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Loaded Black Mole Braised Beef Fries

March 21, 2017
Loaded Black Mole Braised Beef Fries Recipe from @holajalapeno

How do you moms out there deal with getting stuff done? I’m serious, I need your advice because I’m dealing with a constant tug-of-war between working and being (and I mean mentally present) with my kids.

I’m not talking about the daily chore stuff of laundry, dinner, etc but the work from home stuff, the I need to do this for me and only me kind of stuff. I’ve been doing this work from home thing with various levels of success for a long time now and I’m still not sure how to do it right. To do it in a way that I feel honors my role of being a mother and a woman with an independent career. Any tips? I’d really like to hear them. I know from the outside it’s easy to think other women have their shit all kinds of together but that’s what’s so beautiful about having these conversations and being real with each other, so in all honesty I’d love your help.

Loaded Black Mole Braised Beef Fries Recipe from @holajalapeno

This all relates to black mole fries, I promise and here’s how: Being real and honest women is also what I adore about one my favorite podcasts Super Mamás. The show is hosted by sisters Paulina Lopez Velazquez and Bricia Lopez-Maytorena. They get down to the real nitty-gritty of life and cover every topic under the sun from bilingual struggles to miscarriage to shitty mom moments. These two incredible women also help run their families other businesses; the James Beard award winning Oaxacan restaurant, Guelaguetza, their Mole business, and their Michelada mix business. Long story short, I can imagine they both know what I’m talking about you can imagine how honored and psyched I was when they asked if I would like to come up with a little something-something using their mole! See? Fries!

Please, please, please don’t be intimidated about these fries. I know just looking at the recipe it looks crazy. I mean who spends over 4 hours making fries?!! But most of it is time you are chilling, waiting for the beef to slowly braise in the oven (a step you can also do the day before if you want to). Let’s break them down piece by piece shall we?

How to Make the Black Mole Sauce

Loaded Black Mole Braised Beef Fries Recipes from @holajalapeno

Using Guelaguetza’s Black Mole Paste makes preparing the mole sauce super easy, you just need to add a bit of tomato, some broth, a hunk of chocolate, and some salt. After the sauce is made pour it over some browned boneless short ribs, cover, and slowly braise in the oven until they are tender and falling apart.

Loaded Black Mole Braised Beef Fries Recipe from @holajalapeno

How To Make the Fries

Loaded Black Mole Braised Beef Fries

Making the fries are pretty simple, just toss some frozen French fries with a few spices and salt and bake in the oven. Once they are done you can move on to the fun part—the toppings!!

Loaded Black Mole Braised Beef Fries Recipe from @holajalapeno

The Toppings

This recipe looks really long because I wanted to give you guys several ideas for toppings. I added big, fat lima beans, caramelized onions, aged white Cheddar cheese, and sour cream. I also made some quick marinated tomatoes with sliced serrano chiles, cilantro, and scallions. You can be as creative as you’d like or make them super simple too, make them your own!

Loaded Black Mole Braised Beef Fries Recipe from @holajalapeno

To find out more about all three Guelaguetza mole pastes, how to buy it and more recipes using it, check out their store.

