Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Even more traditional findings from Veracruz, Mexico.

Reminder: $11 pesos approximately equals 1 Canadian dollar.

Salsa de puerco.
This is my favourite dish. I love when my mom cooks for us or Antelma (an employee of my mom who is more like family, an aunt). My mother was very dedicated to us and always had something to feed us, healthy and delicious, great memories… Now, I am able to taste these memories again and fortunately Brian loved this dish too.
It is cooked pork with a spicy tomatoe sauce. We calculated the cost and it comes up to be $90 pesos and we were able to feed 8 people, that means: $11.25 pesos per person for a fantastic meal… And let me tell you, this meal was accompanied with rice, beans and tortillas (for that cost).

Caldo de res.
Today was beef with a lot of veggies and fruit. It is almost like a soup with corn, calabazas (zucchini), carrots, chayotes, potatoes, cabbage, onions, plantain, cilantro, mint, garlic and spices. A very spicy sauce goes with this and of course tortillas cannot be missed. For a huge pot we were able to feed 12 people, the cost = $75 pesos, $6.25 pesos per person.

Tacos al Pastor!!!
Every Thursday we cannot miss to eat tacos in Cordoba in Avenida 11; the name of the place is “PASELE JOVEN”. Some people say these tacos are made out dog meat, great use of those lonely dogs I may say. There is a promotion of $22 pesos per order of five tacos with one order for free, on Thursdays, which means that you get 10 tacos for $22 pesos, 2 X 1. Awesome!!! We cannot wait to have Tony in Cordoba to go with him to enjoy these tacos.

Eggs are fantastic here in Mexico, they taste good with anything.
Eggs with boiled beans and epazote (a herb), eggs with chorizo, eggs with gasparitos (flowers), you name it… eggs with pretty much anything are just fantastic and economical.
You can buy 30 eggs for $38 pesos, a piece of chorizo for $3 pesos, a bunch of gasparitos for $5 pesos and a kilo of tortillas for $6.5-$10 pesos.

I tried cooking this dish for Brian 8 years ago and it tasted horribly. Of course, as a polite Canadian, he ate it and did not say a word. Now that he gets the opportunity to try the real dish he confessed his feelings about my poor tezmole. Tezmole is made with chicken, a spicy sauce, dough balls with cheese and epazote inside; it can be served with beans and rice. I absolutely love it, Brian not so much!!!
The cost is about $40 for a pot to feed 6-8 people, which means about $5 pesos per person.

Hot drink traditionally made during December for Christmas season. It is a hot juice of different fruits from sugar cane to guava. It is absolutely delicious, sweet and comforting. Brian enjoyed more with the addition of rum; the best so far has been at Layfer Hotel in Cordoba. The cost of this drink is about $90 pesos for 20 litres or you can buy a litre of ponche for $20 pesos without having to go through all the trouble of getting the ingredients and making it yourself.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

More traditional findings from Veracruz, Mexico.

There will be lots of findings from the place where I was born. I will try to capture just those that are really enjoyable otherwise I can seriously write a book of a million pages, although by the time I finished it I would conclude that tacos are the best… no doubt!!!

Pan de Coscomatepec.
Coscomatepec is a beautiful-wonderful city where my mother was born. It is still a small town with great traditions; this is the exception to men hanging out in the corner just for fun rather than crime.
Bread here is the best, especially the one made in my family’s bakery. The bakery is called “La Fama” and was founded in 1924 by a family member and it is considered one of the best and most typical in the state of Veracruz, perhaps in the country. Bread is cooked in a wood fire oven and each piece has a name e.g. peine “comb”, underwear “calzones”, conejos “rabbits”, etc.
My favourite is “cubilete”, looks like a muffin filled with cheese.
Each bread goes from $0.30-$6 pesos.

