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?

¡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…. 

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