Healthy Baja Mexican - Mediterranean Fusion Cuisine

My Baja Kitchen

My Baja Kitchen

Healthy Baja Mexican - Mediterranean Fusion Cuisine

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Smoked Salmon Cream Cheese Filled Savory Muffins

Smoked Salmon Cream Cheese Filled Savory Muffins

 

My inspiration for these brunch worthy savory smoked salmon and cream cheese muffins came from Andrew at Angling Unlimited in Sitka, Alaska. I had visions of bagels, lox and cream cheese in a muffin and stumbled onto Andrew’s recipe. In payment, I offered some virtual Baja sunshine to the Alaskan fishing crew, next winter when the skies turn gray. (more…)

Spicy BBQ Baja Shrimp Kabobs

Spicy BBQ Baja Shrimp Kabobs

 

Fresh shrimp, red and orange bell peppers, red onion, red potatoes and a chili lime marinade come together in a rainbow of colors to bring Baja, Mexico to your next BBQ. Serve with caprese salad and fruit or Mexican rice and grilled vegetables for a perfect backyard BBQ meal.

Buying and cleaning raw shrimp:

Fresh shrimp, camerones are readily available on the Baja.  At the market you could ask for a kilo of shrimp by saying, “Necesito un kilo de camarón, por favor.” I need a kilo of shrimp, please.

You will need to learn how to clean raw shrimp while living in Baja. The freshest shrimp is sold raw without prior deveining. I use a sharp paring knife to slit the back shell and remove the vein but you could use a special shrimp tool.

These shrimp were deveined and the shells were removed before marinating and skewering them.

 

I use flat, stainless steel kabob skewers. I’m not a fan of the bamboo skewers. They burn easily and the food twirls on them making it difficult to grill properly.

 

Spicy Baja BBQ Baja Shrimp Kabobs

June 22, 2017
: 4
: Moderately easy

Spicy Baja shrimp kabobs with colorful vegetables and chil lime marinade make an impressive meal. Perfect for a backyard barbecue.

By:

Ingredients
  • 2 pounds raw large shrimp, cleaned and deveined
  • 2 tablespoons ancho chili powder, substitute any chili powder
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil, divided
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt, divided
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 orange bell pepper, any combination of bell peppers is fine
  • 1 red onion cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 4 small red potatoes, may substitute yellow, or purple potatoes
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
Directions
  • Step 1 Clean and devein raw shrimp. Toss shrimp with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, chili powder, lime juice, cilantro, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Set aside while preparing vegetables.
  • Step 2 If using a charcoal grill start coals in advance. A gas grill should be preheated to 400 degrees.
  • Step 3 Cut peppers and onion into 1 inch uniform pieces. Cut potato into 1 inch cubes. Parboil potatoes for 7 minutes in boiling water. Let cool enough to handle. Combine potatoes, peppers, onions, 1 tablespoon olive oil, salt and pepper.
  • Step 4 Prepare kabobs by carefully skewering marinated shrimp through the body and tail, alternating with peppers, onions and potatoes. The vegetables are skewered through the center.
  • Step 5 Grill kabobs for 5 minutes and turn and continue to grill until shrimp are pink and vegetables are al dente and lightly charred, about 5 additional minutes.

I’m taking my Baja shrimp to #FiestaFriday. I have had intermittent internet so please forgive me if I don’t get a chance to comment on everything’s party recipes. Please stop by and say hello to this week’s cohosts Ai and Jhuls

Please visit #CookBlogShare for more amazing recipes. Send some blog love to this week’s cohosts http://www.hijackedbytwins.com/ http://www.easypeasyfoodie.com/ and http://recipesmadeeasy.co.uk/

Spicy Baja Shrimp Kabobs

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Weekly Meal Plan and Healthy Baja Recipes

Weekly Meal Plan and Healthy Baja Recipes

Making a weekly meal plan helps me save money, time and reduces the stress of “What’s for dinner?” I make healthy choices at the market, reduce waste because I know what is in the pantry and I’m less tempted to eat out. I always buy the freshest produce at the Baja market. I save money in the United States by choosing sale items, produce that’s local and in season and I avoid the processed foods.

