Cebollitas

Cebollitas mexicanas recipe from The Other Side of The Tortilla via @MauraHernandezI love grilling. The smell of the charcoal, the crackling sound of the fire roasting the food and the anticipation of what’s about to land on my plate. And whenever we grill in Mexico, my suegro is the king of the barbecue.

At any parrillada at la casa de mis suegros, you can count on one side dish being the same, no matter what kind of meats are chosen for the main dish – cebollitas.

This dish is so simple and easy (and almost totally impossible to mess up even if you’re not a grilling pro), it’s the single dish that most reminds me of a Sunday parrillada in Mexico.

You can add as much or as little lime juice and salsa Maggi, a Worcestershire-style seasoning sauce, or soy sauce as you like – it all depends on your taste buds. The Maggi sold in the U.S. doesn’t taste the same as salsa Maggi sold in Mexico, so I sometimes substitute soy sauce.

Not only is this dish often served at barbecues and family gatherings, you can also often find them at little street food stands around Mexico. … 

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Limonada

I love fizzy drinks. And my all time favorite fizzy drink is a Mexican limonada, of course!

Every time we go to Mexico, and particularly when we’re visiting the beach, a limonada is always the drink I choose to quench my thirst after getting my fair share of sunshine.

I’ve also been known to order it everywhere from poolside to fancy restaurants – I just can’t get enough.

This drink is so simple to make, yet I get so many emails and phone calls from friends asking how to make it. And with the Wordless Wednesday post last week about limonada y sol, I figured it would be cruel to not tell you how to make it. I’m finally sharing a recipe so you can have this sweet fizzy drink at home!

You can also make this drink with still water but the carbonated water gives it a little something extra to make it different. I typically use lightly carbonated water, but you can use whatever you like.

I like to drink limonada when it’s hot and sunny, but also when I’m really missing México lindo y querido…. 

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Calabacitas rellenas

Calabacitas rellenas: Grilled Mexican green squash, stuffed with chilaca chiles, chorizo and queso fresco. Get the recipe from theothersideofthetortilla.com.

One of the things I love most about the summer is grilling. It’s an opportunity to do all kinds of different things with meats and vegetables that I don’t get a chance to do during the rest of the year.

During the spring and summer, my local Mexican markets have a wider variety of produce which means endless combinations for creative dinners at my house. I’ve recently been craving calabacita, a zucchini-like squash that has lighter green speckled skin, and is also one of José’s favorites. As I was strolling through the aisles, I was trying to decide what to stuff them with and as soon as I saw chilaca chiles, I knew that was what I wanted.

They’re long and skinny with dark green skin, but you may recognize them better when they’re dried – known as chile pasilla. When fresh, they’re mild with a very subtle sweet flavor and you can char and peel them just the same way you do with a poblano.

This dish is a variation of one that José grew up eating and when I served it for dinner over the weekend, the first thing he said after taking a bite was, “sabe a mi casa.” To me, that’s the ultimate compliment.

TIPS: If you don’t have a grill or want to make this dish during other times of the year, you can also use a grill pan to cook the calabacitas. You can roast and sweat chilaca chiles in the same way you would with poblano chiles.

If you’ve never roasted chiles before, check out my tutorial on how to roast poblano chiles.

This dish can also be made vegetarian-friendly if you substitute soyrizo for the chorizo…. 

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Semana Santa en Acapulco

OK, so we’re not spending our Semana Santa in Acapulco–though I wish we were! I could certainly use a trip to the beach after the brutal winter we’ve had this year. Instead, José is in Mexico City for the week visiting his parents and I’m still at home in Chicago. But when I came across this gem a few weeks ago, I knew I wanted to share it at the beginning of Semana Santa.

There’s a movie from the early 1980s called “Semana Santa en Acapulco” (also sometimes known as Viacrucis Nacional) starring Lucha Villa, David Reynoso, Luis Manuel Pelayo and Tere Velázquez. It’s about a Chilango family that heads to Acapulco for a Holy Week vacation that turns out to be more than they bargained for. It’s a rude, crude comedy, but I’m sure it will have you muriendo de risa. I just recently saw it for the first time a few months ago thanks to one of the cine Mexicano cable channels we get at home. DVD copies of the film are not very easy to come by, but if you have the patience to watch it on a small screen, I came across the entire film uploaded on YouTube!

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  • Have you ever seen this movie? What’s your favorite part?

AGUA FRESCA: Easy Horchata

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I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been asked for an horchata recipe since I began blogging. But each time I start explaining how to make it from scratch, I can see people start to lose interest around the time I mention that making horchata from scratch involves soaking rice and cinnamon sticks overnight and then grinding it and straining it. When I make it from scratch I sometimes also blanche almonds and soak them with the rice for an added depth of flavor. But the average person asking for a recipe always seems to get a frown on their face when they realize making it from scratch takes a little extra time and effort.

It was because of this dilemma of nobody wanting to take the time to soak and grind the rice that I began experimenting in the test kitchen to try to make an acceptable quick recipe substitute for those times when we just need a quick fix of a tall, cool glass of horchata. This is the simplest recipe I came up with that passed the taste test with family and friends. It beats any powdered or pre-made liquid mix I’ve tried from a variety of grocery stores. The store-bought mixes always taste either too sweet or too fake to me. I hope you enjoy this version if you’re looking for a quick but yummy horchata recipe!… 

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¡Feliz cumpleaños, Benito Juárez!

Feliz cumpleaños to one of Mexico’s most famous presidents, Benito Juárez, who was born on this day in 1806. This monument pictured above, gifted to the city of Chicago in 1977 by Mexican president José López Portillo, stands along Michigan Avenue in the Plaza of the Americas next door to the Wrigley Building and across the street from the Chicago Tribune.

Often regarded as Mexico’s greatest and most-loved leader, Juárez died of a heart attack in 1872. If you need to brush up on your Mexican history, read about Benito Juárez and what he did for the Mexican people both before and during his presidency. You might also be surprised to know that he spent a short time living in New Orleans from 1853-1854. Juárez came from a Zapotec family in Oaxaca and served in a variety of political positions during his career. Today, there are numerous monuments and locations dedicated or named in his honor. In Mexico City, the international airport is just one of many, many locations named after Juárez.

Check out some additional photos and details about the Chicago monument on the Public Art in Chicago blog.

  • Do you know of a monument or location dedicated to Benito Juárez? Leave a comment with where it’s located!
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