Agua de Jamaica, Hibiscus

 Agua de Jamaica is as colorful as it is refreshing.  I love the delicious tart taste.

It is enjoyed all over Mexico and Central America.  Hibiscus flowers boiled in water with a little sugar, that’s all it is.  I suggest you make and taste this exactly as in the recipe so that you can see how it is enjoyed in this region. This is an insightful way to get to know a people and their culture: understanding through sharing a taste. It seems to me richer and more peace-like to understand the people and their taste first, before changing their food. (1)  This recipe is from Truly Texas Mexican: A Native Culinary Heritage published by Texas Tech University Press.

Recipe (makes 2 quarts)

Ingredients
2 quarts filtered water
3/4 cup dried Flores de Jamaica, Hibiscus flowers
1/2 cup sugar or 1/3 cup light Agave Nectar

Method
1.  Bring the water to a boil, add the flowers and boil for 15 minutes
2.  Turn off the heat and let the water cool to room temperature
3. Strain through a fine mesh sieve and cool in the fridge for a couple of hours.

Serve over ice.

NOTE:  (1)  Ahem, I add 2 oz Vodka to this and I call it the “Cancún!” A nice switch from that “Cape Cod” cocktail.

Mayonesa Texana – Chipotle/Yerbaniz Mayonnaise

This mayonnaise has a pinkish color from chipotles and a robust aroma that comes from yerbaniz, an herb that is sometimes called Mexican mint marigold.  I think “Mayonesa Texana” is an apt name because the chipotle and yerbaniz together give it a Texas Mexican profile.MayonesaTexanasmlSouthern Mexico and Guatemala are the birthplace of yerbaniz, but today it is naturalized all across Texas.  In our family we used it to make tea and cure colds, colic, and other stomach ailments. It goes great with fish, so I often serve this mayo with crab cakes or with fried fish.  I’ve been hearing that yerbaniz is hard to find in stores, so I recommend that you do what I do and buy a little plant (they are sold as annual flowers in nurseries) and let it go wild in your garden.  The aroma is wonderful.

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PlantItForwardLogoIf you are in Houston, you can find it at our Farmers Markets.  This is a bunch sold by “Plant It Forward,” one of Houston’s finest farming, training and marketing organizations.

Recipe (yields one cup)
Ingredients
1 cup mayonnaise
3 chipotle chiles in adobo (canned)
3 teaspoons fresh yerbaniz, coarsely chopped
1/2 teaspoon white onion
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon salt or to taste

Method
Place all of the ingredients, except the yerbaniz, in a blender and blend until all the ingredients form a smooth purée.  Then add the chopped yerbaniz and pulse for just a few seconds, just enough to break down the herb, but still have some visible flecks of the green yerbaniz.

Enjoy!  It’s both delicious and salutary.

Chile Relleno – Stuffed Poblano Chiles

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Chile Relleno. Photo by César Martínez

This is a dish for dinner parties. The picture was taken by my dear friend, renowned visual artist Cesar Mártinez, during a dinner at the CIA Nao Restaurant in San Antonio. Chef Gerónimo López and his CIA staff prepared a full dinner, with appetizers, featuring the recipes in my book, Truly Texas Mexican: A Native Culinary Heritage In Recipes. Prepared this way, the chiles have a layered effect as you eat, first an airy crunch from the batter, then a substantial bite from the chile, and then softness towards the interior. Poblanos are sometimes called chile corazón and also chile joto in various regions of Mexico. Here in Texas the name is always Poblano.

They don’t have much capsaicin so they are perfect for various stuffings ranging from light to more flavorful. In Texas Mexican cooking, and in my childhood home, when we stuffed chiles, we most often used chile dulce (bell pepper) for the reason that we don’t want capsaicin getting in the way of the complex taste. The combination of pecans and raisins was one that my mother loved in cornbread stuffing, so I’ve used it here. She would have added diced potatoes.

For a fine-dining experience, add some edible flowers or micro greens, as in the picture. Doing so evokes our history as food foragers. In your backyard or garden you may have some edible dandelions or nasturtiums.

