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  1. How about this one, gang? In an ever-growing attempt to gain round-the-clock customers, I guess, Taco Bell has come up with... 'fourthmeal, that meal between dinner and breakfast'. How's that for genius?
  2. Every now and then since December 2004, a good number of us have been getting together at the eGullet Recipe Cook-Off. Click here for the Cook-Off index. For our silver anniversary Cook-Off, we're making tamales. It's true that All Saint's Day and Christmas are months away, but the weather has turned cold suddenly here in New England, and my thoughts have turned to the green corn tamales that I enjoyed a year ago on a trip to Tucson and Bisbee, Arizona. Early fall may also be the right time to start not only because high corn season approaches in the north (for those using fresh corn in their dough), but also because this may end up being a long process for some of us. You see, I've resisted this cook-off because of my futile attempts to get fresh masa (chronicled here). In the meanwhile, I've been gathering good pork fat for freshly rendered lard using Fifi's RecipeGullet method, have several good filling recipes ready to test, and even have stockpiled a few packages of excellent corn husks for the cause. What to do about this masa problem, however, is an open question. Should I give Maseca masa harina, the only brand I've seen recommended, a try? Or perhaps I should see what Rick Bayless's combination of quick-cooking grits and masa harina produces. I've even grabbed a bag of lime in case I'm forced to soak and grind my own masa from field corn. (Of course, if someone out there can find a source for mail-order fresh masa, I'm going to give that a try!) There are quite a few lively topics around here on the subject of tamales, including a general one on making tamales, one on tamales with duck fat, another on tamales without lard, even one on the proper corn husks for tamales. This ain't the composed salad cook-off; most of us can't make a quick trip to the store, grab a few things, and prep, cook, and serve the dish within an hour. So let's start talking about prep, materials, fillings -- and what to do about that masa problem!
  3. I see these things at a lot of different markets I go to all the time and recently decided to buy some. I find they have a pleasant neutral taste and a wonderful texture. All the info I have read on them seems to indicate they are native to mexico, but I am having a lot of trouble finding any mexican recipes. Does anyone actually eat these things in mexico? And if they do, might they have any recipes or preparations they'd be willing to share?
  4. Ok so the other night I tired making Bistec Ranchero for the first time and while it turned out pretty well I have a number of questions on my mind. The recipe I had called for the following (in the order given) to be layered in a heavy, cold skillet and slow cooked over medium heat (lid on). 2 T corn oil Thinly sliced white onions minced garlic thinly sliced potatoes thinly sliced tomatoes and finely chopped cilantro breakfast steaks (coated in a mixture of salt and pepper) Additionally I subsituted a more tender cut of beef for the breakfast steaks (described as round steaks thinly sliced) as I have been having trouble finding round steaks from a decent butcher in montreal. After the heat had built up some everything started releasing a whole lot of liquid and at the heat I have it reached a pretty vigorous simmer. The meat seemed to cook on top via steam but quickly became overcooked before the potatoes were tender and before the dish seemed ready (there was still quite a bit of liquid in the pan and it still tasted somewhat bland). I proceeded to take the meat off and cook the rest of it till the potatoes were tender and until quite a bit of the liquid had cooked off, aside from the meat it was quite tasty... Should I have perhaps had the heat lower and cooked it longer? I suspect the heat was too high and the more tender meat cooked too quickly. I was curious about the use of breakfast steaks because I do not know how they are normally cut, but the author suggested serving with corn tortillas and it seems a bit akward to be eating whole steaks with corn tortillas... Does this sound like a good/normal way to cook Bistec Ranchero?
