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

For all your authentic Mexican Product Needs


Get to know MexGrocer  an awesome online company who’s mission is to share with you Authentic,specialty,

Mexican products.  MexGrocer is definitely Mega Super Chido stuff!  Some of the products they sell you can find in regular super markets, but other stuff is exclusive & special finds that are only available online. And even though some stuff is sold in supermarkets there are those who do not live near a Hispanic shopping center. But if that’s your case, then no prob, MexGrocer is her to help.

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

Quick & Easy Faux Ceviche


Ceviche is a dish that can consist of:  raw fish, shrimp, and other shellfish or sea food,   marinated/ cooked lime juice. It is very popular in coastal parts of Mexico knows for their ports and fishing industry.The marinated fish ,  is further flavored with the addition of chopped: chiles(serranos), tomatoes, avocado, onion & cilantro.  Then the mixture is served a top golden tostadas.

Now if you’ve ever tasted REAL ceviche, then you know that there is no substitute for such a rich, yet simple & refreshingly satisfying delicacy. The problem is that making Ceviche is like making sushi, you must be able to start with the absolute freshest fish due to the whole raw factor. Finding fish sometimes can be a hassle, you need it to be  fresh, cheap can and sometimes you just don’t get lucky. More often than not, we are way to put on our chef hats. During those times we are just looking for a quick yet yummy bite to eat.That’s where our “Faux Ceviche” comes in. Of course it’s no where near the real deal, but it’s an interesting concoction that taste pretty good.

PREP-

Chop your ingredients into bite size equal dices, make sure that you have enough ingredient to flavor your tuna, but  too many, so as to out number or overpower. Make sure to finely  ingredients such as onion & chile. The smaller the dices, the more even &  mellow the flavor will be. Trust me in the middle of enjoying your tostada you don’t wan’t to bite into a big ol fragrant onion piece or a spicy chunk of chile.

After your done with your ingredients, open your can of tuna & drain. * I recommend tuna in water, because this is a dish that should taste fresh & light. Tuna in oil can have a more of  deeper complex flavor, we want simple & clean. Drain your tuna & add your chopped ingredients, don’t forget your salt & pepper . Then add your lime juice & mix up evenly. Refrigerate & let sit & chill for as long as you wish, there’s no need for waiting too long since it’s cooked all the way.

* One word of caution about lime juice make sure that you add enough lime juice so that your tuna won’t be too dry & so that it will be flavorful, but taste it as you go along so it won’t become too bitter. Some people like to add cucumber to the mix, but I think that works better with fresh fish, on the other hand I’ve never tried it on tuna. If you’re intrepid enough go ahead & try.  That’s simple enough isn’t it?? Cheat your way to a cool, fun, Mexican food inspired meal.

AS ALWAYS, BUEN PROVECHO(Bon appetite, enjoy your meal.)

WHAT YOU WILL NEED*

(Amount will vary according to portions, remember you need enough to top tostadas with a moderate amount not to heavily.)

Tomatoes = any kind will do, but try going for a firm variety, we are using them raw not cooked like in spaghetti sauce or anything so a bit of firmness is ideal.

Limes= because the tuna is not raw, you will only need enough to flavor the Tuna.

Onions = Red or white will do. You just need enough to sprinkle into the mix not a whole bunch. If you are making very little, you probably won’t even use up a whole one.

Chiles= This recipe calls for Serranos.

Avocados= A good avacado will not be to green or to dark. Make sure if you squeeze it, that it is not too firm or  inversely give in too much. These are indications of a  flavorless unripe one or one that is bitter, mushy and past its prime.

Tostadas= find them in the internationals foods isle, or next to the tortillas which are sometimes in the displays at the end of isles.

Don’t forget the Cilantro!  It really is one of the ingredients that makes the dish.

ALSO VERY IMPORTANT : Don’t forget to put in a least a little dash of hot sauce.

Mexican Food of the Day: HOT CHOCOLATE


So Halloween is done now, daylight savings is underway, & all around us weather & nature is changing.  Which makes me think that this a very very apropos moment to post about:  delicious, heartwarming, cold shooing,  comforting  Mexican Chocolate.  What is Mexican Hot Chocolate? Well, there’s a couple of differences between it & Hot Cocoa. Cocoa tends to come in powders, while Mexican Chocolate comes in tablets. The taste also differs, while Cocoa has more of a soft milk chocolate taste, Mexican Chocolate has a darker taste to it. Also it includes extra spices & flavorings to it: granulated sugar undissolved, & Cinnamon, shea nuts. When brewed vanilla, anise & chili powder can be added. Mexican Hot chocolate can be made in water of milk. Hot Chocolate is usually enjoyed with pan dulce (Mexican sweet bread) or Galletas(Cookies).
WHERE TO BUY:  Bread, cookies, chocolate, Molinillos

http://www.mexgrocer.com/10066.html

http://www.mexgrocer.com/50409-87178.html

http://www.mexgrocer.com/19145.html


Very funny commercial here’s the translation in case you don’t speak Spanish

Wife: Can you handle it? ( the groceries)

Husband: Sure.