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Chile Relleno y Arroz con Cilantro. Photo by César Martínez

Recipe (serves 6)
Ingredients
6 fresh, firm poblano chiles
1 pound ground sirloin
1 tablespoon canola oil
1/8 teaspoon black peppercorns
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon garlic, minced
2 tablespoons raisins
2 tablespoons pecans, roasted in a 350°F oven for 8 minutes
1 cup water
For the Tomato Caldito (Soup, Juice)
8 Roma tomatoes
1/4 small white onion, peeled
1/2 teaspoon fresh Mexican oregano
1 garlic clove
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons peanut or canola oil
For the Batter
10 ounces all-purpose flour (2-1/2 cups)
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 egg
16 fluid ounces water
1/2 cup additional flour for dredging
MethodFor the Chiles
1. Place the chiles under a broiler, turning them so that they are entirely charred and the skin has blistered. Place them in a paper bag, close tightly, and let them sweat for 15 minutes so that they will be easier to peel.
2. Place each chile flat on a cutting board and peel off the skin with your fingers. You can use a dull knife if you need to gently scrape off some of the skin, but this should not be necessary if the chiles are properly charred.
3. Keeping the chile flat, cut a slit lengthwise in each chile, and gently remove all the seeds. Do not remove the stem. You will find a big cluster of seeds just inside attached to the stem. You can use a small knife to cut off this cluster of seeds if you cannot break it off with your fingers. Set the cleaned chiles aside.
For the Beef Filling
4. Place the salt, garlic, and black peppercorns in a molcajete and grind into a smooth paste. Add 1/4 cup water and set aside.
5. Heat the canola oil in a skillet at medium heat. Add the beef and cook for 8–10 minutes until it has browned. Add the molcajete paste, the rest of thewater, and deglaze by scraping off the browned bits at the bottom of the skillet with a wooden spatula or spoon. Cook for another 8 minutes. Add the roasted pecans and raisins and continue to cook until the raisins are plump and most of the liquid is gone. Set aside.
For the Caldito
6. In a saucepan cover the tomatoes with water and boil them for 10–15 minutes until they are completelycooked, with the skin peeling off. Drain and reserve the liquid.
7. Place the cooked tomatoes, garlic, and onion in a blender and puree.
8. Heat the oil in a Dutch oven and add the tomato puree slowly and carefully because the tomato will splatter when it meets the hot oil. Cook on medium, stirring, for 5 minutes. Add 1 cup of the water from the cooked tomatoes and the oregano, and simmer for 15 minutes. The consistency should be that of a thin soup. Keep the caldito hot until you are ready to assemble.
9. In a bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients.
10. Beat the egg and water together, add to the dry ingredients, and whisk until the batter is smooth.
11. Place about 1/2 cup of flour in a large plate and lightly coat the exterior of each stuffed chile, shaking off excess. They are now ready for dipping and frying.
12. In a deep skillet add vegetable oil to a 1-1/2–inch depth and heat to the point that it is shimmering (350°F).
13. Using a spatula and tongs, dip each flour-coated, stuffed chile into the batter, place in the skillet, and fry each side for 2 minutes until golden brown.
Place on paper towels to drain.

To serve, place each chile on a plate and pour plenty of the hot caldito over each one. Here I serve it with cilantro rice. To say that this is heaven is no exaggeration.

Corn Tortilla: flavor, texture, aroma

The tortilla. Think of it as, well, not a wrap.  Not a pita.  Not bread, and certainly not a shell. Erase such conceptions and associations, then give a fresh look at this iconic food.  In culinary terms, an iconic food is one that is typical of a region and serves as a vehicle for understanding its people and culture.  (This is excerpted from my book, Truly Texas Mexican: A Native Culinary Heritage In Recipes.)

Corn is first grown in Mexico starting in 5000-7000 BC according to archeological evidence found in caves around the Sierra de Tamaulipas between Monterrey and Mexico City and also in Tehuacan near today’s Puebla. (Gershenson, 2007)   Teosinte is the native name of the early plant from which corn descended.  Moving northward, corn was shared from one community to another and appeared in the US around 3500 BC, according to archeological evidence from a cave in New Mexico. (Berzok, 2005)

It was shared among Native Americans with two cultural components that described how to grow it and how to eat it.  Grow it alongside beans to replenish nitrogen in the soil. Eat it after it has been soaked in an alkali solution that transforms the protein into a digestible form and boosts other nutrients, like the essential, niacin, a B vitamin, without which humans develope the disease, pellagra.  This important scientific, “molecular” process is called nixtamalization, from the Nahuatl language.

