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Thanksgiving Leftover Nachos

1 Dec

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Bon Appetit swooped in and helped me jazz up my Thanksgiving leftovers.

There really is no better way to put it:

“Leftovers. They’re perfect, really. You’re in the middle of a four-day weekend, the house is once again empty, the kitchen is clean, and all that remains is a giant Ziploc bag full of turkey for you to eat from the fridge in your pajamas. Without leaving the house, you have all you need to make sandwichespot pierisotto, you name it. But what if there were something more? Something even better? What if there were… Thanksgiving Leftover Nachos?”

And then I proceeded to make Thanksgiving Leftover Nachos, and they were just the crunch I needed to get me over the hump of mushy comfort food remnants.

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Thanksgiving Leftover Nachos

from BonAppetit 

Tortilla Chips


Turkey, shredded or cut up (if you have leftover crispy skin, throw that in, too!)

Mashed potatoes


Cheese, shredded

Raw Brussels sprouts, cut into slivers (or any kind of green vegetable)

Cran sauce

Sour cream or Greek yogurt

Combine pieces of leftover stuffing with a layer of tortilla chips on a baking sheet. This is your base layer.

Shred the turkey (The skin, too! It gets crispy in the oven) and nestle it with the chips/stuffing. Mashed potatoes are next, acting like refried beans. A little grate of white cheddar and a drizzle of gravy. Pop in a 425 degree oven until it gets oozy and crispy all in one, about 10-15 minutes.

Out of the oven and in come a few hits of leftover cranberry sauce (I like to say “cran sauce”), a few pinches of leftover raw brussels sprouts shavings (made this salad on Thanksgiving day), and some dollops of sour cream.


Cornbread Casserole (aka “Tamale Pie”)

14 Apr


Casseroles. Not too much effort to prepare, and they can yield multiple servings. So great for feeding a crowd, or a smattering for many days.

Kind of like a smoothie (here me out…), a casserole can pack in a lot of healthy (or not so healthy…up to you) foods into a meal. We’ve got carbs (cornbread!), veggies, and protein (beans and/or meat and cheese) all in one. Some of my other favorite casseroles include: lasagna and matzo lasagna.

I fondly remember my college days, living in a co-op house with 60+ students, where this sort of cornbread topped casserole dish was in heavy rotation (along with “lentil loaf,” homemade pizza nights, and giant pasta-bakes…).

This type of meal is a great week night throw-together that I imagine would please a family with young kids or teenagers, too. Perfect on it’s own, or maybe with a light side salad.


The best part about this type of casserole is that you really do not need a recipe except for maybe the cornbread topping. I just threw in a handful or this and that, with some dashes of “tex-mex” style spices. This was my “kitchen sink” casserole; a great way to use up the odds and ends laying around from the week.

My casserole had a thinnish layer of cornbread on top…but if you really love cornbread, you may want to double the proportions for the recipe below. Or feel free to whip up your favorite cornbread recipe and just plop it on top of the veggie mixture before baking.


Cornbread Casserole (aka “Tamale Pie”)

loosely adapted from NYTimes

bakes up in a 3-qt casserole dish


1 onion, chopped

2-4 different kinds of veggies, chopped (I used zucchini, mushrooms, spinach…)

optional: 2 pre-cooked chicken sausages, chopped (or ground beef/turkey)

about 2 cups of black beans (or pinto, or kidney, or black-eyed peas…)

1 cup of tomato sauce or crushed tomatoes

spices: cumin, chili powder, salt, pepper (no need to measure, just add some dashes to taste)

optional: some chopped chili in adobo sauce (from the can)


3/4 cup cornmeal

1 tablespoon flour

1 tablespoon sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

pinch of salt

1 egg

1/3 cup milk

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

grated cheese (optional)

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

In a large skillet, heat some oil and add the onion, veggies, and sausage. Cook until the onions start to soften and everything starts turning slightly golden brown. Add the black beans, tomato sauce, and spices. Simmer for 5-10 minutes more. Pour the mixture into a casserole dish.

