Healthy Baja Mediterranean Fusion Mexican Cuisine

Author: TraceyDelaplain

Grilled Sweet Potatoes and Peppers and The Big Green Egg

Grilled Sweet Potatoes and Peppers and The Big Green Egg

Grilled sweet potatoes, poblano and red peppers are amazing together and easy to cook. You will love this sweet, smoky, caramelized side dish to serve with grilled meat or fish. Allow at least 20 extra minutes to  roast the sweet potatoes before you grill the meat. I microwave the sweet potatoes for 5 minutes to reduce the grilling time. A drizzle of crema or yogurt will make the flavors pop.

Have you heard of the Big Green Egg?
I think I need one. (more…)

Grilled Tri Tip, Smoky Spicy Cherry Chipotle Barbecue Sauce

Grilled Tri Tip, Smoky Spicy Cherry Chipotle Barbecue Sauce

Summer happiness is a bowl full of freshly picked cherries and a spicy, smoky slightly sweet grilled tri tip. Best served with a bottle of vino tinto, near the water, with your best friends.

Cherry chipotle barbecue sauce is perfect on grilled beef tri tip. It is sweet and just spicy enough with cumin and smoke jalapeño peppers in adobe sauce. I had a tri tip but any grill worthy cut of beef would be delicious; try round steak, london broil, thick flank steak or even smaller cuts of beef steak. A pork tenderloin would be fabulous with this chipotle marinade and sauce. I think chicken would even sing with this sauce.

 

Cherry Chipotle Grilled Tri Tip / MyBajaKitchen.comAdjust the heat to your tastes by using less chipotle and or seeding the peppers.
Don’t skip the smoky adobe sauce. That’s the best part of a canned chipotle. Freeze the remaining chipotle and adobe sauce for another day.

Cherry Chipotle Grilled Tri Tip/ MyBajaKitchen.comMake-shift cherry pitter, brilliant kitchen hack.

I used a citrus squeezer to pit my cherries. Place 4-5 cherries in the squeezer and compress. Then just pop out the pit. A cherry pitter would also work but I didn’t have one.

Party plan! 

Make the cherry chipotle sauce first and marinate the tri tip 6 hours to overnight with part of the cherry sauce and more olive oil.

Make your side dishes in advance so you have time to socialize. Toss a salad together, make Mexican cauliflower rice or cumin quinoa and bake a batch of brownies before your guests arrive.

When your guests arrive have cold cerveza or margaritas available and heat the grill or start the charcoals. Grill your tri tip to medium rare, which will take about 30 minutes and pour on more warmed cherry chipotle sauce before serving.

I served this with cumin quinoa, salad greens with a balsalmic vinaigrette and fresh melon. We drank a bottle of California Zinfandel and barely had room for bourbon brownies for dessert.

Make ahead barbecue side dishes?

Cumin and cilantro quinoa
Rinse quinoa, sauté a little onion, garlic, cilantro chopped, a dash of salt and pepper and a tablespoon of cumin seeds, add broth or water and cook 15 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature to rave reviews.

Bourbon Brownies, yes please.
Bake your favorite brownies or a healthy store bought mix. Pour a shot of bourbon over the hot brownies just out of the oven. Delicious and easy.

Cherry Chipotle Grilled Tri Tip
Author: 
Recipe type: Grilling
Cuisine: Mexican
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4-6 servings
 
