One of the more surprising things I’ve learned during these last few months of glorious freedom is that I actually don’t hate cooking. I just hated cooking after a long day in an office; cooking after a day spent on the beach is actually enjoyable. Now that the tourist season is picking up and the restaurants in town are becoming more crowded, it’s quite nice to come home and have a quiet dinner with my boyfriend.
I’ve never considered myself to be a good cook although I come from a family of amazing cooks. Italian families tend to breed women who can whip up delicious meals at a moment’s notice without cookbooks or measuring cups…that’s never been my style. While cooking was never my forte, eating certainly always has been. Those of you who know me in real life know that I can eat, but strangers are often surprised at how much I can throw down at warp speed. My ability to eat mass quantities of food even earned me a bit of a reputation at several restaurants I frequented in Portland. Waitstaff found it amusing, and at one of my favorite restaurants, I was greeted with a loud “Hey, fatso!” upon walking through the door. This often confused other customers who would turn to see me waving back. I have to admit that I’ve always secretly feared that years and years of overeating would catch up with me one night and I would awake to find a six hundred pound woman staring back at me in the mirror. I'm not kidding.
Since moving to Mexico, quite a few local friends have been kind enough to invite us into their homes for authentic, homemade meals. Needless to say, I’ve paid attention as they cook and my boyfriend and I have successfully recreated several of those meals, much to our own surprise. I thought it would be a nice addition to Style by Santina (when my outfits might not be quite as interesting as they were when I lived in a city and will be again once I return) to share a few of those meals with my dear readers.
Tonight’s menu includes a new favorite: potato and cheese flautas, which I like to think of as Mexican style Perogis, topped with Pico de Gallo and sour cream, served with rice and beans.
For the Pico de Gallo:
½ of a large red onion, chopped
½ of a green pepper, chopped
4 Roma tomatoes, seeded and chopped
Juice of three limes
Approximately 3 tablespoons of cilantro, chopped
Hot peppers (to taste), chopped (Tonight we used three serrano peppers.)
1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl.
2. Season with salt and pepper.
3. Allow to sit for at least a half hour before serving.
For the flautas:
2-3 Russet potatoes, peeled and chopped
Approximately 1 ½ cups Oaxaca cheese, chopped
1. Place potatoes in a medium saucepan. Add just enough water to cover potatoes. Bring to a boil. Simmer, covered, until potatoes are easily pierced with a fork. Drain.
2. Place potatoes in a large bowl and add cheese. Mash potatoes and cheese until smooth and well mixed.
3. Spread about two tablespoons of potato mixture along the middle of a tortilla. Roll the tortilla as tightly as possible. (Note: I used tortillas that were handmade today. If using ones that are not fresh, warming them is recommended so that they are pliable.) Place the flauta seam down on a plate. Repeat.
4. Add vegetable oil (just enough to fry half a flauta) to a skillet and heat over medium heat until hot but not smoking. Carefully lay the flauta in the oil, seam side down, until one side is golden and crisp (about 45 seconds). Flip the flauta and fry the other side. Remove from oil and drain on a plate covered by a paper towel.
5. Plate with a side of rice, refried beans, Pico de Gallo, and sour cream.
(Note: No recipes for the rice and beans were included as I did not make either from scratch…a girl can only do so much!)
What do you guys think? Are you interested in reading more about the yummy Mexican dishes I’m learning to make?