Month: June 2011

Shrimp Tacos with Key Lime and Orange love

Shrimp Tacos with Key Lime and Orange love


I’m a grilling girl now that summer has taken residence in my life.  As usual I was craving spice and mariscos.  It’s not just me, right? Summer has a knack of making you crave seafood too?  Shrimp tacos sounded like the perfect solution, and they were.  I added little chunks of  Melissa’s key limes and oranges to the top for a bright note in my bite. Plus the spicy red sauce I made to tag along took this taco to a new stand, and no one was kicking it.  SUPER YUMMERS!  This is the ideal meal on a hot day!  My family and I loved these shrimp tacos so much they got invited back for 4th of July.  I guess you know what I’ll be grilling.

All photos taken by: Nicole Presley

Ingredients for shrimp and marinade:

1 – tablespoon minced garlic

1 – tablespoon olive oil

3/4 – cup beer (I use Modelo)

1/2 – cup orange juice

1/4 – teaspoon black pepper

1/4 – teaspoon oregano

1/4 – teaspoon salt

2 – sprigs of cilantro

1/4 – cup of chopped green onion

15 to 17 – extra large raw shrimp (peeled and deveined)

In a big bowl add all ingredients. Cover and place in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours or if time permits overnight.

Now lets make the red sauce for our tacos…..

Ingredients for spicy red sauce:

6 – chile de arbol

1 – large tomato

1 – garlic clove

1/4 teaspoon of black pepper

1/2 – tablespoon salt plus 1/4 teaspoon

1/2 cup water (from the water chiles boiled in)

Fill pot with water halfway and add 1/2 tablespoon of salt. Place pot over medium high flame and bring to a boil. Then add chiles de arbol and tomato. Boil for 25 to 30 minutes or until tomato can be pierced with a fork.

Remove stem from chiles. Next add chiles, tomato, garlic clove, pepper, 1/4 teaspoon of salt, and water chiles boiled in  to a blender. Blend for 2 minutes.  Place red sauce in bowl and set to the side.

Let’s make the sauteed onions, because these little shrimp tacos would be nothing without them.

Ingredients for sauteed onions:

1 – tablespoon olive oil

1 – large onion (sliced)

1/2 – teaspoon Lawry’s seasoning salt


In a large frying pan over a medium flame add olive oil, and allow oil to get hot. Then add sliced onion and Lawry’s. Fry on each side for a 5 minutes or until onion is limp.

Back to the shrimp marinade…..

Remove all shrimp from bowl and cut each shrimp in half.  Then take a several big wooden skewers and place 5 to 6 pieces of shrimp on each skewer.

Fire up the grill. While your waiting for the grill to get hot start preparing the taco dress up.

Ingredients for taco dress up:

1 – large avocado (Cut into small chunks)

1 – tomato (cut into bite size cubes)

1/2 – cup cilantro leaves

1/2 – orange (peeled and cut into small pieces- fleshy part)

4 – key limes (peeled and cut into small pieces- fleshy part)

1/2 – cup sour cream

8 – corn tortillas

Cut all vegetables and fruit as directed. Place on table along with sour cream, sauteed onions, and spicy red sauce. Heat corn tortillas right before you are going to eat.

Now place skewered shrimp on grill. Cook on each side for 5 to 6 minutes. or until pink/white and cooked all the way through.

Build your taco: Start with a warm corn tortilla. Then add a fork full of sauteed onions, 4 to 5 pieces of shrimp, a big spoon of spicy red sauce, a few pieces of tomato, a few avocado chunks, 2 or 3 cilantro leaves, a dollop of sour cream, and lastly sprinkle with fleshy parts of orange and key lime!

Call the SHERIFF there’s a NEW BAD TACO in town!

No compensation was received for this post. I was provided with a sack of Melissa’s Key Limes to aid this recipe.

In the SNACK of time: Yogurt, Fresh Cherries, and homemade Oatmeal Cookies

In the SNACK of time: Yogurt, Fresh Cherries, and homemade Oatmeal Cookies

SNACKAS of the day: Oikos Organic Vanilla Greek Yogurt by Stonyfield.  This creamy yogurt isn’t too sweet…. it’s delicious.  Lending it’s tanginess to sweet cherry companions. Heck, I thought an oatmeal cookie could join the crowd.  Not a 3rd wheel in this case. Team these three up and sit back for a pleasurable snack.

Photo taken by: Nicole Presley

Mobile Farm, Film Workshop, “Art in the Streets” Exhibit at the MOCA. Food-Film series at Cinefamily!

Mobile Farm, Film Workshop, “Art in the Streets” Exhibit at the MOCA. Food-Film series at Cinefamily!

