Phil's International Flair

Welcome to the July issue of Seasoned Cooking and to Phil's International Flair! This month I have chosen to revisit the Mexican theme. There are just so many good recipes and not nearly enough space to put them all!

So, I have decided to start off with a few Mexican breakfast selections that my grandmother used to cook when I was very young. I have also decided to include some rather traditional dishes that can accompany any Mexican meal or be used as a main course. Try some of these recipes on your family or friends and let me know what you think.

The recipes presented this month are but a small yet diverse collection of the recipes in my yet-to-be-published book, Phil's Family and Friends Cookbook. Feel free to email me at with your comments and requests. Be well, and good eating!

Now, on to the recipes!

Mexican Medley

Tortilla and Eggs

This recipe was always one of my favorite breakfast recipes. It also makes an excellent breakfast or snack, being nutritious and filling. It is simple to make and is truly Mexican in origin. There are several variations to this recipe, but the basic form is probably the best, according to my tastes.
  • 4 large flour tortillas
  • 4 large eggs
  • Bacon grease (about 4 tablespoons)

Heat bacon grease in skillet over medium heat until melted. Tear tortillas into chip sized pieces and fry in the bacon grease, turning frequently, until they are golden brown and crisp. Finally, crack the eggs onto the tortillas and scramble until the eggs are cooked. Add salt to taste and serve immediately.

  • Yields: 3 servings
  • Preparation Time: 10 minutes

Chorizo and Eggs

This was one of Grandmas' favorite breakfast foods to serve the family. Chorizo is a Mexican sausage made with pork, chili and other spices. It can be found in all Mexican stores and in many large supermarkets.
  • 2 links of chorizo
  • 2 potatoes, diced
  • 10 eggs
  • 1 dozen flour tortillas

Squeeze the chorizo out of the skeins and into a large skillet. Sauté the chorizo in the skillet for about 10 minutes. Add the potatoes and sauté over medium heat for about 15 to 20 minutes, stirring frequently. Beat the eggs in a large bowl and pour into the chorizo and potatoes. Cook while mixing until the eggs are done. Serve this dish with warm tortillas. The chorizo and eggs can be wrapped inside of the tortillas, or the tortillas can be torn into pieces and used to pick up and eat the chorizo and eggs.

  • Yields: 8 servings
  • Preparation Time: 35 minutes

Salsa and Eggs

This is a simple and truly Mexican way of preparing eggs.
  • 4 large eggs
  • 4 tsp. fresh salsa (see recipe in the first issue of Seasoned Cooking)

Mix several eggs in a bowl and add fresh salsa, 1 tablespoon per egg. Fry in a skillet as you would scrambled eggs.

  • Yields: 2 servings
  • Preparation Time: 5 minutes

Tacos

Tacos are probably the most popular and commonly known Mexican food that exists. For those who don't know what a taco is, it is fundamentally a corn tortilla with meat, onions, lettuce, tomato and cheese inside. Most familiar tacos will use ground beef as the base meat, but the most authentic tacos are made from shredded beef or pork which has been either roasted or barbecued.

There are many variations to the basic taco. The two basic types are the hard shell taco and the soft taco. Tacos can be made from chicken instead of beef or pork. The variations are endless and are limited only by one's imagination. A few of the variations are listed below and can be expanded upon as experience is gained in the Mexican way of cooking.

Tacos are best served with refried beans, Spanish rice, and guacamole with chips.

  • 1 dozen corn tortillas
  • 1 lb. ground beef or pork, or cooked and shredded beef or pork
  • 8 oz. grated cheese
  • Shredded lettuce
  • 1 slice of an onion (diced)
  • 1 clove garlic
  • Diced tomato
  • Chopped green onion
  • Chopped black olives
  • Oil for frying

Sauté the meat in a pan with the onion and garlic until browned, and set aside to cool. While the meat is cooking, shred the lettuce and grate the cheese and arrange on a serving platter with chopped tomatoes, olives and green onions. Salsa is also a good accompaniment.

After the meat has cooled enough to handle, place an amount of the meat onto the center of a tortilla, fold it over in half, and carefully place the taco into the hot oil to fry. Kitchen tongs are useful for this task. Fry the taco one side at a time until the tortilla is somewhat crisp. It is better that the tortilla remain less crisp rather than too crisp to avoid cracking after they are served. As each taco is cooked, place on a paper towel to drain. After all of your tacos are cooked, serve them with the vegetables for your guests or family to stuff with the ingredients of their choosing.

Variations:

Some people prefer a bit of spice to the meat. If this is your case, simply sprinkle a bit of chili powder or sauce into the meat while it is cooking. If economy is a motivating factor, use less ground beef or pork and add frozen corn kernels to the meat while it is cooking. This will expand the amount of the taco stuffing and add a different and very nice flavor to the meat.

Another way of making a flavorful taco is to serve guacamole or sliced avocado for an additional stuffing. A spicier treat is to sprinkle a red chili sauce (like Tabasco), or use a bit of salsa with the toppings.

