This vegan banana chocolate smoothie recipe is a creation I’ve been drinking over and over again for the last few weeks. I love experimenting with Mexican ingredients that aren’t necessarily always in traditional Mexican dishes. Cacao has been harvested and consumed in its raw state by ancient cultures such as the Aztecs and Mayans in Mexico as well as some other Latin American countries for centuries. Today, it’s easy to find a variety of raw cacao powders commercially available and made by different brands; it’s often sold in health food stores and it’s easy and inexpensive to buy online as well. Raw cacao powder has plenty of health benefits in addition to the rich flavor it provides to any dish. It’s packed with antioxidants, and has high amounts of nutrients and minerals such as magnesium, copper and manganese.
Fresas con crema are a traditional, popular dessert all over Mexico.
Irapuato, a town in the state of Guanajuato, is particularly known not only for its bountiful strawberry fields, but also its roadside stands where you can get freshly picked berries or an impromptu treat of fresas con crema. Most of the roadside stands keep a cooler with crema on ice for highway travelers hankering for this sweet and simple treat. With only three ingredients—strawberries, cream and sugar—it’s easy to fall under this dessert’s spell.
MAY IS NATIONAL STRAWBERRY MONTH, so I’m delighted to share this spin on fresas con crema made into popsicles. You’ll love them so much, I promise you’ll want to eat them all spring and summer long until you can’t get any more strawberries.
Variations on the traditional fresas con crema recipe mostly come in the choice of the “crema” part of the dish. Some people like to use crema Mexicana, while others may use a canned version known as media crema table cream. These Mexican strawberries and cream popsicles are made a little less dense—but equally creamy—with a quick homemade whipped cream made from scratch. Paletas de fresas con crema are one of my absolute favorite desserts for spring and summer, and my friends, family and co-workers all love when I make a big batch of these popsicles to share. During the hottest days of the summer, I suggest freezing them overnight before serving so they aren’t quick to melt in the heat.
This savory Mexican breakfast pastry braid stuffed with scrambled eggs and chorizo—known as a trenza de huevo con chorizo—is a simple recipe to please your breakfast or brunch crowd.
If you ask me, breakfast pastries are a pretty genius invention, whether they’re sweet or savory. And I admit it: I will pretty much eat anything wrapped in puff pastry. It’s one of my weaknesses. This recipe is one of my go-to breakfast or brunch recipes when I’m trying to do something fancy that looks like I put in a ton of effort but don’t want to spend hours in the kitchen cooking. I like to serve slices of this savory breakfast pastry braid with coffee, fresh-squeezed juice and seasonal fruit.
If you like, you can choose other mix-ins with your scrambled eggs such as chile poblano strips and onion, chiltomate (a salsa made with Roma tomatoes and chile habanero), or anything else you normally would scramble in with eggs.
Aguas frescas are a staple in most Mexican and Mexican-American homes, mine included. The best aguas frescas are made with ingredients that are in season because they’re easiest to get, typically cost less because they are more abundant, and have the best flavor because they’re at their peak growing season. Honeydew melon—also known as melón verde—is in season typically from May to October, with the peak from May to August, but we’ve been seeing a lot of this melon in the grocery stores in Southern California since mid-March. This honeydew and cucumber agua fresca recipe is light and refreshing for warm spring and summer days. You can also opt to serve it straight as a juice with breakfast—just run through a juicer or powerful blender and leave out the water and optional sugar.
April 8 is National Empanada Day, and far be it from me to deny a day meant to celebrate these delightful pastries, savory or sweet. This is more of a kitchen tip than a recipe on how to make semi-homemade empanadas, but I’ve included proportions below as a guideline—though you should feel free to tweak to your liking with different fillings or cutting the dough to different sizes. Whether you’re looking to fool party guests, need a quick potluck dish, or just want to make a snack or appetizer for your family, here’s my cheater’s guide to making empanadas, 30 minutes from start to finish.
Mexico is a very nose-to-tail consumer when it comes to eating animals; like in many other developing countries, and often motivated by economic circumstances in an effort to use the whole animal and not leave much—if any—waste, there are a lot of delicious and unique foods that have come out of this scrappiness. One of these simple delicacies is chicharrón, made of fried pork skins.
This botana, or appetizer, of chicharrón served with salsa verde is very typical in Mexico. Generally, these pork skin cracklings are made by boiling the skin, hanging it to dry, then deep frying it in hot oil until the skin puffs up. They’re by no means a healthy snack, so should be eaten in moderation, but they’re a guilty pleasure worth the indulgence.
They’re not quite the same as processed food pork rinds or pork cracklings you might find in a potato chip-like bag in the supermarket. For that reason, it’s best to buy them from your local carnicería or near the butcher’s counter in any Mexican market.