Tag Archives: tortillas

Grilled Philly Cheese Steak Quesadillas

Skirt Steak Quesadillas 1It is 20 degrees outside and the temperature is falling at a precipitous pace. The Peoples of the South are not built for this kind of catastrophic weather. I was at my beloved Publix today, getting a few supplies for this second damn Polar Vortex that is bellowing below the Mason-Dixon Line. It was all the talk at the deli counter.

“Can you believe how hard the wind is blowing?” one man complained while sampling a slice of roast beef.

“I know,” said a woman standing beside me waiting for her Oven Gold Turkey to be sliced. “Makes you just want to stay inside.”

After ordering 20 pounds of Pesto-Parmesan Ham and adding 10 loaves of bread to my buggy, I braved the howling Vortexian winds and headed home. I have to be honest. I’m not grilling tonight. But as soon as the thermometer heads above 30, I’ll be back out there to make my Grilled Philly Cheese Steak Quesadillas. If you want the recipe, head on over to the Char-Broil LIVE site and take a look. I also give you an essential tip on how to slice skirt steak so it’s super tender every time.

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Grilled chicken enchiladas

Grilled chicken enchiladas

So King Daddy and I were discussing the University of Tennessee football schedule this evening. We are, of course, always completely convinced that the Vols will have an undefeated season each and every year. Sadly, we have been proven tragically wrong the past few years.

But this year, we begin the season with Austin Peay – pronounced “Pee” for those of you who are not from around here and famous for it’s football cheer: “Let’s go Peay!” Then we play Western Kentucky. Alrighty, we should be 2-0 after the first two weeks. Then, sadly, things go downhill from there. But we have a new coach and nobody on the team has been arrested yet, so I think we may have a shot this year. My late and beloved father-in-law, Paul Harbin, always thought the Vols would win every game no matter the shortcomings of the team. I am channeling Paul right now. Divine intervention, if you please.

Win or lose, a girl and her King have to eat. So  hop on over to the Char-Broil LIVE site for my grilled chicken enchiladas. It’s perfect do-ahead food just in case the Vols are ahead and you’re actually hungry.

 

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Huevos Rancheros

 

So it is Tax Day. Boo hoo. Mark and I timed our marriage date poorly because we tied the knot on April 14. So every anniversary is the day before Tax Day. Needless to say, we do not go all out on anniversary presents. Once again, boo hoo.

Last night, in celebration of our 22nd anniversary and to note the fact that we have no money because it is, yes, Tax Day, I made Huevos Rancheros, a traditional Mexican dish served as a mid-morning meal on poor farms. I have some mint and rosemary growing in a pot by the garage so I think that qualifies Casa de la Mayhew as a poor farm.

And because I was doing this on the cheap I used what I already had in the pantry and fridge. I would like to say that I settled on pureed lentils from a can of lentil soup instead of re-fried beans because the lentils are healthier. But that would be a lie. Mark wanted lentil soup when he was sick about a year ago and then he got well and he didn’t want it anymore. But with the addition of some ancho chile powder and cumin it made a fine stand-in for re-fried beans.

I would also like to point out the irony that my husband will never, ever order sunny-side-eggs for breakfast but he will happily eat one when I tell him the yolk makes a “sauce.” He’s so easily led.

Huevos Rancheros

For the pureed lentils:

1 19-ounce can lentil soup (Progresso), drained and pureed in a blender

½ teaspoon ancho chile powder

¼ teaspoon cumin

Salt to taste

Heat the puree in a saucepan after blending.

 

For the tomato sauce:

½ cup diced red onion

1 tablespoon chopped green chiles

1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes, drained

¼ teaspoon cumin

¼ teaspoon smoked paprika

¼ cup red wine

Salt and pepper to taste

Saute the onions and chiles in 1 tablespoon of oil until they are translucent and beginning to brown. Add the tomatoes, cumin, paprika, red wine, salt and pepper and simmer until sauce thickens.

 

8 6-inch flour tortillas

4 eggs

Mexican melting cheese (or any cheese you have on hand), grated

Fry the tortillas in a dry pan until they are browned and crisped. Reserve.