This used to be my favourite dessert, a combination of Maria’s cookies and a creamy mango sauce made out mangos and two different types of milk (other fruit can be used e.g. strawberries, lemon, etc.). After the ingredients are put together the dessert is left in the fridge for couple of hours to gain the consistency needed. At the end it can be decorated with some strawberry chunks.
My brother made it to celebrate my cousin’s birthday and we really enjoyed it. He is a chef, a great one!!! I will ensure I get some tips to improve our cooking on the road…

Pan de burro.
It is not made by donkeys but it is called Bread of donkey. It is a regular type of bread, soft but with body, brown sugar is typically used to make it and a donkey figure is drawn on top of it.
Price per piece: $13 pesos, you can probably feed 20 people with this big piece, add coffee and it is a meal.

Sopa de Nopales-mom’s style.
My mom makes this great soup similar to the cactus soup we made once on the road. The main difference is that the broth is spiced with different types of peppers previously boiled and blended, with the addition of cheese and boiled eggs on top when served.

Café y galletas “Samy”.
My step brother owns a business making different products with coffee. Coffee and cookies are wonderful!!! One day you will be able to taste. You can buy the coffee to make it at home or you can enjoy a cup of coffee at his coffee shop.
Cookies vary on price from $12 pesos for a package of 10 cookies or $95 pesos for a 600 g container. You can easily eat the entire container yourself, they are that good!!!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Traditional findings from Veracruz, Mexico.

In Mexico there seems to be a diet called “Diet of T” which requires to eat tortillas, tacos, tamales, tortas, tostadas… you name it, anything that starts with “T”.

I will show you the tostadas we had in Veracruz on the side of the road. Tostada is a hard tortilla (fried or roasted) with some ingredients on top like fried beans, lettuce, tomatoe, salsa, cheese, chicken or anything you may wish… A little bit messy but enjoyable.
How much? $5 pesos each. One is enough for breakfast but if you have two you are still doing well…

We will have many more dishes to share with you from Veracruz for the next two months but could not wait to share this one to begin…

Monday, November 29, 2010

Traditional findings from Hidalgo, Mexico.

In our way to Pachuca Hidalgo we stopped on the side of the road to have breakfast-lunch. A lady had just opened her “changarro” (business) and is doing great, great cook and lots of motivation since her husband cannot make enough money and she has to support the family. Her husband grows corn but can only grow it once a year so… not enough. I asked her why she waited so long to start her own business and her answer was: -Porque soy muy floja (-Because I am very lazy).

Gorditas de huitlacoche y quelites: once again these are made out of corn flour; it is a tick tortilla with a topping. In this case we had some with huitlacoche which is a mushroom that grows on the corn, it is basically a parasite. Sounds nasty but it is AWESOME!!!
Quelites are wild and eatable plants.
$7 pesos per gordita.

Café de olla: this is made in a pot or “olla” and some cinnamon and sugar are added…
$4 pesos a cup.

-Gordita de huitlacoche-

-Gordita de quelites-

-Café de olla-

-New business on the side of the road-

In Pachuca Hidalgo we were invited to enjoy the following meal!!!
Barbacoa de borrego: barbequed lamb.
This is quite a process. Starts with excavating a hole in the ground about 1.5 metres deep, adding a layer of stones and a layer of maguey (Mexican cactus), then a big pot goes in to collect the juice of the lamb that later on will be eaten as a soup or “consomé”. A rack is placed to support the lamb which is wrapped in maguey leaves and previously seasoned. Another layer of maguey and then a layer of dirt will go on the very top, the cooking begins with fire and after 12 hours this dish is taken out of the hole to be served.
Along with this we had a “tlacoyo” which is a tick oval long tortilla filled with different mixes, we had “alberjón” which is a type of grain that was previously cooked and seasoned.

-Barbequed lamb-

-Selling the delicious lamb on Sunday morning-

-Police officers also enjoying lamb-


More traditional findings from Guanajuato, Mexico.

In the city of Dolores Hidalgo in Guanajuato we found couple of enjoyable things especially after having a morning full of activities and heat.

