Sunday, April 22, 2012

And the truth is… I love broccoli… and tacos!!!

I cannot deny that I love vegetables and broccoli is my favourite but I love tacos too… specially Tacos al pastor…


Los Bisquets Obregon.
This is a very well known place in some states of Mexico where you can find good coffee and a bisquet or chocolate with churros (Mexican fried dough covered with sugar).

We had a coffee for $21 Mexican pesos, a bisquet for $21.5 Mexican pesos and 1 churro with chocolate for $31.5 Mexican pesos. Totally worth it since we needed to discuss some important topics and we got the peace and environment we needed to do so.
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Have you seen this before?
This is a Deya thing. I like mixing things. In the picture you can see pasta soup + boiled black beans + banana… It was good!!!
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Torta de avena.
This is one of my favourite discoveries in life. I love oats and this recipe contains oats.

Ingredients:
Oats (let’s say 1 cup)
Onion
Parsley or cilantro
Egg
Salt
Oil

Preparation:
1) Soak the oats in water; do so by covering the oats with water.
2) Cut onion, parsley or cilantro and if you may wish you can also add cheese.
3) Mix the soaked oats with the veggies and 1 egg. Add salt to taste.
4) Distribute some of the mix in a pan previously coated with oil. Fry one side, then the other.
5) Enjoy with tortillas and a salad.
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Paleta Payaso.
This is a common candy in Mexico called Lollypop Clown, which is not the exact translation but you get the idea.
It is $7.5 Mexican pesos and tasty but not healthy. I was never a candy eater as a little girl and I am not a candy eater as an older girl but we enjoyed this one given to us by Waldo. Thanks Waldo!!!
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Gonela Cheese.
This cheese is produced in the State of Yucatan, similar to Chiapas cheese but saltier. It goes well with anything but I prefer to eat it with beans. It is $44.8 Mexican pesos per kilogram but with $12 Mexican pesos you can eat cheese for 10 days.
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Potato soup by Waldo.
Waldo is an innovative fellow and when he cooks his food is tasty. Here we have a simple recipe that cost $32 Mexican pesos and it was good for 10 people.

Ingredients:
1.2 Kg potatoes
1 Leak
½ Onion
1 Clove of garlic
10 Grams of butter
Salt
Oil
Water

Preparation:
1) Basically cut all ingredients.
2) Fry garlic and onion first with a bit of oil.
3) Add potatoes and leak.
4) Add butter and salt.
5) Boil with water until potatoes are soft.
6) Enjoy.
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Tacos Chedrahui.
We were not looking for tacos this time but since we had been out all day and needed to do some shopping at one of the most common grocery stores in Mexico we decided to have some tacos before shopping.
Each taco was $7 Mexican pesos and there were different types: chicken, pork, beef; of course all cooked with veggies.
I almost died when I tried the habanero sauce… very spicy but delicious…
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Nopalitos…
Nopal is a kind of eatable cactus. A kilo of nopales is $15.33 and you can produce delicious dishes with them.
Betty’s mom cooked them with a bit of oil and onions, added pepper and salt. We had them with tortillas and with bolillos and both were excellent options.
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Winny is back…

This blog is dedicated to Winny and Doreen who made an effort to visit with us in Merida Yucatan. Thanks guys, we wish that your journey through the rest of Mexico and Central America is fun and safe.

We met twice while Winny and Doreen were in the area and the first time we visited La Chaya Maya (right in downtown), a very traditional restaurant in Merida always full of people.

