Street Food

Street Food in Mexico is a way of life.  It’s easy to get all kinds of different snacks.  And the creativity of the vendors is really tremendous.

So these tamales are served piping hot…..

And the stands are colorful….

YUM!! Tacos and Pozole….

And even flan for dessert…

 

Fiestas Mexicanas

Mexico celebrated it’s 200 year Independence anniversary.  There were many, many celebrations, not only in Mexico but also at every Embassy all over the world.  But of course food is at the center of everything, right?

We went to one of our family’s favorite restaurant.

It’s a very picturesque place with a garden full of birds.

But, once again…the food:  Even the butter is beautiful.

The avocado soup is delish!

The “platillo mexicano”  is a good example of Mexican food:

And then of course the typical September dish, chiles en nogada:

The recipe is at  http://cocinaeclectica.com/?s=chiles+en+nogada   on a previous post here.

 

Flan

Flan is a very traditional Mexican dessert.  In fact there is a custard like dessert in most cultures.  France has it’s Creme Caramel, Italy has it’s Panna Cotta even Japan has an egg custard.

I have had flan all my life, but I never made it myself.  I was asked to take flan to a party and panic set it….     I had to call home and get advice.

What I found out was that, as most traditional recipes, there are sooooo many ways to make it.  Here is the most simple one I have found.

I also was serving this for many people and did not have individual dishes so I had to do it on a greater scale.  It looks much better done individually.

Flan

1 cup sugar for caramel

6 large eggs

1 1/2 14oz. cans of sweetened condensed mik

1  14 oz can of milk

1 tablespoon vanilla

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.  You could use 6 individual ramekins or 1 large oven proof dish.

Pour the sugar in a warm pan over medium heat.  Stir the sugar until it turns brown and becomes a caramel.  Pour a few tablespoons into each ramekin and swirl around.  Be patient with the caramel. It takes some time to brown and melt.  Don’t be tempted to add water, it just slows the process down.  also it’s best to make it in a teflon pan.  After you have finished, you can boil water in it to melt the leftover sugar and add soap and clean that way.  Hey, clean up is important.  Don’t I wish I had someone that would clean up after my cooking…those were the days.

With a mixer combine the eggs and the milks with the vanilla.  Blend smooth.  Pour in the ramekin and place them in a larger pan with a water bath of 1-2 inches.  Bake for 50 mins and check to make sure that a knife comes out clean.  When I did it in the larger pan, I sprinkled cinnamon on top because it looked bare.  Can’t have a naked flan, now can we?

To serve, run a knife around the edges and turn onto a plate.   I don’t know why, but the caramel magically sticks to the custard and what is left over is a syrup.  The top of the custard gets a saturation of the sugar mixture that makes it yummmy.

I did not really know how easy it is to do.  It takes no time to put together.  It may be my new dessert.

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Sopa de Frijol- Bean Soup

Frijoles are a staple in Mexican Cuisine.  They are full of nutrients and fiber and so good for you.  They also happen to be one of my favorite foods.  As far as I’m concerned, the black bean is the most flavorful, but this works well with any kind.  Put them in a soup and that is the best!

Sopa de Frijol

2 Cups cooked beans

1 pinch cumin powder

1/2 onion chopped

Chicken stock

Sour cream for garnish

Queso fresco and avocado for garnish

Fried tortillas for garnish

Salt and Pepper

Saute onion in oil until translucent.  Add the beans and cumin.  Saute for 5 minutes. Transfer to the blender and process until smooth adding  stock until you get the consistency of a creamy soup.  Taste for seasoning.  Serve warm with a dollop of cream, avocado, cheese and the tortilla chips.

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Chiles en Nogada- Chiles in nut sauce

Abuelita  Mina  made the BEST Chiles en Nogada.  She very generously offered to make them for anyone that was having a party.  The only deal breaker was if the pomegranate seeds were not in season.  I must agree.  Chiles en Nogada are nothing without the “semillas de granadas”.  This is labor intensive, but worth it.

Pomagranets

Chiles en Nogada –Chiles in a walnut sauce

Chiles en Nogada are the typical Mexican dish served during the Independence celebrations.  The colors are representative of the Mexican flag: green (chiles), red (pomegranate) and white (sauce).  There are different versions of this sauce, but this is my favorite.  The quantities of liquids are just an approximation.  Work slowly to make sure that you don’t make the sauce too watery.

6 large green chiles, stuffed with picadillo (earlier post)
~1/2 cup mexican cream or sour cream
~1/4 cup orange juice
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/4 round of queso fresco
1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup walnuts
1/4 cup almonds
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 pomegranate, seeds separated to decorate
salt and pepper
.

One day ahead, take the shelled walnuts and almonds and place them in a cold pot of water.  Bring it to a boil and then pour out all the water and rinse in cold water.  Place the nuts in a new pot of cold water and once again bring it to a boil and let cool.  Remove the papery skins.  This may be hard to do if the nuts are not fresh.  The sauce is smoother without the skins, but if you can’t get them off, make sure you puree it well.  Let the walnuts  and the almonds soak in milk overnight.

