Category Archives: tacos

Mexican Red Sauce

I don’t know about you but we have tomatoes that are just growing off the charts right now. We planted a variety of tomatoes back in May, and now they are finally beginning to ripen. We have bowls of cherry tomatoes, as well as these great roma tomatoes sitting on our kitchen counter right now. In the meantime, I am pulling these great, large tomatoes off of the vine. With that said, I’ve been creating things such as loaded bacon lettuce and tomato sandwiches, simple pico de gallos, and recently came up with this Mexican red sauce.  I’m calling this a sauce because it is so diverse that I have been marinating with it, topping omelettes with it, and well, pretty much using it on a majority of things, including drizzling it on pizza.

Mexican Red Sauce

What turned me on to creating this sauce is some dried chilies I recently purchased, the Puya pepper. After reading Pok Pok, I was interested in the puya pepper as Chef Ricker was using them in his Thai cooking.

The puya chiles have an intense heat that is somewhat pungent and have a light fruity flavor profile with an almost berry flavor. Puya chiles are grown in Mexico, and are somewhat similar to the guajillos chilie. I thought they would be perfect in a sauce, and they were.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 1 large tomato, such as Beefsteak or Better Boy
  • 1 medium onion, quartered
  • 4 puya chilies
  • 1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 pinch of cracked black pepper
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 cup water
  • additional water

Start by adding the puya chilies to a skillet, and cook on medium heat, flipping along the way for about 4 minutes. Remove the chilies, and let cool.  Once cooled, slice, and remove the stem and seeds.

During this time, bring a medium pot of water to a simmer. Add in the tomato and the chilies. Cover, and cook for about 15 minutes.

Remove the tomato and chilies with a slotted spoon, and let cool on a plate.

How to make Mexican red sauce

Add the chilies to a food processor, along with the remaining ingredients. Remove the skin from the tomato. The skin should easily come off.

Pulse until you have a smooth sauce.  Taste and adjust any salt to your liking.

Pour into a large mason jar, and place in the refrigerator until you are ready to use.

This sauce had just the right amount of heat to it. A subtle punch of heat in the beginning, and then that fruitiness from the chilies, along with the garlic and onion. It’s really good. If you are looking to try a new Mexican chili, give the puya a try. I’m certain you will love it. Enjoy!

Carne Asada Fries

Sometimes you just have a real craving for junk food, and if you are like me, that doesn’t equate to a bowl of potato chips. See, this past weekend I had this idea in my head that I wanted to make a batch of hand cut french fries, while on the other hand I had the idea of grilling out some carne asada and possibly making some tacos, and that’s when it knocked me in the face with the idea of making carne asada fries. Now if you have never had carne asada fries, well, watch out because these things are freaking amazing. Basically fries loaded with awesome carne asada, cheese, guacamole, and other toppings that you would desire. Almost like a nachos gone wild.

Carne Asada Fries

You are probably never going to see these on a Mexican restaurant’s menu, and typically will see these on menus throughout San Diego, but this is where you can make it all your own. I prefer using hand cut fries, but you can use frozen if you prefer to make the hand cut fries.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients for the Carne Asada:

  • 1 1/4 pound flank steak
  • 2 limes, juiced
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp cracked black pepper
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1/2 tsp Mexican oregano

Ingredients for the Carne Asada Fries:

  • 2 whole russet potatoes, cleaned and cut into match sticks
  • water
  • 3 cups of canola oil
  • 1 roma tomato, diced
  • 2 green onions, diced
  • 1 cup Monterey jack cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2 serrano chilies, thinly sliced (optional)
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • 2 tbsp sour cream, (optional)
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • limes, (optional)

You can get as creative as you desire on your toppings, however I think this was a great balance, and well, they rocked.

Start by combining your ingredients for the carne asada, and rub all over the meat. Place in a sealable bag, and let this marinate over night if you can, but at least 6 hours.

Soak the sliced potatoes in cold water for about 20 minutes, then drain, and place back in cold water again to remove a bunch of the starch. Drain again, then place on a lined baking sheet, and place in a preheated, 300 degree oven for 20 minutes, just to lightly cook them.

Heat your coals, and get that grill piping hot. During this time, take the meat out of the refrigerator, and let it come to room temperature as you are heating the grill. Once the grill is heated, place the meat on the grill, and cook for about 5 minutes per side, or to your desired doneness. Remove and place on a plate to let rest, about 20 minutes prior to slicing.

Heat the oil to about 350 degrees, then carefully add the potatoes, working in batches, and let them cook for about 4-5 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and place into a paper lined bowl. Repeat with the remaining (batches) of fries.

Once the first cooking of the fries is completed, bring the oil up to about 375 degrees. Add the fries, working in batches, back into the oil, and cook until golden brown. The result will be a crisp exterior with a nice and tender interior. Remove with the slotted spoon, and place back into a paper towel lined bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Repeat with remaining fries.

