Carne guisada (CAR-nay gee-SA-da) is a Mexican-style beef stew that hails primarily from south Texas. It’s main ingredient is cubed beef stew meat that is braised low and slow for hours with varying combinations of chilies, onions, tomatoes, and spices. The flour used to coat the seared meat causes the sauce to end up thickening to a gravy-like consistency. While fantastic on its own, served straight up in a bowl with a spoon, carne guisada also makes a savory taco or burrito filling.
For this version of carne guisada, I gave it an injection of Hatch chile flavor with Stubb’s new Hatch Chile Cookin’ Sauce pack. The package comes with a Cookin’ sauce, which I used for the braising, a spice packet, which I used to saute the vegetables with, and a Finishing Sauce, which I stirred into the thickened gravy sauce just before serving. This trio gives a fun, updated kick of flavor to this classic Tex-mex comfort food dish. Best of all, everything but the meat and veggies come in one package. The second best part about this dish is that you can easily use a slow cooker to do most of the work — just set it and forget it. A few hours later, you’ll have the makings of an incredibly flavorful meal.
I suggest serving this Hatch carne guisada on or with a side of warm tortillas, limes for squeezing on top of the meat, and a sprinkling of chopped cilantro and crumbled Mexican cotija cheese.
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Due to the simple fact that we Americans have to make just about every holiday an excuse to drink, I’m sure that most of you are well aware that Cinco de Mayo is this weekend. That means parties, sombreros, and tequila drinks galore. And no, for the last time, it does not mark Mexico’s Independence Day (that’s September 16th); it’s a celebration and remembrance of Mexican fighters taking down the French forces at The Battle of Puebla in 1862. Use that one to impress friends and potential one-night-stands on Sunday.
I digress. On to the drinks!
Tired of celebrating with the standard margarita, I decided to concoct a new tequila-based libation. I borrowed the idea of the “Beergarita” — a mixture of Mexican lager beer, limeade or sour mix, and tequila — and gave it a sweet and spicy twist by replacing the lager with ginger beer, and adding fresh ginger and jalapeno. Ginger and reposado (slightly aged, amber-colored) tequila are a great flavor pairing in this Ginger Beergarita and the addition of the jalapeno enhances the spiciness of the ginger — which can easily be omitted from the recipe if you’re not a fan of heat.
Not that this would be the first thing on your mind when mixing a drink on Cinco, but the Ginger Beergarita also has some great health benefits. Ginger has natural immune system-boosting properties and helps to fight of certain types of cancer cells with its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-tumor effects. Bonus: ginger has been a natural remedy for migraines and nausea, so this drink may actually reduce your hangover on May 6th.
So while celebrating the rich culture and heritage of Mexico (and the time they kicked some French ass) by guzzling far too much cerveza and tequila, try out the following exotic tipples this weekend.
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Move over brownies and blondies- here comes their more fabulous and feisty cousin, the Redhead! It’s my personal take on a blondie/brownie — a little sweet, a bit nutty, with a spicy little kick at the end! If I were a baked good, I’d definitely be this one (and I’m a redhead too, coincidence?).
I complain about not really being much of a baker, but these one-bowl delights are so easy to prepare and definitely worth the (minimal) effort. I suggest serving them topped with ice cream or whipped cream and sprinkled with a mixture of cinnamon, sugar and cayenne, and some Red Hots candies.
Want to bake up something to ignite the flames of passion (or your tongue) this Valentines Day? Then these will be a sure fire hit, because everyone knows: redheads do to it best.
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