  5. Today's NYTimes article by Lawson on comfort foods got me thinking about our family's latest: chilaquiles. Thanks to Rick Bayless' "Mexican Kitchen," we have discovered the joy of turning pureed tomato & tortilla chips into homey, Mexican comfort food. My 14-yr-old likes to add fresh spinach, grated cheese (he likes Monterey Jack, I say sharp cheddar), mashed chipotle & adobo sauce, and roasted garlic smoosh into the tomato sauce. Then the magic: you pour in a big hunk of tortilla chips (we use Tostito's Bite Size) and wait for them to soggify. Honestly, it's delicious, quick, easy, and you can dress it up a zillion ways, if so inspired. Lucas just finished his leftovers for breakfast. Yum. Anyone else into this Mexican comfort food?
  6. I found a lot of scattered posts, but no good central repository of our faves. Many of us are fond of Plaza Garibaldi for enchiladas (especially enchiladas de mole), tacos, bistek, and other homey basics. Taqueria Veracruzana was the first of the new influx of simple, authentic spots, and remains a great place for tacos and more. And they're open 7am to midnight, 7 days. There are some mixed feelings about La Lupe and I'll agree that the food has not thrilled me on a couple of recent visits, but it has a great location, an especially nice spot in good weather. Others are big on Lolita for more upscale, modern preparations. Despite the skepticism about flashy Steven Starr restaurants, I've always had good food at El Vez. The original chef, Jose Garces, has left to open the Spanish restaurant Amada, but I found one visit after his departure reassuringly consistent with earlier meals. Thanks to a mention in Michael Kein's Table Talk, I just tried Taco Riendo at 5th and Thompson, one block north of Girard. It's an attractive little place, with most of the usual stuff on the menu, but also some less-common, great-looking soups, stews and specials. I wasn't all that hungry, so just grabbed a couple of tacos, and they were excellent. One with "Choriqueso" (chorizo and melted cheese) from the regular menu was slapped on the grill for a minute to melt the cheese, so the tortillas had a nice crisp but not-quite-crunchy texture. It dripped florescent red grease down my arms, as it should... thumbs up! The other, from the specials board, was "Carne enchiladas" which was not as spicy as some I've had, but featured nicely tender and juicy freshly-grilled and sliced pork. Served with a wedge of lime, radish slices and and some very tasty red salsa, it made a very tasty dinner. $3.50 each for these particular tacos, but the more basic ones are cheaper. I liked it a lot, and look forward to trying more. So, where else do we like?
  7. Hi Melbourne eGulleteers, In a few weeks I'll be visiting Melbourne (I'm an expat Melburnian coming back to see family), and on my already long list of things to do, I'd like to add a meal at one of Melbourne's better Mexican restaurants (of which, from memory, there may be very few). It's a long term dream of mine to open a mexican place somewhere, probably starting with a taqueria, and hopefully building up to something more substantial. I'm spoilt rotten here in the U.S., not only from the local selections, as I live in East Harlem, where most of the mexican restaurants are staffed by expats from Puebla, but doubly so as my wife is mexican american with an vast ancestral cookbook. I dread coming back to live in Melbourne and not having access to a simple but great taco filled with chorizo, carnitas, cecina, you name it... I'm sure there are lots of tapas places around, but is there anything purely mexican of note? So this trip will be partly to find out what the lay of the land is - growing up, the only options available were the predictable and pretty awful Taco Bill-type bean and cheese places. Has anything changed? I look forward to reading any opinions you might have, Angus.
  8. I would like to cook my (first) Mexican meal for friends close to this date. Are there some specific dishes that are prepared (for the living) on this festival/date?
