Mexican & TexMex

Mexican Grilled Corn

We grew up on a quiet, country road. Our house marked the midway point from the bus stop to Martha’s house. On any given day, if her kids weren’t at my house, my mom’s kids were at hers.

We introduced Martha to chocolate gravy, baked beans, and snow ice cream. Martha introduced us to chorizo, homemade tortillas, and tamales.

Martha was very much like a second mom. She had no problem putting us to work or yelling at us if we got too loud and disturbed Mr. John’s nap.

And then I caught that crazy woman putting mayonnaise (MAYONNAISE!) on my corn-on-the-cob and I thought I’d never be able to trust another human again.

Mexican Grilled Corn

Mexican Grilled Corn, or, you know, “corn,” as Martha & Mr. John called it, is a thing of wonder. Sure, you could say the right sweet corn cob needs nothing more than a pat of butter… but you’d really be missing out.

Local taco trucks sell it and advertise it simply as Elote (corn). And what you’re getting for $2 is simply fantastic.

The corn cobs are grilled until lightly charred, brushed lightly with mayonnaise, and then topped with a dusting of chile powder, a squeeze of lime juice, and crumbled Mexican cheese (queso fresco or cotija). The heat from the grill melts the mayo and cheese while the lime cuts the richness and the chiles gives it the perfect bite.

Mexican Grilled Corn

Elote

Corn on the cob is grilled, brushed with mayo, and topped with chile powder, goat cheese, and lime.

Ingredients

  • Corn cobs
  • Mayonnaise
  • Chile powder (chipotle is my favorite)
  • Crumbled goat cheese (cotija and queso fresco are traditional)
  • Lime wedges

Instructions

  1. Preheat your grill to medium-high.
  2. Leaving the stalk attached, remove all but the single, very inner-most layer of corn husk and discard.
  3. Run cobs under water and then put directly on the grill.
  4. Cook ~5 minutes at a time, rotating to lightly char all kernels.
  5. Remove any husk/silk that didn't burn away on the grill.
  6. While the corn is still hot, coat each with 1-2 tsp of mayo. I do this by putting the mayo on a paper towel and rubbing it over the corn.
  7. Sprinkle with chile powder and cheese.
  8. Squeeze lime wedges over top and serve warm.

Notes

Yields: Servings vary

Source: Confections of a Foodie Bride

Estimated time: 30 minutes

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Simple Ceviche for Cinco de Mayo

You know what beats a weekend bowl of ice-cold ceviche, crunchy tortilla chips, and a frosty-mug margarita by the pool?

ABSOLUTELY NOTHING.

A few years ago, Jason & I dumped our not-even-a-year-old little girl in my aunt’s lap, ran away laughing maniacally, and then spent the better part of the next week sustaining on the world’s most fabulous ceviches, guacamole, and margaritas in Mexico.

Octopus (shockingly Jason’s favorite), sea bass, snapper… whatever they had literally caught that morning, was ceviche by our 2pm Margarita Break. It does not get any fresher than that.

Simple Ceviche for Cinco de Mayo

Ceviche is simply fresh raw fish that is “cooked” in an acidic citrus marinade and then mixed with… well, any variety of things: capers, onions, spicy peppers (a must!), olives, tomatoes, avocado, etc. Don’t be weirded out by the “raw” aspect. Ceviche is phenomenal. Cold, fresh, tangy, and crunchy.

We make a simplified version of that beach-side staple at home a few times each summer, mixing the fish with pico de gallo, avocado, a drizzle of olive oil, and the perfect crunchy vehicle: corn tortilla chips. And all for substantially less than 2 roundtrips to the Riviera Maya and a babysitter.

We have this ceviche on our menu again for this weekend’s Cinco (Cuatro) de Mayo bash. I hope our guests aren’t so weirded out by it that I’m forced to eat it all by myself.*

Simple Ceviche for Cinco de Mayo

*That would be a total lie.

