El 16 de Septiembre de 1810 fue el día en el que se consumó la independencia de México, la cual puso final al dominio Español. A consecuencia de éste acto que desencadenó una gran pasión mexicana se celebra la noche de el 15 de Septiembre el famoso “Grito de Independencia”. Esta celebración por lo general viene acompañana de un grande festejo entre los estados Mexicanos. La fiesta consiste en el establecimiento de las “Fiestas Patrias” las cuales son constituídas por juegos mecánicos, comidas típicas mexicanas, grupos musicales y presentaciones folklóricas.
El “Grito de Dolores” según la tradición mexicana es un llamado que el cura Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla dio la noche del 15 de Septiembre. A lado de el cura Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla venia el Capitán de el Ejército Realista Mexicano Ignacio Allende y el Insurgente Mexicano partícipe en el proceso de independencia Juan Aldama. El “Grito” consistió en tocar las campanas de la parroquia de Dolores ubicada en el estado de Guanajuato proclamando el inicio de la guerra de Independencia. La tradición consiste en tocar las campanas de dicha parroquia mencionando o proclamando las siguientes frases:
¡Vivan los héroes que nos dieron Patria!
¡Viva Josefa Ortíz de Domínguez!
¡Viva Aldama y Matamoros!
¡Viva la Independencia Nacional!
¡Viva México! Viva México! Viva México!
Toca la campana y ondea la bandera Mexicana.
El pueblo entusiasta responde con gran pasión “Viva Mexico!” y celebra con fiestas y cantos mexicanos. Es la tradición más pasional que tiene México. Cada estado de la República Mexicana tiene sus respectivos y muy esperados festejos. Esta fecha conmemora el esfuerzo de el pueblo mexicano contra la conquista Española. Es asi como la celebración se lleva a cabo. !Esperemos con mucho orgullo nuestro 16 de Septiembre! ¡Viva México!
This magnificent dish of Stuffed Poblano Chiles in Walnut Sauce, was created in the city of Puebla by the nuns of the Santa Monica Convent in honour of the triumphant arrival of General Agustin de Iturbide, when independence from Spain was finally attained in 1821 after some not so easy negotiations with General Vicente Guerrero who was then at the head of the Insurgentes army.
Agustín de Iturbide
Agustin de Iturbide (1782-1824), a criollo (born in Mexico of Spanish parents), having been fighting for a few years against the rebels of Insurgentes, first against José Maria Morelos y Pavon (another hero of the independence) who was captured and executed at the end of a ferocious battle, and then against General Guerrero.
Several years had passed before Iturbide realized that the royalists would never win this war and as a result, decided to present General Guerrero with a plan (Plan of Iguala) through which an independent Mexico with himself as Emperor, could be established. General Guerrero agreed to meet with him in Acatempan (The Embrace of Acatempan), in order to discuss the plan drawn out by General Iturbide.
The Plan of Iguala (March 1821) became very popular mainly due to the fact that it satisfied both parties, the Insurgentes by implementing Independence from Spain and the Peninsulares (Spaniards living in Mexico) for avoiding attacks on them and their properties.
On September 17, 1821 (Iturbide’s birthday), he marched triumphantly into Mexico City with his Ejército Trigarante (Army of the Three Guarantees). The following day Mexico was declared an independent empire and General Iturbide was crowned on July 21, 1822. He ruled as Agustin I (1822-1823), over a large territory which was bordered by Panama in the south, and by the Oregon territory in the north, including the present countries of Central America and the U.S. states of California, Texas, Arizona, Utah, Nevada, Colorado and New Mexico. Less than a year later, Agustin de Iturbide was forced to abdicate his reign by a General Santa Ana who announced the birth of a Republic.
During his reign as Emperor of Mexico, he lived in what used to be known as the Palacio de Iturbide now Museo Palacio Cultural Banamex, a true jewel of Baroque architecture with marked Italian influence. This magnificent building was built by the Count of San Mateo Valparaiso as a wedding present for his daughter whose fiancé was of Italian descent. The building is currently a museum that holds the vast Mexican art collection of Banamex (the National Bank of Mexico) and is located in downtown Mexico City, or the Centro Histórico, just a few blocks from the Zócalo and the Cathedral where General Iturbide is buried.
Historic Mexican Flags
During his brief Empire, Iturbide was responsible among other things, for the creation of the modern Mexican flag with its three colours, green, white and red. These colors representing the three guarantees and to honour the legacy of the Aztecs, the emblem of the cactus with the perching eagle.