  9. I recently watched the Amealco (northern Queretaro) episode of La Ruta del Sabor (originally broadcast in 2003)... and one of the dishes prepared by an Otomi abuelita was Garbanzos en Amarillo (Chickpeas in a light, masa thickened vibrant yellow-orange hued Mole de Olla). To provide its color she used a substantial quantities of a tuber that looks like ginger, but she referred to as Azafran (Saffron)... I guess its possible that it is just Safflower roots (as Safflower is commonly referred to as Azafran in Mexico & its threads used in cooking) but these were very large (thick) roots. It is possibly something completely endemic to the area, as Amealco lies in the Sierra Gorda, a very dense bio diverse hot spot, with a catalog of 2,500+ different plant species (many of them endemic). As is typical with Mexico.. there I can't find any information on this "Saffron" other than many internet listings of Garbanzos con Azafran as a typical dish in Amealco, Toliman & other nearby towns. Interestingly there is a forest area in the region called Sierra el Azafran where I would presume this plant can be easily gathered? In general this tiny municipality has more than its fair share of interesting traditions... on the same episode she made a thin, warm Mezquite seed & Cinnamon syrup / soup to drink with plain tamales. Internet searches also site a savory dish of Aloe flowers, roasted Tantarrias (an insect that lives in / around mezquite), Century Plant blossom "albondigas", gorditas with something called mamanxa, Pulque bread etc.,
  10. Kensington Market in Toronto is where I have to shop. (I bought nothing I can find in Peterpatch) There are some fresh vegetables, fruits and dairy products and most of the rest is canned, boxed, packaged. I shopped last week and spent over $100.00 in about 10 minutes, but my mind went blank when I tried to think of what I should be buying. The small store was packed to the rafters and I could scarcely concentrate. I was too tired to find the tortilleria shop and I don't know if any meats are available in this area. What I bought: tomatillos, queso panela, queso fresco, Oaxaca cheese, real chorizo, banana leaves, corn husks, crema, chicharones, cajeta from Argentina, white hominy, Mexican oregano, ground canella, Pisco sour and assorted stuff. In Peterborough I can buy: poblanos, jalapenos, dried and ground chiles (most), Mexican vanilla, annatto seeds, corn and flour tortillas (not fresh). A few canned things: chipotles in adobo. I have already / or don’t care about: Mexican chocolate, piloncillo, Champurrado and Horchata mixes, Should have bought some Mexican limes and jicama and chayote. We see these occasionally in Peterpatch. Next time...2 weeks...please help me with my shopping list. Thanks.
  11. Because we cannot get a lot of fresh Hispanic type ingredients in Canada, we can end up buying a number of ingredients which are as noted: boxed, bottled, canned, plastic-containered and packaged. Oh, and dried and frozen... And my generous friend from NJ brought me a fair selection of said from NJ last summer. Right now I am looking at a bottle of Goya Sofrito, and Rogelio Bueno both Adobo and Pipian, both in glasses. And this is just the tip of the iceberg. Do Mexican cooks use a lot of pre-packaged stuff the way North Americans increasingly do? Obviously Mexican cooks in North America must. Are there any good products? Brands to look for if you must buy pre-packaged? Brands to avoid?
  12. Hello, I am currently working on a dish to run as a special at the upscale modern Mexican restaurant that I work at. The dish, as of right now, is this: Green bean salad with sherry crema, shaved zucchini, and heirloom tomato vinaigrette. The zucchini is sliced super thin and layered out on the plate. I drizzle with vinaigrette and place the green beans (dressed in sherry cema) in the middle, on top of the zucchini. There are also diced heirloom tomatoes and shallots sprinkled around the zucchini. My boss said that it was all really good, but that it needed something more. Something to really make it pop. Any suggestions?
  13. This morning I started writing the WikiGullet article on Chorizo, so naturally turned to Diana Kennedy's books for information about Mexican chorizo. To my surprise, it's not at all what I expected! I have eaten and made many Mexican chorizos, all of which followed the same basic formula of being flavored primarily by chiles: so when I came across Chorizo Verde I was a little shocked! It all makes me wonder: what other sorts of "Chorizo" exist in Mexican cuisine that I have never heard of? Presumably there are a zillion regional variants?
  14. Found this interesting article, The Mexican Kitchen's Islamic Connection , although I can't figure out quite how I got there... Wasn't sure where to post it. It certainly made me sit up and think. No wonder I love both Mexican and Indian food.
