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

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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Pico de gallo

When most people think of pico de gallo, they think of a salsa made of tomatoes, diced onion and fresh green chile (such as serrano or jalapeño), lime juice and cilantro.

That salsa is also commonly referred to as salsa Mexicana.

However, in some areas of Mexico if you ask for pico de gallo you’ll end up with a sort of fruit salad-looking thing that you perhaps didn’t intend to order. But make no mistake, this kind of pico de gallo is one you’ll definitely want to try!

It’s a favorite snack in our house–great for a lazy afternoon watching fútbol or even for entertaining guests.

During our last visit to Mexico, one day my suegra made a big batch of this pico de gallo and it was so good that we ate it all before she got a chance to eat any! The truth was, we thought she had saved some downstairs in another dish and given us only a portion of it, so we gobbled it all up. The only solution? To make another batch, of course!

This antojito is especially great for the warm weather months because it’s very refreshing. The crisp, crunchy jicama is the base of the recipe, with cucumbers, diced onion, serrano chile and oranges for a unique salad. The citrusy dressing is a perfect mix of tart and sweet, with a sprinkle of tajín or dash of salt and chile powder on top to round out the flavor…. 

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Easy Esquites

Easy, healthy esquites recipe (roasted corn, chile piquin, cotija cheese, lime juice) from theothersideofthetortilla.comThe weather is getting warmer and that can only mean one thing: an explosion of Mexican street food carts popping up on every corner in the neighborhood where I do all my grocery shopping.

Among the carts that make my mouth water the most is one from which the sweet smell of roasted corn wafts through the spring air – and through my car window enticing me to stop for a quick treat. Yep, you guessed it: esquites.

The key ingredients of this antojito are roasted corn, lime juice, salt and dried ground chile piquin. And then there are the customizations and variations on the snack that can make it so unique from place to place. Sometimes sauteed with butter or onions and epazote, it can also be topped with mayonesa or crema Mexicana. And my favorite touch: a sprinkle of queso cotija, a dry, crumbly cheese with a little bite.

It’s usually served in a Styrofoam or plastic cup on the street, but don’t let the simple presentation fool you. Serve this at a spring or summer backyard barbecue and impress your guests with this simple treat they’re sure to love. Or just make it at home as a weekend snack!

Part of the beauty of this dish is that you can make changes or adjustments to your own tastes very easily without compromising any kind of measurements or balance so long as you follow the base of the recipe by roasting the corn either with butter or by adding a little water to the corn once you’ve cut it to help create a little juice. The portions of the lime juice, chile and toppings is up to you. The end result should be a sweet, sour, salty and spicy taste in every bite…. 

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Papas gratinadas

To me, wintertime means lots of comfort foods. And pardon the pun, but during the blizzard we had here last week, I was cooking up a storm while I was cooped up inside for three whole days. One of my favorite comfort foods is papas gratinadas, a Mexican version of potatoes au gratin.

I love it so much, in fact, that while I’m writing this, I’m thinking about going to the store for more potatoes so I can make another batch. The last two times I’ve made this dish, it disappeared in less than 24 hours. And my friend Silvia over at Mamá Latina Tips has been asking me to post this recipe for several weeks since I told her I made it because her mom used to make papas gratinadas for her and it’s one of her favorites, too.

These are a great side dish (or, um…an afternoon snack) when you need hearty, warm food to keep you full and fueled to fight the cold outside. Here’s a quick video tutorial on how to make this recipe.

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