Preparing Escabeche~Pickled Chiles and Vegetables

Poblanos en Escabeche is just one of the many combinations of a quick pickled escabeche I have prepared. What happens most times, is that I get to that point where I have a few of this and that, vegetables that I need to use up, and escabeche is a great way to go. As we approach summer and many trips to the farmers markets, I look forward to spicy batches of escabeche!  Serve escabeche as you would any salsa or guacamole. Great garnish for tacos, especially carne asada, grilled chicken and any seafood.  I will add more recipes  to this blog postas they develop.

Poblanos, Carrots, Jalapeños, Serranos, Chile de Arbol, Garlic and Onions...
Poblanos, Carrots, Jalapeños, Serranos, Chile de Arbol, Garlic and Onions…

3 tablespoons olive oil
3 poblanos, sliced into strips
3 carrots, sliced
3 jalapeños, sliced into rings
3 serranos, sliced into rings
6 to 8 chile de arbol
6 green onion, just the top white parts
4 cloves garlic, sliced thin
1 1/2 cups white distilled vinegar
1 1/2 cups water
3 teaspoons of salt, or to taste
1 teaspoon sugar or to taste
1 tablespoons pickling spices
1/2 tablespoon Mexican oregano

 

Many times I will prepare a quick pickled escabeche with whatever I have available in my pantry.
Many times I will prepare a quick pickled escabeche with whatever I have available in my pantry.

 

1. In a large pan, preheat the olive oil to medium for a few minutes. Add the first 6 ingredients and saute for 5 minutes. Add the onions and garlic and cook for another minute.

2. In a large measuring cup or bowl, mix the vinegar, water, salt and sugar. Taste for seasonings and adjust as needed. 

3. Add liquids and remaining spices and cook at a low simmer for 10 minutes. Let cool at room temperature. Store in the refrigerator in an airtight container for  4 weeks.

 

Zanahorias en Escabeche (Spicy Pickled Carrots)

This escabeche inspired bt those many cans of spicy jalapeños my Mom would purchase. We would always fight for the carrots that were mixed in with the peppers. So why not prepare a whole batch of just spicy carrots. The habanero works really well with the carrots for this recipe. 

Zanahorias en Escabeche, Spicy Pickled Carrots with Habaneros
Zanahorias en Escabeche, Spicy Pickled Carrots with Habaneros

10 carrots, peeled, cut into matchsticks
1 medium white onion, sliced
jalapeño peppers, sliced (removing seeds is optional)
2 habanero peppers, sliced
2 chile de arbol, torn into pieces
2 cloves garlic, sliced
3 bay leaves
1 tablespoon whole peppercorns
1 cup white vinegar
½ water
Salt
Sugar

1. In a large saucepan, heat the vinegar on medium/low, add about 2 tablespoons salt and 1 tablespoon of sugar.

2. Once the sugar and salt have dissolved, add the peppercorns, bay leaves and onions, stir well, cook for 2 minutes. Add the carrots, habanero, jalapeño and chile de arbol. Taste for salt. Remove from heat and let steep for 10 minutes. Let cool at room temperature.

3. Transfer the escabeche to a glass mason jar  or any airtight containerand refrigerate for a few hours. It will keep in the refrigerator for 4 weeks. 

 

Pickled Mixed Hot Peppers.

This was a recipe I developed for Que Rica Vida last year. It is to date my favorite combination of peppers and flavors! Click onto picture for the complete recipe.  http://www.quericavida.com/en/recipes/pickled-mixed-hot-peppers/

Pickled Mixed Hot Peppers http://www.quericavida.com/en/recipes/pickled-mixed-hot-peppers/
Pickled Mixed Hot Peppers http://www.quericavida.com/en/recipes/pickled-mixed-hot-peppers/

 

Quick Pickled Fresno Peppers, great for sandwiches, salads or tacos!

Quick Pickled Fresno Chile Peppers
Quick Pickled Fresno Chile Peppers

6 fresno peppers, sliced into rings
*you could use any kind of fresh hot pepper
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon Mexican oregano
Salt to taste

Combine all of the ingredients, taste for salt. Cover and let marinate at room temperature for 1 hour before serving. The longer they sit, the better.

Que Es Eso? Es Queso! Melted, Shredded, Crumbled and Sliced

Queso Blanco, a warm, silky and creamy cheese dip served in thousands of Tex Mex and Mexican restaurants through out the country. I did not have my first bowl of nachos until I moved to Texas from California in 1979. I was hooked! It was not this queso blanco version, but that bright orange version served over salty, round tortilla chips and topped with jalapeño rings. It was new and exciting, lol! Soon after that, we had Mom preparing nachos for us at home every weekend. I guess you could say, that nachos were not a California thing, but it did not take long to catch on. During my seven years in Texas, I had my fair share of nachos.

