Chipotle Mesquite Salmon

Ingredients
1 lb Salmon filet, boneless, skinn-on, cut into 2 to 4 pieces
1/4 tsp ground Pepper
1/4 tsp Salt
1/4 tsp Cumin
1/4 tsp ground dried Chipotle Pepper
1/4 cup BBQ flavored Potato Chips
1/4 cup Honey
Olive Oil for drizzling
Avocado for Garnish

  • Preheat Oven to 400°F.
  • Pat the Salmon dry, and remove any bones.
  • In a bowl, combine the Spices and Potato Chips.
  • Sprinkle liberally over the Salmon fillets, and press. Do not worry as much about the sides, and disregard the skin-side altogether.
  • Place aluminum foil on a baking sheet, and lightly drizzle the olive oil.
  • Place the Salmon fillets skin down onto the baking sheet.
  • Drizzle the Honey over the fillets.
  • Bake for 7-10 minutes, depending on how done you want the Salmon.
  • While cooking, slice the Avocado in half, remove the pit, and then carefully peal the skin. Set aside until Salmon is done.
  • Plate the Salmon. Slice the Avocado length-wise and thinly. Place a half of Avocado on each Salmon piece.

Makes 2-4 Servings.

NOTES: So this may be a flashback recipe from my poorer youth–but seriously the barbecue chips really add to the recipe. You can choose to use panco breadcrumbs instead, but you’ll want to add some mesquite seasonings, and really unless you have a pre-made mix, it is a pain in the butt.

Baja Shrimp and Jicama Salad

Baja Shrimp and Jicama Salad

Ingredients
1 lb Shrimp, shelled and de-veined
1 Jicama root, skinned, diced
2 Mangoes, diced
2 Avocados, diced
1 small Yellow Onion, diced
6 cloves Garlic
3 Jalapeño Peppers
1 tsp Olive Oil
1 tsp Paprika
1 tsp Cumin
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp Black Pepper
1 tsp Cayenne Pepper
Juice of 2 Limes
2 Tbsp fresh Cilantro, chopped coarsely

Directions

  • In a skillet, on medium heat, toast the whole cloves of Garlic and whole Jalapeño Peppers. As each side begins to brown, turn them. Do not let them over cook–you are just toasting them. Remove from heat and let cool.
  • Add the Shrimp to the skillet with the remaining Olive Oil. Toss in the Spices and let each side cook until the Shrimp are pink and cooked through. Toss them as you cook them to help coat them in the oil and Spices. Remove and set to the side to cool.
  • When the Garlic and Jalapeño Peppers are cool to touch, mince them (de-seed the Jalapeño to lower the heat). Set to the side.
  • When the Shrimp are cool to touch, chop them into bite-size pieces. Set to the side.
  • In a large bowl, combine all ingredients, and toss well. Adjust the spice level with more Cayenne Pepper if need be.

Makes about 6-8 cups.

NOTES: Jicama is one of my favorite root vegetables. It is sometimes referred to as a Mexican Turnip–but it tastes NOTHING like a Turnip. Jicama originated in Mexico and derives its name from the Nahuatl name xicamatl. If I were to describe the flavor, I’d say it is a cross between a Pear, a Potato, and a Carrot–think of it as a mildly-sweet watery root vegetable. This salad showcases it with sweet Mango, creamy Avocado, and spicy Shrimp.  I also used employed toasting Garlic and Peppers–a common Mexican cooking style that awakens the flavors.  You can use this salad as  a side dish, or as a salsa over grilled fish or chicken.

Jicama is also a great addition to any Crudités platters.

Prickly-Pear Fruit Salad

Ingredients:
4 Prickly-Pear Cactus Fruit
2 Kiwi
1 Mango
1 Orange
1/2 cup Heavy Cream
1-2 tsp Granulated Sugar
Dash of Cinnamon
1 tsp Orange Zest
Fresh Mint for Garnish

Directions:

  • Prepare the Fruit.
    • Prickly-Pear Cactus Fruit: Cut off the top and bottom, and cut a line across the flesh lengthwise, about 1 cm deep (at most). Carefully pull the Skin from the magenta flesh. Be careful, as there may still be spines on the skin. Slice in disks or dice into bite-size pieces. Be careful not to make them too small.
    • Kiwi: Peel the skin and then slice into disks. Discard the ends.
    • Mango: Peel the skin, and slice the flesh off the core. Dice the flesh into bite size pieces.
    • Orange: Using a knife, cut away the skin, exposing the orange slices. Use a sharp knife and cut out the segments.
  • In a Bowl, whip the Cream, Sugar, and Cinnamon until peaks form.
  • Plate the Fruit in small bowls, and add a dollop of the Whipped Cream.
  • Add Orange Zest and Mint as a Garnish.

