Category Archives: Appetizers~Botanas

Chilaquiles Rojos Con Camaron~ Zesty Shrimp Chilaquiles

If it were up to me, I seriously could eat Chilaquiles everday! Hearty, thick,  homemade corn tortilla chips tossed in a warm salsa and topped with a little crumbled mexican cheese and crema. Simply delicious. They can easily be served any time of day. Top with an over easy egg, instant brunch. Or toss is some shredded chicken, a layer of good melting cheese and you have a tasty and filling lunch or dinner. No need for any sides with this dish because it’s all about the toppings and layers of flavor one can create. So, do I eat Chilaquiles everday? No, I don’t. But that just makes preparing them all the more special. Once  a month, I will fry up a batch of chips and it’s a real treat. Today’s blog post was inpired by some tasty looking spice/seasoning blends I received from DennyMike’s via Cabot Cheese. The first  and only one I have tried so far was the Fintastic Savory Seafood Seasoning Blend. It’s right up my alley with flavors of onion, garlic, sea salt, lemon and lime. It was perfect for the shrimp I added to this plate of Chilaquiles Rojos con Camaron. 

Chilaquiles Rojos Con Camaron

Chilaquiles Rojos Con Camarones
For Shrimp
18 to 20 large shrimp. peeled and cleaned. Tails on, optional
Kosher salt
1 full tablespoon DennyMikes Finstastic seasoning
Olive oil
1 poblano, julienned
1 red fresno or jalapeño, diced or julienned
2/3 of a  small sweet onion, diced (reserve the other 1/3 for salsa)
2 cloves garlic, minced

Tips~ If you can’t find DennyMike’s blend, use your favorite blend for seafood or simply season with kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper.

DennyMike's Fintastic Seasoning

 

Chipotle Guajillo Salsa Con Tomatillo

Chipotle Guajillo Salsa Con Tomatillo

 


For Salsa
3 guajillos(dried red chiles)
2 cloves garlic
1/3 sweet onion
5 tomatillos, washed
2 to 3 chipotles in adobo
1 to 2 tablespoons adobo sauce from chipotles
1/3 cup cooking liquid
salt to taste

*The picture above was the salsa before I strained it.

Chipotle Guajillo Salsa Con Tomatillo

Tips~ If you have the time, try toasting the chile guajillo for a few minutes on a dry skillet at medium heat. This will add more smoky flavor to your salsa.

You will also need
12 to 14 oz homemade chips (about 20 corn tortillas)
1 recipe for chipotle guajillo salsa, see recipe
1/3 to 1/2 cup mexican crema
1/2 cup cotija cheese, crumbled
chopped cilantro
lime wedges and avocado slices

Chilaquiles Rojos Con CamaronTips~ If you prefer, roast the poblano first to prepare rajas. Bonus flavor!

Totopos- Homemade Tortilla ChipsTips~ I normally bake my chips, but I have discovered that the baked ones get soggy quicker when I prepare chilaquiles. The fried version stays crispy alot longer. Both the fried and baked version of the chips can be found right on site.

Directions

1. Season the shrimp lighlty with kosher salt. Add Fintastic seasoning. Drizzle with olive oil and toss to combine. Cover and let marinate for 1 hour in the refrigerator.

2. While shrimp marinates, prepare salsa. Remove the stems and seeds from chile guajillo. Rinse to wash off any dirt. Place guajillos, tomatillos, garlic and onion in a sauce pan. Cover with water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and cook for 10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, add salsa ingredients to the blender. Also add the chipotles in adobo, adobo sauce, 1/3 cup coooking liquid and salt to taste. Blend on high until smooth. If too thick, add a little more water. Strain through a wire strainer to remove and skins left from chiles. Set aside.

3. When ready pull shrimp from the refrigerator 20 minutes before cook time. Preheat 2 tablespoons olive oil to medium for 3 to 4 minutes. Cook shrimp for about 2 1/2 to 3 minutes per side. Remove from pan. To that same pan, add 1 more tablespoon of olive oil. Add the  onion, garlic, poblano and fresno pepper. Season lightly with spice blend or salt and pepper. Saute for 5 minutes. Add shrimp back in, fresh lime juice and toss to combine. Remove from heat and cover to keep warm.