Heat 1 teaspoon of butter in the same pan and fry the eggs.

To assemble: Place a tortilla on a plate. Top with the lentil puree and sprinkle with grated cheese. Add another tortilla and top with the tomato sauce and an egg.

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Southern fried fish tacos

I am torn as to the theme of this post. Using things up or stuff I always have on hand. Let’s vote. Who wants using things up? Anyone? Anyone? Well, alrighty then. It’s stuff I always have on hand.

I am very proud to say that of the 14 ingredients in this recipe I only had to buy three – tilapia filets (it’s never wise to always have fish on hand), cilantro and a lime. Everything else was already happily residing in my fridge or pantry. I always keep mayonnaise on hand, but that’s not unusual in the South. We use mayonnaise, preferably Duke’s, on everything. I hope I don’t get diabetes like poor old Paula Deen. I always have sour cream on hand because it’s a key ingredient in my mashed potatoes, which I make about every third day because who doesn’t like mashed potatoes? Cabbage – from the farmer’s market and it keeps for like two years in the fridge. Mexican melting cheese. A must have for quick quesadillas. Buttermilk. Buttermilk? Who keeps buttermilk on hand? Well, do you fry? Do you? Raise your hand. If you fry, you must dredge and if you dredge you must have a liquid vehicle for the flour/cornmeal to adhere to. Thank you. Have buttermilk on hand. Don’t drink it, of course. It’s nasty.

And cornmeal. Not cornmeal flour. Actual cornmeal. I keep mine in the freezer. It’s an old habit born of living in Florida where critters can invade your cornmeal and flour. There’s nothing more disgusting, except for cockroaches.

So I am pretty proud of this recipe. My original intent was to make tradition fish tacos with a beer batter. But then I decided to bread the fish with cornmeal. Good call. And if you are of the (old) school that fish and cheese don’t go together, you are just slap wrong. Just consider lobster mac and cheese. Or a McDonald’s filet o’ fish sandwich. I rest my case. And if you didn’t know that some serious foodies have a thing about fish and cheese then I’m sorry I brought it up.

Southern Fried Fish Tacos

1 cup mayonnaise

1 cup sour cream

2 tablespoons chopped cilantro

Juice of one lime

1 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon cumin

Peanut oil

4 tilapia filets

1 cup buttermilk

Cornmeal

Salt

8 small tortillas

2 cups shredded cabbage

2 cups shredded Mexican melting cheese (or any type you like)

Combine the first six ingredients in a small bowl and let chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.

Heat about a half inch of peanut oil to 350 degrees or until it bubbles immediately when you put the handle of a wooden spoon in the pan.

Cut the tilapia filets lengthwise to separate the thick and thin portions. Then cut each piece in half widthwise. Place the buttermilk in one bowl and the cornmeal in another. Soak the filets in buttermilk and then dredge in the cornmeal.

Fry the tilapia until golden brown on both sides. Drain on a wire rack and immediately sprinkle with salt. Heat the tortillas wrapped in paper towels in the microwave for about 20 seconds.

Top the tortillas with the fish, cabbage, cheese and sauce.

 

 

 

 

 

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Chorizo

So, ya’ll, life was tough for the Mayhew family when we moved to Reno, Nevada. It’s amazing to me that a region of the United States of America could be so lacking in essential food items. There were no ripe tomatoes. Ever. There was no country ham, no grits and no cornmeal. Well, they had cornmeal, but it was ground for tortillas. If you tried to make cornbread with it your teeth would fall out from the impact.

However, as always, there is something to be taken from a culture other than Southern. I will admit that before we moved to Reno I did not imagine there was any place in the world that did not have Tennessee Pride sausage. In the one-pound plastic sleeve, of course. Reno did not offer Tennessee Pride or any other kind of bulk sausage.