Fresh cherries and chipotle make a smokey, spicy and sweet marinade and barbecue glaze for beef tri tip. Marinade can be used on pork and chicken also.
Ingredients
  • Onion ½ cup diced
  • Olive oil ¼ cup and 1 tablespoon, divided
  • Fresh or frozen cherries pitted and rough chopped, 2 cups
  • Orange marmalade ½ cup
  • Cilantro chopped ½ cup
  • Chipotle in adobe sauce, 1-2 seeded peppers and 2 teaspoons of adobe sauce
  • Cumin seed 2 teaspoons
  • Sea salt ½ teaspoon
  • Beef tri tip 3-4 pounds
Instructions
  1. Sauté onion in 1 tablespoon of the olive oil 5 minutes until translucent. Add remaining ingredients through salt and ¼ cup of water. Bring to a boil. Simmer 15 minutes. Let cool to room temperature.
  2. Combine ½ cup of cherry sauce and ¼ cup of olive oil with the beef. Marinate 3-12 hours in the refrigerator.
  3. Heat grill to 500 degrees. Remove beef from the marinade and reserve marinade for basting. Discard any remaining sauce after basting. Grill tri tip on high heat for 5 minutes on each side to sear meat. Reduce heat to 400 degrees. Baste tri tip with remaining marinade and grill 8-10 minutes on each side. Remove when medium rare and let rest 10 minutes before serving.
  4. Rewarm the reserved cherry sauce. Slice beef across the grain and pour cherry chipotle sauce over meat and serve on a platter.
Notes
Allow additional 3-12 hours for marinating beef.

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Grilled tri tip cherry chipotle BBQ Sauce/MyBajaKitchen.com


Should You Stop Cooking in Aluminum Foil?

Should you stop cooking in aluminum foil?/MyBajaKitchen.com
Graphic by Canva

Should you stop cooking in aluminum foil? I did.

I’m a physician and I care about health and food safety. Frankly it never occurred to me to question the wisdom of cooking in aluminum foil until I posted a recipe for taco zucchini boats grilled in foil and a reader posted, “THERE’S NOTHING HEALTHY ABOUT COOKING IN FOIL.”

I might have said it in a nicer way to get my point across. 😬 Don’t worry I won’t be shouting comments at you if you decide to continue cooking in aluminum foil.

At the time I wasn’t feeling the blog love but I did start to wonder about the safety of cooking in aluminum foil, especially with high heat, so I turned to the research. The commenter wasn’t too far off base and I’m grateful now for her shout out. (more…)

Easy Sushi Recipe, Spicy Baja Tuna Towers. Impress Your Friends

Easy Sushi Recipe, Spicy Baja Tuna Towers. Impress Your Friends

Make this easy spicy Baja ahi (yellow fin) tuna sushi tower with fresh fish, perfect sushi rice, siracha mayo and avocado.
A lunch or appetizer portion that’s sure to impress your guests. No need to roll and cut sushi, unless you like to make sushi then go for it. Actually making sushi with your friends does sound like a great way to get messy in the kitchen. Either way you get to eat spicy Baja sushi.

I’m taking my easy sushi recipe to Fiesta Friday to share. Have you tried the Tailwind app for Pinterest and Instagram? I opened a new tribe called Healthy Recipes for Healthy Families. Here’s your personal invitation to join my Tailwind tribe.

With Tailwind you can manage your Pinterest boards with ease and set up perfect pinning schedules. I’m loving this new application! Check it out and join my tribe.

Enough about me, here’s the easy sushi recipe I promised.

I found the perfect foolproof sushi rice recipe at MakeMySushi.com.

I used small 4 inch springform pans to shape the towers but you could probably use a ramekin with some ingenuity.

Make the sushi rice before preparing the fish and let cool to room temperature, about 45 minutes in advance of assembling the towers. Chop serrano and green onions and mix with mayonnaise, lime juice and siracha. Cut tuna into small dice and mix with spicy sauce. Slice avocado. Assemble towers; the fish goes first in the pan followed by the rice. Pat rice down over fish. Invert onto your serving dish or onto individual plates. Gentle remove springform pan. Garnish with avocado slices and green onions. Serve with wasabi paste and soy sauce.

Easy Sushi, Spicy Baja Tuna in Sushi Towers

August 11, 2017
: 4
: 1 hr
: 10 min
: 1 hr 10 min
: Easy

Spicy tuna towers over sushi rice. Easy sushi recipe.

