Mexican Day at SFYI

Friday March 25th

Today I was given the reins  of the kitchen. It was my job to plan the menu and make a list of all the ingredients I would need.  Cooking for 20 plus is no easy task. A lot of planning and effort is required.   I knew that I wanted to have a vegetarian meal but I also had to cater to everyone’s pickiness’s . I went back and forth deciding what I should do but I finally settled on Mexican food.  I was eager for this day to come but unsure how the crowd would respond to my food.

I kept the food pretty mild and only used a few Jalapeños.   From the re-fried beans, which are un-heard of in France, to the homemade tortillas, everything was exceptional and fresh.  I had never done homemade flour tortillas before so I did a practice batch on Wednesday. When I got the approval from a few students, I knew I was off to a good start.  Today was one of the first days that all of the plates were empty at the end of the meal!

So what did we make that could have been so good?

Homemade Tortillas

Two cups of all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder
1 teaspoon of salt
2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
3/4 cups of water

1.Mix together the flour, baking powder, salt and oil.
2. Slowly add the warm water. Stir until a loose, sticky ball has formed.
3. In the bowl, knead the dough for two minutes. You know that the dough is done when it is soft yet firm.
4. Place a damp cloth on top of the bowl and allow the dough to rest for 20 minutes.
5.After the dough has rested, break off 3 to 4 ounce pieces of dough and roll each piece into a ball.
6. Place them on a plate, cover them with a damp cloth and allow to them rest for 10 more minutes.
7. After the dough has rested, one at a time place a dough balls on a floured surface, with a rolling pin, roll them out into circles that are about 1/8 of an inch thick.
8. Heat a non-stick pan, wipe it was an oiled paper towel and put the tortilla on. Heat the tortilla for about 45 seconds and then flip it. You want it to be a little brown but not burnt.

Re-fried Beans

1 recipe of homemade beans. See musical fruit post.
2-3 medium onions
1 ½ carrots
½ cup of olive oil
1 teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon pepper
2  jalapeños
2 teaspoons of paprika
Dried Epizota

  1. Dice the onions and carrots.
  2. Heat a pan and sauté the onions in 2 tablespoons of olive oil . When they start to turn translucent, add the carrots.  When the carrots become soft about ten minutes, add the jalapeños, epizota, salt, pepper, and paprika.
  3. Sauté them for a few minute and then add some of the bean liquid and oil. This is very important. When the liquid starts to boil off mash the beans with a masher.   When all the liquid has dissolved add more liquid and mash the beans or puree them with a blender or hand mixers.
  4. Return the beans to the stovetop, adjust the seasoning and serve.

Vegetable Fajitas with Lime Sauce

3-5 Red peppers
3-5Red Onions
Olive oil for rubbing onto the veggies

1. Preheat an oven to 375 degrees. If you have a broil setting use it. It browns the veggies faster.
2. Cut off the tip of the onions and peel them. Cut the onions into rounds and leave the peppers whole. Cover the onions and peppers with a bit of olive oil.
3. Put the veggies into the oven and cook them for about 10-15 minutes. At this time, take the peppers out and flip the onions over.
4.  Remove the seeds from the peppers and cut them into long strips. Once they are baked, they are really easy to work with but a little juicy.
5. Remove the onions from the oven.
6. Put the peppers and onions onto a platter or into a bowl and cover them with the lime sauce.

Simple Lime Sauce

3-4 Limes
4 tablespoons of olive oil
3 cloves of minced garlic
1 tablespoon of vegetarian Worcestershire sauce
1 ¼ teaspoons of brown sugar
1 jalapeno chili, seeds removed
1 ½ tablespoons fresh cilantro
1 teaspoon of salt
¾ teaspoon of pepper

Whisk together the lime juice, olive oil, the garlic, Worcestershire sauce, brown sugar, jalapeno, salt and pepper.  Once it is mixed taste it and then set it aside.

Spanish Rice

Making Spanish rice is similar to cooking a risotto or paella.

2-3 medium onions
½ cup of olive oil
3 cloves of garlic
2-3 bell peppers
2 tablespoons of tomato paste
14 ounces of chopped tomatoes
2 cups of Paella Rice
2-3 cups of warm vegetable stock

  1. Dice the onions. Sauté them in oil until they are translucent.
  2. At this point add the peppers and garlic.  Cook the peppers until they are soft.
  3. Then add the tomato paste, and chopped tomatoes.
  4. When the liquid starts to boil off, add the rice and sauté it for 2-3 minutes.
  5. Add a few ladles of vegetable stock and give the rice a few stirs.  Repeat this process every 5 minutes for 20 minutes and they rice should be cooked al dente.


5 avocados
1-2 juiced limes
2 cloves of garlic
1 -2 teaspoons of cumin
1/8 cup  of fresh cilantro
Pinch of salt
Pinch of pepper

Take the avocados out of their skin and place them in a bowl. Add the remaining ingredients and mash up the avocados.  Taste and adjust the seasoning.

Sweet Corn

3 cups fresh corn kernels
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1 minced shallot
1 tablespoon red-wine vinegar
1/4 teaspoon salt
Pinch of pepper to taste.

  1. Preheat an oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Toss the corn with oil and spread it out on a large baking sheet.
  3. Bake, until some kernels begin to brown.
  4. Combine the remaining ingredients in a medium bowl.
  5. Add the corn. Mixed well and serve warm or cold. Both options are good

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This entry was posted in Ethnic Foods, Lunch, Vegan. Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Mexican Day at SFYI

  1. Gail Blumenthal says:

    You rock, Jonathan! Wonderful pictures!

  2. That must have been really good!

  3. michael h goldstein says:

    The first of many kitchens that you will command! The tortillas and corn look especially scrumptous.

  4. Cindy says:

    Looks great. Tess adds chopped shallots to her guac – yummy.

  5. Treva Putman says:

    Everything sounds delicious and the recipes look pretty easy (maybe even I could do them). And the pictures were wonderful.

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