Chipotle Crema

  I based this on what was sitting on the tables at Mariscos Chihuahua.  This recipe is quick, easy and kicks ass.

...and it makes mean fish tacos.

Ingredients:

● One 15 oz container crema Mexicana (if you can’t find it, you can use Greek yogurt or make a crème fraîche facsimile from the recipe here.)

●  2 large peppers from a can of chipotles in adobo sauce.  Want it hotter?: add a few drops of the adobo sauce.  Want it milder?: I don’t know you.

● ½ tsp of garlic powder

● ½ tsp of kosher salt

Equipment Needed:

● Mortar and pestle or a knife and a lot of patience

● Squirt bottle (Completely optional, but convenient.  I found an empty one meant for ketchup at the grocery store for 99 cents.)

First, pulverize the shit out of the chipotles, seeds and all.  If you are using a knife at this point, try to mince it as fine as possible or it might clog the nozzle of the squirt bottle later.  Whisk the poor peppers together with the other ingredients, preferably in a container with a spout so you can pour it. (Like a large measuring glass.)  Pour into a squirt bottle and let chill a couple of hours in the fridge if possible.  Time for the smoky flavors to mix makes it better.

Let’s talk about applications…

Of course this is excellent on Mexican foods – tacos, tamales, enchiladas and the like.  It’s also perfect on seafood, chicken, burgers, BLTs, beans, baked potatoes, deli sandwiches, deep-fried vegetables and even as a salad dressing.  Pretty much anywhere you would use sour cream or mayonnaise as a condiment, it will take its place nicely as well.  It gets a lot of usage here and it’s always a sad time when we get to the bottom of the squirt bottle and it makes that empty-fart noise.

Experiment and enjoy!

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Ponche Navideno

  Ponche Navideño (Christmas Punch) is a traditional Mexican drink that is imbibed around Christmas and New Year’s Day.  In Mexico, it is often sold on the streets by vendors.  It’s a spicy mix of fruits and cinnamon that is a perfect winter-warmer for any holiday get-together – and oddly reminiscent of the best apple cider you’ve ever tasted.  Serve this and you are guaranteed to get a lot of questions from satisfied party-goers.

  First, meet the cast:

Some people add a few shelled tamarinds which give the punch a darker, richer color.

 

• 3 gallons of water

• 10 ounces of prunes

• 3 cinnamon sticks

• 4 sugar canes (I had to go to a Mexican market for these.  They really add a depth of flavor to the mix but if you can’t find them, boost the granulated amount up until it suits your tastes.)

• 7 guavas (I had never used these before.  They tasted sour – almost like a honeydew melon that wasn’t ripe.  Again, they came from the Mexican market.  I would substitute more oranges or maybe even clementines if guavas aren’t available.)

• 5 oranges

• 10 ounces of tejocotes (I wasn’t familiar with these, either but they had them.  They kind of reminded me of crabapples, except they didn’t taste as bitter.  I would guess any bitter, diced apple would make a good substitute. )

• 6 ounces of walnuts

• 2 pounds of sugar

• 1 quart of brandy (I won’t lie.  I added a lot more.)

  Wash all of the fruits.  Cut the sugar canes into sticks.  Cut the oranges and guavas into quarters.  Cut the stems off the tejocotes.  Bring everything to a boil together except for the granulated sugar and brandy.  Reduce heat, cover and simmer for an hour, preferably longer.  Ladle punch into mugs being sure to include a little bit of fruit, nuts and a sugar cane stick in each serving.  Serve piping-hot and watch out for seeds!

Bottoms up!

…and most importantly of all, HAVE A MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!