The decoration of the Stuffed Poblano Chiles in Walnut Sauce (Chiles en Nogada) was clearly a political move. If there is something that gives a unique character to Mexican cuisine in my opinion, is most definitely all its sauces and moles with key ingredients such as peanuts, almonds, walnuts, and of course chiles. In fact, poblano chiles are sometimes identified outside of Mexico as the ‘stuffing’ chile, so the uniqueness of this particular dish is clearly due to its attractive decoration and the history behind it.
In Mexico, this wonderful dish is traditionally served in the fall, when the walnuts for the creamy nogada sauce are harvested in northern Mexico. The combination of the pulled pork, the sweetness of the raisins, almonds and candied fruit, with the spicy heat of the chiles, is bound to conquer refined palates anywhere.
Stuffed Poblano Chiles in Walnut Sauce
Chiles en Nogada
For the filling
1 lb (500 g) pork loin
1 to 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
4 large cloves garlic, chopped
½ cup chopped onion
3 large ripe tomatoes, seeded and chopped
½ cup canned tomato sauce
Dash each of cinnamon, cumin, cloves
½ cup chopped cooked ham
¼ cup chopped almonds
¼ cup raisins, soaked in water
½ cup chopped, candied citron or
¼ cup each, peeled and chopped fresh apple, pear, and peach
Dash each of salt, sugar
Cook the pork loin in boiling salted water for 12 to 15 minutes or until tender. Drain and reserve the broth. When the pork is cool enough to handle, shred it with your fingers and set aside.
In a saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat and sauté the garlic and onion until the onion is transparent. Add the chopped tomatoes and tomato sauce, and continue cooking for a few minutes longer. Stir in the pork, ½ to 1 cup of the reserved broth, the cinnamon, cumin, cloves, ham, almonds, drained raisins, and citron. Bring to a boil and simmer for 5 to 8 minutes, or until the sauce has thickened and the fruit is tender. Set aside to cool.
For the Sauce
1 slice of bread
½ cup milk
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 (4 oz/125 g) package cream cheese or
125 g. Mexican Queso Fresco
Dash each of cinnamon, sugar
1 teaspoon dry sherry
Soak the bread in the milk. In a blender or food processor, half an hour before serving the chiles, blend the walnuts with the cheese, soaked bread, sherry, cinnamon and sugar. The nogada sauce should be thick. Keep at room temperature until ready to serve.
For the chiles
10 small Poblano chiles, roasted, peeled and seeded
1 to 2 pomegranate(s) or
1 (2 oz/60 g) jar red pimientos
¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped
Fill each chile with a spoonful of the pork mixture and carefully place each stuffed chile on a serving platter. Cover the chiles with the nogada sauce and garnish with pomegranate seeds and parsley.
Serve this festive dish at room temperature with good French bread on the side and celebrate the Mexican Independence.
Note: In later years, cooks wanting a smoother creamy sauce for the nogada, introduced cream cheese, but the original recipe called for queso fresco (fresh cheese), which fortunately, is now available anywhere in English North America where Mexican products are sold.
Here is another colourful dish that can be served as an appetizer with small corn tortillas or as a salad.
ENSALADA DE NOPALES (Cactus Leaves Salad)
Serves 4-6 as an appetizer
4-6 cactus leaves/pads, fresh or
1 (825g) jar Nopalitos or Tender Cactus,*
1 tsp. salt
4-6 tbsp. finely chopped onion
2-4 Serrano chiles, chopped
4 sprigs fresh cilantro, washed and chopped
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
Salt & pepper
1 large fresh tomato, sliced
1/2 cup Feta cheese, crumbled
Peel cactus leaves and remove thorns, if any. Wash with running water and slice into strips. Transfer cactus strips to a dry saucepan and cook at very low temperature stirring occasionally, for approximately 6 to 8 minutes or until the sap is gone completely and nopalitos are tender. Depending on the altitude, they might need to be cooked in water beforehand. Drain and cool.
In a salad bowl, mix nopales with the onion, chile, cilantro, oregano and olive oil. Add salt and pepper to taste. Top salad with the tomato slices and the cheese.
*Cooked nopalitos would still need to be placed on a dry saucepan for a few minutes to remove the sap completely. I recommend La Costeña brand.
I hope you’ve enjoyed a little more on history of Mexico, the history of the Mexican Independence, Chiles en Nogada, and a simple but delicious Nopalitos Salad recipe. Please comment below your thoughts, and what you’d like me to write about if you have any suggestions. I’d love to hear them!
