Mexican beef chichilo by Pilar Cabrera: Chichilo de res por Pilar Cabrera

Mexican beef chichilo is probably the least known of Oaxaca’s moles. It is one of the only instances where nearly burning the chile gives an intense, smoky taste to the finished product. Pilar Cabrera shares her recipe with us. Ingredients 3 pounds beef rump roast, cubed ½ medium onion ¼ medium garlic bulb 1 medium chayote 1 […]

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Carmen Solis’ chicken estofado: Estofado de pollo de Carmen Solis

To call estofado a “stew” would be like calling Carmen Solis merely a “cook.” She is an artisan in the kitchen – in fact, two kitchens, for Carmen has a modern indoor kitchen as well as the traditional outdoor kitchen, where she prepares many dishes, including beans, over a wood fire. Just as her kitchens and techniques […]

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Corn drying in a Oaxaca milpa © Megan Schlow, 2009

Corn, beans and squash: the life cycle of the milpa

The milpa, or cornfield, is probably the most important element in the life of the rural Mexican farmer, apart from his family, or maybe alongside his family, because the milpa represents generations of his people working the soil. Even in places where agricultural production has been industrialized to the point of overshadowing any importance a milpa might have had before, the […]

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Radish sculpture of Frida Kahlo painting a portrait of Diego Rivera © Tara Lowry, 2013

Radiant radishes: La Noche de Rabanos in Oaxaca

For one night of the year in Oaxaca, Mexico, the Raphanus sativus, or radish as it is more commonly known, escapes its destiny as root vegetable side dish and becomes art. Thousands upon thousands of radish revelers turn out on December 23rd to check out the newest vegetable-turned-art creations on display in the Zocalo. The artists have […]

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Small Oaxaca villages along the road to Sierra Guacamaya © Alvin Starkman, 2011

Ecotourism in Mexico: Arroyo Guacamaya, Ixtlan and the Sierra Norte of Oaxaca

Arroyo Guacamaya is one of the closest ecotourism sites to the City of Oaxaca, accessible by private vehicle in about an hour, or via public transportation. La Guacamaya has most if not all of the features and attractions of the more distant ecotourism locales in the Sierra Norte of Oaxaca, including mountain biking, nature trails […]

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Mexican scrambled eggs with dried shrimp: Huevos revueltos con camarones secos

I went through several versions of Mexican scrambled eggs with dried shrimp, a common dish in Oaxaca’s Isthmus region, to find my favorite. In the Isthmus, it is made with camarones oreados, or partially dried shrimp, described in Diana Kennedy’s Oaxaca al Gusto, where the recipe uses epazote and chiles. This take on dried shrimp and scrambled eggs uses […]

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Scorpion Mezcal barrels


Timothy J. Knab Mescal, mescaline, mescal bean, mescal button; what are they? They are all intoxicants, which was what the word mescal meant in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Today mescal generally refers to a type of aguardiente – water with a bite, firewater, a liquor distilled from the agave, a relative of the century plant or maguey commonly used to […]

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Oaxaca white beans with dried shrimp: Frijoles blancos con camaron seco

This recipe for white beans with dried shrimp from the southern Pacific coast of Oaxaca is adapted from Susana Trilling’s wonderful regional cookbook, Seasons of My Heart. Use other beans, such as fava, and try substituting cilantro for the traditional hierba santa used in Oaxaca. Ingredients ½ pound whole dried shrimp, peeled, with heads removed and reserved 2 tablespoons […]

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