  15. So a friend told me she had found a Mexican cooking show on the Food Network (Canada) and I thought. Oh boy! Just what I need. So I watched it. Marcela Valladolid. And boy was it awful. Meatloaf a la Mexican. This dish and that dish with a dash of "Mexican" spices or ingredients. But then the subtitle was: "A spin on American Classics". I didn't look at that part of the title obviously. Are there any useful Mexican/Hispanic/Latino type cooking shows on television either in the USA (which no doubt we Canucks cannot get) or in Canada? Right. Thanks.
  16. I searched the entire Mexican cooking and baking forums and could find nothing to cover the dessert aspect of Mexican cooking. So here goes... Currently I am fascinated by the desserts aspect of Mexican cooking. On a whim I purchased Fany Gerson. My Sweet Mexico and although I don't think I'm going to do a "Chris Hennes" through the book, I do intend to try a lot of the desserts this year. To date I have made Empanadas de jitomate. I was so taken by the idea of tomato jam. And this was the third time in 50 years that I had made pastry, two of the times being in the last month. They were delicious. Next I have made the familiar Bizcochitos from a recipe given to me by a friend. They turned out very well. Not a difficult or complicated recipe. My next dessert will go back to the Gerson book: Pemoles/Coffee-Flavored Corn Cookies. They sound like nothing I have ever eaten: cookies made with Masa and flavored with brewed coffee. And I still am intending to make a Capirotada but will wait until the Lenten season and make a traditional Lenten variety. Anyone else making any Mexican desserts of any kind?
  17. There are so many recipes for Picadillo, I was wondering who had a favorite combination. For years, I made it combining two recipes from Elisabeth Lambert Ortiz, The Complete Book of Mexican Cooking, 'Picadillo' and 'Picadillo de la Costa'. Mine was called 'Picadillo de la Cabana' (We live in Cavan and that was the best I could do. Yes, I know, very silly.) Yesterday's version was without fruit except for the raisins and apples.
  18. Wasn't quite sure whether to put this request in the internet section or in the Mexican cooking section. Tell me your favorite Mexican and Hispanic cooking blogs, please.
  19. What is the best way to execute tamales as an appetizer in a restaurant? I'm looking at 7-10 minute ticket time. I can only think of pre-steaming the tamales and steaming or simmering in sauce to order. Does anyone have any experience with these in the professional kitchen?
  20. Hey all, What awesome cookware can I get during a visit to Mexico City? I'm not really so keen on clay pottery so what else is there? I'm quite keen on getting a cast iron Comal but not sure what else to look for. Any ideas would be most appreciated. Already have a great tortilla press and lime juicer.
  21. Every now and then since December 2004, a good number of us have been getting together at the eGullet Recipe Cook-Off. Click here for the Cook-Off index. For our ninth Cook-Off, we're going to be making Mole Poblano de Guajolote. If you're like me, you can't get decent mole poblano where you live; instead, you get the "Mexican" equivalent of Hershey's chocolate syrup, which is sure to make you wonder what the fuss is all about. But if you've ever had the rich, piquant, incredibly complex sauce made from dried chiles, spices vegetables, nuts, seeds, lard, stock, and chocolate... well, you're in for a treat. You're also in for an absurdly long list of ingredients and a substantial simmering time. But it's worth it, trust me -- and what other dish might get you seriously thinking about how delicious turkey is in May? As usual, our eGulleteer forebears have done a lot of good work for us. Here's a thread on mole poblano, a great tamale thread with Abra's mole photo essay, and a more expansive, and a bit older, mole thread. Starting researching recipes and sourcing ingredients people!