To make the corn bread: Whisk together the dry ingredients (corn meal/flour/sugar/baking powder/salt) in a bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg, milk, and vegetable oil. Add the wet to the dry. Loosely cover the veggie mixture with the corn bread topping. The topping may disappear slightly into the veggie mixture but will rise during baking and form a layer of corn bread. Optional: add some grated cheese on top before or mid-way through baking. Bake until the corn bread is brown, 20 to 25 minutes.

Farmer’s Market-Inspired Tacos

22 Jun

It’s taco time!

Steamed corn tortillas, refried black beans, garlicky sauteed summer squash, blanched asparagus, fresh basil, cheesy shreds, salt n’ pepper.

There’s no better way to enjoy fresh summer vegetables.

I was inspired by the produce at the little farmer’s market near my apartment.

Not necessarily the traditional accouterment for tacos, but I went with my craving.

I’m a sucker for oven-roasted asparagus, but there was no way I was turning on the oven today, not in this 100 degree weather.

Instead, I boiled water in a large saucepan, salted the water, dropped the asparagus in for 3 minutes, took them out with tongs, and seasoned them with salt and pepper. All too easy and the result produced the most vibrant green asparagus I ever laid my eyes on.

Heavy on the garlic. That was my motto for the summer squash saute. I lightly fried the garlic in just a little oil, then added my thinly sliced squash to the pan, sautéing until browned. The trick is not to move things around too much in the pan. Only stir every 1-2 minutes or so.

Basil gets thinly sliced into a chiffonade (just roll the leaves and slice into thin ribbons) and added at the very end of cooking.

I purchased Thai basil, which has a more licorice/anise flavor profile versus the sweeter Italian basil. You can use either basil variety interchangeably. I was feeling experimental today so I went with Thai. Talk about fusion! Of course, you could always use cilantro or another herb of your choice in this dish.

Steaming tortillas is a cinch in the microwave.

Place two tortillas side by side on a large plate. Top with a damp paper towel. Place two more tortillas on top plus one more damp paper towel to cover everything. Heat in the microwave for 1 minute and you’ve got yourself steamed tortillas (enough for 2 servings= 2 corn tortillas per serving).

 Have you tried refried black beans yet? Tasty town. Out of the can and into a small pan to be heated with a little grated cheese on top. Protein power.

Taco assembly involves a hefty helping of beans spread onto a steamed tortilla. Topped with the summer squash saute, 2 or 3 asparagus spears, some extra grated cheese, and basil. Salt and pepper make my wheels turn. You can add some hot sauce or chili flakes if you wish.

Tacos in the summer are a must. Check out these charred corn and feta tacos that I made last summer.

Vegetarian tacos=rad.

Farmer’s Market-Inspired Tacos

1 bunch of asparagus

3 medium summer squash/zucchini

1 tablespoon oil (canola)

3-4 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 teaspoon chili powder

fresh basil, about 6-7 leaves picked

1 can refried black beans

about 1/2 cup grated cheese of your choice (I used sharp cheddar and smoked gouda)

corn tortillas

Snap the woody ends off of the asparagus. In a large saucepan, bring water to a boil. Once the water boils, add some salt. Gently drop the asparagus into the water for 3 minutes. Take the asparagus out of the water with tongs, season with salt and pepper, and set aside. Dump out the excess water.

Halve and thinly slice the summer squash. In a pan (you can use the same pan as above so long as you dry it out), heat the oil. Add the garlic and cook for about 1-2 minutes. Add the squash and saute until browned. Only stir every 1-2 minutes so that the squash can get nice and golden brown. Add the chili powder and some salt. Roll the basil leaves up and slice them into thin ribbons. Once the squash is nearly done cooking, stir in the basil leaves and turn off the heat.

To prepare the beans, open the can and place the contents into a small saucepan. Heat on low. Add about half of the grated cheese and stir into the beans until melty.

To steam the tortillas, place tortillas onto a plate with damp paper towels between each tortilla. Heat in the microwave for 1 minute or until soft and pliable.

To assemble the tacos, spread a hefty amount of beans onto a tortilla. Add some squash. Place 2 or 3 asparagus spears on top. Garnish with extra cheese, basil, salt, and pepper.

You’ve done well, my friends.

