Tag Archives: pico de gallo

Del Mar Salt Cod Arepa

Good morning friends!!  So this past month I was asked to help CFE International in coming up with some new recipe ideas for their fantastic salt fish products!  For those not in the know…’Salt-Fish’ is traditionally known as Bacalao and is a way to preserve freshly caught fish popular in Puerto Rico, Spain, Portugal and much of the Caribbean.

So I decided to take a popular Baja-Mexican spin on it and toss the light and flakey fish with a spicy pico de gallo and serve it almost torta style with a quick soft and pillow like arepa!  We’re learning new cuisine all day in this one, huh? 😉

Now we had these as a fresh, light and healthy dinner but I think these would be great this coming summer as finger food appetizers at the pool or even serve the spicy cod filling along with tortilla chips are crackers as a dip with your cervezas!  Enjoy!

Here in Texas, you can find the Cristobal product in the frozen section at your local Brookshire Brothers, HEB, Fiesta, Food Town, H Mart, Kroger and Los Altos Ranch Market.  So I’d say it’s quite convenient!!

CFE International

 

The Starting Lineup

  • 1 lb salt cod, rinsed and soaked overnight
  • 2 tomatoes, diced
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
  • 1 habanero, minced
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • Pinch of kosher salt

Arepa’s

  • 2 cups pre-cooked P.A.N white cornmeal
  • 2 1/2 cups warm water
  • 1 tsp salt

Garnish

  • Avocado slices
  • Lime Mayo (1 cup mayonnaise, juice of 1 lime, 1/2 tsp cumin, pinch of salt)

arepaPrep

This meal begins the night before..is it hard?  No.  Is it a must?  Oh yes…

Start by rinsing your salt cod under running water and place into a large bowl.  Fill with water to cover and top with plastic wrap.  Place in your refrigerator roughly 24 hours prior to preparing the dish.  You will want to change the water about 3 times during these 24 hours to rid all of the excess salt.

Party time!  Ok, place the soaked cod and enough water to cover in a stockpot over med-high heat and bring to a simmer on the stovetop.  Change the water and bring to a simmer 3-4 more times or until desired saltiness is achieved.

Place the now de-salted and cooked cod into a large bowl, shred with two forks and allow to cool.

Next, simply chop and dice up the tomatoes, onion, cilantro and hot peppers.  Add these to the cooled fish along with the juice of two limes and a pinch of salt.  Toss together, cover and place in the refrigerator to allow the flavors to meld.

On to the Arepas!

In another large bowl (meanwhile heat a cast-iron skillet to medium heat), stir the water and salt together until the salt dissolves.  Next pour in the cornmeal a little at a time, working with your fingers, to form a pliable dough.

Divide into 8 dough-balls and then pat into “hockey-puck” shapes.

In your heated pan, add the arepa dough (about 2-3 at a time) and cook for 4-5 minutes on each side for a golden brown.  Transfer to a plate and set aside.  *If not using a cast-iron or other non-stick pan, add about 1 tbsp. of vegetable oil to your hot pan and once cooked transfer to a paper-towel lined plate.

PAN

Slice in half (similar to an English muffin) and dollop a good amount of the lime-mayo on each side.  Spoon on a good amount of the tangy and spicy cod filling and top with a few slices of sliced avocado.  Bring that arepa together and chow down with a cold one my friends!!

ArepaFinish

IGCod

Turkey and Brie Quesadillas w/ a Roasted Apple Pico de Gallo

Whether you’re hosting a ladies brunch, a dinner party or would just like to elevate your weeknight dinner with an EASY, yet impressive meal…this recipe will do the trick!  

The sweet and savory flavors are just outstanding!  You also have creaminess from the brie, sweetness from the roasted grapes and cranberries, freshness from the spinach and a nice crunch from the apples, pecans and browned tortilla.  Flavor sensation bliss!

…And don’t you dare say that you “cannot cook” or it sounds “too hard” or “too fancy”.  You can and it’s neither!  This entire recipe will take less than an hour to prepare whether you use it for a meal or an hors d’oeuvre.p at your next get together…and who can’t slap together a flipping quesadilla, because that’s exactly what it is!

*the Pico de Gallo can be made ahead of time and refrigerated until use.

*I recommend the best, quality deli roasted turkey.  My local grocer here in Texas, HEB, actually rotisserie’s whole turkeys and I have them slice up one pound on a number 2 setting.

