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Mexican

Cosme – New York, NY

SO GOOD!  It’s no wonder this is supposedly President Obama’s favorite restaurant in NYC.  We were recommended this restaurant by a very trustworthy Seattle chef/friend and now I want to fly to Mexico City to try Chef Enrique Olvera’s Pujol and eno and then to Cabo for Manta.

Who knew Mexican fare could be so refined and modern?!  Stunning stunning food.  My mouth is still salivating thinking about the brown butter on the lobster and the duck carnitas.  I also have to mention how incredible the staff was.  Our server couldn’t have been more friendly and welcoming.  He has fabulous suggestions and just made the night that much more enjoyable.  You won’t regret this dinner choice.  Go for a drink beforehand and take in the cool space.

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Tuna tostada, daisy capers, yuzu, avocado

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Lobster, shiso, ginger mojo, brown butter

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Mole verde, pine nuts, chile güero, brussels sprouts, kale

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Duck carnitas, onions, radishes, cilantro

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Huckleberry raspado, cheese, coconut milk, lime

Joe Jack’s Red Snapper

I blogged about Joe Jack’s Fish Shack in Puerto Vallarta because of this dish.  Every time I go down there this is #1 on my list of things to eat.  It’s so fresh, full of flavor and light at the same time.  Hands down one of my favorite dishes and now I have the recipe for myself thanks to the oh-so-friendly owner who had no hesitation in giving it to me the last time I was down there (thank you!).  And now I’m sharing it with you!

Each fish serves about 2

Ingredients

  • 1.5 -2 lb red snapper or other whole fish (scaled and gutted, very important)
  • 1-2 teaspoons of “huacho salt”
  • 4 Tablespoons of slivered garlic olive oil
  • 5-8 cloves of garlic poached in butter
  • 5-7 whole dry chile de arbol
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh squeezed lime juice

Huacho salt

  • 2 Tablespoons fennel seeds
  • 1 Tablespoon coriander seeds
  • 1 Tablespoon cumin seeds
  • 2 Tablespoons whole black pepper
  • 5 ea. Clove
  • 1 stick cinnamon (broken)
  • 4 chile de arbol (seeds o.k.)
  • 12 Tablespoons kosher or sea salt

yields about 1 ½ cups

Directions

Huacho Salt:

Toast all spices except salt and black peppercorns in a sauté pan on very low heat until smoking. Let cool and add black peppercorns. Grind in a spice grinder (coffee grinder) or blender or morder and pestle. Combine with the salt.

You can save and use this on anything. It will add a great interesting flavor to anything you can imagine.

Poached garlic:

IMG_6782To poach the garlic, slowly heat butter (enough to cover) and garlic cloves until cloves  just give to the touch. You can do more of this as well and just keep it in the fridge to use later in the week, but not too long as it will get rancid.

Whole Red Snapper:

IMG_6787Score the fish three or four times (or more if its bigger fish) on each side and liberally season with the salt mixture. Liberally douse the fish with the slivered garlic oil on one side and place on a medium temperature griddle or grill or large sauté pan or even a baking dish (preheat oven to 425˚F if using oven method), again liberally slather the top side with the same.  (feel free to stuff the fish with garden herbs and lemon or lime and if it’s a bigger fish also liberally salt the inside of cavity as well)

Place on griddle or grill or sauté pan on one side and cover. If its in an oven do not cover (cook for approx. 30 mins, 15 mins on each side or when done).

When fish is about half done on topside, flip the fish to the other side and cover again.

When the “new” topside is just cooked or rather almost cooked to the bone (the scores let you peek). You are pretty assured that the downside is also done.

Note:  an important thing to remember is that over cooked fish is way worse than under cooked fish. Most likely the residual heat from the cooking, will continue cooking the fish at the bone.

Place the fish on a serving platter.

IMG_6794In a separate hot sauté pan, put in the butter and poached garlic, a pinch of salt, and four or five more whole chilies. When the butter starts to brown, add the lime juice, and pour it all over the fish.  Garnish with fresh cilantro leaves, lime halves, and serve with fresh tortillas and beans and rice.

