07/06/2009 01:36 pm ET Updated 4 days ago

Viva Mexico

Last year we went to Punta de Mita for a surf trip. Punta de Mita is a small town outside of Puerto Vallarta. It is about a 4 hour plane ride from LA and New York so it's not so hard to get there with the kids.

We stayed in this amazing house right on the beach and the house came with a fantastic authentic Mexican chef, Serafina. At first, being the kitchen control person that I am, I was unsure of this arrangement. But I was so pleasantly surprised. Having someone cook all your meals is the best vacation ever! I also found myself watching over her shoulder constantly and by the end of our vacation I felt like I went to an amazing cooking school in Mexico. After we came home I thought how fantastic this arrangement would be in other countries. I would love to learn French or Italian or any kind of cuisine this way. The only tricky part was because there were no recipes, when I got back to the states it took me weeks, months and many trials and errors to duplicate the recipes. I finally figured them out and many of them are in my cookbook, Make Me Something Good To Eat. I hope you enjoy this show and visit my website for more shows and recipes.


Ranchero Sauce

5 medium tomatoes
2 cloves of garlic
½ an onion sliced
1 or 2 chilies (de Arborl is a good chili or use a red or jalapeno)
½ teaspoon oregano
½ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon powdered vegetable stock

Boil the tomatoes in about 4 cups of water with the garlic and the chilies. The tomato skins should start to peel off. Cook for 20 minutes. Sauté ½ a sliced onion in 1 tablespoon of olive oil until it's soft. Put the onions in a blender with peeled tomatoes, chilies and garlic. Add salt, vegetable stock, and oregano. Start to blend and add a little of the cooking water if you need to. Taste it and add more salt or chilies to taste. Put the blender mixture back on the stove to cook for another 15-20 minutes on a low simmer. Serve or cover tightly and store in the refrigerator for 2-3 days.

Refried Beans

1 can of pinto beans *
½ of an onion - sliced

In about 2 tablespoons of olive or vegetable oil, sauté the onions with a pinch of salt. Remove the onions and add the can of beans. As your cooking them, mash them up with a potato masher. Season with more salt. (save the onions for your salsa)
*You can buy dry beans, soak them overnight, rinse them, cook them in 6 x as much water, until they are soft. Add some salt. Done.

Mexican Salsa

1 onion chopped fine
3 medium tomatoes chopped
2 garlic gloves minced
1 cup of cilantro chopped
1-2 juice of the lemon
½ jalapeno (de-seeded, minced and added to taste)

Chop and mix this all together and add salt to taste. This is the classic Mexican Salsa!


1 avocado per person
¼ cup of Mexican Salsa per person

Use these as a measurement on how much you make. Mash the avocado and then add the Mexican Salsa. Add more salt to taste.


per person
2 handfuls of tortilla chips
1 cup of Ranchero Sauce
1/2 cup of tomato juice
chili or hot sauce to taste
1-2 fried eggs

Mix tomato juice into ranchero sauce. Add salt, pepper and a little hot sauce, or more chili's if you like to taste. Place tortilla chips in a large frying pan. Top with ranchero/ tomato sauce and cover. Let simmer for 10 minutes while you fry an egg. Serve with egg, refried beans and guacamole.

Simple Enchiladas

(for 4)
This is the way Serafina would make them in Mexico. Super easy and so delicious. I make this all the time for a quick lunch.

8 tortillas
2 cups of Ranchero Sauce
2 ½ cups of shredded cheese - jack, cheddar or goat cheese
toasted pumpkin seeds

Heat each tortilla in a skillet with the smallest amount of oil. Set on a plate. Put the ranchero sauce in a large wide saucepan and simmer till it's warm. Dip the tortilla into the sauce, coating it thoroughly. Lay it on a plate (oven proof) and put about ¼ cup of cheese on one side and then roll it up. Do the same thing with another tortilla and then top both of these with some more of the ranchero sauce and a bit of shredded cheese. Then put the plate in the toaster oven or oven on broil for 2 minutes, until the cheese melts. Top with some toasted pumpkin seeds. Top with some sliced avocado. Serve with Rice and Beans. You can also fill these with shrimp or any other protein.