The Starting Lineup

  • 1 lb quality deli turkey, sliced thin
  • 8 oz wheel brie cheese, sliced
  • 4 10″ flour tortillas 
  • 1 1/2 cups Spinach leaves, fresh
  • 2 sweet onions, sliced
  • 2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 Tbsp honey
  • Butter, 1 /2 stick, divided

Roasted Apple Pico de Gallo

  • 1 large honey crisp apple, sliced and chopped
  • 1 cup seedless red grapes
  • 1/2 cup cranberries, fresh (frozen is fine)
  • 1/4 cup green onions, sliced
  • 1/4 cup pecans, chopped
  • 1 jalapeño, seeded and finely diced (optional)
  • 2 Tbsp honey, divided 1:1
  • 1 Tbsp butter, melted
  • 1 1/4 tsp cinnamon, divided

Begin this simple, but oh so fancy tasting recipe by preparing the sweet pico de gallo…preheat your oven to 375 degrees and line a small baking sheet with foil.

While the oven is preheating you’ll begin to caramelize the onions.  In a sauté pan over medium low heat, place the sliced onions and 3 tbsp butter (plus a pinch of salt and sugar) and allow to cook down till soft and that beautiful caramel color.  Meanwhile….


In a large bowl, gently fold together the grapes, cranberries (again, completely frozen here is just fine), 1 tablespoon of the honey,  1 Tbsp melted butter and 1/4 tsp of the cinnamon.  Pour onto the baking sheet in a single layer.  Place in the oven and allow to roast for 20 minutes.

Once finished, pour the roasted grapes and cranberries, plus juices, back into the large bowl and allow to cool.  Remember, you’re still cooking down those onions…

To the cooled, roasted fruit:  add the apples (I like to chop right before to avoid browning), green onions, pecans, jalapeño (optional) and remaining 1 Tbsp of honey and 1 tsp of cinnamon.  Toss gently to coat together. 


In a small bowl, whisk together the Dijon mustard and the honey.

Assembly time!!  Preheat a large skillet to medium heat and add 1 tbsp of butter to melt.  On each tortilla, spread 1 Tbsp of the Dijon-honey mixture on one side and lay (uncoated side down) into the hot pan.  Top half of the tortilla with the sliced turkey, spinach, brie slices and the caramelized onions.  Fold in half and allow to brown; flip to brown the other side.  Repeat with remaining ingredients.  Makes 4 filling quesadillas.

Allow to cool for 2-3 minutes and using a pizza cutter, slice each browned quesadilla into 4 triangles.  Place the slices on a large platter along with a bowl of the Roasted Apple Pico de Gallo for garnishing…enjoy!!  

Taco Tarts

To be honest with everyone, my family are just a bunch of addicts…and our addiction of choice…tacos.

We seriously eat this most amazing dish at least 2-3 times a week, breakfast tacos anyone??   Also, like most of the country, we love our “Taco Tuesday” and have the full on taco bar and cervezas on ice.  However, this past Tuesday I wanted to change things up just for the heck of it.  I was also thinking of what may be easier to eat for my 3 and 5 year old boys.  

Given I had a couple boxes of pre-made pie dough on hand and my 3-year-old was begging for pop tarts, a genius foodie light bulb hit me!  Combine the pop tart idea with the taco ingredients and you have yourself a Taco Tart!!  Besides the oh so cute name, it can be eaten hand-held, so the lil’s are no longer picking up broken shells and ground beef crumbs!  Easy after dinner cleanup for momma!

*Makes 12

*Feel free to tweak the ingredients to your liking, i.e. ground turkey, corn, braised beef or pork, enchilada sauce (yes please!), jack cheese, etc. etc.

*You can absolutely individually wrap these and freeze them for a quick fix and lunch later on!

The Starting Lineup

  • 2 boxes pie dough (i.e. Pillsbury, 4 sheets)
  • 1/2 lb ground beef
  • 1 can beans, drained (pinto or black beans)
  • 1 packet taco seasoning
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 1/4 cup cilantro
  • Cheddar cheese, shredded
  • Jalapeños, sliced (optional)
  • 1 egg + 1 Tbsp water
  • Olive oil 

Garnish

  • Salsa (roja and/or verde)
  • Guacamole
  • Sour cream
  • Pico de gallo


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line to baking sheets with foil or parchment paper.

