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Pati's Mexican Table : TV Recipes


CACTUS PADDLE TOSTADAS
Tostadas de nopales
Serves 8

INGREDIENTS
3 tablespoons safflower or corn oil
3 pounds fresh nopales, rinsed, cleaned and diced; or, if canned, rinsed thoroughly
1/2 pound ripe tomato, chopped
3 tablespoons white onion, chopped
1 tablespoon cilantro, chopped, optional
1 jalapeño pepper, chopped, seeding optional
1 to 2 tablespoons fresh-squeezed lime juice
Salt to taste

For the tostadas:
8 corn tostadas
1 cup refried beans
Garnishes of your choice: queso fresco, Mexican crema, avocado, salsa…

TO PREPARE
To Clean Fresh Cactus Paddles:
Rinse fresh cactus paddles under cold water, being careful not to prick your fingers with the small thorns on its surface. Using a vegetable peeler or small sharp knife, peel away the darker bumps where thorns grow, as well as the thorns, trying not to peel off all the outer dark green skin. Lay the paddles flat on a chopping board, then trim around approximately 1/4 inch of the edges and 1/2 inch of the thick base. Once cleaned, rinse and dice into 1/2-to-1-inch squares, to your liking.

To Use Cactus From A Can, Bag or Jar:
After you have removed the diced cactus from the jar or can, rinse it under water and drain well.

To Cook the Cactus:
Heat two tablespoons of the oil in a thick, large-sized skillet (one that has a lid) over medium-high heat. Add the diced cactus, stir in the salt and stir for a minute or two. Place the lid on the skillet.

Reduce the heat to medium and let the cactus cook and sweat for about 20 minutes, until it has exuded a gelatinous liquid that will begin to dry out (NOTE: If using cactus from a can or jar, already cleaned and cooked, just cook for an additional five minutes).

Take the lid off the skillet, stir and make sure most of that gelatinous substance has dried up. If it hasn’t, let the cactus cook for a few more minutes until it does. Let the cactus cool slightly. In a mixing bowl, toss the cactus with the tomato, onion, jalapeño, cilantro, lime juice and salt. Like this, it can be eaten as a cactus paddle, nopal salad!

To Assemble the Tostadas:
Spread a layer of refried beans on each tostada. Spoon some the cooked cactus mixture on top, and add the garnishes of your choice. I add avocado slices, queso fresco, Mexican crema and salsa verde!


ZUCCHINI SOUP WITH TORTILLA CRISPS
Sopa de calabacita con totopos
Serves 4 to 6

INGREDIENTS
1 tablespoon corn or safflower oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup white onion, chopped
1 cup leeks, white and light green parts, sliced
1 jalapeño chile, sliced in half, seeding optional
3 pounds green zucchini, ends removed, diced
5 cups vegetable broth
1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt, more or less to taste
1/2 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground, or more to taste

To Garnish:
1 1/2 cups tortilla crisps or totopos, optional
1 cup oaxaca cheese, or mozarella, diced, optional

TO PREPARE
In a soup pot set over medium-low heat, add butter and oil. Once the butter bubbles, stir in the onion, leeks and jalapeño. Cook, stirring sporadically, until the onion has softened, its color has become translucent, and the edges are beginning to brown lightly, about 12 to 15 minutes.

Raise the heat to medium, incorporate the zucchini and cook for about 3 to 4 minutes, stirring here and there. Pour in the broth, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Let it simmer for about 10 minutes, until the zucchini is thoroughly cooked and the soup has seasoned. Remove from the heat and let it cool slightly.

Place it all in the blender in batches and purée until smooth. Return the soup to the pot and let it thoroughly heat over medium heat. Serve very hot. Either spoon some diced cheese and totopos into each soup bowl right before eating, or let your guests add as much as they fancy.


