Friday, December 12, 2008

Chili con Queso and street tacos

I have been sick since I came back from vacation and working then coming home to bed basically, so my apologies for the late post. I, personally think it is an omen from God that I should be a woman of leisure who travels the world for pleasure in order to stay well and peaceful.

We do eat some street food in Mexico. In Puerto Vallarta this place is really good though it is not technically street food, it is outdoors and on the corner, across from the Super Mercado which is next to the suspension bridge over the Rio Cuale.

We ordered their 'Dedos de Camaron', which were fried shrimp tacos, every time we went there and once you go, you will go back again and again. At 20 pesos a piece they were only about $1.80 each, one makes a small lunch or snack. The plates are covered in a plastic bag for really easy clean up, a little tacky but hell, how fun is it to just go with life as it comes sometimes. The tortilla is soft which is traditional, not the baked or fried tortilla shell that so many Americans are used to, and the shrimp are fried in a batter then you add a dressing/sauce, hot salsa fresca, fresh squeezed limes and a lettuce/spinach/cilantro/carrot chiffonade mixture. OMG these are good! Sorry there is no photo of the tacos but we kept eating them before I ever thought to take one. That happened a lot. Great flan also and a staff that smiles at you when you come back day after day after day.

Also if you are old enough like me, you will remember laying on the bed to zip up your skin tight Chemin De Fer jeans, the girls that work here didn't forget how to do that.

These are 2 of my happy, hungry sisters waiting for lunch. Sitting at the counter is fun and friendly and very traditional.

Puerta Vallarta is in central Mexico and on the ocean which means fresh fish is in abundance. One night as we waited outside for a table at Cafe de Olla (eat here too), I noticed a couple men with ice chests speaking with the chef or the manager. When I sat down at the table and inquired about what type of fresh fish was available, the answer made it obvious that I had just witnessed todays catch being sold to the restaurant. Bass off the boat with garlic, tortillas, rice and beans. Bring it on. And for less than 100 pesos it was less than $9. In Mexico people eat real food, not a lot of sweets and the only fast food that I saw is like the taco stand above.

Now how about a traditional Mexican recipe? Let's begin with what we Gringos would call an appetizer. Chili con Queso. Northern Mexico is where there are large cattle ranches and there is much more use of dairy products. Yay! I love cream and butter and cheese. Oooh, and ice cream. But this isn't about ice cream although ice cream is a fine appetizer in my book. Flour instead of corn tortillas are more typical in this part of the country also.

When handling chiles, always use care. Thin latex gloves help, but wash, wash, wash and never touch your eyes or inside your nose, there is bad stuff in them thar peppers that burns and it burns bad.

from Savoring Mexico

2 T butter
2 small white onions, finely chopped
4 jalapeno chiles, seeded and cut into strips
15 anaheim chiles, roasted, peeled, seeded and deveined, then cut into long narrow strips
2 ripe tomatoes, chopped
1 c heavy cream
1/4 c warm water
sea salt to taste
1 lb queso asadero, monterey jack or other melting cheese, shredded
Flour tortillas, totopos or good quality tortilla chips for scooping

In a large frying pan over medium heat, melt the butter.
Add the onions and jalapeno chiles and saute until the onions are limp and golden, about 5-10 minutes.
Stir in the Anaheim chiles and tomatoes and cook until all the chiles are soft, about 5-10 minutes longer.
Pour in the cream and warm water, season with salt, and simmer for several minutes.
stir the cheese into the chiles, cover, and remove from the heat.
When the cheese has melted, pour the chiles into a heated serving bowl.
Serve while it is still bubbling hot, as the cheese will separate and become tough and stringy if allowed to cool.

Serves 10-12 as a dip, or serves 6 as a filling for tortillas.

My preference is fresh flour tortillas, but as I said, I have been sick and back to the store was not going to happen. Not the best photos but you get the idea.



garyrbeck said...

You did just fine for being under the weather. I know your outdoor spot...have my condo not too far from there. Did you check 'Yelapa Pay Lady' right across from Rizo's as you exit? Yum...sample and smile. Your dip looks really good. I am partial to flour tortillas too but the gov't subsidizes corn meal for tortillas so they are prevalent.
Back in April for 2 months!

Feliz Navidad y prospero año nuevo!

San Francisco, CA./Puerto Vallarta, JAL.

Leslie said...

Welcome home Gringo!! Sorry your are sick...did you drink the water????

Tartelette said...

Sounds like a fun trip!
Hope you are 100% recovered now!

Grace said...

i've come to the conclusion that mexican food is my favorite type of ethnic cuisine. i love it all. when i came to the picture of that chili con queso, i sagged a little in my chair because it's beautiful. i think i'd like to bury my face in it. :)