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

Mexican Comfort Food: It’s definitely Caldo weather


“Oh the weather outside is frightful….”  Romantic chilly weather is upon us and our tummys and bodies are in need of warmth, love, &  comfort.  Today ,one of my absoulute favorites!  A wonderful meal for the Winter time blues.  The heart warming, soul satisfying dish that is : “Caldo de Res” = Beef Soup. I’d love to say you’ll never taste anything yummier, but then I’d be lying, because I honestly can’t decide what my favorite Mexican dish is =D   It’s all sooooooooooooo good.

This is seriously lethal , so hearty, stick to your ribs, finger licking good. A must try dish!  Caldo de Res is made with beef shank &  or ox tail,  hearty veggies. This is the way I know caldo and like “Caldo de Res”  to be:  carrots, corn, potato, and  zucchini.  That is truly authentic caldo de res  to me. Recipes will vary, according to region and family, but me personally, I’d be wary of those who try to tell you to add weird stuff like  can of diced tomatoes, cabbage, or the like. To me  that is not real caldo. Seriously that sacrilege.   But that’s just because I grew up with the a set of specific ingredients in my caldo. I actually grew up with a recipe that’s pretty universal and basic. I’ve seen it over and over in other recipes and I swear by it.  You can  research a bit and find a caldo that you’re happy with. Most recipes will  all pretty much follow the same basic caldo structure .  Last, but certainly not least: a  very, very important accoutrement.  A real hearty & satisfying caldo can not be complete without  Sopa de Arroz =Orange Rice .  Having this caldo on a chilly day or any day for that matter (* truly there is never a wrong moment for caldo) is like a big o’l comfy hug, a nice warm blanket that envelops your body,  a warm fuzzy feeling of yummy happiness.

*ALSO: You can consider it  an extra, but I seriously can’t eat my caldo with out it.  Get yourself  a lime, (NOT a lemon. Lime) sprinkle a dash of salt all over your hot bowl of caldo and squeeze on a splash of lime. Now mix your clado about so that the flavors can marry.  While you most certainly could eat this with a slice of bread, a tortilla would be a 1,000 times better.


CALDO DE RES RECIPE from Allrecipes.com

  1. Cut the meat from the beef bones into about 1/2 inch pieces, leaving some on the bones. Important to add the bones so that the stock will have flavor and good consistency.
  2. Heat a heavy soup pot over medium-high heat until very hot. Add the oil, tilting the pan to coat the bottom. Add the meat and bones, and season with salt and pepper. Cook and stir until thoroughly browned.
  3. Add 1 onion, and cook until onion is also lightly browned. This the time to add in your garlic, but be careful it doesn’t burn. Stir in broth. The liquid should cover the bones by 1/2 inch. If not, add enough water to compensate. Reduce heat to low, and simmer for 1 hour with the lid on loosely. If meat is not tender, continue cooking for another 10 minutes or so.
  4. Pour in the water, and return to a simmer. Add the carrot and 1/4 cup cilantro, and cook for 10 minutes, then stir in the potato, corn and zuchini. Simmer until vegetables are tender. Keep an eyes on your veggies as not all of them will cook all the way at the same time ,since some are softer than others to begin with. It helps  if you chop them up into uniform sizes, but if you are going for rustic look, make sure and check on them as you go along.  * Potatoes are prone to getting mushy and falling apart. Add whatever you think might cook faster last.
  5. LAST BUT NOT LEAST serve  some orange rice in a bowl and add  your soup , top of with salt a squeeze of lime and enjoy.

Sopa De Arroz(Orange Rice)

From LasRecetasDeLaAbulea.com

1 cup uncooked rice

3 tomatoes

medium sized piece of onion

2 cloves of garlic

1 bullion cube

Tbs of oil (olive or veggie works)

Saute the dry rice in oil over low heat for 5 minutes. Add the onion and garlic and saute another 5 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste and stir in the stock. You can chop the garlic or leave it whole and pull it out.  You leave onion whole you can heat it a little with the rice garlic and or just leave as is.  Place the onion and tomatoes in a blender, puree and strain.  Next add 3 cups of water and the bullion (chicken stock can be substituted for the bullion and water, but this particular recipe called for bullion). After the rice has come to a boilo,cover tightly and finish cooking over your lowest heat for 30–40 minutes or until the stock is absorbed.

