Tastes of Mexico with Pico de Gallo and Flour Tortillas

Tastes of Mexico with Pico de Gallo and Flour Tortillas

 

Our post is a day late but here we are. Welcome again to the Tastes of Mexico here at Splendid recipes and More with Norma our guest blog speaker (If you missed any posts with Norma link here and scroll the page to Speaker Norma spoke May. 4-8, 2014 on the Tastes of Mexico).

So lets get started.

SRandM: So Norma tell us what you are doing with those tomatoes?

Norma: I am dicing them up to make some Pico de Gallo.

SRandM: So how is it prepared?

Norma: Will this is what you will need.

8 fresh ripe tomatoes, seeded and diced

½ large onion, diced

1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely minced

1 bunch fresh cilantro, stems removed and finely minced

Juice from 1 fresh lime

SRandM: What kind color of onion should you use? I am asking as there are a few different colors.

Norma: Yes, the most popular one used in this dish is the yellow onion. Though you ca use the white or red onion if you want to.

You could liven up this dish by adding other ingredients like shrimp, avocado, cucumber, radish or firm fruit like mango.

I just wanted to add, that pico de gallo is much like Kenyan’s kachumbari, or chutneys made in India, but since pico de gallo contains less liquid, apart from dipping tortilla chips into it, you can also use it as a main ingredient in dishes such as tacos and fajitas.

SRandM: Wow that is good to know.

Norma: So once you have prepared the ingredients, place diced tomatoes, and onion, in a glass bowl and stir to combine. Next stir in the cilantro and lime juice. Though I would recommend adding the juice and cilantro a little at a time, tasting it with each addition until you have the flavor you like. You can also add a little salt if you like.

Serve as a side with your favorite Mexican dish, as I mentioned earlier, it could be tacos or fajitas, or by itself with corn tortilla chips.

pico de gallo

SRandM: Wow this is great Norma. Tell use about the flour tortillas that you prepared.

Norma: OK. This is how you make fresh flour tortillas. Here is what you will need.

4 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons vegetable oil

1.5 cups hot water

In a large bowl, combine dry ingredients. Then make a whole in the center and pour in the oil and hot water.

preparing Homemade Flour Tortillas

Lightly mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Next place the dough on a lightly floured surface and continue kneading until a smooth ball is formed. Divide dough into 16 equal sized portions and placing each ball into a bowl covered with a cloth.

making flour tortillas

Next place each small dough portion onto a lightly floured surface. With a floured rolling pin, roll the dough into a thin, round shape. Preheat a large dry cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add one rolled out dough circle and heat until golden brown, then flip and cook until golden brown on other side. Repeat with remaining dough pieces. Place each finished tortilla onto a plate.

After you have made your tortillas, have a medium sized piece of wax paper cut out and set aside. Now separate each tortilla and while doing so place the first one onto the wax paper and each additional over each other. Place the tortillas into a large zip lock bag. Seal and allow to cool and store in the refrigerator for up to about two weeks.

 

 

Homemade Flour Tortillas

 

SRandM: Thank you Norma for coming on Splendid recipes and More and showing us all of these great Tastes of Mexico. As well as sharing some history with us.

Norma: My pleasure. I hope your readers have enjoyed it and will be able to prepare theses Mexican delights for themselves.

SRandM: For any posts on the Tastes of Mexico with blog speaker guest Norma just link here and scroll down to – Speaker Norma spoke May. 4-8, 2014 on the Tastes of Mexico -.

 

What Others are saying About Tortillas and Pico de Gallo:

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Wonderful Beverages From Mexico

Wonderful Beverages From Mexico

Splendid Recipes and More (SRandM) present’s another post with Norma our guest blog speaker on the Tastes of Mexico. If you missed the last three conversations with Norma link here and scroll to Speaker Norma spoke May. 4-8, 2014 on the Tastes of Mexico.

Today Norma is going to present some great beverages from Mexico. What are they Norma?

Norma: Classic Margaritas on the Rocks, and Watermelon Aqua Fresca.

SRandM: OK so let’s get started.

Norma: I think the key to making a classic margarita is striking the right balance between your tequila of choice and the orange-flavored liqueur you pair with it. Strong flavored tequila needs a strong-flavored orange liqueur to stand up to it. As a result, the following is a more of a formula than a true recipe. Use your favorite tequila and orange-flavored liqueur, such as Cointreau or Grand Marnier.