Loaded Black Mole Braised Beef Fries
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Oven-baked French fries topped with Oaxacan black mole braised beef, giant white beans, Cheddar, sour cream and more.
Serves: 6-8 Servings
For the Beef:
  • 1 large tomato, cored and quartered
  • 3 tablespoons Oaxacan Black Mole Paste
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 1 quarter piece Ibarra chocolate
  • 1 pound boneless short ribs
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
For the Beans:
  • ½ cup dried lima beans
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
For the Onions:
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
For the Tomatoes:
  • 1 large tomato, chopped
  • 1 scallion, minced
  • 1 serrano chile, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon minced cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lime juice
For the Fries:
  • 1 (24-ounce) bag frozen French fries
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground California chile powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground coriander
  • ½ teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 1 cup grated sharp white Cheddar cheese
Additional Toppings:
  • Crumbled queso fresco
  • micro greens
  • sour cream
  • lime wedges
To Make the Beef:
  1. Heat oven to 300°F.
  2. Place the tomato in a small saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a simmer and cook until softened, about 10 minutes. Strain and blend until smooth in a blender (careful to cover the blender with a folded paper towel and not the lid which could explode with the hot liquid).
  3. Strain tomato liquid back into the saucepan. Add mole paste, broth, chocolate, and season with salt (about ½ teaspoon depending on your broth, paste, tastes, etc.) Bring to a simmer and whisk until smooth. Remove from heat.
  4. Season beef generously with salt and pepper on all sides. Heat oil in a frying pan until shimmering. Add beef and brown on all sides, about 7 minutes total. Transfer to a baking dish, pour mole sauce over the beef and cover the dish with foil.
  5. Braise the beef in the oven until very tender and falling apart, about 1½- 2 hours. Shred beef in the pan then set aside. This step can be done a day in advance, uncover, let cool, then cover again with plastic wrap and refrigerate.
For the Beans:
  1. Rinse beans and place in a small saucepan. Cover with about 2 inches of water. Add bay leaf and black peppercorns and bring to a simmer. Cook until soft, about 30 minutes. Season the cooking water with salt and let cool in the liquid until ready to use. Strain beans before adding to the fries.
For the Onions:
  1. Heat oil in a medium frying pan over medium-high heat. Add onions and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until caramelized and brown, about 10 minutes, adjusting the heat if necessary so they don't burn. Set aside.
For the Tomatoes:
  1. Toss the tomatoes with the scallion, chile, cilantro, and lime juice. Season with salt and set aside.
For the Fries:
  1. Heat oven to 425°F and arrange a rack in the upper third.
  2. Combine fries, oil, salt, chile powder, coriander, and white pepper in a large bowl. Toss until fries are well coated then spread them out in a single layer on a baking sheet.
  3. Bake until crisp and browned, about 30 minutes.
  4. Leave on the baking sheet or transfer to a large serving dish and cover with beef, some of the mole sauce, strained beans, caramelized onions, and Cheddar cheese.
  5. Return fries to oven and bake until cheese is melted, about 5 minutes. Remove and top with tomatoes, and any or all of the additional toppings.
You may or may not use all the toppings for the fries. Add the braised beef, beans, onions, and cheese to your liking. Leftovers of any of these make awesome tacos!

One More Thing

Did you love this post? I want to know! Leave me a comment and snap a photo for Instagram. Tag @holajalapeno so I can see your beautiful creation! Knowing that this recipe worked for you is super important to me. If you run into trouble shoot me a message on Instagram and I’ll walk you through it.

Also, don’t forget to sign up for my weekly newsletter, lots of good stuff there too!

Breads, Breakfast, Popular, Recipes, Snacks, Sweets

Soft Ricotta Banana Bread

July 21, 2016
Soft Ricotta Banana Bread Recipe

We’ve now been here a little over two weeks and have more or less moved in. A few boxes remain unpacked and will probably stay that way.

Soft Ricotta Banana Bread Recipe

Hiro has learned to ride a bike and Louisa is mastering the art of the jump rope. She will turn eight years old next week and I feel a great sense of gratitude that we are once again throwing her birthday parties on her home turf. I know it’s a bit cliché but I remember that cold and foggy San Francisco afternoon when she was born like yesterday and now she strides into eight like nobody’s business. It makes me not want to celebrate her birthday at all as if that would stop time, but celebrate we will, once again with our friends who have missed the past seven celebrations.

Soft Ricotta Banana Bread Recipe

The new house is starting to feel more like home, but baking some banana bread never hurts the effort. I made this recipe for the first time a few months ago when I had some ricotta cheese lingering in the refrigerator. I took my favorite banana bread recipe and adjusted it here and there to make up for the moisture and fat from the cheese.