My Loreto Sunday Market

Money Saving tips:
Make out a weekly menu
Stick to your list
Buy organic when it makes sense for your budget and health
Never leave the produce aisle at Whole Foods, never

Seductive Whole Foods

A trip to Whole Foods doesn’t have to break the bank.Look for sale items which usually means that the item is in season, locally grown and ready to eat. Never leave the produce section at Whole Foods. Do you really need organic bunny crackers, blue corn tortillas, expensive cheese and organic clothing? No judgement, if your answer is YES, DUH! Just think before you wander. I can impulse buy faster than anyone but I try to stick to a list and a plan. Always write out a meal plan before shopping.

I love Whole Foods and Trader Joes but I also know that the stores are a land mine of processed trigger foods. Save your money and buy real food. Processed organic food is still processed. Save money by only buying organic produce for the dirty dozen. Although I love the idea of saving the planet from pesticides in general if you want to save money and want to reduce your exposure to toxin then buying some organic produce makes sense.

 

Recipe links for this week’s meal plan:

Coming soon to MyBajaKitchen: chili rubbed shrimp kabobs

Weekly recipes under development: zucchini, corn vegan patties, grilled watermelon salad and sweet jalapeño & orange sauce over salmon.

 

Sweet Jalapeño Lima and orange sauce
Ground turkey stuffed bell peppers similar to these at Whatsfordinnerdoc.com


Grilled prosciutto and sage chicken inspired by saltimbocca

Smoked salmon muffins, inspired by these cheese muffins and these salmon muffins.

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Mushroom Walnut Vegan Chorizo – Turn up the heat and make it Mexican

Mushroom Walnut Vegan Chorizo – Turn up the heat and make it Mexican

 

Try this vegan mushroom, walnut “chorizo” filling in any Mexican recipe for tacos, tostadas or tamales. I think it would be great in stuffed poblano, Baja zucchini boats or red bell peppers. I let the mixture rest in the refrigerator for a day and the flavor was even more delicious.

I topped tiny grilled flour tortillas with my spicy “chorizo”, arugula, peperoncinis, red onion and tomatoes. This plant based mixture is reminiscent of chorizo and is sure to please any guest and keep the vegans nourished. Mushrooms are rich in Vitamin D and walnuts are a great source of protein, fiber and healthy fat. Your guests might appreciate a side serving of black or pinto beans, salsa and a bit of salty cheese for the lacto vegetarians or omnivores.

There are several inspiring recipes for mushroom and walnut fillings, both raw and cooked versions. The combination seems like a natural for bold Mexican spices, different fresh peppers, and dried chilies. Think what you could do with Italian or Indian spices!

Try them all. Here’s a few that I found after I thought I invented it. My inspiration came from my leftover chorizo seasoning and a produce bin full of mushrooms needing to be eaten.  I believe that there are no original stories or recipes in the world but always give credit when ever you find inspiration.

Vega:

Kyle:

Rawmazing:

I shared this at Meat Free Mondays
Mushroom walnut arugula tacos

 

Walnut Mushroom Vegan Chorizo

June 15, 2017
: 4
: Easy

A fast weeknight vegan mushroom and walnut filling for tacos, stuffed peppers, or tamales. Use as a substitute for spicy meats.

By:

Ingredients
  • 6 cups rough chopped cremimi or portobello mushrooms, about 1 pound
  • 1 cup walnut pieces
  • 1/2 cup chopped onions
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 tablespoons oil oil
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • 2 tablespoons ancho chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt or to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar or to taste
Directions
  • Step 1 Chop mushrooms and walnuts, or pulse in the food processor into pea sized pieces. Set aside. Sauté onions and garlic in olive oil until translucent. Add seasonings through salt and mushrooms. Sauté for 10 minutes. Add a splash of vinegar to separate the flavors, more if indicated. Adjust salt.
  • Step 2 Serve warm in tortillas or use as a filling for any vegetarian dish. Stuff bell peppers, baked squashes or vegan tamales.

