Thursday, April 28, 2011

Cinco de Mayo de Barnes!

Hello everyone!  I have my computer back!  Yeah!!  I feel like I am back in the 21st century…although the lap top I was using while my computer was being fixed was only from 2005….it felt ancient;)
Cinco de Mayo is quickly approaching!  It is actually a week from today.  It is the day that you must eat Mexican food!  It is not Mexican Independence Day like most of us gringos think….it actually celebrates a Mexican victory over the French during the Battle of Puebla.  It isn’t even a Mexican holiday….it is totally American.  And that is Ok with me. 
 Because I am like a boy scout, and always prepared…I already created a really cool recipe for your Cinco de Mayo.  It’s not what you are thinking!  It’s not tacos, burritos or even nachos….It’s a torta!  A torta is a Mexican sandwich and they are phenomenal.
When I was in college, at Chico State, there was a taqueria across from my favorite bar.  It was called Tacos De Acapulco, or “Tacos De” if you were a regular.  And oh boy, I was.  I was there every Thursday, Friday and possibly Saturday night….around 2am.  It is a wonder that I didn’t have a heart attack in college, or weigh 500 pounds.  I always got a vegetarian burrito.  I found the meat to be somewhat questionable, so I never, and I mean NEVER, got meat.  But I was always fascinated with the torta.  They had pictures of it on the walls and it looked amazing!  But alas, I never got it.
When I was out of college, I finally had a torta…..from a taco truck.  Apparently, I found this better then Tacos De in terms of meat?  Weird.  But I digress, the point is…I had a torta, and it was all I had hoped for and more.  It has a crusty roll, refried beans, avocado, cheese and the meat of your choice.  They have become my favorite Mexican treat, so for our Cinco de Mayo de Barnes…..the menu choice was obvious.
For my meat choice, I chose short ribs.  Beef short ribs are one of my favorite cuts of meat.  I cook them in the slow cooker, and they are perfect every time. They have a good amount of fat on them, and that is probably what makes them good!
 I start by browning them on the stovetop in a bit of oil.  I placed them in the slow cooker and poured about ½ a jar of Gourmet Rooster Smoky Chipotle BBQ Sauce over the top.  I cooked mine on high for 4 hours, but you could cook them on low all day…..then you have a yummy treat waiting for you when you come home from work!
This is what mine looked like when they came out of the slow cooker.  Most of the meat had already fallen off of the bone.
I shredded the meat with two forks.  It pretty much falls apart on its own……I also added a bit more of the Smoky Chipotle Sauce for flavor.
To assemble the sandwiches, I used Mexican rolls called bolillos, refried beans, mayo, hot sauce, Mexican cheese, lettuce, tomato, red onion and guacamole. 
Bolillos are the rolls most commonly used for tortas.  I easily found them at my local Walmart.  If you can’t find bolillos, any white roll will work. 
The cheese I used is called “Quesadilla” cheese.  It is a mild cheese that melts really well.  I found it in my Latino section of the grocery store.
I chose to use guacamole instead of sliced avocado because the avocados weren’t looking too good at my store.  The refrigerated guac seemed like a better choice.
Here is an up close picture of a bolillo.  They are crusty on the outside and soft on the inside.
I heated the beans on the stovetop briefly.  I wanted to thin them out a bit and make them easier to spread.  I used some of the Smoky Chipotle sauce to thin them out.
I preheated my oven to 400 degrees.  I spread a thin layer of beans on one half of the roll, and topped that with some of the cheese.  I put a smidge of olive oil on the other half to help it crisp up.  I put them in the oven at 400 degrees for a few minutes.
While the bread was in the oven toasting up….I made a spread out of mayo and hot sauce.  I made mine very mild since I was feeding children. 
Once the roll was out of the oven, I topped the naked half with the mayo spread.  I put some of the short ribs on the other half.  And then I stuffed my face with extra short ribs…..I couldn’t help it.  Short ribs kick ass.
I continued the topping with guac, lettuce, tomato and red onion.  Jalapenos would be good here too.  You can dress up your sandwich however you want;)
Finished product!  This is the messiest, yummiest, best sandwich I have ever had.  Seriously…I think Tacos De should hire me.  But I can’t stay up till 2am anymore, so I need a day shift;)
I also made a side of delicious corn to serve with these tortas.  In Mexico, they eat something called “esquite”.  It is a common street food, and really all it is is corn.  They cut it off the cob and serve it in a cup with butter, lime, chile powder, mayo and cheese.  It is a favorite at my house, and we eat a lot of corn here.
I used frozen corn since it really isn’t corn on the cob season yet.  I also used butter, chile lime seasoning and queso fresco cheese.  I bought my chile lime seasoning in the Latino section at Walmart.  If you can’t find it, you could always use a squeeze of lime with chile powder.
Queso fresco is a crumbly dry-ish cheese.  If you can’t find it, you could substitute Feta.
I cooked the corn first on the stovetop.  I did this because it was frozen.  You could always just defrost it instead…..since it goes into the frying pan next.
I started with butter and oil in a sauté pan.  I like the flavor of butter, but oil has a higher cook temperature.  I really want to get some color on this corn, and butter on its own would burn.
I sautéed the corn for a few minutes, until I hear it start to pot….almost like popcorn.  It will get some great color and flavor.
I topped my corn with a bit of butter, chile lime seasoning and queso fresco.  I skipped the mayo, but I have tried it with mayo before and if you like mayo….you would love it on this.  My kids gobbled this up!
This was such a fun and festive meal.  We love Mexican food around this house, and we all agreed that this was the best we have had at home.  If you don’t share my love of tortas….first off, you are weird, but secondly….you could use the short ribs cooked in Smoky Chipotle in tacos, burritos, nachos, etc.  But you have to make the corn!  No substitutions!
I hope you all have a great weekend!  If you are near Clayton, CA…come see us at The Royal Rooster during the Art and Wine Festival.  We will be sampling!


  1. No puedo esperar a probar esto! Estas tortas se ven muy bien. Gracias por compartir.

    Tu hermana,


  2. YUM!!!! Sounds super good!