Mixes for the Rice and Caldo are available if you are not able to make them from scratch.

You can find it  @ www.alegrofoods.com/

P.S.  They have a sale going on , use code “xmas09” and get a 20% discount on everything in the store. Offer ends Jan 03 2010

You can find other Mexican food, products, snacks and much more at this website, including stuff that mentioned on this blog.


Nopales Abroad: Mexican Flavor Represented World Wide


Mexican restaurant Izote  in  Hong Kong-  I just recently learned about this restaurant online. This is not a plug , review or recommendation for the restaurant.  Some reviewers don’t like it, they claim it lacks authenticity and that the operation its self is not well conformed.  But as the saying goes “Hasta no ver, no creer”.   I’ve never been there myself…. in fact,  I’ve never even been to Hong Kong or anywhere in Asian for that matter unfortunately….but I digress.  This is just an exposition and recognition of how our warm &  beautiful culture has crossed borders and is stroking other cultures, breathing  into all it touches : our amiable & passionate spirit . Winning hearts over &  converging distant worlds, spreading what is under appreciated  for it’s lack of representation and recognition. So let us keep spreading the love, the flavor, that Mexican Magia.


Izote is on D’Aguilar Street  located in an area that is famous for  it’s night life (named for George Charles D’Aguilar, Major General of Hong Kong) many  foreign restaurants & bars can be found in this area.

Izote is located on D’Aguilar Street in LKF Tower

More than 20 kinds of Tequilas served.

SOME OF THE FOOD OFFERED AT IZOTE HONG KONG

Nopales fresas  de la high =P   Gourmet Cactus dish.

SOURCES CREDITED:

ButchokoyD Flickr Channel

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/D’Aguilar Street

http://www.lifestyleasia.com/guide/izote_

http://www.openrice.com/restaurant/photos.htm?shopid=22573

starchefs.com

http://www.aviewoncities.com/gallery/showpicture.htm?key=kvecn0172


http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/5/5b/D’aguilar_street_sat_night.jpg




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” Style?


“Mexican Style” bwah! lmao Oh it is to laugh!  More like “sorta, kinda, barely Mexican style”, more like Tex Mex style/ MexFusion .

It’s  this kind of media that perpetuates ignorant stereotypes and false facts. This is how faux Mexican culture or fusion Mexican culture becomes what some people believe to be 100% authentic.   True Mexican food aficionados, people who grew up on the real deal, laugh at these tacos. To them this is junk food/fast food/snacks  &  some even refuse to eat them. Just like some non Mexican  families might use these kind of tacos to have a “taco” night for the novelty factor , real Mexican families  would treat these tacos the same way. They’d be something like having a hamburger or hot dogs. Just a quick & easy weekday dinner idea.

REAL TACOS LOOK LIKE THIS


Cardinal rule of good authentic tacos, you DON’T start with prefried shells. Speaking of shells, the corn’s all wrong too because traditional tortillas don’t look like that even after being fried. Another thing, Just because  you’re Mexican doesn’t mean you have a sombrero on hand,  What da?! I’m Mexican, have ZERO sombreros at my home & have never seen a single sombrero at the home of any of my Mexican friends or  relatives. Yes there are those who like to collect traditional items and decorate their home with them, but seriously you’ll be hard pressed to find someone who’s got a sombrero on hand in the same &  unbelievable fashion show here.

“Genius Mexican Style”?  That’s our genius? We’re ingenious when the situation is taco related??! Also why must our folklore  be desecrated!  I’m tired of hearing “El Jarabe Tapatio” or ” La Bamba”(note the latter used in this ad) to represent all of us and in such a stereotypical & homogeneous manner.  Our music is  significant, symbolic, and representative of each different region of our country. They associate the dessert & adobe houses with all Mexicans, maybe that’s what el Paso looks like, but not Mexico. For example, La Bamba which they thought fit the mood for this commercial, comes from the state of Veracruz. Veracruz  is Mexico’s oldest and largest port , it’s renowned for it’s beaches & fishing industry. I can assure you that when a true Mexican especially a Veracruzano hears “La Bamba” he doesn’t picture a place like the one in the commercial.