My husband and I moved to Mexico from Canada several years ago, looking for a slower pace and warmer weather. We bought a big old house and turned it into Casa Madera Studio Rooms here in Nuevo Vallarta. I have a part-time computer job, which allows me time to look after our guests and to explore my favourite topic - food! Bothmy husband, Kevin, and I love to cook, which is why our search for excellent flavours ultimately led us back to our kitchen. Here we cook our traditional favourites and make up some new ones. Often our inspiration comes from cookbooks that we read or meals we have eaten. It is my hope that you enjoy our recipes as much as we have and that each of you will add a touch of something to make each dish your own.
The original version is a bit more complex, I have simplified this just a bit. You can make it even easier by just washing and drying the peaches well to remove most of the fuzz, instead of peeling them
Cut an ‘x’ in the bottom of each peach and drop into a large pot of boiling water just until skins begin to peel back, about 1 minute. With tongs or a slotted spoon, transfer to a bowl of ice water; let cool for a minute. Peel the peaches, then, holding the fruit over a small bowl to catch the juices, cut into thin wedges. Add lemon juice and honey to the sliced peaches and their juices and toss to combine. Set aside.
Brush crostini with olive oil and spread with cheese. Top each piece of bread with 3 peach slices. Drizzle some of the honey mixture over top of each toast and add a bit of freshly ground pepper. Serve immediately.
Super simple to make, crunchy and full of flavour.
The corn is raw, so be sure to use the freshest sweetest corn you can find. As for the zucchini blossoms, if you have zucchini growing in your garden right now, this is a nice way to take advantage of those blossoms. Just be sure you have not sprayed any chemicals on your plants.
We like this as a side with BBQ Chicken.
Fresh Corn and Zucchini Salad
1 ear sweet corn
2 small zucchini, diced into 1/4′ pieces
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil leaves
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh mint (optional)
4 zucchini blossoms, torn into large pieces (optional)
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1/2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
Red Pepper flakes
Freshly ground black pepper
Using a sharp knife, cut kernels from corn cob into medium bowl. Add diced zucchini, basil and mint (if using).
In a small bowl combine oil, vinegar and pepper flakes. Mix well with fork and pour over corn mixture. Toss to combine.
Put into serving bowl, top with torn zucchini blossoms, a few red pepper flakes and freshly ground pepper.
The perfect combination of salty and spicy and very addictive. The original recipe, from Bon appetit August 2014, called for baking in a 400 F oven for 7 minutes. It is summer. I don’t know about yours, but my kitchen is hot enough already so my instructions are for stove top cooking. I have reduced the salt by a third to suit our personal tastes.
1 cup raw peanuts, removed from their shells
1 cup raw pepitas (peeled pumpkin seeds)
2 Tablespoons cooking oil
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons kosher salt
Heat oil in deep sided frying pan until shiny, medium high heat. Add nuts, salt and cayenne pepper and stir well to combine. Reduce to medium and cook, stirring frequently to prevent burning, until pepitas are popping and peanuts are starting to turn a nice golden colour. About 10 minutes in total. Allow to cool completely before serving.
Oh, yes, this is a thing in our house. We eat it a lot really, especially on days we know we are going to be busy, because it is a hearty meal that keeps us going most of the day.
I first discovered this way back when grain bowls began to be the next big thing. But, it sounded so outlandish that I left on the shelf. However, the concept kept nagging at me, and finally, I had to try it.
Ever the supportive spouse, my better half looked skeptical but said nothing when I presented him with a lovely bowl of plain oatmeal topped with a perfectly fried egg.
After a few deep breaths, he finally managed a taste and actually, quite liked it! We both did. And we still do.
Oatmeal Breakfast Bowl
2 cups water
1 cup old fashioned rolled oats, uncooked
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon butter
1 teaspoon oil
freshly ground pepper
Sriracha or other hot sauce of your choice
Maggi or Soy Sauce
Add water, oatmeal and salt to medium pot. Bring to boil over high heat. Once boiling, reduce heat to medium and cook for about 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and set aside.
Heat butter and oil in your favourite egg pan add the eggs, pepper and a little salt and cook the eggs to your liking.
Divide oatmeal between 2 bowls, top each with an egg. Serve with Maggi and Sriracha.
COOKS NOTE: You can sub the oatmeal for leftover cooked brown rice. Reheat the rice in the frying pan and cook the egg with the rice as it re-heats. Add some radishes and a few scallions. Yeah, it sounds a bit strange, but give it a try before you write it off.
