Monday, August 2, 2010

Mexican Fiesta!

Here I go again with the Mexican food. It wasn't my idea this time I swear! Will said he was bringing avocados to make guacamole and tortillas to make homemade chips. You cannot avoid wanting some beans and rice to with.

We decided to make a Bean and Corn Chili Salad as well as Mexican Rice. I used these recipes as a guide to get the desired Mexican flavours. Will had seen a recipe for the Avocado Salsa Verde and the homemade tortilla chips and started off with that. I am working from memory here and these dishes were made almost a week ago. I hope I get the avocado salsa verde recipe right, although, you can't really mess up guac.

Avocado Salsa Verde

3 avocados
1 small bunch of green onions
2-3 jalapeno peppers
1-2 limes, juice only

Add everything to the food processor and blend until creamy smooth. To make sure leftovers to do not brown, sprinkle some lemon juice on top.

Whole-Wheat Tortilla Chips

olive oil
salt and pepper

Cut the tortillas into triangles like a pizza. Brush with olive oil and add salt and pepper to taste. Bake in a 400 degree F oven until crispy and lightly browned.

These were absolutely delicious! While not the healthiest dipper, they are quite a treat and are much better than store bought corn chips. I could see adding different seasonings such as cumin and cayenne to these to get great flavoured chips!

After we devoured the appetizer, it was time to make our main dishes.

Mexican Rice, adapted from

3 tablespoons vegetable oil
2/3 cup diced onion
1 1/2 cups uncooked brown rice
1 cup chopped green bell pepper
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 jar of stewed tomatoes
1 can of tomato paste
salt to taste
1 clove garlic, minced
3 cups water

Heat the oil in a large saucepan on medium-high heat. Saute the onions until they are soft. Add the rice and stir to coat in oil. Add the rest of the ingredients in order. Bring to a boil, reduce to simmer, cover, and cook for 45 minutes, or until the rice is tender, stirring occasionally.

While this was pretty good, I think it could use some improvements. The end result was rather saucy, and I think next time I would leave out the tomato paste and maybe use less stewed tomatoes. I would also add more cumin and chili powder. Other than that, I love using different liquids to cook rice (such as tomato) and will definitely make this again (with modifications of course).

While the rice was cooking we made the bean salad which is SO easy to put together.

Bean and Corn Chili Salad, adapted from

3 tomatoes, diced
1 can black beans
1 can white kidney beans
1 can low-sodium corn
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
cilantro (optional)

1/4 cup fresh lime juice
3 tbsp olive oil
2 1/2 tsp chili powder
2 1/2 tsp cumin
salt and pepper to taste

Rinse canned beans thoroughly, and mix with corn and onion. Into a seperate bowl, wisk together lime juice, oil, chili powder, cumin and salt and pepper. Add to bean mixture and toss to coat. Garnish with cilantro or mix in if you like.

Since cilantro and I are not friends, I photographed Will's plate for the full experience (cilantro and all). I really enjoyed this salad and wouldn't change a thing. It was even better the next day! You can really use any beans you like but I would always keep some black beans in there.

The highlight of this meal was definitely the salsa verde. My Mom loved it, and it is now the recipe of choice in this house. I have been able to do a lot of cooking and baking this weekend. Tomorrow I'll post about a meal I made with my friend Jenna that contains some some of the cutest produce at the Hamilton Farmer's market, as well as three recipes we have been dying to try!

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