Chef Tom – Siete de Mayo

Back by popular demand, my best Mexican dishes. The fifth was Thursday, but this weekend there’s more time to cook and enjoy. Here’s some straight-up deliciousness for your post-Cinco de Mayo celebration.

Chile Verde

Chili Verde


6 Anaheim (California) chiles

1/4 cup vegetable oil

2 pounds boneless pork shoulder, cut into rough 1-inch chunks

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 heaping tablespoon of dried oregano (Mexican, if you can find it)

1 large yellow onion, sliced in ¼-inch strips

6 cloves garlic, minced

1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

4 cups chicken stock


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Coat the Anaheim chiles in 1 tablespoon of oil and roast in the oven until the skin blisters and the peppers soften, about 20 minutes. Remove the chiles from the oven, place in a lidded container, and allow to cool while the skin steams loose. Once cooled, stem and seed the chiles, keeping the skin on (if there is some charring on the skin it’s ok). Roughly chop.

Heat the remaining oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the pork and sprinkle with salt and pepper and cook until the pork is golden brown all over, about 15 minutes, stirring as needed. Add the oregano and stir well, cooking for another couple of minutes.

Remove the pork with a slotted spoon and set aside. Lower the heat to medium. Add the chiles, onions, and garlic to the oil remaining in the pot. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Sauté the vegetables, scraping any brown bits from the bottom of the pot, until the onions are soft and golden, about 10 minutes. Stir in the flour and cook until the flour absorbs the excess liquid and is cooked through, about 3 more minutes.

Return the browned pork to the pot along with the chicken stock. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cover with the lid. Cook until the pork is tender, about 45 minutes.

Uncover and simmer until the liquid reduces slightly and the flavors concentrate, about 15 more minutes.

Serve with hot, fresh flour tortillas.

mmmm, breakfast

Migas vs. Chilaquiles

These breakfast cousins are often confused, but there are fundamental differences in ingredients and technique that set them apart. Kinda like twins. You have to look closely to see the differences.

If I were to choose the one pure comfort dish from the panoply of soul food meals I have consumed over the past six decades, it would be chilaquiles. My topmost favorite version is from a resto in San Francisco called Chava’s. They set the bar and I have yet to have any quite as delicious, satisfying, comforting.

Chilaquiles is a gloppy scramble of soft eggs, crispy tortilla chips (you now a cook invented a way to use leftover tortilla chips), flavorful red (rojo) or green (verde) sauce with chunks of white onion, green bell, and jalapeño, and plenty of jack cheese. A mouthful of umami and texture. Creamy, crunchy, soupy, and savory. Chilaquiles are largely indigenous. The name “chilaquiles” comes from the Nahuatl word “chil-a-quilitl”, which means “herbs (or greens) in chile broth”.

Migas are similar. Eggs scrambled with thin strips of crispy-fried tortilla, jalapeño and onions, cheese, and often big slices of fresh avocado on top. Not saucy like its TexMex counterpart. Actually, both dishes are considered TexMex. Migas’ origins reach back to Europe.

So, my recommendation is try both. See what you prefer. Hopefully it’ll be a full-on tie and you get to enjoy all of it.


Chilaquiles Rojos with Eggs & Queso Fresco


1 tablespoon oil

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 shallot, minced

1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and diced

1 (15-oz) can fire roasted diced tomatoes

1 canned chipotle pepper in adobo sauce

1 teaspoon ground cumin

2 teaspoons sugar

Salt and pepper, to taste


8 corn tortillas, slightly stale and cut into triangles

Oil, for brushing on the tortillas

8 oz. queso fresco, OR

4 oz grated sharp cheddar cheese

4 oz grated sharp Monterey Jack cheese

Sliced avocado

Heirloom cherry tomatoes, halved

Cilantro, chopped

Red onion, finely diced

Scallions, diced

3 oz queso fresco, crumbled

Lime wedges

Fried eggs, optional


Heat the oil in a large skillet and add the garlic, shallot, and jalapeno pepper. Cook for a couple minutes, stirring frequently, and then add in the canned tomatoes, chipotle pepper, cumin, and sugar. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper.

Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes or until reduced and thickened. If a smooth sauce is preferred, place the sauce in a blender and blend until smooth and then return it to the same pan.

Keep warm over low heat until you are ready to assemble.


While the sauce is cooking, preheat the oven to 375°F and line a baking sheet with foil or parchment paper.

Spread the tortilla triangles out in an even layer on the tray and brush on both sides with the oil. Season with salt. Bake for 15 minutes, turning once or twice, or until they are golden and crispy.

Grate your cheeses, prep your fresh ingredients, and cook your eggs.

When the tortillas are ready, add them to the skillet with the warm sauce and toss to coat. Increase the heat under the pan to medium and cook for a couple minutes.

Top the skillet off with the grated cheeses and then cover until it is melted and gooey.

Top the chilaquiles with desired toppings and the eggs. I like sliced avocado, cherry tomatoes, cilantro, red onion, scallions, queso fresco, an egg on each serving, and a spritz of lime juice. I also like to serve these right away, so that the tortillas maintain some of their crispy texture.

Chef Notes: This recipe can be easily simplified (with the time cut down as well) by subbing the homemade tortilla crisps with store-bought tortilla chips. We’ve made this recipe countless times with both options and both are fantastic. If you’re looking for a more authentic dish, I suggest making your own crispy tortillas. In a pinch, the tortilla chips from the store work wonders!

