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…

Rum Glazed Fried Plantain and Coconut Bread

If you haven’t heard, the Cavendish banana, that delicious yellow supermarket treat, is in danger of becoming extinct. With so much of the world’s banana cultivation focusing on one single subspecies, the world-wide spread of a banana killing fungus, Panama disease, is unfortunately inevitable. Does this mean no more bananas? No more banana bread? Not…

When Tepache Goes Horribly Horribly Wrong…

Its not often I see one of my recipes go horribly wrong, not even something less easily controllable such as a ferment. It isn’t as if I’m some form of insanely perfect cook, but rather careful recipe testing and preparation. Yet once in a while, something does go horribly, disgustingly, putridly wrong. The beautiful result…

The Empty Jar Dilemma

I am a jar hoarding addict. Faced with an empty jar, I can never, ever abandon it to the terrifying fate of the recycling bin. It has to be saved. Which leaves me with a large box of jars in every closet, another in the spidery garage. And with far too many possibilities of what…

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…

Salsa de Tomatillo

So many of the many wonderful tomatillo-based recipes out have one very important piece of information missing from them. Tomatillos are disgustingly sticky when unwashed, and a cursory wash will only make matters worse. This sticky substance is a naturally occurring insecticide, and if you’ve ever gotten a mouthful of bug repellent, you’re smart enough…

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…

Reading Material 01.29.16

Why So Many Rich Kids Come to Enjoy the Taste of Healthier Foods, The Atlantic. A new study poses the theory that higher income individuals have the financial ability to repeatedly introduce fresh and perhaps not so pleasant tasting at first foods to children, whereas lower income parents may not have the ability to take on…