Soft Ricotta Banana Bread Recipe

I love the way the ricotta adds a richness without being overpowering. The banana flavor still rings true and prominent but the cheese adds a tenderness and delicate soft texture that makes this bread extra special. This is the bread for brown bananas. The riper they are the more banana flavor there will be. If I have some bananas that are too ripe to eat on the counter I will peel them and slice them then lay the slices in a single layer on a large plate or tray and freeze them. Once frozen, they can be scooped up and placed in a Ziplock until you are ready to bake bread. I always write how many bananas are in the bag on the outside because you know I won’t remember.

Soft Ricotta Banana Bread Recipe

One last thing, the bread is best with whole milk ricotta. If all you can find is low-fat or part-skim that’ll work but the flavor won’t be as rich. Also, I lined the loaf pan with waxed paper which makes it a snap to pull out of the pan (you can also use parchment paper, I just didn’t have any) but sliding a knife around the outside and popping it out of an un-lined pan works well too.

Soft Ricotta Banana Bread Recipe

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 55 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes

Yield: 10-12 Servings


  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
  • 3 ripe bananas
  • 1 large egg
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup whole milk ricotta
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt


  1. Heat oven to 350°F and arrange a rack on the bottom. Grease a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan.
  2. Pour melted butter into a large bowl. Add bananas and mash into a pulp. Add egg and beat until smooth. Add sugar, ricotta, and vanilla and stir to incorporate.
  3. Add remaining ingredients and stir just until all flour is incorporated, don't overmix. Scrape batter into prepared pan and place on the bottom rack of the oven.
  4. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 55-65 minutes. Remove to a cooling rack and let sit at least 20 minutes before removing from the pan.

Comida Latina, Dairy Free, Mains, Popular, Recipes

Cauliflower Ceviche Tostadas

January 18, 2016
Cauliflower Ceviche Tostada Recipe

Cauliflower ceviche tostadas are lghtly-cooked cauliflower tossed with lime, kumquats, and red onion and served on a crispy corn tortilla. Vegan and gluten-free! 

Hi Friends! Happy start to your mid-January week.

Is it over yet?

Cauliflower Ceviche Tostada Recipe

I feel a little awkward talking about this sort of thing but because I think of us as friends I’m sure you won’t mind; this past year I lost 15 pounds. Which in Biggest Loser-terms may not seem like a lot but in me-terms it means I can fit in my wedding dress again, so it’s kinda huge.

Cauliflower Ceviche Tostada Recipe

I don’t have any secret to share with you—Lord knows if I did I’d be a bazillionare. I lost the weight because I decided to…..for real. I was feeling depressed, tired, achey, and old and I decided to make a change. I still decide to make that change every. single. day. I’m here to tell you it never gets easier, I’m sorry.

Just five seconds ago I got writer’s block and wanted to eat the 3 leftover cupcakes from Hiro’s birthday because eating’s what I do when I’m feeling any sort of discomfort whatsoever. Unfortunately that urge never goes away but I have learned to recognize it and I also recognize that eating my feelings doesn’t actually make me feel better, it almost always makes me feel pretty terrible. You know what does make me feel better? I can’t believe I’m saying this but….working out, AND fitting into my wedding dress again makes me feel freaking amazing!

It is a very hard, long process but if you are feeling like I was a year ago—basically like shit—things can be different. Are you thinking about it? I’ve got your back if you’ve got mine.

Cauliflower Ceviche Tostada Recipe

It is a bit easier, however, if you can fill the void of not-so-good-for-you food with really satisfying healthy stuff. Which brings me to this cauliflower ceviche. Cauliflower is pretty much nature’s miracle vegetable. I love everything about it but mainly I love that it can take the form of just about anything and be a pretty convincing substitute. Pizza crust? Yep! Rice? No problem. Even alfredo sauce.

Cauliflower Ceviche Tostada Recipe

One of my absolute favorites however, is to sub cauliflower for fish or shrimp in ceviche. Not that fish or shrimp are unhealthy but they are a bit difficult to get your hands on when the closest edible fish is 15 feet under ice.

