Category Archives: Mexican


Well, you’ve done it again. You went and drank too much and are feeling not only bad about what you did last night but likely have a headache to boot. In a few, head-pounding minutes you could have a plausible cure but you must listen closely. Ok, maybe not “The Cure” per se,  but Chilequiles has made me forget about a hangover for a moment so potato po-tat-to. We have the incomparable Barney Martinez, Mike’s Dad, to thank for this one. Incidentally, auto-correct keeps wanting to change “Chilequiles” to “Childless.” Let’s hope after what you did last you can still make that boast.

8-10 Corn tortillas (cut into 8 wedges each like a pizza)
14oz can of tomato sauce
1/2 of a small onion diced
1/4 El Pato sauce (red sauce in the yellow can)
2 cloves garlic minced
1/4 tsp lemon pepper
1/2 tsp chili powder
Safflower or peanut oil

Get out a large frying pan. I have one with high sides I really like to use. Throw in a few TBSPs of oil into the pan and heat her on up.

Toss in the tortillas and fry until crisp.

Add in your tomato sauce, El Pato sauce, onion and garlic. Remember to turn the tortillas often.

Season it all with your lemon pepper and chili powder.

Lower the heat and cook until tortillas are how you like them. I like them with a little crispness still but others cook them down until they are soft again. This part is entirely up to you, but assuming you did drink too much the night before, decision making isn’t your strong suit and thus you should listen to my guidance.

To be super authentic one must also place a fried egg atop this wonderment pile!



There are very few times when a whole weekend comes together like a symphony of howler monkeys but when it does, well, you feel like a freshly shined nickel. The day before the day before Christmas this year we were blessed with the company of the incomparable Martinez family. As oft happens whenever we get together, we cooked. Barney, Mike’s father, gave us a little master class in making Albondigas, or Mexican meatballs, while Kathy, Mike’s mom and my mom, Barbara, provided the color commentary.  The result? Some dynamite Mexican food and an evening full of almost uncontrollable, heartfelt belly-laughter! Thank you to all.

I will never look at the church-key bottle opener the same way again, Kathy.

1 beef soup bone
1 and 1/2 lbs ground beef
1 medium onion chopped
1 TBSP finely minced onion
2 cloves crushed garlic
2 TBSP olive oil
2 and 1/2 quarts of water
6oz can of tomato paste
2 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
3 carrots sliced
1 egg beaten
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1 TBSP chopped fresh mint
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1/2 cup long grain rice

First: Boil the soup bone in the 2 and 1/2 quarts of water for an hour.

When you’re cooking with two moms make sure they both have a full glass of wine. This is an important step because if the meatballs go wrong no one will notice.

Chop up the veggies! In a large saucepan cook the onion and garlic in olive oil until it is golden brown.

Add the soup bone broth you’ve been making for the last hour while one of the moms has been telling you a story about when she saw Led Zeppelin or went to Cuba or something. Then add in the tomato paste and salt to taste. Bring to a boil then add the potatoes and carrots. Simmer this burgeoning soup baby for about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile in meatball-making land combine egg, cilantro, mint leaves, ground beef, salt, pepper, and rice.Mix well. If the meat is cold this will suck. There is nothing for it, you are just going to freeze your hands.

One of the moms may help hold the bowl for you but be sure to tell her to go back to drinking wine and telling you about her safari in Zimbabwe.

Remember it’s all for the good of meatballs and your frozen-paw-sacrifice will not be in vain. Form the meat into 1 inch meatballs. Barney above demonstrates the rolling technique.

At this point everyone will be trying to talk over one and other. We found that instituting a “talking stick,” and story time limit helps with this. We used a church-key bottle opener. Kath may or may not have exceeded her time limit!

Add a few meatballs at a time to the simmering pot of awesome. There are some who use a ladle to lower them into the soup.
Mike simply drops them in with nature’s ladle, his hand. Watch out for collateral splash-age.

After adding the whole plate of meatballs, lower the heat on your pot, add the oregano, and simmer for another 30 minutes or until the meatballs and vegetables are done.

The meatballs should start to float and be firm-ish to the touch.

Mike also prepared a small plate of chopped cilantro, oregano and finely chopped onion as garnish.

Serve with fresh lemon, salsa, and a few crushed Mexican-style tortilla chips or heated corn tortillas and Mexican rice.

All and all this was one of the best Christmas presents I’ve ever received. I love you guys and damn did we eat and laugh well!.

