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Wanderlust Cooking: Let’s Go to Mexico!

Today I’m excited to kick off a new series on the blog that I’m calling Wanderlust Cooking!

I miss traveling. A lot. Last week I was supposed to head out on spending a month abroad in several different countries, and I was feeling especially down on Wednesday, the day I was supposed to leave.

I’ve realized that not only do I miss traveling, but I miss all of the planning and anticipation that comes before a big trip. Quarantine has been rough. And with Shelter in Place in SF being extended at least through May, I decided I needed to come up with something fun to look forward to on weekends.

So Omied and I decided to do themed cooking nights where we pick a destination, and research recipes from that place to make at home. We’re talking cocktails, apps, entrees, desserts—the works! And because I love a good theme, I’m also dressing up in a cute outfit and putting together a playlist inspired by each location.

Our first destination: Mexico!

Can’t you just feel that ocean breeze?? 😜 I gotta say, putting on a cute dress, earrings, and makeup felt amazing. The delicious margarita didn’t hurt, either. Shop some fun dresses, earrings, and sandals that would be perfect for an at-home Mexico trip below:

And here’s my Mexican Night Spotify playlist that we listened to while we cooked!

Ok, let’s get into the food!! 😋 Here’s what’s on the menu:

Guacamole
Spicy black bean dip
Chickpea and chorizo tostadas
Mexican Brownies
3 2 1 Margaritas
Huevos Rancheros
(for brunch with all the leftovers the next day!)

In case you’re looking for more cooking inspo, I’m also linking a few top-rated Mexican cookbooks here, including Nopalito’s book!

Wanderlust Cooking: Mexican Night

Guacamole recipe, by blogger What The Fab

Guacamole

Guacamole

Oftentimes I opt for store-bought guac out of convenience, but with quarantine I've had time to slow down and decided to make guac from scratch for our Mexican night. And I was reminded how nothing compares to homemade guac! And it's really not that hard or time-consuming at all.

Prep Time 25 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes

Ingredients

  • 3 avocados
  • 1 lime
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup diced onion
  • 3 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • 2 roma tomatoes, diced
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 pinch ground cayenne pepper (optional)

Instructions

In a medium bowl, mash together the avocados, lime juice, and salt.

Mix in onion, cilantro, tomatoes, and garlic. Stir in cayenne pepper.

Notes

While you can serve immediately, for the best flavor, refrigerate the guac for one hour.

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Cheesy Black Bean Dip

Cheesy Black Bean Dip

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 5 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
  • ¼ cup tomato paste
  • 1 ½ teaspoons smoked paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 (14-ounce) cans black beans, drained and rinsed
  • ½ cup boiling water
  • Kosher salt and black pepper
  • 1 ½ cups grated cheddar cheese

Instructions

1. Heat the oven to 475 degrees.

2. In a 10-inch ovenproof skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high. Fry the garlic until lightly golden, about 1 minute.

3. Stir in the tomato paste, paprika, red pepper flakes, and cumin, and fry for 30 seconds.

4. Add the beans, water and generous pinches of salt and pepper, and stir to combine.

5. Sprinkle the cheese evenly over the top then bake until the cheese has melted, 5 to 10 minutes. If the top is not as browned as you’d like, run the skillet under the broiler for 1 or 2 minutes.

Notes

This recipe was really good, but it was even better when we added some kick and tang in the form of our favorite hot sauce, plus some pickled red peppers and jalapenos. It just needed a little extra somethin'.

We used this as an appetizer and also as part of the base for tostadas and huevos rancheros the next day, and it was awesome.

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Chorizo tostada recipe, by blogger What The Fab
Yield: 4 tostadas (serves 2)

Chickpea Chorizo Tostadas

Chickpea Chorizo Tostadas

These chickpea chorizo tostadas are one of my favorite things I've cooked during quarantine! They will definitely be making a regular appearance in our kitchen from now on. They're super easy to make and freaking delicious. Plus I discovered that it's really easy to make your own tostadas from corn tortillas (see notes below), and they turned out so good!

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup chickpeas
  • 1 lime
  • 1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 8 sprigs cilantro
  • 3 links fresh chorizo (about 12 oz) (I opted for spicy chorizo)
  • 4 tostada shells or baked corn tortillas

Instructions

1. Drain and rinse the chickpeas.

2. Grate one lime for zest in a small bowl.

3. Cut lime in half and squeeze lime juice of one half into the bowl. Cut the other lime half into wedges for garnishing/serving.

