I love Mexican food and I love cooking it at home for a fun, easy-to-share meal. I think in some circles Mexican food has a bad reputation and I can see why, as it can easily stray into greasy, gooey, cheese-filled territory. I won’t linger on my disdain for the bleak Old El Paso section of the “international foods” aisle, I want to talk about easy, fresh and healthy Mexican at home.
One of my favorite aspects of cooking your own Mexican is that you can improvise and make it your own. Tacos can have anything in them from beef, to fish, to vegetables to eggs. Don’t be afraid to mix it up.
Some tips for keeping your Mexican fresh:
- Use fresh cilantro/coriander. It really cuts the heat in any spicy Mexican dish and adds a cool, crisp aspect.
- Make your own salsa and incorporate good quality ingredients. A simple salsa doesn’t need much else besides fresh tomato, chopped onion, cilantro and salt and pepper. You can also add ingredients like roasted corn or for a perfect partner to fish add some mango, papaya or pineapple to your salsa.
- Use ripe avocados to make your own guacamole.
- Cook your favorite vegetables with Mexican seasoning (recipe below). You can roast or pan grill them with a little olive oil and a generous sprinkling of this seasoning mixture.
- Use cheese as a garnish to your tacos, fajitas and burritos. A good mature cheddar will stand out and add flavour without creating a cheese-centric main course
I decided to create my own Mexican spice blend which serves as a vegetable seasoning as well as the spices for a beef marinade.
Adjust the volume as needed, maintaining a similar ratio. I made extra to have on hand for our next Mex night.
1 tbsp Cumin
1 tbsp Paprika (I used smokey but sweet would be nice too)
1 tbsp Chili powder (non-spicy)
1 tsp Cayanne pepper (if you don’t like it on the spicy side, leave it out)
1 tbsp Oregano
1 tbsp Garlic Powder (crushed up dried garlic flakes work too)
To make a marinade, combine 3 tablespoons of the above spice mixture with 1/3 cup olive oil, 1/4 cup soy sauce, 1/3 cup lime juice and two minced garlic cloves. Pour over meat and refrigerate for 1-8 hours.
Our Mexican menu this week:
Carne asada (grilled marinated lean rump steak) and vegetable tacos with broccoli and carrot slaw and spicy guacamole.