Archives for posts with tag: Mexican

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Mexican Chocolate Cake

2 tablespoons butter, for two 9” round pans
1 1/2 cups cocoa powder, plus more for pans
3 cups all-purpose flour
3 cups sugar
1 tablespoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3 large eggs
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 teaspoon Balsamic vinegar
1 1/2 cups warm water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Butter the cake pans and line bottoms with parchment, butter again and dust with cocoa.

Sift the following ingredients into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment: cocoa, flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. In another bowl combine eggs, 1 1/2 cups warm water, buttermilk, vegetable oil, vanilla and almond extracts and vinegar. With the mixer on low slowly pour into dry ingredients until smooth, about 3 minutes.

Divide batter into the pans. Bake until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean about 45 minutes.

Let the cakes cool completely before removing from the pans and frosting.

Mexican Chocolate Frosting
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup cocoa powder
Pinch of salt
6 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted
3/4 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon brandy

Beat the butter and cream cheese in a stand mixer with a paddle on medium speed until smooth. Sift together the cocoa powder, sugar and salt and add to the mixer. On slow speed add the extracts, brandy and chocolate slowly. Finally add the sour cream and mix until combined.

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During summer my mom would make Calabacitas Guisadas (Stewed Zucchini). It was one of my favorite vegetable dishes growing up. I still make it every season – but this time I decided I would try it as a gratin. Oaxaca cheese is great for melting and similar to Monterey Jack, it’s texture reminds me of string cheese and can be found in most Mexican markets.

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Zucchini and Tomato Gratin with Oaxaca Cheese

1 white onion, sliced thin
Olive oil
Salt and pepper
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 Serrano chili, finely chopped
8 medium tomatoes, sliced
10 green or yellow zucchini, sliced
8 ounces Oaxaca cheese, grated
Cilantro, chopped

Slice the onion thin and sauté in some olive oil on medium-low heat until lightly browned. Add the garlic, Serrano chili, salt and pepper and cook a few more minutes.

Spread the onion mixture on the bottom of a 9 by 12-inch gratin dish. Make rows of alternating zucchini and tomatoes and season each of them with salt and pepper. Drizzle with olive oil.

Press down on the vegetables and bake uncovered, for about 1 hour at 375*, until it starts to brown. During baking you can baste the gratin with the bubbling juices. Top the gratin with the grated cheese and sprinkle with the chopped cilantro. Place under the broiler on high heat until the cheese bubbles and starts to brown.

Serves 6

Join me for tamales & tequila at a special pop-up event. You can also order tamales to take-away! Click the image for MORE! info!!

 

10x10 hecho tamale

I just love the ring of  ‘Juanita’s Carnitas’. If you’ve haven’t prepared carnitas at home you are in for a treat. There is really nothing like the smell of the slow braising pork coming out of your kitchen. San Francisco has a taqueria on just about every block and they are featured on every menu. I mean a great taqueria is  judged by their salsa, pickled jalapeños and the carnitas – right? These are very simple to make at home.

Juanita’s Carnitas

½ white onion, coarsely chopped
1 1/2 cups water
6 garlic cloves
1-teaspoon fresh thyme
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
½ teaspoon cumin
4 whole cloves
2 bay leaves
1-tablespoon kosher sea salt
1-tablespoon lard
4 1/2 pounds boneless pork butt, cut into 4-inch chunks
1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice, about 3 oranges
1 large piece of orange zest
2 tablespoons sweetened condensed milk

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pork

In the jar of a blender place the water, onion, garlic cloves, thyme, black pepper, cumin, cloves, bay leaves and 1-tablespoon salt. Puree until the liquid is smooth.

Salt the pork chunks lightly while heating a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the lard and brown the pieces of pork on all sides about 15 minutes.

Once the meat is brown pour the onion and spice mixture into the pot and bring to a simmer. Cook for 10 minutes. Add in the orange juice, zest and sweetened condensed milk, stir and let it come to a simmer, then reduce heat to medium-low to low and cover.

Cook covered for 1-½ hours, stirring occasionally. Remove lid and check meat for tenderness. Let the meat continue to cook and the liquid reduce about 10 minutes.

Remove the carnitas with a slotted spoon and shred with a fork, if desired before serving you can refry the meat in a separate pan with some lard until crispy. Or serve them straight from the pot.

They make delicious tacos.

