Ask Jen about Mexican food

Ask Jen chips and dip


I am not Mexican or of Mexican descent. The farthest south of the border I go is into Guernsey County (haha). I have never even vacationed to Mexico, but know more than a few people who have, and loved it (note to self).

burrito with refried beansI don’t travel much, so I love that I can experience different cultures’ foods right here in Ohio. I don’t care who says what about living in Northeast Ohio, I love it. I especially love all the ice and snow and horrible, no-good, rotten weather that we’re rapidly approaching (please note the sarcasm).

Rewind, Jen. Back to the Mexican food thing.

Like I was saying before I was so rudely interrupted by Mother Nature, you can find a plethora of amazing food within driving distance of wherever you live. We don’t need an airline ticket and endless pocketbooks to experience what we want — although, don’t get me wrong, it would certainly be nice!

Wednesday is my favorite day of the week — don’t judge, there’s a really good reason: For the last like 50 years, I’ve been going with a small group of friends to our local Mexican Restaurant for… wait for it…

Margarita Wednesday. (The best part is that the wait staff knows what we order! E, K, D and I are ‘regulars.’)

chips and dipYes, folks, we call it ‘Margarita Wednesday,’ but it’s all about the queso dip. The nectar of the Mexican food gods. You take your chips and dip them in the queso, then in the Mexican rice. Hey — don’t knock it until you try it.

I fear that with the impending doom approaching (winter), we may not be having as many Margarita Wednesdays as we are now. So in preparation for being stuck under 20 feet of snow, I’ve been researching and digging around for the best recipes for our favorite authentic Mexican treats. If you feel inclined to try either recipe listed below, let me know what you think! It’s all still a work in progress … Ole!

Go make something awesome,

White Queso Dip

  •    3 Tablespoons oil
  •    1/4 cup finely diced green chiles
  •    2 pickled jalapenos, seeded and diced
  •    1 Tbsp. juice from pickled jalapenos
  •    2 cups heavy cream
  •    16 ounces Monterey Jack cheese, grated
  •    8 slices American white cheese
  •    2 Tablespoons cilantro, chopped
  •    Pinch of cumin, optional

In a medium saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Add chiles and jalapenos and sauté until tender, only a couple minutes. Add cream and jalapeno juice, and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and add Monterey Jack cheese and American cheese. Stir until melted. Return to low heat until it reaches desired temperature. Stir in cilantro and cumin and use as a dip, or serve over burritos.

Mexican Rice

  •    1 can diced tomatoes (with green chiles and onion)
  •    2 tsp. minced garlic
  •    1⁄2 cup onion, divided in half
  •    1⁄2 cup rice
  •    1 Tbsp. oil
  •    1 cup chicken broth
  •    1⁄4 cup cilantro
  •    1/2 tsp. cumin

In blender, puree canned tomatoes, and half of the garlic and onion. Brown the rice in the oil, and add in the rest of the garlic and onion. Without mixing, pour tomato sauce over rice, and simmer for about 5 minutes. Add broth and seasonings and let simmer for 30 minutes (until rice is soft) without stirring. Fluff with fork and serve.

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