4. In a large skillet, add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and heat to medium.  When hot, add the salsa from blender and cook for just 2 minutes.  Cover because it will pop all over. Fold in the chips  with warm salsa and coat evenly. Transfer to serving dish, top with shrimp.  Garnish with mexican crema, cotija cheese,  avocado, lime and cilantro. Yields 4 servings.

DennyMike's Fintastic Seafood Seasoning

My better half’s plate…no cheese and noooo to crema! He’s crazy! Lol!

Chilaquiles Rojos con Camarones

Tips~ No Mexican crema? I prepare my version of light crema with light sour cream, lime juice, water and salt to taste. I love it! Can’t find cotija cheese? Try some crumbled light feta, amazing!

Chilaquiles Rojos Con Camaron

Chilaquiles Rojos Con Camarones

Pork Tenderloin Tips~Prepared Two Ways

For today’s blog post I was fortunate to find a large package of pork tenderloin tips  at a great price. I decided to prepare two different recipes to get the most out of my money. For the first recipe I prepared Pork Tenderloin Tips in Salsa Verde. This dish can be serve simply over rice or slice into smaller pieces for a tasty taco, enchilada or burrito filling. Salsa Verde pairs very well with pork and the tenderloin tips were tender and moist. For the second recipe I was looking to try out a new appetizer that would be both simple and delicious. The precooked bacon works well for any recipe that calls for wrapping, whether it’s for meat, vegetables or jalapeños.  I would not suggest using the precooked bacon from the store because it is very thin compared to what I used for this recipe. My inspiration for this recipe was of course the pork tips, but also the zesty sriracha seasoning I found. It really does taste very much like the hot sauce, but in a dry rub form. I try to challenge myself to learn a new cooking technique or method that I can incorporate into my everyday cooking. My favorite to date is the searing of meats on the stove top and finishing the cooking in the oven.  With the help of my trusty instant read thermometer and stove timer, I have had great success when it comes to this cooking method. The results are always a well cooked piece of meat.

 

Pork Tenderloin Tips in Salsa Verde

Pork Tenderloin Tips in Salsa Verde
Pork Tenderloin Tips in Salsa Verde

Ingredients

1 1/2 pounds pork tenderloin tips
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon Mexican oregano
1 teaspoon chile pepper flakes
2 teaspoons lemon pepper ( I use a low salt, coarse grind)
1 teaspoon granulated garlic
Coarse sea salt or kosher salt to taste (I used a sea salt with chile flakes)

Olive oil
Salt
Pepper

For Salsa
10 to 12 tomatillos, peeled and washed
1 small red onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 to 3 serranos, finely diced
Salt to taste
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped

Try toasting and griding your own spices. The flavors are amazing!
Try toasting and griding your own spices. The flavors are amazing!
Fresh Tomatillos
Fresh Tomatillos
Pork Tenderloin Tips in Salsa Verde
Pork Tenderloin Tips in Salsa Verde

Directions

1. Slice the pork tips into equal size pieces for more even cooking, set aside. Heat a small skillet to medium and toast the cumin seeds and oregano for a few minutes or until they become aromatic. Transfer to a mortar, along with the red pepper flakes and crush as fine as you can. Season the pork with spice mix from mortar, lemon pepper, garlic and salt to taste. Cover and set aside if cooking right away or marinate overnight.

2. Add the tomatillos to a pot, cover with water. For a smoother salsa, you cook add the onion, serrano and garlic to the boiling water with tomatillos and blend all together. I like to saute my onion mixture separately. Bring tomatillos to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes. Drain all of the water, transfer to the blender and let cool while you prep the other ingredients.

3. In a large, oven safe skillet, preheat 3 tablespoons of olive oil to medium for a few minutes. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Brown and sear the pork tips on all sides, transfer the whole pan to the oven and cook for another 10 to 12 minutes.

4. In a separate skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of oil to medium heat. Add the onions, garlic and serrano. Season lightly with salt and pepper and saute for 6 to 8 minutes. Blend the tomatillos until smooth, add to skillet with onion mixture and cook at a low simmer for 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt. Remove pork from oven and pour warm salsa over the pork and stir gently to scrape all the bits off the bottom of pan. Fold in the fresh cilantro. Yields 4 servings. Serve with rice, beans and warm tortillas.