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International Food Blogger Conference, La Gringa Takes a Trip

La Gringa’s Big Day Out

I’m attending the International Food Bloggers Conference in Sacramento, California on Sept. 29-Oct. 1, 2017. This will be my first food blogging conference. I attended Blogher and learned a lot about blogging in general and had a great time meeting other bloggers.

I’m determined to get my cookbook and my new site off the ground. This feels like a new fresh chapter in my life, out of medicine, so wish me luck and leave me a comment. (It’s lonely over here without you.) How else are you going to learn from my mistakes and mishaps?

Here’s a link to the IFBC and a story about the great places to eat in Sacramento. Sac is just over a two hour drive over the Sierras from me so I’m looking forward to exploring and eating my way through Sacramento. If you are attending, let’s meet up for a chat or a margarita. Send me an email with your contact information.

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La Gringa’s Weekly Menu

La Gringa’s Weekly Menu

Planning my meals around the available produce helps me use everything I’ve purchased without waste and allows me to create around the freshest ingredients. I print the menu and hang it on the refrigerator so that everyone knows the weekly plan. Of course, we don’t always stay on plan if no one feels like cooking or a date night develops. 😊

Here are this week’s farmer’s market and grocery store finds. Our farmer’s market in Northern Nevada has spring produce and lots of berries and stone fruits. As the weather warms, I will be able to buy most of my produce there.

Weekly menus

 weekly menu

Recipe links:

Baja Clam Chowder, coming soon
Mushroom walnut tacos, coming soon
Homemade Chorizo
Crashed potatoes with chorizo,
Margarita Salmon
Jalapeño poppers

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Chorizo Crashed Potatoes

Chorizo Crashed Potatoes

Chorizo Crashed PotatoesWho doesn’t love crashed potatoes? Now add spicy chorizo and you have my Baja version of patatas bravas, popular in Spain. These are a crispy potato explosion of Baja goodness. Pin these to your Mexican recipes to try. Easy and delicious.

According to ThePioneerWoman the original creator of Crashed Hot Potatoes was Jill Dupleix, a food writer from Australia and after you eat one you too will sing her praises.

For more amazing food writers follow me to Fiesta Friday where Angie hosts the best Fiesta link party this side of the Baja. While you’re at the party checkout the our co-hosts Jhuls and Monika and enjoy their websites.

The potatoes are deliciously crisp and I’ve re-created them by adding chorizo and a creamy salsa reminiscent of patatas bravas, a signature Spanish dish.  The patatas bravas is a deep fried potato dish which is served with a creamy spicy tomato sauce. These crispy baked potatoes are lower in fat and served with a simple salsa and mayonnaise drizzle giving them all the flavor of patatas bravas with less fat.  I used a generous splash of healthy olive oil.

Chorizo Crashed Potatoes

June 13, 2017
: 4
: Easy

Crispy baked potatoes seasoned with cilantro, chorizo and topped with creamy salsa. All the flavors of patatas bravas with less fat.

By:

Ingredients
  • 8 small yellow or red potatoes
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 ounces Mexican chorizo
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped cilantro, divided
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
  • 1/2 cup prepared red salsa, or pico de gallo
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • Optional: crumbled cojita or feta cheese
Directions
  • Step 1 Boil potatoes until fork tender, about 25 minutes. Brown chorizo and set aside. Oil a baking sheet with olive oil.
  • Step 2 Place boiled potatoes on the baking sheet and mash with a potato masher and twist to make a flattened bumpy “crashed” potato. Brush each potato with remaining olive oil and sprinkle with 1/4 cup of cilantro. Bake at 450 F oven for 15 minutes. Combine salsa and mayonnaise and set aside. Remove from oven and sprinkle with cooked chorizo and cheese if using, return to oven and bake for an 10 additional minutes. Garnish with remaining cilantro and a drizzle of creamy salsa.