In a large skillet heat 2 tbsps of olive oil over medium heat.  Add in the onions and sauté for 3-5 minutes, till just translucent.

Next, add the ground beef to the onions and cook through.  Drain the grease from the beef and add in the beans of choice, taco seasoning (plus 1 cup of water according to seasoning directions), tomato, cilantro and the optional jalapeños.  Stir together, bring to a boil and then cover and simmer until combined, about 12 minutes.  Once done, remove from heat and allow to slightly cool.

Meanwhile unroll the pie dough (I lightly flour the surface and thin out just a bit with my rolling pin, but that is optional), and using a pizza cutter, cut into 6 pieces.

Spoon the cooled meat mixture into the middle of each pastry square and add a good helping of shredded cheddar cheese.  Top with another pastry square and crimp the edges with a fork, also pierce the top to allow steam to escape.  Finally, brush the egg wash all over the top and place in the oven to bake till golden brown, about 12-15 minutes.

Once golden brown, remove from the oven and serve immediately alongside a couple of delicious salsas, guac, sour cream and fresh pico de gallo…say hello to the new “Taco Tart Tuesday” ;))  Ole! 


Spicy Shrimp & Guacamole Tostadas

Crunchy and spicy..and healthy!  As usual, I was craving some tasty Mexican food, but just didnt want the heaviness that goes along with cheesy enchiladas, super burritos or chimichangas.  I also didnt have the time to braise a big hunk of meat or use my slow-cooker for a yummy shredded filling.  

Instead, I ran up to my grocer and picked up some of their very tasty, in-house made guacamole, fresh deveined shrimp and quick heat up refried beans.  Heck, if you wanted you could even buy pre-made pico de gallo and tostada shells, but I knew I could tackle those myself. 😉

*To keep with the light & healthy meal, I made a quick Mexican Fruit Salad to go along with it.  Simply cut up some cantaloupe and honey dew melon.  Dust on a bit of chili powder and kosher salt, then topped with a dollop of vanilla greek yogurt, a squeeze of fresh lime juice and its zest!  Yummmm…promise!

The Starting Lineup

  • Corn tortillas
  • 1lb shrimp, tails off
  • 1 cup guacamole
  • 1 cup pico de gallo
  • 1 cup refried beans (I used low-fat)
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Mexican hot sauce
  • Lime wedges
  • 2 Tbsp Extra virgin olive oil
  • Canola or vegetable oil, for frying 

Begin this super quick and flavorful dinner by heating up the cooking oil to fry up your tortillas.  I used my deep fryer, but if you do not have one you can fill a large heavy bottomed pan or dutch oven with a couple inches of oil.

While the oil is heating up, whisk together the spices and toss with the shrimp and extra virgin olive oil.  Cover and set aside.

Using tongs, carefully place 1-2 tortillas into the hot oil and allow to crisp up.  Generally just 2-3 minutes; you can flip over after a minute or two if needed.  Set aside on a paper towel lined plate.  Also, heat up those beans!

Now either on the stove top or hey, even your grill, we’ll cook up those shrimp!!  These go fast, again just 3-4 minutes.

Assembly time!  Quick meal right??  On each tostada shell, spread on a layer of beans followed by a layer of your guacamole.  Next top with a few of the spicy shrimp (the guac helps them to stay on) and the pico de gallo.  I like to serve with some Mexican hot sauce, lime wedges and a cerveza!  Enjoy!  

Mexican Breakfast Bowls

I love Mexican food.  Seriously, truer words have never been spoken.   So, like every morning, I woke up craving just that!  Now instead of the usual breakfast burrito, the typical Texas breakfast taco or the fancier heuvos ranchero and chilaquiles, I thought “what about a taco salad??? But a breakfast version??!!”  Genius..Ill let you say it.  I know I did.

What’s also fun about this is it’s so customizable for everyone!   Say you’re hosting a brunch, you can make just about all of it in advance and warm when ready.  Set out the baked tortilla shells to fill with a multitude of different toppings!  Or even make healthy version with low-sodium black beans, scrambled egg whites, fresh sautéed veggies and salsa!  I could go on and on and on…

*I did not put exact amounts for the ingredients, as it depends how many bowls you are making.  I made 4 bowls with the below pictured ingredients.