There is a lot going on at the MOCA these days.  The amazing Art in the Streets exhibit is up and transported me from a Blade Runner-esque scene to a Nordic wolf dream.  But amongst the graffiti Levi’s has teamed up with Foodbuzz and is sponsoring a film workshop all about food.  From now to July 14 the workshop will have various presentations highlighting 3-D filmmaking, editing, screen tests with cinematographers, sound design, lighting…. etc.

Futurefarmers designed a mobile farm right in front of the museum made of bikes and other mobile pieces.  The farm is being tended to by Tara Kolla of SilverLake Farms. Aaron Rose is going to shoot/direct a short film and workshop participants will help create a final cut of the movie.  The farm will stay on site til August 8th, then SilverLake farms will distribute the produce throughout the city.

In celebration of this new wave food movement.  Levi’s is hosting three nights of film followed by a reception at Cinefamily.  Wednesday 06/29 Cesar introduced by Suzanne Goin of A.O.C. and Lucques.  Thursday 07/07 Martin Scorcese’s Italianamerican introduced by Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo of Animal Restaurant. Tuesday 07/12 The Grapes of Wrath introduced by Tara Kolla of Silver Lake Farms.  I can’t wait to go!  It’s going to be GOOD!

All photos taken by: Nicole Presley and Mando Lopez

Here are a few photos from Levi’s workshop:


A few pictures of my favorite pieces inside the Art on the Streets Exhibit:

Taco Truck Heaven: Taqueria “El Pecas”

Taco Truck Heaven: Taqueria “El Pecas”


With the gourmet food truck craze going on strong here in Los Angeles, it’s easy to lose sight of the original pioneers that have been selling tacos from trucks for years.  Not I, Taco trucks still hold the key to my heart.  I happen to live in the mecca of taco trucks and the one that won the title in my eyes is Taqueria “El Pecas.” Their tacos are the undisputed CHAMPS in my household.  Perfectly seasoned meat, placed on a slightly toasty corn tortilla, dressed with a smoky red chile or a tangy green chile.  QUE RICO!  No chicken served here my friend, it’s the REAL DEAL. Asada.  Pastor.  Cabeza.  Lengua. Buche.  Chorizo.  They make handsome burritos and quesadillas as well.  One last note…. The truck is immaculately clean.

All photos taken by: Nicole Presley

Location: 4752 Cesar E. Chavez Ave. Los Angeles, Ca 90022

Hours: 4:30p.m. to 11:30p.m. Sunday to Thursday

4:30p.m. to 12:30a.m. Friday to Saturday

Salad Series: the big bite Red Fruit Ensalada!

Salad Series: the big bite Red Fruit Ensalada!

Summer is officially here, and with it the melting heat.  When the weather outside has decided to go insane…. I usually crave something COOL, fruity, and refreshing with a crisp feeling.  Then my RED fruit salad steps in and saves the day!

Ingredients for red fruit salad:

3 – cups watermelon (cut into 1 inch cubes)

2 – cups strawberries (each strawberry cut into 4 pieces)

1 – cup plums (each cut into 8 pieces)

1 – cup rainier cherries (cut in half)

1/8 – cup sugar

Mint (optional)


In a big bowl add all fruit, and mix well.  Sprinkle sugar over top, mix well, cover, and let sit for 15 minutes in refrigerator.  Garnish with mint or slice little pieces in with fruit.

🙂 Red Fruit Salad Tip: Serve in little bowl over ice cream. Top a plain yellow cake with fruit salad and whip cream. Or eat it all on it’s own.

All photos taken by: Nicole Presley

Potato-Bacon Fritters and Eggs! Eat it for BREAKFAST or have it for DINNER!

Potato-Bacon Fritters and Eggs! Eat it for BREAKFAST or have it for DINNER!

I hold a pocket of memories close to my heart, and I had to reach in deep to pull this one out.  It was summertime 1980 and my Tia (Aunt) and Tio (Uncle) took myself and a few of my cousins on a camping trip to Sequoia.  We went on many adventures as a family, but this one in particular reeks of embarrassment.  I remember the trip there being a long haul up winding mountains, and riding inside the camper laying on the flat bed high up top looking out the long rectangle window as little bugs got splattered against the glass. Many hours later we found our spot and settled in nestled amongst towering trees.  A few tents were pitched for the adults and us kids claimed our beds inside the camper.  Once night fell upon us the stars filled the sky, some shining bright twinkling to catch our eye, and some a bit bashful they scurried away in shooting fashion only to disappear.

