Mexican Taquitos

If you have never had a taquito, you must. It has been some time now since I have made them, but I see them in the frozen section at the local grocery store, all of the time. They catch my attention every time, I kid you not. So not too long ago, I bought a box, and warmed them in the oven. They had everything about a taquito; crunchy, and filled with some type of chicken mixture, but they were just ok. Nothing to write home about, and of course, my first instinct was that I could take these to another level if I were to make them myself.  That level was breaking outside of the usual beef and chicken, and going with a pulled pork, marinated with a bunch of garlic, guajillo chilies, and pineapple. These taquitos are a perfect game day appetizer, or heck, can even be served as your entree. A benefit is that they are actually baked, not fried, an go perfect with sour cream, salsa, and guacamole.

Mexican Taquitos with Shredded Pork

Shredded Pork Ingredients:

  • 5 lb pork shoulder
  • 5 guajillo peppers, steeped in hot water, stems removed, seeded
  • 8 cloves of garlic, rough chop
  • 1/2 onion, rough chop
  • 1 cup of pineapple chunks
  • salt and pepper

Let your peppers cook with the garlic in a small pot of water. Once the water comes to a boil, cover, remove from the heat, and let the peppers soften for about 20 minutes. Reserve about 1 cup of the water. Add the peppers, garlic, onion, pineapple, salt and pepper, and about 3/4 cup of the water to a blender. Pulse down until you have a nice marinade. If you have a slow cooker, bust it out, and add your pork shoulder, and top with the marinade. Let this cook down for about 6-9 hours until it falls apart. Shred, and let it remain in the slow cooker until you are ready to make your taquitos.

How to Roll Mexican Taquitos with Shredded Pork

Taquito Preparation:

  • Good corn tortillas (you should be able to smell them through the packaging)
  • Pork mixture, or use beef or chicken
  • Sour Cream
  • Guacamole
  • Cooking Spray (yes, these are baked, not fried)

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Spray your baking sheet with cooking spray.  Start by warming your tortillas in the microwave, or skillet. Warm them just until tender, then remove, and cover them with a towel. This will allow them to remain soft while you prepare the taquitos. Next, lay a tortilla, flat on your plate, and add a heaping spoonful of the pork near the back edge of the tortilla, closest to you. Roll into a tight log shape, and place seam side down onto the baking sheet. Repeat for as many taquitos as you would like to prepare. Remember, seam side down. Spray the tops of the taquitos with more of the cooking spray.

Bake in the oven for 12-15 minutes, or until nice and golden brown. Remove them from the oven, and plate. Serve these with sour cream, your favorite salsa, or fresh guacamole. Enjoy.

Beef Satay with Spicy Peanut Sauce

It was not too long ago when I was discussing Thai food, in particular, carry out. There are just some items that are worth dining in for, and some of those in my opinion are the fried foods, and the soups. After reflecting on my Tom Yum Goong post, there was one thing that stood out to me, and that was satay.

Beef Satay with Spicy Peanut Sauce

Satay, or as I jokingly refer to it as ‘meat on a stick’ is something of pure delight. My father-in-law, who is pinoy, simply knows this as barbecue. I often laugh at the term barbecue because when my wife and I began dating, she said, let’s make some barbecue. At the time, I was thinking great, we will be getting out the smoker, and ‘heck, she knows how to use a smoker?!’. Then, as I began thinking about the low and slow process of barbecue, she was sliding thin slices of marinated pork butt onto wooden skewers. This is how she grew up, and after being married for 10 years, this is how all pinoys refer to meat on a stick!

Satay is indeed grilled, marinated meat, found on a stick, and is found all over the world. Satay could possibly be the best street food there is. There is something about handling a couple of skewers, and dipping them into a spicy or mild sauce. There is comfort all around. Many of you who frequent my site know that I am into great marinades, and grilling delicious meats (here, here, and here).

No offense to the local Thai establishments in and around Milwaukee, but I have never been impressed with their satay, nor their peanut sauce. The satay is typically only offered with chicken, and the sauce is just way too sweet. The sauce literally just tastes like peanut butter! I have been experimenting on a peanut sauce, kicked up a bit, and served with not chicken, but a killer marinated beef. Lets get started.

Ingredients for the Satay:

  • 2 lbs of top sirloin, cut against the grain, thin slices
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup of canola oil
  • 1/4 cup of fish sauce (see my favorite)
  • 3 tbsp chili garlic sauce
  • 1/4 cup of light brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp fresh chopped cilantro
  • 3 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 10 wooden skewers, soaked in water for at least 30 minutes

Place the sliced beef in a large ziplock bag. Mix the remaining ingredients, dissolving as much of the brown sugar as possible. Pour into the ziplock bag, and massage the beef from the outside, making sure all of the beef gets coated. Seal, and place in the refrigerator for two hours.

Ingredients for the Spicy Peanut Sauce:

  • 1/2 cup of creamy peanut butter
  • 1/4 to a 1/3 of a cup of hot water
  • 1 tbsp of fish sauce
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1/2 tbsp of light brown sugar
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp of chili garlic sauce
  • 1 green onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 tbsp of fresh cilantro, roughly chopped

To make the sauce, get a bowl out and add the peanut butter, and hot water. Mix with a fork until it is nice, creamy, and loosened. Add in the remaining ingredients, and mix to incorporate everything. Spoon this into your serving bowl and set aside.

