Monday, November 30, 2009

Spicy Garlic Shrimp or should I say .... "Camarones al Ajillo"?

The extreme Canadian COLD is just around the corner, and for me, it's inevitable to envy all those people who are just now in a pair of flip flops just chilling at the beach!!!!. Anyways, my philosophy is that if you can't go to the beach ... you have to bring the beach to you!.. Period.

So the other day I was just in the mood for a tropical Mexican dish. Every time I go to the beach, and most of the times it happened to be in Mexico..... I always, always have to eat Camarones al Ajillo (spicy garlic shrimp). It's one of my favourite seafood dishes. The spiciness, the shrimp, the garlic... I don't know what it is, but the mix of all those flavours together are a delight!!..

So I will share my beach day with you guys!!!
Camarones al Ajillo


3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
4 cloves of garlic finely chopped
3 dry red chiles or chili flakes
1 pound of shrimps
the juice of 1 lemon
sea salt
2 tbsp of Paprika (add more if you like)
steamed white rice

In a large sautee pan, add the olive oil, garlic and chiles. Let it cook for 3 mins in high heat until you start smelling the garlic. Bring the pan to medium high heat, add the shrimps and sautee until pink.

Remove the pan from the heat, add the lemon juice, salt and paprika. Mix everything together until it gets an even coating.

Serve immediately while it's super hot, on top of the steamed white rice or any other thing you like.. I happen to love spinach so ...


Sunday, November 8, 2009

Celebrating the day of the dead!

So, Halloween came and went in an instant and soon Christmas will be here.... Life goes by pretty quickly and Mexicans know how to joke and have a good laugh from it. One of the festivities I love the most from the Mexican culture is the way people celebrate the Day of the Dead on Nov 1st all Saints' Day and Nov 2nd All Souls' Day. Traditions include building altars for friends and family members who have died.

There are lots of details in those altars; people cook the favourite food of the departed, light candles to guide them on their way back and place glasses with water so they don't get thirsty when they come down to visit us. The intent is to encourage visits by the souls, so that the souls will hear the prayers and the comments of the living directed to them. Families visit the cemeteries where their loved ones are buried and decorate their graves with ofrendas (offerings), which often include orange marigolds called xempoalxochitl. These flowers are thought to attract souls of the dead to the offerings. Toys are brought for dead children, and bottles of tequila, mezcal, pulque or jars of atole for adults. Pillows and blankets are left out so that the deceased can rest after their long journey. Is part of the tradition to write creative and fun poems as well, called "calaveras" (skulls), mocking epitaphs of friends or funny anecdotes.

One of the best things from this celebration is that you get to eat lots and lots of "Pan de Muerto" or Bread of the Dead which is a type of sweet bread that is very yummy. I was really worried that I wouldn't get the chance to taste it this year ...So I decided to bake "Pan de Muerto". Why not?!.. I mean, I do love to cook. I started looking for online recipes and found really crappy ones BUT.. ended up finding one from a Mexican baker which was great. It has been the most complicated recipe I have ever made! I spent a whole day working on the bread and kneading the dough for almost 45 mins.... it's not an easy task. But I did it!! I made Pan de Muerto and it was great!!!!...

Even though I am not in Mexico we had the chance to celebrate this festivity at Harbourfront Centre. Every year the Mexican embassy organizes it. We heard mariachi, saw great costumes and enjoy the Day of the Dead in Canada.