Gary Mobell from the Blue Bonnet Restaurant shows us how to make some traditional Mexican food.
Take out your sombreros and throw back some chips and guacamole, one of the most colorful holidays is around the corner in Denver! Cinco de Mayo is an exciting holiday that everyone in the family can enjoy. What better place to do all of this than The Blue Bonnet, the Mile High City’s iconic family-owned Mexican eatery for nearly five decades. Get a kick-start to the big day with five of their authentic Mexican recipes that will be sure to make you say “muy bueno y mas por favor!”
Blue Bonnet Guacamole
Makes enough for 8 – 10 and is the perfect staple to any war weather event. This recipe is simple and delicious, a winning combination.
10 whole avocados
½ cup diced jalapeno
2 cups diced tomatoes
1 cup diced onions
4 teaspoons lime juice
Salt and pepper to taste
- Halve the avocados.
- Remove the seed in the middle and scoop out the avocado from the peel.
- Place the avocado in a bowl and mash with a fork.
- Mix in the jalapenos, tomatoes, onion, lime juice and salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve immediately.
Ceviche for 6
A quintessential summer dish on the Blue Bonnet menu, ceviche is refreshing and packed with nutrition and a great gluten-free dish. Just note to marinate the fish overnight. The rest of the preparation takes only minutes.
½ pound of Mahi Mahi
1 medium cucumber, peeled, deseeded and diced
½ cup chopped red onion
½ cup diced tomato
1 jalapeno (deseeded) diced
1 avocado diced
½ cup red bell pepper diced
Handful of cilantro chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
- Marinate the Mahi Mahi in lime juice overnight. The lime juice actually changes the chemical composition of the fish and “cooks” it for eating
- Drain fish of lime juice before you are ready to use and cut into cubes
- Mix all ingredients together
- Salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve on tostadas, by itself, with salad, rice or beans
Tacos de Napoles with Pineapple Salsa
This recipe was inspired by the Blue Bonnet’s co-owner, Gary Mobell’s, trip to Mexico City three years ago. He attended a cooking school where he learned how to cook napoles (cacti).
Ingredients for 12 Tacos
12 Napoles (cactus leaves)
1 Large Yellow Onion
1 Large Red Onion
2 Red Bell Peppers
2 Poblano Peppers
1 Yellow Squash or Zucchini
2 Cups Sweet Corn (Olathe)
Cilantro for garnish
2 Pinches of Oregano
1 Pinch of Chili Flakes
- Using a veggie peeler, remove all prickly parts of the cactus.
- Place the poblano peppers and bell peppers in a boiling hot pot of water or roast them in the oven so you are able to remove their skins, inside seeds and veins. (be very careful not to touch your eyes or mouth after this step, we recommend wearing kitchen gloves)
- Cut the cactus, onions, bell peppers, poblano peppers and yellow or green squash into 2-inch rectangle cubes.
- Either use 2 cups of corn or scrape a large cob of cooked corn to add to the vegetable mixture.
- Mix all cut vegetables with two tablespoons olive oil, 2 pinches of salt, 1 pinch of chili flakes and 1 pinch of oregano.
- Either oven roast all the vegetables at 350 degrees for 10 minutes or sauté in a pan.
To make the Pineapple Salsa
- Cut the pineapple to remove the skin.
- Either roast the pineapple or grill the pineapple to turn it brown.
- Place the charred pineapple, deseeded habanero pepper, a pinch of Kosher salt in a blender and mix into pureed. (can use canned pineapple but Blue Bonnet recommends fresh pineapple for optimal taste)
Put the Tacos Together
- Shred the quarter of cabbage.
- Place the roasted veggies onto the tortillas.
- Add the cabbage and salsa on top of the veggies.
- Garnish with cilantro.
Carne Asada Tacos
A great recipe for summer grillin’ as the meat can marinate overnight and put directly on the grill with a little seasoning. Carne Asada is a very popular dish in northern and western parts of Mexico and the Southwest United States. The translation means “grilled meat” in Spanish and carne asada can be used in burritos, tacos or eaten by itself, it’s a great staple for meals. We just love it for tacos, it’s extremely flavorful in the summer with the addition of locally-grown peppers and onions.
1 pound flank or skirt steak (the key is to have thin beef)
Olive oil to brush grill or use in pan if frying (if it’s raining!)
Pinch of Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper for each skirt steak
2 garlic cloves, chopped
Jalapeno, if you want spice, diced
1 lime, juiced
Handful of cilantro, chopped
Sugar, white vinegar, cumin seeds per your tastes (all can be added to marinade)
Cooking / Grilling Instructions for the Meat
- Using a glass or plastic bowl (non reactive bowl) place the skirt steaks and all the ingredients (cilantro, lime juice, garlic cloves, additional ingredients) into the bowl and mix well. Ideally you want them to marinate overnight to absorb the seasoning.
- To grill, brush the steaks with olive oil so as to not stick on the grill and season with salt and pepper individually.
- Grilling time varies depending on thickness of meat and temperature of grill. Plan no more than five minutes for each side per skirt steak.
- Cool and slice diagonally to serve.
- If using a pan, heat oil in skillet and sauté evenly on each side.
- Peppers and onions can be sliced (deveined and deseeded if need be) and brushed with the same olive oil and seasoned with the same items used in the carne asada. We enjoy cooking our peppers and onions in a grill basket, but there are many techniques. We even like to char the skins of the peppers sometimes for a real summer treat.
Serve with warm tortillas, pico de gallo, guacamole, over a salad, with a side of rice and beans, in a burrito or anything else. Carne asada is even delicious with eggs in the morning or as a sandwich for lunch. There are dozens of great recipes using carne asada.
A fun and nutritious meal, vegetable quesadillas can easily be made by children (even young children with adult supervision) for lunch, dinner or a healthy snack. Add beans or salad for an extra dose of good-for-you vitamins and protein. With little mess and simple instructions, your kids can be cooking in no time.
Red Bell Pepper (1)
One Cup Shredded Cheddar Cheese
Tortillas (flour or corn)
- Slice the bell pepper into thin strips removing the inside seeds and veins
- Chop the tomato into thin strips
- Chop the onion into thin strips
- Remove the peel from the avocado and the large seed and cut the avocado into thin strips
- In a non-stick 8 inch or larger pan, place one tortilla flat and layer it with cheese and vegetables in any pattern you like.
- Cook the quesadilla on one side until the cheese starts to ooze a bit and flip the tortilla onto the other side and cook until crisp.
- Remove from heat and cut into fun shapes.
- Place sliced avocado on top for added nutrition and a colorful presentation.
- Add a side of black or pinto beans or salad for healthy options.