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    Mexican Dinner, Family Style

    It is possible to make a quick and easy dinner for the family that everyone loves. Make it your own; set up all the parts separately and then explore variations on a theme. The kids can eat black bean and brown rice tacos with guacamole and pico de gallo without hot chili. The grownups can have grilled shrimp, hot sauce...

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    gp

    Baja Style Shrimp Tacos

    A southern California classic, grilled shrimp tacos couldn’t be quicker to prepare—and they happen to be very healthy at that. The combination of fresh lime juice and Cholula hot sauce is pretty much unparalleled.

    Serves: 4
    Time: 10 minutes

    • 2 pounds medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
    • 2 tablespoons olive oil
    • the juice of one lime
    • 1 teaspoon coarse salt
    • 1 dozen corn tortillas
    • pico de gallo (see recipe below)
    • lime wedges for serving
    • Cholula hot sauce (or your favorite hot sauce)
    • crumbled cotija or feta cheese (optional)

    1.Preheat your grill over high heat. Toss the shrimp together with the olive oil, lime juice and salt. Grill until cooked through, about 2 minutes a side.

    2.To serve, heat the tortillas in a dry frying pan and wrap them in a tea towel to keep warm. Pile a few shrimp on top of each tortilla and serve with a bit of pico de gallo, fresh lime juice, a few dashes of hot sauce and a little of the crumbled cheese if you’d like.

    Pico de Gallo

    Simple to prepare and about a thousand times fresher and more vibrant than any jar of salsa, fresh pico de gallo is worth making from scratch.

    Serves: 4
    Time: 10 minutes

    • 1 pint grape tomatoes, quartered
    • 2 tablespoons roughly chopped cilantro leaves
    • 3 tablespoons finely chopped white onion
    • coarse salt
    • squeeze of lime
    • as many finely chopped red jalapeños as you’d like (optional)

    Combine the tomatoes, cilantro and onion together in a bowl. Season to taste with salt and lime. Reserve some of this mixture for the kids, and then add as much jalapeño as you like to the remaining mixture for the adults.

    Black Beans

    By adding a few aromatics to a can of black beans, you get that Mexican restaurant flavor without hours of soaking and cooking.

    Serves: 4 as a side dish
    Time: 20 minutes

    • 1 can of black beans
    • 4 cilantro stems
    • 1 garlic clove, crushed
    • pinch of salt

    Combine everything together in a small pot and simmer over low heat for about 15-20 minutes (I do this while I’m preparing the rest of the meal). Be sure to simmer the beans long enough so that they’re not watery.

    Guacamole

    A lesson in simplicity—the best guacamole is a showcase for ripe avocadoes. A little salt, lime and cilantro go a long way.

    Serves: 4 as a side dish
    Time: 10 minutes

    • 2 ripe avocados
    • 2 tablespoons minced white onion
    • 3 tablespoons cilantro leaves, roughly chopped
    • 1 lime
    • coarse salt

    Cut each avocado in half, remove and reserve the pits and score the flesh inside of the shells. Scoop the avocado into a mixing bowl and mash gently with a fork—you don’t want it to be completely smooth. Stir in the onion and cilantro. Cut the lime in half and squeeze in enough juice to taste. Season the guacamole with salt, and either serve immediately or stick the pits in to keep it from browning (remove the pits before serving).

    The goop collection

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