Baja Fish Tacos

During the summer months I tend to have a serious craving for fish tacos.  They’re not too heavy and have all the flavors of summer that I love.  I found this recipe that I had printed a long time ago and decided to give it a whirl.  Good thing I did…VERY tasty and I’ll definitely be making these again.  I used rockfish instead of magi-mahi which was delicious but either will do.

Ingredients

  • 2 lb mahi-mahi
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 tbsp lime juice
  • 5 tsp chili powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 1/2 tsp minced garlic
  • Salt, to taste
  • 8 flour tortillas, 8 inches in diameter
  • Southwestern Slaw
  • 1 cup Pico de Gallo
  • 1/2 cup Mexican Crema

Directions

Preheat a gas grill to medium-high. If you are using a charcoal grill, build a fire and let it burn down until the coals are glowing red with a moderate coating of white ash. Spread the coals in an even bed. Clean the cooking grate.

Cut the mahi-mahi into 16 equal slices.

Combine the oil, lime juice, chili powder, cumin, coriander, garlic, and salt. Coat the mahi-mahi with the marinade.

Grill the fish on the first side over direct heat until the flesh is firm and well-marked, about 2 minutes. Turn the fish and grill until cooked through, about 1 1/2 to 2 minutes more.

Grill the tortillas until they have light grill marks and are heated through, about 15 seconds on the first side. Turn the tortillas and grill them until they just start to bubble, another 15 seconds.

Center 2 pieces of grilled fish on each tortilla, and top with the Southwestern Slaw and Pico de Gallo. Add a dollop of Mexican Crema, fold in half, and serve immediately.

La Condesa – Napa, CA

While strolling down Main Street in cute St. Helena I couldn’t help but notice this hip new Mexican joint and I couldn’t wait to try it.  When you walk in you are immediately struck by the vibrant blue painted walls that look something reminiscent of Carrie Bradshaw’s closet in Sex and The City only a tad bit little brighter!

The menu is loaded with flavor punching Mexican favorites with a new twist to them such as the pickled strawberry, roasted pepitas and queso fresco guacamole.  Say what?!  Another dish that stood out to me was the Panza de Puerco Huaraches with pork belly, blue cheese, fig jam, black pepper caramel, arugula and tomatillo.  Wowzers!  I’m not even sure what to say except that I’m looking forward to going back just to try some of their interesting modern Mexican dishes.

I chose to take them up on their $15 lunch special which included a salad, 2 tacos of my choice, rice, beans and a scoop of ice cream for dessert.  Perfect!  PS – the Cream Cheese Ice Cream is delicious!  Tastes just like frozen cheesecake…yum!

Casa Salad – mixed greens, queso fresco, avocado, tortilla strips and balsamic vinaigrette

Cochinita Pibil Taco – seville orange-banana leaf marinated berkshire pork, cabbage, pickled red onion and pickled jalapeño & Pescado Taco – griddled pacific rockfish, cabbage, salsa de arbol, pico de gallo, and chipotle mayo

Coffee Chip Ice Cream

C Casa – Napa, CA

For those of you who have been to the Oxbow Market in Napa you already know how incredible it is!  Although I had been there once before, I hadn’t actually eaten at any of the stalls.  On a recent trip down I needed a quick bite and decided on C Casa.  The menu made it hard for me to narrow down my choices…everything sounded so fresh and yummy.  I settled on the C Chop Salad and one salmon taco which was a special that day.  YUM!  I chose well:)  And I would definitely order them again.

There’s a charming outdoor space where you pick your order up right at the window otherwise there’s ample space inside.

C Chop Salad – with queso fresco, red bell peppers, pumpkin seeds & creamy cilantro lime dressing

Grilled Salmon Taco – with grilled corn relish, poblanos, green onions, romaine, garlic aioli, micro greens and avocado crema

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