Mixiote de Frutas
1 1/2 cups freshly squeezed orange juice
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon agave or maple syrup, or honey
2 large peaches, pitted and cut into 6 wedges each
1 cup blueberries
1 cup blackberries
Banana leaves, thawed from frozen
12 fresh mint leaves
Kosher or coarse sea salt
In a small saucepan set over medium heat, bring the orange juice, vanilla and agave syrup to a simmer. Leave it at a steady simmer for 15 minutes or until it has reduced by half (to about 3/4 cup). Remove from the heat.
In a bowl, place all the fruit. Pour in the orange juice syrup and gently toss.
Pass the banana leaves over the open flame, steadily, without toasting them. Pass them slowly, just until you see them shine and they become fragrant. It’s steady and slow and should only take a few seconds.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Place one banana leave in the bottom of a large baking dish.
Cut 12 pieces of about 14-inches in length. They should be between 8 and 10-inches wide. Arrange two cut pieces on top of each other, crossing one another. Place about 1/6 of the fruit mixture right in the middle, place a couple mint leaves on top and add a pinch of salt. Close as in a bundle, making a package and tying a piece of twine around it to close the package. Repeat with each bundle and place them in the baking dish.
Bake in the oven for about 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from the oven. Serve the bundles by themselves, or alongside ice cream, pound cake or cinnamon rolls.
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STREET-STYLE CUT-UP FRUITS & VEGETABLES
Frutas y verduras de carrito
1 to 2 large mangoes
4 large carrots
Dried ground chile such as piquín
3 limes, or more to taste
Peel and slice the fruits and vegetables, you may do this ahead of time and store covered in the refrigerator. Sprinkle salt and chile to taste. Squeeze fresh lime juice on top. Mix and enjoy.
Jícamas are one of the many Mexican ingredients that luckily, have become readily available outside of the country. Also known as Mexican yams or turnips, they are also a root vegetable. But they are far from the latter in flavor, texture or cooking uses.
They are mostly (and as far as I know also successfully) eaten raw. No need to try to cook them, for many of the qualities they are loved for would be lost. They have a similar taste and crunch as the water chestnuts, but in my view, jícamas are more refreshing, crispy, sweet and watery.
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The smooth, soothing, creamy qualities of Mexican avocados are the perfect combination to the richly flavored and sometimes spicy Mexican food. My favorite avocados are the Hass variety and for some reason… I like the Mexican ones the most (!) They tend to be larger, meatier, creamier and just more luxurious than others.
Though many people think of avocados as vegetables, they are fruits…
Since they are harvested green (mature but not yet ripened), in some stores you may find them when they are not ready to eat. If the skin still looks green and the avocado feels firm to the touch, they probably need 3 to 6 days of ripening. You can bring them home and place them in a paper bag or newspaper in a warm area of your kitchen to speed up the ripening process. You can also just leave them outside of the refrigerator. They are ripe and ready to eat when the skin is almost completely black and the avocado gives in a bit if you gently squeeze it. Once ripe, you can keep them in the refrigerator for up to a week if not opened and about one or two days if opened and covered with plastic wrap.
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