Pork Tenderloin Tips In Salsa Verde
Pork Tenderloin Tips In Salsa Verde
I was lucky to find this almost 3 pound package of pork tenderloin tips for a great price!
I was lucky to find this almost 3 pound package of pork tenderloin tips for a great price!
Getting the most out of my spices in the pantry
Getting the most out of my spices in the pantry

 

 

Bacon Wrapped Sriracha Pork Tenderloin Tips

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Ingredients

1 1/2 pounds pork tenderloin tips sliced into 12 equal pieces
2 teaspoons sriracha rub and seasoning
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon granulated garlic
1/2 teaspoon chile flakes
Sea salt or kosher salt to taste (I used a sea salt with chile flakes)

You will also need
12 strips thick cut bacon ( I like to slice my bacon so it just overlaps around the pork)
Olive oil
Sriracha hot sauce for basting

Found a sriracha dry rub/seasoning and I love it! Great for these pork tenderloin tips.
Found a sriracha dry rub/seasoning and I love it! Great for these pork tenderloin tips.
Precooking the bacon this way worked out great! It was still soft and pliable for wrapping the pork.
Precooking the bacon this way worked out great! It was still soft and pliable for wrapping the pork.

Directions

1. Season the pork tips with sriracha seasoning, pepper, garlic, chile flakes and salt to taste. Cover and chill for 1 hour or overnight.

2. To precook bacon, place the strips on a lined baking sheet. Place in cold oven and heat to 400 degrees F. Set your timer for 13 minutes. Remove from oven, transfer to a clean plate and let cool.

3. When ready, wrap the pork tips tightly with the precooked bacon, using a toothpick if needed. Season with a little more siraracha seasoning, set aside. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.

4. In an oven safe large skillet or cast iron pan, preheat 2 tablespoons of olive oil to medium heat. When hot, sear and brown the bacon wrapped pork for 4 minutes per side. trying to brown most sides. Transfer to preheated oven and cook for another 5 minutes. Remove from oven, baste generously with sriracha hot sauce and place back under the broiler for 2 minutes.  If you are unsure that the pork is cooked all the way through, just take an instant read digital thermometer and insert in deepest cut of meat. You are looking for a temperature of between 145 to 150 degrees F. Remove from oven, tent loosely with foil paper and let sit for a few minutes. Remove toothpicks and serve right away. Yields 4 to 6 servings

Bacon Wrapped Sriracha Pork Tenderloin Tips
Bacon Wrapped Sriracha Pork Tenderloin Tips
Bacon Wrapped Sriracha Pork Tenderloin Tips
Bacon Wrapped Sriracha Pork Tenderloin Tips

El Molcajete~ Salsa, Guacamole and Spices

For Years I thought that the molcajete was one of those many decorations that tourist would purchase on their trips to Mexico. I did not realize that you could actually use it for preparing meals. Until one day I walked in to my abuelita’s kitchen and sat watching her grind spices for that evenings dinner. The aromas are amazing and nothing like you would ever experience from store bought spices. Every Mexican family has that special molcajete that is passed down from generation to generation. My oldest sister still uses my Mom’s molcajete in her own kitchen. Right below is a picture of my abuelitas molcajete, still in Mexico, still in use today….

El Molcajete de mi Abuelita
El Molcajete de mi Abuelita

Salsa Picante de Chile Piquin/Limon. Chile piquin, fresh, dried or pickled holds a very special place in my heart. I associate it with my many trips to Monterrey, Mexico when I was still living at home. My abuelito Ismael was a smart and succesful business man and planned for his large family. Each brother and sister had a special piece of land that was purchased for them to build their future homes on when the time came. My abuelo also owned this big ranch in Higueras, N.L. and I specifically remember the plants filled with aromatic oregano and chile pepper bushes with bright green chile piquin. Just like the salt and pepper shakers on the table, there was always a small bowl with assorted shades from bright green to deep red colored fresh chile piquin on the kitchen table. As kids we would dare one another to eat them while enjoying the wonderful homestyle dinners that my abuelita would cook for us. Perhaps this is where I first learned to love eating spicy foods. Fresh chile piquin is hard to come by, unless you live in or near Mexico or in a well stocked Hispanic market in the states. I was lucky enough to purchase several bags of the dried version on various trips I have made to Texas and North Carolina. A well seasoned and polished molcajete is one of the best tools in my Mexican kitchen.