How to make carne asada fries

Slice the carne asada across the grain in thin slices, then chop into bite-sized chunks. Add the carne asada to the bowl of fries, along with the serrano chilies, green onions, and cheeses. Give a good toss, then place in a 300 degree oven in a baking dish, and cook until the cheese just begins to melt.

Remove, and top with the tomatoes, avocado, cilantro, and sour cream.

The end result is nothing short of amazing. The fries were perfect and when paired with the carne asada, and dipped into the sour cream or avocados, man, I’m just hungry thinking about them! Give these a shot. They are perfect game day grub, and will feed about 4, or two very hungry people. Enjoy!

Carne Asada Fries
Author: 
Recipe type: Main Courses
Cuisine: Mexican
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2-4
 
Ingredients
  • Ingredients for the Carne Asada:
  • 1¼ pound flank steak
  • 2 limes, juiced
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • ½ tsp cracked black pepper
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • ½ tsp Mexican oregano
  • Ingredients for the Carne Asada Fries:
  • 2 whole russet potatoes, cleaned and cut into match sticks
  • water
  • 3 cups of canola oil
  • 1 roma tomato, diced
  • 2 green onions, diced
  • 1 cup Monterey jack cheese
  • ½ cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2 serrano chilies, thinly sliced (optional)
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • 2 tbsp sour cream, (optional)
  • ½ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • limes, (optional)
Instructions
  1. You can get as creative as you desire on your toppings, however I think this was a great balance, and well, they rocked.
  2. Start by combining your ingredients for the carne asada, and rub all over the meat. Place in a sealable bag, and let this marinate over night if you can, but at least 6 hours.
  3. Soak the sliced potatoes in cold water for about 20 minutes, then drain, and place back in cold water again to remove a bunch of the starch. Drain again, then place on a lined baking sheet, and place in a preheated, 300 degree oven for 20 minutes, just to lightly cook them.
  4. Heat your coals, and get that grill piping hot. During this time, take the meat out of the refrigerator, and let it come to room temperature as you are heating the grill. Once the grill is heated, place the meat on the grill, and cook for about 5 minutes per side, or to your desired doneness. Remove and place on a plate to let rest, about 20 minutes prior to slicing.
  5. Heat the oil to about 350 degrees, then carefully add the potatoes, working in batches, and let them cook for about 4-5 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and place into a paper lined bowl. Repeat with the remaining (batches) of fries.
  6. Once the first cooking of the fries is completed, bring the oil up to about 375 degrees. Add the fries, working in batches, back into the oil, and cook until golden brown. The result will be a crisp exterior with a nice and tender interior. Remove with the slotted spoon, and place back into a paper towel lined bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Repeat with remaining fries.
  7. Slice the carne asada across the grain in thin slices, then chop into bite-sized chunks. Add the carne asada to the bowl of fries, along with the serrano chilies, green onions, and cheeses. Give a good toss, then place in a 300 degree oven in a baking dish, and cook until the cheese just begins to melt.
  8. Remove, and top with the tomatoes, avocado, cilantro, and sour cream.
  9. The end result is nothing short of amazing. The fries were perfect and when paired with the carne asada, and dipped into the sour cream or avocados, man, I’m just hungry thinking about them! Give these a shot. They are perfect game day grub, and will feed about 4, or two very hungry people. Enjoy!

 

Mexican Chalupa

When someone mentions chalupa, some of you might immediately direct your attention to what Taco Bell defined as their chalupa. I’ll admit, I have never tried a Taco Bell chalupa, for a variety of reasons, but the chalupa has always intrigued me. Sure, at the end of the day the chalupa eats like a taco, and boy is it ever a freaking amazing one at that. So skip the Taco Bell, and make your own. Trust me, my wife and kids devoured these chalupas.

Chalupa Recipe

Your Spanish/Mexican lesson for the day is that chalupa means a small boat, hence the shape of the tortilla.

You can stuff your chalupa anyway you desire, but my family is hooked on my chipotle chicken, seriously addicted, so we went that route, along with an array of items such as homemade black refried beans, pico de gallo, cheese, and shredded lettuce.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • corn tortillas
  • refried beans
  • cooked chicken
  • shredded cheese
  • Cotija cheese
  • pico de gallo
  • Shredded Lettuce
  • 2 cups of cooking oil

Again, this is the route I went with creating my chalupas. However you like your tacos, go that route. The trick here, is to get a formed tortilla boat. That is what I taught my son, and after a couple of him, he got a bit intimidated as a bit of hot oil jumped up and tagged his arm. Let’s just say I finished the rest of them, no big deal.

Start by having all of your ingredients prepared. Next, heat a small skillet, adding in the oil. Heat the oil to about 350 degrees. You can test the oil a few ways. One by testing a small part of a tortilla, an oil thermometer, or sometimes the smell or look of it.

