It comes in handy to have a couple of lick-your-bowl-clean dips under your sleeve. That way when you know you are going to entertain a large crowd, or a small crowd of big eaters like the ones who live under my roof, you can whip up one of them fast while you figure out the rest of the meal.
This one has become a big hit at home. It combines ripe and mashed smooth avocado with a creamy and very tangy base of goat cheese. It is then beefed up with a generous amount of tasty crisp bacon bites and a judicious amount of jalapeño and shallots. On top of the dip you can drizzle a bit of rich sesame oil and sesame seeds.
Continue reading A Crazy Good Dip
Panela is a moist and fresh, mild, and very mellow, cheese. Its texture is very firm and it can be cut into thick slices, broken into smaller pieces easily, or grated for antojos (snacks). In Mexico, this cheese is often used by cooks who want low-fat or healthier options. That doesn’t mean it isn’t irresistible!
Continue reading Panela Cheese
It is the Monday before Thanksgiving, and I am hurrying like a mad woman. For a week, I have been testing recipes to give you something new for your Thanksgiving table.
I tested a sweet potato cheesy casserole, a sweet potato hash, a sweet potato soup and a sweet potato torte. I even tried a mash and a soufflé. Yet, the only one that truly blew my mind and I find worthy of this celebration is this Sweet Potato, Pecan, Chipotle and Crema Puree.
Not only is it so very fabulous, but it can be made in a snap, too. The sweet potatoes are cooked until completely soft, then pureed with nutty pecans that have had the chance to gently simmer with milk, thyme and nutmeg. A dash of chipotle in adobo gives it a smoky and barely spicy backdrop. It is finished with a splash of Mexican style cream, or crema, to make it even more creamy, with a slight tang, and irresistible.
Continue reading Sweet Potato, Pecan, Chipotle and Crema Puree
Nutmeg is an ingredient that tends to be overlooked in the kitchen. With a fascinating taste that is mildly sweet, somewhat woody, and a bit peppery, it is used mostly for desserts or drinks.
A native ingredient from Indonesia, nutmeg comes from an evergreen tree, now planted in more countries, that found its way to Mexico in the years of the Spanish Colony with its vast and intensive trade routes to the East.
Cute little seeds, they appear to be unpeeled nuts or large pebbles from the outside. They are very hard and solid and cannot be chopped. The best way to use them is freshly ground with a grater. They are also best used judiciously, as a little goes a long way. Once you grate them, you can see their lovely marbled interior.
Continue reading Nutmeg or Nuez Moscada
When it comes to eating meat, Mexico goes from nose to tail. From menudo to pancita, and from tostadas de pata to tacos de cabeza, not only do we know how to cook each part well, we go on to dress and celebrate it on the plate.
As for me, the only part I haven’t warmed up to is sesos. My dad tricked me into eating some, when I was Juju’s age, in a quesadilla from a street stand that he said was filled with potatoes (…caught you on the first bite, papi!).
No doubt, one of the most popular and tastiest parts is the tongue.
Continue reading Eat your Tacos de Lengua, or else I will
Tres Leches is a classic. But a classic from where, you may ask?
Ask an Argentinean: From Argentina, of course. Ask a Cuban: Sin duda from Cuba. Ask an Ecuadorian: Claro que from Ecuador. A Venezuelan? Por supuesto que es de Venezuela. Ask a Mexican…Of course, sin duda, claro que por supuesto que es Mexicano. No doubt, it is Mexican. ¡Si señor!
You can go on and on…
It would seem that each and every single Latin American country claims the Tres Leches Cake as its very own. Not only does everyone absolutely love it, it is also a dessert that is deeply ingrained in that nation’s gastronomy and culture.
From here or from there, it is that much adored.
Continue reading Reinventing a Classic: Marbled Tres Leches Cake
You want whipped cream that is foamy, airy, and delightful with gorgeous waves?
Here are some tips:
Make sure that your heavy cream is really cold.
Use a bowl and beaters that are clean and dry. Same goes if you choose to use an electric mixer, or if you beat the cream by hand with a whisk. It is a plus if you can chill them for a half hour before beating the cream. But don’t sweat it if you couldn’t spare the time!
Continue reading Whipped Cream: Make it at Home
Funny that one of the most classic Mexico City dishes is a crepe dish. It is such a favorite for Chilango (a.k.a. people who live in Mexico City) weddings that, if my memory doesn’t fail me, one out of every two weddings I’ve been to has served this dish. It is considered special, delicate and celebratory.
Though it might sound strange at first, when you turn back the pages of Mexico’s history, you find that the love affair between Mexican kitchens and French cuisine goes way back.
Here’s how the story – the shortest version ever – goes: Napoleon III had wild world expansion ambitions. He sent Maximilian and Carlota to install a European monarchy in Mexico with the support of the Mexican conservative faction. They even built a grand castle for their residence: The Castillo de Chapultepec.
Continue reading Huitlacoche, Corn & Squash Blossom Crepes with Poblano Sauce
Crepes can be found in Mexico in both sweet and savory forms. And oh how much they are loved. Inherited from the short reign of Maximilian and Carlota in the 1860s, French cuisine has had a big influence on Mexico’s kitchens.
My sister Alisa, who is a French trained Mexican pastry chef, shared her favorite recipe with me. I have found it to be the very best, and I am sharing it with you, in turn, below.
After years of making them – Juju loves crepes for breakfast – I realize there are some important things to consider that make the experience a successful one…
Continue reading Crepes: Basic Recipe
You can use absolutely any pan or skillet that you have handy for making crepes. The one condition is: if you are a beginner at make crepes, it needs to be non-stick. Yes, you find that crepes can be made on stainless steel pans. Yet, it is much trickier to find the right level and distribution of heat, and more constant greasing of the pan is required for the batter to not stick. Crepe batter is very thin and delicate.
Above is a photo of my usual pans. The middle one is a 10-inch crepe pan, which has shorter sides. The other two are normal non-stick pans of smaller sizes.
Continue reading Crepe Pans