**Pico de Gallo: Diced tomato, white onion, jalapeño, cilantro, fresh lime juice and a pinch of salt.

The Starting Lineup

  • Flour tortillas
  • Breakfast sausage or chorizo
  • Refried beans
  • Russet potatoes, cubed
  • Eggs, scrambled
  • Cooking spray
  • Cumin
  • Chili powder
  • Salt & pepper

Garnish (optional)

  • Pico de gallo, homemade or store-bought **
  • Jalapeño slices
  • Cheddar cheese, shredded
  • Avocado slices
  • Hot sauce/Salsa 

To make perfect restaurant style breakfast potatoes/home fries:  Either bake the potato first OR quarter each potato and add to a large pot of salted water.  Bring to a boil, cover and simmer.  Once just fork tender (not too soft here), remove from the pot and allow to cool slightly.  Once cool enough to touch, cube up!

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Place mason jars upside down on a baking sheet or large crumpled balls of foil, etc.  Microwave the tortillas for 30 seconds to make pliable and drape over the mason jar.  Lightly coat in cooking spray and sprinkle on the cumin and chili powder for a nice flavor and color!  Bake the tortillas for 8-10 minutes, watch closely as not to burn, but I like a few “charred” edges myself..rustic!  Allow to cool for a few minutes, pull off the jar and get ready to fill!

Meanwhile…..Heat a tbsp or two of vegetable or canola oil on medium heat in two separate pans.  In one, add the sausage.  Cook through and set aside.  (If I’m not using chorizo, I like to doctor up my breakfast sausage with Mexican seasonings)>

In the other pan, add the par-cooked, cubed potatoes in an even layer.  Let them cook people!  Do not keep stirring around, this allows them to build that golden brown restaurant crust on them!  After so many minutes, flip to get the other sides of the potatoes nice and crispy! 

Once the potatoes and sausage are about finished, beat the eggs with a bit of milk, salt & pepper.  Cook, scrambled, with a tbsp of butter.

Assembly time!  Super simple here folks…take your baked tortilla bowl and fill away!    I like to go this route:  beans, potatoes, sausage and then eggs!  Top with some fresh pico de gallo, avocado slices, jalapeño slices and a few dashes of hot sauce!  Enjoy!! 

Baja Avocados

Summer is here!  Especially for my friends and family in Arizona..118 degrees this weekend?? Eek!  Given the brutally hot temps, who wants to start up their stove or oven?  I sure the heck wouldn’t!

So growing up, we always had a traditional shrimp cocktail at our holiday parties and I ate every bit…Then I got older and discovered “Mexican shrimp cocktail”. Wow!  Just wow!  The spice, the tang, the freshness!  I just can’t ever seem to go back to my childhood favorite of the traditional variety anymore.  We kind of broke-up.

Now flash forward to today…my hubby and I wanted a light dinner and being a self-described ‘Mexican food guru’ I knew just what to concoct!  Serve alongside a light rice or beans and you have a full and healthy meal!  *Heck, you can eat with crispy corn chips or just a spoon and straw for that matter!  I’m not one to judge in these instances.

So this quick, easy, ‘no cook’ meal fits the bill!  It doesn’t hurt a swimsuit body either 😉

*Pico de gallo is simply a mix of diced tomatoes, onion, jalapeño, cilantro, lime juice and salt.  I know, I know…it’s ridiculously easy to make and 99.9% of the time I make my own, but in a pinch of time you can by premade from the produce section.  I just doctored up mine up for more flavor and heat!  I promise it won’t happen again 😉 

The Starting Lineup

  • 3+ large avocados (I.e. Haas)
  • 1 Lb large shrimp, cooked and tails off
  • 1 cup Clamato juice
  • 1 cup pico de gallo*
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • A couple dashes of Mexican hot sauce (I.e. Tapatío)
  • Pinch of pepper 

We’ll begin by halving the avocados and carefully scooping out most of the avocado flesh, cut into 1″ chunks.  *You’ll want to keep a thin line of flesh against the skin to help it hold together and not fall apart on you. Keep the skins!

 Next, in a large bowl add together the avocado chunks, cooked shrimp, Clamato juice, pico de gallo, like juice, salt, cumin, pepper and hot sauce.  Gently mix together.  *You can cover and place in fridge for 30-60 minutes to meld flavors and chill OR serve immediately.

 Now you simply take a few spoonfuls and fill the hollowed out avocado skin.  Serve alongside a scoop of lime-cilantro rice for a light, summertime meal!  Enjoy!

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