I ended up married to a wonderful man, that happens to not be so crazy about cheese, ha, ha, ha! Soon the nachos went by the wayside, but years later I found myself preparing a big batch of queso blanco every week for  Fiesta Friday’s. I prepared a mexican lunch once a week for a whole year at a specialty kitchen store, Front and Center, where I happen to teach cooking classes as well.  This blog post is dedicated to queso, melted, shredded, crumbled and sliced…. These are some of my  favorite cheese recipes. 

Queso de Freir~ Fried Cheese Crostini September 23, 2014

Fried Cheese on Crostini topped with Salsa, Oregano, Cilantro and Olive Oil
Fried Cheese on Crostini topped with Salsa, Oregano, Cilantro and Olive Oil

Easy Peasy recipe! Lol! Sorry, had to say it.

1 package of Queso Tropical, queso de freir

Olive oil

2 cloves garlic, sliced thin

1 baguette, sliced at a bias for crostini, toasted(8 half inch slices)

1 cup your favorite salsa, red or green recipe (check out all of my favorite salsa recipes under the category section. Many to choose from)

Chopped cilantro

Mexican oregano

Salt and pepper to taste

Queso Tropical, queso de freir....
Queso Tropical, queso de freir….

Slice the cheese into 8 equal slices. In a large skillet at medium/low heat, add 3 tablespoons of olive oil and toast the garlic slices until golden. Remove from oil, turn heat up to medium. When hot, add the cheese slices and cook for just a 20 to 30 seconds per side or until golden brown. Remove from oil and place on toasted crostini slices. Garnish with salsa, cilantro and oregano. Drizzle with olive oil and season to taste with salt and fresh cracked pepper. Serve right away. Yields 4 servings as an appetizer. 

Queso de Freir~ fried Cheese on Crostini with Salsa
Queso de Freir~ fried Cheese on Crostini with Salsa
Fried Cheese, Tropical brand
Fried Cheese, Tropical brand

 

Grilled Veggie Quesadillas August 11, 2014

Grilled Broccoli, Squash, Sweet Onions and Red Bell Peppers with Chihuahua Cheese and Homemade Tortillas
Grilled Broccoli, Squash, Sweet Onions and Red Bell Peppers with Chihuahua Cheese and Homemade Tortillas

Grilled Veggie Quesadillas can be made with a variety of vegetables. After a quick trip to the farmers market last weekend, it was time for a grilling session. One of my favorite things to do is to grill a big batch of my favorite vegetables and keep them in my refrigerator for different meals during the week. And if you are worried about not using up that quickly, just toss them lightly in your favorite vinegar and this will preserve them a little longer, until you are ready to use them. The vegetables  are great for sandwiches, wraps, salads, soups and really tasty for preparing quesadillas. This was my first time grilling broccoli. It was not bad at all. The stem towards the end, was a a little tough, so I think that next time I would just steam them for a few minutes in the microwave before grilling. The tasty, melty Mexican cheese made up for the tough piece of broccoli though, ha, ha, ha!!

1 small head of broccoli 
1summer squash or zucchini

1 small red bell pepper
1 small sweet onion

Grilled vegetables add so much flavor to any of your favorite dishes.
Grilled vegetables add so much flavor to any of your favorite dishes.

*Slice or chop your vegetables in big pieces so they are easier to grill. Try slicing the broccoli so it has one flat side.
Olive oil
Salt and pepper
2 cups Chihuahua, jack or any good melting cheese, shredded
8 Fajita size flour tortillas

Preheat grill to medium/high heat. Drizzle olive oil on veggies and season lightly with salt and pepper. Cook the vegetables directly on the grill or on a pan made for the grill. Grill for 7 to 10 minutes, turning as needed. Chop into smaller pieces before assembling quesadillas. For quesadillas, add about 1 ounce of shredded cheese to one tortilla, 4 tablespoons of grilled veggie mix, more cheese and then top with another tortilla. You can cook on the grill or on the stove top in a non stick pan at medium heat. I cover with a lid so it creates some steam and helps the cheese melt easier. I did not brush the tortillas with any oil or butter, but you can do this while cooking them for a crispier finish. 