Juanita's carnitas tacos

Juanita’s carnitas tacos

Black Beef Stew (Chichilo Negro)

I made this stew this weekend. I was craving something rich like a mole but not as heavy. You can add more stock to your sauce if you like it thinner. This mole doesn’t have the added richness of nuts and seeds. And it isn’t much more work than making classic braised short ribs – though the flavors here are much richer and reminiscent of a traditional dark Mexican mole. Serve it with black beans or steamed white rice and accompany with warm tortillas and pickled vegetables. It may be hard to find avocado leaves (which add a nice anise flavor)  ask around – maybe someone you know has a tree in their backyard (like me) or you can combine a few bay leaves and some cracked anise seeds to simulate the flavor. Moles in general are based on personal taste – so, if you like more of a certain herb or spice or when making more traditional moles –  nuts or seeds, feel free to add a little extra as you like.

6 bone-in short ribs (about 5 pounds), cut into 3 pieces each
1 small head of garlic, peeled and separated into cloves
2 medium white onions, cut into quarters
3 tablespoons lard
6 cups beef stock
Sea salt
6 chile pasilla
6 chile negros
3 tomatoes, cut into quarters
3 flour tortillas
1 tablespoon Mexican oregano
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
4 fresh or dried avocado leaves

Season the short ribs well with sea salt on all sides. Coat a pot large enough to accommodate all the meat with the lard and bring to medium-high heat. Add the short ribs to the pan and brown very well, about 2 to 3 minutes per side. Do not overcrowd pan. Cook them in batches, if necessary. You want them to get a nice dark brown color.

Browning the short ribs

Broil the onions, garlic and tomatoes under a broiler on high heat until they turn black. Add them to the meat along with the beef stock. Gently bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer. Meanwhile toast the pasilla and negro chiles for a few seconds on each side in a dry pan until they turn dark. When they are cool enough to handle split them open and pull out the veins and discard the stems and seeds. Rinse the chiles under cold water and then add them to the broth with the meat. If you would like the mole to have more heat you can toast the seeds and grind them in spice grinder and add them back into the broth. I don’t think this is necessary – just depends on your taste.

Chile Negro & Pasilla

Toast all of the spices together in the same pan from the chiles until they turn a darker brown and also add them to the broth. Cut a round of parchment paper to fit down into the pan and press to cover. Simmer for 2 1/2 to 3 hours.

The meat should be tender but not falling apart when done. Gently remove the meat from the broth and let it rest covered. Once the broth has settled and is cool enough to handle – skim off any fat that has floated to the top. You are know ready to finish the sauce. Over an open flame toast the tortillas and the avocado leaves until charred and add them to the sauce. The tortillas act as a thickening agent – here you could also substitute corn tortillas if you prefer.

Puree the sauce with an immersion blender and strain through a sieve. Your sauce should be velvety and thick. Check for seasoning and add more salt if needed. Gently rewarm the meat in the finished sauce and serve.


Serves 6 – 8

When I was a kid this was my favorite soup that my mom made. No one else in my family loved it as much as we did. And she’d always make fresh tortilla’s to go along with it. Albóndigas is Spanish for “meatballs,” and sopa de albóndigas is Mexican meatballs in a bowlful of hot broth. It’s great comfort food and a great way to warm up a cold day.

Sopa de Albondiagas

Meatballs
1 tablespoon long-grain rice
½ pound ground pork
½ pound ground beef
1 egg
1/8-teaspoon ground cumin
3 leaves fresh mint
½ teaspoon dried oregano
2 tablespoons chopped white onion
Salt & pepper to taste

The broth
½ pound tomatoes, chopped
½ white onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1-tablespoon lard
7 cups chicken stock
Salt to taste
3 medium carrots, sliced
3 medium zucchini, sliced
1 dried chipolte chili
3 large sprigs mint
4 large sprigs cilantro

Cover the rice with boiling water and soak for 20 minutes. Mix the meats together in a large bowl. Put the remaining meatball ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.Add this to the meat with the rice and combine until all ingredients are incorporated. Set aside while you prepare the broth.

Put the tomatoes, onions and garlic into the blender and blend until smooth. Heat the lard in the soup pan, add the blended ingredients and cook over medium heat until reduced and seasoned – about 5 minutes.

Add the broth and salt to taste; bring to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes. Add the carrots and zucchini and cook over low heat.

Make 24 small balls and add to the broth with the chili and herb.

Continue to cook over low heat until the meatballs are cooked through and the vegetables are tender – about 45 minutes.

Skim the top of the soup and serve.

Serves 6