SRandM: Can you use any flavor you like other than orange?

Norma: Yes, and actually a true Margarita has no flavoring other than lime. But with the new generation of Mexicans, their changing things up.

So you will need

1.5 oz. tequila

1.5 oz. orange-flavored liqueur

1.25 oz. freshly squeeze lime juice

cocktail shaker full of ice and add the tequila, orange liqueur and lime juice

Fill a cocktail shaker full of ice and add the tequila, orange liqueur and lime juice.

Classic Margarita on the Rocks

Shake vigorously to combine and pour into salt-rimmed margarita glasses filled with ice. Serve with a wedge of lime, if desired.

Note this is a strong drink when first poured. The flavors will mellow a bit as the ice melts.

SRandM: OK Norma, while I enjoy this Margarita you just made…what do you have for us next?

Norma: Will I have a drink that is light and refreshing. It’s a popular drink in Mexico and is perfect for hot summer afternoons. It can be made with any number of fresh fruits, but melons are the most popular. While this beverage is non-alcoholic, rum or tequila and triple sec can be added to create a delicious adults-only beverage.

I am going to prepare a  Watermelon Aqua Fresca. Here is what you will need:

6 cups watermelon, seeded

1¼ cup water

1½ limes, juiced

4 tablespoons honey

½ lime, sliced

Fresh mint leaves

ice

Add the watermelon, water and lime juice to a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. If any seeds or large chunks remain, strain through a sieve to remove.

Pour the blended juice into a pitcher and stir in honey until blended, though you can replace the honey sugar. Now crush the mint leaves with your fingers and put them in the bottom of each glass. Fill the glasses with ice and top with watermelon mixture. Garnish each glass with a slice of lime or fresh mint leaves, if desired and enjoy the freshness.

Watermelon Aqua Fresca

SRandM: Norma you have out done yourself today with these wonderful beverages. So what will you present next time?

Norma: How about  Pico de Gallo and Homemade Flour Tortillas?

SRandM: Looing forward to it Norma. To our readers of Splendid Recipes and More, you know were to return for more great Tastes of Mexico from our guest speaker, Norma.

Link Here for: Tastes of Mexico with Pico de Gallo and Flour Tortillas 

What Others are Saying About Beverages and Foods of Mexico:

Chicken Quesadillas

Chicken Quesadillas

Our blog guest is Norma and she is speaking to us on The Tastes of Mexico. This is her third appearance here on Splendid Recipes and More (SRandM). Link here to view the other blog posts with Norma and scroll to bottom of the page.

SRandM: So Norma, what do you have for us today?

Norma: I am going to show you how to make a really great Chicken Quesadilla.

SRandM: Awesome, let’s get started.

Norma: First of all, I would like to mention that wheat flour was brought here to the New World by Spain. From there the flour tortilla was made a new novelty in Mexico. Though, flour tortillas are only popular in Mexican dishes in the state of Sinaloa, Mexico. Also you can see these recipes in Tijuana and Rosarito.

Corn tortillas are commonly prepared with meat to make dishes such as tacos and enchiladas. Burritos on the other hand are made with flour tortillas as well quesadillas. These two latter dishes originated in northern Mexico, as I said before the flour tortilla is most popular there.

So now for the Chicken Quesadilla, here is what we will need.

2 tablespoons avocado oil

1 small or ½ medium onion, finely minced

2 cloves fresh garlic, finely minced

½ cup chicken broth or water

2 tablespoons homemade taco seasoning mix*

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon pepper

2 tablespoons butter

8 10” flour tortillas

2 cups pre-cooked chicken, shredded (rotisserie works great)

2 cup shredded white cheese (Monterey Jack or Pepper Jack)

1 bunch fresh cilantro, stems removed and finely chopped.

2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and diced – optional

 

With these ingredients you will have enough to makes 4 Quesadillas. Also at the end of the post I have included the recipe for the seasoning mix.

 

Add the avocado oil and onion to a  large cold skillet.  Heat over medium-high heat until onion becomes translucent, about 6 – 8 minutes. Add garlic and stir for 1 – 2 minutes or until it starts to turn brown. Add the chicken broth, taco seasoning and stir until dry ingredients are completely dissolved.

combine seasonings

Add shredded chicken to the pan and toss to coat in the seasonings. Turn heat to medium-low and simmer until any excess moisture is absorbed.

seasoning chicken

Remove from heat and keep warm.

