I love the planet where I live called Brooklyn. I can go to any corner of the borough and discover a tasty nook of cultural-goodness. One month or so ago, I took a trip to Red Hook and discovered a caravan of central-American food vendors that are only around between May and October. They food mecca has been there for over 33 years! Surrounding the soccer field of Red Hook park, some of the finest cooks hailing from various parts of Central America and Mexico serve the tastiest traditional made to order fare in, dare I say, the city. While spectators watch the games, New Yorkers from all over the city stand happily in line at the vending trucks waiting to be served.
Starving after a day-long excursion of shopping and sister-talk, I along with my sister in cuisine, Malene (pictured above), were hit with the wafting smell of homemade goodness as soon as we hit the corner of the park.
From grilled corn to flautas, tamales, ceviche and agua frescas to wash it down before eating huaraches, baleadas, pupusas, tacos and so much more, the variety was abundant and we were happily obliged to get through as much of it as we could. I didn’t think my tour de cuisine could get any better until I encountered my absolute favorite dishâ€” the quesadilla. Made with corn and flour, tortillas are made from scratch hourly at the vending site.
The other day, I had a taste for a steak quesadilla, replete with freshly-made tortillas and decided to try my hand at preparing it. Armed with my own recipe for the filling and a wonderful tortilla recipe I found on myhomecooking.net, I created my own tasty homemade interpretation of what I had at the field. As the culture-mixing Brooklynite I am, I also created a cilantro-battered fried chicken salad with arugula, watercress and jicama on the side. This is a fun weekend meal to make for friends or that special someone.
Homemade Corn Tortillas
Add 1 cup of flour to this recipe. I find it makes tortillas easier to form for first-timers.
Â½ cup Mojo Marinade (Goya)
4 cloves garlic (Minced)
3 tbls black pepper
1 pk Old El Paso taco seasoning
Rib eye steak (sliced into thin strips)
8 oz Cheddar, Queso Blanco or Monterey Jack cheese
Mix 2 minced garlic cloves, Â½ of chopped cilantro, Â¼ cup of olive oil and lime juice in a mortar or
mug and pummel together. Add Â½ pack of seasoning and stir. Pour over meat and add Â½ cup of
mojo marinade, garlic powder and black pepper. Rub ingredients into meat and let marinade for
30 minutes to 1 hour.
Heat skillet and add Â½ cup of olive oil. Toss in 2 mince garlic cloves and chopped onion and sautÃ©
For 1-2 minutes. Add in marinated meat and mix. Cook until brown on both sides and remove from heat.
Drain liquid from skillet (saving a Â¼ in a cup) and place back on medium-high heat. Add 3-4 tbls of olive oil and sautÃ© for 2-3 minutes. Add reserved liquid and reduce heat. Let simmer on medium-low heat
Until liquid reduces, stirring occasionally. Removed from heat and garnish with cilantro.
Place cheese and 1-2 tbls of meat on one side of the tortilla. Gently fold over tortilla and place on heated griddle. Lightly heat on both sides until cheese is melted. Remove from griddle. Open tortilla and add
Shredded lettuce, chopped tomatoes or other fixings of choice. Garnish with cilantro
*You can substitute chicken for steak
Arugula-Jicama Fried Chicken Salad
Sliced boneless chicken thighs (or breasts)
Jicama (sliced into thin strips)
1 red onion (sliced)
Cilantro (very finely chopped
Garlic (Very finely chopped)
1 cup of flour
5 tbls of garlic powder
5 tbls black pepper
1 tbls salt
Â¼ cup of water.
Dressing – Garlic-Citrus Vinaigrette
Â½ of white onion (very finely chopped)
Â½ red onion (very finely chopped)
4 cloves of garlic (very finely chopped)
4tbls of soy sauce
Juice of 1 orange
Juice of Â½ a lemon
Â½ cup olive oil
2 tbls of cracked black pepper
Finely chop the onion and garlic
*Heat small sauce pan with 2tbls of oil.
*Sautee onions and garlic in heated pan until lightly softened
*In a food processor (or bowl), place onions, garlic, soy sauce, orange, lemon & lime juice, olive oil and black pepper. Pulse processor 8 times or vigorously whisk in bowl for one minute.
In a food processor or by hand, very finely mince garlic and cilantro. In a bowl, add flour and dry seasonings. Slowly pour in water, stirring as you go to make a batter consistency. Add cilantro
and garlic and mix thoroughly. Heat skillet and oil. While heating, dredge chicken strips in batter.
Once hot, place strips in skillet and fry on both sides until golden brown. Once done, transfer to a
Paper towel lined plate. Slice chicken strips.
In salad bowl, add arugula, watercress, cilantro, jicama and sliced onion. Add chicken and dressing and toss.
Tell us how yours turned out!
Like Foodie? Check out the rest of Parlourâ€™s recipes from both Jâ€™alla and Nichelle here.