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July 14, 2015

“The first time I worked with fresh masa, I was making tortillas for a Mexican feast that friends and I were preparing for New Year’s Eve. I had bought the dough from Moctec Mexican Products, the Landover company that specializes in transforming dried maize into fresh, fragrant masa. I was smitten on first sniff, even after paying nearly $10 for the five-pound bag of white corn masa.

Consciously or not, I had developed an opinion that fresh masa was virtually foolproof, far easier to turn into tortillas than dough made from masa harina, the corn flour available for about $3 for a four-plus-pound bag of Maseca. But as I pressed the dough into tortillas for the griddle, I quickly learned that this fresh product is not the masa equivalent of a Gabriel García Márquez novel, so magical that it’s immune to the physical laws of the universe…

I turned to cookbook author and television host Pati Jinich for help. I explained my New Year’s Eve masa mess and asked whether the fresh stuff requires specialized handling compared with dough made with masa harina. She said no, but then offered a confession: This native of Mexico prefers the taste of reconstituted masa harina over the full-throttle flavors of fresh masa. The former resonates deeply with Jinich; it represents home, family, childhood…”

To read the entire article, click here.

September 30, 2012

I have a thing for soups.

Doesn’t matter what time of day, what season of the year, what place I’m in, if I want tasty comfort my entire self craves a big bowl of soup.

As far as soups go, I have concocted some, I religiously repeat some I grew up eating, and then there are others I’ve become enamored with as I’ve ventured deeper into my home country’s cuisine.

As soon as my feet touch new territory, I search for its signature soup: the one everyone knows; the one everyone loves; the one present at every home kitchen. As easy as it may sound, sometimes those soups stir away from restaurants. Luckily, the first meal we had during our trip to Chiapas included that soup.

Continue reading Chipilí­n Soup with Masa and Fresh Cheese Dumplings

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