Monday, June 19, 2006

I'm still trying to work my way through a package of 36 corn tortillas I bought weeks ago, and I thought that while Donal was visiting I'd get a chance to use some up. Unfortunately, we had no time at all to cook, and it was too hot to really do so inside anyway. So last night, faced with a bunch of tortillas and some precooked chicken, I made taquitos. I resisted the urge to fry, and instead baked them in the toaster oven.

I used about 1/4 cup of chicken, mixed in about a tablespoon of hot sauce, a shake of salt and pepper, a little lime juice, a few chopped cilantro leaves and some garlic. I sprayed one side of a corn tortilla with olive oil spray and put that side down on a plate. I split the chicken mixture into three piles and spread one on the non-oiled side of the tortilla topped with a little bit of Monterey jack cheese and rolled them up gently.

rolled tacos2
Originally uploaded by halene.

Despite the gentle rolling, the tortillas did split a little, but that might have been a side effect of the aging tortillas. Regardless, after about 20 minutes in a 350 toaster oven, they were golden brown and delicious looking.

Originally uploaded by halene.

I steamed an ear of corn quickly in the microwave, mostly because I'm scared of the grill when I'm home alone, and then cut it off the cob. A quick dice of tomato, some lettuce and extra cilantro, and I had all the toppings for my tacos.

rolled tacos
Originally uploaded by halene.

The finished dish was pretty, flavorful, but a bit dry. I wish I'd had some pico de gallo and some sour cream. But overall, pretty healthy and very delicious.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Shrimp Tostados

I needed to put a dent in a bunch of white corn tortillas I purchased for last week's carnitas, so Andy and I decided to give grilling them a try. My hope was that I could get awesome taco shells without frying them in oil. Unfortunately bending the shells on the grill was a miserable failure and we just left them flat and made tostado shells instead.

cucumber salad with black beans
Originally uploaded by halene.

I also had half a can of black beans left over and huge cucumber to get through, so I chopped up the cucumber along with some tomatoes, red onion, and added the beans, salt, pepper, cuming and a touch of jalapeno sauce to make this relish/salad.

grilled shrimp with spicy barbecue sauce
Originally uploaded by halene.

We whipped up a spicy BBQ sauce and brushed it one some skewered shrimp and grilled them up.

shrimp tostados
Originally uploaded by halene.

The final product was impossible to eat with a knife and fork, but a fun, albeit messy hand-held dinner, and while the healthier slant was good and good for us, these grilled shells were no where near as good as the traditional fried version.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Finally, for a few days last week, it wasn't pouring rain, so we decided to go all out and do some grilling.

rib rubbing
Originally uploaded by halene.

Uhlie was home for a little while a few weeks ago, and came back bragging about what fantastic ribs she made for her family. I said "Woman, how come you never cook like that for me?" and basically guilted her into preparing ribs for the 884 collective. Plus, babybacks were on sale at Superfresh.

The above picture shows the critical first step to Uhlie's ribs. We made a little dry rub of a few tablespoons each of garlic powder, chili powder, paprika and cumin. Uhlie rubbed this generously over the ribs and then brushed them with my homemade barbeque sauce. Then we wrapped them up in heavy duty foil and cooked them on 300 in the over for 2.5 hours.

Originally uploaded by halene.

After the two and half hours in the oven, we put the ribs on the grill outside to give them a little color and extra flavor. Delicious! The ribs were tender and juicy and some parts were carmelized on the grill at the last minute. A little more barbeque sauce and they were seriously out of this world. The sauce was really easy to make.

1/2 cup chopped white onion
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 bottle of chili sauce
1/3 cup ketchup
2 tablespoons liquid smoke
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon paprika
Salt and Pepper to taste.

I don't cook my barbeque sauce, enough of that happens when you put it on the meat, but the flavor of the sauce increases as it sits together in the fridge.

chicken and corn
Originally uploaded by halene.

We used some of the same BBQ sauce on the chicken and also made a little grilled corn. To spice up the corn I mixed some lime juice and some garlic salt into a little softened butter and slathered it on the corn as it came off the grill.

Originally uploaded by halene.

This is a huge plate of food and I ate it all! And had a little bit of seconds! Oh my it was like...ruhl fucking good.

dessert tray
Originally uploaded by halene.

A few hours after grilling we all had a sweet tooth, so I cut up some brownies I'd made earlier in the week (with chocolate chunks and walnuts), some store bought lemon pound cake and some fresh strawberries and blueberries. It was a pretty presentation and a nice sweet ending.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

steak and cous cous

Home for a little while, back in May, to help my parents move into their new house, I made a few yummy dinners.

steak and cous cous
Originally uploaded by chalen4.

My mother cooked for me my whole life until I went to college and my brother moved out. Now she doesn't cook all that much, but when I visit, I try to return the favor. This evening I made grilled steak, steamed green beans, and cous cous with red peppers and cherry tomatoes.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Plaza Garibaldi

andy and pepsi
Originally uploaded by chalen4.

The 884 collective went to a new Mexican restaurant! After careful reading over at Holly Eats, we decided to give Plaza Garibaldi a try. It's directly across Washington Ave from our aforementioned favorite, Vera Cruzan.

Queso Fundido
Originally uploaded by chalen4.

To start, we shared the Queso Fundido. Adam, over at The Amateur Gourmet would surely have some play on words to describe this dish, but all I'm going to say is, you must eat this dip! It's awfully bad for you, but it's so wonderful to put in your mouth. A crock is filled with cooked ground chorizo sausage and covered with cheese, then baked until it's warm and gooey. It's served with warm flour tortillas, but we also found that it made a great dip for the chips.

Originally uploaded by chalen4.

I had the Gringa entree. It was a nice mixed grill of red and green peppers, onions, marinated chicken and steak. Served with rice and beans. The meat was well cooked, but lacked a little spice.

Originally uploaded by chalen4.

Uhlie had the Chicken enchiladas with Mole sauce. I'm not a huge fan of Mole, but Uhlie loves it and she said this was some of the better mole that she's had in the city. Andy had the carne asada, and reported a superior experience at Plaza Garibaldi as compared to Veracruzan. I took a picture, but it was both blurry and unflattering to everything captured within the frame.

Ultimately, we liked Plaza Garibaldi. The entrees are a step above the ones we've tried at Veracruzan. The atmosphere is also a little nicer, you feel like you're in a restaurant and not just a taqueria. Plaza Garibaldi is also a BYO, so we enjoyed some wine with dinner and found that Garibaldi is a few dollars cheaper than Veracruzan. The major downfall at Plaza Garibaldi would have to be their chips and salsa. Both baskets of chips that arrived at our table were cold. And unlike the obviously fresh fried chips at Veracruzan, these chips may have been made off site.

935 Washington Ave.
Philadelphia, PA
(215) 922-2370
Monday - Thursday 10:30 - 10:30
Friday - Sunday 10:30 - 11:00
Plaza Garibaldi in Philadelphia

Saturday, June 03, 2006


My friend G posted some great food pics for me from Lyon, France. Go to her website to check out the yummy adventures of G!