Soak the walnuts and almonds in the milk for 1 hour.  Place the nuts,sugar and cinnamon and queso fresco in a blender with the milk. Add the orange juice and cream slowly until smooth and the consistency of a light mayonnaise.  The quantity of liquid will vary depending on the freshness of the nuts.  The goal is to have a sauce that is thick enough to cling to the chiles but thin enough to pour.  Check seasoning for salt and pepper.

Serve the chiles rellenos on a platter with the sauce on top and sprinkle  pomegranate seeds.  This is the “Blanco, Verde y Colorado” of the Mexican flag.  This dish is served at room temperature.

Chile En Nogada

 

Chiles Rellenos

Chiles Rellenos seems to be one of the Mexican dishes that most Americans know.  They can be served hot or cold, with a sauce or without, battered or not.  And I have not even started with the fillings….

Chiles Poblanos

Chiles
In Mexico, we only use Chiles Poblanos.  The first thing you have to do is remove the “skin”.  The best way to do that is to char them either over an open flame on the stove or under a broiler.  You really need to keep turning them to make sure that they have a nice char that is even around the chile.  Place them in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap and a damp towel.  Let them sit while you make the filling.  Rub off the skin and make a careful slit along the length of the chile, to remove the seeds and ribs.  Try to keep the chile as intact as you can.  Rinse and place on a towel to dry.

The filling can be as simple as Mexican cheese, frijoles or tuna, or a combination of meats, also known as Picadillo.

For the Picadillo
2 lbs ground beef or pork or a combination
1/2 onion finely chopped
3 cloves garlic finely chopped
1/4 tsp clove
1/4 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp cinnamon
4 Tablespoons raisins
4  Tablespoons slivered almonds
2 Tablespoons candied mexican acitron  (can substitute ginger)
1 Pound of tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped
Salt and Pepper to taste

Saute meat with onions until browned.  Add the rest of the ingredients and simmer for 10 minutes.  Check seasoning.  Let cool.

Fill the chiles being careful to keep the integrity of the chiles.  To serve, you can either place in an oven proof dish and cover with a simple tomato sauce or you can dredge the chiles in flour, then egg whites that have been beaten to peaks.  Fry in oil until brown and then serve with a tomato sauce.

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Nonna’s Cilantro Soup

One of my favorite herbs is Cilantro (Coriander).  It is a typical Mexican flavor.  Our family really loves this soup and my Mother’s recipe is really easy.  Buen Provecho!

Cilantro Soup

2 Tablespoons butter
1 large package of cream cheese
2 Cups cilantro leaves
2 Cups chicken stock
1 chile poblano without the seeds, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1 Tablespoon corn starch

Fry the onion in the butter with the chile until onion is translucent.  Mix the corn starch in a 1/4 cup of the stock.  Add the cilantro, cream cheese and all of the stock, including the   corn starch mixture.  Simmer for 10 minutes.  Place in blender and blend until smooth.  If it is too thick, you can thin it out with more stock.  It can be served either hot or cold.

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Empanadas de Manzana

Fall is in the air.  The weather is quite crisp.  It is time for something comforting to the soul.  How about using these wonderful apples in something sweet and filling.


ApplesEmpanadas de Manzana—-Apple Turnovers

2 apples chopped into small pieces
juice of 2 lemons
1/4 cup of sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
your favorite pie pastry
beaten egg for egg wash

Mix apples with juice, sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg.  Roll out pastry and cut into 4 inch circles.   Brush egg wash over edges and fill with apples. Fold pastry over and seal the edges.  Brush with egg wash and place in a 375 oven until brown.

Empanadas

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This is a classic Mexican dish.  It can be as spicy as you want.  My daughter’s grandmother  always had the hard boiled egg surprise in the meatballs.  Mina was by far the best Mexican food cook I have ever known.  The meatballs can also be made with any combination of ground meats. This is simple Mexican comfort food.
Buen Provecho!

Albondigas en ChipotleAlbondigas en Chipotle

Ingredients:
Meatballs
1 pound ground beef and pork
1 onion minced
1/4 teaspoon Cumin
1/4 teaspoon Oregano
salt and pepper
hard boiled eggs in sliced into quarters
Sauce
4 large tomatoes
2 cloves of garlic
1/4 onion
1 small can of chipotles en adobo
salt and pepper

Mix all the ingredients except for the eggs.  Form meatballs around the piece of hard boiled egg.  Fry until browned and set aside.  On a comal or a dry cast iron skillet grill tomatoes and onions until  charred.  Remove skin from tomatoes and place both in a blender with only a small amount of water.  Add the garlic and 1 or 2 chipotles to taste.  Season with salt and pepper.
Place sauce in a skillet and add the meatballs.  Let it simmer for about 10 minutes.  Serve over rice.

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