Chicago’s own Mercado Navideño

This past weekend I attended the Mercado Navideño at the National Museum of Mexican Art here in Chicago with my friend, Daniela. It’s been awhile since my last visit so I was eager to see the new exhibits as well. But I loved all the gifts, decorations and crafts that remind me so much of the Museo de Arte Popular (of which I have only ever visited the gift shop) in Mexico City. I sent a picture message from my iPhone of the beautiful paper maché piggy bank to my suegra because she collects all kinds of puerquitos (little piggies). She loved it and said when I arrive, we’ll make plans to go visit the museum since she couldn’t remember ever taking me there before.

If you live in Chicago or are visiting during the Thanksgiving holiday next year, check out the mercado – it’s typically the Friday through Sunday right after Thanksgiving. Some of the items were pricey (compared to purchasing the same item in Mexico) but for the most part, they had a lot of beautiful gifts at reasonable prices. And you can’t visit the National Museum of Mexican Art without also making a stop in the gift shop on your way out! I loved the mini papel picado, juguetes and all kinds of books about Mexican art and culture. I may go back soon for some books on regional art and food!

    • What’s your favorite kind of Mexican popular art?

 

The photos in this post were taken with my iPhone 3Gs using the Polarize app by Christopher Comair.

CHILAQUILES VERDES

Chilaquiles are a staple in my house – great for any meal: breakfast, lunch or dinner. When making them for breakfast, I serve an egg (fried or scrambled) on top; for lunch and dinner I usually add shredded chicken, but that can be left out if you’re serving it to a vegetarian. Whenever I go to a potluck dinner or any kind of event where I have to bring a dish, this is my tried and true recipe that always disappears quickly once served and the guests always end up calling me for the recipe the day after. And, ahem… chilaquiles are also known as the quintessential Mexican cure for a hangover.

This past weekend I made my famous chilaquiles verdes for my Salsa Showdown cooking show at the Kenmore Live Studio and they were a huge hit. The video of the show will be available soon, but I’ve already gotten dozens of requests to post the recipe! A lot of people from the audience came up to me after the show to say that they were impressed with not only the taste of the dish, but also how simple it was to prepare and that they felt confident they could make it at home. That’s always my goal here ­– to teach you recipes and break them down so you feel comfortable making them on your own. I hope you’ll try my chilaquiles, and if you do, please leave a comment below to let me know how you liked them!

One of the great things about the salsa verde for my chilaquiles is that it’s a very versatile salsa that can also be used for enchiladas as well as a few other dishes. Be sure to check back later this week for my recipe for enchiladas verdes…. 

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¿Qué tan Chilango eres?

In just a few short weeks, I’ll be landing in Mexico City for the holidays (and as you may have guessed, the first thing I do after leaving the airport is make a stop for some tacos al pastor). I’m so excited that I’ve actually got a countdown clock going on my computer – only 24 more days!

On Twitter, there’s a great little hashtag party every Monday known as #MexMonday and it’s all about celebrating Mexico. I was delighted then while surfing the internet to get my daily fix of all things Mexican when I stumbled upon this cute little quiz on Chilango.com, my favorite magazine all about Mexico City. And for those of you who don’t know, Chilango is a slang word for people from Mexico City, much like how people from Chicago are called Chicagoans, people from New York are called New Yorkers and people from Los Angeles are called Angelenos.

It’s a 10-question quiz (en Español) called ¿Qué tan chilango eres? I was pretty proud of my score considering that I was born in the U.S. and am only an honorary Chilanga… And yes, I actually did know how many metro stations are in Mexico City. Blame it on my affinity for asking my suegro a million questions about usually useless random facts whenever we’re running errands together during my visits. Some things, you just don’t forget.

  • Take the quiz and see how you rate! Are you Chilango de corazón? Let me know in the comments how you scored.
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