Mi Casita

SOMETIMES THE MOST MEMORABLE MEALS REQUIRE NO MORE THAN MINIMAL PREP, GOOD COMPANY, AND THE GREAT OUTDOORS. AND WITH MORE DAYS THAN NOT FULL OF SUNSHINE, THERE’S NO REASON WHY SUCH MEMORABLE MEALS CAN’T HAPPEN MORE OFTEN.

Photography by Tiffani Jones
Styled by Lisa Malott

Growing up, my father always told me, “You know, Robyn, we may not have a lot of money, but we sure are rich in love.” Boy, was he right about that. Nothing brings me more joy than lovingly making tasty food for my family and friends, and enjoying it with them. What an honor it is to spend quality time together. Throwing a good celebration doesn’t mean we have to celebrate beyond our means. After all, in my opinion, the tastiest dishes are often the simplest. Few ingredients prepared well and with lots of love are key. When I was young, my family took yearly trips to Los Angeles to visit my grandparents. I marveled at the beauty of Latin culture.

 

“The tastiest dishes are often the simplest. Few ingredients prepared well and with lots of love are key.”

Families in my grandmother’s neighborhood regularly got together al fresco and enjoyed each other’s company while sharing beautiful, homemade food. The smells wafted through the air. Judging by the glorious aroma and the smiles, love was most definitely the main ingredient. Join me as I celebrate family with a beautiful feast of Latin dishes, recipes I have collected and shared throughout the years. Enjoy!

 

 

Spicy lime-cured cucumber and habanero

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1/8-inch half moons 1 English cucumber, cut into

1/8-inch slices 1 habanero chili, seeded, and cut as thinly as possible

1/4 cup fresh lime juice

1 teaspoon Mexican oregano

Kosher salt to taste

Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl. Allow to marinate for 2 hours, stirring once midway through.

Chili verde taco

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5 tomatillos, cut in half, with hulls removed

2 jalapeños, halved

4 cups water

1 clove garlic, coarsely chopped

1/4 cup chopped yellow onion, plus

1 1/2 cups sliced

1/2 cups chopped fresh cilantro

1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 poblano chili, seeded, and cut into strips

2 1/2 pounds pork butt, fat trimmed, cut into

3-inch cubes Corn tortillas, the fresher the better

Chopped white onion, cilantro, and lime wedges for serving

Combine the tomatillos, jalapeños, and water in a large pot. Bring to a boil. Turn the heat down to a simmer, cook for 15 minutes or until the tomatillos and jalapeños are soft. Remove from the heat and cool to room temperature. Place the contents in a blender. Add the cilantro, chopped onion, garlic, and salt. Blend until smooth. Using a clean pot, place over medium heat and add the oil. When the oil is hot, add the poblano chili and sliced onions. Stir occasionally, cook until soft. Add the pork and the blended tomatillo mixture. Bring to a simmer. Turn the heat to medium-low. Simmer gently and stir occasionally. Be careful not to scorch the goodness. Cook for 2 1/2 hours or until you can pull apart the meat with a fork. Using two forks, shred the meat into pieces. Serve with tortillas, chopped fresh cilantro, chopped onion, and lime.

Sweet corn salsa with tomatoes and basil

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2 cups fresh corn kernels (about 4 ears)

1 1/2 cups chopped fresh tomatoes, seeded

1 cup diced english cucumber, do not peel

1 tablespoon finely chopped jalapeño, seed before chopping

1/2 cup finely chopped red onion 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

1/2 cup chopped basil

2 teaspoons kosher salt

Mix all the ingredients in a bowl and chill for 20 minutes. Adjust seasoning as needed.

Flor de jamaica

Ice

2 ounces agave tequila

1 ounce agave syrup

1/2 ounce lime juice

1/2 ounce fresh lemon juice

1/2 ounce brewed hibiscus tea

1 lemon wedge

Fill a tumbler and a cocktail shaker with ice. Add tequila, agave syrup, lime juice, lemon juice and tea. Shake. Strain into your tumbler and garnish with lemon.

Gallo Pinto

1 can small red beans or black beans

2 1/2 cups cooked white long grain rice, should be flaky and not sticky

1/2 medium vidalia onion, chopped finely 2 cloves garlic, crushed

3 tablespoons olive oil kosher salt to taste

In a large frying pan, saute the onion over medium high heat. add the garlic, saute for a minute more, then add the beans. Bring to a light simmer then add the cooked rice. Saute together until rice is heated through and dry

Mango and chili

3 large mangos, firm

1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

2 teaspoons chili kosher salt to taste

Peel mangos and slice into spears and place in a bowl. Toss with chili, lime juice and salt.