Instead of lighting a bon fire and roasting marshmallows the park ranger had informed us of a cartoon viewing that night at the Lodgepole.  Us kids were thrilled and squirmed in our seats through dinner anticipating the fun that awaited our animated pleasure.  The Lodgepole was an open space with long logs made for seating and a big white drop screen hung from two trees on either side.  We ran to find our seats with bags of salted peanuts mixed with raisins in hand.  I sat next to the park ranger with the rest of my cousins and family in the aisle behind me.  The screen started to flicker with a projection of Tom and Jerry cartoons.  I munched on my snack concentrating on the cat and mouse before me. The evening was going splendid until I felt a bit of gas building up in my belly.  I thought to myself “Could it be the peanuts and raisins? Should I let out a fart here? No one will hear it, the sound is too loud.”  I released an almost silent fart and thought I had gotten away with a BIG scheme.  Two seconds later I was engulfed in the most hideous stench. The park ranger turned and looked at me and said in the loudest voice he owned “Did you just fart?”  I shook my head back and forth with an expression that read disbelief that he was asking me that question and blurted out “No.”  He raised one eyebrow and crinkled up his nose in disgust and said “YES you did LIAR, and it smells.”  I was so mortified, my instincts told me to run deep into the pitch black forest and pass from sight like a faded star.  Instead I sat there turning every shade of shame shrinking smaller and smaller in my seat.  Of course it didn’t end there…. all the kids around me start squealing saying “Eew!”

The next morning I laid in bed covers pulled over my head reeling from humiliation.  I just wanted to go home.  My Aunt was up making breakfast and it smelled so inviting.  I could hear the sizzle of bacon and the shell of eggs breaking.  Then a hand came, pulled back my blanket, and rubbed my hair.  The hand was accompanied by a loving voice that belonged to my Tia.  She said “Get up Mija, I’m making potato-bacon fritters and eggs.” And just like that the magic of delicious food made everything better than fine. Forgotten even.

All food photos taken by: Nicole Presley

Here’s a photo of me and my cousins standing in front of the truck/camper before we left on our road trip. From left to right. Myself, Scott, Mando, Yvette, and Shrimp.

This recipe will make 16 fritters

Ingredients for fritters:

3 – cups mashed Idaho potatoes (a day/or a few days old and cold)

1 – cup sharp cheddar cheese cubes (I use Tillamook)

1 – package of bacon (fried, and crumbled)

1/2 – cup roasted pasilla chile (skinned, deseeded, and cut into small cubes)

1 – egg

1/8 – cup corn starch

1/2 – cup flour

1/2 – bread crumbs or corn meal

1/2 – teaspoon Lawry’s

1/2 – teaspoon black pepper

Vegetable oil

In a big bowl add mashed Idaho potatoes, sharp cheddar cheese, bacon, and pasilla chile. Mix well with hands.

Using a 1/4 cup, scoop out potato mixture and form into patties. Should make 16 patties. Place patties on a piece of wax paper so they don’t stick to your working surface.

In a container mix cornstarch, flour, bread crumbs, Lawry’s, and black pepper. Set to the side. In a small bowl mix egg then dip one patty at a time. Then take patty and dip into flour mixture. Repeat with next patty till done.

In a large frying pan add 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil over a medium flame. Allow oil to get hot, then add coated patties. Fry on each side for 2 -3 minutes or until golden brown. You will need to fry the patties in batches, using more oil each time.

Once cooked remove from pan and serve. I like to add sour cream to the top and a fried egg on the side. That’s it…you’re done.

How to make the mashed Idaho potatoes:

3 – large Idaho potatoes (Peeled and cut into 8 pieces)

1 – tablespoon minced garlic

1 – stick of butter

8 – large mushrooms (chopped)

1/2 – cup whipping cream

2 – tablespoons chopped green onion

salt and pepper to taste

Peel and boil pieces of Idaho potatoes for 20 minutes or until a fork can pierce through. Drain and place in a bowl and mash with a hand masher. Then in a frying pan place 2 tablespoons of butter with mushrooms and garlic and let saute for 5 minutes, then add the rest of the stick of butter to melt. Pour the butter garlic mushroom saute into the mashed potatoes along with the whipping cream and the chopped green onion, and mix well. Add salt and pepper to taste.

🙂 Mashed Idaho Potato Tip: Will taste better if made a few days ahead of time and placed in the fridge. They will hold better too if cold when making this recipe.

How to make the roasted pasilla chile:

1 – pasilla chile

1/2 – teaspoon of vegetable oil

Pour 1/2 teaspoon of olive oil in a small dish,  with a pastry brush generously brush pasilla chiles with olive oil to coat. Then place oil coated pasilla chile on an open medium high flame. Burn the skin of the entire chile. It will take about 5 to 7 minutes to char.