 

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Margarita Marinade

Margarita Marinade

This is a quick marinade for chicken or fish that combines lime, oranges and tequila. You can substitute orange juice for the tequila but the tequila does give this simple marinade a uniquely Mexicana flare. Like adding wine to food use any tequila that you would also drink. I’m a fan of Cazadores, reposado.

 

Margarita Tequila Marinade

June 11, 2017
: 4 servings
: Easy

An easy marinade of tequila, lime and oranges with a touch of sweetness for fish or chicken.

By:

Ingredients
  • Fresh orange juice, 3/4 cup, 2 oranges
  • Fresh lime juice, 1/4 cup, 1 lime
  • 1 ounce tequila, may substitute orange juice
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic minced
Directions
  • Step 1 Combine all ingredients for marinade. Marinade chicken 30 to 120 minutes.
  • Step 2 Marinade fish no longer than 30 minutes.

 

I marinaded my salmon for 20 minutes and baked it on a baking sheet at 350 for 20 minutes. This would be fabulous on the grill also. The marinade adds a slightly sweet glaze to the salmon. I think Margarita marinade would be tasty on chicken, red snapper, halibut or dorado.

 

 

 

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Homemade Lean Mexican Chorizo

Homemade Lean Mexican Chorizo

Meet Biscuit, my crabby beach dog. He’s not crabby in person but that frown cracks me up. You will always find my beach dog under my feet in the kitchen, *sigh. I’m constantly saying, “siga adelante, move on.” He acts like he doesn’t understand spanish but I know he does.

 Baja dog

My cookbook will have a section on “healthier hacks”, re-making traditional food with less fat and salt. I used leaner ground pork for my chorizo and didn’t miss the added lard and soy products in the least.

Mexican chorizo is a delicious, rich addition to any meal. I use it mostly as a  seasoning for eggs, soups, or tapas. Mexican chorizo is a soft crumbly sausage which is distinctly different from Spanish chorizo which is a dried, firm sausage popular in Spain.

Unfortunately I never really know what parts of the pig are in the soft sausage mixture. I do know that I searched high and low for a packaged chorizo without soy. I’m sensitive to soy so I don’t want it snuck into my food. You can buy chorizo from a butcher and it usually tastes fabulous but I can’t really ask about which parts are included in my broken gringa Español. “Are there snouts and hooves in my meat?” I know, I know, I hate to think about what goes into any sausage, actually. I also am concerned about the amount of lard in chorizo. The ideal solution was to make my own at home. I drew inspiration from Honest Cooking but modified the spices. I left out the warm spices of cinnamon and clove and used dried New Mexico and California chilies. I can be lazy in the U.S. so I bought ground chilies but I also wanted to double the recipe and keep it in my pantry so I used all dried ingredients. In Baja, the dried whole chilies can be purchased everywhere so I would recommend soaking the dried chilies, 4-5 to substitute for 2 tablespoons of dried, in the vinegar for a few hours before combining them with the other seasonings. I used garlic powder but you can substitute fresh garlic, 2 cloves or more.

You can ask the butcher to grind a pork loin or lean looking chops for you if you can’t find ground pork. Pointing with a smile and a few Google translated key words usually works for me.

Helpful español: Try, “Necesito esta carne de cerdo molida por favor.” I need this pork meat ground up, please. Molida is ground meat.  Cerdo is pork.

Chorizo recipes:

Mushroom Chorizo Tapas @Whatsfordinnerdoc.com, my original blog.
Chorizo, chard and potato chowder
Chorizo Crashed Potatoes, coming soon to my Baja kitchen.
 

Lean Mexican Chorizo

June 11, 2017
: Multiple
: Easy

Homemade leaner pork chorizo. Lower fat, soy free alternative to store bought Mexican chorizo. Perfect for seasoning tapas, soups, or eggs. Delicious mixed with potatoes or roasted vegetables for tacos.

