Mex Xmas Drinks


Baby it’s cold outside ♪  Then let’s have some ponche & champurrado! Take a look at these vids about warm drinks that are traditionally enjoyed during Christmas =)

I’ve heard Champurrado described as  mix between hot chocolate & porridge. The drink is thickened with cornstarch/cornflour.  Champurrado comes in many flavors, &  can be seen during Xmas time served with tamales =) During “Posadas” = Xmas processions/parties, “Ponche Navideño” (Christmas Punch) a warm drink brewed with a blend of fruits is given to guest.  The basic punch recipe contains: Guava, Cinnamon, Hibiscus flower, tamarind, cane, Tejocotes (hawthorn).  For both the champurrado & ponche pilloncillo are used which is cone shaped Mexican dark brown sugar.


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Mexican Food: Machacado con Huevo


It’s that time again! Time for some delicious Mexican gastronomy!  Today’s dish is  know as  “Machacado con Huevo”, “Machaca con Huevo”, or simply “Machaca” = Eggs & Mash/ shredded with eggs. Pronounced something like  : mah-chah-kah-doh-kohn-oo-eh-boh.  The verb “Machacar” means to mash/grind.

This is a typical dish from Monterrey &  is “said to have originated in the town of Ciénega de Flores, about an hour north of MonterreyMexico.” – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Machacado_con_huevo

This yummy & easy recipe makes use of  eggs & cured, dried meat. In other words beef jerky, but not the kind you buy at the 7 eleven, the one you buy at the butcher shop.  Although, hmm who knows?  Maybe if you’re  in a bind the 7eleven jerky could work?  lol  Maybe not =S   The original dish, traditionally would call for beef jerky, since people in the olden days use to swear by cured meats due to the convenience and shelf life.  Variations do exist , some use shredded beef instead.  I’ve seen my mom make this with “carne seca” (meaning dehydrated meat) she’s brought home from Mex,  meat like this: http://www.vtdviaje.com.mx/vtd/images/stories/Nuevo_Leon/Gusto_Gourmet_Nuevo_Leon/carne-seca.jpg & shredded beef, so both ways.

In the first video they have a pre-machado mix, which I had never seen, actually…  But in the end it’s up to what’s to your liking & or convenience  =) You can look for “carne seca”  in packages in your local Mexican, Latin American Supermarket.  Like this for example: http://loscorrales.net/products.htm This is just me, but I think the dish is neatest when you can start  with whole pieces of “carne seca” from the butcher shop.

 

*Notice how the first recipe adds a tomato sauce, but in the  succedent recipes the tomatoes are diced and added. See there are many variations, just learn the basics and make the recipe your own.

This chef notes that, the dish is typically eaten with flour tortillas, but is equally tasty with corn tortillas.

Mexican Food : The treat known as Amaranto


Amaranto is a traditional Mexican candy also know as “Alegría” (happiness, joy, cheer).  A treat who’s ingredients &  manufacturing process have a long standing  history. The candy’s main ingredient is the intensely nutritious grain knows as amaranth, it is so nutritious than it surpass both rice & wheat. Amaranth was a staple food of the Aztecs.  Alegría candy bars contain : nuts, pepitas(pumpkin seeds), rasins, & the amaranth grain  which are “glued” together with pilloncillo(a type of unrefined sugar that usually comes in cones, known to some as “Mexican brown sugar”)

MORE INFO :

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pepita

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Panela

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amaranth

Mexicans synonymous with beans to you? You need to learn about Nopales my friend.


There are those who will automatically connect Mexicans with beans some so much so as to venture to stereotype.  The truth unbeknownst to them however,  there is a Mexican diet staple which far surpasses beans when it comes to being emblematic and symbolic. The nopal is a true symbol of our people.  Depicted in artwork,  named in songs , and referenced in sayings.  For example: when a person tries to deny their Mexican heritage they are greeted with the following saying  “Luego,  luego se te ve el nopalote” which would translate to something like “Oh please you might as well have a big o’l  cactus plant growing out of your head, because there’s no denying you’re 100% Mexican.”

But why does the  nopal hold such a notable position in our culture? Although it does play a big role when it comes to : Mexican  diet, agriculture, traditions, and the economy the most  important reason is yet another.  The nopal is  important  because of  it’s role in Mexico’s history. It is forever linked to our people through being  part of our folklore &  mythology.  Mexico’s legendary founding is a tale of how the heavens guided the Aztects to their future kingdom Tenochtitlan by sending them in search of a cactus plant with an eagled pearched on top eating a snake. The tale which  is what is depreciated on our flag.

TORTILLAS MADE OUT OF NOPALES :http://store.nopaltilla.com/

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WHAT’S A NOPAL ?