When corn was transported to Europe in the 1500′s, it traveled as a product dislocated  from its history and culture.  That was too bad because when you see only the product, you don’t know how to grow it nor how to eat it.  Eating corn without the process of nixtamalization caused widespread famine and, of course pellagra. Unfortunately, today in the US this important iconic food is still removed from its culture and not fully understood.

Right now there is an important struggle around corn. Mexican and US Native American farmers want the chemical and food giant, Monsanto, to stop planting genetically modified corn because they say it ruins the corn, the land and their agricultural practices.  Also, Greenpeace Mexico says that the mass production of corn flour, including the presence of genetically modified organisms, is diminishing corn’s nutrients.  Greenpeace emphasizes the importance of nixtamalization and fears that dislocating corn from its culture will lead to widespread mal-nutrition.  (Ribeiro, 2012)

There are a growing number of US chefs and home cooks who understand the nature of the tortilla, aware that it is a cultural heritage.  We insist on cooking it in the traditional way that foregrounds its natural flavor, texture, and aroma.  In most fine-dining restaurants, it is not the Chef of the starred restaurants, but rather the Latino/a line cooks who are the ones who truly understand the nature of this food. They learned it at home, their cultural roots.

If you’ve never had a real corn tortilla, try this recipe and, my goodness, your mouth enjoyment will be a revelation.

Recipe(makes 30  tortillas)

Ingredients
4 cups nixtamalized corn flour. You’ll probably have to buy the only brand being sold in most stores, the Mexican brand, Maseca, which Greenpeace Mexico says is made with genetically modified corn. Well, most of our US grocery store food has gmo’s.
3 cups water
1/2 tsp salt

Method
1.  Add the salt to the flour and mix it in, then add the water slowly as you mix with your hand to form a soft dough.  It should feel softer than play doh.  Add a little more water or flour as necessary. Cover the dough with a damp cloth and let it stand for 20 minutes to make sure the corn is thoroughly re-hydrated. At this stage you’ll notice the nice aroma of the corn.
2. Heat a comal or griddle on medium high, 375°

3. Make 30 balls and flatten them, one by one, using a tortilla press lined with plastic.  The best plastic to use is a grocery store bag.  Fold the plastic so that you have 2 layers and cut a piece that covers the surface of the press.
4. To flatten the tortilla, cover the bottom of the tortilla press with one half of the plastic and place one of the balls in the middle. Fold the other half of the plastic over the ball.  Press once, gently. Then turn the plastic-wrapped tortilla 180° and press a second time, firmly.

5.  STEPS FROM PRESS TO COMAL:
A) Gently peel off the plastic from the top of the tortilla.
B) Use the plastic to remove the tortilla from the press and place the uncovered side in your right hand, assuming you’re right handed.
C)  With your left hand peel off the the plastic from the other side.
D) Release the tortilla from your palm as you roll it onto the comal (In the picture I’m left handed)
6. Cook it for about 30 seconds.  Then use a spatula to flip it and cook the other side for 30 seconds.  If you overcook them they will be dry and yukky. Keep the cooked tortillas in a bowl, covered with cloth to retain the moisture.

Whether you serve these tortillas with scrambled eggs, avocado, beans, or eat them with just a bit of Serrano salsa, notice the chewy, creamy texture, and the unique roasted corn taste and aroma.  ¡Buen Provecho!

References:

Berzok, L. M. (2005). American indian food. Westport: Greenwood Press.

Gershenson, A. (2007, January 21). Las tortillas y el maíz. La Jornada. Retrieved from http://www.jornada.unam.mx/2007/01/21/index.php?section=politica&article=015a1pol

Ribeiro, S. (2012, February 11). El maíz transgénico en méxico: químicamente toxico. Retrieved from http://www.reygal.com.mx/wordpress/index.php/2012/02/el-maiz-transgenico-en-mexico-quimicamente-toxico/

Albóndigas de Chile Ancho – Chile Ancho Meatballs

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Albóndigas De Chile Ancho

This recipe is an excerpt from Truly Texas Mexican: A Native Culinary Heritage in Recipes
published by Texas Tech University Press, 2014.