Mexican Culinary Treasures: Recipes From Maria Elena's Kitchen
Maria Elena Cuervo-Lorens is the author of Mexican Culinary Treasures cookbook. She takes you back to her childhood, spent around her grandmother’s table on a shopping expedition with her mother to Mercado La Merced, and for a merienda (snack) of café con leche and bizcochos (Mexican sweet rolls) at a bakery in downtown Mexico City. The authentic Mexican recipes she shares with us include tacos, quesadillas and enchiladas. The nouvelle cuisine of cosmopolitan Mexico City, such as cuitlacoche (huitlacohe) crepes, oysters with chipotle chile.
Chiles in Nogada are very popular in Mexico during the month of August and September a Mexican tradition coming from Puebla. The name comes from the word Nogal meaning walnut. This Mexican recipe is made with poblano chiles filled with picadillo (ground beef with spices), topped with a walnut based cream sauce and garnish with pomegranate seeds, this 3 colors combined are the Mexican flag colors: green for the chile pepper, white for the walnut sauce and red for the pomegranate seeds.
This famous dish, native to Puebla commemorates Independence Day and the colors are those of the Mexican flag: green, white and red.
Chiles en Nogada – Stuffed Chiles in Waltnut Sauce recipe by Patricia Quintana
Recipe Ingredients for Stuffing
1/2 cup butter
1 cup olive oil
12 cloves garlic, peeled, plus 10 cloves garlic minced
2 large white onions, grated
1 lb ground pork
1 lb ground veal
1 lb ground beef
1 lb ground ham
1 cup raisins or currants
2 1/2 cups prunes, pitted and finely chopped
1 1/2 cups candied citron, finely chopped
1 cup dried apricots, finely chopped
6 large pears, finely chopped
6 peaches, finely chopped
4 apples, finely chopped
2 cups pineapple, finely chopped
1 plantain, finely chopped
6 large tomatoes finely chopped
1 tbs ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
10 bay leaves
6 sprigs thyme
6 sprigs marjoram
1 1/2 tbs freshly ground pepper
1 cup dry sherry
1 cup dry white wine
Salt to taste
Recipe Ingredients for the Chiles
32 medium chiles poblanos (green fresh ancho peppers), roasted, seeded, deveined and soaked in salted water and vinegar for 6 hrs.
2 cups flour
4 cups walnuts
1 1/2 cups skinned almonds
14 oz cream cheese
7 oz goat cheese
3 oz fresh cheese, such as feta
1 slice bread trimmed and soaked in milk
2 cups heavy cream or 1 cup heavy cream mixed with 1 cup half and half
1 cup milk
1 tbs grated white onion
2 tbs ground cinnamon
1/2 cup dry sherry
Salt to taste
Recipe Ingredients for the Garnish
Seeds from 6 pomegranates
1 bunch of parsley, chopped
Prepare the stuffing: Heat butter and oil in a saucepan. Brown 12 garlic cloves and discard. Brown minced garlic with onion. Add ground meats and saute until no longer red. Stir in raisins, prunes, citron, apricots, pears, peaches, apples, pineapple, plantain and tomatoes. cook until mixture begins to thicken, about 30 minutes.
Add cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, bay leaves, thyme, marjoram, pepper, sherry and white wine. SALT to taste. Simmer, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens, abut 1 1/4 hours. Cool
Fill prepared chiles with cooled stuffing. Put flour on a piece of waxed paper. Roll chiles in flour and place on a tray. Cover and refrigerate.
Prepare the batter: Make batter in 3 batches, as needed or it will not remain fluffy. Beat 1/3 of egg whites with a little salt until stiff. Lightly beat 1/3 of egg yolks and yolds and 2 tbs flour to whites, folding in carefully.
Meanwhile, heat oil in a deep frying pan. Dip flour coated chiles in batter, one at a time and fry over medium heat. Do not crowed pan. Remove and drain on paper towels.
Prepare the sauce: boil walnuts in water to cover for 5 minutes. Remove from water. Peel skins. Boil almonds in water to cover for 25 minutes and soak in cold water. Peel skins. Grind walnuts and almonds in a blender or food processor, adding cream cheese, goat cheese, feta cheese, bread, cream, milk onion, sugar, cinnamon, sherry and salt. the mixture will be very thick. Refrigerate.
If you are using packaged nuts, wash walnuts and almonds and follow the procedure for fresh nuts.
