Sunday, February 27, 2011

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Mexico Wonders (part I)


Every time I remember and look back to my beautiful Mexico a bunch of things come to mind, but the 4 things that really stand out are it's culture, people, colours and food. A few months ago I had the opportunity to go back home and see Mexico with a different point of view, the one from someone that has been far away from it's beauty for a long time. 2 years to be exact. And in this time, even though I've come to love my new country too, you always get nostalgic when thinking about the place that saw you grow and the place who made you the person you are now. Being far away has made me fall in love all over again with my roots, my people and my beautiful Mexico. This last visit I had the goal to take as many pictures as I could, and show you how wonderful warm and full of life this amazing place is. I am originally from Mexico City which is an electric and chaotic place, and even though it has approx. the same population as all Canada, it seems to work out just fine.


(Fair in Mexico City, Vintage bus)

Mexico is a very colourful place, you can find colour everywhere.. the markets, houses, festivals, even the food! This amazing quality is not only due to the fantastic weather they have, but it is also a reflection of the warmth and joy you can find down there.

(Piñatas, Fair Game, Beads stand)

I truly believe Mexico has one of the best street foods in the world, of course... if you can handle it. You can go from creamy vegetables, to tacos, fried snacks (chicharrones & chips), fresh fruits, tamales... etc.. And best of all is that everything is full of spices and flavour.


(Chicharrones/Fried snacks, Fresh fried Chips, Creamy Corn stand)

You can also find people selling fresh products from other regions of Mexico, we found these amazing guys selling Oaxaca Cheese which is just unbeatable in flavour and texture, as well as grasshoppers which are extremely popular specially in the state Oaxaca where they eat it as a snack. I know for some of you might sound crazy but it is really tasty, crunchy and healthy, so.. actually way better than chips!..


(Oaxacan Products, Requeson Cheese, Grasshoppers, Oaxacan Cheese)

To be continued...

Friday, February 4, 2011

Enfrijoladas

I had some left over salpicon I made the other day, and just got a little creative and decided to use it for Enfrijoladas which is in a way, similar to Enchiladas but instead of pouring salsa verde on top of your tacos, you pour some "Pot" beans instead. It might sound like too many beans for some people I know, but Enfrijoladas are really a pleasure to have. You will not stop until you finish them all!

Enfrijoladas

"Pot" Beans

Ingredients:
450g Black beans
12 cups hot water
1/3 cup roughly sliced white onion
salt to taste
2 large springs of epazote (herb)

Directions:
Rinse the beans in cold water and discard any small stones or dirt. Put them into a deep pot and cover with the hot water, add the onion and bring to a boil. Then, lower the heat and let the beans simmer for about 4 hrs or until they are just soft and the skins are breaking open. Add the salt and continue cooking for another 1/2 hour until the beans are completely soft. Add the epazote 15 mins before the end of the cooking time as it tends to loose flavour if cooked too long.

You can keep them in the fridge for 2 days or froze them for up to 3 months.

Assembling
Ingredients:
"Pot Beans"
Salpicon
Around 12 tortillas

Directions:
In a medium high heat pan, fry the salpicon until crispy in order to add some more flavour to it. Put some of the meat in the tortilla and roll it to make a taco. Once you have all your tortillas rolled out, in the same pan give them a quick fry just to make the tortilla crispy. Put 3 on each plate and pour on top of the tacos either one or two scoops of the beans. You can put some sour cream on top, crumbled cheese, cilantro, avocados, etc.. all the extra yummy stuff you love!...

Enjoy!





Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Feb 2 - Day of "La Candelaria"

For the indigenous people the purification cycle initiated with this celebration "Fiesta de la Candelaria" followed by Easter and the rest of the Catholic celebrations that were introduced by the Spaniards. This festivity has been commemorated since the colonial times in Mexico and represents the harvest and the 4 seasons which define their religious, social, commercial and cultural life.
This festivity involves dances, processions, music, theatrical representations, fireworks, food and of course the Baby Jesus blessing.
In Mexico the tradition of Dia de la Candelaria is that those who got the little Baby Jesus on the Rosca de Reyes will need to perform some tasks as they have become Baby Jesus' godparents.
As a godparent you are supposed to take Baby Jesus from the nativity scene, dress him up, present him to the community Church and take care of him for the whole year until the next Rosca de Reyes is sliced. Also he or she would be one of the hosts for the atole and tamales feast.

This ritual was born due to a mix of two cultures and religions: The Catholic religion which refers to the Virgin Mary who took baby Jesus to the temple, and the prehispanic culture where Tamales where offered to honor their Gods Tláloc, a Chalchiuhtlicue (water Gods) and the tlaloques (Gods helpers), who made the water go down to Earth and feed their harvest.
This Festivity's name, "Candelaria" which means Candles comes from the Spanish ritual of honoring Virgin of Candelaria.

Here, far away from our Mexican roots, we found the ingredients and spirit to celebrate this tradition. So..... tamales and atole were served to keep us warm on this crazy snowy day which brought around 25cm of snow.

Happy Dia de la Candelaria!

Tamales

Tamales Dough
Ingredients:
2 cups of Nixtamalized corn flour to make tamales (Minsa Brand)

2 cups of Chicken stock or water
1 tsp of baking powder
1/2 tsp of salt

1/2 cup of lard
15 corn husks dried
Filling

Directions:
In a pot bring water to a boil and add the dried husks until soft and manageable. Meanwhile, in a mixer, blend the lard until light and fluffy. I
n a separate bowl add the corn flour, baking powder and salt and mix well. Add the chicken stock to the dry ingredients and mix well. Once everything is well incorporated mix the dough with the lard and make sure once m ore everything is well incorporated.
Once the husks are soft, open them and spread the dough in the middle of the husk, then put the filling in the centre and roll the husk in order to cover all the filling. In a steamer put all the tamales together and cook for almost 1 1/2 to 2 hrs.

For the Atole I used David's recipe and was super super delicious.....

Enjoy!