Albóndigas illustrate the dynamism of food pathways, the routes by which foods travel via bird flights, human wars, marriages, and so on. As it travels, food changes, refashioning itself into new cultural types. This Texas Mexican meatball, albóndiga, originally comes to us from the Spaniards who arrived in the 1500s. “Albóndiga,” an Arab word, settled into Spanish cuisine because, of course, Spain was an Arab territory from 711 until 1492 when the Arabs were expelled militarily from the Iberian Peninsula.
The flavoring for this meatball is chile ancho, although chipotle is most commonly used in albóndigas throughout our region. I like the taste of the ancho because it reminds me of carne con chile. The rest of the recipe is straight from the Arabic Morocco, Spanish method: bread and eggs. Three native ingredients transform this Arab dish into Texas Mexican: Mexican oregano, chile ancho, and tomatoes.  Roasting the meatballs, reduces fat and gives the albóndigas a crispy, tasty exterior that goes well with the adobo.


Recipe (makes 40 1-1/2-inch albóndigas)
Ingredients
For the Adobo:
4 ancho chiles, seeded and deveined
1 white onion
3 garlic cloves
2 teaspoons fresh Mexican oregano (poliomintha longiflora)
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon canola oil
2 cups tomatoes, diced
2 cups chicken stock
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1/2 tablespoon white vinegar
For the Meatballs:
1 pound ground pork
1 pound 96% fat-free ground beef
1 egg, beaten
2 teaspoons salt
3 ounces bread slices, crust removed, broken up
into 1-inch pieces (about 1-1/2 cups or 3 slices)
1/2 cup milk
Method
To Make the Chile Purée and Meatballs
Preheat the oven to 400°F.
1. Remove the seeds from the chiles by cutting a slit lengthwise in each chile to open it and remove the stem with the attached seeds. Remove all the other seeds in the chile pod.
2. Place the chiles in a large pot and cover them with water. Bring to a boil, turn off the heat, and let the chiles steep for 15 minutes so that they will rehydrate. Drain and allow to cool. Discard the water.
3. Place the chiles, onion, garlic, oregano, and salt in a blender. Add 1 cup of clean water and blend on high until the paste is completely smooth, with no large particles. Add a little more water if needed. If there are large particles in the paste after you are done blending, strain the paste through a fine-mesh sieve. Set aside.
4. Heat the canola oil in a Dutch oven and add the chile purée, with caution because there will be splatter as the liquid meets the oil. Fry for 10 minutes. The color will deepen and the purée will thicken. Set aside.
5. In a bowl, pour the milk, add the bread, and set aside.
6. Mix together the pork and beef.
7. Add the beaten egg to the meat. Squeeze excess milk from the bread and mix it with the meat using your
hands or a large spatula or spoon.
8. Add 8 tablespoons of the ancho chile purée to the meat and mix thoroughly.
9. Form the seasoned meat into 40 1-1/2-inch balls and place them on a large cookie sheet.
10. Roast the meatballs in a 400°F oven for 12–15 minutes until browned and crispy on the outside. Remove from the oven and allow the meatballs to rest for 10 minutes. They are ready to serve with the adobo.
To Make the Adobo:
11. To the remaining chile purée add the tomatoes, chicken stock, vinegar, salt and sugar and bring to a boil. Cook for 30 minutes until the adobo begins to thicken. Taste and correct the salt.
Serve the meatballs on a plate and pour the adobo over them. Or you can serve the adobo on the side, with toothpicks for each guest to dip.

These albóndigas are moist and delicious even on the second day and will keep in the fridge for 5 days.

Summer Salad: Jícama, Cucumber with Chile Serrano Dressing

You can feature these crisp vegetables as a buffet dish, or you can plate them as a first course for dinner.  (Recipe is  from Truly Texas Mexican: A Native Culinary Heritage In Recipes.)Jicamasalsml

As a Mexican-American family, we ate lots of vegetables, many of them raw, and what we ate depended on the season. We enjoyed a bite or bites at all times throughout the day, because our kitchen always had crisp vegetables on the table, peeled, accompanied by some chile and lime.

