Archive for the tex-mex Category

A Quick Stop to Meddle with Chili.

Posted in american, bacon, beans, condiments, corn, discount, ground beef, peppers, rice, stew, tex-mex with tags , , on September 18, 2012 by oskila

Since I spent a lot of spring and summer writing blog posts instead of school papers, this semester has had a bit of a rough start.  There’s still a lot to do before I can relax, but I felt a need to at least post a little something. Autumn is about to get serious (even took some time this weekend to pick a bit of mushrooms) and one starts to long for big pots of food that has simmered for hours on end and keeps you warm all week. Also the time for economically minded university students like me to start putting boxed lunches in the freezer. I hit the store and started forming a plan when there was good discounts on both bell peppers and minced beef.

I’d like to apologize to an chili purists out there in advance, as this post might be offensive to you, just like what I did to the other national dish of the United States a while back was potentially offensive. Before cooking the dish for this post I had never laid eyes upon a recipe for chili con carne, nor did I until I had started eating, after which I learned that there are lots of interesting dichotomies and conflicts regarding what constitutes proper chili. But we’ll sort that out along the way.

Sweating onions, garlic and bell peppers. Apparently, onions aren’t really allowed (but onion powder is fine) and peppers should at least be red, but preferably hotter than bell.

Browning ground beef. Choosing ground meat over cut seems to be a big faux pas among chili aficionados, according to the internet.

Adding bacon (which is technically diced pork, should be safe) and seasonings, including chili powders (ancho and nameless) cumin, powdered onion, cocoa, dried basil, chili paste (which is probably unheard of and not right at all) and tomato paste. Tomato is another matter of debate within the modern chili paradigm. My excuse for using paste is that my fiancée is allergic to tomatoes in most forms, but can endure cooked paste without discomfort.

A few minutes later, the minced beef has joined the party along with beef stock, beans and sweet corn. In Sweden, chili con carne is strongly associated with beans, especially kidney beans, but I’m given to understand that Texan law enforcers may fire at will upon those about to put beans in chili. I don’t know if anyone but me puts corn in chili con carne, but I’ve always done that for no other reasons than that it’s an American vegetable and it tastes good.

Here it’s been simmering for a hour and a half, which is a bit on the short side, but considering that I’m using ground and not diced meat I saw no reason to keep from eating it any longer.

And the potentially abominable, chili-esque gringo food is done and plated. I added a bit of rice to secure more lunchboxes and crème frâiche and corn chips for awesomeness.

Taco Fish Cakes

Posted in alaska pollock, condiments, rice, side dish, tex-mex with tags on June 16, 2012 by oskila

I’ve been meaning to do something with fish for some time, but wasn’t sure what. Started a Tex-Mex train of thought after happening upon the Wikipedia article on pico de gallo. Googled about a bit to make sure I wasn’t completely ripping someone else’s idea, and there were a couple of dishes with similar names, but with different execution; often simply tacos filled with fish instead of other meats.

Here are some of the ingredients, but not all. Fish (Alaska Pollock, horribly cheap, probably sustainability issues), green pepper, tomato, egg, lime, green chili, spring onions, tortilla chips. By now, inquisitive minds are probably wondering what it is that makes this recipe a taco fish cake recipe. Well, the idea is to crush the chips and use them as breading.

First, put some breadcrumbs, milk and various spices in a bowl. I use white pepper and dill for fish and chili powder and cumin for Tex-Mex. Stir well and set aside. Time to operate dangerous machinery.

This is what Alaska Pollock, onions, garlic and chili look like, coming out of a grinder. I strongly recommend putting all the veg in the grinder first if you want to do stuff this way, since it’ll most likely get stuck somewhere in there unless the fish is there to push it through.

Ground stuff added to the bowl along with an egg. The seasoning will probably need adjustment at this point. Especially since I haven’t mentioned salt before now. Salt!

One would think that crushing tortilla chips to fine crumbs is quite easy since it evidently happens spontaneously in every bag of the stuff, but no. Stiff work! The machine that connects to my meat grinder also comes with a blender, but the blender is broken, so I had to do it the hard way.

A jump past some scraping, sculpting, shaping and breading gets us straight to five fish cake sizzling away happily in quite a bit of oil. Without the breading I’d be horribly close to making patties yet again, but these are undoubtedly fish cakes. It even says so in the title!


Done! As you can see, there has been a lot of stuff going on behind the scenes. Once again I decided that detailed descriptions of rice preparation aren’t all that fun. The guacamole and sour cream dip was done before even lining up the ingredients and the pico de gallo I made while the fish cakes fried. My pico de gallo is for wussy Swedes like yours truly, who don’t always like the punch of raw jalapeños. I use chopped green bell peppers instead, along with a moderate amount of the nameless milder green chilis grown in Europe and normally found in Swedish grocery stores.

I’m rather pleased with the result, but if I cook this again I’m going to go heavier with the seasoning since the fish cake didn’t have much of an oomph. I’m also thinking that using seasoned tortilla chips could add another level to the dish.

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