Wife: Hey ,  did you notice the chocolate ?

Husband: (nervously) Uh… No.. Wha.. what about  it?

Wife: It comes granulated now. Isn’t that great?!

Husband : Aww man what dummy I was.

* The joke is, chocolate usually comes in tablets so he thought he broke the chocolate =P Silly guy.

X 30

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MOLINILLOS(CHOCOLATE WHISKS) ARE SOLD IN SIMPLE PLAIN MODELS OR MORE INTRICATE DECORATIVE ONES.
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MEXICAN HOT CHOCOLATE IS RELATIVELY EASY TO FIND, HERE'S A LADY @ FOOD 4 LESS. THEY'LL USUALLY BE NEXT TO OTHER CHOCOLATE OR COFEE MIXES, BUT IN SOME STORES IT'S IN THE INTERNATIONAL FOOD ISLE.

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LOL FOUND THIS ONLINE, SOMEONE REPORTED THAT THEY FOUND AN ABUELITA CHOCOLATE VENDING MACHINE IN A GAS STATION IN NUEVO LEON MEXICO. IT'D BE REALLY COOL IF THERE WERE MORE MACHINES LIKE THAT ALL OVER THE WORLD! SHARE THE HOT CHOCLOTY GOODNESS

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Mexican Kitchen’s Secret Wepon


From one culinary culture to another there is a golden rule that holds true:  Some of the most famous, delicious, & beloved recipes were born from handy/common ingredients,   & continue to survive because of simplicity of preparation Weather you’ve never tried Mexican food, were introduce to it and fell in love, or grew up on it , I  hope u’ll enjoy this next video. It’s a really simple recipe for “Enfrijoladas” (tortillas rolled in beans).  This is a good end of the week recipe for when you’re feeling tired or for when the fridge is empty & waiting for a refill, but you just haven’t been able to make it to the supermarket.


INGREDIENTS
4 Tables spoons of oil(veg or olive will do)
½ an onion (sliced)
1 clove of garlic(chopped)
1 large tomato (Gently boil it for a few minutes then dip in ice water, this will soften the skin & make for a smoother  liquidation of your tomato in the  sauce. You can even remove the skin if you wish.)
2 Ancho chilies (As around they’re bound to have it in the regular supermarket near the spices or veggies) Or you can visit a Latin foods store) They are sold dried & are soaked in warm water for re-hydration right before being used in sauces.
1 Cup of chicken stock (Remember low sodium is available, this helps to give you a healthier more natural home cooked flavor that won’t gross your taste buds out with too much saltiness.
Salt & pepper(to your liking)
50 grams of Pork Rinds (Crushed into small pieces, not a fine powder mine you =)
3 Cups of refried beans(can be home made or canned, however:  homemade beans are better,  since you need a loose bean consistency to cover the enfrijoladas . You can used their original cooking liquid to thin them out.)
INGREDIENTS
4 Table spoons of oil(veg or olive will do) This is for refrying the beans
½ an onion (sliced)
1 clove of garlic(chopped)
1 large tomato (Gently boil it for a few minutes then dip in ice water, this will soften the skin & make for a smoother  liquidation of your tomato in the  sauce. You can even remove the skin if you wish.)
2 Ancho chilies (Ask around they’re bound to have them in the regular supermarket near the spices or veggies) Or you can visit a Latin foods store) They are sold dried & you soak th em in warm water for re-hydration right  using them in sauces.
1 Cup of chicken stock (Used for thinning out the beans & for flavor. Remember low sodium is available, this helps to give you a healthier more natural home cooked flavor that won’t gross your taste buds out with too much saltiness.
Salt & pepper(to your liking)
50 grams of Pork Rinds (Crushed into small pieces, not a fine powder mine you =)  These will be dipped in the chili sauce then stuffed in the been covered tortillas.
3 Cups of refried beans(*Must be pinto. Can be home made or canned, however:  homemade beans are better,  since you need a loose bean consistency to cover the enfrijoladas . You can used their original cooking liquid to thin them out.)

& of course after the beans ,there is no ingredient more important in this recipe than : THE TORILLAS!(*corn tortillas needed for this recipe)

1 CUP of grated cheese-  can be any kind of Mexican cheese that u are able to  find in your super market . SOME RECOMMENDATIONS:(Cotija, Fresco,Oxaca)

If all you can find is Monterey Jack that will do just fine.

For garnish you may also want to drizzle some creame on top. Sour cream will do, however I really recommend you don’t substitute Mexican crema for it. Honestly it really does make a difference. Mexican crema has a softer, sweeter taste that won’t take the saltiness of your dish too far. You can find it in the dairy section of most supermarkets.