Why, yes, I did just post a recipe for Watermelon Margaritas. What can I say, we are now in the middle of mango season! Remember, you can always leave the alcohol out of this one, in which case, you could actually have it for breakfast!
Anyway, the response to the photo on our Facebook page was immense, so I thought I would share the recipe.
If you don’t have access to fresh mangos, frozen will work just as well, maybe even better.
Oh, just to give you fair warning…I found a recipe for “The Ultimate Margarita” which is actually lime based and includes making a tincture from Chile d’Arbol. Once I have tried it, I will let you know all about it.
3 large ripe mangoes, pit removed, peeled and cubed
1″ piece of fresh ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
1/4 cup simple syrup
1 cups water (plus more if needed)
1/2 oz cointreau
3 oz tequila
Tajin for garnish
ice cubes for serving
Plunk everything in your blender, and puree until smooth. Pour into 2 glasses, sprinkle with Tajin to taste and sit back and enjoy.
Kevin has been away these past few days, and his absence has reminded that while I love to cook, I don’t so much like cooking for 1. Mostly, because it seems like a whole lot of effort for just me. A psychologist may want to delve deeper into this thought; perhaps I feel I am unworthy of a healthy home cooked meal, but the reality is that I enjoy the temporary freedom from meal planning and the need to have something more substantial than a sandwich or bowl of noodles on the table every night.
Which is why, in the past 2 weeks I have eaten Ramen Noodles for dinner at least 3 times! Yikes, I do love ramen, but I reluctantly had to admit last night that I had eaten too much of it for my own good.
So, I took a break from sloth and convenience, and actually cooked dinner for one. It is obvious that my plating needs work, but aside from its lonely appearance on the plate, my one-pan dinner was extremely satisfying.
Peri Peri Chicken Thighs with Peanut-Lime Sauce and Fried Plantain
1 Tablespoon cooking oil, plus more for frying the plantains
4 chicken thighs
1 teaspoon Peri Peri spice blend (or more to taste, see cooks notes)
2 Tablespoons creamy peanut butter
1 Tablespoon fresh lime juice ( from about 1 large or 3 Mexican limes)
2 Tablespoons water
1 green plantain, cut into 1″ slices
Sour cream to top the fried plantains
Heat 1 Tablespoon of oil in a deep frying pan over medium heat. Rinse and pat chicken dry with paper towel. Sprinkle with Peri Peri spice on both sides and put in pan, skin side down. Cook 15 minutes, then turn chicken over. Reduce heat to low and cook about 20 minutes more until thermometer inserted into centre of thigh reads 175. Cooking time will vary, depending on size of the thighs. Remove from pan to plate and tent with foil. Set aside.
Meanwhile, in small bowl, mix peanut butter, lime juice and water together. Mixture will seize at first, keep stirring until it becomes liquid and creamy again. Add more water by teaspoons if mixture it too thick. It should be runny, but not soupy. Set aside.
Put a paper towel on a clean plate and set aside. Add more oil to pan to depth of 1/2 inch and heat over medium heat until shiny, but not smoking. Using tongs, carefully place plantain slices flat in the oil. Fry about 2 minutes and carefully turn over and cook 2 minutes more to brown the other side. Remove from oil to paper towel lined plate.
Reduce heat under oil to low while you do this next step, and work quickly. Place the fried plantain pieces between 2 sheets of waxed paper and using a meat mallet or the flat bottom of a glass press gently to flatten each piece to a thickness of about 1/3 inch. (Be gentle, you want to just squish them, so they will still be soft and chewy in the inside, not flatten them beyond recognition. )
Increase heat under oil, until it shimmers again, and with the tongs, gently place each flattened plantain in the oil and re-fry for about 3 minutes, until they are golden. Remove from oil, back onto paper towel lined plate.
Put a smear of peanut butter sauce on the place, add chicken and plantains, some radishes or other fresh veggie on the side, a little sour cream for the plantains and you have a dinner for 1 ready in under an hour.
Bonus: for me, the leftover chicken thighs are going into a chicken salad for tomorrow nights dinner.
COOKS NOTES – depending on the brand of Peri Peri you have, and your personal taste, the amount you use will vary. I used 1 teaspoon of Silk Road Inferno Peri Peri blend, for all 4 thighs and found it very tame so I sprinkled more onto the chicken after it was cooked. Remember, you can always add spice, but you cant always take it out.