Category: avocado

“Flautas? You don’t even KNOW us!”

Haha. CORNY. At least I know when I’m being corny, and I admit it.

I love all things Mexican; Dia de los Muertos, sugar skulls, calaveras, catrinas, Frida Kahlo, pinatas, etc, etc. But I  am a Mexican food fanatic. I make a lot of it at home, but just basic Tex-Mex or Americanized-Mexican stuff: quesadillas, burritos, tacos, tortilla soup, tres leches cake, etc. So this post is about my adventures in making flautas. Flautas are basically the same as taquitos, except apparently taquitos are longer, and flautas are typically made with flour tortillas and taquitos are made with corn tortillas. Or something.

Taquito (from the Spanish diminutive of taco[1]), is a Mexican dish consisting of a small rolled-up tortilla and some type of filling, usually beef or chicken. The filled tortilla is crisp-fried. Corn (maize) tortillas are generally used to make taquitos. Flautas are similar to taquitos but generally made with flour tortillas.

There are many varieties of taquitos in different regions. Taquitos most often contain beef, chicken, and sometimes include cheese, pork, potato, or vegetables. They are generally thin and tend to be about 6 inches (15 cm) long. Potatoes are usually involved in the breakfast form of taquitos, which are thick and come with eggs. Taquitos are usually served with a type of salsa and/or guacamole.

In the United States, taquitos are very popular as a frozen food.[2][3] They are also sold by 7-Eleven[4] and QuikTrip[5] convenience stores in a variety of flavors, as well as established restaurants such as Chico’s Tacos.[6] Taco Bell began to sell steak and chicken taquitos in 2006. Taco Bell’s versions are wrapped in a flour tortilla and grilled, rather than fried.[7]

Crispy fried taquitos sold in Mexico are often called tacos dorados (“golden tacos”) or flautas (“flutes“). Typical toppings and sides include cabbage, crema (Mexican sour cream), guacamole, green chili or red chili salsa and crumbled Mexican cheese such as queso fresco.[8]

I got the recipe from the newest Food Network magazine, which just came in the mail last week. It sounded simple and delicious and what with the chicken, avocado, sour cream, cilantro and salsa (not to mention the frying!) I was a goner. Best part of it is you can use up leftover chicken, or just make some. You can add things to it (cheese, black beans, rice, jalapenos, etc) or take things away (I know not everyone loves avocado- you crazy people!). Or, you can make different sides for it like yellow rice or refried beans and rice.

I kept it simple: just chicken & salsa inside, with the avocado-lime-sour cream and salsa on the side, with some slices of avocado. I used corn tortillas, but the smaller ones, so instead of folding & rolling them up like mini-burritos, I just rolled ‘em up like cigars. They look like the crispy taquitos at The Cheesecake Factory, actually, now that I think about it. They would be fantastic over a bed of rice with black beans on the side, and they’d also be awesome for a summertime meal with just this avocado-cream (or even fresh guacamole), salsa, & fresh cilantro. Mmm. Fuhgeddaboudit.

The avocado-sour cream was AMAZING. Just make sure you buy avocados that are already ripe (needless to say). The flautas were really easy, but just a few tips: make sure your corn tortillas are really, really soft. Otherwise they’ll crack and break and you won’t be able to roll them. Follow the instructions on the package for heating them in the microwave, and let them go a few seconds longer. They should be pretty floppy and malleable. Also, angle the toothpicks. Don’t just stick ‘em in… they won’t sit evenly in the pan and they’ll fry unevenly. And wait for them to cool before attempting to remove the toothpicks. Sounds like common sense, but sometimes hunger overrides that! Making sure the tortillas are soft enough is very important. But if you mess up and few of them tear, don’t worry. Save them on the side and fry the torn up pieces later to make homemade tortilla chips.

I had a hard time getting the first few to stay rolled up, my tortillas weren’t soft enough and I just kinda stick the toothpicks in haphazardly. I learned after that though. Make sure your oil is hot enough too!  Otherwise they won’t brown & get crispy, they’ll just be soggy.

CHICKEN FLAUTAS

Ingredients:

  • 1 Hass avocado
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • 2 limes (1 halved, 1 cut into wedges)
  • Kosher salt
  • 6 radishes, thinly sliced
  • 3 cups shredded rotisserie chicken
  • 1 ½ cups fresh salsa
  • 16 corn tortillas
  • Vegetable oil, for frying
  • 2 tablespoons roughly chopped fresh cilantro

Directions:

  1. Scoop the avocado into a blender. Add the sour cream and the juice of ½ a lime, pulse until smooth. Season with salt.
  2. Squeeze the remaining ½ lime over the radishes in a small bowl and sprinkle with ¼ teaspoon salt. Toss the chicken with ¾ cup salsa in a medium bowl.
  3. Wrap the tortillas in damp paper towels and microwave until soft, about 45 seconds (or a little longer, as needed). Spoon the chicken mixture down the middle of the tortillas. Fold in the ends and roll up like a burrito, secure with toothpicks.
  4. Heat ¾ inch vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until a deep fry thermometer registers 375° F. Fry the flautas, turning as needed, until golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove with tongs; drain on paper towels and remove the toothpicks. Serve with the avocado cream, radishes, cilantro, lime wedges and remaining salsa.