Nieve de tequila: this is basically an ice cream made out of water and fruit. We found really weird nieves in this place, for example: avocado, tequila, beer, etc. I had “una nieve de tequila” prepared with tequila, grapefruit, orange, pineapple, chamoy and zest lime.
Chamoy is a Mexican salsa made out of dry fruit, hot pepper, salt, sugar, vinegar and water. It has a very delicious flavour: sweet, spicy and acidic at the same time.
How much? $10 pesos per nieve.

Torta de cochinita pibil y milanesa: this is a traditional Mexican sandwich. Often times bolillo (bread) is used and anything can go inside… We had one made with cooked pork (with different spices) and one made with pork steak.
How much? $17.5-$30 pesos per torta depending on the choice.

-Nieve de Tequila-

-Weird flavours...-

-People making tortas-


Failed vegetarian tacos.

Dear friend Betty,
I am sorry, I failed to follow your recipes as you suggested, there were two main reasons:
1) I could not find all the ingredients (believe it or not!!!).
2) I barely had my back turned and Brian added meat to the pot.
Brian had ten tacos, I can only fit four in my tummy…

Thanks so much for taking the time to honour my request, I will continue to attempt your recipes.
Love, Deya.

Nov 25, 2010.

Mexican Zucchini (Calabacitas)
Mexican cactus (Nopales)
“Carne machaca” (dehydrated meat from Sonora)
Prepared salsa (you can buy in the market from $3 pesos and up)
Olive oil
Seasoning salt
Black pepper
Soy sauce
Lime zest

1) Diced all vegetables.
2) Sauté onion, calabacitas, nopales and “Carne machaca”. Add a splash of soy sauce, seasoning salt and black pepper to taste.
3) Heat tortillas, two at the time is best.
4) Add ingredients to hot tortilla and top with cheese, tomatoe, salsa and lime zest.
5) Pare with beer, depending on budget!!!
6) Enjoy…

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Traditional findings from Guanajuato, Mexico.

We enjoyed the city of Guanajuato in the state of Guanajuato. We could have spent weeks here exploring the surroundings and the food. However, I can only show you a delicious “paleta”.

A paleta is a Mexican ice pop usually made from fresh fruit. The name comes from palo, or “stick,” and the diminutive ending -eta, referencing the little flat stick frozen into each item; the stores, carts, and kiosks where they are sold are known as paleterías, and the sellers are called paleteros. They can be made with milk or water, I had a strawberry milk based paleta for $13 pesos.
Many paleterías have “Michoacana” in their names, and it’s believed that paletas were first sold in the state of Michoacan in western Mexico or in Mexico City in the 1940s.

Traditional findings from Jalisco, Mexico.

In Jalisco you can find tequila, some of it is produced in Tequila (town that gave the name to “tequila”) but also you can find lots of other things that may not be as healthy as tequila but still enjoyable and reasonably priced. Some of these findings may not be originated here but for sure they are traditionally made here…

We were in Guadalajara (capital of Jalisco) and found couple of snacks that can actually be a meal… they were big…

Chayotes: $13 pesos for a plate.
Chayote also known as christophene, vegetable pear, mirliton, choko, starprecianté, citrayota, citrayote (Ecuador and Colombia), chuchu (Brazil), chow chow (India) or pear squash is an edible plant that belongs to the gourd family Cucurbitaceae along with melons, cucumbers and squash.
Chayote was one of the many foods introduced to Europe by early explorers, who brought back a wide assortment of botanical samples. The age of conquest also spread the plant South from Mexico, ultimately causing it to be integrated into the cuisine of many other Latin American nations. The main growing regions are Costa Rica and Veracruz, Mexico. Costa Rican chayotes are predominantly exported to the European Union whereas Veracruz is the main exporter of chayotes to the United States.
In this little establishment chayotes were offered cooked (boiled) on a plate with cheese and other condiments…

Esquites: $13 pesos for a little container.
They are made with boiled corn kernels, mayonnaise, cheese, lemon, salt and spices. You can also get the entire corn with all the stuff mentioned. Either way it is a delicious snack!!!