SO  you see, Everyone can embrace & eventually adapt & create their own twist on this lovely lovely simple simple Mexican kitchen secret. My mom actually adds a bit of chopped onion to her enfrijoladas & it gives the a soft little zest that goes great with the sweetness of the beans.

GOOD LUCK & BUEN PROVECHO = ENJOY YOUR MEAL

Mexicans: Why they’re so fresh


In today’s Mexican food section we have the thirst quenching , smile widening ,comfort food(drink actually)  “AGUAS FRESCAS” =  translated  Fresh waters.  “Aguas Frescas” are a very popular drink found in Mexico. “Aguas Frescas” can  easily be found in  all sorts of  restaurants or at vendor stands in Mexico. Truly there is  never a wrong moment for this delicious beverage. Proud to hold a place in Mexican homes(in Mexico & abroad), an essential part celebrations, & even sold after mass by the parishioners at some churches….  Just like a nice cold bottle of pop is a match made in heaven for a delicious order of burger & fries, no  drink gets along better with Mexican food than aguas frescas. Aguas frescas are know for not only their refreshing flavor & eye catching color, but also the famous large pitcher/jugs in which they  are made & stored in. Aguas frescas  are sold both in cups & for extra fun &  for more of a quirkiness factor, in plastic bags tied up with a straw inside.

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

Aguas frescas (Spanish for “fresh (cold) waters”) are a combination of either fruits, cereals, or seeds, and sugar and water, blended together to make a refreshing beverage. Although they originated and are most common in Mexico, aguas frescas have also become popular in Central America, the Caribbean, and the United States. Some of the most popular flavors include agua de tamarindo (made with tamarind pods), agua de jamaica (made with roselle), and agua de horchata (usually made with rice and cinnamon).

It is possible that from these aguas frescas the production of bottled fruit sodas such as Jarritos arose. In Mexico the beverage is often sold by street vendors, but in many cases fine Mexican restaurants will have a good selection of Aguas Frescas available.

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Aguas frescas come in all kinds of flavors :

WATERMELON

STRAWBERRY

RICE & CINNAMON

ALFALFA

DRIED HIBISCUS FLOWERS

TAMARIND

PINEAPPLE

LIME

GUAVA

& the list goes on & on!

In case U are wondering  =P Jamaica (hibiscus tea) is my favorite! Give me some & I’ll be in a good mood/ totally agreeable all day long =)

You can find “Aguas Frescas”   here in the U.S. in :  Mexican restaurants, or you can look for “Agua Fresca” shops too, they’re kinda like  a  smoothie shop only better =D  You can sometimes buy a nice tall fresh glass of “agua fresca” in your local Hispanic supermarket.

Although, I highly recommend that you enjoy a freshly made glass of this yummy treat, just in case you can’t get your hands on some of this awesome elixir freshly brewed… Worry not! You can buy instant “Agua Frescas” powder or canned drinks(also found in larger carton)in your local supermarket in the International foods isle, refrigerated  or you can also try online.  I love having these on hand for convenience.

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For more Aguas frescas info, recipes & products visit

http://www.mexgrocer.com/mexcocina-sep4.html

You can shop @ Superior Grocers

http://www.superiorgrocers.com/

http://www.klass.com/home.html

Stater Bros

Food 4 Less

Gigante Supermarkets

Just to name a few, don’t be shy. Go ahead & explore, there are many Mexican grocers through out =D


AGUAS FRESCAS RECIPES

from Foodnetwork.com

Ingredients

  • 1 large cantaloupe or half a watermelon, seeded and diced (about 3 cups)
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 2 to 4 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 to 3 limes, juiced

Directions

This and other similar fruit drinks, which translate literally as “fresh water,” are served all over Mexico and they’re a cinch to replicate at home. The key is to strain the pulpy fruit to make a clearer liquid. Instead of melon, you could use strawberries, pineapple, or mango — any fruit that is soft enough to puree.

Puree cantaloupe and pour through a fine sieve to eliminate pulp. In a pitcher, mix strained fruit puree with water and season with sugar and lime juice, to taste.

FROM MEXICANGROCER.COM

Agua de Tamarindo (Tamarind-flavored Water)

Tamarinds are used frequently in both Thai and Indian cooking. In Mexico they’re hugely popular and are regularly used to make aguas dulces, or sweet waters. They’re also used to make dulces de tamarindo, or tamarind candies. The pods of the tamarind tree are used in this delicious, unique drink. This recipe takes about an hour to prepare and another hour or so to chill. It makes a half gallon. Or, to buy a quick and easy mix for Agua de Tamarindo at MexGrocer click here at,Agua de Tamarindo.