Makes 3 servings.

NOTES: Prickly-Pear Cactus Fruit are also known as “Indian Figs” or tuna in Spanish, and are the fruit of the Opuntia genus of cacti also known as Nopales. They come in a variety of colors, but I like the magenta ones.  The consistency is somewhat like watermelon, and the seeds are edible.  This fruit salad is great especially when chilled in the freezer for 20 minutes before serving (Obviously, you’d not put the Whipped Cream on till after you take it out and plate it).

Horchata de Arroz – Mexican Rice Milk

Horchata de Arroz

Ingredients:
2 cups long-grain white Rice
3 cups warm Water, for soaking
1/2 cup blanched Almonds, ground
3 Cinnamon Sticks
1 Tbsp Vanilla
1 cup Evaporated Milk
3 cups Cold Water
1/2-3/4 cup granulated Sugar

Directions:

  • Place the Rice, Warm Water, ground Almonds, and Cinnamon in a bowl overnight. For the Almonds, you can use a Food Processor to grind them–doesn’t have to be a fine powder.
  • Remove the Cinnamon Sticks and discard.
  • Pour the mixture into a Blender, and blend for 30 seconds.
  • Strain through a Sieve, Cheesecloth, or Coffee Filters into a pitcher.
  • Add Evaporated Milk, Vanilla, Sugar, and 2-4 cups
  • Using a Whisk, stir well, and adjust the taste with more Sugar if needed.

Makes about 1/2 a gallon.

NOTES: This beverage is a true Meso-American fusion food. It came from Spain where it was made with tigernuts. In the Americas, due to lack of tigernuts, other ingredients were used. Depending on the Latin American country, you will see Rice or various types of seeds used. Most Mexican varieties are made with Rice with Cinnamon–some adding strawberries or Prickly Pear.

Now the Historian in me read that the name comes from Valencia Spain from orxata deriving from the word for Barley. In traditional Meso-American cooking, it looks like a metate (a stone motar tool) would have been used to grind the rice mixture. One day, I want to get a metate and make it that way LOL!

Black Bean & Pineapple Salsa

Black bean & Pineapple Salsa

Ingredients:
3 cups Black Beans, drained
1 Pineapple, skinned, diced
1 medium White Onion, diced fine
6 cloves Garlic, minced
3 Jalapeños, minced
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp Cumin
1 tsp Black Pepper
1/8 cup Lime Juice
1/8 cup Pineapple Juice
1 cup Cilantro, chopped fine
1 cup Mint, chopped fine

Directions:

  • Combine all ingredients, in order listed, and mix well.

Mango & Tomatillo Salsa

Mango & Tomatillo Salsa

Ingredients:
10-12 Tomatillos, diced
2-3 Mangoes, diced
1 medium White Onion, diced fine
6 cloves Garlic, minced
3 Jalapeños, minced
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp Cumin
1 tsp Black Pepper
1/4 cup Lime Juice
1 cup Cilantro, chopped fine

Directions:

  • Combine all ingredients, in order listed, and mix well.

Cancun Ceviche

Cancun Ceviche on a Bed of Mescaline Greens

Ingredients:
1/2 lb Shrimp
1/2 lb Sea Scallops. diced
1/2 lb Lump Crab Meat
1 cup Mango, diced
1 cup Avocado, diced
1 medium Red Onion, thinly sliced
2 Jalapeños, minced
2 cloves Garlic, minced
1 tsp fresh Ginger, minced
2 tsp Salt
1 tsp Black Pepper
1/4 cup Cilantro, chopped
1/4 cup Mint, chopped
1 cup Lime Juice
1/2 cup Lemon Juice

Directions:

  • Steam the Shrimp in shell.
  • Peel and de-vein the Shrimp, and dice.
  • In a large bowl, combine all ingredients and mix well.
  • Cover with Cellophane and refrigerated for 3-6 hours, stirring occasionally.

NOTES: Ceviche is thought to originate in Peru, however almost every Latin-American country has their own variation on the dish. You can even vary what seafood or fish you wish to use. I suggest when using shell fish, to steam it first. The citric acid from the Lime and Lemon Juices react with the protein “cooking” the fish, but with shellfish I always use extra precaution–think you don’t usually see raw lobster or shrimp in sushi.