Simple Ceviche

A simple ceviche served with pico de gallo and avocado.

Ingredients

  • For the marinade:
  • 1 lb of the freshest fish you can get (I use sea bass or halibut; scallops and snapper are also internet-recommended), skinned and diced into 1/2-inch or smaller cubes
  • 1 cup fresh-squeezed lime juice
  • For the pico de gallo:
  • 3 roma tomatoes, seeded and diced
  • 1/3 cup diced red onion
  • Juice of 1/2 lime
  • 1-2 jalapeno or serrano, finely diced
  • Small handful of cilantro, chopped
  • For serving:
  • 1 large avocado, diced
  • Olive oil
  • Corn tortilla chips

Instructions

  1. Place the fish and lime juice in a small-to-medium glass bowl (size matters - giggle - so all of the fish is in contact with the juice but not overcrowded), cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 3 hours, stirring once or twice.
  2. Just before serving, assemble the pico de gallo and pace it in a medium bowl with the chopped avocado.
  3. Drain the fish, discarding the lime juice, and add to the avocado mixture.
  4. Top with a drizzle of olive oil and lightly mix.
  5. Serve immediately with chips.

Notes

Yields: 8-10 servings

Source: Confections of a Foodie Bride

Estimated time: 3 hours 30 minutes

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This, my friends, is liquid gold. Pure liquid gold.

Fresh squeezed lime juice

One post-preschool-drop-off morning last week, I spent the better part of two hours driving around west Houston scouting the price of limes. Grocery stores roll their weekly prices on Wednesdays and with our annual Tequila & Taquitos Bash approaching, I needed to find the most affordable source for limes.

My first stop?

The price of limes

NOPE. I’ve never paid more than .20/lime. Ever. And in recent months, I’ve actually been completely spoiled with .10 limes.

Although I did watch in complete wonder (horror? envy?) as a woman loaded 10 limes into a bag without so much as batting a (totally fake) eyelash and moved on. As in, $6.90. For 10 limes.

Fresh squeezed lime juice

I needed 230 limes. As in ~$160. In just limes. So not gonna happen.

The rest of my stops were met with only slightly less budget-breaking prices: .44-.45. And then I rolled into my last stop, found .25 limes, and began the tedious process of digging through the bins looking for The Perfect Lime.

The Perfect Lime
Not only are limes expensive these days thanks to the basic economic principle of supply, demand, and entprenurial drug-cartel hijacking, they also aren’t very good quality. More than 75% of that bin was full of hard, under-ripe limes.

Hard under-ripe limes do not a good margarita make. Or a good anything else.

Fresh squeezed lime juice

I look for smooth limes that give quite a bit when you squeeze them – because those softer, squishier limes? They’re ripe. Full of easy-to-extract lime juice. Full of easy-to-extract future margarita. Totally worth the [gulp] .25 each.

I also prefer the rounder limes – my juicer sometimes balks at the more football-shaped limes. And when I’m going to juice 230 limes over the course of 4 days, I prefer fewer problems and interruptions.

So you’ve hoarded limes for LimeMageddon. Now you are ready to juice and freeze.

The Perfect Lime Juicer
It’s any appliance that plugs into a wall and makes juicing 230 limes go as quick and as painless as possible. We have a 5-year-old Breville Citrus Press. (Sigh. I really do miss the DINK days.) It’s insanely heavy duty and has seen literally thousands of citrus halves over the years, from tiny key limes to the gigantigrapefruit from the RGV… and even pomegranates! Pull lever, count to 3, discard peel. Repeat. 229 more times.

And when the very sad day comes and the Breville isn’t repairable for less than $25, we’ll buy the Applica Citrus Juicer.

The Perfect Lime Margarita
Just say no to the neon green mix from a the bottle. Just say no to pre-bottled, pasteurized lime juice. Just say no – and give major side eye – to cutting your perfect lime margarita with lemon juice. (No, it’s not the same.) (Yes, everyone will be able to tell.)