ADOBO FISH TACOS WITH GRILLED PINEAPPLE SALSA
Tacos de pescado adobado con salsa de piña
Serves 6

INGREDIENTS
2 oz or 3 ancho chiles, rinsed, stemmed and seeded
1/2 cup white onion, coarsely-chopped
2 garlic cloves, peeled
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon brown sugar
3/4 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 pound of mild and firm fish fillets like snapper, striped bass, rock fish, snook or tilapia
4 pineapple slices
1 jalapeño or serrano chile, chopped, or to taste
3 tablespoons chopped cilantro
1 tablespoon freshly-squeezed lime juice, or to taste
1 tablespoon olive oil
Kosher or coarse sea salt, to taste
Corn tortillas

TO PREPARE
To make the Adobo Sauce:
Cover the chiles with boiling hot water and let them soak for 10 minutes. Pace the chiles along with 1/2 cup of soaking liquid, onion, garlic, oregano, vinegar, sugar and salt in the blender. Purée until smooth.

In a saucepan set over medium heat, heat the oil. Once hot, pour the sauce into the oil; cover the saucepan, leaving it slightly open, and let the sauce season and thicken for 6 to 8 minutes, stirring here and there. Remove from the heat.

To make the Fish:
Baste the fish fillets with the adobo sauce; you may refrigerate them and let them marinate for up to 24 hours.

In a large skillet coated with oil and set over medium-high heat, cook the fish for about 3 to 4 minutes per side.

To make the Salsa:
Heat a grill pan, a grill or a nonstick skillet over medium heat until hot and lightly coat with safflower or corn oil. Cook the pineapple slices for about 4 minutes per side until they are slightly charred. Remove from the heat, once cool enough to handle cut into bite-size chunks. Place in a mixing bowl and toss with the cilantro, chile, lime juice, oil and salt to taste.

To assemble Tacos:
Place the warm tortillas, the pineapple salsa and the fish on the table, then assemble the tacos!


LIME-RUBBED CHICKEN TACOS WITH CORN GUACAMOLE
Tacos de pollo con guacamole con elote
Serves 6 to 8

INGREDIENTS
Chicken Ingredients:
1 1/2 pounds boneless chicken breasts
2 tablespoons fresh-squeezed lime juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper, or to taste
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary, or 1/4 teaspoon dried

Corn Guacamole Ingredients:
2 large ripe Mexican avocados, halved, pitted and diced
1 jalapeño chile, roasted, chopped, or to taste
2 garlic cloves, roasted with the skin on, peeled and minced
3/4 cup corn kernels, shaved from corn, or cooked from thawed
3/4 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, halved or chopped
1 tablespoon fresh-squeezed lime juice
3/4 teaspoon kosher or sea salt, or to taste

To assemble Tacos:
10-12 corn tortillas, homemade or store-bought

TO PREPARE
To make the Chicken:
Mix the lime juice with the olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper and rosemary in a bowl. Pour on top of the chicken, in a container. Cover and refrigerate anywhere from 1/2 hour up to 12 hours.

Heat a medium-sized sauté or grill pan over medium-high heat. Add corn or safflower oil; once it is hot but not smoking, add the chicken. Sauté until golden brown and cooked through, about 5 minutes per side. Remove from the pan, place on chopping board to cool. When cool enough to handle, slice into diagonal strips about a 1/2-inch wide.

To make the Guacamole:
Place the jalapeño and garlic cloves in a small baking dish under the broiler, for 6 to 9 minutes, until completely cooked through, soft and skin is charred. Once cool enough to handle, peel garlic and mince along with chiles.

Place diced avocado in a mixing bowl. Add the charred and minced garlic and jalapeños, gently tossing everything together well. Incorporate the corn and tomatoes. Squeeze the lime juice on top and sprinkle the salt. Mix it all together.

To assemble Tacos:
In an already hot skillet or comal set over medium-low heat, heat the tortillas. It will take about 1 minute per side.

Place the tortillas in a tortilla warmer or wrap them in a clean kitchen towel or cloth napkin. Serve them together with the guacamole and the chicken at the table and assemble your tacos!