By:

Ingredients
  • 16 ounces lean ground pork
  • 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
  • 1 tablespoon ground California chili
  • 1 tablespoon New Mexico chili
  • 1 tablespoon Spanish smoked paprika
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 bay leaf crushed
Directions
  • Step 1 Combine all spices in a mortar and grind until leaves and cumin seeds are crushed. Combine spice mix, vinegar and ground pork and mix by hand or place in a ziplock bag and gently squish until combined. Store in the refrigerator at least 3 hours to allow the seasonings to mingle.

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Fresh Baja Salsas

Fresh salas made with fruits and vegetables are essential to Baja cuisine. Salsas are easily tailored to the available produce and to your individual tastes. Mix and match basically any fruits, peppers and onions and you have a salsa. What’s your favorite Mexican salsa recipe?

Sunday is my market and prep day. Even beach girls need some organization in their foodie lives. I have the same problem as many of you do at 4 pm when I’ve been writing all day and I’m hungry, “What’s for dinner, La Gringa?”

If I have a plan and some veggies and fruits prepped in advance then I am much less likely to reach for the tortilla chips or a quick quesadilla. I don’t have the American luxury of buying pre-washed bags of salad or veggies, which is really a great fall back plan for busy cooks who want nutritious food on the table quickly. So I wash and cut up jicama, cucumbers, carrots, melon, pineapple and lettuce.

I make fresh salsas every week with the fruits and vegetables that I have on hand. You can add salsas to tacos of course but try a fruit salsa as a side dish for fish or chicken. Salsas are flavor packed and you can adjust the heat to your preference by varying the types and amounts of chili pepper.

 

 

Pico de Gallo

June 11, 2017
: Multiple
: Easy

Fast fresh tomato and pepper salsa for any occasion. Keep a batch on hand for any Baja meal.

By:

Ingredients
  • 2 ripe tomatoes
  • 1 red onion
  • 1 serrano chili
  • 1/2 cup packed chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 key lime, may substitute Persian lime
  • Dash of sea salt
Directions
  • Step 1 Dice tomatoes and onion into desired size, usually 1/4 inch pieces. Mince serrano chili, the amount you use is directly related to your preference for spiciness. Start with 1 tablespoon, about 1/2 of an average serrano chili. You may substitute any hot chili, try jalapeño, habanero, or poblano depending on your heat preference.
  • Step 2 Chop cilantro. Mix all vegetables and the juice of one key lime or 1 tablespoon of any lime juice. Adjust salt. It’s best served after allowing the ingredients to mingle for 20 minutes. The salsa will keep in a sealed container in the refrigerator for 5-7 days.

 

 

 

Simple Additions to Pico de Gallo: 

Pico de Gallo, mild
If you’re feeling creative try a sweet red bell pepper and add chopped cucumber or jicama.

Pineapple Salsa
Make pico de gallo but substitute chopped ripe pineapple for the tomatoes and add chopped orange, yellow or red bell pepper.

Pineapple Salsa

Mango Ginger Salsa

Substitute ripe mango for the pineapple. Then add 1 tablespoon of fresh grated ginger root.
 Mango Salsa

Watermelon Salsa

Substitute chopped watermelon for the pineapple and add chopped cucumber for crunch.

Buena salud, disfrute de su comida. Good health, enjoy your meal.

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Recipes

Smoked Salmon Cream Cheese Filled Savory Muffins

Smoked Salmon Cream Cheese Filled Savory Muffins

 

My inspiration for these brunch worthy savory smoked salmon and cream cheese muffins came from Andrew at Angling Unlimited in Sitka, Alaska. I had visions of bagels, lox and cream cheese in a muffin and stumbled onto Andrew’s recipe. In payment, I offered some virtual Baja sunshine to the Alaskan fishing crew, next winter when the skies turn gray. (more…)