Churros: $20 pesos for a plate with couple of churros.
Churros are made with flour, water, sugar and salt; this dough is introduced to a machine producing an elongated thin cylinder, it is then fried in oil and finally covered with sugar or cajeta.
Cajeta is a Mexican confection of thickened syrup usually made of sweetened caramelized milk.

Pancakes: $15 pesos/each with some options for toppings.
Pancakes or hot cakes are served on a plate with some toppings: jam or cajeta.

-Chayotes and Esquites-



-Pancakes (in the left)-

Licuado de plátano.

This recipe can only be implemented if you have a blender. We were in Zapopan, Jalisco at my cousin’s friend’s friend home (I know…weird) and we prepared this wonderful easy breakfast. This reminded me my years in University when my mom used to make a similar shake for me.

From the recipe Archie’s special (hot oatmeal):
Plain oatmeal
Slivered almonds
Coconut flakes
Powder milk

Liquid milk
Peanut butter

1) Put all the ingredients in the blender, blend for few seconds (depending on the consistency you may wish) and serve.

-Thanks Brian for introducing me to peanut butter, I love it!!!-

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Traditional findings from Sinaloa, Mexico.

When we were in Mazatlan Sinaloa we cooked a lot, so tasting local food was not our main goal. However, we came across these wonderful tamales which are traditional in the entire country but each state/area has different types of tamales.

A tamal (Spanish: tamal, from Nahuatl: tamalli) is a traditional Latin American dish made of masa (a starchy dough, often corn-based), which is steamed or boiled in a leaf wrapper (banana leaf or corn leaf). The wrapping is discarded before eating. Tamales can be further filled with meats, cheese, vegetables, chilies or any preparation according to taste and both the filling and the cooking liquid may be seasoned.
Tamales were one of the staples found by the Spanish Conquistadors when they first arrived in Mexico and were soon widely spread throughout their other colonies. Tamales are said to have been as ubiquitous and varied as the sandwich is today.

The tamal we ate (mainly I did) was filled with chicken, veggies and sauce. Fantastic for only $10 pesos which really makes for a great meal, just one and you are full and happy…

I have to say that so far the best tamales I have ever tried are made by my mom and pretty soon we will be eating them… This time I will learn how to make them so that one day I can cook them for you.

-Looks messy, tastes awesome!!!-

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Tacos del Lerma.

Tacos are just amazing, healthy and cheap. In this recipe we use seasoned pork meat, spent $65.5 pesos for all the ingredients plus fruit and had leftovers for other recipes. A pack of beer (8) is $68 pesos, so those have to be used throughout several days to justify the expense.
A taco is always better with a beer, especially if you are feeling stress!!!

Seasoned pork meat
Olive oil
Fresh cheese
Lime zest

1) Cut the meat in strips and cook it with a little bit of olive oil, put aside.
2) Cut (in reasonable pieces) the onion, jalapeño and cucumber. Cut the limes in halves. Place everything in a container on the table.
3) Peel avocado. Place avocado and fresh cheese on the table, people can cut the pieces depending on how big they like them.
4) Warm up the tortillas and cover them with a cloth to keep them warm.
5) Prepare your taco by placing on the warm tortilla the meat, fresh cheese, avocado, a bit of lime juice, lime zest, onion and jalapeño. Pieces of cucumber can be included but since this taco is already “gordo” I suggest serving them in the side.
6) If you happen to have beer, go ahead and try…

Gorditas Mazatleñas.

Gorditas are typical in Mexico, they are different from place to place. Here in Mazatlan, I found the tick tortillas already made at the tortillería which saves a lot of time, it is just the matter of putting on top whatever you like. In some states these are also called “Picaditas” because they are pinched in the middle. Anyway, I will refer to them as “Gorditas”.

“Carne machaca” (dehydrated meat from Sonora)
Olive oil
Fresh cheese
Lime zest

1) Place the gordita on a pan and add a little bit of oil.
2) Add “Carne machaca” and let it cook for 1 minute.
3) Add lime zest, chunks of onion & fresh cheese.
4) Enjoy…

Finally Pineapple!!!

