On the last full day of my most recent trip to Mexico City, my sister-in-law and I ran some errands together, culminating in a stop at the mercado Coyoacán—one of my absolute favorite places to visit in Mexico City. There’s a little, nondescript stand on the outskirts of the market with a yellow sign, which our family has long frequented because of the awesome quesadillas and gordas. My favorite item on the menu is the gorda de chicharrón, served with cheese on the inside. I like to also add some fresh salsa verde. As you can see, I REALLY enjoy eating these because you just can’t get the same thing at home in the U.S.
Tostadas are my go-to dinner after a long day at work when I get home late and am too lazy to cook. I always have various ingredients on hand to make them, and the great thing is that you can be creative based on what you’ve got. There’s no wrong combination.
Lately, I find myself in a big rush to get home from work in time to get dinner on the table. Tostadas are one of my secret weapons because I can prepare some of the ingredients in advance so that come dinnertime, I can just throw everything together. I do all my grocery shopping on the weekend, which means I also need to take the time to prepare myself for the week and portion out lunches and dinners. I’ll often grill meat (or sometimes buy a rotisserie chicken), cut it up and store it in the refrigerator. This version pictured above is simply grilled rib eye seasoned with salt and pepper, shredded Chihuahua cheese and served with salsa verde.
Another version I like to make has a base of refried beans smeared on the tostada, pulled roasted chicken (pollo rostizado), shredded lettuce and a little avocado topped with crema Mexicana and salsa. My cuñada likes tostadas with cueritos (see a tostada de cueritos pictured here) and manitas de puerco, neither of which are on my top 10 list of favorite kinds of tostadas, but that’s what’s so great about them; there’s something for everybody. You can’t say, “I don’t like tostadas” if you haven’t tried more than one kind.
In Mexico City, I love to visit Tostadas Coyoacán in the mercado Coyoacán because everybody can get what they want and be happy. It’s inexpensive, quick and there’s a variety of choices. One person can get camarones (shrimp) and another can get pato (duck). Or they can get one of each! One of my personal favorites there is the tostada de cochinita pibil.
Here’s a list of some suggested ingredients you’ll need to make typical tostadas so you can mix and match with the ingredients you like:
- tostadas (either store-bought, or you can make your own by cooking tortillas on a comal and then putting them in the toaster oven or under the broiler until they crisp)
- refried beans
- shredded lettuce
- shredded cheese or queso fresco
- crema Mexicana
- meat (whatever kind you like)
- tomato, diced
- lime wedges
Tell me in the comments: How do you assemble a tostada?
Earlier this week, my friend Julie, another Mexico Today ambassador, was lamenting on Twitter how much she missed tostadas Coyoacán—something I could definitely identify with…
So I promised her I’d dig out the perfect photo to post this week just for her…
- Leave a comment to let me and Julie know what kind of tostada is your favorite!
I’ve always been fascinated by frutas cristalizadas (candied fruits). I spotted these in the Mercado de Coyoacán a few weeks ago during my visit to Mexico City. Pictured clockwise from left: naranjas (oranges) that were hollowed out, tunas verdes y rojas (green and red prickly pears), chabacanos (apricots) and higos (figs). My favorite kind is calabaza cristalizada (candied pumpkin), and I brought back a big piece that I don’t plan to share.
- What’s your favorite kind of fruta cristalizada?
¡Feliz Día de la Independencia, México!
Did you watch the Grito last night?
In my house, we hung papel picado and waved our Mexican flag as we watched the celebration starting in Mexico City’s zócalo. My heart was filled with emotion seeing the zócalo, where I have stood in awe many times, brimming with people from all corners of Mexico to celebrate the bicentennial of Independence from Spain and 100 years since the Revolution.
If you missed the Grito, the shout of independence honoring Mexico’s national heroes, you can watch it here:
If you want to watch last year’s Grito and attempt a very traditional Independence Day recipe, you can check out the chiles en nogada I made and posted last year here on The Other Side of The Tortilla….
I have a love affair with figs and fig jam. A few summers ago when I was visiting Mexico City, my suegra and I went to the Mercado Coyoacán to pick up some handmade tortillas and oranges for making fresh-squeezed juice. As always, we strolled through the market at a leisurely pace, taking in all the sights and smells of all of our favorite stalls.
One of her favorite stalls, run by a wrinkled old lady, had an abundance of just-picked figs. The viejita stood in the middle of the aisle with her hands cupped, filled with figs as she cried, “Higos! Higos!”
We stopped to say hello to the woman and she cut open a fig to show me the inside. It was perfectly pink. She must’ve seen the look of excitement on my face because she stuffed two figs in my hand and said they were a gift to enjoy. She gave my suegra a few as well and after thanking her profusely and buying a few oranges, we were on our way.
I don’t recall seeing fresh figs often in the grocery store while I was growing up in the Midwest– and I’m not sure if that’s the reason why they fascinate me so much now, as if I have a lot of catching up to do or if, like many things, I’ve just gained a new appreciation for them while in Mexico. Figs have been growing in Mexico for centuries; the Spaniards are credited for bringing them to the New World in the 1500s.
If you pay attention to the produce in the grocery store or at your local farmer’s market, you may have noticed figs are in season right at this time of year. Recently, a friend who lives in Los Angeles mentioned that she had an over-producing fig tree. Jokingly, I told her if she wanted to get rid of some of her extra figs, she could send them to me and I’d put them to good use. After a few emails, the figs were on their way to me in the mail. They arrived perfectly bubble wrapped in a box and as she had picked the figs before they were ripe so they’d survive being shipped cross-country, they were just starting to ripen. …
Guayabas en sancocho, also known as guayabas en almíbar, is a delicious dessert of guavas stewed in a cinnamon and piloncillo syrup.
I love the smell of ripe Mexican guavas. Their creamy white flesh and tropical fragrance are simply intoxicating. They remind me of this one particular little stall that sells fruits at the Mercado Coyoacán where my mother-in-law likes to shop. Whenever I visit Mexico City, I’m always eager to tag along with my suegra when she needs to grab something from the mercado because I love walking among the vendor stalls discovering new things.
José also likes the smell of guayabas–but for a different reason. You see, as a big brother, José has always dabbled in a serious form of sibling rivalry. My cuñada, on the other hand, can’t stand the smell or taste of guayabas. The smell actually makes her wretch. A few years ago when we were visiting around Christmastime, we bought a big bag of guayabas for making ponche navideño. I’m sure you can guess what happened next.
RELATED RECIPE: Ponche navideño…