I’ve been getting tons of inspiration from food magazines lately. No idea why. I’ve gone so long, or well, since October, without making much that I saw in any of my magazines. Now it seems every page is drawing me in. Maybe it’s the spring? Spring recipe fever? This is a great spring & summer meal. Use all those fresh herbs & veggies!

Needless to say I didn’t do the radishes thing, I’m not a big radish fan. However, I did put fresh cilantro in the flautas themselves as opposed to on top. If you’re going for a prettier presentation, lay them next to one another on a plate, spoon the salsa and avocado-cream on top, then the radishes and then top with the fresh cilantro. I basically just wanted to shove them in my mouth like a fatty, so presentation wasn’t a priority. Besides, like I said, food stylist I am not. My salsa was just jar salsa, which is lame I admit, but next time I’ll use fresh salsa or pico de gallo. Actually, I was really disappointed because I used Pace Thick & Chunky salsa… and it wasn’t so thick & chunky! BOO PACE! I had a Stop & Shop brand Southwestern salsa with corn & black beans in it that was bangin’… should’ve used that one. Pfft.

Side note, how much do you love that vintage poster!? I’m kinda obsessed with vintage travel posters & postcards, I’d love to have that full size!

Sopa de Tortilla a la Mexicana, y guacamole.

If you know me (or follow me on Twitter, for that matter) you know I am obsessed with Mexican food. I could eat it everyday. Actually, I’m obsessed with all things Mexican. Sugar skulls, Dia de Los Muertos, guacamole, tostadas, tortillas, fajitas, quesadillas, carnitas, pico de gallo, Frida Kahlo- you name it, I love it. My favorite  Mexican thing ever has to be Yoyo, though. Have I mentioned lately how much she rocks? Anyway so when I got the Food Network magazine featuring 50 easy soups and I saw Spicy Tortilla Soup, I had to make it. Also, I had these gorgeous organic tomatoes crying to me to use them in something delicious. Look at them- how beautiful were they?! By the way, if you had told me 8 years ago I’d get excited over beautiful organic tomatoes and KitchenAid mixers, I’d have told you you were batshit crazy.

This really is an easy soup, I have to say. It practically made itself. This wins the easiest comfort food award of the year, I think. The crunchy tortilla strips are super-simple to make: just cut a corn tortilla into strips, heat some oil in a skillet, and throw ‘em in. Wait a few minutes for them to slightly turn golden brown and take them out. Put them on a paper towel to drain. And you’re done! But this post is kinda a two-for-one because in addition to an easy tortilla soup recipe, I’m going to show you that using 4 ingredients you can make an awesome guacamole in 5 minutes. PLUS you can make your own tortilla chips to eat it with using the same fried corn tortilla method as the strips.

SPICY TORTILLA SOUP

Ingredients:

  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 1 onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 seeded ancho chilies
  • ½ cup cilantro (plus more for garnish)
  • 1 package corn tortillas
  • some shredded, cooked chicken
  • avocado
  • lime juice

Directions:

  1. Puree the 2 chilies, tomatoes and onion. Then fry in oil.
  2. Add 6 cups chicken broth, 4 torn corn tortillas, the chicken and ½ cup cilantro. Simmer until thick.
  3. Add salt to taste; garnish with crisp tortilla strips, Mexican cheese, avocado, cilantro and lime juice.

See? Easy. I used a shredded Mexican cheese mix (asadero, jack, cheddar) but whatever cheese you like you can use. You can also shred your own.

With the rest of my avocado, I made a quick guacamole, using 1 avocado, half a large onion chopped, chopped cilantro and lemon juice. Very simple: cute the avocado (in case you have no idea how: cut around the avocado in a complete circle lengthwise, then grab it in your hands with the slit down the middle, rotate each side into an opposite direction, they should separate themselves. Then pop out the pit, and cut first crosswise then lengthwise many times on each half to make “cubes” of avocado. Then, using a melon baller or small spoon, “pop” it out of it’s skin into a bowl), add the chopped onion and cilantro and douse with lemon juice (not too much, you don’t want it mushy). Then mash the avocado mixture with a fork until it’s the consistency you want. You can add more onion if you like, and even some tomato. Season with salt and it’s ready to eat!

The chips are done exactly like the fried tortilla strips: just tear a corn tortilla into four triangular pieces, then fry them in some heated oil until they’re browned and crispy. Let them drain on paper towels and then serve with the guacamole. ¡Orale!

And in case you forgot, here’s a friendly reminder to get in your entries for the Cupcake Rehab’s 2nd Birthday giveaway. You have until October 12th, but just until midnight EST! To view the entry, see the prizes up for grabs and view the rules/requirements, go here..  and good luck!