If you want to drink the perfect margarita, you have to go fresh. Lime juice, water, sugar/sweetener, tequila, orange liqueur and maybe a rim of salt. That’s it. No preservatives, no food coloring, no fakesies anything.

Homemade Margarita Mix Recipe

Make your own homemade margarita mix.

Homemade Margarita Mix Recipe

Ditch the sugar in favor of a “I can’t believe this is only 118 calories” Skinny Margarita.

Blue Margarita Recipe

Two words: Margarita Popsicles.

Blue Margarita Recipe

Or tackle any one of the 24 other margarita recipes we’ve whipped up.

The Perfect Lime Juice Storage
Any freezer food-storage option will do, but if you’re going to be measuring your liquid gold lime juice stash in quarts (or gallons!), I cannot recommend these 32 oz storage containers enough. Food safe, secure seal, and they hold 3.5 cups of lime juice (with headroom for freezing). I have 6 of them in my freezer right now – that’s 21 cups – with 75 limes left to juice.

To use the lime juice, I put the frozen container in a sink of water deep enough to come up 3/4 the side of the container and let it thaw. I use what I need and if I won’t be using 3.5 cups of lime juice in the next few days (it happens… sometimes), I simply refreeze the juice.

Now you’re ready to hit the market and sort through the windfall of Lime Suckage to get the most margarita for your buck. So ladies and gentleman, start your hoarding!

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Tequila Lime Chicken Fajitas

It’s grilling season. Kind of.

And by kind of, I mean there are currently icicles hanging off the new grill. The new grill I bought specifically to make these fajitas.

Tequila Lime Chicken Fajitas

Of course there are icicles. Because this is Texas and Spring Break is 3 days away and the Bluebonnets and Paints are already peeking out along 71 near LaGrange. So it’s time to nuke everyone’s happiness with garden-crushing temperatures and “Thundersleet.”

So I guess that makes them Thundercicles™.

They can take our beautifully deceptive spring weather, but they can’t take our tequila. Unless it’s after 9pm or Sunday and then there’s no place open to buy tequila.

(Tequila. It makes the intolerable aspects of Texas slightly more tolerable.) (™)

Tequila Lime Chicken Fajitas

Chicken breasts are marinated in, essentially, a margarita. Then they’re grilled to charred perfection and served wrapped in fluffy tortilas with grilled vegetables, pico de gallo, and avocado. And washed down with a pitcher of margaritas.

Happy Another Texas Spring Break Spent in a Sweater!

Tequila-Lime Chicken Fajitas

Juicy chicken fajitas marinated in tequila and lime.

Ingredients

  • For the marinade:
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • 1 1/2 oz (3 Tbsp) tequila
  • 1 tsp of chile powder
  • 1 clove garlic, sliced
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 lb chicken breasts, pounded to even thickness
  • For serving
  • Olive oil
  • 1 lime, cut in half
  • 1 large white or yellow onion, cut into 1/3-inch rounds
  • 2 green bell peppers, cut into 1/3-inch slices
  • Small flour tortillas
  • Pico de gallo
  • Sliced avocado

Instructions

  1. Place the marinade ingredients into a gallon freezer bag and squeeze to mix.
  2. Add the chicken, seal, turn to coat, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. (Longer is better.)
  3. Oil grates and heat grill to medium-high.
  4. Drizzle onion rounds, bell pepper slices, and cut ends of the lime with olive oil and place on the grill (if your grates are very large, grill on folded-to-double-thickness foil with slats cut through it).
  5. Add the chicken and cook for 6-7 minutes and then flip everything (veggies included) and cook for 6-7 minutes more until veggies are nicely charred and juices run clear from the chicken.
  6. Let chicken rest 10 minutes before slicing.
  7. Serve chicken on tortillas, topped with grilled veggies, pico, avocado, and a squeeze of grilled lime.

Notes

Yields: 8 fajitas

Source: Confections of a Foodie Bride

Estimated time: 1 hour 35 minutes

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