The tortillas are the best because they are made by hand.
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We were served (free of charge) some tortilla chips with refried beans, guacamole, hot sauce and pico de gallo.
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Then, we ordered couple of dishes… this is what we had:
Papadzul for $63 Mexican pesos. This is a traditional dish which consists of tortillas filled with boiled eggs and covered with a warm sauce made out of pumpkin seeds and tomatoes.
I liked it a lot, very tasty and a dish should be sufficient for two people.
The green leaf you see in the dish is not what it looks like, it is called chaya or Tree Spinach; it is a large, fast growing leafy perennial shrub that is believed to have originated in the Yucatán Peninsula of Mexico. It has succulent stems which exude a milky sap when cut. It can grow to be 6 metres tall, but is usually pruned to about 2 metres for easier leaf harvest. It is a popular leaf vegetable in Mexican and Central American cuisines, similar to spinach. The leaves must be cooked before being eaten, as the raw leaves are toxic. Not knowing this I ate the leaf, it is actually quite tasty…
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Poc-chuc for $95 Mexican pesos. Which is essentially grilled pork meat accompanied by beans, rice, onion, hot sauce, avocado and tomatoes. Very soft and tasty meat…
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Winny and Doreen had a dish called Los Cuatro Yucas for $180 Mexican pesos; this is a combination of four of the most traditional dishes of Yucatan: Cochinita Pibil (pork), Pavo en relleno negro (turkey), Pavo en sac-col indio (turkey) and Pavo en pipian (turkey). I guess it was good, they finished everything off.
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I found interesting the way they bring the bill to your table…
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I would totally recommend this place, there is always a line-up, the service is awesome and the food is fantastic…
Thanks guys!!!
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The second time we met we ate at Los Trompos. Perhaps not the best place to eat tacos but a very good one. The prices were from $14.5-17 Mexican pesos per taco, the options were: Al pastor, Asado, Poc-chuc, Pechuga de pollo, Chuleta de cerdo, Arrachera, Chuleta de res and Bistec. The tastiest ones were the Al pastor and Poc-chuc.
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Vegetarian? Never say never but right now I dream with chickens…

1 Canadian dollar = approximately $12 Mexican pesos.

There are different ways of living and different ways of thinking. Mine is such that allows me to be part of any group; I like to adapt but also to satisfy my needs, I like to enjoy with people without jeopardizing my beliefs or needs but in general I love to eat and I would eat almost anything except for chicken hearts (Brian’s favourites).

In this part of our journey, in Merida Yucatan, we are living with an old friend who is ova-lacto vegetarian and we have adapted our diet in order to respect her home and gathering system, so no meat crosses the door but I have to admit that in couple of occasions we have left the home to go hunting.
I will present couple of things we have found in the area and couple of recipes or ideas we have gathered from my friend; generally speaking I love eating this way but our way is so much fun!!! Thanks Patricia Chuey for helping me realize the way I want to live, 80-20% …


Marquesitas.
These are delicious snacks offered in many places throughout the streets of Merida, what are they? They are something that is a blend of an ice cream cone with a crepe. They are crunchy as the cone, but are rolled up and filled with Gouda or Edam cheese, or maybe cajeta (caramel) or nutella.
The marquesitas are only available at the Yucatan Peninsula as far as I know. They were invented in 1945 by a the owner of an ice cream parlour; it was a very cold winter and the sales of the refreshing item dropped as low as the temperature, so nobody was buying, in desperation he tried to utilize the remainder of the cones, instead of the triangular shape and cold filling he began to do some tests with salty items like ground meat and other stuff, but people didn't like them. Of the several ingredients the cheese was the most accepted.
In this part of Mexico the most popular cheese was from the Netherlands, mainly Gouda and Edam, and those were the people’s favourites.
The ice cream parlour was located not far from the temple of Santiago. People were making big crowds to eat this sort of crunchy crepe after mass.
I did not find them economical but they are reasonable priced, I ate one once but would not buy them regularly.
The price of a marquesita with two ingredients: nutella and queso de bola, is $25 Mexican pesos.
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Calabacitas.
Zucchini is an excellent and simple veggie. Waldo, my friend’s husband, made this simple and tasty dish. He did not tell me how much he spent but for next time I will make sure he let’s me know.