To serve: Place cold fried chiles on a platter. Ladle walnut sauce on top. Sprinkle with pomegranate seeds and garnish with parsley. (Chiles Rellenos en Nogada)
Serves 16 persons
Chiles en Nogada with the World’s Premier Culinary College
Beyond being delicious, Avocado (the main ingredient in guacamole, in case you didn’t know) is pretty nutritious. It packs a lot of calories, but eaten in moderation, it can be a healthy, and lip-licking delicious, eat! Check out just a few of the health benefits below:
Avocado is a rich source of healthy fat. What is healthy fat, you ask? Healthy fats are monounsaturated fats which, according to the American Heart Association, decrease harmful LDL cholesterol, raise beneficial HDL cholesterol and last but not least, lower your risk of stroke and heart disease. One-half cup of guacamole contains 15 grams of fat. The majority, about 10 grams of the 15, is monounsaturated fat, the California Avocado Commission says. There are only 2 g of saturated fat, and no cholesterol.
Finally, the avocado is an excellent source of vitamins B-6,C, K and Folate, and the minerals: copper and potassium. Folate is necessary for your body’s production of red blood cells, and it decreases your risk for cardiovascular disease. Vitamin C aids in healing by increasing the absorption of calcium and iron,and maintains healthy teeth, bones, gums and blood vessels. Vitamin B-6 is vital for the normal function of your neurological system, and potassium is necessary to maintain normal heartbeat and blood pressure. Avocado is high in oleic acid, which has been shown to prevent breast cancer in numerous studies.
One-half cup serving of avocado also provides about 8 grams of Fiber, too. Fiber is found in all plant-based foods, and promotes normal bowel function, reduces the risk for heart disease (a healthy heart is a happy heart!) and diabetes by lowering your glucose and cholesterol levels, according to MayoClinic.com.
According to Livestrong.com, “Avocados have more of the carotenoid lutein than any other commonly consumed fruit. Lutein protects against macular degeneration and cataracts, two disabling age-related eye diseases.”
All in all, sounds like every day should be guacamole day!
P.S. – This is a really cool website you should check out for tips, recipes, and facts about the amazing avocado.
This time I would like to elaborate more on the positive side that such an intervention left on the country and in the lives of its people during the span of just a few years. Mexican cuisine was greatly influenced by French Cuisine which, as we all know, is one of the best cuisines in the world. The French left a legacy of cream, mustard, cheese sauces and crepes that become a part of the everyday menu.
Just recently, UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization), named Mexican Cuisine an ‘intangible cultural patrimony of humanity,’ along with French gastronomy. Its creative use and the variety of native ingredients, not only chiles, but many distinct vegetables such as cuitlacoche, flor de calabaza (zucchini blossoms), nopales (cactus leaves/pads), quelites, huauzontles, chilacayotes, epazote, etc., blended with the Spanish and French influence, has resulted in a very complex cuisine recognized all over the world.
According to Bernal Díaz del Castillo‘s book La Verdadera Historia de la Conquista de la Nueva España (The True History of the Conquest of New Spain), the existing diet in Pre-Hispanic times was balanced and diverse. Díaz del Castillo described small green and red vegetables that the Aztecs included with all their meals, some of which were fresh and others were left to dry in the sun for several days. It is safe to assume that he was referring to the mighty chile. The Spaniards very quickly incorporated the tasty chiles into their diets, combining them with ingredients they brought from the Old Country, such as oil and garlic.
At the beginning of the 20th. century and well into the l930′s during el porfiriato (the thirty years when President Porfirio Díaz was in power), the Mexican aristocracy fully embraced French cuisine. Carmelita Díaz, the president’s wife hired a French chef, after which the President who was born in Oaxaca, had to talk to their old cook on the side in order to get some Mexican antojitos and mole from Oaxaca once in a while!
A corn fungus also spelled huitlacoche, had been around since the days of the Aztecs and was only considered a delicacy after it was served as a crepe filling to the deposed Shah of Iran and his wife Farah Dibba, during a state visit to Mexico City in the 1970′s. In fact, when the menu was published in the newspaper the President’s wife, Doña Esther as she was often called, was highly criticized for offering our distinguished guests something considered more appropriate for peasants than for such dignitaries.
Zucchini blossoms are widely used in Italy where they are cooked in many different ways. They are usually big enough that can be filled with other vegetables, breaded and then fried. In Mexico, they are smaller in size and are usually served in soups, quesadillas, budines (casseroles), and crepes.
As it turned out, the state dinner was quite a success and Doña Esther Echevarría was ultimately commended for the superb use of native ingredients, such as cuitlacoche and zucchini flowers, throughout the menu.