BRICKLAYER-STYLE BEEF TACOS
Tacos al albañil
Serves 6 to 8

INGREDIENTS
8 oz bacon, sliced
2 pounds beef sirloin or tenderloin, cut into 1″ pieces
Kosher or sea salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 cups white onion, slivered or sliced
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 jalapeño chile, sliced, seeding optional, or to taste
1 pound ripe Roma tomatoes
Flour or corn tortillas

TO PREPARE
Place tomatoes in a baking dish and under the broiler for 6 to 9 minutes, until charred, mushy and juices have begun to run. Once cool, roughly chop, but don’t discard the juices.

Heat the skillet, add the bacon and cook until it is crisp and browned, about 5 minutes. Add the meat and season with salt and pepper and sear for about 2 minutes per side.

Add in the onion and jalapeño and let them soften for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the garlic and before it browns, in less than a minute, add the chopped tomatoes. Stir here and there and let it all season for about 4 to 5 minutes.

In a skillet or comal, set over medium-low heat, heat the tortillas. It will take about 1 minute per side. Place the tortillas in a tortilla warmer or wrap them in a clean kitchen towel or cloth napkin.

Serve along with the tenderloin tips; guests can fill the tortillas with the amount of filling they desire.


GLAZED SANTA CLARA COOKIES
Tortitas de Santa Clara
Makes about 24 3-inch round cookies

INGREDIENTS
For the Dough:
1 stick unsalted butter (4 oz)
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
3 cups flour, plus more for rolling out dough
3 egg yolks
1/2 cup lukewarm water

For the Glaze:
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup water
3 cups raw and hulled pumpkin seeds or slivered almonds
1/2 cup milk

To Blanch the Pumpkin Seeds:
1/2 teaspoon baking powder or baking soda

TO PREPARE
To Prepare the Cookies:
In the bowl of a mixer, beat the butter on medium speed until creamy. Reduce speed to lowest setting and gently add the confectioners’ sugar and baking powder. Continue mixing until everything is incorporated.

Add the flour, one cup at a time, and then the egg yolks, one at a time; continue beating for a minute. Pour in the water and continue mixing until the dough is smooth and can form a ball. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and place it in the refrigerator. Let it cool until it hardens enough to be manageable, at least 1/2 hour (can refrigerate up to a couple of days).

When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 375 degrees and cover a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Place half the dough on a piece of lightly floured parchment paper, sprinkle some flour over it and then place another piece of parchment paper on top. Use a rolling pin to gently roll out the dough, to about 1/4-inch thick. Remove the top piece of parchment paper and cut out circles with a round, 3-inch cookie cutter. With a smaller cookie cutter, make a circular indention in the middle of each cookie, without cutting all the way through the dough (there should be about a 1/4-inch space between the indentation and the edge). Press the edges of each cookie with a fork, as if marking the edges of a pie. Repeat the process with the remaining dough and roll it out again, making as many cookies as possible.

Space the cookies at least 1/4-inch apart on a cookie sheet and bake for about 10 minutes, until they are fully cooked and the bottoms are lightly browned. Remove from the oven and let cool; repeat with the remaining cookies.

To Prepare the Base for the Glaze:
To make the candied pumpkin seed glaze white, as the nuns of the Santa Clara convent traditionally used to, prepare the pumpkin seeds this way:

Bring water to a boil in a small saucepan, add pumpkin seeds, simmer about 5 minutes and turn off the heat. Let it cool, stir in baking soda or powder and let it sit overnight. With your hands, rub the pumpkin seeds between your fingers and thumbs to try to release their skins. The skins will float in the water. Carefully pour off the water, cover again with clean water and drain again. With a slotted spatula, place the pumpkin seeds on a clean kitchen towel, rubbing them so that the remaining skins come entirely off. Place the seeds in a bowl, cover them with water, rinse and place them on a cloth towel or paper towels to dry.