Salsa Cruda – Pico de Gallo

Pico de Gallo
Ingredients:Vegan
3-4 medium sized Tomatoes (I prefer Roma or Plum), diced finely
2 Jalapeño Peppers, de-seeded, de-ribed, minced
1 Serrano Pepper, de-seeded, de-ribed, minced
1 medium White Onion, diced finely
2 cloves minced Garlic
1/2 tsp fresh Oregano, de-stemmed
1/4 tsp Cumin powder
1/2 cup fresh Cilantro, chopped fine
juice of 1 Lime
Salt and Pepper to taste

Directions:

  • Combine all Ingredients and mix well.
  • Let chill for at 1/2 an hour before serving.

NOTES: Salsa Cruda, Pico de Gallo, Salsa Mexicana, Salsa Fresca, and Salsa Picada all refer to the same uncooked sauce consisting of Tomatoes, Onions, and Jalapenos. Pico de Gallo means “beak of the rooster” and probably refers to the bit size kernels of rooster feed, although some same it references the time of the day to make the sauce, while other people say it references the shape of a rooster’s beak. Finally, some think that Pico de Gallo references a certain cocky machismo needed to eat hot sauces. The world may never know why it is called what it is.


Suggested Uses:

Serve with tortilla chips, use as a marinade, or use as a topping on grilled foods.

Mexican Corn Salad

Ingredients:Vegan
3 large ears of Corn
1 red Bell Pepper, diced
2 Jalapeño Peppers, diced
1 small White Onion, diced
2 cloves Garlic, minced
2 Haas Avocados, diced
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp Pepper
1 tsp Cumin
1/2 cup Cilantro, finely chopped
Juice of 1 Lime

Directions:

  • In a large pot, bring water to boil.
  • Boil the corn for 5-10 minutes, remove from the water, let cool.
  • Using a serrated knife, remove the kernels from the cob into a bowl.
  • Combine all other ingredients and mix well.

NOTES: If you are not serving soon, hold off on adding the avocado until the very last minute, as it will go brown quickly–Citric Acid does not stop the browning like it does with Apples and Pears.

Mango Chicken

Ingredients:

2 skinless, boneless Chicken Breasts, butterfly cut
1 Tbsp Paprika
1 tsp chopped Parsley
1 cup Bread Crumbs
1/2 tsp Black Pepper
1/2 tsp Cayenne Pepper
1/2 tsp Corn Starch
1 tsp Salt
1 medium size Yellow Onion, diced
2 cloves Garlic, minced
2 Jalapeño Peppers, minced
2 Mangoes, skinned and cubed
1 cup chopped Cilantro
juice of 1 Lime

Directions:

  • In a large freezer bag, combine Paprika, Parsley, Bread Crumbs, Black Pepper, Corn Starch, and Salt. Mix the powder mix thoroughly. Add each chicken piece, seal the bag, and shake so that it coats the chicken.
  • In a large skillet, coat with Olive Oil and saute the coated chicken pieces about 5 minutes a side on medium heat. Remove and place on paper towel to absorb oil.
  • In the same skillet, combine Onions, Garlic, and Jalapeño Peppers, and Mangoes, sauteing about 5 minutes. If the mangoes are not real ripe, you can cook longer and add a tsp of Honey.
  • Squeeze the Lime Juice over the mix, and add the Cilantro. Toss the mixture, and remove from heat.
  • Plate the chicken pieces and cover with Mango mixture.

Guacamole

Ingredients:Vegetarian
5-6 ripe Haas Avocados, skinned, pitted, and cubed
2 cloves Garlic, minced
1/2 cup Yellow Onion, diced
2 large Jalapeño Peppers, seeded, diced
1/2 cup Sour Cream
1 cup Tomato, diced
1 tsp Salt
2 tsp Cumin
2 Tbsp Lime Juice
2 Tbsp Cilantro, chopped

Directions,

  • In a large bowl, mash the Avocados.
  • Add the Garlic, Onion, and Jalapeños.
  • Now add the Sour Cream, and Tomatoes, and mix until no Sour Cream can be seen.
  • Add the remaining ingredients and mix well.
  • Garnish with fresh Cilantro and Lime Wedges

NOTES: Guacamole comes from the Nahuatl word āhuacamolli meaning “avocado sauce”…well sort of. The Nahuatl word for Avocado (āhuacatl) means “testicle” because of its shape. Traditionally, Guacamole would not have Sour Cream, and would made in a Mortar and Pestle device known as a Molcajete and Tejolote which is more course than a Mortar and Pestle.  I prefer the use of Haas Avocados because they are sweeter and do not as vein-ridden.

Guacamole