2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon safflower or corn oil
1 serrano or jalapeño chile, or more to taste, chopped, seeding optional
8 cups fresh corn kernels, from about 12 ears of corn
2 cups water
2 tablespoons chopped fresh epazote leaves, or 1 teaspoon dried (may substitute cilantro, which gives a different flavor, but it also works!)
1 teaspoon kosher or coarse sea salt, or more to taste
2 limes, quartered (optional for garnish)
1/2 cup mayonnaise or Mexican crema (optional for garnish)
1/2 cup crumbled queso fresco, cotija, or mild feta cheese (optional for garnish)
Dried ground chile piquín (optional for garnish)
Heat the butter together with the oil in a large saucepan or casserole over medium-high heat. Once the butter has melted and is bubbling, add the chopped chile and cook for a minute, stirring frequently, until softened.
Incorporate the corn and cook for a couple more minutes. Pour the water over the corn mix, add the chopped fresh or dried epazote (or cilantro) and salt. Stir and bring to a simmer, cover, reduce heat to medium-low and cook for 12 to 14 minutes, until the corn is completely cooked. Turn off the heat. You may leave the corn in the pot for a couple hours.
Serve the corn in cups or small bowls. Let your guests add fresh lime juice, mayonnaise or Mexican crema, crumbled cheese, powdered chile piquín, and salt to their liking.
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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
The Mexican way to wildly dress simply cooked corn drives me wild:
Crunchy sweet corn on a stick, brushed with butter and mayo, coated in tangy and salty crumbled queso fresco, sprinkled with chile powder, typically chile piquín, coarse salt and a liberal squeeze of lime juice…
It doesn’t matter if I am hungry. The mere site of a street food corn stand makes me stop dead in my tracks and zoom over for one. Like a wild woman. I need one. Well, the truth is one is not enough, ever.
In Mexico you find corn stands all over, in little towns and big cities. Locals know what day of the week and at what times they show up. If you are not from there, it takes a while to figure it out.
Continue reading Go Wild, Munch On Your Crazy Corn!
The last time I was at the Mexico City Chapultepec Fair was 20 years ago, with my high school friends. Going back last weekend with my own growing monsters, confirmed that it is not an ordinary Fair experience, ever, regardless of one’s age.
Yes, you find the balloons, with a mix of Mexican and American characters, right at the main entrance.
Continue reading Quesadillas at the Mexico City Fair
Every year, just as summer peeks its warm face in Washington DC, I begin to crave fresh fruits and vegetables Mexican street cart style. One of the times when I have enjoyed it the most was last April. We were traveling through the Copper Canyon route, on a week long trip, from Chihuahua to Sinaloa. We had been waiting at the station in the town of Creel to catch the Chepe train to go to the next town.
As the station officer let out a scream that the train was approaching, out of the corner of my eye, I saw the fruit and vegetable cart. It was hot, we were tired and thirsty, and I saw Mr. Fruit Cart Man peeling some ripe and juicy mangoes. I grew weak in my knees.
Continue reading Running to Catch the Fresh Fruit Cart!