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Posts from the ‘Mexico’ Category

Fideos Secos

It was about a year ago today that I started a major kitchen re-haul (really a few hours) before throwing a surprise party in my apartment.  I say started because, while everything was put back into some kind of order, I don’t think it was really finished until this week.  Faced with the potential embarrassment of friends seeing my apartment in shambles, I made miracles happen and then took some time off (about 12 months to be exact).  Most of the elements were in place but crowded, and I hadn’t gotten around to tying it all together. Read more

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Huevos con Nopales y Cilantro

I’ve always been a little afraid of cactus plants. Though inclined to like any vegetation that looks like an alien life form, the very idea of a cactus sends tiny invisible splinters to my fingers. In reality, it’s the cactus that should fear me, since I managed to kill one in college with the reasoning that if it could just survive in the dessert, it would flourish with regular watering. It did not. Read more

Rosca de Reyes

I haven’t brought myself to take down the tree just yet. It was love at first sight when I spotted it early December – shivering and cold on the corner of my block. A little plumper then the elegant, well-shaped trees on either side, I realized something about myself that morning, namely that I like a fat tree. Since I was staying home this year, I gave myself the luxury of a full-sized tree knowing I wouldn’t have to go away for the holidays and come back to find it dry and sinking on the stand. For once, I was able to use all of my ornaments big and small and it couldn’t get enough. No matter how many decorations I put on the tree, the branches just seemed to swallow them whole until we had to literally trim them down. If they made spanx for trees, I would have used them. On Christmas Eve, my favorite gift was a vintage Angel topper my sister hunted down for me so the tree was finally complete. In some countries, the night of January 5 that precedes it, also known as twelfth night or the 12th day of Christmas, is considered the end of the season when decorations should be taken down (don’t worry about looking it up – it’s 12 drummers drumming). I wanted to keep it up at least until Three Kings Day or Epiphany. Sadly, the time has come. Read more

Empanaditas de Calabaza

I only really became aware of el Dia de los Muertos a couple of years ago but then it was love at first sight – the papel picado, the calacas that would be frightening if they weren’t so eerily famliar, the food welcoming spirits home as though no time has passed. There’s an easy tension to the way it’s celebrated – a balance between the pre-Columbian and post-Discovery, the corporeal and the spiritual, the seen and unseen – that’s lovely to live in for a couple of days. In the past, I’ve made pan de muerto but this year wanted to try empanaditas de calabaza. Families may start their vigil with the ofrenda, but they see the spirits back to the cemetery. Whatever I made, I wanted it to be filled with fall spices, comforting, and most importantly, portable. Read more

Croque Señorita

The thing about vacation is that eventually you have to come home. Always wanting to make it last a little longer, I hold on by bringing back ingredients, recreating recipes, or incorporating holiday habits to my everyday. In the past year, I’ve visited Paris and Mexico City, which is why I have tins of fois gras and impressionist teas on my shelves, half empty jars of caramel beurre au salé and cajeta in the cupboard, and stacks of corn tortillas in the freezer. This is also why I flounce around Brooklyn markets on the weekend with an enormous Provence basket and can’t stop making batches of salsa verde. Read more

Catching Up in May

I wasn’t really excited about summer (too hot, too soon) until I finished my run this weekend and stopped by the Grand Army Plaza greenmarket on my way home. Seeing some chives in full bloom, I asked the vendor how they could be used. Holding on to the stem, he gently twisted off the light purple puff at the top and presented me with a handful of blossoms – suddenly I could see weeks mint tea, ripe berries, fat peaches and green tomatoes spreading out before me and couldn’t wait to get started. But, before I get lost in the corn fields, I wanted to catch-up on some articles that popped up in May. Read more

Hungry in Mexico, Part 1

I had planned on a seamless travelogue describing my recent trip to Mexico City – from pre-boarding expectations to new discoveries and life changing insights. But if time stops while you’re on vacation, it goes into fast forward as soon as you get back, so it’s only now that I’ve had a chance to really get back to posting. Visiting for the first time, I wanted to be like Cantinflas‘ Passepartout in Around the World in 80 Days – taking in the countryside as it gracefully glides past, dancing on tabletops, and jumping in bullrings – but more often I was Niven’s Phileas Fogg, nose buried in my moleskin diary planning the next step. I was shaken out of this by the actual Cantinflas in the form of an enormous bronze statue of the actor Jose Moreno in the Zona Rosa. I was fidgeting with my camera and almost missed it altogether. When I finally looked up, he’d turned his back to me – I was disappointing both of us. Thinking too much of what I might be missing, I wasn’t seeing what I had right in front of me. I put the camera down and looked around. Read more