20 tamarindo pods(three packages)
2 quarts water
1 1/2 cups sugar (or to taste)

Peel the tamarindo pods, removing the veins that run along the sides. Leave the seeds.

In medium saucepan, bring one quart water to a boil. Add peeled tamarindo pods. Boil over high heat for approximately 15 minutes, or until the pulp is soft.

Remove from heat and let cool until the pulp is ready to handle. Remove seeds from pulp and discard, along with any remaining bits of peel. Empty the saucepan into a blender. Add sugar and blend until liquified. Run the mixture through a strainer, discarding extra pulp. Pour into a pitcher and mix with remaining quart of water. Chill thoroughly before serving. Pour into tall, ice-filled glasses and serve.

FROM SIMPLE RECIPES.COM

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 pound diced seedless or seeded watermelon (without rind), about 3-4 cups
  • 8 ounces strawberries, stems removed (about a pint)
  • 1 Tbsp lemon or lime juice
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup cold water

MEXICAN FOOD: Fideolicious


TSOPA CON QUESO TODAY’S delicious star is “Sopa de Fideo” ( noodle soup.) When you talk about Mexican comfort food, you have got to include the splendid delicacy that is “Sopa de Fideo”  Mention this to almost any Mexican & they will smile brightly as they are taken away by wonderful memories filled with warmth, and  pleasing flavors.  The food itself is something that many of us have in common, however the recipe is never the same.  Every mom had her own signature twist on it. Each one of us  has a different variation which  we hold near & dear.  Fideos can found in long coils or small pieces. You can find the pasta in the dry foods section or in the Latin Foods/International foods section of the supermarket.  For even more convenience there are also instant soup packets of Fideo. Sopa de Fideo is a very flexible dish, you can add anything you’d  like & switch it up to your taste. Traditionally it is eaten with cream & Mexican cheese. There are different types of cheese this soup can be topped with: Queso Fresco(fresh, soft cheese) , Queso Seco(dry or hard), Queso Rayado(grated Monterey) or also a hard(dry) sprinkle cheese can be found in little buckets. All these can be found in the refrigerated /dairy  section amongst all the regular  cheeses. Other possible additions to the soup include: Beans, avocado , potatoes, nopales(catus plant) just to name a few…. This soup is best left as simple as possible though, so as to not mess with it’s simple charm & taste. The basic method is pretty simple, this is one of those  recipes that are chosen to be learned from mom, especially by bachelors.

Fidelicioso

RECIPES

FROM COOKS.COM

c. water
3 chicken bouillon cubes or 4 c. chicken stock
3 tbsp. tomato paste
3 oz. angel hair or vermicelli pasta
1 very lg. clove of garlic, crushed
2 tbsp. dried minced onion
1 tsp. dried herb oregano
1/4 tsp. dried herb thyme
2 tsp. dried parsley
Ground black pepper & salt to taste (bouillon cubes are salty)
Optional: Chopped fresh avocado for garnish, Tabasco sauce for heat

FROM mexican-recipes.bavariasoft.com

Ingredients:

500 grams Fideos (thin noodles)
*6 tomatoes regular size boiled and peeled
oil(olive or vegetable is fine)
1/2 onion
1 big garlic
500 ml.. chicken stock
Parsley finely chopped
Sour cream
Grated Queso anejo or any fresh cheese

I used to prepare first my tomato puree, what we call “recaudo”, so the tomatoes, the onion, and the garlic go to the blender. Here I have to mention that Mi Tata Lucita used to leave the skin of the tomatoes, it gave a very nice appearance, but this is up to you.

It is recommended to prepare this dish in a saucepan or a frying pan, we will cook low heat, since the noodles are very easy to burn. When the oil is warm, add the noodles and stir constantly, they must get golden uniformly, remove them from the saucepan and put aside.

Add the tomato mix in the pan and fry well, add just a little oil to fry since the fideos are already oily. Here we can cook with medium heat, when it is well fried, add the chicken stock and let it boil. I would advice, not to use all of it at this moment, so reserve 1/4 of the amount, if it is needed later. When this caldillo is boiling add the noodles, and reduce the heat to low. Add salt and the parsley and let it cook.

You must be careful that the noodles have enough stock to be cooked, but not so much since they must be dry at the end. It will be ready when the noodles are cooked, and there is no water in the pan. Add the sour cream and the anejo cheese.

MMMsopa-fideos-pAny kind of  Fideo pasta(vermicilli) that you find is  ok to use.  You can find them in the pasta or Latin foods section of the supermarket.


FIDEO AFTER IT'S BEEN BROWNED & SAUTED

FIDEO AFTER IT'S BEEN BROWNED & SAUTED

FIDEO CAN COME IN LONG COILS OR SMALL PIECES

YOU CAN ALSO FIND INSTANT SOUP PACKETS OF FIDEOMaggi

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