To make the candied pumpkin seed glaze green, which is a lot less work, prepare the seeds this way:

Place hulled, unsalted pumpkin seeds in the jar of a blender or food processor and grind completely.

To make the a white glaze that’s even easier, just:

Place already-blanched, slivered almonds in the jar of a blender or food processor and grind completely.

To Prepare the Glaze:
In a medium saucepan, place the sugar and 1/4 cup of water over medium low heat. Cook until the sugar has completely melted into the water, is no longer granulated and appears to be light syrup, 8 to 10 minutes.

Add the ground pumpkin seeds or almonds and stir well, creating a thick paste. Let the mixture cook for another 3 to 4 minutes — it will thicken and become even more pasty. Turn off the heat, pour in the milk and stir well. It should be thick yet shiny and a bit more liquid.

Remove the mixture from the heat and let it cool until it slightly thickens and can top the cookie without spilling all over. It will spread as it settles, but if it has cooled enough it will not be too runny. Yet, before it completely cools and hardens. If it does harden, just heat the mixture over low heat with a tablespoon of water until it becomes runny again.

To Assemble the Cookies:
Once the cookies have cooled, add about one tablespoon glaze to each cookie.


CHICKEN TINGA
Tinga de pollo
Makes about 5 cups (serves 4-6)

INGREDIENTS
3 tablespoons safflower or corn oil
1/2 white onion, slivered
2 garlic cloves, chopped
8 Roma tomatoes, or 2 lbs, rinsed
2 tomatillos, or 1/4 lb, husked and rinsed
1/2 teaspoon crumbled dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon dried marjoram
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1 1/2 teaspoon sea or kosher salt, or to taste
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper, or more to taste
2 tablespoons sauce from chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
1 whole chipotle chile in adobo sauce, optional
5 cups cooked shredded chicken

To Serve (quantities as desired):
Corn tostadas, store bought or home made
Refried beans
Shredded iceberg lettuce
Queso fresco or cotija, crumbled
Avocado slices

TO PREPARE
Place tomatoes and tomatillos in a medium saucepan, cover with water. Bring it to a simmer and cook for about 10 minutes, or until tomatoes and tomatillos are soft, thoroughly cooked and mushy but not falling apart.

Remove tomatoes and tomatillos with a slotted spoon, and place them in the jar of a blender or food processor and process until smooth.

Heat the oil in a large and deep pan over medium heat; once it is hot but not smoking, stir in the onion and cook until soft and translucent, for about 5 to 6 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook until the onion and garlic mixture becomes fragrant and lightly browned, about 1 minute.

Pour the tomato/tomatillo sauce on top and add the oregano, marjoram, thyme, salt, black pepper and the chipotle chiles in adobo sauce (if you want more heat add an entire chipotle chile in adobo sauce). Let it simmer, stirring now and then, until it seasons and deepens to a deep red color, about 10 to 12 minutes. You may want to partially cover the pan as the sauce will want to jump out onto your burners.

Add the shredded chicken and combine it with the sauce. Let it cook, occasionally stirring, until the chicken has absorbed almost all of the juices and the mixture is moist but not juicy.

To assemble the Tostadas: Spread refried beans on a tostada, add the chicken tinga mixture, top with shredded lettuce, avocado slices, crumbled cheese and, if you want some, cream too. You may also serve with salsa verde on the side.


CREAMY POBLANO SOUP
Crema Poblana
Serves 6

INGREDIENTS
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 cups white onion, chopped
5 to 6 poblano peppers, roasted, sweated, peeled, seeded and diced
2 cups corn kernels, fresh or thawed
1/2 teaspoon kosher or coarse sea salt, or to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
3 cups chicken broth
1 cup milk
Queso Fresco, crumbled, optional

TO PREPARE
Place a large soup pot over medium heat; add oil and butter. Once the butter melts and begins to sizzle, add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion has completely softened, and the edges have begun to brown, about 10 to 12 minutes.

