Chilaquiles Rojos

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Chilaquiles are supposed to be a breakfast dish but let’s be real: chilaquiles are (a) rich enough to carry me through the day and (b) extremely delicious so let’s just eat them for lunch or dinner, too. Breakfast for dinner, amirite?

The red chile sauce is a little time-consuming here but once you have that out of the way, the rest of the dish is easy to assemble.

Chilaquiles rojos

Ingredients:

1 1/2 pounds tomatoes (about 8 medium), halved lengthwise, preferably Roma
1 onion, cut into 1-inch wedges
1 dried chile de arbol, stemmed and seeded
5 dried guajillo chiles, stemmed and seeded
1 dried chipotle chile, stemmed and seeded
3 garlic cloves, unpeeled
1 quart water
2 1/2 tablespoons fresh oregano leaves
1 teaspoon salt
1 bunch fresh cilantro, leaves and stems separated, divided
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 eggs
12 cups thick corn tortilla chips
2 avocados, sliced
8 ounces queso fresco, crumbled
1/2 cup Mexican crema, for serving

1. Preheat broiler with oven rack in middle of oven. Place tomatoes, cut sides up, and onion on a rimmed baking sheet, and broil in preheated oven on middle rack until charred, about 20 minutes. Let cool and set aside.

2. Meanwhile, heat a cast-iron skillet over medium. Add chiles and garlic cloves, and cook, turning often, until chiles are fragrant, about 4 minutes. Remove chiles from skillet. Continue cooking garlic cloves, turning occasionally, until blackened in spots and softened, about 10 minutes total. Let garlic cloves cool; peel and set aside.

3. Bring 1 quart water to a boil in a small saucepan over medium-high. Add toasted chiles, and boil, stirring occasionally, until chiles are softened, about 10 minutes. Drain, reserving 1 1/2 cups cooking liquid.

4. Combine tomatoes, onion, garlic, chiles, oregano, salt, reserved cooking liquid, and 1 cup cilantro stems in a blender. Process until smooth, about 20 seconds. Set red chile sauce aside.

5. Heat oil in a nonstick skillet over medium. Crack eggs into skillet. Cook until edges are set and starting to brown, about 2 minutes. Cover skillet, and cook until whites are set and yolks reach desired degree of doneness, 2 to 3 minutes for runny yolks. Transfer eggs to a plate. Add red chile sauce to skillet over medium. Bring to a simmer. Pour red chile sauce over chips in a large bowl; toss to coat. Divide chip mixture evenly among 4 plates. Top evenly with eggs, avocado slices, queso fresco, crema, and desired amount of cilantro leaves. Serve immediately.

Turkey “Chorizo” and Potato Tacos

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These tacos aren’t by any means authentic but they are without a doubt delicious. I use ground turkey and a generous serving of fresh herbs to create a “chorizo” of sorts (let’s be honest, I’m being really liberal with the definition of chorizo here). Combined with fried potatoes (uh, who doesn’t love fried potatoes?) and a smattering of onions and cilantro, these tacos hit the spot.

Turkey chorizo and potato tacos

Ingredients:

For the chorizo:

1 medium serrano chile
1 large poblano chile
2 unpeeled garlic cloves
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 1/2 cups cilantro
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon salt
1 pound ground turkey

For the tacos:

1/4 cup avocado oil
2 medium russet potatoes
2 teaspoons salt
1/3 cup chicken broth
1 cup diced onion, rinsed in cold water
1 cup chopped fresh cilantro
18 corn tortillas, warmed
Lime wedges, for serving

1. Heat a medium cast-iron skillet over medium. Add chiles and garlic cloves, and cook, turning occasionally, until charred and softened, about 4 minutes for serrano, 8 minutes for poblano, and about 12 minutes for the garlic. Transfer the chiles to a medium bowl, and cover with plastic wrap. Let stand 15 minutes. Stem, peel, and seed poblano. Stem and peel serrano. Set chiles aside. Let garlic cool, and peel cloves. Add coriander seeds and cumin seeds to skillet; cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 20 seconds. Finely grind seeds in a spice grinder or mortar and pestle.

2. Combine chiles, garlic, ground spices, cilantro, vinegar, oregano, and salt in a food processor. Process until a coarse paste forms, about 1 minute, stopping to scrape down sides as needed.

3. In a medium bowl, mix the turkey with the puree and set aside.

4. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium. Add potatoes in a single layer, and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown and crisp, about 15 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel–lined plate, and sprinkle with 3/4 teaspoon salt. Do not wipe out skillet. Return skillet to heat over medium-high and add chorizo, stirring often, until crumbled and cooked through, about 10 minutes. Stir in chicken broth and 1 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid is mostly absorbed, about 1 minute.