Migas Tacos

From the New York Times, combining two favorites by folding yummy migas into a taco. Best of both worlds.

Tortilla chips in tacos may seem like overkill, but they’re not. Set into scrambled eggs that are loaded with onions and poblanos, they soften and enrich the mix while keeping some crispiness. A slice of avocado on top — along with melted cheese — adds a nice creaminess to the mix. These tacos work well with red or green salsa, so use your favorite. While these would impress at a weekend brunch, they also come together quickly on weekday mornings, and can be wrapped in foil to be eaten out of hand.

6 large eggs

 Kosher salt

6 corn tortillas

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 cup tortilla chips, broken if very large

½ cup diced onion

1 cup diced, seeded poblano pepper

¼ cup chopped cilantro

2 ounces pepper jack cheese, grated (3/4 cup)

½ avocado, pitted, peeled and sliced

 Salsa, for serving

Beat the eggs with 1/2 teaspoon salt in a medium bowl.

Heat a large cast-iron or nonstick skillet over medium heat. Put 3 tortillas in it and turn them until warm and pliable, 1 to 2 minutes. Stack on foil and wrap. Repeat with the remaining 3 tortillas, adding them to the same stack and wrapping to keep warm and soft.

Increase the heat to medium-high. Add the oil and swirl to coat, then add the chips. Cook, stirring, until sizzling and browned in spots, about 30 seconds. Add the onion, poblano and 1 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring, until the edges of the onion are just translucent but the vegetables are still crisp, about 2 minutes.

Drizzle the egg over the chips and vegetables. Let stand for 15 seconds until just starting to set, then stir rapidly to scramble until just set but still wet, about 30 seconds to 1 minute. Sprinkle the cilantro on top.

Remove from the heat and immediately divide among the warmed tortillas. Sprinkle with the cheese and top with the avocado and salsa. Serve immediately or wrap each taco in foil to eat out of hand.

¡Esta muy caliente!

Aguas Frescas

Aguas frescas, water-based fruit drinks, are a cool way to make your fresh fruit go further—especially in the summertime when you might have a larger watermelon than you know what to do with, or peaches that are starting to shrivel.

These are Mexican street drinks. They’re traditionally very sweet and thin, but you can easily adjust the water and sugar to your taste and the sweetness of your fruit.

Watermelon is the classic and is hard to beat. But any ripe melon will work, including the more exotic like Galia, Charantais, and Canary.

I also like the tropical flavors of mangoes and peaches together. You can get creative by adding a handful of mint or other herb, or fresh ginger. Substitute sparkling water for plain if you prefer bubbles.

Serve these Aguas Frescas with a lemon or lime wedge if you like more acidity.

They make excellent and refreshing cocktails, too, playing well with rum, gin, vodka, and even tequila.


Master Recipe for Aguas Frescas (Mexican Fruit Coolers)

Makes 8 drinks


1/2 cup sugar

4 cups water

4 cups chopped fruit (watermelon, cantaloupe, pineapple, papaya, strawberries, oranges, peaches, mangoes, or any combination)

Ice cubes

Lemon or lime wedges (optional)


Stir the sugar and water together in a large pitcher until the sugar dissolves. Measure out 1 cup. Puree the fruit and the 1 cup sugar water in a blender.

Pour the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer back into the pitcher with the sugar water, mashing with a whisk or wooden spoon to eliminate any pulp.

Taste and add more sugar, if desired. Serve over ice, with a lemon or lime wedge, if desired.


My personal favorite Aguas Frescas is Horchata (or-shahta)

Horchata is a delicious rice-based drink that you can find at most Mexican restaurants. Because it’s made with cinnamon (canella) it reminds me of rice pudding. Very comforting. Eating Mexican food without an horchata just doesn’t taste right.

This recipe takes patience, but it’s well worth it. If you want to get the smooth, rich flavor, then you want to make sure that you follow these instructions perfectly. 


Authentic Mexican Horchata

Makes 4-6 drinks


1 cup of white rice

1 cup sugar adjust depending on how sweet you want – 2/3 cup of sugar if you want it less sweet.

1/2 cup slivered almonds

1 cinnamon stick

1 Tbsp vanilla

1 Can 12 ounces Evaporated milk

1.5 cups of milk or almond milk

1 Liter of water



Start by soaking the rice, cinnamon, and almonds in a bowl of water all night, or at least for 5 hours so that the rice softens slightly.

Strain the water from the cinnamon, rice, and almond mixture that were soaking, disposing of water.

Blend the cinnamon, rice, and almond mixture with evaporated milk until a smoother mix is formed and the grains of rice are completely liquified.

Strain into a pitcher, and add the sugar, vanilla, and milk. Mix well until everything is well combined. Add a liter of water, and serve with ice. Enjoy!


Since 2006 Chef Tom has been a personal chef serving hungry families in the San Francisco Bay Area. He also teaches cooking classes, caters small parties and leads overseas culinary tours. His specialty for the last twelve years has been cooking for people with food allergies and sensitivities.

Hipp Kitchen’s motto is “Food should give you pleasure, not pressure.”

Check him out at

One Response to “Chef Tom – Siete de Mayo”

  1. yummm! gotta try those fruit drinks especially! 😉 Cheers!

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