Tag: Mexican food

Grilled Tomatillo Salsa

Grilled Tomatillo Salsa | Serious Crust by Annie Fassler

Grilled Tomatillo Salsa | Serious Crust by Annie Fassler
Grilled Tomatillo Salsa | Serious Crust by Annie Fassler
Grilled Tomatillo Salsa | Serious Crust by Annie Fassler
Grilled Tomatillo Salsa | Serious Crust by Annie Fassler
Grilled Tomatillo Salsa | Serious Crust by Annie Fassler

In summers past I have felt disappointed in myself. I wake up to find that Labor Day has arrived and I haven’t made enough pies, snuck rhubarb into enough desserts, or eaten enough berries. I didn’t take advantage of the deep red tomatoes or experience that joy that washes over you when you cut into a melon to find that *yes it is perfect*. This summer has not been one of those summers. This summer I am oh so proud of myself. Maybe it’s finally having a garden that really got me in the summer produce spirit. Maybe it’s the fact that, now that we don’t have roommates, I have a whole fridge that I can pack full of these beauties. I have been stuffing our meals to the brim with whatever is seasonal and bright.

I’ve started hearing the rumblings. I’m sure you have too, or maybe you’ve been the one whispering about your excitement for sweaters, for long pants (which I’ll admit sounds appealing), for changing leaves. And while I am definitely ready for my apartment to not be 90° every afternoon (thank goodness for the air conditioner we got last week), I am not ready to let go of all this beautiful produce. So I’ll keep relishing it until you can’t smell the peaches the moment you walk into the produce section at the grocery store, until the tomatoes are no longer juicy just under their shiny skin. But while you have the tomatoes and the heat, I recommend breaking out your grill to make this grilled tomatillo salsa to snack on on those hot afternoons. The spice will make you sweat, but I hear that’s cooling anyway.

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Mexican Feast: Chile Relleno with Shrimp

Chile Relleno with Shrimp // Serious Crust by Annie Fassler
Chile Relleno with Shrimp // Serious Crust by Annie Fassler
Chile Relleno with Shrimp // Serious Crust by Annie Fassler
Chile Relleno with Shrimp // Serious Crust by Annie Fassler
Chile Relleno with Shrimp // Serious Crust by Annie Fassler
Chile Relleno with Shrimp // Serious Crust by Annie Fassler
Chile Relleno with Shrimp // Serious Crust by Annie Fassler

At the end of October, we took a trip to Mexico. My mom rented a house in Sayulita for a couple of weeks (we were only there for 1 week), and we spent our days swimming in the ocean, reading, swimming in the pool, and eating a lot of incredibly delicious Mexican food. Perhaps my favorite thing about our trip was all of the seafood, particularly shrimp. I am a big fan of shrimp, especially when they’re cooked to perfection and slathered in butter and garlic. Another amazing preparation that we ate (at least 3 times in a week) was chile relleno stuffed with shrimp.

Knowing that I love to cook, my mom asked one of the housekeepers from the complex to come over one night to do a kind of cooking lesson with us. Maria was fantastic – funny, smart, and an incredible cook. I think she was surprised that we a) wanted to help so much with the cooking and b) that, amongst us, we knew a fair amount of Spanish! She said that many of people she cooks for say they want to practice their Spanish, but don’t actually end up talking with her that much. But Jonah is fluent in Spanish, and my mom and sister aren’t half bad either.

Maria showed up to our house at 5 o’clock, and immediately got to work boiling tomatoes and peppers, roasting poblanos, and chopping away. I’m going to focus on the recipe for Chile Relleno stuffed with shrimp, but she also made us Mahi Mahi with garlic, 3 different salsas (one mild, one hot, and one pico de gallo, or salsa Mexicana, as she called it), beans, rice, guacamole, tortillas, and flan.

And thankfully, after cooking for us in the very hot kitchen, she joined us at the table. Maria made 6 peppers, so I’ll give you roughly that recipe. She didn’t measure a single thing, so a lot of this is my own guess work.

Chile Relleno with Shrimp


1 poblano pepper per person you’re feeding. 6 people? 6 peppers.
1/4 lb shrimp per pepper
~3/4 cup all purpose flour (for coating the peppers)
4 eggs, separated
Vegetable oil


First things first. Roast the peppers. If you’ve got a gas stove, you can do this right on top of the burner. If you don’t have a gas stove, turn on your broiler, and put the peppers on a pan in the oven. Keep a close eye on them. Either way, you’ll want to turn them (with tongs) every minute or so. You want the skin to char and blister. Once they’re charred, you can either put them in a bowl and cover it, or use Maria’s fantastic technique: tie them up in a plastic bag. You want the peppers to steam up, which will help soften them and loosen the charred skin. After allowing them to sit for about 10 minutes, peel and seed the peppers. Seed them by making a lengthwise cut along one side, and cutting out the seeds with a small knife. You want to leave the stem in tact.

