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Posts tagged ‘Mexico’

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

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

Tropical Floats

I generally stay away from soda.  A former diet Coke addict, I’d long sworn off high-fructose pop for San Pellegrino and prissy bottles of French lemonade.  Still, I made the exceptions for the Mexican sodas sold in bodegas and taquerias.  Coming in flavors like tamarindo, guayaba, and jamaica and made with real sugar, I was mostly attracted to the unreal colors that radiated out of the coolers and glass cases.  I hadn’t done product reviews until now but when Jarritos offered to send me samples, I thought it would be a fun way to experiment with the flavors I hadn’t tried.  Having spent the summer indulging in egg creams and milkshakes , I decided to make ice cream floats for my friends and find out what they thought.  My sister Carmen had an interesting perspective that she offered to write up and post, pointing out more than pretty colors. Read more

Champurrado

After last November, I promised myself that I would build my own altar for el Dia de los Muertos.  Though widely observed in Mexico, I only discovered the holiday a couple of years ago.  According to tradition, I should prepare some of the favorite foods of my dearly departed, lay them out in their honor, and wait for their promised return.  The problem is that while I do have family living in Mexico that I adore, they are in fact living.  I may dedicate an altar to welcome my Cuban grandmother’s spirit, but if she returned to find herself on top of a Mexican altar, I would have a lot of explaining to do.  Wondering what I could possibly make to welcome her, I thought of hot chocolate. 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