatoes
2 medium white onions, finely diced, divided
6 cloves garlic, peeled
1 pkg Mexican Grill Seasoning (red)
1 C. pineapple juice
salt
Serving Ingredients
40 very small corn or flour tortillas (about four inches in diameter)
6 limes cut into wedges
1 bunch chopped cilantro
1 can salsa verde
1 can salsa ranchero
Preparation
Soak the pork in the vinegar for two hours prior to cooking.  Remove and drain well. 
To soften the chilis, boil them in about 2 cups of water on stovetop until soft and fragrant.  Save your liquid and set aside.  Remove from water bath and remove seeds.  In a food processor, combine chilis, tomatoes, one of the chopped onions (remember these were divided), garlic, Mexican Grill Seasoning, pineapple juice and salt.  Blend until smooth.
In a hot skillet, add sauce and simmer, stirring often for about ten minutes.  Remove sauce and let cool completely. 
When you are ready to assemble, add pork to crock pot with the reserved pepper water and half the sauce.  Keep the other half of the sauce refrigerated.  Cook either in a crock pot on low for four to six hours or in a roasting pan on 325 for 2 1/2 or 3 hours depending on thickness of pork.  At the end of the cooking time, drain the liquid.   Take a fork in each hand and gently pull the pieces of the pork apart, similarly to pulled pork.   Heat up the remaining sauce on stovetop or in microwave and pour over the top of the cooked pork and work in with a fork until combined.
Preparing your tortillas
You can do this two different ways; steam or lightly fry.  Both are good options.  To steam, preheat oven to 200 degrees.   Soak a teatowel in warm water and ring out.  Lay wet towel on a cookie sheet so half of the towel is covering it.  Lay your tortillas in a row next to eachother until sheet is filled.  Pull the wet cloth over the top and tuck in the sides so nothing can burn.  Place sheet in 200 degree oven and turn off the heat.  Get out one of your biggest plates or a platter.  After 10 minutes in the oven your tortillas should be moist and hot.  To fry, pour a tiny bit of oil in a skillet and heat until hot.  Lay the tortilla down for about one minute until it puffs.  Using tongs, turn it over and cook the other side.  Remove on plate lined with paper towel until ready to assemble your taco.

Layer two tortilla shells on top of one another and fill the plate.  Place the marinated meat on top and layer chopped onion and cilantro on top of the meat until all tortillas are filled.  squeeze your limes over the top excessively and serve with salsa verde and ranchero sauce.   After you taste these, you’ll know why I said “40 tortillas”! 

Enjoy along side your favorite vineyard!

Bollos Salados Mexicano

Bollos Salados Mexicano
Bollos Salados Mexicano!  Otherwise known as Savory Mexican Scones.  Ole’!  My sister woke up one morning and asked, “Did you make coffee? Want to make some scones?”  I wasn’t thinking savory at all.  I’de made a left turn after coffee and was off-roading somewhere in the distant reality.  I’de been up with my son who has decided that daybreak is as good a time as any to announce to the household that he’s done sleeping, ready to have breakfast and play with toy cars.  Coffee?  Yes.  Scones?  Yes, go down the street to the corner coffee shop and buy me one for now and one for later.  Staring at her over my coffee cup, I relented.  What else is there to do at 5:30 in the morning? “I’m game.”
The scones were a miracle because we threw this recipe together after researching two or three of them on the internet.  They are so good and versatile that we decided they were worthy of making over and over again. I admit, we sort of turned them mexican because it was the only cheese flavor I had other than some gourmet stuff that seemed too expensive to be part of a scone.  I invite you to try the “base recipe”* (that means, add the ingredients right up to the mexican part) and put your own savory ingredients: thyme, rosemary, sage, sausage, ham, grated parmesan, grated fontina, etc.  C’mon.  You know you want to. 
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
3 C. Flour
1 T. Baking Powder
1 t. Salt
1 t. Freshly Ground Pepper
1/4 C. Butter, cubed and refridgerated
2 C. Grated Mexican Cheese
3 or 4 Green Onions, sliced thin and sauteed or a small can of Green Chilies
4 Slices of Bacon
2 T. Sour Cream
1 1/4 C. Heavy Cream
1/4 C. Flour
1 Egg
2 t. water
In a standing mixer with paddle attachment, combine flour, baking powder salt and pepper.  Blend ingredients together.  While mixer is running on low, slowly add in the butter cubes one at a time.  The butter and flour mixture should look like course meal with some bigger lumps.
*At this time, you can add any ingredients you want to as I mentioned above.*  If you are going to continue with this recipe, add the cheese, onions and bacon.  Mix until just combined.  Be careful not to over mix as these are scones and they will be tough if you are heavy handed.  Nice and easy.  Add in the sour cream and heavy cream and lightly mix until dough starts forming and you can shape it.  Remove from bowl onto floured surface and shape into flat square, about an inch high.  Cut into wedges.  In a small bowl, whisk together egg and water to form glaze and brush over wedges.  Place wedges on prepared cookie sheet and bake for 18 to 20 minutes or until firm.  These scones are good served warm.  I have taken them to work with me the next day, but remember to  refridgerate them if they contain a meat product.
Enjoy!