As is often the case, people then began to cook cuitlacoche more and more. Chefs in expensive restaurants devised new ways of serving it and now it is widely considered a delicacy of the highest order. Thus, resurrecting these wonderful indigenous ingredients.
Crepes with Cuitlacoche
Crepes Filled with Cuitlacoche (Crepas Rellenas de Cuitlacoche)
1 (13 oz/380 g) can prepared cuitlacoche
2 tbsp. butter
1 tsp. flour
1 cup 2% milk
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup grated Manchego or Chihuahuacheese
In a small saucepan, heat the cuitlacoche and keep warm. In a separate saucepan, melt the butter, stir in the flour, and add the milk. Bring to a boil, season with salt and pepper, and simmer for 3 to 5 minutes, or until the sauce starts to thicken.
Remove from the heat. Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
Fill each crepe with 2 tablespoons of the prepared cuitlacoche, then roll up and place in an 8 x 12-inch rectangular baking dish.
Pour the white sauce over the crepes and top with a generous amount of cheese. Bake for about 8 minutes, or until the cheese melts and the crepes are heated through. Keep in mind that milk and cheese sauces tend to dry out very quickly, so be careful not to overbake the crepes.
Zucchini Blossom Soup (Sopa de Flor de Calabaza)
1 poblano chile, roasted, peeled and seeded
12 fresh zucchini blossoms or
1 (7 oz/220 g) can
2 tbsps. butter
1 clove garlic, chopped
1/3 cup chopped onion
4 cups chicken broth
1 zucchini, chopped
1 cup fresh or canned and drained corn kernels
Salt and pepper
1 cup Chihuahua or Monterey Jack cheese, cubed
Cut the chiles into 1/2 inch strips and set aside. Carefully remove and discard the pistil from the zucchini blossoms and, under running water gently wash the blossoms. Pat dry with paper towels and chop.
In a saucepan, melt the butter and sauté the garlic, onion, poblano strips, and zucchini blossoms until the vegetables are cooked and the onion is translucent. Add the chicken broth, zucchini, corn, and salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil and simmer for about 5 to 8 minutes, or until the vegetables are cooked but still firm.
Divide the soup among four bowls and top each one with cubed cheese. Serve hot.
I hope you’ve enjoyed a little more on history of Mexico, the legacy of the French, as well as the cuitlacoche and zucchini blossoms. Please comment below your thoughts, and what you’d like me to write about if you have any suggestions. I’d love to hear them!
Mexican Culinary Treasures: Recipes From Maria Elena's Kitchen
Maria Elena Cuervo-Lorens is the author of Mexican Culinary Treasures cookbook. She takes you back to her childhood, spent around her grandmother’s table on a shopping expedition with her mother to Mercado La Merced, and for a merienda (snack) of café con leche and biscochos (Mexican sweet rolls) at a bakery in downtown Mexico City. The authentic Mexican recipes she shares with us include tacos, quesadillas and enchiladas. The nouvelle cuisine of cosmopolitan Mexico City, such as cuitlacoche (huitlacohe) crepes, oysters with chipotle chile.
Few people in English North America are aware that the celebration of CINCO de Mayo commemorates the Battle of Puebla against the French, and not the Mexican Independence from Spain. Although a celebration in its own right, it is definitely not as important for Mexicans as the celebration of Las Fiestas Patrias in September.
Some of you might be wondering how the French came to invade Mexico and how, in just a few years, left their mark in our cuisine. It is always a surprise when in my cooking classes, I sometimes include crepes as part of the menu. It is hard to associate the very French crepes with Mexican food, until I mention that I grew up having savory or sweet crepes as part of our meals.
It all began with napoleon III, Napoleon Bonaparte’s nephew who as soon as he was settled in his role as Emperor of France, began to dream about creating an empire in Mexico. That exotic and far away country seemed like the perfect place to appoint a catholic European prince.
In Europe at the time, according to many Mexicans living there in exile, the current Mexican government had not been functioning well as a republic, proof of which was the civil war that had devastated Mexico for almost 40 years. In their mind Mexico needed a change and a monarchy appeared to be the perfect solution to end the war. After all, Spain had ruled Mexico for more than 300 years.
It was not only the French who had their eyes set in Mexico, but the English and the Spaniards as well. They all had their own reasons to invade Mexico and in January of 1862, the first naval squadron landed in the port of Veracruz, only to find the Spanish flag in the fortress of San Juan de Ulúa.
Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte (Napoleon III)
Meanwhile back in France, it was not very difficult for Napoleon III to find a suitable regent for the soon to be conquered Mexico. Ferdinand Maximilian of Hapsburg, the younger brother of Emperor Franz Joseph of Austria, whom simply seemed to be a liability to his brother and did not have an appropriate position in the courts, was the perfect candidate.
The Archduke Maximilian was married to Charlotte, daughter of King Leopold of Belgium who had her own dreams of becoming an empress herself. Their idle life in the castle of Miramar had become boring and they both began to entertain the idea of ruling a country, far away from the intrigues of the European courts.
Soon after, Spain realized that her hopes of recovering their former colony was starting to vanish pretty quickly, and the English who were merely trying to collect a debt, had lost interest as well. The French army was at this point, free to invade Mexico, but as soon as they started to trek into the hills, the tropical climate of the state of Veracruz began claiming the lives of the soldiers. The beautiful city of Orizaba, a beautiful hill town between Veracruz and Mexico City, with its coffee plantations, tropical gardens and the majestic Pico de Orizaba, proved to be a most welcome sight. However, along with the warm climate came malaria and other illnesses that were not part of their master plan.
Battle of Puebla on Cinco de Mayo
Nevertheless, the army continued its incursion into Mexican soil, arriving at the city of Puebla where each church had become a fort and where more that 4,000 Mexicans in shabby uniforms fighting with obsolete guns, defeated the finest European soldiers on the famous battle of CINCO de Mayo, 1862. Unfortunately, this glorious moment was short lived, and the French army continued towards Mexico City where President Juárez had already fled the capital.
The French army commanded by General Achilles Bazaine entered Mexico City on June 7, 1863. By this time the people were tired of the uncertainty prevalent in those days and welcomed the French troops with marked enthusiasm. Soon after, in August of 1863, the Mexicans accepted an empire, and the following year Maximilian and Charlotte landed in Veracruz in May of 1864. Maximilian and his 23 year old wife Charlotte ruled Mexico until February of 1867, when Maximilian fled the capital for Querétaro, and was later executed as a foreign usurper, on June 19, 1867.
The events that led to this tragic moment in the history of Mexico are too long to tell in this article and should be told in greater detail.
The French intervention had a strong influence on everyday life. It created a new and enriched cuisine, especially in the capital of the country. Many years passed before people went back to serving indigenous ingredients such as the very Mexican nopalitos (cactus pads). This cactus leaf is nothing short of a miracle plant, as nutritionists and scientists have since discovered astounding characteristics in this unpretentious vegetable. Extensively and imaginatively used in prehispanic and contemporary Mexican cuisine, there are now more than 150 different ways of cooking nopalitos. Please see the recipe below for a delicious
In a blender or food processor, combine the tomatoes, onion, garlic, and process until puréed. In a large saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat and add the tomato mixture, tomato sauce, and chicken boullion. Bring the sauce to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer for 5 to 8 minutes, or until the sauce thickens slightly.
Add the broth to the tomato sauce and correct seasoning. Add the cactus pads, corn kernels, chipotle chiles, and the adobo. Simmer for 3 to 4 minutes, and serve hot with the cubed cheese.
Mexican Culinary Treasures: Recipes From Maria Elena's Kitchen
Maria Elena Cuervo-Lorens is the author of Mexican Culinary Treasures cookbook. She takes you back to her childhood, spent around her grandmother’s table on a shopping expedition with her mother to Mercado La Merced, and for a merienda (snack) of café con leche and biscochos (Mexican sweet rolls) at a bakery in downtown Mexico City. The authentic Mexican recipes she shares with us include tacos, quesadillas and enchiladas. The nouvelle cuisine of cosmopolitan Mexico City, such as cuitlacoche (huitlacohe) crepes, oysters with chipotle chile,
The holiday of Cinco de Mayo is a memento from Mexico’s turbulent past. In 1862, a cabal of clergy and wealthy hacienda owners who had been dispossessed by the reforms of President Benito Juarez invited a French army to invade Mexico. On May 5, 1862, this invading army was thrown back from the city of Puebla, taking severe losses, which is the battle memorialized today as Cinco de Mayo.
Possibly because it is a story of underdog triumph, Cinco de Mayo (a tiny blip of history that is less than nada in Mexico) has been adopted by Americans. It’s a light-hearted semi-holiday, best observed by enjoying a margarita and Mexican food. (In the later stages of the evening, sombreros may be worn, though this is optional.)
Margaritas, of course, are a must. The margarita is one of the world’s great cocktails: smooth and tangy-sweet, it goes down easily and tastes like more.