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Yerbaniz is an aromatic, medicinal herb.

This dish is inspired by my ama’s kitchen table plate of fresh, crispy vegetables, citrus, and chiles. For a twist, I add a touch of yerbaniz or pericón, an aromatic herb native to Mexico and common here in Texas. It has medicinal qualities, taken as a restorative tea.

Sometimes called anise blossom or Mexican tarragon, be sure to use just a touch, as indicated in the recipe. If you use more, it will completely overpower all the other flavors, which is not desirable. I have noted in the recipe that it is optional. If you are unable to find the herb, the salad will still be wonderfully bright and refreshing.

Recipe (Serves 4 as a first course)
Ingredients
1 cup cucumber, peeled, seeds removed, and cut into 1/4-inch by 1-inch sticks
1 cup jícama, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch cubes
1/2 cup radishes, each radish cut into six very small wedges
1/2 teaspoon serrano chile, minced
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon yerbaniz a.k.a. anise blossom (optional)
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
Method
1. In a molcajete, make a smooth paste with the serrano chile and salt, and then add the olive oil and blend together. Add the lime juice and whisk to emulsify. Set aside.
2. Place all sticks, cubes, and wedges in a bowl, add the molcajete dressing, and combine. Chill for 30 minutes, and then fold in barely 1/8 teaspoon finely minced yerbaniz.

It’s ready to serve.  You can also serve it with some lettuce as a composed salad.
And in our Texas heat, it is a nutritious, cooling restorative.

 

 

 

 

 

Pescado Zarandeado – Delicacy From Nayarit

An outdoor barbecue is the perfect venue to savor this example of the cuisine found in the state of Nayarit on Mexico’s Pacific coast.  It is nuanced and complex in flavor, tender inside and outside a crisp Guajillo glaze.

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Pescado Zarandeado bathed in Guajillo/Spices, grilled over mesquite, with a moist center and crisped exterior, is finished with butter

Nayarit is from the Nahuatl language and means “son of God who is in the heaven and in the sun.” Being a coastal statemexicobeachstates, seafood features in much of the cuisine of the Huichol and other indigenous peoples who live here.  Nayarit is along the route that Texas Indians traveled as they communicated and traded with communities on the west coast and all the way south to Mesoamerica and Mexico City.  The Spaniard, Cabeza de Vaca, passed through Nayarit when he used this same route in 1530′s when he traveled from Texas all the way to Mexico city.

Pescado Zarandeado is a fish that is smothered in  chile and spices, then slowly smoke-grilled in mesquite while being continually basted with chiles and spices. It is served with fresh, crisp greens and a Mexican lime and salt dressing.

Recipe: (serves 4)PescadoZarandeadoGrillsml
Ingredients:
1 five-pound Red Snapper (Pargo) or 2 smaller, cleaned.  I sometimes remove the head, not always.
6 Guajillo Chiles, de-seeded and deveined
1/2 White Onion
2 Garlic Cloves
1 Tablespoon fresh Mexican oregano, firmly packed
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 – 3/4 cup water
1 Tablespoon Canola oil
4 Tablespoons butter, melted
additional salt to season the fish

Method:
1.  Devein and de-seed theguajillo chiles and submerge them in a large pot of boiling water.  Turn off the heat and let the chiles soak for 20 minutes until they are thoroughly re-hydrated.  Then drain the chiles and discard the water.
2.  In a blender, add the drained chiles, garlic, oregano, salt and enough water (1/2 -3/4 cup) to blend well into a smooth purée.
3.  Heat the oil in a deep saucepan, over medium heat, then add the chile purée and cook until the color deepens and the chile coats the back of a spoon, about 6 minutes.
4. Clean the red snapper and butterfly it.  Salt both sides and then coat with the chile paste. Set aside in the refrigerator.
5. Prepare the mesquite fire until it turns to charcoal and burns red.  The heat level should be medium.  If you hold your hand (be very careful) four inches above the coals, you will be able to keep it there for only four seconds.
6.Use a grilling basket to hold the fish and place it, skin down on the fire.  Cook for about 3 minutes, then turn it over and baste with the remaining chile.  Cook for another 3 minutes, turn and baste again.  The chile, as it roasts on the fire, will become a shimmering deep, dark red and a bit crisped.   When the fish is cooked, brush with butter and carefully peel it away from the grilling basket.