Now, if you have access to a grill, get it heated, or if you were like me this past weekend, use your broiler. The broiler does wonders in the winter time. Preheat your broiler to 500 degrees, and lower your rack so it is not right under the broiler.

Remove your marinated beef from the refrigerator, and take your skewers out of the water. Carefully weave the beef onto the skewers, about four pieces per stick. Place these onto your broiler pan, and under the broiler, watching so that you do not burn the beef. Remember you are dealing with some of that brown sugar which will caramelize quickly if you do not watch it. Cook for about 4-6 minutes on each side, or to your desired temperature (medium rare, well done).

Now you are ready for plating, Add the skewers to your serving platter and sprinkle some sliced scallions on top. Serve with the spicy peanut sauce and enjoy.

Note: To all my pinoys out there, this is a great new take to meat on a stick, and the spicy peanut sauce is just two notches above the Thai carryout!

Muffuletta Sandwich

I recall growing up and my parents really loving a particular sandwich. I never really understood the love of the sandwich until I visited New Orleans last year. Sure, my wife and I made an attempt to try as much of the food in so little time, but simply got stuck on the wonderful shrimp Po’ Boys from Johnny’s in New Orleans, among other things. After some research on some of the eateries, we came across a famous store known as the Central Grocery. I told my wife that we just had to try their sandwich, known as the muffuletta. My wife, not knowing what the heck a muffuletta was, seemed happy to try something new, so we strolled to the grocery and I fell in love. Everything about the interior. A couple of the owners were running the show behind the counter.

Muffuletta Sandwich Recipe

Very old school Italian style, they looked the type that you didn’t want to joke around with, just order the sandwich and go sit down. As we waited in the very long line, we began to observe the ordering process. Grab your chips, gaze at the local Italian goodies, then place your order. I ordered their famous muffuletta, and my wife, after realizing there was an olive salad as being part of the sandwich, decided to have everything but the olive salad. I chuckled and informed her that the olive salad is what makes the muffuletta, but she enjoyed the sandwich, and experience regardless.

Well, this past week was a big day of football for the state of Wisconsin. It was a Green Bay Packer playoff game. The big question on these types of days is ‘What should to eat for the game?’. My wife wanted nachos. I wanted the muffuletta. I could not help thinking about the flavors of this sandwich. I had most, if not all of the ingredients, so it was game on for me. Lets get started on making this sandwich.

Ingredients for the sandwich:

  • 1 round loaf of Italian bread, crusty outside, about 10 inches in diameter
  • 4 slices of Genoa salami
  • 4 slices of thinly sliced ham
  • 4 slices of mortadella
  • 3 slices of provolone cheese
  • 3 slices of swiss cheese
  • olive salad (see below)

Ingredients for the Olive Salad:

  • 1 jar of giardiniera mix or your own
  • 1/2 cup of Greek pitted kalamata olives, chopped
  • 2 cups of green olives with pimentos, chopped
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, roasted and chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp of red chili flakes
  • 2 tbsp of capers, chopped
  • 6 pepperoncini peppers, stems removed, chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup of olive oil

Begin by making your olive salad first. Chop and mix everything in a bowl, then store in sealed tight container in the refrigerator for at least 5 hours. Overnight is best. When you are ready to make the sandwich, slice the Italian round loaf horizontally. Remove some of the interior of the bread as it is a lot of bread. Place a generous amount of the olive salad with oil on the base of the bread. Your next decision is how do you want to layer it. Cheese first? Meat? I start with the slices of salami, then the provolone cheese, the ham, the swiss cheese, then the mortadella. Place more olive salad on top, placing the top of the bread on top. Push down slightly, then with your bread knife, cut into half, then cut into wedges.

Trust me when I say this. It is a perfect sandwich. The flavors of the olive salad, along with the great balance of cheeses and Italian cold cuts, really reminds me of New Orleans, and goes to show that anyone can make this sandwich. Perfect for any occasion, but it especially good watching a sporting event on television. The sandwich holds up as a great leftover as well. Enjoy.

Mexican Green Sauce

Call it what you want, whether it be salsa verde, Mexican green Sauce, tomatillo sauce, or pure bliss, but this sauce seriously will lift up your food to the next level. I drizzled this sauce on the recent chipotle and orange pork tacos and it was amazing. On my spare time, I play around with mixing simple ingredients that hopefully create a truly wonderful outcome, and this is one of them. Consider it a condiment, or a salsa, or something you just want to drizzle over a salad, taco, or heck even spread it on some bread, this tangy, yet ever so slightly spicy sauce is really wonderful.

Mexican Green Sauce Recipe

I made this sauce early one Sunday morning as my chipotle and orange marinated pork tacos were near completion. It only takes a few ingredients and a blender, yields over a cup of sauce, and is, and could be something that I continue to make on a weekly basis.

Ingredients include:

  • 5 tomatillos, husks removed, washed, and quartered
  • 4 cloves of garlic, rough chop
  • small handful of cilantro
  • 1/2 cup of water
  • 3 Serrano chili peppers, rough chop (more if you really like it spicy, less if not, but at least 1)
  • generous pinch of salt
  • 1/2 of an avocado
  • blender

Look at those ingredients. They scream fresh. You can almost smell and taste how delicious it is going to be. Toss everything in the blender, and blend it until you have a smooth sauce, no chunks allowed in this one. Pour into your small serving bowl and let your imagination run wild. Just the right amount of tangy spice makes this sauce really stand out. Let me know what you put it on!