 

Place butter in a clean skillet and heat over medium-high heat until melted. Swirl until bottom of pan is thoroughly covered. Place one tortilla in pan. Top with ½ cup seasoned shredded chicken mixture and ½ cup shredded cheese. Add fresh cilantro and diced jalapeno peppers, if desired.

tortilla topped with chicken and cheese

Distribute ingredients evenly and place second tortilla on top. Carefully flip once the bottom tortilla turns golden brown.

Once both sides are browned and cheese is melted, remove from heat and slice into 8 wedges. Serve immediate with fresh salsa, guacamole, sour cream or pico de gallo. You can even have them with a side of refried beans.

Plated Chicken Quesadillas

 

SRandM: Wow this looks delectable Norma. I am really hungry now, should we have some.

Norma: sure, why not.

SRandM: So what do you have for us next time Norma.

Norma: How about Classic Margaritas on the Rocks, and since watermelon seasoning is coming, I will make some Watermelon Aqua Fresca.

SRandM: How do you say Aqua Fresca in English Norma?

Norma: Oh yes, Aqua Fresca is fresh water.

SRandM: Great we look forward to that. To all our readers, we hope you return here tomorrow May. 7,2014  to see how Norma will prepare beverages from the Tastes of Mexico.

Link Here: Wonderful Beverages From Mexico

Homemade Taco Seasoning Mix

This recipe only takes a couple minutes to put together and costs less than buying pre-packaged taco seasoning. It also has less salt and no artificial additives or preservatives.

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons black pepper

Directions:

Combine all ingredients in an airtight container and shake well to combine. Use 2 – 3 tablespoons per pound of ground beef (use more or less according to individual taste preferences).

This recipe can also be made in larger batches. Store unused amounts in an air tight container for up to 6 months.

Link Here for next post with Norma: Wonderful Beverages From Mexico

 

What Others are saying About Quesadillas and Mexican Food:

Homemade Guacamole and Mexican Salsa

Homemade Guacamole and Mexican Salsa

Norma has joined us again here at Splendid Recipes and More (SRandM) to share more with us about the Tastes of Mexico (link here for previous post with Norma: Mexican vs. Tex-Mex: What is the Difference? ).

SRandM: So Norma, welcome again to Splendid Recipes and More.

Norma: Thank you. I am glad to be here again.

SRandM: I am really excited to get started, so tell us what you have for us today from Mexico.

Norma: I will be sharing a recipe on how to make Homemade Guacamole and Mexican Salsa.

First I would like to tell you a little about the avocado, if I can?

SRandM: Sure Norma, I would like to know and I am sure our readers would too.

Norma: The avocado tree is native to Mexico. The avocado is a tree native to Mexico and Central America. The avocados that are sold in the markets are from California, but also from Mexico. The name of the fruit is Persea Americana, and yes the avocado is a fruit, not a vegetable.

Also the avocado oil that is now being sold at the markets in the U.S. is from Mexico as well.

OK, so let’s get with the recipe. Here is what you will need.

2 ripe Haas Avocados or Avocados from Mexico

1 medium ripe fresh tomato, seeded and diced

1 large garlic clove, finely minced

Juice from a fresh Lime

1 tablespoon (+ extra for garnish) fresh cilantro leaves only, and stems removed and finely chopped

Salt and pepper, to taste

So with a sharp knife, slice the avocado from top to bottom, cutting all the way around the fruit.  Place the avocado in the palm of your non-dominant hand and gently starting at the top slice down to the bottom of the fruit and up the other side until it easily separates into two pieces.

SRandM: If you don’t mind Norma here is an image I got from theamazingavocado.com.

Norma: No, please share it. Yes, as the image is illustrating remove the seed with a fork or spoon. Or as I do just whack the seed with the sharp knife your using so the blade sticks into it. Then gently turn the knife until the seed pops out.

How to cut an Avocado

Image Credit: Avocados from Mexico http://www.theamazingavocado.com

diced avocadoNow to dice the avocado, score the flesh while still in its skin but cutting equally sized slices from top to bottom. Then, rotate 90 degrees and do the same thing going side to side. This combination of horizontal and vertical cuts will give you equal sized chunks of diced avocado.

To remove the diced fruit from the skin, take yourself a spoon and gently scrape all on the bottom of the flesh where it meets the skin until all your diced chunks are removed. While you are removing the chunks place them in a medium bowl.