By:

Ingredients
  • Sushi rice, uncooked 2 cups
  • Rice vinegar, unseasoned, 1/4 cup
  • Sugar, 1 tablespoon
  • Salt, 1 teaspoon
  • Fresh raw ahi (yellow fin) tuna, 16 ounces, may substitute any sushi grade tuna, jack or salmon
  • Mayonnaise, 2 tablespoons
  • Siracha, 2 teaspoons or to taste
  • Serrano chili, 1 teaspoon minced
  • Green onion, 1 tablespoon sliced thinly
  • Lime juice, 2 teaspoons
  • Avocado, 1/2 sliced
  • Wasabi paste and soy sauce on the side
Directions
  • Step 1 Rinse rice until several times until water is clear. Combine 2 cups of rice and 2 1/2 cups of water. Bring to a boil, stirring once. Reduce heat and simmer for 8-10 minutes.
  • Step 2 Heat vinegar, sugar and salt until solids dissolve. Stir vinegar mixture into hot rice and combine. Let cool to room temperature.
  • Step 3 Dice fish and combine with remaining ingredients except avocado.
  • Step 4 Divide fish into 4 inch springform pans (4). Top fish with prepared sushi rice and pat down with a spoon or a flat based measuring cup to compress the rice.
  • Step 5 Invert pan onto serving dish and open springform. Gently remove pan and base. Garnish with avocado slices and serve with wasabi and soy sauce on the side.

PIN IT and Please share this post. I’m so happy with the delicious results.

Easy Sushi, Spicy Baja Tuna Towers/ MyBajaKitchen.com



Ten Essential Kitchen Gadgets You Can’t Live Without in Baja, Mexico

Ten Essential Kitchen Gadgets You Can’t Live Without in Baja, Mexico

TeKitchen Gadgets You Can’t Live Without in Baja, Mexico

Every chef or home cook has a list of essentials kitchen gadgets that they can’t live without and these are ten of my favorite kitchen tools that make my life easier. Of course I could make do with a knife, a cutting board and fire but why would I, when I can have these gadgets?

I purchased my casa in Loreto Bay completely furnished with a well appointed kitchen but I struggled to find the kitchen tools that I use every day. I had taken photos of the contents in every draw and cabinet so when I moved in I would know what I needed to bring back to the Baja. I highly recommend this for anyone who buys a furnished home. It is an easy way to have a visual inventory of your new home.

Loreto is a small Baja, Mexican town so I wouldn’t expect to find specialty American kitchen gadgets. You can drive to a larger city like La Paz or Cabo San Lucas to shop, order from Amazon.Mx or bring your gadgets from the U.S. or Canada. Here’s my top ten list of essential kitchen gadgets. (more…)

Baja Mediterranean Style Salmon, Black Bean Salsa and Rice Grilled in Foil Packets. A Complete Meal and Easy Clean Up

Baja Mediterranean Style Salmon, Black Bean Salsa and Rice Grilled in Foil Packets. A Complete Meal and Easy Clean Up

Salmon, black beans, peppers and rice make a healthy Baja-Mediterranean inspired complete meal in easy clean up foil packets.

I grilled these outside because it’s too hot to use the oven but they can easily be baked in the oven in parchment paper, which may be safer than cooking foil.
(more…)

Slow Cooker Three Pepper Pulled Pork, Three Meals

Slow Cooker Three Pepper Pulled Pork, Three Meals

Easy slow cooker pulled pork with three peppers is so versatile. Make a large batch ahead of time and freeze it for quick meals.  The slow cooker does all the work while you get out of the hot kitchen and play at the beach. I combined Anaheim, jalapeño and sweet bell peppers in this pulled pork; it’s not too hot but just spicy enough to hold up to the all day simmer.

Crockpot Three Pepper Pulled Pork

 

Searing meat before you place it in the slow cooker gives the meat more flavor but you can skip that step if you’re in a hurry. I’ve been known to throw everything in the crockpot without pre-cooking any of the ingredients. Believe me it will be fine. Too hot to stand over the stove? Sear the meat over high heat on your outdoor grill, adding a nice smokey flavor.

