Pan de Dulce: Conchas

After living in upstate New York for almost two years, I have begun to see the Phoenix area as the Mexican food outside of Mexico promised land. I could find almost any ingredient or dish easily, most within just miles of where I lived. Sure, I had to go clear across town if I wanted…

Celebration Food: Bacalao a la Vizcaina Estilo Mexicano

It’s hard to say there is any one food which heavily represents Mexican Christmas tradition. Like everything else in Mexican cuisine, this is heavily dependent on region and class. Tamales are hugely important, but so are pozole and turkey. In some central and souther areas, Spanish dishes such as paella and bacalao are preferred and…

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…

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…

How To: Pinole from Scratch

Ready made pinole isn’t difficult to find, but making it from scratch is a rather enjoyable experience. Though blue corn is most popular for pinole, any dried corn suitable for popping can be used, no matter what the color. The steps for pinole are simple: toast and pop the corn, and grind to a fine powder. Sweeten…

Coricos Sonorenses – Sonoran Corn Cookies

Mexican pastry recipes are typically written in comically large quantities. A kilo of flour for everything. Half a kilo of lard. 100 empanadas or 500 cookies later, you’re done. The size of these recipes speak volumes of the Mexican love for baked goods. Thankfully, through the magic of the metric system, these recipes are easy…

More Sick Day Food: Atole de Camote

Phlegm and porridge are two of the most unfortunate words in the English language, yet such is my life at the moment. Spanish, in comparison, has such gentle sounding words as camote, for sweet potatoes. As soft as the tuber before it is cooked.