Cauliflower Ceviche Tostada Recipe

My friend Susana posted a cauliflower ceviche on Instagram a while back and I instantly loved the idea. If lightly cooked, cauliflower has that meatiness you’d expect from ceviche and when eaten with the crunch-crunch of a tostada shell it is an utterly satisfying meal.

How To Make Cauliflower Ceviche

As for the marinade, I’ve kept it pretty simple; lime juice and red onions are a must and surprisingly enough I found some kumquats at the grocery last weekend and added a few of those too (seeded, sliced thinly, then sliced into strips so every bite has a bit of skin and flesh). I’m sure if I can find them, then you can too, but if not, just add a bit more lime juice and clementine juice to taste.

Cauliflower Ceviche Tostada Recipe

I’ll be making these tostadas plus lots of other healthy Mexican dishes this Thursday on North Dakota Today so if you’re local tune in. If not, I’ll post a link here after the show. Stay tuned and seriously if you are trying to get healthier I’m rooting for you. Tell me your story!

Cauliflower Ceviche Tostada Recipe

Cauliflower Ceviche Tostadas Recipe
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Lightly-cooked cauliflower tossed with lime, kumquats, and red onion and served on a crispy corn tortilla. Vegan and gluten-free! Store-bought tostada shells (basically flat, crispy corn tortillas) can be found in the ethnic section of most grocery stores. But if you'd like to bake your own; heat oven to 350°F. Lay corn tortillas on a baking sheet and brush with a little oil on both sides. Sprinkle one side with salt and bake 10-15 minutes or until crispy, flipping tortillas halfway through.
Serves: 4-6 servings
  • 1 head cauliflower, cut into small pieces
  • 3 radishes, thinly sliced
  • 3 kumquats, seeds removed and minced, plus a few extra sliced for garnish
  • 1 large jalapeño, sliced
  • 1 large lime, zested and juiced
  • 1 clementine, zested and juiced
  • ½ large red onion, minced
  • ¼ cup minced cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4-6 tostadas (store bought, or see note above on how to bake your own)
  1. Bring a large saucepan of heavily salted water to a boil. Add cauliflower and cook until tender, about 4-5 minutes. Drain and submerge in ice water to stop cooking. Drain again.
  2. Add cauliflower to a large bowl and add all remaining ingredients, except tostadas. Toss everything together and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Pile onto tostadas and garnish with a few thinly sliced kumquats if desired.


Comida Latina, Dairy Free, Mains, Popular, Recipes

Cuban Grilled Chicken

April 28, 2015

Cinco de Mayo is in one week. I’d planned to give you a week’s worth of margarita recipes but I spend too much time locking my keys in the car and walking the two miles home in my heels to actually get around to doing that. Hopefully I’ll produce one or two drink-poo ideas before the big day but today is meant for grilled chicken instead.

Cuban Chicken

I’ve been nuts about Pollo Frito a la Criolla ever since Adrianna wrote about it some months back. She had made the recipe from The Cuban Table, Ana Sofia Pelaez’s beautiful cookbook (just nominated for a James Beard Award, no less). It is chicken marinated in a mojo sauce and fried with onions—basically everything I love about Cuban food.

Cuban Grilled Chicken

I had fully intended on making the dish as is, but then on Sunday it was so beautiful and sunny that the urge to grill was just too, too much. I kept the sweet, sour marinade of fresh squeezed orange and lime juices (even better with Seville orange juice if you can find it) ground cumin, and garlic but then grilled the chicken instead.

Homemade Seville Orange Juice

I had a whole chicken and cut it up into four pieces (this is easiest if you cut out the spine first) but if you want to use all chicken thighs, or breasts, or whole legs that would work too. Just make sure it’s about three pounds of chicken total. Boneless, skinless chicken would work too, but the cooking time will be about half of bone-in, skin-on chicken.

How to cut up a chicken

This grilled version was a big hit with the under-six crowd. Hiro (who is especially fond of chicken legs) cleaned off two down to the bone, which is as good of a sign of recipe success as this house ever gets. The above-thirty crowd was about as in love with this recipe as we are with almost all Cuban food, which is to say madly and deeply. A whole chicken typically doesn’t get eaten in its entirety in one sitting, but this one sure was.