Next we will add the diced tomato, minced garlic, lime juice and fresh cilantro to the bowl and combine with a fork. If you want season with salt, pepper and additional lime juice to your liking.

Now you have Homemade Guacamole to serve with your favorite Mexican entrée or on its own with corn tortilla chips.Homemade Guacamole

SRandM: Wow this looks great Norma, now what about my favorite, Mexican Salsa. Yummy.

Norma: The traditional Mexican Salsa is made with an authentic Mexican Molcajete Mortar and Pestle.

SRandM: The molcajete is made from stone?

Norma: Yes, mostly from Granite. But I am sure most of your readers do not own one, so we will be using a food processor or blender to make our Mexican Salsa.

SRandM: If someone wanted to purchase one, where could they get a stone mortar?

Norma: Will at your local Latina Market or on-line at Ebay or Amazon. OK here is what you will need for the salsa. Oh, first I would like to say the best time to make this recipe is at the height of summer when there are plenty of fresh tomatoes available. If you have your own vegetable garden, that’s even better.

fresh ingredients for Mexican Salsa4 medium ripe tomatoes, cored and seeded

2 – 3 cloves garlic, peeled

Juice from 1 fresh lime (about ¼ cup)

1 – 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro stems removed and finely chopped

Salt and pepper, to taste

 

SRandM: Wow I can already taste it.

Norma: OK hold on we’re not done yet. Now cut the tomatoes into quarters and place them into a blender or food processor.  Next add the garlic cloves and half the lime juice. Pulse until the ingredients are thoroughly combined.

Dice the remaining tomato into evenly sized small pieces. Stir into the tomato mixture so it creates a chunkier texture. If that is something you don’t like, don’t add the extra tomato. Next stir in 1 to 2 tablespoons of fresh cilantro and you can adjust this according to your personal preference or taste.

Mexican SalsaAdd the remaining lime juice and season with salt and pepper, to your taste.

SRandM: What if you want a spicy or hot salsa?

Norma: You can add one to two Serrano chilies without the seeds and stem, along with the tomatoes before pulsing. Now serve with your favorite Mexican entrée or by itself with tortilla chips.

SRandM: Wow this was great Norma. What will you share with us next time?

Norma: How about Chicken Quesadillas to go with the Guacamole and Mexican Salsa?

SRandM: That sounds good, looking forward to it Norma. So to our readers we hope you enjoy the recipes Norma shared with us, Homemade Guacamole and Mexican Salsa. Return tomorrow for her Chicken Quesadillas.

 Link to: Chicken Quesadillas

What Others are Saying About Guacamole and Salsa:

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Mexican vs. Tex-Mex: What is the Difference?

Mexican vs. Tex-Mex: What is the Difference?

 

Today we have a guest blog speaker who is a native Mexican who will speak to us on the Tastes of Mexico.  Our guest speaker is Norma and the owner of Splendid Recipes and More (SRandM) is interviewing her.

SRandM: So how are you Norma?

Norma: Fine thank you. I just want to say I am excited to be a guest on Splendid Recipes and More. You have a lot of great recipes posted here on your blog. I had seen a few Mexican dishes as well.

SRandM: Will thank you Norma and I am glad you could speak with us. So Norma were in Mexico are you from?

playas de RosaritoNorma: I was born in the Mexican state of Baja California North, in a small beach town called Palayas de  Rosirito.

SRandM: Exactly where is Rosarito?

Norma: Across the border from San Diego, California. When you cross the border you come into Tijuana first, and Rosarito is about 20 minutes from Tijuana going south.

SRandM: So you told me you immigrated to the U.S. in 1992 and have been an American citizen since 2004?

Norma: Yes that is correct.

SRandM: What do you think about the Mexican food that is made here in the States?

Norma: For the most part it is authentic. But many Americans for their love of the Mexican food have made their own recipes using the ingredients we use in Mexico, and call it a Mexican dish. Such as New Mexico, they make enchiladas as we do in Mexico, but they use flour tortillas, and the Mexicans use corn tortillas. Some people have even made enchiladas, casserole style calling it an Enchilada pie, which is not authentic Mexican.

SRandM: Yes I understand. What do you think about the variations in Texas? Is Mexican food and Tex-Mex the same?

Before Norma answers our question, have you ever wondered what the difference is between authentic Mexican and Tex-Mex food? If you look around online, you’ll find plenty of debate over which style of theorizing cooking is better. Some “traditionalists” even question if Tex-Mex is a legitimate form of American cuisine.