This Hibiscus Margarita is made with a gorgeous fuschia-colored infusion of dried hibiscus, also known as flor de jamaica (pronounced ham-í-ka). Hibiscus has a sweet-tart taste that blends deliciously with a good, smooth tequila and a hint of cinnamon sugar. The syrup is also delicious as an agua fresca, poured over ice and topped off with sparkling or still water and a squeeze of lime. The infusion is rich in Vitamin C and flavonoids, a great nutritional bonus while you enjoy your margarita.
Adapted from Amor y Tacos by Deborah M. Schneider
Makes 1 margarita.
1 tablespoon white sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup ice
4 ounces Hibiscus Syrup (recipe follows)
1 ½ ounces 100% agave blanco tequila
1 ounce sparkling water
Lime wedge or cinnamon stick
Combine sugar and cinnamon on a small plate. Rub rim of glass with lime wedge. Dip the rim of the glass in the cinnamon sugar and shake off excess.
Fill a 12-ounce glass with ice and pour over the tequila, hibiscus syrup and top up with sparkling water. Stir carefully. Squeeze the lime on top of the drink and discard it. Garnish with a fresh wedge of lime, or a cinnamon stick.
Chill a 7-ounce martini glass, and prepare the rim as described above. In a shaker jar combine ice, hibiscus syrup and tequila, along with 1 tablespoon Cointreau or Grand Marnier. Shake well for 15 seconds and strain into the glass. Garnish with a thin slice of lime.
HIBISCUS SYRUP Use as a base for drinks, or freeze into a delicious sorbet.
4 cups water
2 cups white sugar
2 cups dried hibiscus flower (flor de jamaica)
Combine all ingredients and simmer over low heat until sugar is dissolved, stirring often. Cook at a slow simmer for 30 minutes. Let stand 2 hours (or as long as overnight) and strain, pressing down on the flowers. Keeps indefinitely refrigerated.
About the Author:
Chef Deborah Schneider
Chef Deborah Schneider is the executive chef and partner at SOL Cocina in Newport Beach, California and Scottsdale, Arizona. She lives in San Diego with her family, married a surfer, and began exploring nearby Baja where she found her love for Mexican food. She worked her way up through the professional kitchen brigade, eventually leading some of San Diego’s finest kitchens and receiving her Certified Executive Chef designation from the American Culinary Federation in 2001. Chef Deb has been with MexGrocer.com since April 2012.
I heard a TV football announcer once say, “It’s a perfect day for football weather.” For most of us, that means the weather inside your house in front a large-screen TV with a cold beverage of choice and some hot and spicy snacks. The ones I’ve picked out are easy to make and a lot less expensive than buying everything already prepared. Get ready to kick off, and kick up your heat level a bit.
El Paso Nachos, photo by Wes Naman
El Paso Nachos
This appetizer has become so popular that you don’t have to travel to Texas to enjoy it, although nachos you buy outside the Southwest may bear little resemblance to the “real thing.”
In a large skillet, fry the tortillas in 1 1/2 inches of oil, at 350 degrees, until crispy. Remove and drain on paper towels.
Arrange the tortillas on a pan or oven-proof plate. Place a small amount of beans on each chip and top with the grated cheese. Heat the pan under the broiler until the cheese melts or microwave the plate for 3 to 4 minutes.
Top with the sour cream and jalapeño slices and serve immediately.
Yield: 6 to 8 servings
Heat Scale: Medium
Green Chile Tortilla Pinwheels
This is an all-purpose filling that also goes well on crackers and finger sandwiches. Thin it with milk or light cream to make a great dip for chips or vegetable crudities.
Combine all the ingredients, except the tortillas, in a bowl and mix well.
Wrap the tortillas in a damp towel and place in a warm oven to soften. Spread the cream cheese mixture on the tortillas and roll each tortilla as you would a jelly roll. Slice each roll into 1/2-inch thick rounds.
Yield: 48 to 60 pinwheels
Heat Scale: Medium
For more food history and recipes on the subjects of Mexican and Southwestern cuisine, just click on the image below.
These are perfect snacks to enjoy during your favorite games on TV!
Are you tired of the classic recipe for apples covered with chocolate? Maybe not, but now with the Zumba Pica Forritos (5 pieces per box) you can take your favorite Granny Smith Apple and cover it with natural tamarind candy and chili or chamoy powder. They make an ideal treat for a candy and snacks buffet, your favorite teacher (it’s ok to be the teacher’s pet!) or yummy Halloween treats for the exceptionally well behaved kids.