Grilling broccoli for the first time. It only takes a few minutes. I would steam them in the microwave for a few minutes before grilling next time.
Grilling broccoli for the first time. It only takes a few minutes. I would steam them in the microwave for a few minutes before grilling next time.

* Both of the cheeses pictured are excellent melting cheeses for quesadillas!

Was excited to find shredded Chihuahua cheese at my local market.
Was excited to find shredded Chihuahua cheese at my local market.
The grilled broccoli was absolutely delicious in the quesadillas!
The grilled broccoli was absolutely delicious in the quesadillas!
Grilled Veggie Quesadillas with Mexican Cheese
Grilled Veggie Quesadillas with Mexican Cheese
Grilled Veggie Quesadillas served with both red and green salsa's.
Grilled Veggie Quesadillas served with both red and green salsa’s.

Tips~ The recipes for the red and green salsa’s and homemade flour tortillas can be found right on my blog. Just search under categories for ” A Trio of Summer Salsa’s” and “Tortillas” .

Grilled Veggie Quesadillas
Grilled Veggie Quesadillas

 

 

 

 

Warm Queso Blanco
Warm Queso Blanco, the homemade chip recipe is on the blog


1 1/2 pounds american style cheese, diced
8 ounces monterey jack cheese, pepperjack or with jalapeño, shredded
12 ounces evaporated milk
1 cup whole milk
1/3 cup diced pickled jalapeños, optional

* I found an 8 ounce pack of pepperjack slices and added that as well

 

The Makings of Queso Blanco
The Makings of Queso Blanco


Combine all of the ingredients in a sauce pan. Heat to medium/low and let come up to temperature and melt slowly. Stir as needed. Serve right away. Yields about 4 1/2 cups.

Tips~ Make sure the American cheese is not labeled as “Cheese Product” on the package.

Mex-Tex Queso Blanco with Homemade Chips and Jalapeño Strips
Mex-Tex Queso Blanco with Homemade Chips and Jalapeño Strips

 

Queso con Chiles Toreados

A slightly more complex recipe than the first, but still very tasty!

Queso con Chiles Toreados, a few more ingredients than the first recipe, but equally tasty!
Queso con Chiles Toreados, a few more ingredients than the first recipe, but equally tasty!


4 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup hot turkey or pork sausage (2 links; remove the casings)
4 to 6 large jalapeño peppers, stems removed (I left the seeds in, however)
1/3 cup diced sweet onions
2 tablespoons flour
2 cups milk
2 cups Monterey jack cheese, shredded
1 cup white extra sharp cheese, shredded
1 cup Oaxaca or string cheese, shredded
1 tablespoon Tabasco hot sauce or to taste
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

Tips~ You could substitute mexican style chorizo for the hot turkey sausage. 

Chiles Toreados
Chiles Toreados are simply chile peppers that are roasted on a comal until they blacken and blister a little. They have so much more flavor!

 

1. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil to medium heat. Cook the sausage for 8 to 10 minutes or until nicely browned. Remove from pan onto a plate.

2. To that same pan, add 1 more tablespoon of oil. Cook the jalapeños for a few minutes or until the skins start to blister and blacken in spots. Remove from pan.

3. Again to that same pan, add the last 2 tablespoons of oil. Add the onions and cook for 8 to 10 minutes. While the onions are cooking, dice up the jalapeños. I left the seeds in.

4. Add the flour to the onions and cook for 1 minute. Whisk in the milk and continue cooking until it starts to form a thick sauce. Add in all of the remaining ingredients; remove from heat. The cheese will melt right away. Transfer to serving dish and serve with tortilla chips or tostadas. Yields about 4 cups.

A Tostada with Queso con Chiles Toreados and Hot Sausage
A Tostada with Queso con Chiles Toreados and Hot Sausage

 

Queso Fundido with Peppers and Chorizo

Queso Fundido with Peppers and Mexican Chorizo
Queso Fundido with Peppers and Mexican Chorizo

8 ounce block of Monterey jack cheese, shredded
¼ cup roasted, diced poblano
¼ cup, roasted, diced red bell pepper 

½ cup cooked Mexican chorizo (drain on paper towels after cooking)

1. Preheat oven to 350ºF.

2. Combine all ingredients in a small casserole dish and bake, covered, at 350ºF for 20 minutes. Uncover and cook under broiler for 2 minutes. Serve with chips, crostini or as a taco filling.

Jalapeño Popper Dip, A great recipe I developed for Que Rica Vida. http://www.quericavida.com/en/recipes/jalapeno-popper-dip/ Click onto picture for recipe.

