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Tuesday, December 15, 2009

A Birthday Fiesta

It was my husbands 37th birthday this past friday.  My brother and sister n'law were throwing a Christmas Party/Wine Tasting that night so I promised my husband that I would cook him a big birthday dinner the following night.  Let me tell you cannot function properly the day after a wine tasting party!  I stuggled through the whole day and finally about 4:30 pm I started preparing my husbands Birthday Fiesta dinner!  I pushed through and made a terrific dinner!  I just looked at my hubbie (and my sister was over for dinner as well) and told him that I must really love him because this dinner was a bitch (excuse my language) to make with a wine hangover and two toddlers running around.  I do have to pat myself on the back for this was really good and well worth it!


A few weeks ago my family and I went to a mexican restaraunt.  We had never been there before so we did not know what to expect.  It was fabulous!  My husband ordered a skirt steak entree that had red peppers, onions and tomatoes with tortillas on the side.  I decided to come up with a recipe of my own to surprise him for his birthday.

  • 2 lbs. beef round steak or skirt steak cut into 3 inch pieces
  • 4 roma tomatoes quartered
  • 2 onions quartered
  • 1 red bell pepper cut into 2 inch pieces
  • 1 green, orange or yellow bell pepper cut into 2 inch pieces
  • 4 garlic cloves chopped
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp. thyme
  • 1/2 tsp. oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. marjoram
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin
Place all ingredients in a large plastic ziplock bag.  Mix well.  Refrigerate and marinate for a least one hour and up to four hours.

When ready to cook pour contents of bag into a large preheated skillet.  Cook on medium high for about 15 to 20 minutes.

* Serve with corn and flour tortillas, shredded cheese and sour cream.


  • 1 pint grape tomatoes halved
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and 1/2 inch diced
  •  1 - 15 oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/4 cup small diced red onion (recipe calls for 1/2 cup, but that was too much for me)
  • 1 TB minced jalapeno pepper - seeded (recipe calls for 2TB,  but again too much for me)
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly grated lime zest
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice (2 limes)
  • 1/4 cup good olive oil
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. minced garlic
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cayenne pepper
  • 2 ripe Hass avacados, seeded, peeled and 1/2 inch diced
  • 2 TB. fresh chopped cilantro (this is a Barefood Contessa recipe - I don't believe she likes cilantro and she does not include it in her recipes  - I love cilantro in anything mexican so I added some)
  1. Place the tomatoes, yellow pepper, black beans, red onion, peppers, cilantro and lime zest in a large bowl.
  2. Whisk together lime juice, olive oil, salt, black pepper, garlic and cayenne pepper together and pour over vegetables.
  3. Toss well.
  4. Just before you are ready to serve the salad, fold the avacados into the salad.
  5. Check the seasoning and serve at room temperature.
* Recipe Courtesy of Barefoot Contessa

CHILES RELLENOS DE QUESO (Chiles Stuffed with Cheese) 

My husbands favorite mexican speciality is Chiles Rellenos.  I have never even thought about making them before only because they seem a bit complicated.  This recipe is actually very easy...there are a few steps, but they are not complicated at all.  They are really delicious and I was quite proud of myself.

  • 6 chiles poblanos
  • salt
  • 2 tsp. white vinegar
  • 3 large ripe tomatoes
  • 1/4 small onion
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 TB. olive oil
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 cups grated queso Chihuahua (or Monterey Jack)
  • 3 eggs, seperated
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • vegetable oil for frying
  1. Roast  the chiles:  heat the broiler of your oven.  Lightly brush each chile with olive oil.  Place all the chiles on a cookie sheet and put it in oven.  Broil, turning the chiles, until their entire skins are "charred" (covered with black blisters).  This will take 10 - 15 minutes.  Do not char the chiles too much or they will burn and taste bitter.  Remove the chiles from the broiler.  Keep on cookie sheet and cover with a thin towel.  Leave on for 10 - 15 minutes.
  2. Peel the chiles:  turn on the cold water tap so that t hin stream of cold water is running out.  Hold each chile under the running water and use your fingers to remove the charred skins.  If parts of the skin stick, use a paring knife to remove them. 
  3. Make a lenghwise slit in each chile, being careful not to break it, and remove the seeds.
  4. Soak the chiles in water to cover and put in 1 TB. salt and vinegar for 20 minutes.  Rinse and drain and set aside.
  5. In a bleder, puree the tomatoes, onion and garlic, then strain.  Heat 1 TB. olive oil in a saute pan, add the tomato puree and bring to a boil.  Lower the heat, add 1 tsp. salt, the bay leaves and pepper and cook, covered for 10  minutes.  Set aside.
  6. Fill each chile with 1/2 cup of the grated cheese and set aside.
  7. Beat the egg white until they form stiff peaks, then stir in the egg yolks one at a time.  Spread the flour on a plate, turn each chile in it to coat lightly, then dip into the eggs so that the chile is completely coated.
  8. Heat 1/ 2 inch oil in a large skillet.  When hot, add the chiles two at a time and fry on each side until lightly browned and crispy.  Remove from skillet and lay on plate with a paper towel to soak up a it of the oil.
  9. Before serving, heat the tomato sauce and arrange the chiles on a platter.  Spoon the tomato sauce over each chile.  Serve immediatly.
*Recipe Courtesy of Mexico - The Beautiful Cookbook

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