Archive for the ‘ Beef ’ Category

CINCO DE MAYO RECIPES

If you celebrate Cinco de Mayo the way folks around here do, you’re going to need some serious grub to soak up the booze. The following recipes will not only satisfy any Mexican cravings, they’ll also lay down a base coat before your night gets going. Best of all? They can pretty much all be scaled up to feed a crowd. So enjoy responsibly and leave other Cinco de Mayo menu ideas in the comments.

TACOS, TOSTADAS, APPETIZERS

Tacos de Barbacoa

Chile-Braised Pork Tacos

Tacos de Cochinita Pibil

Red Chile Beef Tostadas

Taquitos

SALSAS & DIPS

Avocado-Tomatillo Salsa

Guacamole

Habanero Hot Sauce

Chipotle Bean Dip

Crema Mexicana

ON THE SIDE

Smoky Chipotle Black Beans

NICE & REFRESHING

Agua de Horchata

TAQUITOS

Cinco de Mayo is around the corner, and there are few hors d’œuvre in the Mexican repertoire better suited for munching on with a nice cold cerveza or margarita in hand than a crunchy, rolled taquito.  If the only kind of taquito you’re familiar with comes in a box from the frozen food aisle, then you’re in for a serious treat.  These are the real deal.  No microwaves, no ovens and no mystery meat here;  just the ear shattering crunch and savory interior of a freshly fried, homemade beef taquito.

Truth be told, I happily ate my healthy share of frozen taquitos for years. In fact, growing up I didn’t know many households that didn’t have a case buried somewhere in their freezer for snack emergencies. Throw them on plate, pop them in the microwave for a minute or so and go to town.  Let’s face it: they’re quick, convenient and the perfect vessel for your favorite condiment.  As a kid, I’d go as far as to dip mine in ketchup! It wasn’t until I decided to try a homemade version that I realized what this Mexican fingerfood could be. Where the frozen lack any serious depth of flavor and always end up being somewhere between chewy and soggy on the texture scale, the homemade is a knockout crispy treat.

These taquitos are the perfect way to use up leftover barbacoa.  In fact, I’ll even make an entire batch for the sole purpose of rolling up a few dozen of these bad boys.  If you really like them (which you will), go ahead and make a double batch and stash them in your freezer for the ultimate late night snack.  Like the kind from the box, but oh-so-much better.

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CLASSIC MEATLOAF

The real title of this post should be “Mom’s Meatloaf,” as this is the very same recipe I grew up eating as a child.  A perennial favorite in our household, few meatloaves deliver in the way this barbecue sauce-topped rendition does.  The epitome of comfort, my Mom would be the first to tell you that this dish is “hard to screw up.”  In fact, it’s the simplicity of this recipe that makes it a true standout in my mind.  Perfect for company, yet quick and easy enough for a weeknight meal, this tender and juicy meatloaf comes together in no time and feeds a crowd for next to nothing.  Covered with a sweet, tangy homemade barbecue sauce, this meatloaf is sure to please even the pickiest of eaters as few can resist it’s sticky, ketchup-like topping.  If you love meatloaf but can’t justify the saturated fat, substitute ground turkey for a version that is just as tasty and quite a bit healthier — you’ll barely notice the difference.  As good cold as it is served warm, this recipe also makes for a killer meatloaf sandwich.  So, in a world filled with so much bad meatloaf, do yourself a favor and go with a tried-and-true recipe that works.  Your family, friends and significant others will thank you.

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BAGEL DOGS

Like baked barbecue pork buns, bagel dogs held a special place in my heart growing up. When hunger pangs struck after a long day at school, these bagel wrapped beauties were one of my favorite go-to snacks.  I was lucky enough to grow up in a town with a small bagel shop that was making them from scratch each morning.  More than anything, I was lucky enough to have a father who enjoyed them as much as I did, so there were always a few in the fridge.  In college, I’d take a dozen back to school with me and they’d easily disappear in a couple days time.  I only had three roommates!

It wasn’t until recently, when I learned of that same bagel shop’s demise that I finally felt motivated to try making them myself at home.  After a couple of so-so attempts and oddly shaped dogs, I finally found a recipe and technique that yields outstanding results – better in many ways than the ones of my youth.  Sure, the process of making bagel dogs from scratch might seem a little daunting and unnecessary considering the availability of frozen varieties at almost every grocery store, but believe me when I say, there is no substitute for the real thing.

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TACOS DE BARBACOA

Having grown up in the Bay Area, I’m pretty accustomed to eating some damn good Mexican food.  As a true fan of the cuisine, I consider myself blessed to live within minutes of the birthplace of the original Mission-style burrito.  So, with some of the best taquerías in the entire state literally moments from my apartment, it’s with great embarrassment that I am here to say I enjoy eating at Chipotle Mexican Grill every once in a while.  Don’t get me wrong, I would NEVER pass up a burrito from one of my favorite joints here in town, but when I find myself craving some good barbacoa, I always know where I can find some.

Even though we have a taquería on every corner here in San Francisco serving mounds of carnitas, al pastor, chile verde and carne asada, very few in fact offer a version of this dish.  Good barbacoa is succulent beef that is slow-simmered in a spicy broth flavored with tangy lime juice, smoky chipotle chiles and plenty of garlic until it’s practically falling apart.  Seasoned with just the right amount of herbs, vinegar and salt, Chipotle’s come pretty darn close to some of the best I’ve ever eaten.  So, cobbled together from a few imposter recipes and knock-offs floating around the internet, along with some good, old-fashioned cooking know-how, I am here to offer my rendition of the barbacoa I’ve come to love from this massive chain restaurant .  I typically have them throw the stuff in a burrito at the restaurant, but here I serve it in authentic Mexican fashion, mounded up on a griddled tortilla and topped with diced white onion, plenty of cilantro and a lime wedge for squeezing over the top.  Pass some good bottled hot sauce or some avocado-tomatillo salsa for another great accompaniment or whip up a batch of cochinita pibil or chile-braised pork and throw a taco party.

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