Pellizcadas

How to make pellizcadas with refried black beans, queso panela and salsa verde. Recipe on theothersideofthetortilla.com.

This post is part of a compensated campaign with Maseca, but all opinions and the recipe here are my own.

Pellizcadas are the perfect appetizer for those who love sopes, but want something a little smaller to snack on.

Pellizcadas can be eaten alone, as an appetizer, or along with a meal such as lunch. In Veracruz, where part of our family is from, it’s common for pellizcadas to be served with small pieces of crushed chicharron and topped with salsa. In other parts of the country, there are many variations when it comes to the toppings. This particular variation is similar to one I’ve eaten in Acapulco, where this dish is sometimes referred to as pellizcadas acapulqueñas…. 

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Atole de calabaza

How to make Mexican atole de calabaza. Recipe via theothersideofthetortilla.com.

This post is part of a compensated campaign with Maseca, but all opinions and the recipe here are my own.

Atole de calabaza is a masa-based beverage made with milk, thickened with Maseca corn flour, and served hot. This pumpkin-flavored version tastes similar to pumpkin pie and is perfect for serving around Thanksgiving.

Although vanilla, chocolate (called champurrado) and strawberry are the most common atole flavors, there are many other common flavors such as pumpkin, or modern, non-traditional flavors such as blueberry cardamom atole. I love to serve this pumpkin atole with conchas (a type of pan dulce, pictured above).

RELATED RECIPE: Atole de vainilla

Thanksgiving is right around the corner and pumpkin pie is always a staple in my house at this time of year. As a kid, I always used to want to drink the leftover pumpkin pie filling, which my mom would warn me against doing since it contains raw eggs. I’d manage to drink some anyway and usually everything was fine, but occasionally, I’d end up with a stomachache. This atole tastes very similar to pumpkin pie filling thanks to the creaminess from the evaporated milk and has no risk from the eggs like pumpkin pie filling. What more could I ask for? It’s the perfect breakfast or dessert when served with some pan dulce!… 

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Atole de vainilla

How to make Mexican atole de vainilla. Recipe via @MauraHernandez on The Other Side of The Tortilla.

This post is part of a compensated campaign with Maseca, but all opinions and the recipe here are my own.

Atole de vainilla is a traditional masa-based beverage, often made with milk, and served hot. This hot beverage goes great with tamales, pastries or pan dulce and is also most popular around Day of the Dead and the holidays. 

Atoles date back to pre-Columbian times in Mexico and are well-documented as a form of sustenance amongst the Aztec and Mayan cultures. Historical texts tell us the drink was often flavored with fruits, spices or chiles. 

Vanilla, strawberry and chocolate are the most common flavors of atole nowadays, but you can sometimes also find mora (blackberry; one of my favorites), nuez (pecan), pineapple, elote (sweet corn), piñon (pine nut), and many other flavors. In some areas of Mexico, you can even find savory atoles—one made with with green chile is called chileatole.

RELATED RECIPE: Champurrado… 

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Join us for the Maseca Twitter fiesta!

This Wednesday, March 7, we’ll be participating in a Twitter party with all of the Maseca Amigas Blogueras to talk about healthy cooking, nutrition and more. I hope you’ll joint us! Like any good party there will be some special prizes you’ll have a chance to win.

Here’s all the info you need to know to participate:

Participate and follow along with the #clubmimaseca hashtag using TweetGrid, TweetChat, Twitterfall or your favorite Twitter tool, such as Tweetdeck to keep track of the conversation easily.

RSVP online via Facebook or Twitter and read the official rules in order to be eligible to win prizes.

Make sure you follow the Amigas Blogueras and the moderator, @LBConnect, to help you keep track of the conversation in addition to the hashtag.

And if you’re not familiar with all the Amigas Blogueras listed above, you can check them out on the Maseca website! Meet the Amigas Blogueras in Spanish or in English to get to know them a little before the fiesta and read some of their stories!

¡Nos vemos en Twitterlandia!

Atole de fresa

Long, cold winter nights mean one thing in my house: we’re making hot drinks to warm us up! One of my favorite cold-weather drinks is atole, especially because it’s customary to drink with breakfast or after dinner. The two most common flavors are vanilla and strawberry—atole de vainilla y atole de fresa. If you make it with chocolate, it’s called champurrado.

It’s a masa-based drink where the dissolved masa acts as a thickening agent to make this hot drink the kind of hearty treat that will really stick to your ribs. I’ve talked before about the availability of atole that comes in powdered packets, but next to my champurrado recipe (which uses prepared store-bought masa from my local tortillería), this version using Maseca instant corn masa flour is even easier to make and a sure step above the flavor from a packet. It’s a homemade taste without all the work of grinding your own nixtamal or having to dissolve masa using cheesecloth. It’s what you might call a semi-homemade version, if you will.

