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Posts from the ‘Mexico’ Category

Tequila-Cured Salmon Gravlax

A friend from Seattle once described his family’s Christmas tree ritual.  Every December, they’d go to the woods, pick a tree, argue a little, cut it down, then bring it home where they’d have hot chocolate together.  A lovely story, but so wholesome, it seemed exotic.  Told to a bunch of urbanites who believed Christmas trees sprouted up spontaneously from the sidewalks in front of grocery stores once a year, we wanted to know if there was a designated “tree section” of the forest.  That’s the way I felt about making my own gravlax which I’d only bought pre-packaged and ready to serve (random connection I know but they’re both related to the Pacific Northwest).  I love sushi, ceviche and all things smoked and cured, but when it comes to fish, I relied on chefs and Nova Scotians to tell me when it’s raw and when it’s lunch.  This week I found a recipe for tequila-cured salmon topped with mango and lime relish that changed my mind. Read more

Chiles en Nogada

I saw a reference describing end of summer/start of fall cooking as “valedictory meals”.  I prefer to think of this time as a cross-fade.  As one season quiets down, another one starts to roar, but for at least a moment they make the same sound.  To take advantage of the markets in transition, I made an Argentinian Carbonada Criolla, a heavy beef stew lightened with peaches, pears and corn served in a pumpkin last September.  This year I decided to try Mexico’s chiles en nogada.  Pork or beef picadillo stuffed into poblano chiles, it’s covered in a chilled, creamy walnut sauce and garnished with pomegranate seeds.  Read more

Sopa de Flor de Calabaza

I don’t usually let myself buy flowers.  Frivolous in a million other ways, I become oddly practical when it comes to that.  I’ll consider the enormous sunflowers bursting out of their buckets but head straight to the potted basil, lavender, and rosemary plants instead, preferring the kind of pretty you can eat.  That’s why I get so excited when squash blossoms arrive at the markets.  Since July, I’ve had them stuffed, fried, chopped and sauteed with tomatoes.  Now that the summer is melting away and every day feels like Sunday night, each bag of blossoms has become that much more precious – shriveled and golden, bugs and all. Read more

Chocolate Covered Snow


I once read that Montezuma would pour melted chocolate over bowls of snow brought to him from the mountain tops.  The image made me swoon though it has to be boiling outside for me to give up my scorching espresso or spiced hot chocolate.  This weekend we actually did reach the boiling point so I decided to try it the Emperor’s way.   Read more

Taking Off, Cooling Down

When the heat broke last week, I thought we’d finally been granted a reprieve from the brutally hot New York summer.  Little did I know that it was only recharging.  From the number of friends posting screen shots of the weather forecast on Facebook, I know I’m not the only one mildly hysterical at the prospect of  a 102° week.  At least I had rocket pops on standby.

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A Grilling Alternative

I was looking for grilling recipes when I heard about a great non-grilling suggestion from my Tio Raul. After giving me instructions on how to make grilled elotes slathered in crema and covered with cheese, he mentioned this version he’d had at the end of a long Mexican wedding where the reception ended with a second meal. Read more

Mexican Chocolate Crackle Cookies

I hadn’t planned on re-posting this recipe until I my sister asked for Mexican Chocolate Crackle Cookies for a reading she was doing.  It was a last minute request on a busy day.  I gave good reasons for not making them and they were all accepted, then I decided to do it anyway.  It was a chance to go through one of my favorite recipe posts and make sure I’d gotten it all down correctly, try some adjustments and maybe find some of the typos that play hide and seek when I first hit publish (though I rarely feel like playing).  Click here for the original post.

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Chilaquiles

I’ve wanted to make chilaquiles for awhile but was a little overwhelmed by the choices.  I love the precision of cooking and there was no set way to go about making these. The tortillas can be fried or baked, topped with chicken, chorizo or eggs, sprinkled queso fresco or Cotija, sauteed or covered on Oaxacan cheese then baked, the sauces can be red or green or mole, the peppers fresh or dried.  Elbow deep in books and online recipes, I saw a an opportunity to throw in some staples that I overbuy but under use testing the tips and side notes that the cookbook obsessed pick up and file away.  They can be a breakfast or brunch dish, a perfect way to use leftover tortillas, and a sometimes cure for hangovers.  A generous dish.  With no set path, there was no way to fail. Read more

What’s Left?

I’ve always hated the word leftovers (though it’s invisible to anyone reading this, I’ve written that first sentence three times to avoid using that word to no avail).  I love the feeling of having bought, made and served just enough.  Though I dutifully store away the smallest amount that remains of any dish or ingredient, I resent it.  As someone who often cooks at home with an ongoing game of tupperware jenga going on in her refrigerator, it was time to reconsider how I used the (ugh) leftovers that were piling up.  My attitude started to change last week when I was making papas en salsa verde.  The recipe suggested serving them with refried beans.  With bags of frozen beans periodically jumping at me from the freezer, crashing to the floor, and threatening to knock out one of my yorkies, I decided to defrost some of the black beans I’d already made rather than start from scratch (too late) or open a can (too bland).  Having congratulated myself on completing a second recipe from my initial batch of beans, I decided to use the remaining salsa verde to try a third one for pipián verde, a tomatillo sauce combined with toasted pumpkin seeds.  Perfect for the last Friday before Easter, I decide to make it again tonight to end the Lenten season.  I still don’t like leftovers but I’m starting to like the idea of one dish becoming another and then another and then another… Read more

Frida’s Fiestas

A few months ago a friend recommended Frida’s Fiestas: Recipes and Reminiscences of Life with Frida Kahlo.  Written by her step-daughter Guadalupe Rivera and Marie-Pierre Colle, it’s part cookbook and part food memoir.  Organized by month, each chapter centers on the holidays and seasons as they were celebrated in the Blue House in Coyoacán.  Describing a trip with Frida to the pyramids of San Juan Teotihuacán, the author writes:

After offering us the traditional refreshment of agua de chía, doña Rosa invited us to eat.  She had prepared a number of Lenten dishes typically served throughout the central Mexican plain, where the gods that Frida invoked in her paintings had once upon a time resided.  As it turned out, doña Rosa and don Tomas extended their hospitality to us for three more days, days in which reality was inseparable from magic. Read more