Category Archives: Mexican

Beef Taquitos and Flautus. July 1st, Three random reasons to celebrate this “Happy day”

 

Beef Taquitos and Flautus

Beef Taquitos and Flautus

 

Happy 1 year Blog-Aversary to me! Woooooooaaaahh! That’s right I made it…Cheers!! July 1, 2013, I entered the world of blogging. To be perfectly honest, getting a post together reminds me of school work & I’ve never been a fan of school work so I’m not quite sure how I’ve kept this “afloat”. Spending time in the kitchen is of course the part I enjoy most. Trying to capture pictures in the evenings when natural light is long gone can become annoying as I had broken my tripod. 😦 (No fear, bought a new)  Also, trying to measure out a recipe when I cook off-the-cuff just slows things down. Yes, off-the-cuff, basically how I’ve lived my life. 😉  The only recipes I’ve ever followed is when it comes to baking. And well that’s more of a science so it’s the only time I have patience in being precise.

Alrighty, not only is it my Blog-Aversary (cheers again to me) It’s Canada Day! Happy 147th Birthday Canada (or which was once referred to as Dominion Day) to the best country out there. Anyone reading this from back home knows Canada is the place to be raised. You must be asking, why does she live in the Caribbean? Easy answer, climate, among many other perks of island life. I’ve had my fill of the big country life and frankly it could stay right where it is, I’ve found peace on an island surrounded by crystal blue waters…Ahhh yes, time for a swim when I’m done with this post.

Well, i’m still not done with the three happy’s of July 1, 2014 – It’s also Emancipation Day here for 1/2 the island. Slavery abolished on July 1,1863 for the Dutch West Indie colonies. Strangely the day itself only became an official holiday in 2012. I remember that day a few years back as I had no clue of the relevance here until the government decided to finally acknowledge it, now making it a family day with celebrations & activities. Happy Emancipation Day!

As I will not dare to venture further into any history because that sounds absolutely exhausting, it’s always nice to read about the history of Canada (good refresher) and Caribbean history which is all fairly new to me.

First time I whipped this up was a direct result of shopping in our big box store Cost-U-Less which we all call “Cost-u-more” as you end up leaving spending more than anticipated. On this particular outing I was hungry, of course, head to a grocery store when hungry!?!? The staples, toilet paper, laundry detergent, etc…was the purpose for this stop. Once my cart was full of necessities, there I stood in the freezer section staring/drooling at all the convenience foods that could easily fill my belly within 10 minutes of reaching home. Taquitos caught my eye so I read the ingredients for the 1st time. I’ve bought them once in the past, I won’t deny I fall to the mercy of junk food once a month! I refer to them as “junk food” because when I don’t know what an ingredient is then it’s classed as “junk food”.  So after reading the ingredients & knowing what they taste like, back in the freezer they went. A few doors down I found flour & corn tortillas & decided to make them my way. Lets face it, there’s not much thought that needs to go into these and it’s a good time to be creative. Picked up a pack of ground beef and fresh peppers. Was thinking of adding black beans however I had stewed lentils the night before so why not use them?!  Not to mention it’s a great way to hide lentils from people who claim to hate lentils. Once you read my simple recipe, there’s really no excuse to buy those frozen fellas any longer.  Also briefly read about the difference between Taquitos & Flautus as I really didn’t realize there was a difference.

Rolling time! Beef Taquitos and Flautus

Rolling time! Beef Taquitos and Flautus

Taquito : Corn tortilla, spanish for small taco rolled with a filling.  Flauta : Flour tortilla, spanish for flute, rolled with a filling. Apparently fillings & length of them also vary within parts of Mexico.  Again, I will not go down the history road as it sounds exhausting!

One tip I’d like to share with the rolling of these. I started with the flour tortillas & banged through them quite quickly. Moved on to the corn tortillas and as you can see in the below picture, this is what happens when you try to roll a cold corn tortilla! Warm the corn tortilla’s slightly to prevent them from falling apart. I don’t own a microwave so I just popped them in the oven for a few minutes.

