Thursday, November 13, 2008

Untraditional Mexican Food

We love Mexican food! We have been obsessed with it ever since we were teenagers. We have a restaurant in town that has been there since then. There was only one other Mexican restaurant on all of Long Island at the time (well, there were probably some in Queens and Brooklyn, which is technically LI, but we in the suburbs don't count it as such.) When we were first married, we would pinch pennies that we didn't have in order to be able to go there. At that time, we could eat a huge meal there for under $20, including sangria, appetizers, entrees, and tip. Being young, we could fit all that in, along with many bowls of chips and salsa.
Nowadays, the tab at that restaurant is over $70! And we can't eat nearly as much. Why is it that you can eat less as you age? That, along with the complications three young children bring, means that we have our Mexican at home more often than not.
My guacamole is very simple. Just avocado, salt, minced onion, coriander, Frank's hot sauce and the secret ingredient. I discovered it once when I mistook it for coriander - it is ground cloves! Just the slightest pinch. I know it sounds improbable, and traditionalists will scoff, but everyone loves it and asks "what's different?" And please, no lime juice!
The refried beans also have an unusual ingredient - cinnamon. This recipe comes from "the Best of Jenny's Kitchen." Jenny writes that these are the best refried beans she has ever eaten, and I have to agree. This book is ancient and I'm sure out of print, so I feel safe in offering the recipe, with full credit to Jenny, of course!
1 1/2 c dried pinto beans
5-6 c water
1 1/2 onions
1/4 c olive oil
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
1 c chopped fresh or canned tomatoes
1/4 c diced mild green chilies
2 T lemon juice
2 t salt
1/4 t cinnamon
1/8 t ground cloves
Cook beans with water and 1/2 chopped onion until tender, 2 1/2 - 3 hours. When beans are tender, heat olive oil in a large sillet. Chop the remaining onion and saute with the garlic until golden. Add tomatoes, peppers, lemon juice, salt and spices. Begin adding beans, a cup at a time, and mash, adding liquid as necessary. Cook over very low heat until very thick, an hour or more.

3 comments:

River said...

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twoveganboys said...

Yum. I love Mexican food. This is Tex Mex country. Thanks for sharing the bean recipe.

Ricki said...

Guacamole is one of our absolute favorite things at our house. . . will have to add a bit of cloves next time! :)