The winter season brings with it a culinary conundrum. Part of you craves the comfort foods, mostly creamy and carby, that the cold weather seems to inspire. Some of this is induced by childhood memories of Mom baking bread and cooking hearty stews as chill winds blew outside.
Another part of you is facing the expanded waistline and added pounds that arrived as unwanted holiday gifts. This is the adult part, the one who dreads being mistaken for a beach ball on that vacation at Playa del Carmen.
In recent years, “seasonal” has become a culinary buzzword, something seemingly new and novel in the U.S., where just about anything is available at any time, no matter its origin or how far it must be shipped.
In contrast, Mexican cooks have traditionally relied on local availability to determine what to buy and serve. Although the rise of supermarkets and chain groceries has brought an increasing number of products that have traveled great distances, Mexicans do continue to base many meals on what has customarily been prepared and served at certain times of the year. And autumn, with its many important celebrations, is one of those times. The end of the rainy season brings the gathering of summer’s bounty, and the fall harvest yields many of the country’s characteristic ingredients.
Run, don't walk to the next Michoacan Traditional Food Festival (Cocineras Tradicionales) at the Convention Center in Morelia. The entrance is a stairway to heaven and you are about to eat food fit for gods and goddesses. The name "Traditional" only partially describes the Festival because it is traditional woman, in traditional clothing, cooking traditional recipes, with traditional utensils. However,...
Artichoke season has arrived in Central Mexico, the time of year known locally as the temporada de calor
, or hot season. By the standards of most other places, it really would not be called "hot," but at 7000 or so feet, it doesn't usually get much hotter.
And the arrival of this Spring weather means artichoke season, when our friend Tim, a French-trained chef and a professor at a Puebla university, makes the eagerly anticipated drive to what we call the "artichoke farm," where the odd-looking thistles are waiting to be picked...
Northern Mexican climate of Chihuahua is ideal for pistachio trees, which require only half as much water as the more common pecan trees and can survive drought conditions.
I knew that a dry climate can indeed support pistachio trees because a friend in Oaxaca bought one as a sapling some years back and it has flourished in the semi-arid Oaxacan climate and borne fruit....
I hadn't given much thought to carrots in Mexican cooking until doing a recent search for carrot cake recipes, when it dawned on me that carrots are found in just about every kind of dish in Mexico, from salads to desserts. They are a reliable standby, sold in even the smallest markets.
The carrot is a basic ingredient of countless caldos (soups and broths) and stews. It is part of the flavor base of most chicken and beef stocks, and a flavoring in itself. It is especially appreciated in such Mexican classics as...
There are several e-cookbooks that I use regularly to expand and improve upon my repertoire of Mexican dishes. Whether visiting family in Australia or sitting on a bus from Puebla to Mexico City, I can plan meals, gather information for articles, and always learn more about Mexican cuisine and culture.
Following are some suggestions for Mexican e-cookbooks that fit that criteria and are easy to use, with clear presentations and recipes that are uncomplicated while still featuring authentic flavors of Mexico...
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...
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...
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...