Recipes From The Heart No. 24

We’re long overdue for a South of the Border feast. My memories of trips to destinations where Spanish is the primary language are treasures. Friendly people, gentle manners, and a sense of social balance. Music, dance, native costumes mirrored the presentation of local cuisine. Fresh, flavorful and generous. And the drinks: if any distilled spirit deserves an organic designation, it is Tequila. The Agave fields of Jalisco are stunningly beautiful. I even planted an Agave.

The Blue Agave Fields of Jalisco.

Ceviche Dockeroo


Shrimp Ceviche makes a wonderful accompaniment.

1 pound peeled and deveined raw medium shrimp

1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (from 2 lemons)

1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice (from 2 to 3 limes)

2 medium tomatoes, seeded and chopped

1/2 small red onion, finely chopped

1 medium jalapeño, seeded and finely chopped (about 3 tablespoons)

1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves and tender stems

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1 medium avocado

Tortilla chips, for serving (optional)


Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Turn off the heat, add the shrimp, and poach until the shrimp are opaque and just cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes. Drain the shrimp and set aside until cool enough to handle, about 10 minutes.

Chop the shrimp into 1/2-inch pieces and place in a large bowl. Add the lemon juice, lime juice, tomatoes, red onion, jalapeño, cilantro, and salt, and toss to combine. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 4 hours.

Just before serving, dice the avocado, add to the ceviche, and gently toss to combine. Serve with tortilla chips, if desired.

Vegetarian Enchiladas

Vegetarian Enchiladas.


2 tablespoons vegetable oil

2 bunches green onions, coarsely chopped, divided

1 large red bell pepper, seeded and chopped

3 cloves garlic, diced

1 large tomato, chopped

½ cup sliced black olives

2 jalapeño peppers, seeded and diced

2 cups drained canned black beans

1?½ cups cooked white rice

1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened

1?½ cups shredded Cheddar cheese, divided

½ cup chopped fresh cilantro

½ lime, juiced

1 dash hot sauce (such as Tabasco®), or to taste

2 (8 ounce) cans enchilada sauce

8 (10 inch) flour tortillas

½ cup sour cream, or to taste


Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C).
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add most of the green onions, reserving some in a bowl, red bell pepper, and garlic; cook and stir until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Add tomato, black olives, and jalapeño peppers; cook and stir over low heat until tomato is soft, about 5 minutes.
Mix black beans and rice together in a large bowl. Fold in tomato mixture. Stir in cream cheese, 1 1/4 cup Cheddar cheese, cilantro, lime juice, and hot sauce.
Divide black bean mixture evenly among tortillas using a large spoon. Roll up tortillas.

Spread a thin layer of enchilada sauce in a large, shallow baking pan. Arrange rolled tortillas seam side-down over the sauce; cover with remaining enchilada sauce. Sprinkle reserved green onions and remaining 1/4 cup Cheddar cheese on top. Cover baking pan with aluminum foil.
Bake in the preheated oven until Cheddar cheese is melted, 10 to 15 minutes. Serve enchiladas with sour cream.

Mexican Rice Pudding (Arroz Con Leche)

Mexican Rice Pudding


2 cups Water

1 stick Cinnamon

1 piece (2-inch Size) Lime Zest

1 cup Rice

1 quart Milk

¾ cups Sugar

¼ teaspoons Salt

4  Egg Yolks

½ teaspoons Vanilla Extract

¼ cups Raisins

Ground Cinnamon, For Garnish


Bring water to a boil in a saucepan. Add cinnamon stick, lime zest, cover and simmer for 5 minutes. Add rice and return to a boil. Cover and cook or about 20 minutes. The water should be absorbed and the rice should be tender. If the rice is uncooked but there is no water left, add some more water.

Add milk, sugar, salt and simmer until the liquid starts to thicken, for 20–25 minutes. Discard cinnamon stick and lime zest.

Beat egg yolks in a bowl, stirring in the vanilla and adding few tablespoons of the hot rice. Add this mixture back to the rice. Add raisins, reserving a few for garnish. Serve sprinkled with ground cinnamon and reserved raisins.

Sir Verde McMaster guides us with drinks selections.

Sir Verde’s Drinks Suggestion: This dinner is vintage Margaritaville. Get out the José Cuervo Blanca and keep the frosted glasses filled. (Toss that hideous mix. Make your own with Cointreau and fresh limes).

Margaritas are Essentials.

Bonne dégustation. Love one another.

Old school journalism describes the style and stories produced by Doc Lawrence. “In everything I do,” he says, “there is a beginning, middle and an end.” One of the top travel writers in the country, Doc is steeped in the heritage of the deep south. Traveling the back roads from Texas to Virginia and on down to Key West inspires stories about local food and wine preferences, community theater, folk art and music often leading to clues for a good story. Heroes include Faulkner, Hemingway, Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, Ralph Ellison, Dorothy Parker and Willie Morris. An Atlanta native, Doc keeps a well-stocked wine cellar and bar and two outdoor grills. He enjoys entertaining and believes that the greatest challenge for a writer is to keep searching for a higher life. |
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