Corn Tortilla Wreckage

Corn tortilla wreckage

Now, what do Taquitos & Flautus have in common with this July 1st  day of happiness? Absolutely nothing! Simple as that. Just a recipe i’ve been meaning to post & baking a cake was out of the question today. 🙂

 

Beef Flautas & Taquitos

2 pkgs Corn Tortillas (small, not the burrito size)  12 per pack

2 pkgs Flour Tortilla (small, not the burrito size)  10 per pack

625 gram Ground Beef

1 cup of cooked Lentils (or canned)

1 bay leaf

garlic clove (crushed)

1 scallion (spring onion) white & green part – finely chopped

fresh green pepper – finely chopped

fresh red pepper – finely chopped

fresh yellow pepper – finely chopped

125 gram Cream Cheese (1/2 a 250 gr block)

salt, pepper, cumin, paprika, cayenne pepper, onion & garlic powder (basically a store-bought taco seasoning mix)

 

Start by sautéing crushed garlic, scallion, bay leaf, and the trio of peppers in a splash of olive oil until they begin to soften. Add the ground beef and season generously with the dried spices. I used aprx 1/4 of each pepper. Really depends on the size of the pepper so I have no exact measurement for that.

Once the ground beef is cooked, remove from heat & strain out any excess oil.

In a large bowl, combine the beef mixture, stewed lentils (or canned lentils) and the cream cheese. I had some other cheese’s kicking around and of course added them as well. Taste the mixture and season further if needed. I’ve since made them adding jalepeno’s for an extra kick.

Lay out the tortillas on a flat surface. Don’t forget to warm the corn tortillas slightly to make them pliable to roll. Keep them warm & work quickly. Place a nice heaping tablespoon of the meat mixture on the tortilla and roll tightly placing them seam side down.

If baking in the oven a toothpick is not required to secure them. Just place them seam side down & bake until golden. If deep-frying them (which I prefer) secure the seam with a toothpick & fry until golden

I served these as a snack dunking them in a mixture of mashed avocado, sour cream, fresh lime juice & a mixture of dry seasonings.

taquitos flautus

Beef Taquitos and Flautus with spicy avocado (Baked)

 

Great to freeze before baking/frying. So easy, homemade taquitos & flautas straight from your own freezer, ready for a snack.

I was able to make 37 pieces even after the corn tortilla wreckage!

Buon Appetito  😉

BTW, I may not have purchased the frozen taquitos, however, I made a quick stop at McD’s for a happy meal instead! 🙂

 

 

 

Spicy Chili in the not so chilly Caribbean – My “Chill” Life

Beautiful Frangipani flowers in Anguilla

Frangipani flowers in Anguilla

Well here I am, finally adding to my ohhh so neglected blog. Things have been crazy busy on this end of the Caribbean. Where did I leave off? I believe sometime in 2013..

Since then, I had my good friend from back home come to visit. Was amazing to catch up, hit the beaches, act like a tourist, enjoy good food & drinks of course 😉

Cheers & welcome to the Caribbean my friend!

Cheers & welcome to the Caribbean my friend!

Ran away (or should I say sailed away) a few times to my favourite island being Anguilla, with my camera on hand to capture all the beauty the island has to offer. Was able to truly relax and see the island from a different perspective these last several visits.

Viceroy is a must visit if you get the chance. I won’t even get into the chaos we caused running around there. 🙂

Viceroy in Anguilla. Beautiful grounds, villas etc

The many beautiful beaches is what keeps me escaping to Anguilla time & time again for ultimate peace

Climb down a rope to the secluded beach at Little Bay, Anguilla. I could live down there in a tent w/ a bbq & i'd be just fine! ;)

Climb down a rope to the secluded beach at Little Bay, Anguilla. I could live down there in a tent w/ a bbq & i’d be just fine! 😉

Balcony view of beautiful blue waters of Anguilla

Balcony view of beautiful blue waters of Anguilla

So, real life kinda took over and I’ve now found myself in February 2014 wondering how I got here!?!?  We are still in high season on the island, so thankfully things really picked up and I couldn’t be more blessed for the way the season has gone so far.

Noticed this on the wall at da'Vida Resto & Spa in Anguilla...It was a sign..