Serve immediately with thinly sliced iceberg lettuce, tomato and avocado that has been sprinkled generously with an emulsion made of olive oil, Mexican lime juice, vinegar and salt.

The fish is delicate, smoky and the chile is mild and complex.  It’s one of the truly Mexican gourmet, emblemetic ways of preparing fish outdoors.  I would be remiss if I did not give credit where credit is due.  I became enamored of this food when I was in Atlanta, of all places!  Yes, the Latino and Mexican community in Georgia is fascinating and flourishing.  During my last trip to Atlanta, Mr.  Alejandro Coss, President of The Latin American Chamber of Commerce of Georgia  invited me to lunch at a Mexican restaurant devoted entirely to cuisine from the Nayarit region.  Atlanta deserves more recognition for counting these wonderful regional restaurants among its food scene.   Gracias Mr. Coss for your hospitality and inspiration to re-discover exquisite areas of Mexico cuisine.

¡Buen provecho!

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A Mother’s Day Breakfast Recipe from “Amá”

On this Mother’s Day I’m re-posting a breakfast recipe from my book, Truly Texas Mexican: A Native Culinary Heritage In Recipes. At long last the book has been released and has started shipping. TrulyTexasMexican200Thank you, friends and colleagues who contacted me yesterday, saying that the book arrived at your home.  This is a breakfast that my mother served regularly.

Mother’s Day Book Dedication:  All of my culinary insights and passion, I get from my mother. On this, her day I celebrate that my cookbook is already in homes in many countries. I dedicated it to Amá, Dominga Mora Medrano.  We called her amá instead of the Spanish, mamá.  The cookbook is really hers, just as the “Huevos en Chile Serrano” in this recipe are hers.

I celebrate because “los pobres,” the working class cooks, are having their say, demonstrating their creative strength, in a wider public forum. “The poor” are poor only because the societal structures we have constructed are unjust. That will change. Amá taught me to harness my power. In a context of economic injustice, to cook with dignity, nobility, and joy.

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These breakfast eggs are immersed in fresh Serrano chiles and tomatoes. eggschileserrano

My brother, Jimmy, taught me how to make these.  He is a master artist in the kitchen.  He learned the recipe from amá,  who would make these on weekends.  The dish relies on a technique that combines par-frying with poaching.  This gives eggs a quick solid form, a tender texture, and reduces the fat.

Recipe, serves 4
Ingredients
:

½ cup white onion, thinly sliced
3 Serrano chiles, thinly sliced
1 ½ cups tomatoes, finely diced
½ tspn salt
1 Tbsp Canola oil
2 cups water
4 eggs
additional oil as need for frying the eggs

 Method

  1. In a large deep skillet, sauté the onions in the Canola oil until translucent
  2. Add the diced tomatoes and continue cooking on low heat
  3. Place the chile and salt in a molcajete (or blender or mortar & pestle) and grind to a paste.
  4. Add the chile/salt paste and the water  to the onions and tomatoes and bring to a
    simmer.  The flavors develop quickly into a delicious sauce akin to Salsa Ranchera.  Keep the sauce at a
    simmer and do not boil.
  5. In a nonstick frying pan add just enough oil to cover the bottom.
  6. Add each egg, one by one, and fry just to the point where the bottom of the egg white is firm.  Then slide the egg into the chile and tomato sauce.  The acid in the tomatos will react with the protein to keep the egg white from toughening and cooking too fast.  The eggs will remain tender and moist.
  7. When all the eggs are immersed in the sauce, gently spoon some of the sauce over the egg yolks to cook them.  Keep the sauce at a very slight simmer and cook until the eggs are done to your liking.

Enjoy, celebrate!

 

 

Salsa Verde Cocida, A Fresh Salsa For Spring

Fresh tomatillos and Jalapeños make this a tangy Spring salsa for outdoor barbecues.