Meanwhile, bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add the shrimp, and boil until pink, but still tender. Drain and sprinkle with salt. Gently stuff the peppers with the shrimp. Put the flour on a large plate, and coat each pepper in flour. Set aside.

In a bowl, whip egg whites until foamy, but not quite till peaks form. Add the yolks, whip some more. Heat 1/2 inch of vegetable oil in a (preferably non-stick) pan over medium heat. You’re going to cook your peppers one at a time, so it may not be a bad idea to set your oven to 200 degrees and put a pan in there to put the finished peppers on, so they’ll still be warm. When the oil is hot, coat a pepper in egg mixture, and place it in the pan. Now you’re going to kind of baste the pepper with oil. Using a spoon or a spatula, gently splash the hot oil up onto the pepper, so that even the part not touching the oil cooks a bit. Continue to turn the pepper and “baste” until the egg is nice and browned. Place in the oven, and repeat with the rest of the peppers.

Serve with salsa, guacamole, and sour cream!

Restaurant Review: Que Pasa Cantina

The patio at Que Pasa Cantina // Serious Crust by Annie Fassler

Mexican food and I are relatively new friends. Growing up, I loved a good plain quesadilla as much as the next kid (occasionally I would even put shredded chicken in it), but beans and tomatoes and onions? Gross. Hated it. Blech. The texture of beans in general is still something I’m working on. But Mexican food has slowly creeped in to my life in the past 6 years or so. In high school, I would’ve way rather gone to Vietnamese or Indian than Mexican.

Here in Portland we’ve got some killer Mexican food. You want a hole in the wall with the most amazing tacos you’ll ever have? Go to Tienda y Panaderia Santa Cruz in St. John’s. You want a line out the door for a delicious bowl of rice and beans and meat and some mystery amazing sauce? Go to Porque No. You want a crazy good Mexican style brunch? Definitely go to Autentica. But a relatively recent discovery has made my go to Mexican list: Que Pasa Cantina.

First let’s talk about the margaritas. Because, let’s be honest, margaritas (margs for short) are delicious, thirst-quenching, and I love the combo of salty and sour. The margs at Que Pasa were great – strong, sour, and just straight up good. Could you ask for more? Yes – at happy hour their house marg is only $5. Don’t want to go traditional? Don’t worry, they’ve got margs with jager, seasonal fruit, grapefruit juice, jalapeño, and of course all different kinds of tequila.

Before I get to the food, I want to tell you about one of my favorite parts of going to Que Pasa Cantina. Aside from the Potatoes Olé (you’ll read about them later), this restaurant also has possibly my favorite waiter in town. He has served us both times we’ve gone to the restaurant, and I don’t know his name, but he’s hilarious. He’s a little quiet, but very suave and with a stellar sense of humor. You can tell the guy is having a great time and doesn’t take anything too seriously. I want to be his friend.

Chips and Salsa at Que Pasa Cantina // Serious Crust by Annie Fassler

The first time we went to Que Pasa, I had recently discovered pastor (thanks Eliza!), so I ordered their traditional pastor tacos. Pastor is thinly sliced pork that has been marinated in a spice rub of chilies, cumin, and other delicious herbs. The bonus is that these tacos came not only with pastor, but also with pineapple (not uncommonly served with pastor), which is a serious weakness of mine. I have a tendency to, if there’s pineapple around, eat so much that my tongue starts to get numb and little bumps appear. This may be because I have a geographic tongue… but we’re getting sidetracked. Anyway, these tacos were awesome. First, any good Mexican restaurant knows to double wrap their tacos – 2 tortillas please! That way if one ruptures, you’ve got a backup. Makes the whole affair far less messy. Second, the pastor was so packed with flavor and had the nice fruitiness from the pineapple – I was in heaven. My next trip I ordered some chorizo tacos, which were super tasty, very flavorful, and spicy. Loved it.

Tacos and Potatoes Olé! at Que Pasa Cantina // Serious Crust by Annie Fassler

The first time we went to Que Pasa was with Peter, the producer of Jonah’s new album. Peter told us the greatest secret of Que Pasa. With your dish, don’t get the usual side of rice and beans. Why? Because you can choose to replace those beans and rice with their Potatoes Olé, mashed potatoes with carrots, sweet white corn, jalapeños, sour cream, cheddar cheese, and jack cheese. These potatoes are to die for. I know, they aren’t super healthy (potatoes, sour cream, and hella cheese), but hot damn. I now have bouts of serious cravings for these potatoes. They are so creamy, and I love the occasional crunch of the corn and carrots, and the little bit of spice from the jalapeño. These are definitely on my list of dishes to attempt to recreate.

So there you have it, folks. If you want some bomb.com Mexican food with a side of probably the best mashed potatoes you’ll ever eat, do me a favor, and visit Que Pasa Cantina (just north of the Hawthorne food carts on 12th ave).