Finally we had just pineapple and enjoyed it very much. Simple, simple and delicious breakfast…

Sweet bread (Pan de dulce)

1) Peel the pineapple and cut it into wedges.
2) Serve the pineapple with “Pan de dulce” and coffee. We had a kiwi from another day so we ate it too!!!
3) Enjoy.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Don’t talk to me in the middle of it.

This is one of my favourite dishes so far. I have to tell you that Brian has great ideas in many areas, he is a real man, the man to travel with… Nothing is impossible with him and cooking is a pleasure. The following dish can be prepared on target (budget) without diminishing the quality.

Rib-eye steak
Olive oil
Seasoning salt

Tortilla chips or “totopos”-
1) Cut several tortillas in strips or triangles.
2) Add olive oil to a pan and drop some tortilla strips or triangles in it until they are brown ish.
3) Take them from the pan and place them on a napkin to drip the unnecessary oil. Do the same with the rest.

4) As simple as just cook the corn in some water until is tender and put aside.

5) Prepare the steak with some oil and seasoning salt.
6) Fry in a little bit of oil and add some butter once it is cooking. Ensure all the juice is poured on the steak while this is being cooked.
7) Cook the steak to the level you desire.

Caramelized pineapple-
8) Cut strips of pineapple and place them on the pan.
9) Let the strips cook until they have a brown appearance.

10) Peel the avocados and place them in a bowl.
11) Cut a piece of onion, jalapeño y cilantro in fine pieces and add them to the bowl.
12) Add some salt and mix all these ingredients together ensuring a chunky consistency, you will enjoy it more.

Finally put all these items together on a plate in a way that makes you feel good…

-Safety first-

-Pineapple goes excellent on this dish-


Simple, simple, simple!!! and tasty. A package of tortillas, if not fresh, is about $8 pesos / 25 pieces; or you can buy a fresh kilo of tortillas at the “tortillería” for $7 pesos. We needed tortillas that were a bit harder than fresh for other purposes so we bought a package. Cheese prices depend on the type, a typical cheese for quesadillas costs around $17 for a ¼ kilo in Mazatlan but as we head South prices will be better…


1) Warm the tortilla, add some cheese previously cut in reasonable pieces.
2) Let the cheese melt.
3) Ready!!!
4) You can always add a piece of tomato, avocado or anything you like.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Simple curry.

Thai food is one of my favourites and unfortunately/fortunately we have left the land of beauty: Canada, specifically Vancouver when it comes to food. The good thing is that I packed some Thai-curry paste with us and Seonaid, my friend who lives in Smithers BC, sent me away with some powder coconut milk. Today we finally cooked a meal with these ingredients.

2 Chicken thighs
Powder coconut milk
Thai-curry paste
Veggies (the other half of the bundle used to cook Sopa de Verduras)

1) Cook the chicken in some water.
2) Use the broth from the cooked chicken to boil the rice.
3) In another pan, use a bit of butter to cook the veggies and once they are soft add the powder coconut milk, Thai-curry paste and water until it has a creamy consistency.
4) Add the chicken and cook for couple of minutes.
5) Add some raisins.
6) Serve the rice with the flavoured veggies on top.
7) This is NOT Rob Fennie, these are just “Brian & Deya” cooking with love!!!

Ensalada de frutas.

Brian has been wishing to have a fruit salad for a while and he wanted to get pineapple for it but I insisted we should get some new things like “chirimoya”. We will eat the pineapple in another occasion, I promise Brian!!!
The entire bill for this wonderful salad was $38.80 pesos, you do the math… By the way, we only used half of the items we bought for this salad.

Oranges (Naranjas)
Guabas (Guayabas)
Bananas (Plátanos)
Lime (Limón)

To go with it you can get some sweet bread (pan de dulce).

1) Wash and cut all the ingredients in reasonable pieces.
2) Sprinkle some sugar and lime.
3) Enjoy!!!

-Market place Pino Suarez in Mazatlan, Sinaloa-

-Pan de dulce-