Ingredients:
Zucchini
Tomato
Can corn
Garlic
Onion

Preparation:
1) Simply fry as much garlic and onion as you like.
2) Then add the rest of the ingredients previously cut in reasonable sized squares, also add the can of corn.
3) Cook for a little while, serve and enjoy with tortillas.
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Las Alubias de Dona Mary.
What are alubias? Alubias are a kind of bean, it is white and remains white once cooked. Very tasty. My friend’s mom cooked them simply with salt and we ate them as a soup with tortillas and pico de gallo = tomatoes+onions+cilantro+jalapenos+salt+lemon.

Ingredients:
Alubias
Salt
Water

Preparation:
1) Boil the alubias until they are soft.
2) Add salt and serve.

Again, price? Not sure, they did not mention…
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BMW Chicken…
Don’t be confused, BMW does not produce chickens yet!!!
We used the BMW dealer’s facility in Merida Yucatan to conduct the repairs of Brian’s fork and when we finished they got some chicken at a local place called: Pollo Brujo. Awesome chicken especially after days of not having any meat in my system.
Price, don’t know, we were too tired to ask.
Thanks guys.
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Aguas y chicharrones de Betty.
Betty is my good friend from Secondary school. Together with her husband they sell “aguas” (juices) in Merida, but also chicharrones (fried snacks) and palomitas (pop corn). A 900 millilitres bottle of juice (watermelon, mango, lemon, barley, etc) is $12 Mexican pesos and a little bag of chicharrones or palomitas is $5 Mexican pesos; perhaps the fried snacks are not the healthiest option for anyone but sure it makes money.
The juices are very tasty and they make them with care and love.
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Avena Rivero.
This is a 400 grams bag of ground oats with banana flavour. Price is $18.81 Mexican pesos and a great mistake. It is full of sugar and the flavour added is not the one we were looking for, so back to our original idea for cereal at breakfast time… Thanks Archie!!!
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Paletas Janitzio.
There is an ice cream shop in the Zocalo in Merida that offers fantastic ice cream in a different shape of what we are normally used to. The shape is called paleta.
A regular paleta is $10 Mexican pesos (made with fruit and water) and a more complex paleta goes for $17 Mexican pesos. I love the Oreo one!!!
Thanks Betty’s mom for the invitation.
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Vegetarian chilli.
Chilli goes well with or without meat so I decided to try with soya (soy).

Ingredients:
Soya
Boiled black beans
Garlic
Onions
Celery
Red bell peppers
Jalapenos
Potatoes
Carrots
Tomatoes
Tomato sauce
Paprika
Cumin
Salt
Black pepper
Bay leaves

Preparation:
1) Boil the soya with some bay leaves and once boiled, squeeze the water out of it.
2) Cut all ingredients in reasonable sized pieces.
3) Fry the garlic and onion. Once this is done, add the carrots and potatoes, continue to fry.
4) Add the celery, jalapenos and red bell pepper, fry some more.
5) Add the tomatoes and stir a little bit.
6) Add the tomato sauce.
7) Add paprika, cumin and salt to taste, perhaps a bit of black pepper if desired.
8) Finally add the soya and boiled beans. Let the entire mix cook for about 15 more minutes… check for salt and fix.
9) Enjoy with corn bread or tortillas. When in Rome, be Romanian!!! Don’t forget your Modelo beer.

What to do with the leftovers of the soya. A ceviche with soya which is basically cold soya with fresh tomatoes, onion, cilantro, lemon and salt.
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Pico de gallo with habaneros.
The habanero chili comes from the Amazonas region, and from there it was spread in Peru. One domesticated habanero, which was dated at 8500 years old, was found at an archaeological dig in Peru. An intact fruit of a small domesticated habanero was found in Pre-ceramic levels in Guitarrero Cave in the Peruvian highlands, and was dated to 6500 B.C. It migrated North to Mexico and the Caribbean via Colombia.
Upon its discovery by Spaniards, it was rapidly disseminated to other adequate climate areas of the world, to the point that 18th Century taxonomists mistook China for its place of origin. Today, the largest producer is Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula
The habanero pepper is one of the more intensely piquant species of peppers of the Capsicum genus. Unripe habaneros are green, and they change colour as they mature. Common colours are orange and red, but white, brown, and pink are also seen. Typically a ripe habanero is 2–6 centimetres (0.8–2.4 in) long. Habanero chili peppers are rated 100,000-350,000 on the Scoville scale.