Jalapeño Popper Dip http://www.quericavida.com/en/recipes/jalapeno-popper-dip/
Jalapeño Popper Dip http://www.quericavida.com/en/recipes/jalapeno-popper-dip/

 

Guacamole Filled Queso Fundido, another of my recipes for Que Rica Vida. http://www.quericavida.com/en/recipes/guacamole-filled-queso-fundido/

Click onto picture for recipe.

Guacamole Filled Queso Fundido http://www.quericavida.com/en/recipes/guacamole-filled-queso-fundido/
Guacamole Filled Queso Fundido http://www.quericavida.com/en/recipes/guacamole-filled-queso-fundido/

 

A Duo of Smokin’ Salsa’s!

A Duo of Smokin’ Salsa’s 

If you could have seen my face the first time I tasted a salsa that had been smoked! Just when I thought I had tried just about every salsa known to man, lol! It was during a trip to Austin, Texas while visiting my brother Ismael and his wife Janet Lynn. My sister in law is an accomplished cook and she literally cook run circles around me in the kitchen, ha, ha, ha!!! I love that girl! The love of cooking and good home cooked food rubbed off onto my brother Ismael and he loves to grill and smoke all kinds of dishes.

The salsa was he prepared that night consisted of tomatoes, serranos and onions with lot’s of lime and salt. I am not sure what kind of wood he used to smoke it, but the flavor was amazingly delicious. This spring and summer, my goal is to learn a little more about using my charcoal grill to smoke different meats. Now I can add salsa tot hat list as well. I was very happy with the results of my first attempt at preparing a smoked salsa! Thanks Ismael and Janet!

There is nothing like homemade salsa, fresh, roasted, cooked grilled and now SMOKED!
There is nothing like homemade salsa, fresh, roasted, cooked grilled and now SMOKED!
Smokin' Salsa Roja and Smokin' Salsa Verde
Smokin’ Salsa Roja and Smokin’ Salsa Verde


For Smokin’ Salsa Roja
8 to 10 roma tomatoes
4 red fresno peppers
2 jalapeño peppers
1/2 large white onion
Juice of 1/2 lime
Salt to taste

 

Hickory Smokin' Salsa Roja, Roma Tomatoes, Fresno and Jalapeño Peppers, White Onions
Hickory Smokin’ Salsa Roja, Roma Tomatoes, Fresno and Jalapeño Peppers, White Onions


For Smokin’ Salsa Verde
8 to 10 tomatillos
4 to 6 serrano peppers
2 poblano peppers
1/2 large white onion
Juice of 1/2 lime
Salt to taste

 

Hickory Smokin' Salsa Verde, Tomatillos, Serrano Peppers, Poblanos and White Onions
Hickory Smokin’ Salsa Verde, Tomatillos, Serrano Peppers, Poblanos and White Onions

*You will also need about 4 to 5 cups of hickory chips that have been soaked in water.

1. Wash all the vegetables and place them in a metal dish that is lined with foil paper. Make sure pan will fit on one side of grill with lid closed.

2. Build your charcoal fire one one side of grill. We use lump charcoal. Preheat until you reach 275 to 300 degrees F. Add 4 cups soaked hickory chips to one side of hot charcoals, in the center of grill. Once they start smoking, add the pan of vegetables to the indirect heat and cook with lid closed for 30 minutes.

2. Turn all the vegetables over and move pan to the direct heat and continue cooking for another 30 minutes or until tomatoes and tomatillos are soft. You want most of the skins on the peppers to blacken and blister as well. You want to try and keep the lid closed as much as you can.

4. I like to process all my veggies separately by pulsing them in the food processor. I find that by doing this, I avoid big chunks of tomato or onion left behind. But if you like your salsa’s more smooth, you can process or blend all together.

5. For the SalsaVverde: Add tomatillos, poblanos, serranos and 1/2 of the onion. Season with lime juice and salt to taste. For the Salsa Roja: In a separate bowl, add all of the remaining ingredients. Season to taste. Serve warm or at room temperature. Each salsa yields about 5 cups each. Cool completely and store in airtight containers in the coldest part of your refrigerator. It will keep for up to 10 days.

Smoked Chile Peppers, Tomatoes, Tomatillos and Onions ...
Smoked Chile Peppers, Tomatoes, Tomatillos and Onions …

 


Tips~ After salsa has been refrigerated, I like to serve only the salsa I know I will need in a small bowl. This will prevent the salsa from spoiling. The constant temperature change is not good for any food.