Now that tomatillos are in season, this is a traditional cooked salsa recipe that is great on grilled fish tacos.
Recipe: (makes 1 ½ cups)

Ingredients:
8 oz tomatillos, about 3 medium tomatillos
1 Chile Jalapeño.  Sometimes these chiles can be large and that is just fine for us who like hot salsas, but keep in mind that the heat should not obliterate the unique flavor of Jalapeño
1 small Garlic Clove
¼ White Onion
¼ cup fresh Cilantro, coarsely chopped
¼ tsp Salt

Method:
1. Place the tomatillos, chiles, garlic and onion in a saucepan. Cover with water and boil for about 10 minutes or until the chile turns a pale green and the tomatoes are completely cooked, with the skin peeling off.

2. Drain and let the ingredients cool.

3. When cool, place in a blender, add the cilantro and salt and blend on medium until the salsa is smooth but with some of the seed still intact.

Serve at room temperature with grilled fish, and it will also keep in the fridge for several days in case you want to savor it with barbacoa tacos on a Sunday morning.

¡Buen provecho!

 

First Public Reading of “Truly Texas Mexican”

Preceding the release of the book, I was invited to read sections from history, archaeology and recipes.

Truly Texas Mexican: A Native Culinary Heritage In Recipes
Mi Tierra Mexican Restaurant, Founded in 1941
November 14, 2013 6-9 PM
50 scholars, artists, chefs and activists.

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“Cooking nurtured our remembering and through it we invented new identities rooted in that remembering.”

San Antonio, Mi Tierra Restaurant, is where as a boy I used to eat tacos de picadillo, soft corn tortillas, early in the morning after spending the night selling wholesale produce in the downtown market.  Reading this book at “la marketa” was a coming home of sorts, conversations delving into food, its connections to our Texas history and identity.

This is the video documentation of the reading and discussion.  It is produced by Daniel González.

 

Dr. Ellen Riojas Clark, University of Texas at San Antonio and Jorge Cortez, Mi Tierra Restaurant, hosted the reading of Truly Texas Mexican. The book is the  culinary history of Native Texas Indians, ancestors of today’s Mexican American community, with 100 recipes.

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Scholars, Artists, Chefs and Activists. “Cooking was a daily act of regeneration.”

The book is available at  Texas Tech University Press, Barnes & Noble, Amazon.com, and other retailers.

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Published by Texas Tech University Press, (Grover E. Murray Studies in the American Southwest)

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The connections of food to history, identity and community. Gracias, querido San Antonio.

What chefs are saying:

Adán Medrano speaks from his roots and shares his passion for food, providing an insightful perspective on an often mischaracterized Texas Mexican cuisine.
Alain Dubernard CMB, The Culinary Institute of America, San Antonio
 
In the deepest part of our soul we are celebrating food and hospitality. These recipes share not only where our culinary traditions come from, but the resiliency of our ancestors and the healing power of food.
–Johnny Hernandez, chef/owner of La Gloria Street Foods of Mexico, The Frutería-Botanero, and El Machito
 
Adán Medrano is putting the spotlight on a style of food that often has been overlooked. Once you explore this remarkable branch of Texas Mexican cuisine you will discover a richness that will be cherished for generations to come.
Diana Barrios Trevino, owner of Los Barrios Enterprises

Description:  Texas Mexican cuisine is deeply rooted in the indigenous cultures of what are now US central and south Texas and northeastern Mexico. The history of the cultures of this region begins in 900 AD, the period when anthropologists can identify distinct native communities and cultures. Historians assert that over the next 3 centuries (between 900 and 1200 AD) the cultures and identities of nearly all the Texas Native American communities were clearly formed.

The 100 recipes in this book represent only a small part of the rich repertoire of Texas Mexican dishes that have been taught from one generation to the next. They belong to the indigenous people who have inhabited Texas for thousands of years, mastering the selection of ingredients and the application of culinary techniques.  The recipes are presented within their history, both prehistoric and recent, in an effort to make the dishes more enjoyable and instructive of who we are today.

We are about community and a celebratory, nourishing table. We are the Mexican-American, Texas Indian, Texas Native American, Chicano chefs and cooks who choose to live on this our ancestral land and make a serious, delicious contribution to the culinary work of our ancestors. Our cooking gets its character from the terroir, the special geography, geology and climate of the land; from the combination of ingredients which over time have proven to be fitting; and from the cooking techniques that efficiently impart the flavor characteristic of our history.

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