5. Assemble tacos: Top each tortilla with about 2 tablespoons chorizo, 1 tablespoon potatoes, and 1 teaspoon onion and cilantro. Serve with lime wedges.

Toasted Caramel Flan

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This is both the most delicious and the ugliest flan I’ve ever made. The texture is unbeatable: think the silkiest flan you’ve ever tasted, and then some. I didn’t do a good job unmolding the flan, hence the awful photo. But the recipe is too good to not share. You probably already have these ingredients at home, so why not make it now? Enjoy.

Toasted caramel flan

Ingredients:

1 1/4 cups sugar
5 eggs, at room temperature
3 cups whole milk
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Place a kitchen towel on a work surface and set a 9 1/2-inch deep-dish pie plate on towel to protect from the heat. Place sugar in a medium heavy stainless steel saucepan. Cook over medium until sugar becomes fragrant and begins to melt around edges of pan, about 6 minutes. Gently swirl pan to incorporate melted sugar. Continue swirling pan until all of the sugar is completely melted and has darkened to the color of dark brown sugar, about 10 minutes. Immediately pour melted sugar into prepared pie plate, coating the bottom evenly. Let stand until cool, about 15 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, fill a large, deep roasting pan with hot water to a depth of about 1 inch (enough so it will not overflow when flan dish is added). Whisk eggs in a large bowl. Add whole milk, sweetened condensed milk, and vanilla bean seeds, and whisk until smooth. Add milk mixture to pie plate.

3. Set pie plate in the roasting pan and carefully place in the oven. Bake until edges are set and center retains a slight wiggle, about 50 minutes. Remove pie plate from water bath. Cool completely on towel, about 2 hours. Run a knife around edge of flan to loosen. When pan is rotated, flan should float in caramel. Press plastic wrap directly onto surface; chill at least 3 hours or preferably overnight.

5. Set pie plate in a shallow dish of hot water to soften caramel, about 2 minutes. Invert flan onto a large rimmed platter and serve.

Fish Tacos with Wakame Slaw

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Craving fish tacos but don’t want to go to the trouble of deep-frying? Then try this recipe. I thought I’d miss the crispy batter, but honestly, the flaky cod, the Old Bay Seasoning, and the tangy, seaweed-laced slaw make these my new favorite fish tacos. And they’re waaaay healthier and easier to make.

This recipe makes more wakame slaw than you’ll need for the tacos, which is fine, because it’s delicious on its own as a salad.

Fish tacos with wakame slaw

Ingredients:

For the fish:

2 pounds boneless cod fillets
3 tablespoons avocado oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons Old Bay Seasoning
Corn or flour tortillas

For the slaw:

2 ounces dried wakame seaweed
1/2 to 1 red cabbage, thinly sliced
2 carrots, grated
1/4 cup chopped green onions
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
2 tablespoons sunflower seeds
1/4 cup tahini
3 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 teaspoon maple syrup
1 small clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon ginger, minced

1. Make the slaw: Soak seaweed in warm water for 10 minutes to re-hydrate, then blanch by tossing into boiling water for 15 seconds. Drain wakae in a colander and rinse in ice bath. Drain wakame again and squeeze out excess water. Cut into 1-inch pieces.

2. Make the dressing for the slaw: stir together tahini, lemon juice, water, soy sauce, rice vinegar, maple syrup, garlic, and ginger, adding salt to taste if necessary. Toss wakame, cabbage, carrots, and green onions with dressing and sprinkle salad with sesame seeds and sunflower seeds. Set aside.

3. Make the fish: Season fish with Old Bay and salt. Heat a large pan to medium-high and add avocado oil. Saute fish until cooked through and golden on both sides, about 7 minutes for each side.

4. Warm up the tortillas in a pan on medium heat for about 30 seconds per side. Place fish on a warm tortilla and top with a generous serving of wakame slaw.

Citrus Daiquiri

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Forget the adult slushie association. A true daiquiri is simple and balanced: a bit of rum, a dash of sugar, and a squeeze of lime. It should be bright, not sickly sweet. If you’re trying to figure out what to do with the last of the winter citrus, this daiquiri recipe is a creative riff on the classic, livened with the addition of mandarins. Feel free to substitute kumquats or tangerines.

Citrus daiquiri

Ingredients:

1/2 lime, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 1/2 teaspoons brown sugar
1/2 mandarin, cut into half
2 ounces aged rum

1. Muddle lime and sugar in a cocktail shaker. Add mandarin and muddle until lightly crushed and juices are released. Fill cocktail shaker with ice, add rum, and shake vigorously until very cold, about 20 seconds. Pour into a glass and serve. Makes 1.