Check out this fine lookin’ group!
Until next time…


Guacamole – Alfonso and Devon Styles

Guacamole comes from a combination of the word Aguacate (avocado) and mole (sauce). Aguacate comes from  the Nahuatl (Aztec language) word meaning testicle, for obvious reasons. Think about that next time you bite into an avocado sandwich. I have been making my version for many years and it always seems to change. The other recipe or really “style” of guacamole was taught to me by my friend Alfonso. He is a bona fide Mexican and puts it best when he says, “It doesn’t matter how you make it, guacamole cannot really be bad.” Good news if you’re new to the kitchen, this is your dish!

Both have the same ingredients:
2-4 avocados
1 Roma tomato
1/4-1/2 onion chopped very finely
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp salt
1/2 of a lime squeezed

Allow me to take this time to show you a neat way to cut an avocado. First slice that puppy in half.

Hold the side with the pit in it and THWACK your knife into it. Once the knife is firmly implanted in the pit, twist slightly and pull it out. The pit should come with it! Now take your knife and remove the pit by throwing it at a rotating target, with a your beautiful assistant on it.

If you are making Alfonso Style, cut long thin strips with your knife. This will allow you to make big chunks later. If you’re making Devon style you can just remove it with a spoon.

In a large bowl toss in the avocado, finely chopped tomato and onion and add the spices. If you are making Devon style, mash everything up aggressively with two forks. If you are making Alfonso style, mix the chunks lightly and squeeze not just a half but a whole lime of the mixture. That’s really the main difference.

 Alfonso Style (sounds like Tiger Style from a kung fu movie) 

Devon Style
Who will win? None can tell until the final battle has been waged! 

Serve it with chips or my personal favorite, more healthy alternative, cut carrots and peppers.

Also as a little teaser for the next post, you can see pictured here hummus, served Lebanese Style. All three will enter the ring only one style will prove victorious.

Until next time,

Lables: Gaucamole, avocado, Mexican

Fresh Mexican Salsa and an Onion Lesson

Have you ever wondered how they made that amazing fresh vegetable salsa that you get in Mexican restaurants? Well, I did until I met the amazing and talented Mike Martinez. He and his family have been teaching this white boy to make Mexican food for many years. This post is a thank you to the Martinez clan. I hope we can cook together again soon!

Get together your ingredients:

5 cups roma tomatoes (about 10)
5 cups jalapeños (about 15)
2 1/2 cups white onions
6 cloves garlic
1 head cilantro (chopped)
3 serrano peppers
3 limes
1 shot of tequila

This recipe does not have to be perfect by any means. The measurements are not as important as how it tastes. They say that the spicier the salsa the better lover you are but who’s keeping score? Make your own decision.

If you have a bunch of people over that are NOT into hot food, you can use fewer jalapeños. In the pictures below I made a more tame version.

There is only two real rules in making salsa:
1) Cut everything into very small pieces.
2) Do not forget the Tequila.

The smaller the chunks, the more the flavors mix together. The tequila does exactly what alcohol usually does, it makes all of the flavors more attractive to each-other and sometimes the vegetables make bad decisions.

I like to begin by cutting the onions. There are three easy steps:

Hold the onion with the root stump near you and cut it straight down the middle like this:

Cut off the tip (not the root) and peel back the skin from both halves. Slice perpendicularly and then flip the onion half 90 degrees to the left. Batterjunkie-7951Then slice perpendicularly again like this:Batterjunkie-7952This will yield little tiny onion bits! Next slice your little tomatoes.Batterjunkie-7953Slice, scrape out pith and seeds with a spoon, and chop your jalapeños.Batterjunkie-7955 It should be noted that one should use extreme caution after chopping jalapeños when touching the more sensitive or otherwise naughty bits of one’s body. Capsaicin (the active chemical in peppers) can cause the most lingering and painful of burns.Batterjunkie-7957Next check your proportions! Here you see I have about double the amount of tomatoes as jalapeños and also double the amount of jalapeños than onions. With these proportions it will be pretty spicy for most people but you will learn to love it. If not…I can’t help you.

Next add all of the remaining ingredients together in a bowl. Mix them around a bit with a fork. Then add the tequila and squeeze the juice of the limes into the mixture.Batterjunkie-7958
Finally give this baby another stir with your fork and pop it in the refrigerator. I would recommend letting it sit for at least a few hours before eating it but if you are short on time  you can eat it right away.

This is bound to spice up any dinner party! Once again a huge thank you to the Martinez family!

Labels: dip, Mexican, side, onion