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
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
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
Pancho Villa, one of the most renowned generals from the Mexican Revolution was wild about ice cream. It is even said he was most fond of vanilla ice cream covered in chocolate. This historic photo, published in the El Paso Times, shows him sitting at the famous El Paso confectionery The Elite, right after having an ice cream.
History has judged him both harshly and heroically. Yet, from the account of my husband’s great grandmother Regina, he was a true gentleman.
This marinated salsa – more like a pickle or relish – is sweet, mildly spicy, and beguiling.
It is a very versatile salsa, too, as you can use it like a regular salsa and spoon it on top of any kind of antojito, like tacos, quesadillas, and even scoop it up with chips. It can also act as a luxurious relish for grilled meat, chicken or seafood, not to mention paninis, tortas or hamburgers. You can also use it as the surprising final touch on crostinis with a base of goat or fresh cheese, or cherry tomatoes…And these are just a few options.
Continue reading Ancho Chile Salsa (or Relish, or Pickle, or Viniagrette)!
Ancho Chile Salsa (or Relish, or Pickle, or Viniagrette)!
It is almost time for Cinco.
If you are a Mexican living in the US and you want to get attention, if you want to make some noise, if you feel that you have something good to share or say: Cinco de Mayo is your day!
My first cooking demo: Foods from Puebla during Cinco.
The first time I got invited to cook on TV: Chicken Tinga for Cinco.
My first radio interview: Do Mexicans celebrate Cinco?
The biggest sales day for my first cookbook: Cinco.
The day I was honored to be invited as guest chef to cook at the White House: You guessed it, Cinco!
Continue reading Coco-Lime Margarita: Let’s Toast to Cinco (and a New Cookbook…)!
Some Latin foods don’t need translating anymore. That is the case of churros. Crisp and golden on the outside, soft and almost moist in the center, and covered in a gritty mix of sugar and cinnamon. They have to be some of the most, if not the most, irresistible fritters.
Mexicans don’t get the credit for inventing them though. That battle is still disputed between the Portuguese and the Spanish. But we do owe the Spanish for helping churros find their way to our Mexican kitchens, where we have found a way to make them our very own. More than five centuries later, so rooted they have become, it is hard to find a town, small or large, that doesn’t sell them.
You can find churros being sold by street vendors in little paper bags, in baskets, or in stands that have a heating light to keep them warm – people tend to underestimate how chilly Mexican nights can get. But there are also churrerías, places that only sell churros and different kinds of hot chocolate to accompany them.
Continue reading Churros Don’t Need Translating Anymore
Just four ingredients that you may already have at home make for one of the tastiest treats in the Mexican pan dulce repertoire: campechanas.
Not all panaderías in Mexico have campechanas though. And not all the panaderías that do carry them have fabulous campechanas. In fact, I have found that campechanas sold on the streets tend to be the very best ones.
Campechanas are one of the things I look for the moment I touch Valle de Bravo, a small town about a 2-hour drive from Mexico City. I grew up vacationing there with my family, and I still go as often as I can. It is a town whose campechanas are of the finest sort. Very puffy and dry with the perfectly crisp caramelized top, they are sold in thin plastic bags by the dozen in so many street corners.
It is practically impossible to keep them whole once you hold one up, or even as you try to take one out of the bag. The moment you take a bite, forget about it: it has crumbled all over the place into pieces that make for delirious bites. Once you have one, you can’t stop until there are no more.
Continue reading Campechanas
My mom is the best cook I know.
Growing up in Mexico City, she used to make the most incredible ponche, or warm fruit punch, every New Year’s Eve. Just once a year.
My sisters and I used to pace up and down the kitchen as she peeled, diced and threw the ingredients -many of which were only available at this time of year in the markets- into a gigantic pot. To tame our impatience she would peel a few pieces of the fresh sugar cane meant to go into that pot, and cut it into smaller sticks, so we could chew and suck its sweetly tangy juice, ever so slowly, as we waited for the ponche to be served.
Continue reading Ponche: Or My Mom’s New Year’s Warm Fruit Punch