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. … 

Read More »

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…. 

Read More »

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!

YouTube Preview Image

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

¡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!

Cuaresma means Lent

I’ve been meaning to write here since Ash Wednesday, which begins the Catholic season of Cuaresma, or Lent. For the non-Catholics visiting who need a primer, Lent lasts for 40 days beginning Ash Wednesday and ending Easter Sunday. And if you’re doing a little math in your head right now and have figured out that there are actually 46 days, here’s why we say Lent is only 40 days: Sundays don’t count according to the church’s calendar.

In Mexico, as well as in many other countries, it’s common for Catholics to abstain from eating meat on Ash Wednesday and Fridays throughout Lent, though some observe meatless Fridays year-round. Ash Wednesday and Good Friday are also supposed to be fasting days, during which Catholic adults eat only one full meal. Though, depending on who you ask, you might find some who fast on all Fridays during Lent. You may also be familiar with the practice of Catholics giving things up for Lent – and perhaps you’ve wondered what that’s all about. Fasting and giving up vices during Lent are a way for Catholics to connect to Jesus, making a sacrifice that is supposed to help us understand his suffering. Ideally, we aren’t just giving up sin during Lent, but abstaining from sin after Lent as well. For example, giving up your favorite dulces (a particularly popular item for children to give up) but then going back to eating them after Lent is over is not really how it’s supposed to work…. 

Read More »

Feliz Día del Amor y la Amistad

Today in some parts of the world, it’s Valentine’s Day. But in Mexico, it’s called Día del Amor y la Amistad. While Valentine’s Day is mostly a celebration of romantic love, Día del Amor y la Amistad encompasses love and friendship.

We don’t really celebrate Valentine’s Day in our house, and in fact, this past weekend we sort of forgot about the fact that all the restaurants were going to be full of people celebrating Valentine’s Day when we called to see if we could get last-minute reservations at one of our favorite places. Of course, we couldn’t get a table, so instead we cooked dinner together at home. If you ask me, as much as I love eating at restaurants, there’s something special about cooking together that makes a meal truly enjoyable.

And as any of my friends and family will tell you: a home-cooked meal is how I show my love best. Whether it’s rajas con crema for José, salsa de tres chiles (video recipe coming soon!) for my mom or Crock-Pot cochinita pibil for my best girlfriends, I love cooking for the special people in my life.

Take a few minutes today to remind your friends and family how much you love them. Whether it’s a hug in person, a phone call, an email or a big ol’ batch of Mexican comfort food like papas gratinadas to go with dinner, there’s no better feeling than to know how much others care about you, so don’t forget to spread the love as liberally as you’d add queso to those papas!

If you’ve got escuincles, check out these adorable print-and-color valentine cards from our friends at Spanglish Baby and Viva Greetings.

And head over to our Facebook fan page if you have a chance – today we’ll be talking about the foods we love – including non-Mexican foods, just for one day – including linky love to recipes from some of our favorite food blogs.

From our home to yours, ¡Feliz Día del Amor y la Amistad a todos! We’ll be celebrating by reminiscing about our recent trip to the beach in Oaxaca (pictured above) over a home-cooked meal.

  • I’d love if you’d leave a comment below to let me know which recipe from The Other Side of The Tortilla you’ve served to your family to show them how much you love them or what your favorite recipe is that you’ve seen here and why.