Quick Dinner: Charred Corn, Zucchini Slaw, Black Bean, and Feta Tacos

1 Aug

Last night I made some quick tacos for dinner. I think my go-to summer vegetable this year has definitely got to be corn. I’ve been using it in everything I make from savory to sweet. For the tacos, I charred the corn over and open flame on my stove-top. It sizzled and popped and suddenly there were beautiful char marks all over my corn. It was the perfect addition to my vegetarian tacos.

(blurry photo, delicious charred corn, about to be sauteed into an oniony garlic mess)

I love the crunchy zucchini match-sticks and the salty cheese. I love the “grilled” corn and onions and the creamy black beans. And the hot sauce definitely makes the tacos complete.

SmittenKitchen has got some nicer photos than I and she also has a nice array of mis-en-place and step-by-step photos for you to gawk at. Check her out!

These tacos are an easy throw-together dinner that you could make for 1, 2, 3, 4 people or a huge crowd. These won’t overheat your kitchen in the summer time (no oven necessary, just a quick saute and you are done) and are super filling (you won’t miss the meat).

Throw together some margaritas or a fruity Pimm’s cup to sip alongside your tacos, and you’ve got yourself a party.

And if you are left with loads of extra corn tortillas, you could make migas, which I am sooo wanting right now.

Quick Charred Corn, Zucchini Slaw, Black Bean, and Feta Tacos

adapted from SmittenKitchen

1 small zucchini

1-2 limes


2 ears corn

a dollop of butter and a splash of olive oil

1/2 large onion, finely diced

2 cloves garlic

1/4 tsp chilli powder

1 can black beans, drained and rinsed

feta cheese, crumbled

black pepper

hot sauce

corn tortillas

1. Slice your zucchini into thin match-sticks. You can take a peeler and peel thick ribbons down the long side of the zucchini. Stack the ribbons and cut them crosswise into thin matchsticks. Toss in a bowl with the juice of half a lime and some salt. Set aside.

2. Take the husk off your corn. Heat an open gas-stove flame and char the two ears of corn until well-blackened but not completely burnt. You will probably, quickly, notice that corn likes to pop and snap, occasionally spraying you with splats of corn. It will all be okay, and the char-taste is worth it. Remove cobs from heat, and when cool enough to handle, shave off kernels using a large knife. Set aside.

3. Heat a large sauté pan over medium heat. Melt a small dollop of butter and splash of oil together and once hot, add the onion. Cook the onion for about 5 minutes, until softened. Add the garlic and cook another minute. Add the corn kernels and sauté until corn is just cooked through, about three to five minutes. Season with salt and chilli powder. Squeeze more lime over it.

4. To heat the tortillas: Coat the bottom of a cast-iron skillet with olive oil and wipe it out so on the thinnest slick remains. Heat the skillet on high. Once hot, cook a tortilla for about 30 seconds to 1 minute on each side, until lightly blistered. Repeat with remaining tortillas but if your skillet is well-seasoned, no need to repeat the oiling process.

5. Fill each taco with a bit of the zucchini mix. Fill with a few small spoonfuls of the corn mixture. Top with a spoonful of black beans and crumbled cheese. Add some fresh ground pepper. Serve with an extra lime wedge on the side and whatever fixings you like (sour cream, avocado wedges, hot sauce…).

>Cafe Habana, NYC

6 Jan

Grilled Corn, Mexican Style. Served with chili powder lime and cheese.
This corn was featured on the Food Network’s The Best Thing I Ever Ate a la Tyler Florence. This corn is worth the crowd, is worth the tight spaces, is worth the narrow tables. It’s worth it. Go.

Sincronizada. Small black bean and sun-dried tomato tortillas with mozzarella cheese and avocado. Basically it’s a quesadilla with a fancy name.

Meet Carolyn. She’s the fine lady who brought me to Cafe Habana. She also has been living in a darling flat with burgundy floors. This was her last New York meal before moving back to L.A. Carolyn tells me that the brunch at Cafe Habana is great. Chilaquiles here I come…

Cafe Habana
17 Prince Street
New York, NY 10012
(212) 625-2002