Setting for making granny apples covered with tamarind and chili
First, get your kitchen setting placement right. Use one bowl for your pre-washed apples. Another bowl for roughly a pint of water, give or take a few drops (just kidding), it’s just to clean your hands as they become sticky and nothing more. A damp or dry towel, your choice, and a plate or tray to rest your finished tamarind covered apples.
Second, and this is the important part, make sure you clean your apples first. Apples should always be washed before eating. To wash, you can give to apples a good rub under running water and then dry them up with a clean paper towel. Make sure they are dry before adding the Forritos tamarind cover.
Third, take one piece of Zumba Pica Forritos and remove the plastic covering. Place your Granny Apple stem facing down and then add the tamarind cover on top. Firmly, with your hands and fingers start spreading or molding the paste all around the apple. Think of this as Zumba Pica giving your apple a great big hug.
Fourth, sprinkle your favorite fruit and snack seasoning (like Tajin) or chamoy candy powder. This will remove the stickiness of the tamarind paste, providing an additional layer of spicy and hot flavor for the ideal sweet and sour taste.
Enjoy your Sweet and Sour Hot Apples!
Finally, take a Candy Apple STICKS about 7×1/4″ wooden sharpened and twist it in. Take your finished granny apple tamarind covered treat and place it in a small clear sheet or cellophane bag. Add a nice little tie knot on the ribbon of your choice, and give it to someone you’ll make very happy.
In Spanish, this is also called “Manzana cubierta de tamarindo con chile en polvo”, and according to the experts at UC Davis, “Archelogival data shows that humans were eating apples as early as 6500 B.C.”. Well now you know how to make an apple better (for some) or keep eating it natural just like it was brought to us by nature. Both, are great ways to enjoy the perfect apple.
Rosca de Reyes, a Mexican tradition and religious holiday En Español
The Rosca de Reyes, or ring-shaped Rosca de Reyes is a sweet round, cake or oval shape Mexican bread, decorated with slices of crystallized or candied fruit colors. The King cake is also called: biscuit, cake or sweet bread to celebrate the three kings.
Rosca de Reyes from MexGrocer.com
The celebration of Epiphany to enjoy the Rosca de Reyes is a Mexican tradition that takes place, 12 days after Christmas, each year in social reunions with family, friends or colleagues in offices or homes. This meeting is usually done a few days before or after January 6 at the offices or places outside the home, however for the family reunions they are normally held in homes on the sixth day of January in the evening, Epiphany Day or the appearance of the Wise Men or Magi Kings: Balthazar, Melchior and Caspar.
This tradition of eating together and sharing a rosca de reyes bread with a hot chocolate to remember the Holy Kings, is made as a snack or pre-dinner at an early hour in the late evening, so that children are present and can participate in the tradition of getting together to enjoy and share a slice of rosca de reyes
Rosca de Reyes with plastic doll
and it is important when you cut a slice, that on both sides of the rosca, does not appear the figure of the infant Jesus (plastic doll symbolizing Jesus newborn). It is worth to mention that also a small showing inside may bearly appear in the sweet bread. Now in days another figure of a Wise Men of plastic may be hidden inside the bread, so that two people who are to split the party cost. It is said that the person who finds the baby Jesus, should put the house for a party on Candlemas Day on February 2. On this day your guest are expecting to eat tamales and Mexican appetizers, so it is important to re-join the same group that was present when the rosca was cut. Incidentally, the person who finds the plastic wise man or Magi King in his or hers slice, normally must pay the costs of the party, in reality the expenses of the party is shared by both persons. It is considered to have good luck and that you are fortunate if you find the baby Jesus and/or the Wise Man.
The tradition of holding the reunion to celebrate the Day of the Epiphany comes from the middle ages in Europe, mainly from Spain and France. This tradition came to Mexico at the time of the early years of the viceroys.
My friend Gwyneth Doland writes in her book, Tantalizing Tamales: Although we don’t know for sure the exact origin of tamales we can see from pots and carvings that, for the ancient Mayans, tamales were their daily bread. (The word comes from the Nahuatl tamalii and tamal is the correct singular form, but tamale is [...]
Rosca de Reyes, una gran tradición Mexicana y fiesta religiosa For English La Rosca de Reyes, roscón o rosco de reyes es un pan dulce festivo en forma redonda u ovalada, adornada con rodajas de fruta cristalizada o confitada de colores. Los Roscones de Reyes tambien se denominan: biscocho, pastel o pan de dulce para [...]
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