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Artículos en Español Articles and Mexico's regional cuisines

Mexican ways with wings: The food craze that took flight Karen Hursh Graber

Mexican chicken wings al pastor
© Karen Hursh Graber, 2014
Mexican wings al pastor
© Karen Hursh Graber, 2014
Wings have landed everywhere. There are endless varieties of these once humble chicken parts, and numerous restaurants are dedicated to serving them. Mexico is no exception to the wing craze, but the many establishments offering these tasty nibbles seem to focus on American style preparations.

But the flavors that characterize the cuisines of Puebla, Yucatan, and other regions are not to be overlooked when it comes to serving this popular food. Home cooks can create versions of wings that incorporate their favorite Mexican flavors. The chiles, adobos, pibil marinades, and even tequila and lime make terrific versions of wings... read more

A guide to using spices in Mexican cooking Karen Hursh Graber

Chicken with caramelized onions and nutmeg
© Karen Hursh Graber, 2014
As we settle into the crisp autumn months and adapt cooking techniques and ingredients to the change of seasons, it seems like a good time to look at the use of spices in the Mexican kitchen. Besides providing great depth of flavor, spices have both a warming and anti-inflammatory effect on the body, making them tasty and healthy additions to fall dishes.

But what exactly are spices and how are they different from herbs? The variety of fresh herbs used in Mexican cooking has been explored in some depth... read more

Preserving Mexico's summer fruit: Sweet and spicy jams and jellies Karen Hursh Graber

Mexican peach jam with chipotle
© Karen Hursh Graber, 2014
As the time for the ripest summer fruit draws to a close, now is the time to capture the season's ephemeral flavor in a jar. Actually, several jars, because the mountains of fruit piled up in Mexico's markets now are too appealing to resist..

Technically, jam is a rustic preserve, a cohesive mixture of fruit and sugar, whereas marmalade has pieces of fruit suspended in jelly. In Spanish, one word mermelada — is used for both, which is much easier than explaining the difference... read more

Mexican empanadas: Portable pockets of flavor Karen Hursh Graber

Mexican empanadas de picadillo, or seasoned
It would be difficult to think of a food more versatile than the empanada except, of course, the taco. Both consist of a dough-based wrapper around a filling, and both can hold a huge variety of ingredients within. But while the taco has its roots in the indigenous Mexican culinary tradition, the empanada was an import from both Spain and, in the form of Hidalgo's pastes, from Cornwall... read more

Going locavore in the mountains of Veracruz Karen Hursh Graber

Although mention of Veracruz usually brings to mind a tropical Gulf Coast climate and an abundance of fish and seafood, the western region of the state is home to a mountain range, a cloud forest, and ... read more

Yucatan: Recipes from a Culinary Expedition Reviewed by Karen Hursh Graber

An ice cream vendor in Merida
The Canadian author and Nobel Prize winner Alice Munro said that "The constant happiness is curiosity." If this is the case, then chef and cookbook writer David Sterling must have taken great joy in putting this book together, for it reflects tireless research that was surely driven by an intense desire to learn as much as possible about the cuisine and the culinary traditions of Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula.
Sterling's 2014 book may well be considered the definitive work on the foodways of the Yucatan. read more

May in Mexico: A month of holiday food Karen Hursh Graber

Mexican salpicon de pollo © Karen Hursh Graber, 2014
Look on any Mexican calendar for the month of May, and you will see a lineup of holidays, including federal and civic observations, as well as religious and non-religious festivities. Nearly all of these are celebrated with parties, parades, performances, festive meals, or a combination of these.

A holiday in Mexico rarely passes without food and drink, and some of my best sensory memories are of the fiestas during this month... read more

Mexican seafood salads: Cool food for warm weather Karen Hursh Graber

Mexican crab salad
© Karen Hursh Graber, 2014
Probably the most ubiquitous element in Mexican seafood salads is shrimp, a versatile ingredient that goes equally well with fruit, such as papaya, mango, avocado, and even jicama, which is actually a root vegetable. Shrimp can also be dressed with a variety of sauces and dressings, from tomato-based to oil and vinegar, as well as citrus dressings and herb dressings. read more

Oaxaca's Sierra Mixe: Exploring an ancient cuisine Karen Hursh Graber

Visiting some of the Mixe towns and villages — accessible only by rough, winding mountain roads, often unpaved — can seem like time travel. The Mixe name for themselves means "people who speak the mountain language," and this use of the ancient tongue, rather than Spanish, makes this particular time travel a bit more exotic. read more

Cauliflower: A Mexican market staple and vegetable of the year 2014 Karen Hursh Graber

Cauliflower with Mexican poblano cream sauce picture
© Karen Hursh Graber, 2014
Mexican recipes for cauliflower go back a long time, especially in Central Mexico. Diana Kennedy offers a recipe for cauliflower in avocado sauce from a 1911 Mexican cookbook.

And going further back, the monastery cookbook of Friar Geronimo de San Pelayo, written in Mexico City in 1780, has four different recipes for cauliflower.

Pickled cauliflower, called coliflor en escabeche, is often served as a botana with drinks. Another popular version of the vegetable has it divided into florets, dipped in a light coating of egg and flour, and fried, a very Spanish treatment...

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