Chicharrón de queso

On any trip to Mexico City, I look forward to my first visit to any of my usual taquerías. Not only because I need to satiate my appetite for tacos (read: stuff myself to practically the point of no return), but also because I get an order of chicharrón de queso while I wait.

It’s a delicate, crunchy salty treat—the name basically translates to cheese cracklings.

For years, I never considered making my own chicharrón de queso. Not because I thought it was too hard, but because I don’t have a flat top griddle like the taquerías do. I thought the hot griddle was the key to the texture and the high heat was responsible for the ability to mold it; but one day I had a nagging craving that forced me to experiment and I discovered it can be done at home in an easy way that doesn’t sacrifice any of the things that you’d expect from a good chicharrón de queso…. 

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Wordless Wednesday: Guaca-tacos

I posted this photo on Instagram last week as I was eating leftover guacamole in the form of tacos, also known in my household as guaca-tacos.

 

You can find my guacamole recipe here. Sometimes I like to substitute red onion for white onion (like I did here, though it’s difficult to tell from the photo). It’s a substitution I picked up from my mom since she normally makes her guacamole with red onions.

  • Do you ever eat guacamole tacos?

VEGETARIAN: Tacos de hongo, chile poblano y cebolla

I’ve really been wanting to reduce the amount of meat we eat on a daily basis in order to be a bit healthier. I love veggies and don’t mind vegetarian meals, but when you live with a serious carnivore, it’s sometimes really difficult to convince them that a vegetarian meal is a) good and b) filling enough to be a meal and not just an appetizer.

Sometimes the mere mention of serving a vegetarian meal summons an apocalyptic response in my household. If you can’t get your family to eat a full vegetarian meal, this dish makes a great appetizer to ease them into enjoying it; just double or triple the recipe depending on how many people you’re feeding. They may soon see that an all-veggie meal isn’t so bad after all.

And if you’re truly desperate to get them to eat veggies, you can always add a little crumbled chorizo to this dish. It’s not meatless, but hey, at least they’re eating veggies, right? (You could also attempt to substitute soyrizo for chorizo if you’re brave, but I can’t be held responsible if they figure you out and throw chanclas at you.)

Regardless, whether you’re vegetarian, trying to get your family to eat less meat or just trying to observe meatless meals during Lent, this is a quick and easy recipe you’re bound to enjoy.

I like to use baby portabellas for this recipe, but you can use  just about any kind of regular-sized mushroom you like so long as you slice them somewhat thickly so that when they saute with the onions and butter, they don’t shrink too much or get too thin when they’re fully cooked…. 

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Sopa de poro y papa

I don’t know what it is about fall that makes me want to eat nothing but soup. I’d say it’s the chill in the air, but since we had an unusually warm beginning to October in Chicago like I mentioned last week, I know that can’t be the only factor. Come the beginning of fall, like clockwork, I always want to eat soup for lunch and dinner almost every single day. Now that the weather is cooling off, I have an entire page-long list of all the soups I want to make at home.

This particular recipe is one I’ve eaten many times in Mexico and I consider it to be a comfort food. During my visit to Mexico City last month, Luci, the family cook, made this as a first course for lunch on a chilly and gloomy afternoon and it was exactly what I needed to lift my spirits.

When I returned to Chicago, I was really missing our family so I decided to make this soup to cheer myself up. The truth is, there’s something about making recipes that I’ve eaten in Mexico that makes Chicago seem like it’s not so far away from the people and places I love in Mexico. Before the soup was even finished cooking, José said, “huele a mi casa.” (Translation: “It smells like my house.”) There are few compliments that warm my heart more, and I was feeling a little better already…. 

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Sopa de frijol negro con chipotle

Check out this fantastic and hearty black bean and chipotle chile soup I made this week. There are three reasons I love this recipe: First, you can make it in the blender—so it’s very easy to clean up afterward. Second, the whole recipe from prep to bowl can be made in 15 minutes or less! And last but not least, this recipe is very healthy—it’s low-fat and high in fiber. It makes a great first course if you divide into smaller portions, or with a little bolillo roll and butter, it can make an excellent and filling lunch or dinner.

black bean chipotle soup… 

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Flores de calabaza at the farmers market

I’ve been stalking visiting my local farmers markets lately looking for flor de calabaza. And every week since they started bringing them three weeks ago, I’ve arrived too late because they sold out before 9 or 10 A.M. So this past weekend, I got up early on Saturday hoping to get my hands on some, only to discover I’d arrived just a bit too late.

But my lovely friends at Nichols Farm advised me to show up at another market location they visit on Sunday mornings in Wicker Park and to arrive just before they opened. I got there just before 8 A.M. and was able to get a big bunch (15 flowers!) as well as snap these photos with the bucket still full of florecitas!… 

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