 

 

 

 

 

3 Ways to use pulled pork

  1. Pulled pork Mexican torta, sandwich – combine meat with traditional or spicy barbecue sauce, serve with pickled jalapeños and shredded cabbage on a bolillo;  a small oval roll of plain white bread, crusty on the outside and with a soft interior found in every Mexican bakery. Here’s a recipe to try.
  2. Pork carnitas tacos, tostadas, tamales, empanadas, chili rellenos; basically any Mexican meal that needs a tasty meat stuffing.  These tostadas were simple to throw together for a quick weeknight meal. Lightly fry corn tortillas in olive oil. Top with pulled pork, finely chopped onion and cilantro, finely chopped cabbage, cotija cheese and salsa verde.
  3. Korean lettuce wraps; pulled pepper pork, wrapped in lettuce and served with kim chi or Korean quick pickles. Recipe.  

Slow Cooker Three Pepper Pulled Pork

August 2, 2017
: Easy

Three pepper pulled pork is simmered all day in a slow cooker and is ready for tacos, lettuce wraps and pulled pork sandwiches. Simple and versatile. Freezes well.

By:

Ingredients
  • Pork shoulder, 3-4 pounds
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • Salsa verde, homemade or jarred 2 cups
  • Red wine vinegar, 1/2 cup
  • Anaheim pepper, 2
  • Jalapeño pepper, 2
  • Bell pepper, any color, 1 cup chopped
  • Onion, 1 large white or yellow, chopped
Directions
  • Step 1 Salt and pepper pork. Sear both sides of the pork in a hot skillet or over a high flame in the outdoor grill about 10 minutes. Should have a uniform charred surface.
  • Step 2 Place meat and all remaining ingredients in a slow cooker. Add water if needed to cover 3/4 of the meat. Cook on high 6-8 hours until meat falls off the bone. This could be simmered all day in a dutch oven or made in an instapot or pressure cooker. Adjust times accordingly.

PIN IT FOR LATER
Slow cooker 3 pepper pulled pork 3 ways
 



Vegan Bolognese and Zoodles, Low Carb and Low Fat Mediterranean Meal

Vegan Bolognese and Zoodles

This is a delicious whole food, vegan, low carbohydrate bolognese over zucchini noodles. A definite addition to a Mediterranean style diet and is perfect for #MeatlessMonday.

The mushrooms give a nice meaty texture and the nutritional yeast lends a cheesy flavor so you won’t miss the parmesan cheese. The sauce is loaded with flavorful vegetables and herbs. For more protein add legumes or nuts to your sauce.

I was traipsing around my old food blog, Whatsfordinnerdoc and found my version of vegetarian bolognese and decided to make it vegan. The original recipe had marscapone cheese but I wanted to see if nutritional yeast would give this vegan version a cheesy boost of flavor. I was pleasantly surprised that it tasted as if I’d added parmesan cheese.

 

Vegan Bolognese and Zoodles

The zoodles are low in calories and carbohydrates with a pasta mouth feel but you can eat this over any wheat, brown rice or quinoa pasta. I bring a spirilized with me to Baja because I haven’t seen one to purchase. I love Trader Joe’s quinoa spaghetti when I want pasta and it has 5 grams of protein per serving if you aren’t watching your carbohydrates. I have used this spirilizer for 4 years and it still works great and is easy to clean.


Vegan Bolognese and Zoodles

July 31, 2017
: 6
: 20 min
: 1 hr
: 1 hr 20 min
: Easy

Vegan bolognese is low calories and loaded with nutritious vegetables for an easy Mediterranean meal. Make it low carb over zoodles or serve it with pasta.

By:

Ingredients
  • 2 medium zucchini, spirilized
  • 2 medium carrots, coarsely chopped
  • 1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
  • 1 fennel bulb, coarsely chopped
  • 1 stalk celery
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
  • 1 tablespoon fennel seeds
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 cups any combination of mushrooms, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine, may substitute vegetable broth
  • 14 oz can diced, no salt tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
Directions
  • Step 1 Wash and chop all vegetables except the zucchini. Spirilize the zucchini. Sauté onion and garlic in olive oil for 2 minutes. Add carrots, fennel, celery and continue to cook for 5 minutes. Add herbs, mushrooms, tomato, salt and pepper. Simmer 45 minutes. Add zoodles and stir gently for 5 minutes. You want the zucchini to be warm but maintain its texture. Stir in yeast just before serving.

