DH Cooked: Nopalitos Salad and Corn Soup

Still playing catch-up with all of my husband’s cooking.  He’s learning how to cook one meal at a time through a Mexican cookbook.  Unfortunately, I’ve been lacking on the whole blog posting thing, so you guys are going to get a lot of cooking posts this week.

So… we all know that you win some and you lose some when it comes to cooking.  This meal definitely wasn’t on my list of tasty meals.  It was waaaay too sweet.  The textures were all wrong.  It just didn’t work for me.

OK, so for those who don’t know, Nopalitos are basically cactus.  And nopalitos salad involves cactus, red bell pepper, onion and vinegar.  For this recipe you’ll need a jar of nopalitos, 2 red bell peppers, a red onion, and red wine vinegar.

Roast your red bell peppers and then peel them.  We tried the dry frying technique this time.

One way to roast red bell peppers

Seed, stem and slice those babies and add them to a bowl with a sliced red onion and some drained nopalitos from a jar.  Toss with red wine vinegar and top with chopped cilantro.

Nopalitos Salad - Ready to Eat!

This salad might work better as an accent to a meal.  The nopalitos are very sweet and a bit on the rubbery side.  The bell peppers need to have  more texture – maybe 1 roasted, 1 raw?  The onions add a little bite and crunch.  I think it was just too much as a side for the corn soup.

To make the corn soup, you’ll need a bunch of frozen corn, a red bell pepper and a red onion.  Chop the red onion and red bell pepper, and then saute in a little oil until the onion is translucent.

Not Quite Translucent!

Cook the onions, bell pepper and corn in a large saucepan along with some cream until it’s hot.  Puree the mixture in a blender – careful, it’s hot!  Top with a little black pepper and some red bell pepper and enjoy!

Corn Soup, Ready to eat!

OK… so the soup’s texture was grainy.  The flavor was waaaay too sweet.  It just wasn’t for me.  The only way I could see it working is as an appetizer.  You’d have to have 2 other soups, serve them together in a shot glass with a crouton or piece of bread for each.  That’s the only way this one will work.  It’s just way too much sweet/grainy/weirdness for me!

DH Cooked: Tlalpeno-style soup, guacamole, and hibiscus margaritas

The week is almost finished, and I just realized that I haven’t blogged about DH’s Sunday cooking adventures!  Yikes!  This week, DH and his friend did the grocery shopping without me, because I was doing that Shop Hop.  They actually did really well, even though they didn’t know how to tell the difference between parsley and cilantro.

One of the most amazing drinks we had on our honeymoon was a hibiscus margarita.  It was fruity, flowery, tasty and the most amazing shade of magenta ever!  DH has been on a quest to re-make that margarita ever since.  Imagine his excitement to see dried hibiscus flowers in the Latin section at our grocery store.

Hibiscus Flower Syrup

DH used the hibiscus flowers to make a simple syrup.  He found the recipe online somewhere, but it basically involves hibiscus flowers, lots of sugar and some water.  Heat them all together on the stove and then simmer until the mixture reduces.  Use a cheesecloth to strain the liquid into a pitcher/pyrex measuring cup.  Then refrigerate until cool.  Once you’re ready to serve, mix the syrup with good tequila and serve.

Hibiscus Margarita

DH thought that the margaritas tasted like watered down Kool-aid.  I thought they were OK, but needed something more – maybe more tequila?  His friend BL said that they were good.  I’m not sure what to do differently with them… any ideas?

Next DH worked on his guacamole.  He’s become a bit of a tomato snob, so he used campari tomatoes instead of the regular roma tomatoes that seem to always be $1/pound.  I can see where he’s coming from – the romas have less flavor than the others – so I don’t mind the extra expense.

Campari tomatoes

Basically, for this recipe, you chop up 4 medium tomatoes and add them to the food processor along with 4 avocados, lime juice, 1/2 an onion, 2 garlic cloves, cilantro or coriander, 3 red fresno chillies, and salt.  Blend until the consistency is right, and serve.  The flavor on this was really, really good.  But the consistency was a bit too smooth for us; we definitely prefer a chunkier guacamole.

Mmm... guacamole

Finally, DH tackled the Tlalpeno-style soup.  This style of soup originates from Tlalpan, a suburb of Mexico City.  Put about 6 cups of chicken stock into a pot along with 1/2 of a seeded dried chipotle chili.  Bring it to a boil, and add 2 whole chicken breasts.  Simmer until the chicken is fully cooked.  I misunderstood those directions, so DH ended up simmering the chicken and the chipotle chili separately.

Simmering chicken

You’re supposed to shred the chicken when it’s done cooking and set it aside, but we like ours chunkier, so DH chopped it into pieces instead.  Then, you pour the stock and chili into a blender and blend until smooth before adding it back to the pan.  Once the blended stock is back in the pan, add a chopped up avocado, 4 sliced green onions, salt and pepper, and a drained can of garbanzo beans.  Don’t forget to put the chicken back in too!

Soup!

Top the soup with shredded cheddar cheese before serving, and enjoy!  I really liked this soup.  It was flavorful, full of broth, and light.  Perfect for anyone looking for comfort food on a diet.  As we were eating, though, we could tell something was missing.  It wasn’t until cleanup that we realized that DH forgot to add in the garbanzo beans!  It was still really tasty though.

Ready to eat

 

I could see a lot of improvement between last week’s cooking attempt and this week’s.  DH is showing a lot more confidence in his cooking ability.  It’s great to see him so enthusiastic about something new!

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