Polishing the molcajete with some coarse sea salt
Polishing the molcajete with some coarse sea salt right before using it for this recipe. I originally polished and seasoned it with uncooked rice and that worked well too. Lightly wash in between uses.

Ingredients
For Chile Piquin /Limon Salsa
1 teaspoon whole peppercorns
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon Mexican oregano
2 teaspoons dried chile piquin
2 cloves garlic with the skins on
1/2 teaspoon salt
juice of 2 limes
1/3 cup light olive oil

Directions

1. Heat a comal or skillet to medium/low heat. Add the peppercorns, cumin seeds, oregano, piquin and garlic. Toast, stirring often until herbs, chile and garlic become aromatic, about 5 minutes. Remove the spices and chiles and transfer to molcajete. Continue cooking the garlic for another 5 to 7 minutes until softened. Remove skins and set aside.

2. To the molcajete mixture, add in 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Using the pestle of the molcajete, grind down all of the ingredients as fine as you can. Add the garlic, another pinch of salt and grind into the mixture until a paste forms. Add the fresh lime juice, whisk in the olive oil. Taste for salt. Serve in molcajete.

3. If you do not have a molcajete, you can use a regular mortar and pestle or spice grinder to process the dry ingredients. To finish the sauce, you could whisk all together or add all ingredients to a tightly sealed mason jar and shake until well combined. The flavors will improve with time. Keep stored in the refrigerator for a longer shelf life. I like to use this salsa  to finish garnishing my favorite tacos or guacamole recipes.

Just these few, simple ingredients, chile piquin, cumin seeds, mexican oregano, peppercorns and garlic. The beginnings of something good!
Just these few, simple ingredients, chile piquin, cumin seeds, mexican oregano, peppercorns and garlic. The beginnings of something good!
I use my mexican comal, but I like lining it with easy release foil for toasting and roasting on the stove top. Makes it much easier to remove the spices.
I use my mexican comal, but I like lining it with easy release foil for toasting and roasting on the stove top. Makes it much easier to remove the spices.
Toasted Chiles, Spices and Roasted Garlic all Ready for the Molcajete
Toasted Chiles, Spices and Roasted Garlic all Ready for the Molcajete
The aromas of the ground spices and chile piquin are amazing!
The aromas of the ground spices and chile piquin are amazing!
Adding a pinch of salt helps with the grinding process. Here I am adding the garlic..
Adding  salt helps with the grinding process. Here I am adding the garlic..
Chile Piquin/Limon Salsa de Molcajete. Serve straight out of the molcajete.
Chile Piquin/Limon Salsa de Molcajete. Serve straight out of the molcajete.
Chile Piquin/Limon Salsa de Molcajete
Chile Piquin/Limon Salsa de Molcajete

 

For Guacamole
1 large ripe avocado
2 large roma tomatoes, seeded and diced
1/3 cup pickled red onions, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons cilantro, finely chopped

*Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

 For Guacamole de Molcajete: Transfer the chile piquin salsa to a serving dish. In that same molcajete(do not clean out), add chile serrano and a pinch of salt. Grind down until minced into a paste. Add the avocado and gently mash until desired consistency. Fold in the tomatoes, onions and cilantro. Serve as is or drizzle some of the chile piquin salsa on top before serving.

In that same molcajete from the chile piquin salsa, continue to build flavors for the guacamole.
In that same molcajete from the chile piquin salsa, continue to build flavors for the guacamole.
Adding a perfectly ripe avocado, a gentle smash, perfect guacamole.
Adding a perfectly ripe avocado, a gentle smash, perfect guacamole.
In many restaurants in Mexico they serve up the guacamole this way. This allows you to add in your favorite ingredients.
In many restaurants in Mexico they serve up the guacamole this way. This allows you to add in your favorite ingredients.
Guacamole de Molcajete
Guacamole de Molcajete, drizzled with Chile Piquin/Limon Salsa
Guacamole de Molcajete
Guacamole de Molcajete