A No Tajín Home: Seasoned Chile Flake

I’ll put chile powder on almost anything, but not just any chile powder. Store bought Tajín? Never. Nothing technically wrong with it, but also not the greatest. This recipe is based on a seasoned chile flake I bought at a spice shop some time ago in Magdalena de Kino, Sonora. The puya chile used in…

Paletas de Agua de Coco y Limón

If there is one flavor I instantly think of when I think of my childhood it is the bright tartness of lemons (limes to you), with a hint of sweetness poking through a salty, smoky, spicy layer. My childhood had complicated and yet extremely simple tastes. Watermelon with salt and chile. Lemon if you want…

Yogurt and Cajeta Paletas

I can already tell this will be the summer of the cold and refreshing paleta. Not because I myself am suffering from the horrors of relentless summer heat, but in my sympathy for those that are. It’s a funny thing to have lived in the Arizona desert for years, it absolutely kills your tolerance for…

Pickled Jalapeños, Or How to Use Many Jars

Did I mention before I have a jar hoarding problem? I have a jar hoarding problem. Fortunately, I also have a jam and pickling problem, and a giving jams and pickles away problem, so things generally even out. The jar count for the last few months has been this: Pineapple marmalade: 3 8-oz jars Pineapple…

Cajeta – Goat Milk Caramel

The first time I sold a jar of cajeta I had the kind of cultural disconnect I hadn’t experienced in some time. The customer, after sampling every one of the products I had made and had for sale at the farmers market, discussing their history within Mexican cuisine and their exact ingredients, asked a very…

Serpentinas de Tamarindo – Tamarind Leather

The wealth of tamarindo sweets in Mexico speaks volumes of the Mexican love for complicated flavors. Tart, sour, sweet, it tastes of citrus, apricots, dates and a tannins heavy wine all at once. My favorite tamarindo sweet as a kid were cachetadas de tamarindo, literally tamarind face slaps, large flat round lollypops of slightly spicy tamarindo…

Tortillas de Manteca

There was a time in Mexico’s northern states when the use of rendered lamb and beef fat to make flour tortillas was as common as the use of pork lard. The fat of one animal is just as good as another, even if the taste may be slightly different. Tortillas made with tallow, manteca de…

Sebo y Manteca de Res – Suet and Tallow

While lard has enjoyed a revival in the last few years in this country (Praise the Lard t-shirt, anyone?), rendered beef fat, or tallow, remains mostly in obscurity. Unless you’re really into grass fed lip and body balms. I blame poor marketing. Suet, or sebo in Spanish, the large fat deposits near the kidneys, is…

Lenten Recipes: Capirotada

To say there is a definitive version of the dish capirotada would be to blatantly lie. There are as many variations of this lenten sweet bread pudding as there are ingredients in it. Ingredients such as buttered toasted bread, brown sugar syrup, dried fruits, garlic, onions, cilantro and tomato…. Wait, what? Yes, and all topped with grated…

Camotes Poblanos – Puebla Style Sweet Potato Candy

There is a rule in caramel making. Against all logic, at least once or maybe twice, the caramel maker will stick their finger into a molten batch of caramel. Caramel, I am convinced, is much like standing at the edge of a precipice. The longer you stare at it, the more tempting it is. When…

Atole de Pinole con Vainilla

It is not difficult to become hooked on pinole. It is not a food for those fearful of carbohydrates, but thankfully, I have never been one of those people. If its food group can be forgiven, it is an energy dense food used for centuries by in the American continent not just for survival in…