Tag Archive for 'beans'

Tex-Mex-inspired Salad

I have to admit, my vacation in Mexico was a long time ago. 15 years in fact. I had just started a research semester at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, and feeling rather lost and confused in the very different world of Texas, my best friend from Germany came to see me and whisked me off to Mexico. I don’t remember the food at all, as I was either ill or heart-broken on that trip. It turns out my boyfriend back home in Germany broke up with me on the phone while were staying on the beach in Playa del Carmen. After that it was mostly a liquid diet of margaritas and such. Shame that, as we missed out on all that lovely food. Well thankfully, my next boyfriend and now husband, who I met not much later back in Houston, is a big fan of Mexican and Tex-Mex food and he took me to some great restaurants in Austin and Houston, to make up for what I missed on holiday. Funnily enough, he also cooked for me occasionally back then. The first dinner he made was a very greasy casserole, filled with beef, beans, cheese, chilies, tortillas, tomatoes and who knows what. I had just given up vegetarianism and was smitten! The second dinner at his place was fajitas and I remember him being quite grumpy because I got talked into a beer with a friend first and arrived a bit late for dinner. I think that was the last time he cooked a whole dinner for me from start to finish. Hmmm.

Anyway, now you know all about my link to Mexican or probably more correctly, Tex-Mex food. What I call Mexican food these days in my own kitchen is probably not exactly what you can get in Mexico, but it’s close enough to Tex-Mex food, with a little less cheese in it may be. We love tacos with any filling, fajitas, burritos, salsas in all consistencies and colors and definitely quesadillas. I used to bring a stack of packages with Whole Foods whole wheat tortillas back from the States and stuck them straight into my freezer. They lasted for about 6 months, and everybody was envious of my tightly managed supply. Now of course I learned how to make my own corn tortillas but still, I am sure I’ll get some more the next time we go back. It’s such a great thing to have ready in the freezer for a quick dinner. That and Amy’s pizza… sigh.

Last night I made this salad, which I have made for years now. It’s a variation of a salad/salsa I came across so frequently back in Houston, and it’s so healthy and lovely in the summer time. Whenever I can get the first organic corn, peppers and tomatoes, it’s time for this salad. It goes really well with any fish or meat and makes a great taco filling. 

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Yummy Beany Burrito

This was my lunch today:

 

Now you’ll probably think, “how on earth does she have the time to make herself a lunch like that on an ordinary weekday”, followed by “she must have gone out for lunch”. Actually, I made it myself, but used mostly leftovers from last night’s dinner, except for the corn tortilla, which is fresh and home made. I am getting ready for my next cooking class “Mexican Fiesta” and have been making tortillas non-stop. I went and bought myself a cast iron skillet yesterday, which makes much better tortillas than any of the pans in my cupboard. It wasn’t too expensive, even by OZ standards and is well worth it. I am also getting better at getting the right dough consistency, which just like pasta making, requires patience and practise. I watched about 20 YouTube videos, in English and in Spanish, as well as reading countless blog entries. Now you’re probably wondering why I am not going to the store and buy them instead of going through all this trouble. And believe me, I would, were we anywhere close to a place that sells good tortillas. The only thing you get in Perth is the El Paso brand and it’s relatives, which if you’re like me and religiously read through the list of ingredients, is not an option. Numbers, preservatives and additives galore. That’s why they have a shelf life of a million years.

I haven’t tried to make flour tortillas, mainly because of a good friend who is a celiac and she’s coming to one of the cooking classes. Speaking of which, I seamed to have found my calling. Mexican Cooking classes! Nothing has ever created such an interest before. So far I have 3 full classes for next month, of which all the proceeds go to a post-Christmas shopping trip to NYC! Sorry I made you think they would go to a charitable cause there for a second. Next year, I promise. This is my first profit ever, and I need to reward myself. Bingo! 

Back to food! What you see on the picture is actually a burrito – pre-wrapped. I did wrap it in aluminium foil after I took the picture. It does hold everything together so much better and keeps things warm. But you don’t have to, and for the environment’s sake, probably shouldn’t. What went in it? Pinto beans, tomato salsa fresca, brown rice, avocado slices and a sprinkle of medium cheddar cheese. Of course there are all kinds of ways to make your burrito, but I love beans in all shapes and colors and wouldn’t substitute them for anything. The salsa is straight forward; all you really need is good tomatoes, fresh coriander (cilantro), fresh chilies, onion, garlic, lime juice and salt.

As to the remaining ingredients for my burrito, I have to have avocado. I can’t really have any Mexican food without it. I also love the brown rice in it. It rounds it all up, and soaks up some of the spice, in case you went a little over board. I am pretty ambivalent about the cheese. It’s definitely not a must. That’s pretty much it. Check it out. It’s delicious, fun, good for you and the planet and you can eat it with your hands!

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