Add the poblano chiles, stir and let them cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Make some room in the middle of the pot, and add the corn, sprinkle the salt and pepper and cook for another 3 to 4 minutes.

Pour in the chicken broth, let it come to a simmer and cook for 5 more minutes, so that the flavors have had the chance to really blend.

Reduce the heat to low, wait for about a minute, and gently pour in the milk. Heat the soup through, for about 6 to 8 minutes, and serve. If you make it ahead of time, and want to reheat it, do so over low-medium heat.


IMPOSSIBLE CHOCOFLAN
Chocoflan imposible
Makes 12 servings

INGREDIENTS
To Prepare the Molds or Ramekins:
Enough butter to coat 12 molds
1 cup cajeta or La Lechera dulce de leche

For the Cake:
4 oz or 1 stick of unsalted butter
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup cocoa
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
Pinch of salt
3/4 cup buttermilk

For the Flan:
1 12-oz can evaporated milk
1 14-oz can La Lechera sweetened condensed milk
4 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla

For the Garnish:
1/3 cup toasted pecans, chopped

TO PREPARE
Set the oven to 350 degrees. Butter the bottom and sides of each ramekin or mold until evenly spread. Pour the cajeta into the buttered molds, distributing evenly between all 12.

To Make the Cake Base:
In a mixing bowl, beat the butter and sugar with an electric mixer at medium-high speed until fluffy. Then, beat in the egg. In a separate bowl, mix the flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

At medium-low speed, beat in half of the flour mixture and half of the buttermilk into the butter/sugar mixture. Then, beat in the remaining halves. Make sure you scrape the side of the bowl so all of the ingredients mix evenly. Put the mixer on medium-high speed and beat for an additional minute.

To Make the Flan:
Place the eggs, vanilla, evaporated milk and sweetened condensed milk in a blender and puree until smooth.

To Prepare the Entire Dish:
Pour the cake batter into each ramekin or mold. Then, pour the flan mixture on top, it will look messy, but don’t worry, that’s how it’s supposed to be! Place the ramekins in a large pan or baking dish. Pour hot water into the dish up to halfway the height of the molds. Cover the dish with aluminum foil and seal.

Place the in the oven and bake for about 50 to 55 minutes, or until the surface of each cake feels solid, looks baked and a wooden toothpick comes out moist but not wet.

Remove from the oven. Be careful when you open the aluminum foil as the steam will be very hot. Once cool enough to handle, remove the ramekins out of the water bath. Once cool, cover with plastic and refrigerate at least 2 hours before eating.

When ready to serve, run the tip of a knife around the ramekin and place it cake-side down onto a plate. Lift the mold up. Drizzle with any cajeta from the mold and decorate with chopped pecans.


EVERYDAY GREEN SALAD
Ensalada de todos los dí­as
Serves 6

INGREDIENTS
1 head butter lettuce or red leaf lettuce
1/3 cup white distilled vinegar
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup olive oil
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 garlic clove, minced
1/3 cup red onion, thinly sliced
1 1/2 teaspoon kosher or coarse sea salt, or to taste
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar, or to taste
4 carrots, or 3/4 lb, peeled, thinly sliced
1 large cucumber, or 3/4 lb, peeled, seeded, sliced
2 ripe tomatoes, or 3/4 lb, quartered, seeded, sliced
1 large ripe Mexican avocado, halved, pitted, sliced

TO PREPARE
In a plastic container that has a lid, add the vinegar, vegetable and olive oils, Dijon mustard, garlic, onion, salt, black pepper and sugar. Cover the container with a lid and shake for 10 seconds until the vinaigrette is well emulsified. Alternatively, you can also whisk with a fork in a bowl.

Place the lettuce, carrots, cucumber and tomato in a large salad bowl. Pour a generous amount of the vinaigrette on top and toss. The salad should be coated with the vinaigrette but not swimming in it.

Top with avocado slices, drizzle a bit more vinaigrette on top of and serve.


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