4. Finely chop 8 cilantro sprigs, starting from the stem. Stop once you get to the leaves and use the leaves for garnishing. Place the finely chopped stems into the bowl.

5. Add ¼ cup yogurt and ½ teaspoon salt to bowl and mix with a spoon.

6. Remove casing from chorizo links and discard. Heat a medium nonstick skillet over medium heat. Cook chorizo, breaking it up with a wooden spoon until partially cooked, about 3 minutes.

7. Add reserved chickpeas and cook with chorizo until meat is cooked through, 7–10 minutes. Remove from heat.

8. Spread crema over 4 tostada shells. Top with chorizo mixture. Garnish with cilantro leaves and squeeze lime on top.

    Notes

    Especially during quarantine, use what you've got! If you can't find chorizo, ground turkey or beef with taco seasonings would work just fine.

    Make your own tostada shells. My store didn't have tostada shells, but it turns out they are super easy to make yourself! Just spritz your corn tortillas with cooking spray, lightly salt, and bake at 400 degrees for 5 minutes each side. They come out crispy and delicious!

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    Mexican brownies

    Mexican Brownies

    Mexican Brownies
    Prep Time 20 minutes
    Cook Time 25 minutes
    Total Time 45 minutes

    Ingredients

    • 1 1/4 cups sugar
    • 11 tablespoons salted butter
    • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
    • 1 teaspoon cayenne powder
    • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 2 eggs
    • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
    • 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
    • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • 3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

    Instructions

    1. Preheat the oven to 325 F. Line a 8x8 inch baking pan with parchment paper.

    2. Place the butter and sugar in a large, microwave-safe bowl. Heat it in the microwave for 1 to 2 minutes. Remove it from the microwave and stir. You can either stir most of the batter in this bowl, or transfer to a Kitchenaid after microwaving.

    3. Stir in the vanilla extract, cayenne pepper, ground cinnamon, and cocoa powder.

    4. Add in one egg at a time to the butter and sugar and mix.

    5. In a separate bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda, cornstarch, and salt.

    6. Gradually add dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Mix until the completely mixed, but do not over-mix!

    7. Gently stir in the chocolate chips.

    8. Pour the brownie batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top.

    9. Place the brownies in the oven and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the brownies are set. 

    10. Lift brownies out of the pan by grabbing the parchment paper sides, and let cool. Wait until the brownies are mostly cool to cut.

    Notes

    This recipe is adapted from the Spruce Eats' recipe.

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    3 2 1 Margaritas

    3 2 1 Margaritas

    Ingredients

    • 3 parts tequila (6 ounces)
    • 2 parts fresh lime juice (4 ounces)
    • 1 part simple syrup (4 tablespoons)
    • Kosher salt for rims of glasses

    Instructions

    1. Mix 3 parts good quality tequila (we've been loving George Clooney's tequila, Casa Amigos), 2 parts fresh-squeezed lime juice, and 1 part simple syrup in a cocktail shaker over ice. Shake, shake, shake!

    2. Rub a wedge of lime around the rim of your cocktail glass. Coat rim with kosher salt.

    3. Pour margaritas into glasses and garnish with lime slices.

    Notes

    You can serve these margs on the rocks, or blend them up with ice!

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    huevos rancheros

    Huevos Rancheros

    Huevos Rancheros

    Using leftovers from some of the above recipes, we made huevos rancheros for brunch the next day and my god, they were delicious.

    Prep Time 5 minutes
    Cook Time 5 minutes
    Total Time 10 minutes

    Ingredients

    • Eggs
    • Tostadas
    • Black bean dip
    • Chorizo mix
    • Cilantro crema

    Instructions

    We baked a few tostadas and layered with crema from the tostada recipe, the cheesy black beans, and then the chickpea chorizo.

    Fry up some over easy eggs to put on top, and garnish with cilantro and salsa.

    We had so much fun looking up recipes and then cooking these up together while dancing to our playlist. And honestly, I can’t tell you how good it is for the soul to get dressed up after a month and a half of quarantine. 😂💃🏻

    Where should we “go” for next week’s Wanderlust Cooking??

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