  • Yields: 6 servings
  • Preparation Time: 25 minutes

Flautas

Sometimes called taquitos, flautas are an excellent way to use leftover beef roast, chicken, or pork roast. Basically, flautas are meat which is rolled in corn tortillas and deep fried in oil until the tortillas are crisp. Canned beef chunks may also be used providing any gravy is drained off. Flautas are topped with shredded lettuce, guacamole, grated cheddar cheese, and sour cream if desired. Flautas are easy to make and are best served with refried beans. They also make a wonderful appetizer for a large Mexican meal. Leftover flautas make a superb snack and keep well under refrigeration.
  • 1 lb. shredded beef, chicken or pork
  • 1 dozen corn tortillas
  • Shredded lettuce
  • Sour cream (optional)
  • Grated cheddar cheese (optional)
  • Guacamole
  • Oil for deep frying
  • Toothpicks

Shred the meat or chicken with a fork and arrange a portion of the meat in a line toward one side of a tortilla. Roll the tortilla with the meat inside and pierce with a toothpick to hold the tortilla in place. If you have a problem with the tortillas cracking, just warm the tortilla over a burner on the stove to soften just prior to filling with meat. Drop the rolled tortilla with meat into hot oil and fry until the tortilla is crisp. Place the cooked flautas on a paper towel to drain the oil after cooking.

After all of the flautas are cooked, place them on individual plates on top of a bed of shredded lettuce. Top with guacamole, grated cheese, and/or sour cream if desired. Flautas can be served with Spanish rice and refried beans for a complete meal.

Hint: The corn tortillas may tend to crack when rolling if they are not very fresh. To prevent this, warm the tortillas on a burner first, or put the entire bag (sealed) of tortillas into the microwave for about 1 minute before using.

  • Yields: 4 servings
  • Preparation Time: 20 minutes

Chili Colorado

This recipe was handed down from my grandmother and has evolved into the result presented here by my cousin Sandy. It is definitely authentic Mexican, and will stimulate the palate of anyone who is a connoisseur of Mexican food.

Chili Colorado can be used in burritos, or eaten as a main course with Spanish rice and salad. Use your imagination in how to serve this delicious dish.

  • 1 flank steak (cubed)
  • 2 large cans Las Palmas Red Chili Sauce
  • 3 large potatoes, cubed
  • 4 large cloves garlic, crushed and diced
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano leaves
  • 1 tbsp. flour

Sauté and brown meat in a large skillet with a little lard or bacon grease. Add the garlic, chili sauce and potatoes. Bring to a boil. Next, add the oregano and flour and mix well to thicken the liquid. Simmer the combination for 45 minutes. If necessary, add a little more flour to bring the sauce to the desired consistency.

  • Yields: 6 servings
  • Preparation Time: 1 hour

Chile Rellenos

This is a dish served regularly in a truly Mexican household.
  • 8 to 10 green Anaheim chiles (2 per person)
  • 4 eggs
  • ½ cup sifted flour
  • 1 small sliced onion
  • 1 lb. jack cheese, sliced to length of chiles
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • ¼ tsp. pepper

Roast the chilies in the broiler, turning frequently, until the skins begin to brown on all sides. After roasting, place the chilies in a paper sack, close the bag, and let cool for half an hour.

Peel the chilies, leaving the stems on. Slit each chili on one side and remove the seeds. Stuff each chili with a slice of cheese and some onions. Refrigerate for about 6 hours (best prepared ahead of time).

Separate the egg whites from the yolks and whip the whites until they peak easily. Fold in the yolks, salt and pepper. Coat each of the stuffed chilies in flour, then dip in the egg mixture. Fry each of the chilies in hot oil until golden brown. Serve with salsa, tortillas and refried beans.

  • Yields: 4 servings
  • Preparation Time: 45 minutes

Picadillo

  • 2 lb. ground beef
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 small can diced green chiles
  • 2 fresh medium tomatoes, diced
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1 large can olives, cut in half
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped

Fry the ground beef in a skillet until thoroughly cooked. Add the onions, garlic, green chilies and tomatoes. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the raisins and olives. Simmer for an additional 15 minutes. Serve with flour tortillas.

  • Yields: 8 servings
  • Preparation Time: 40 minutes

Sandy's Super Burrito

My cousin Sandy utilized some of the best recipes from our grandmothers cooking to generate this recipe for the best burrito ever conceived. One of these burritos is a meal in itself. Use this recipe to impress friends or family. The recipes for the chili Colorado, refried beans and Spanish rice are included in this book. These burritos can be made from the leftovers of a previous meal. Make these burritos and enjoy. You will get spoiled from even the best of Mexican restaurants.
  • Chile Colorado
  • Refried beans
  • Spanish rice
  • Shredded lettuce
  • Diced tomatoes
  • Sliced avocado
  • Chopped black olives
  • Sour cream
  • Chopped green onion
  • Grated cheddar cheese
  • 6 large flour tortillas

Spoon the Chili Colorado into a large flour tortilla and add the other ingredients. Fold the tortilla on a plate and top with the red chili sauce from the Chile Colorado and top with grated cheese. Indulge and enjoy.

  • Yields: 6 servings
  • Preparation Time: 20 minutes

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