Noticed this on the wall at da’Vida Resto & Spa in Anguilla…It was a sign..Get it? A sign…

What can I say about Chili besides it’s ability to comfort a sad soul or just to warm you up? Ok, here’s my bit on it. I like it thick with chunks of meat/veggies, colourful..yes colourful & extra extra spicy. Otherwise its just pasta sauce with beans. Just my opinion.

At least once a month I’m cooking up a batch. Filled with meat & beans it’s a great emergency energy meal when in a hurry. Packed with protein and iron it makes for a filling lunch or dinner. For everyone who knows me, when I get busy running around I forget to eat SO Chili has become a saving staple in my home.

Flavours coming together

Flavours coming together

Growing up…yes, most of my food stories have a bit of that in it, the dish was never prepared by either of my Nonna’s. Obviously not an Italian dish. I can bet cumin has never seen the inside of either of their homes. However my parents both had their own spin on it using different beans, veggies, meats, spices etc.. Funny, now that I think about it, my first real memory of Chili would be my dad making a huge pot every year for his buddies for super bowl sunday. ugggh, I still don’t get that sport & I really don’t care to. I just like their uniforms..ahhhh ha ha ha ha 😉

Anyways back to the Chili, it wasn’t a regular household dish yet something different during those chilly winter months and a way to use the bushels of kidney beans we’d all help separate during the summer months that came from both city Nonna’s garden & farm Nonna. Italians reading this will understand what I mean by “bushels” of Fagoli/beans 🙂 Canned beans were never really used in the house, mainly dried. Shamefully I admit that yes,  I find myself using canned beans for Chili most of the time. Pre cooking dried beans for this recipe always gives a nicer texture. So if you have the time, I’d say go dry vs/ canned any day.

This is one of those dishes that i’ve been asked how I make and of course my usual answer is, “I don’t know” I just put it together. This past weekend while in the kitchen I finally made an effort with my pen & paper on hand to jot down all my ingredients. My newest addition, now studded with bright yellow kernals of corn also adds a hint of sweetness to complement the spice.

Today’s share is my simple batch of Chili to feed plenty of hungry bellies. The great thing about Chili is using it in different ways when leftover or that it freezes well for those rainy/snowy days!

Chili Con Carne 

500 Gram Ground Beef

200 Gram Stewing Beef chunks (small dice)

1/2 Red Pepper (small dice)

1/2 Yellow pepper (small dice)

1/2 Green pepper (small dice)

Fresh Onion & 2 garlic cloves (chop finely)

1 Jalapeno pepper

1 Habanero or chili pepper

2 Bay leaves

Salt, black pepper, cumin, cayenne pepper, paprika, chili powder

Sprig of Thyme

400 Gram Crushed/puree Tomatoes

480 Gram can plum tomatoes with juices

1 can or dried Kidney Beans (drained & rinsed)

1 can or dried Black Beans (drained & rinsed)

Corn kernels – aprx 1 cup or 1 can

First off I fry the beef chunks in a splash of olive oil, season with all listed dry seasonings while cooking. Remove from pan, set aside.  Next add the ground beef to the pan, fry & season until fully cooked. Remove & set aside. At times I add red wine while cooking the meats but I needed to blog this recipe so  opening a bottle of wine was not going to get this entry done! 😉

In a large pot add a splash of olive oil and sauté the green/red/yellow peppers, onion & garlic.  Add Bay leaves, sprig of thyme, season with salt & pepper. Once slightly tender add both cooked meats to the pot. Next, add both the crushed tomatoes & whole tomatoes with juices to the pot. Season generously with all dry seasonings.  Finely chop the jalapeno & habanero, add to pot.  Depending on how spicy you like it.

Bring to a simmer for 15 – 20 mins.  Give a taste for spice. At this point, add the drained kidney beans, black beans & corn. Continue to simmer for another 20 mins.

chili con carne with toasted corn tortillas

chili con carne with toasted corn tortillas

If you have corn tortillas cut them in triangles & bake them to serve with the chili. Otherwise fresh crusty bread is always the best choice in mopping up all the goodness in your dish!

Buon Appetito 😉

Necessary funny photo post..Ferry named after me & well the rest speaks for itself!!! "Chill Life"

Necessary funny photo post..Ferry named after me & well the rest speaks for itself!!! “Chill Life”

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