Hiro loves chicken legs

Cuban Grilled Chicken Recipe
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Marinade recipe from Hungry Sofia. The longer you can let the chicken soak in the marinade, the better, but if you are short on time, an hour or two will do.
Serves: 4 Servings
  • 1 (3-pound) chicken, cut into 4 pieces or 2 skin-on, bone-in legs and breasts
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper, plus more for seasoning
  • 1 cup Seville orange juice or ½ cup orange juice and ½ cup lime juice
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 large onion, sliced into thick slices
  1. Season chicken generously with salt and pepper and place in a 9 x 13-inch non-reactive baking dish.
  2. In a blender combine measured amounts of salt and pepper, Seville orange juice (or orange and lime juices), garlic, oregano, and cumin. Blend on high until smooth.
  3. Pour marinade over chicken and top with onion slices. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours or up to overnight.
  4. Heat a charcoal or gas grill to medium-low heat. Remove chicken from marinade, letting excess drip back into the dish. Grill, turning occasionally, until chicken is cooked through, about 30-40 minutes. During the last 15-20 minutes of cooking time, add onion slices to the grill and grill onions until tender and lightly charred.


Apps, Comida Latina, Dairy Free, Popular, Recipes, Snacks

Chicharonnes de Harina {Fried Mexican Wheat Crisps with Chile and Lime}

May 21, 2014
 Good God I can’t believe I’m saying this but…….SUMMER IS ALMOST HERE!!!!

Can you tell I’m excited?

Memorial Day is supposed to be the unofficial beginning of summer so I’m unofficially going to declare that we get this party started. I’ve got a looooooooong list of things I want to accomplish so I need to get going if I’m serious about making things happen. Want to join me?

Here’s what we’re going to do:

1. Spend a lot, A LOT of time at the pool/beach (whatever water source you rely on for straight chillin’).

2. Make/eat more food on sticks. I’m thinking fruit, paletas, kebabs, corn, corn dogs, s’mores you name it….but no Twinkies people, please have some decency.

3. Two words: Water Guns.

4. Two more words: Tomato Sandwich.

5. Eat our weight in pie.

6. Play endless games of tag to burn off said pie.

7. Take down a margarita or two.

8. Outdoor movies are a must.

9. Sparklers…..sparklers are definitely in order.

10. And of course a ton of crispy snacks to keep us energized.

My new favorites are these addictive, crunchy wheat chips in the ever-adorable wheel shapes, doused in lime juice and generously sprinkled with tongue-tingling spice mix. They come in different shapes, the classic ones are rectangular and a dead-ringer for crispy, fried pork skins or chicharrones (hence the name).

These fried wheat crisps are a popular street snack in Mexico. I found the dried wheels in the Mexican section of our local grocery store so I’m almost positive you can find them in yours. You want to fry them fresh, they are very airy and light and get soggy quickly.

Big bowls of these are a must for any Memorial Day celebration but make a lot—they won’t last long.

Chicharonnes de Harina {Fried Mexican Wheat Crisps with Chile and Lime}

Yield: 6


  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground arbol chile
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • Vegetable oil, for frying
  • 1 1/2 cups dried chicharrones de harina
  • 1 lime


  1. Combine salt, cumin, chile, and cayenne in a small bowl.
  2. Heat about 3 inches of oil in a deep pot over medium heat to 350°F or until a piece of bread browns in 30 seconds. Line a baking sheet with paper towels and set near the pot.
  3. Once oil is hot, carefully add the chicharrones a few at a time. Fry on one side until they poof open (about 30 seconds), flip and cook for another 30 seconds or until they have opened completely and are beginning to brown.
  4. Remove with a slotted spoon or a bamboo skimmer to the paper towel-lined baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining chicharrones checking occasionally that the oil is maintaining a constant temperature.
  5. Squeeze the lime over the top and sprinkle with the spice mixture. Serve immediately.