This drink dates back to pre-Columbian times in Mexico and is well documented as a form of sustenance amongst the Aztec and Mayan cultures. Historical texts tell us it was often flavored with fruits, spices or chiles.

Sometimes atole is also made with different colors of corn (I’ve personally tasted atole made with white, yellow and blue corn bases) and milk or water as the liquid. I don’t like my atole to be too thin so I have a habit of making it very thick at the beginning and then thinning it out with milk or water as needed. If you prefer yours to be thinner, you can use all water instead of milk, and reduce the portion of Maseca instant corn flour to your liking.

If you want more berry flavor, you can add another whole cup of strawberries and use more water than milk so it doesn’t thicken too much or dilute the berry flavor.

This recipe produces the best strawberry flavor when you use berries that are very ripe. A trick to my recipe is that I macerate the strawberries before I put them in the blender (which just means I slice them up and, place them in a bowl and sprinkle sugar over them to allow the natural juices to come out).

If you won’t consume the atole immediately after cooking, store in an airtight container with plastic wrap pressed to the top of the liquid so a skin doesn’t form over the top. If a skin does form, you can gently remove it with a spoon, but then you’re not getting to enjoy your whole batch. A final note: make sure the Maseca you’re using is specifically for tortillas and not tamales or you’ll get a different consistency.

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Five steps for a successful tamalada

I adore tamales; they remind me of the holidays and various special occasions. When I smell them, I get a warm, fuzzy feeling inside that is hard to explain. No other food gives me the same exact feeling, actually.

There were tamales at my wedding shower in Mexico (called a despedida). There have always been tamales available for birthdays and Christmas and Día de La Candelaria. In fact, on Día de Los Reyes, I’ve had the luck to get the baby Jesus figurine in my piece of Rosca de Reyes several times in the past. As tradition goes, if you get the figurine, you’re responsible for bringing tamales for everyone on Día de La Candelaria. When José’s abuela passed away, everyone came back to the house after the prayer service to have tamales, like she would have wanted us to. They’re a staple and a symbol in Mexican cuisine.

So, it might surprise you to find out that I’ve never before hosted my own tamalada—a tamal-making party. Yes, it’s true. I’ve never hosted one, but I really want to in the coming year! My favorite savory tamales are usually tamales de pollo con salsa verde and when it comes to the sweet variety, un tamal de chocolate makes my mouth water and my heart skip a beat. I’ve made tamales on my own at home but never had a party and invited friends and family to help out and enjoy them with me afterward.

One reason a lot of people don’t make their own tamales at home is because it’s a bit labor intensive. There are several steps to successfully making them, and it’s time-consuming. To make it worthwhile, a tamalada is the perfect solution because everyone gathers together at one place and forms an assembly-line style workforce to get everything finished in less time. Then you can steam them in your tamalera. When they’re done, it’s party time! There’s nothing quite like a freshly-steamed tamal, whether it’s savory or sweet.

Here are the five basic steps for a successful tamalada, according to the advice I’ve received and what I’ve observed, and that I plan to follow when I host mine:

  • Ideally, as a hostess, you’ll have the masa ready in advance. I’m not suggesting you grind your corn from scratch and all that (unless you want to). But for a modern tamalada, it’s perfectly acceptable to buy pre-made masa at a tortillería or grocery store, or use Maseca instant masa without feeling guilty.
  • Every tamal needs a little grasa in the masa! If your tamal is lacking moisture, it might because you didn’t use any manteca. You don’t have to use a lot, but it helps with the consistency and flavor. The best tamales are the ones that have light and fluffy masa that isn’t dry.
  • Depending on which region your tamales come from, you’ll use either cornhusks or banana leaves to wrap them. Either way, they need to be pliable. Cornhusks need to be soaked in water well in advance so they won’t rip. Banana leaves can be heated and soaked, too.
  • You’re going to need a filling (or a few different fillings, depending on how many tamales you plan to made). You can use shredded meats stewed in salsa, vegetables such as rajas or even sweet fillings using fruit (my favorite is strawberry). Make sure your filling isn’t too wet when it comes time to spread it over the masa, or you’ll end up with weird, soggy tamales.
  • Learn how to wrap that tamal up! It’s really easy to learn how to properly fold the cornhusk. You can even find tons of advice on YouTube with how-to videos on the subject. I like to also use a small strip of cornhusk to tie a little bow around the middle to keep the flap closed for steaming. I find that closing it up completely gets the tamal uniformly steamed with no dry spots near the top.

Check out these recipes from Maseca for all kinds of different tamales.

  • Have you hosted a tamalada? Do you have any tips for me?

This is a sponsored post through a campaign with Maseca and Latina Bloggers Connect. Though I am being compensated for participating, all opinions, recipes and stories are my own.

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