Archive for the ‘Mexican’ Category

Black Bean Chipotle Dip

Just in time for the Superbowl. This hot bean dip is always a hit. This can be easily doubled for a larger gathering. However, don’t double the vinegar. Add vinegar to taste after the first three tablespoons or it will be a bit overpowering. 

Adapted from Fine Cooking Magazine


olive oil

2 medium tomatoes seeded and chopped

2 teaspoons of kosher salt

1 large yellow onion chopped

3 cloves of minced garlic

1 tablespoon of chili powder

2 15 1/2 oz  cans of black beans rinsed and drained

2 canned chipotles en adobo minced (with the sauce that is attached)

3 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar

1 1/2 cups of fresh or frozen corn kernels (thawed)

6 ounces of grated sharp cheddar

6 ounces grated Monterey jack

3/4 cup of chopped cilantro

black pepper to taste

Directions: Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Grease a 1 1/2 to 2 quart baking dish. Place chopped tomatoes in a colander and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of salt and let drain in the sink. Saute the onion in oil along with the other teaspoon of kosher salt until translucent. Add the garlic and chili powder and cook another minute. Add one can of the beans, chipotles, and 3/4 cup of water and bring to a boil until the liquid is reduced by half. Remove from heat and add vinegar. Mash the mixture with a potato masher or immersion blender until fairly smooth. Place in a large bowl. Add the rest of the beans, the tomatoes, corn and half of each of the cheeses. Add the cilantro and season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer to the greased baking dish and top with the remaining cheese. Bake for 15 minutes. This can be made in advance and refrigerated just bake a bit longer. Enjoy



“You don’t have to cook fancy or create masterpieces in your kitchen, just cook good food with fresh ingredients” Julia Childs.

 Fresh ingredients are what this guacamole is all about. I’m sure so far you have realized I’m a cook not a photographer. No matter how hard I tried I just couldn’t showcase the freshness of this dish. I’m starting to think it’s time to invest in a real camera. I do however promise you if you follow these simple directions and use fresh ingredients you wont be disappointed.

Cooks notes: The most important part of  guacamole is of course the avocado. Once you learn how to properly select one, your guacamole will be taken to new heights. You can get by in a pinch if some of the other ingredients aren’t perfect but not your avocados. Most stores go into a panic mode when they have a bin of overripe avocados and they immediately begin to stick big orange stickers on them that say RIPE. Trust me, by the time they put those stickers on they are generally way past their prime. The same goes for underripe  avocados, if they are too hard pass them up. I prefer shopping for them in the mercados in Southwest Detroit either the day before or the day I’m making this dish. The selections are great and you never have to guess if they will be overripe or underripe by the day you need them. I understand not everyone wants to make a road trip to Detroit for avocados so here is the next best thing you can do. Pick up the avocado and very gently squeeze it with your thumb and your first two fingers. If there is no give in the skin and flesh it is underripe. If there is too much give it is overripe. Once you get them home and realize you nailed it you will be an expert avocado selector from that day on. Skip the avocados in this recipe, cut back on the salt and you have a pretty good pico de gallo as well.  Here is what you will need.


4 small Mexican or 3 large Californian avocados

2 Roma style tomatoes chopped 

1/2 cup of chopped white onion

1 garlic clove pressed

1/2 jalapeno or serrano pepper seeded and membrane removed (unless you like more heat, this is very mild) very finely chopped

3 to 4 tablespoons of fresh cilantro

1 teaspoon of kosher salt

2 teaspoons of fresh squeezed lime juice (then add to taste)

Directions: Mix everything in a bowl except for the avocado and let sit for 5 minutes for the flavors to blend. Mix in the avocado breaking up with a large spoon until the consistency you like. Push a sheet of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the guacamole pushing out any air. Let sit at room temperature for 10 to 15 minutes for the flavors to further blend. Remove the plastic, stir and enjoy.


Pinto Bean Tostadas

I had kind of a busy week and was unable to post much from my kitchen. I did however acquire a pound of dried pinto beans that I cooked up for dinner Sunday. As a matter of fact I just finished them up today for lunch. It’s been a while since I cooked an entire pound. I actually forgot how many servings it made. I think next time I’ll cut this recipe in half since I’m only cooking for two. Other than the beans the ingredient list I give you will be per four servings to make it easier. I will say one of  the nice things about cooked beans is they do freeze well should you choose to cook an entire pound. You will also notice for the toppings that I call for cabbage and not lettuce. This is something I started doing after several SCUBA trips to Central America. They serve all of their food topped with cabbage instead of lettuce. I’m guessing it started due to the hot climate and the fact that cabbage stays fresh longer. I think once you try it you will be surprised how much better it is than lettuce. Here is what you will need.

Ingredients for the initial cooking of the beans

1 pound of dried pinto beans soaked overnight and drained

2 onions cut in half

3 garlic cloves peeled and left whole

2 celery stalks broken into large chunks

1 small handful of cilantro

6 cups of water

Directions: Place all ingredients into a pressure cooker and cook on high pressure until done. Mine took 10 minutes. Remove all of the vegetables and discard. Drain beans reserving 2 cups of the cooking liquid. Alternately simmer the beans on the stove top covered with 2 inches of water until done. This may take 1 to 1 1/2hrs. You can also use drained and rinsed canned beans just make sure to add 2 cups of water or vegetable broth for the next step. Set beans aside.

Ingredients for the next step.

2 onions chopped fine

3 garlic cloves pressed or chopped

1 poblano pepper chopped fine

2 teaspoons of cumin powder

1 teaspoon coriander powder

1 chipotle en adobo chopped into a paste (easily found in Mexican isle of grocery stores)

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano (Mexican if possible)

salt and pepper to taste.

Directions: Saute the onions, garlic, and poblano until partially soft. Add the salt, pepper and remaining spices and saute for a few minutes until the spices release their fragrance. Add the beans and 2 cups of reserved cooking water and simmer until the beans are very soft (10 to 20 minutes). When soft, mash half of the beans in the pot with a potato masher or immersion blender.

Ingredients for the toppings : (per 4 tostadas) 

1 cup of shredded cabbage

juice of one lime

salt and pepper to taste

1 tomato

1 avocado

3 tablespoons of cilantro

chunky salsa

queso fresco cheese shredded

sour cream 

Directions: Place shredded cabbage in a bowl and squeeze the juice of 1/2 a lime over the top. Salt and pepper to taste, mix well and set aside. Chop the tomato, avocado and cilantro and place in a bowl. Squeeze the other half of the lime over the top, mix well and set aside.

Putting it all together: Warm tostada shells in a 350 degree oven for 3 minutes. Spread hot beans over the shells. Place 1/4 of the cabbage on top of each shell. Top the cabbage with the chunky salsa. On top of the salsa place 1/4 of the tomato avocado and cilantro mixture. Top with the queso fresco and sour cream. Serve with sides of your choice.

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