Chicken Chilaquiles Verdes

I grew up in San Antonio, Texas and lived for many years in San Diego and I never once came across the common Mexican breakfast of chilaquiles. How did that (not) happen? The first time I had ever even heard of the dish was when I was watching The Best Thing I Ever Ate on Cooking Channel. Marcella Vallodolid described chilaquiles she ate at Talavera Azul in Chula Vista, Ca (a town where where I once lived) and I was obsessed. Tortilla chips for breakfast? Tortilla chips bathed in a zingy tomatillo salsa with chicken and cheese? Tortilla chips FOR BREAKFAST?! So obsessed was I, that most of a vacation that The Boy and I recently took to San Diego centered around going to the same restaurant and eating the same chilaquiles as Marcella. True story.

Today, The Boy and I are 2,807 miles away from the Chicken Chilaquiles Verdes of our (my) dreams and I have no choice but to recreate them. The recipe is easier than you’d think and can be on the table in 60 minutes, start to finish. Let’s do this!  (Read more… )

Mexican Caesar Salad

Mexican Caesar Salad 2

When my kids were little and we were living in San Diego, one of our favorite places to eat was El Torito.  I know, I know, we’re in San Diego, home to the best Mexican food in the world, why would we go to a chain restaurant?  This Mexican Caesar Salad (and their sweet corn cakes, but I’m still breaking the code on those)!  Even my then 3 year old daughter could finish off almost an entire bowl of this fantastic salad by herself!  Well, when we moved to New Jersey, El Torito was no longer an option, so I had to break it down for myself.  What results is, if memory serves, an incredible rendition of the best salad I ever ate!  (Read more…)

Chorizo and Potato Tacos

San Diego holds a really special place in my heart.  So many great things came to me there.  Two of my three daughters were born in San Diego.  I met The Boy in San Diego.  I became a taco addict in San Diego.  Yeah, yeah, I grew up in Texas and they have amazing Tex-Mex food, but as the daughter of a Korean mom in the 70’s, there weren’t a lot of Taco Tuesdays in my Texas childhood.  These chorizo potato tacos are a combination of so many of the flavors I came to love during my twelve years in San Diego.  Let’s get started. I need a taco (Read more…)

Spicy Beef Empanadas

Spicy Beef Empanadas 2

You don’t have to grow up eating the food of a particular culture to be good at cooking that food.  Bobby Flay is a White Irish man from New York, but no one is doubting his Southwestern flavor skills.  My Korean Mom made the best spaghetti sauce I’ve ever tasted, so… yeah, weird.  So, this half Korean/half Redneck girl is going to take you with her on an Empanada Adventure.

I don’t have some really cool empanada food memory to share.  Something about standing on a stool in my Abuela’s kitchen while she made empanadas for a family meal.  That scenario is pretty much genetically impossible for me.  I have, however, seen empanadas made on Food Network and The Cooking Channel quite often, and thought they looked amazing.  What’s not to love?  A crispy and flaky crust filled with well seasoned meat and vegetables.  Uh, yum!  I also used to pass an empanada food truck every day on my way to work at the Book Behemoth and stopped to try one once.  It was deep fried, kinda greasy, and very light on the filling.  That’s not what I saw on TV.  So I did what I do.  I researched, I planned, and I experimented until I created a pretty darn good empanada!  I don’t know if your Abuela would find it authentic, but there weren’t any left after everyone took their fill, so it must be good! (Read more…)