  22. I've been asked to cater a small dinner for 12 and the menu is up to me with the exception of the plat de resistance (sorry I can't come up with the Spanish term!). He wants Mole ("the one with chocolate"). As the other diners have probably not had mole before I hesitate to make one of Zarela's Mole Negros. Especially since this will be a tasting menu consisting of : *Tacquitos of Tinga Poblano *Pozole (a hybrid of Rojo and Verde) *Grilled Prawns with a Roasted Tomatillo Serrano Salsa ....and finally the Red Mole with Chicken. I like the description that Bayless gives indicating that it would appeal to those not "weaned in Puebla". Has anyone tried this recipe? I've cooked many classic Mexican dishes but don't quite have the feel for Mole culture. Is it an authentic Mole?
  23. Esperanza and I constantly return to the realm of private dining in Mexico. as it's hard for visitors to find their way in to private houses, I thought an example might help. A couple of weeks ago, Ricardo Muñoz, one of Mexico's leading chefs and food authorities, brought a culinary tour to Guanajuato. He asked if I could arrange a traditional family meal in a home. This is what we were able to come up with, thanks to my neighbor LuzMaria Gonzalez de Cárdenas. She's the leading caterer in town but on occasion also uses her house as a restaurant. We asked her to leave to one side the "muy elegante" meals she prepares for catered events. What we wanted was a tasting menu of traditional regional family dishes. This is what she prepared. (Of course families would have only one dish in each course). I won't editorialise right now except to say that I was thrilled by the group's reaction. Rachel Sopas Sopa de acelgas con papas (Chard and potato soup) Capon (soup of xoconostle with chicharron) Sopa seca de fideo con frijol negro y queso fresco (thin noodles with black beans and fresh cheese) Entradas Chile ancho relleno de frijol y chorizo bañado con jocoque de la sierra (Dried red chile stuffed with beans and chorizo and served with buttermilk from the sierra) Tortitas capeadas de coliflor en salsa de jitomate (Cauliflower fritters with tomato sauce) Penca de nopal rellana de nopalitas y flor de jamaica (Penque of nopal filled with sliced nopales, cheese and flowers of Jamaica) Platos Fuertes Carne de cerdo en salsa especial de mi abuela (Pork in my grandmother’s special sauce-hot) Las pacholas (thin patties of spiced beef served with a green salad) El mole de mi abuela con arroz y pollo (My grandmother’s mole served with rice and chicken) Postres Ate de membrillo con queso (quince paste with fresh cheese) Gelatina de cajeta Nieve de coco con xoconostle (coconut water ice with xoconostle)
  24. OK, where can I get "real" Mexican in Atlanta (and don't just say Buford Highway, which is the answer to all ethnic restaurant questions)? My perception of "real" (I've never set foot in Mexico) is mole or pipian sauces, but I'm not authentic enough to eat tripe. I also speak no Spanish (save, perhaps, cerveza, if I'm even spelling that correctly), but I'm willing to go by smile and point if they're willing to serve it that way. I just returned from a trip out west, where I assumed I would expreience the real stuff. Sad to say, my efforts in both California and Arizona produced food quite similar to what I've encountered in Georgia- Taco Bell on a white ("don't touch hot") plate. How can I attempt to make mole when the only example I've tasted came from a jar at Kroger?
  25. Some weeks ago, I ran across a cartoon by Calderón in the newspaper Reforma. The point had to do with the long legal case involving Mexico City's mayor which was of consuming interest (sorry) in Mexico but not in the rest of the world. But the examples were drawn from food. It seemed to me an interesting and amusing insight into what the cartoonist assumed his readers would eat. The point is that each rule is broken all the time. A rough translation and no pictures. Chiles en nogada should not be capeados (cooked in batter) Donuts should not be dunked. Hot dogs should not have ketchup. Spaghetti should not be cut. Sushi should not have cream cheese. Hot chocolate should not be made with milk. Paella should not come with "everything." Beer should not be served in frozen mugs. Carne asada should not be well cooked. Esquites (corn kernels) should not be served with mayonaise. One starch should not be accompanied by another (torta guajalota or torta stuffed with tamal) Well, the sushi's certainly a lost cause. Mexican sushi without queso crema is almost unthinkable! Rachel
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