When it comes to waking up your taste buds, cuisine with a kick does the trick every time. That's why I long ago added south of the border dishes to my menu many moons ago. The moment you put a forkful of Picadillo into your mouth, your tongue realizes this ain't your mama's sloppy Joe recipe. Over the years I've experimented with everything from Mexican and Castilian cuisine to Brazilian fare. While all these recipes have similarities, you'll be surprised to discover how many differences there are between Spanish dishes. I know I was. Below are a half dozen of my favorites. I hope you like food that is mucho caliente, amigos.
Blender Salsa - Salsa isn't only a tasty treat on its own, it is also used to make other Spanish dishes. Besides, making salsa is a snap. All it takes are a dozen ingredients and a blender to whip up a quart of the stuff in a jiffy. My recipe and video below will show you how to make chunky, zesty salsa that will have your taste buds shouting “OLE!” Ingredients: 1 diced onion, 1 diced green pepper, a large can of crushed tomatoes, a small can of diced tomatoes or Rotel, 1 can of diced green chilies, 1 tbs vinegar or lime juice, a dash of hot sauce, ¼ tsp cilantro and a pinch of salt pinch of salt. See video below.
Hot Mexican Dip - Remember that chunky salsa recipe I just showed you how to make? Well, here’s where you get to put it to use. This dip is layered to bring out all the south of the border flavors and textures of the four ingredients required. 2 cups salsa, 1 can refried beans, 1 bag of shredded cheese, 1 bag of tortilla chips. Video below.
Tamale Pie - Here is a fantastic variation on classic chili. To start with you’ll make chili with corn instead of beans. Then you’ll take the chili, place it in a pie pan and top it with a cornbread crust. This way you’ll get the best of both worlds in a south of the border dish that will have your taste buds shouting “A Chihuahua!” Ingredients: 2 pounds of ground beef, 1 diced onion, 1 diced green pepper, 1 can chilies, 2 cups frozen corn, ½ bottle green olives, 2 tbsp chili powder, a small can of tomato sauce, 1 tbsp ground cumin, ½ tsp hot sauce, and a ½ bottle of beer.
Want to see even more Man Cave recipes? Check out my new interactive cookbook on amazon. In it you'll find more than 100 mouth-watering dishes that are quick and easy to make. Did I mention that more than 25% of them use beer as an ingredient? Best of all, you can point and click your way to the videos since both the digital and print versions of the cookbook contain hyperlinks and QR codes. So, if you're tired of eating takeout food and microwave pizzas, here's your chance to make manly meals.
Mexicali Corn Salad - Here’s a tangy cold corn salad that uses many of the ingredients that we used to make Tamale Pie. It’s perfect as a side dish for tamale pie. It also goes great with tacos. Here’s what you’ll need: Diced green pepper, ½ a diced onion, 2 cups frozen corn, ½ cup green olives, 2 hard-boiled eggs, 1 tbsp olive oil, 1 tsp vinegar, dash of hot sauce, 1 tsp chili powder, and ½ cup mayo.
Mexican Corn Cakes -These are easy to make and easy to store in the fridge. If you’re looking for a quick bite between meals or a midnight snack, or something different to feed the gang on game day, these corn cakes are just the ticket. Ingredients: 2 cups fresh or frozen corn, 1 cup flour, 1 cup milk, 1 egg, 1 tbsp baking powder, 2 tbsp chili powder, 1 tbsp sugar, 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp hot sauce, 1 can diced green chilies, and 1 cup green olives.
Brazilian Fish Stew - Most people would never think of using fish in a stew, but the French have been doing it for hundreds of years. So too have many other cultures. When you think about it, New Orleans Gumbo is a kind of a Cajun fish stew. And I’ve had some killer Thai fish stew infused with curry on more than one occasion. The secret to making delicious fish stew is to use the right kind of fish. You want something that won’t dissolve in the sauce. One of my favorites is a Brazilian fish stew called Moqueca, which can be made with tilapia, cod, pollack or catfish.