No matter where the debate leads, Tex-Mex has earned its place on the American table. Still, that doesn’t answer how Tex-Mex differs from authentic Mexican food.  So let’s allow Norma to answer that.

Norma: Will here’s a little history. The roots of Tex-Mex cuisine trace back to the Spanish. The Spanish missionaries brought their recipes to Texas, and when they left the area in the 1700s, the natives of the region had already assimilated portions of their cooking culture into their own.

chili con carneAlong with this influence, early colonization of Texas also included other cultures. For example, individuals from the Canary Islands brought a different flavor palate with them, which included cumin, garlic, and chili powder. These flavors now form the foundation for the Tex-Mex favorite, chili con carne.

SRandM: So chili con carne is not an authentic Mexican dish?

Norma: No, chili or ground meat with beans and the use of spicy peppers are a Western frontier dish.

This blending of outside cultures with Mexican farm food and Texas ranch food is evident in many other modern Tex-Mex dishes.

One example that comes to mind is the use of beef. You will find a lot more beef in Tex-Mex recipes than in traditional Mexican dishes. Even though beef cattle could be found in Mexico, grasslands were overgrazed and herds were scarce.

SRandM: What types of meat are most popular then, in authentic Mexican cooking?

Norma: Pork, turkeys, wild fowl, chicken, and seafood were more available to the average Mexican household, and as a result, these ingredients were used and are used today in Mexican dishes, with the exception of turkey. You won’t find that at all in any Mexican dish.

SRandM: I guess since beef cattle have long been a staple in Texas, it would make sense that beef plays a more pre-dominate role in Tex-Mex recipes.

Norma: That is correct.

SRandMore: What other foods are used in authentic Mexican dishes?

Norma: Will before trade and commerce exploded in Mexico, beans, corn, and rice formed the basis for many meals. As Mexican people moved north, these foods found their way onto the plates of many households in Texas.

In return, Texans introduced Mexican cooks to more plentiful milk and cheese, in addition to beef. This blending of cultures and cuisine created excitement, especially during the 1940s and 1950s as the borders between the two countries became more open.

 Los Pesos Tex MexSRandM: So could it be correct to say it was around that time when the term ‘Tex-Mex’ was coined?

Norma: Yes, and was proudly used to describe Mexican dishes adapted by Texan cooks. But I will say as the years passed, the recipes lost much of their heritage.

SRandM: How so?

Norma: Will by the 1970s, many Tex-Mex dishes were almost completely revamped into unrecognizable concoctions that are not authentic Mexican dishes.

SRandMore: Such as?

Norma: Will, like Chimichangas, cheese nachos, just to name a few is Tex-Mex cuisine inventions.

Much of what we know as Tex-Mex today can be traced in part to the fast food franchise explosion which introduced “Mexican” food to most Americans.

The menus you typically see featured in these restaurants have pre-made taco shells which house a variety of ingredients buried under piles of cheese and sauces.  Though these restaurants will give a general nod to a “south of the border” flavor, their menus really have little in common with authentic Mexican food.

Another fact I find funny, is restaurants that have popped up all over America make the claim to serve only “authentic” Mexican food, when they are actually making a stab at Tex-Mex.

SRandM: So do you feel Tex-Mex has stolen the spot light from the real thing?

Norma: Will when it comes down to deciding which is best – authentic Mexican or Tex-Mex cuisine – I really can’t find a right or wrong answer to your question.

All you can do is compare and decide for yourself which you prefer. There are many cookbooks available for both Tex-Mex and Mexican cuisines to see what appeals to you. You can also visit authentic local restaurants to try for yourself.


NachosSRandM:
Will that is all the time we have today Norma. Tell our readers what recipes you will be presenting in the next post?

Norma: I thought I would prepare some authentic Guacamole and Real Mexican salsa, a couple of great condiments that pair well with lots of Mexican dishes.

SRandM: We look for to that Norma. So to our readers, return here to Splendid Recipes and More for some authentic recipes that will be prepared by Norma, which is: Homemade Guacamole and Fresh Mexican Salsa.

Link to: Homemade Guacamole and Fresh Mexican Salsa

Image credits:

Chili con carne    

Palayas de Rosarito

Los Pesos Tex-Mex

Clip art of Nachos and Taco

What Others are Saying About Mexican and Tex-Mex food:

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