Nopales (from the Nahuatl word nōpalli for the pads, or nostle, from the Nahuatl word nōchtli for the fruit) are a vegetable made from the young cladophyll (pad) segments of prickly pear, carefully peeled to remove the spines. These fleshy pads are flat and about hand-sized. They can be purple or green. They are particularly common in their native Mexico, where the plant is eaten commonly and regularly forms part of a variety of Mexican cuisine dishes. Farmed nopales are most often of the species Opuntia ficus-indica, although the pads of almost all Opuntia species are edible.

Nopales are generally sold fresh in Mexico. In more recent years bottled, or canned versions are available mostly for export. Less often dried versions are available. Used to prepare nopalitos, they have a light, slightly tart flavor, like green beans, and a crisp, mucilaginous texture. In most recipes the mucilaginous liquid they contain is included in the cooking. They are at their most tender and juicy in the spring.[1]

Though Nopales are most commonly used in Mexican cuisine in dishes such as huevos con nopales (eggs with nopal), “carne con nopales” (meat with nopal), “tacos de nopales”, or simply on their own or in salads with Panela Cheese. Nopales have also grown to be an important ingredient in New Mexican cuisine.[2]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nopal

Health Benefits-

Nopales are very rich in insoluble and especially soluble dietary fiber. They are also rich in vitamins (especially vitamin A, vitamin C, and vitamin K, but also riboflavin and vitamin B6) and minerals (especiallymagnesium, potassium, and manganese, but also iron and copper). Nopales have a high calcium content, but the nutrient is not biologically available because it is present as calcium oxalate, which is neither highly soluble nor easily absorbed through the intestinal wall.[3] Addition of nopales also reduces the glycemic effect of a mixed meal.[4] Nopales are low carbohydrate and may help in the treatment of diabetes.[5]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nopal

Nopales are a recognized in culinary circles as a gourmet ingredient.

photo credits : http://cdn0.grupos.emagister.com/imagen/flor_de_nopal_330684_t0.jpg

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/3/3d/Nopal_cacti_in_Merced.JPG

whatscooking.us

Mexican Food: Make it HOT


When it comes to Mexican food and it’s flavors, specifically heat, it seems like I’m always hearing salsa this and salsa that.  Now, there’s nothing wrong with Salsa, it’s just that thanks to far too many stereotypes, & the lack of proper knowledge, the culinary art of salsa making has been devalued, reduce  to a very mild, & oversimplified one cheap trick pony. In reality, when it comes to heat & spicy flavors in the Mexican kitchen, the realm of  possibilities  is so vast.  Your options are so diverse, and varied that you can be at no loss when looking to turn up the taste in your dishes. With the right ingredients you can arm yourself with the ability to produce: unique, extraordinary, and super flavorful surprises. What sort of ingredients? Well, Take for example today’s spotlight food: “Chiles en Vinagre” = Chilies in Vinegar, pronounced (Chee -lehs- ehn -Bee-nah- greh). Chiles en vinagre are pickled peppers. Some use Serranos in their recipe, others use Jalapeños. The basic Chiles en Vinagre recipe actually calls for the pickling of green chilies,carrots,and onions. There are those that will add other things such as cauliflower for example, but I’m more familiar & used to the basic recipe.

So salsa gets all too often automatically associated with Mexican food, to the point that it leads to a constrained singularization. Though this is one of the first things to be mentioned when talking of Mexican cuisine,the fact  is that to some, Chiles en Vinagre are far more important. In some cases truly indispensable. There are people who claim they can not eat a proper meal without their chiles. To some this condiment is as  important as salt & pepper. Week after week this is something on my grocery list. In my house, on our dinner table there’s always been a bowl of “chiles en vinagre” present.

The spicy treat is a great addition to all kinds of food. You can sprinkle the pickled juice on almost anything, you can munch on a crunchy carrot, or bite on a spicy, juicy pepper while you enjoy your meal.  You can have “Chiles en Viangre” with : beans, eggs, on a torta(sandwhich),with tacos, along with stews, heck even with burgers or pizza… seriously the list goes on & on.  With these chilies you can add spice to an already flavorful dish or you can spruce up a simple & humble meal. The latter is the key that is at the heart of true Mexican home cooking.

Find Chiles en vinagre in your local supermarket in the international foods isle, hispanic products isle, visit your local Hispanic Super Market, or

find them online at :

http://www.mexgrocer.com/catagories-chile-peppers-sliced-jalapenos.html

http://www.mymexicanpantry.com/chili-powders.html

Food Network A la Mexicana


New show about Mexican cuisine coming soon to Food Network

For more info on the show & its chef visit:

http://www.foodnetwork.com/mexican-made-easy/index.html