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Vegan Bolognese over Zoodles, low carb, lowfat, Mediterranean diet



Grilled Chicken Bacon Ranch Salad, Make Your own Yogurt Ranch Dressing

Grilled Chicken Bacon Ranch Salad, Make Your own Yogurt Ranch Dressing

Grilled chicken breast marinated in homemade yogurt ranch dressing, wrapped in bacon and tossed with fresh spinach, avocado, and tomatoes. Drizzle more yogurt ranch dressing for a main meal salad inspired by a California Club sandwich.

Grilled Chicken Bacon Ranch Salad with Spinach and Avocado

This is a low carb, whole food meal with healthy substitutions of low-fat Greek yogurt dressing, no nitrate bacon and skinless chicken breasts.

Feeling spicy?
Make chipotle pepper ranch dressing by adding 1/2 to 1 chipotle pepper and a teaspoon of adobe sauce. Heat it up!

I’m sharing my salad at Fiesta Friday.

Grilled Chicken Bacon Ranch Salad

July 28, 2017
: 4
: 15 min
: 20 min
: Easy

Grilled chicken breasts marinated in yogurt ranch dressing and wrapped in bacon. Serve over salad greens and avocado for a main meal salad.

By:

Ingredients
  • 2 chicken breast halves
  • 4 bacon slices, nitrate free
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • 1 tomato, sliced
  • 4 cups salad greens, any combination, spinach, kale, arugula, romaine lettuce
  • 1/2 cup plain 2% or fat-free yogurt
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 teaspoons minced shallot or green onion
  • 1 teaspoon dried dill weed
  • 1 tablespoon fresh or dried parsley
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
Directions
  • Step 1 Slice each chicken breasts length wise into two pieces. Mix yogurt, mayonnaise and seasonings for the marinade and dressing. Place 1/2 cup of dressing/marinade over chicken breasts and marinade 2-24 hours.
  • Step 2 Remove chicken from marinade and discard marinade. Pre-cook bacon in the microwave for 2 minutes, discard bacon fat. Wrap each breast in a slice of bacon. Grill chicken and bacon on medium heat until chicken is cooked through, about 15 minutes, carefully turning once.
  • Step 3 Assemble salad greens in a serving bowl or platter. Top with avocado and tomato slices. Slice chicken breasts and assemble over salad greens. Drizzle with remaining yogurt ranch dressing. Serve immediately while chicken is warm.

PIN IT FOR LATER

 

Grilled chicken, bacon, avocado, tomato salad and homemade yogurt ranch dressing

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Vegetarian Mushroom Tamales, Swiss Chard Wrapped

Vegetarian Mushroom Tamales, Swiss Chard Wrapped

Make these vegetarian mushroom parmesan cheese filled tamales wrapped in Swiss chard leaves without corn husks for a special occasion or weekend meal with friends.

 

Corn husks are readily available in every Baja market and they are traditionally used to make Mexican tamales. They lend an earthy (dusty) corn flavor to tamales which I did not miss with these flavorful Baja Mediterranean tamales. The mushroom parmesan filling is reminiscent of mushroom ravioli with a Baja twist. I can find parmesan cheese in Baja but it is a specialty item and can be expensive. A substitute would be aged cotija Mexican cheese. The filling would be great in empanadas, quesadillas or on baguette slices at a tapas party.

“I like to cook with wine and sometimes I even put it in the dish.”
Pair a hearty Mexican red wine, vino tinto, with these mushroom parmesan tamales and remember to save a glass for your guests. You can easily make them vegan by substituting minced walnuts or vegan cheese for the parmesan. (more…)