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Autumn in Mexico: Iconic ingredients for Fall Holidays Karen Hursh Graber

Pollo con Manzanas
Karen Hursh Graber 2015
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. read more

Mexican spring produce: fresh ideas for warm weather dining Karen Hursh Graber

Agua de Melon
The change of seasons in Mexico brings a shift in the kinds of produce available in the markets. The young greens, stone fruit, and baby new vegetables that appear in mercados in springtime are ideal ingredients for lighter fare in warmer weather. For unlike its north-of-the-border neighbors, Mexico experiences its hottest time of the year in spring, rather than summer. The time between Easter and the start of the rainy season, which brings cooling relief, finds those who can manage vacations headed for the beach, and others seeking shade in parks. Both settings call for picnic food, the kind of portable meal sometimes called itacate, after the bundled mid-day meal that workers used to bring to the fields. read more

Baby new potato salad with roasted poblanos: Ensalada de papas con poblanos: Karen Hursh Graber

    The tiny new potatoes that are part of the spring landscape in the Cholula market are firm and perfect for salads. My favorite vegetable stand has some the size of marbles. It is unnecessary to ... read more

Spinach empanadas: Empanadas de espinacas Karen Hursh Graber

    With no meat or dairy, these empanadas will keep for a day at the beach or park, or just lunch in the yard or on the patio. For the dough: 2 cups all purpose flour ¾ cup masa ha... read more

Mexican winter produce: making comfort food healthy Karen Hursh Graber

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. read more

Calabaza con Rajas: Pumpkin with Roasted Poblano Chiles Karen Hursh Graber

Nothing says autumn like pumpkins, and this dish, with the smoky flavor of roasted poblano chiles, captures the colors of turning leaves. Serve it, along with rice and salad, as a vegetarian main dish, or a side dish with grilled or roasted meat or poultry. read more

Pastel de Chocolate y Nueces: Mexican Chocolate Nut Cake Karen Hursh Graber

Ingredients:   1 ½ cups flour ¾ cup sugar ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder 1 teaspoon baking soda 1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon ¼ teaspoon ancho chile powder (optional) ... read more

Salsa Fresca: Basic Fresh Salsa Karen Hursh Graber

Recipe for basic fresh Salsa and various applications. read more

Chicken and artichoke heart tostadas: Tostadas de pollo y corazon de alcachofa Karen Hursh Graber

Tostadas are one of our pantry staples, and so are marinated artichoke hearts. Vegetarians can leave out the chicken and substitute firm tofu. Canned and bottled artichoke hearts are found in most la... read more

Artichoke, poblano chile and onion gratin: Alcachofas gratinadas con chile poblano y cebolla Karen Hursh Graber

Fresh or frozen artichoke hearts are good sautéed, and even better with poblano chiles and green onions. This is a tasty side dish with a simple main, such as chicken cutlets. Ingredients: 2... read more

Mexican chorizo and rice-stuffed artichokes: Alcachofas rellenas de chorizo y arroz Karen Hursh Graber

Cooking and draining the chorizo separately before mixing with the rice cuts down considerably on fat, and adding vegetables ups both fiber and flavor. Feel free to add other vegetables you have on ... read more

Mexican pear and candied pistachio salad: Ensalada de pera y pistache garapiñada Karen Hursh Graber

Use whatever dark salad greens are available in your local market for this pear and candied pistachio salad. Mixed baby greens are ideal, but no iceberg lettuce here, please. The nuts can be made ahead... read more

Mexican pistachio cilantro pesto: Pesto de pistache y cilantro Karen Hursh Graber

Serve this Mexican pistachio cilantro pesto over pasta, or spread it on a pounded thin chicken breast filet and roll up to form a spiral before sautéing. Or place a dollop of it on crackers with goat ... read more

Mexican pistachio crusted chicken breast: Pechuga de Pollo con costra de pistache Karen Hursh Graber

A very light coating of olive oil is just enough to adhere the pistachiocrust mixture to the chicken without using egg. This contemporary Mexican recipe is also a nice preparation for fish filets. Baki... read more

Crumbly Mexican pistachio cookies: Polvorones de pistache Karen Hursh Graber

This is a tasty take on the classic polvorones, or Mexican wedding cookies. Try adding one half cup of dried cherries or cranberries to the crumbly pistachio cooky dough. Ingredients 1 ¼ cups ... read more

The comadre's Russian Salad: Ensalada rusa de la comadre Karen Hursh Graber

The original Russian salad was made with smetana, a thick, slightly sour cream used in Russian and Finnish cooking. Variations may include shredded beef and a variety of vegetables, but potatoes and... read more

Mexican steamed carrots with vanilla: Zanahorias al vapor con vainilla Karen Hursh Graber

Among the most charming presentations of any vegetable, these herb-wrapped bundles of baby carrots are a specialty of Cuetzalan and the surrounding mountain towns. Served by the locals, the carrots are... read more

Mexican-style beef in broth with carrots: Chambarete en caldillo con zanahorias Karen Hursh Graber

Carrots add a subtle sweetness to broths, and beef shanks — with their rich, tasty marrow (called tuétano in Mexico) — make an extra nourishing broth. Ingredients 6 beef shanks 1 tabl... read more

Mexican carrot pudding: Budin de zanahoria Karen Hursh Graber

This versatile Mexican carrot pudding can be served as a side dish or a dessert. As a side dish, it is made with cheese, and as a dessert, with raisins and nuts. Here, it is presented as a dessert. Som... read more

Mexican carrot salad with jalapeño: Ensalada de zanahoria con jalapeño Karen Hursh Graber

Jalapeño adds some zip to this healthy Mexican carrot salad. I like to serve it with enchiladas in green sauce, such as enchiladas suizas, where it is a refreshing counterpoint to the richness of the ... read more

Chicken wings in a margarita marinade: Alitas al tequila Karen Hursh Graber

This recipe for chicken wings in a margarita marinade is adapted from one in Sunset magazine, but with more emphasis on the fresh taste of lime and less on the triple sec. Ingredients 3 pounds ... read more

Chicken wings with raspberry-chipotle glaze: Alitas al chipotle Karen Hursh Graber

These chicken wings with raspberry-chipotle glaze are incredibly easy, with the sweet stickiness many look for in a wing, and can be made with my raspberry chipotle sauce recipe. Make a double batch of... read more

Mole chicken wings: Alitas enmoladas Karen Hursh Graber

The rich taste of mole works with these chicken wings because they are broiled first. Doing this means that they are cooked through before going into the sauce. This works best with mole poblano or Oax... read more

Chicken wings in chile-pineapple marinade: Alitas al pastor Karen Hursh Graber

If pork can take on these enticing flavors, why not chicken wings? Grill these chicken wings in chile-pineapple marinade or bake them, and make plenty, because they will disappear fast. Achiote paste is widely available in Mexico at larger supermarkets and some market stalls, and in the US at Hispanic grocery stores and online. read more

Mexican anise cookies: Galletas de anis Karen Hursh Graber

Anise is a favorite flavor in Mexico, especially in cookies. Traditional bakers use lard, good old porky fat, but butter works well. Please don't use margarine or vegetable shortening for these delicio... read more
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