One of my all-time greatest joys in this world (other than Jesus)(Oh, and other than my son)(And my family)(And the family Christ has given me)(You get the picture) is cooking for other people. It makes me happy all the way down to my toenails! Today I get to cook for another family, which means I am completely in my element. The boy is gone to work, I'm in the kitchen with the radio blaring some old school R&B... Right this second it's some Rachelle Ferrell and Will Downing... OH! Love.
Since I love Mexican food and I want everyone to love it as much as I do, that's the theme I choose. Here's is what's on today's menu.
Black bean and Mango Salad, Black beans with cilantro basmati rice, carne asada tacos.
Black bean and Mango Salad (I don't remember where I originally saw this-been making it for years now):
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
2 cups diced frozen mango, thawed
1 red pepper, diced
6 green onions, sliced
1/4 c cilantro, chopped
1/4 c fresh lime juice
1 T olive oil
1 seeded jalapeno pepper, small dice
Add all ingredients into a bowl, toss lightly. Done.
Cook rice according to package directions for the amount you'd like. Toward the end, squeeze the juice from 1/2 lime and add some chopped cilantro and recover to let it finish cooking.
2 cans black beans (do NOT drain)
1 onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
3 T cilantro, chopped
cumin, to taste
cayenne pepper, to taste
salt, to taste
Squeeze of lime, optional but good! =]
Saute the onion until translucent, add garlic and cook for 1 minute or so. Add the beans and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low. Season with cilantro, cumin, cayenne, and salt. Squeeze a little lime juice and let it cook for about 5 minutes. Tada.
Note: I've made HUGE batches of this and let it cook for up to an hour, just make sure you're stirring it so it doesn't stick. The flavors just come together so well!
Carne Asada Tacos:
3-4 lbs. chuck roast
3 dried chile peppers, rehydrated (see note below)
1 small can diced, green chilies
1 onion, sliced
flour tortillas, medium size
Season the roast with salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, cumin, chili powder on both sides and plop it into your slow cooker on high. On top of the roast, add onions, rehydrated peppers, chile peppers, and hot sauce. Add water to cover the bottom third or so of the roast. Cover and cook for about 6 hrs. By this time, it should be ready to shred. Once shredded (use two forks to pull the meat apart--you can do it in the slow cooker or take it out to shred, discard large pieces of fat that you find), add it back to the slow cooker for about an hour. Assemble your tacos with the toppings you choose. I like the meat to be the star so I don't like to add too many other things. I add tomatoes, lettuce, and cheese.
Now, Mr. Do Right by Jade is playing. I love this song.
Oh, do you want to know how to rehydrate chili peppers? This is how I do it. I choose peppers that aren't broken and have a slight bendability (I'm not sure if that's really a word) to them. Cut the tops off, slice down the peppers to open and get all the seeds and veins out. Place the peppers in a pan thats been heating over medium heat to roast them for just a few minutes. Turn them a lot so they don't burn. Then, place them in a bowl of hot water for about 20 minutes. Slice and add to the slow cooker. FYI - taste the water they were soaked in, it should be a brownish color and if it doesn't taste bitter, use that as your water for the roast. If it's bitter, throw it away. You can always save it for something else too... maybe add some in for the rice water (what a great idea! I think I'll do that!). It's really packed with flavor and I'd hate to waste it if it can be used for something else!
And now I have some Isley Brothers playing... oh. I heart old school R&B!!