Second global dinner – Mexican

September 18, 2008 § 4 Comments

The day after our Italian-themed night, I decided to cook some Mexican food. My roommate Jia isn’t exactly the most adventurous of eaters, so I thought I’d start in her closer to her comfort zone and slowly work our way into the more exotic cuisines. 🙂

Midway through broiling the shrimp, I had to deal with some ignorant buttwipe who walked into our common room citing snottily that it smelled like fish i.e. s***. Let’s just say I have profound pity for the person who’s never sat down to good seafood in his entire, obviously miserable little life and that he won’t be getting any floor-wide baked goods from me anytime soon. Ass.

Anyway, on the menu:
Sopa de Tortilla
Broiled Shrimp

Sopa de Tortilla (modified from The Best Recipes in the World)

1/2 cup corn or neutral oil
6 corn tortillas cut into 1/4 inch strips
3 garlic cloves
1 large onion, diced
2 dried chiles, preferably pasilla
3 fresh tomatoes, blanched and peeled, then diced
6 cups chicken stock
1 cup shredded cooked chicken (or I used spicy Italian sausage leftover from the previous day)
1 cup Monterey Jack, grated
1 ripe avocado, peeled, pitted, sliced

1. Oil in saucepan over medium high heat. When oil is hot, fry the tortilla strips in batches until golden brown and crisp, turning after a minute or two, for about two to four minutes. Drain on paper towels and set aside.
2. Discard all but 2 tbspns of oil. Turn heat to medium, add garlic and onion, and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add chiles, tomatoes, and half the tortilla strips, and cook for another 5 minutes. Pour in chicken stock and bring mixture to a boil, then simmer for 20 minutes.
3. Add chicken and heat through. Season with lime juice, salt, pepper. Garnish with the cilantro, cheese, avocado, and remaining tortilla strips and serve.

Bittman recommends that you use an immersion blender and puree everything before you add the chicken, but I personally like my soups chunky and full of that veggie goodness.

Broiled Shrimp with Chili Paste (modified from Joy of Cooking)
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon chili powder or to taste
1/2 teaspoon ground red pepper
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
salt and pepper to taste
Mix together in a large shallow bowl.

Add and toss to coat well
1 1/2 to 2 pounds of shrimps (peeled and deveined) or scallops

Broil, turning the shrimp after the first side becomes pink, 2 minutes or so. Broil until second side is pink/opaque, test one of the shrimp by cutting into it to make sure it is cooked through. Garnish with lemon wedges and minced cilantro.

*Not all broilers are created equal! It actually took me a bit longer to cook the shrimp, so just make sure to keep a watchful eye. You don’t want your seafood to become rubbery – that’s a crime.

Churros (from Bittman’s The Best Recipes in the World)
Corn oil for frying
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
1 stick (8 tablespoons of butter)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup flour
3 eggs

1. Put at least two inches of oil into a large saucepan or deep skillet and heat to about 350 F. [To make sure the oil is hot enough, you can always use the Giada trick – drop a little bit of the batter in and if it starts to bubble and float up to the surface, you know it’s ready] In the meantime, while it’s warming up, mix the cinnamon and 1/2 cup sugar together on a large plate.
2. Combine remaining sugar, butter, salt, and 1 cup water in saucepan over high heat and bring to boil. Turn the heat to low and add flour all at once. Stir constantly until mixture forms a ball, about 30 seconds. Remove from heat and beat in the eggs one at a time, stirring until smooth after each addition. [DO NOT SCRAMBLE YOUR EGGS]
3. Spoon the dough into a pastry bag with a large star tip [Or you can drop spoonfuls, or, if you want to be like me, go halfway. I just took filled one of those large Glad bags with the batter and cut a large hole in the one of the corners] Press strips of dough about 4 inches long into the hot oil. Cook as many as will fit and turn as they brown, for a total of 5 to 10 minutes each.
4. Remove churros from oil and drain on paper towels then immediately roll in cinnamon-sugar mixture. Serve hot.


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