How to make a chalupa

Now frying these tortillas will go quick, about a minute per tortilla, and my trick is to take a couple pieces of silverware, or use a piece of silverware along with a pair of tongs, and when you insert the tortilla into the oil, gently bring up both sides, loosely, to form a wide boat shape. Use the tongs to carefully move the tortilla around in the oil until crisp, again, about one minute. Use the tongs, lifting up the tortilla, and let any excess oil drain, then place onto a paper lined plate until you are ready to serve. Repeat with as many chalupas as you would like.

[videojs mp4="http://www.simplecomfortfood.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/tortillas.mp4"]

To serve, take a chalupa shell, smother with the black refried beans, top with cotija cheese, the chicken, lettuce, pico de gallo, and shredded cheese. Dig in. I’m not listing how much of what to put it because everyone loads their taco differently. You know what you like, so go in that direction.

These were, in my opinion, way better than any hard shell taco you would by from the store. There was a freshness about everything that had us coming back for more. Let’s just say my oldest took down like four of them, they were that good. I hope you enjoy.

Mexican Chalupa
Author: 
Recipe type: Tacos
Cuisine: Mexican
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 5
 
Ingredients
  • corn tortillas
  • refried beans
  • cooked chicken
  • shredded cheese
  • Cotija cheese
  • pico de gallo
  • Shredded Lettuce
  • 2 cups of cooking oil
Instructions
  1. Again, this is the route I went with creating my chalupas. However you like your tacos, go that route. The trick here, is to get a formed tortilla boat. That is what I taught my son, and after a couple of him, he got a bit intimidated as a bit of hot oil jumped up and tagged his arm. Let’s just say I finished the rest of them, no big deal.
  2. Start by having all of your ingredients prepared. Next, heat a small skillet, adding in the oil. Heat the oil to about 350 degrees. You can test the oil a few ways. One by testing a small part of a tortilla, an oil thermometer, or sometimes the smell or look of it.
  3. Now frying these tortillas will go quick, about a minute per tortilla, and my trick is to take a couple pieces of silverware, or use a piece of silverware along with a pair of tongs, and when you insert the tortilla into the oil, gently bring up both sides, loosely, to form a wide boat shape. Use the tongs to carefully move the tortilla around in the oil until crisp, again, about one minute. Use the tongs, lifting up the tortilla, and let any excess oil drain, then place onto a paper lined plate until you are ready to serve. Repeat with as many chalupas as you would like.
  4. To serve, take a chalupa shell, smother with the black refried beans, top with cotija cheese, the chicken, lettuce, pico de gallo, and shredded cheese. Dig in. I'm not listing how much of what to put it because everyone loads their taco differently. You know what you like, so go in that direction.
  5. These were, in my opinion, way better than any hard shell taco you would by from the store. There was a freshness about everything that had us coming back for more. Let’s just say my oldest took down like four of them, they were that good.

 

Cilantro Sauce

Sometimes you have to try and kick yourself when something so easy is so flippin’ good. Last week during the Green Bay Packers game, we had nacho night. We thought we would celebrate game day, as we hoped for a victory, which was not the case, with a nice plate of ‘build your own nachos’. I know how my family rolls when it comes to nachos. The kids are typically a bit of meat and cheese, while my daughter might be just cheese and chips. My wife will load hers with cheese, chips, a bit of meat, avocado, maybe some lettuce and tomato. Me on the other hand? Well, I like to jazz mine up, and load them up with things like beans, onions, cilantro, and some chilies. As I normally just use chopped up sprigs of cilantro, I decided to go another route, and make a cilantro sauce to heavily drizzle throughout the nachos, and whoa, was this stuff ever amazing!

Cilantro Sauce Recipe

Super simple ingredients yields a sauce so awesome that you will be blown away.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 1 bunch of fresh cilantro, cleaned
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic (add more or less for garlic intensity)
  • 1/2 tsp salt, to taste
  • 1 pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 3/4 cup of olive oil
  • 1/4 cup of water

Add everything to a food process and blend until you have a smooth sauce. Pour into a glass container, and place in the refrigerator until you are ready to use. When you are ready to use, give a gentle shake, and spoon onto whatever you desire.

How to make cilantro sauce

I’ve been using this sauce on everything from eggs at breakfast, to salads, and even drizzling on sandwiches.

This cilantro sauce is bright, and intense in flavor. You get that awesome punch of garlic cilantro flavor in every bite. I hope you enjoy!

Cilantro Sauce
Author: 
Recipe type: Sauce
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12
 
Ingredients
  • 1 bunch of fresh cilantro, cleaned
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic (add more or less for garlic intensity)
  • ½ tsp salt, to taste
  • 1 pinch of cayenne pepper
  • ¾ cup of olive oil
  • ¼ cup of water
Instructions
  1. Add everything to a food process and blend until you have a smooth sauce. Pour into a glass container, and place in the refrigerator until you are ready to use. When you are ready to use, give a gentle shake, and spoon onto whatever you desire.
  2. I've been using this sauce on everything from eggs at breakfast, to salads, and even drizzling on sandwiches.
  3. This cilantro sauce is bright, and intense in flavor. You get that awesome punch of garlic cilantro flavor in every bite. I hope you enjoy!