Once chile is completely charred, place it in an air tight ziplock bag for 1 hour. This step will allow chile to steam in it’s own heat and will make peeling charred skin off much easier. It’s an essential step.

Once chile has steamed, remove from ziplock and place under a stream of water from faucet. With your fingers slowly and carefully peel charred skin off of chile, until all burned skin is removed.

Then discard stem and seeds inside. Cut into long strips, then dice into small squares.

How to make the bacon:

1 – package of bacon

Take a slab of bacon and cut into 4 sections.

Then in a large frying pan over a medium flame, add bacon pieces. Fry until nicely browned. It should take about 15 to 20 minutes.

Once cooked set on a paper towel lined plate and allow to cool before crumbling a little bit smaller.

Enjoy these fritters. I sometimes make them for dinner and serve with a piece of fish. 🙂

Alert your NINO… it’s Chicken Chile Verde on the stove tonight!

Alert your NINO… it’s Chicken Chile Verde on the stove tonight!

Traditionally chile verde is made with pork.  Nothing against the other white meat… I make chile verde that way as well, but my aunt Brilla is a selective eater and refuses to give pork a chance.  I didn’t want her to miss out on chile verde so I made it with chicken for her birthday party one year.  She was bewitched by it, and so was everyone else at the party.  Smitten.  Ever since then this recipe has been on the most requested list and is usually devoured before I can grab a plate for myself. 🙂  The trick to this chicken chile verde: is the good ol’ crock pot.  It leaves the chicken moist, flaky, and tender.  Give your slow cooker some love.

All photos taken by: Nicole Presley

Ingredients for chicken:

1 – whole chicken

1 – cup water

1/2 – yellow onion (peeled and cut into pieces)

1 – tablespoon fresh minced garlic

2 – teaspoon Lawry’s seasoning salt

1 1/2 – teaspoon black pepper

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

In a crock pot place chicken, water, onion, fresh minced garlic, 1 teaspoon Lawry’s, and 1 teaspoon black pepper.  Then cover with lid and cook for 6 hours.  Once cooked allow to cool.

Remove from crock pot and shred entire chicken using your hands or two forks.  Discard all bones.  Once all chicken is shredded sprinkle 1 teaspoon Lawry’s, garlic powder and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper over top.  Mix well.  Place in a bowl and put in the fridge to start making the chile.  I usually make the chicken a day ahead.


Ingredients for green chile:

9 – tomatillos

6 – guero chiles (yellow chiles)

8 – serrano chiles

7 – jalapeno chiles

5 – garlic cloves (browned/fried)

3 – cups of water (from water chiles boiled in)

1 – teaspoon of vinegar

2 – teaspoons chicken bouillon (I use Knorr)

1 – teaspoon dried oregano

1 – teaspoon black pepper

Fill two pots halfway with water and place over a medium high flame.  Bring water to a boil.  Then put tomatillos in one pot and in the other put all chiles.  Boil tomatillos for 15 minutes, you will know they are ready when they go from light green to a greenish yellow color.  Remove from flame and set to the side.

Boil chiles for 30 minutes or until soft and a bit limp.  While chiles are boiling place garlic cloves in a frying pan with a little oil and fry till browned.  Set to the side.  Once chiles are boiled remove from flame but DO NOT discard water… you will need it to blend chile.

Let’s get blending.  You will have to work in batches.  In a blender add chiles (discard stem), browned garlic cloves, water from the pot the chiles boiled in, vinegar, chicken bouillon, oregano, black pepper and tomatillos.  Blend until smooth about 1 minute.  Pour into a bowl.  Set to the side.

Ingredients for chicken chile verde:

3 – tablespoons vegetable oil

2 – large Idaho potatoes (peeled and cubed into small squares)

1/2 – teaspoon Lawry’s seasoning salt

1 – large onion (sliced big)

a bowl of shredded chicken

5 to 6 – cups of green chile

In a LARGE frying pan over a medium high flame add vegetable oil and allow oil to get hot.  Then add cubed Idaho potatoes and Lawry’s and cook for 10 to 12 minutes or till browned. Next add in sliced onion, mix well, and continue cooking for another 5 minutes.

Time to add in the shredded chicken.  Mix well and cook for 5 to 7 minutes.  Last step add in green chile and mix well…. let cook for another 5 minutes!

That’s it your done! I like to eat my chicken chile verde on a tostada joined by some refried beans topped with sour cream and avocado.  Or I’ll wrap it in a flour tortilla for a delicious burrito. Either way…. ENJOY!

Tell your Nino not to eat it all.  Save some for me.