But then I met Armando Durazo, who rocked my world and changed my life. Armando was the city editor at the Reno Gazette-Journal when I was the features editor. He came from a proud Mexican family that had not strayed far from their culinary heritage. Thank goodness. One day he told me he was going home to Tuscon and wondered if I wanted him to bring me some homemade tortillas and chorizo. Well, I jumped at the tortillas. The ladies who make them by hand use lard, for God’s sake. But I didn’t know about chorizo.

Is it like Tennessee Pride? I was so provincial then.

No it is not. Mexican chorizo is a beautiful thing unto itself. When Armando returned with my stash, he offered to make us chorizo and eggs. He took the chorizo out of the casing and browned it in a skillet, producing a lovely orange oil as the chorizo cooked. Then he added in some beaten eggs and scrambled them. Then he enfolded the mixture in warm tortillas. Heaven. Chorizo and eggs is still one of my favorite breakfasts.

Nowadays, I almost always have chorizo on hand. Thank goodness Nashville’s culinary footprint has expanded from the Red Lobster and now includes a number of fabulous ethnic options. My chorizo comes from the La Hacienda store, which has been around at least fifteen years and has the best Mexican pastries in Tennessee. How happy am I that I can say that?

Last night, I was hankering for pizza. I am not going to give you a recipe for this. It’s pizza. You can make it however you want. But here’s what I did. Got my easy-peasy Publix pizza dough, divided it in half and made Mark roll it out because he’s better at making really thin discs than I am. Browned a couple links of chorizo after removing the meat from the casing. Reserved the meat and browned one yellow pepper and a half a red onion in the delicious chorizo grease. Sprinkled dough with oregano, added about a half pound of shredded Monterey Jack cheese, topped with chorizo, peppers and onion and baked on a pizza stone at 525 degrees for eight minutes.

This was what I called a refrigerator meal. Everything on the pizza was just hanging out in the Mayhew fridge. If you ordered this pizza in a restaurant it would cost you $18 I guarantee.

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Noah cooks

“Mom, do you mind if I take some leftovers in the refrigerator and make something?” Noah calls from the kitchen.

What? Noah? Make something? My 17-year-old son is conversant with Ramen. He’s all about the frozen taquitos. But he is not a cook. Or at least I didn’t think he was a cook.

So I hear pans rattling around in the kitchen. I decide to remain in Farm Town, harvesting my virtual crops rather than rush into the kitchen to confront reality. I don’t want to know.

But then I do want to know. I want to know the kitchen is not on fire. I want to know there are not finger fragments mixed in with whatever he’s making. But, of course, he would have screamed so I am safe there. I leave my virtual life and head to the kitchen. And there he is with something that looks utterly delicious in the pan.

You might want to write this down. He’s taken some leftover pork loin and cubed it up. He added some leftover rice, diced onion, butter, soy sauce, chipotle hot sauce, cheddar cheese and rosemary and sauteed it in a pan.Then he took some corn tortillas, filled them with the pork mixture and fried them in another pan in a little oil.

By the way, Mark and I totally disagree on the difference between sauteing and frying. I think there’s really no difference. Mark says frying is sauteing “with an attitude.”

But I digress.

What Noah made was absolutely delicious. I don’t mean it was good for a 17-year-old who doesn’t cook. I mean it was really tasty… period. Mark ate about four of these things and I ate one and I wasn’t even hungry.

This development, of course, has totally screwed up my plans to become a helicopter when Noah goes to college. I was planning on swooping in and hovering over his communal kitchen, whipping up all kinds of treats. Maybe I could even get a dorm room. Nobody would notice a 57-year-old woman living in a college dorm, right? I don’t look that old.

I am, of course, teasing about moving into Noah’s dorm. Sort of. And I am proud of him. If you think this whole one-night cooking episode is a fluke, it is not. Tonight, with a little help from me, he made lemon pork chops, and roasted potatoes, carrots and parsnips. I am sad to say they were almost as good as mine. Almost.

But I do still have one trump card. When I told him I was going to write about his new-found cooking prowess, he told me he wanted to name his pork and tortilla recipe “Corn Pork Shards.”  That’s all I need to say about that, isn’t it?

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