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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Wordless Wednesday: quesadilla de huitlacoche

Over the weekend José and I had dinner at Fogón, an upscale Mexican restaurant that opened this spring in a neighborhood near where we live. I’ll write more about it another time, but I had to share a photo of this earthy-tasting, perfectly over-stuffed quesadilla I ate as an appetizer—it had cheese and huitlacoche (also known as corn smut or corn truffle), epazote, salsa rustica with black beans and was topped with a small dollop of creme fraiche and light greens. It’s the culinary equivalent of black gold! (More on the topic of huitlacoche soon, I promise!)

  • How do you like to eat huitlacoche? Have you ever had it before?

Wordless Wednesday: Nopales


I saw these nopales (known as cactus paddles in English) in the grocery store last week and they were just asking to be photographed! It reminded me also that it’s been awhile since I’ve had ensalada de nopales from one of my favorite places so I think I’ll have to make a trip this weekend. The place where I like it from opens very early in the morning and they usually sell out by noon. I’ll post pictures next week if I can make it there on time!

  • What’s your favorite way to eat nopales?

Cebollitas

I 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, as you like – it all depends on your taste buds.

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. In fact, I’m sure I have photos of a few of them somewhere. Sounds like a future Wordless Wednesday post! (Wink, wink.)… 

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