The Scoville scale is a measurement of the spicy heat (or piquance) of a chili pepper. The number of Scoville heat units (SHU) indicates the amount of capsaicin present. Capsaicin is a chemical compound that stimulates chemoreceptor nerve endings in the skin, especially the mucous membranes; capsaicin itself has a Scoville rating of 16,000,000 SHU.
The scale is named after its creator, American pharmacist Wilbur Scoville. His method, devised in 1912, is known as the Scoville Organoleptic Test. The modern commonplace method for quantitative analysis uses high-performance liquid chromatography, making it possible to directly measure capsaicinoid content.

Anyway, after all those lines let me tell you how to make pico de gallo with habaneros.

Ingredients:
Habaneros
Onion
Tomatoes
Cilantro
Lemon
Salt

Preparation:
1) Cut all ingredients but be extremely careful when cutting the habaneros. My hands were burning for two days after I made this delicious dish.
2) Mix them all up and enjoy with anything.

Note: Tomatoes are from Nolo, a small little town where I got two kilos of tomatoes for $10 Mexican pesos and on top of it, the ladies gave an extra kilo for free.
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Las tortas de Betty.
If you may recall a torta is a Portuguese bun with anything inside. A Portuguese bun in Mexico is called bolillo and it goes for $1-1.2 Mexican pesos.

I remember when I used to ask Betty for a piece of her torta; besides my delicious tortas made by my lovely mom I liked hers made by her lovely mom too.

In Merida she has made couple of tortas for us: one with egg, lettuce, tomato and avocado, another one made with: kidney beans from Cuba (I brought them), nopal (cactus), cheese, lettuce, tomato, avocado and non spicy red sauce.
Thanks Betty for sharing the goodness with me again.
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Los tacos de Waldo.
Waldo knows how to cook which is not the “normal” situation in a Mexican home. He made mushroom tacos which were pretty tasty. He simply cooked the mushrooms with onions, garlic and salt, of course he used oil.
To serve, you simply place on the table the pot of cooked mushrooms, tortillas, hot sauce, lemons, fresh cilantro and onions and anything else you may want to add.
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Thursday, April 5, 2012

Back to life…

1 Canadian dollar = approximately $12 Mexican pesos.

It really feels like we are back to living and I do not mean this in a bad way but being used to having access to several foods and amazing things it is not easy to live without them. I think it is easier when you have not tried them or even know about them.

Anyway, back into Mexico I almost had a heart attack seeing all the food available and the prices.

I am presenting you with a bunch of meals we tried as soon as we arrived into Mexico, most of them were invited to us by friends.

Cozumel, Quintana Roo-
First Gurjit and his wife welcomed us with some Indian food, super tasty. We had with it some avocados; of course I did not take pictures because my hands were busy peeling the avocados… they also shared with us some nuts. Ummm…
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Gurjit also invited us for breakfast and I had chilaquiles with red sauce. Awesome…
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We had some coffee and bread at a local bakery called Zermat Bakery located on Calle 4 Norte Avenida 5 Norte. The coffee was $12 Pesos, bread varies between $5-12 Pesos depending on complexity. Very tasty, excellent service.
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Cancun, Quintana Roo-
Waiting for hours outside of Aduanas office in Cancun we became hungry so I got some panuchos for $20 Pesos and it helped us go through the rest of the day.
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Tacos with Fernando. Oh my God, Fernando really treated us well. First we had tacos pastor as I had wished for several months.
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Then we had fish tacos which I never had before, fantastic. I accompanied my fish tacos with a Tecate Light beer. The fish tacos were made out of: shrimp, octopus, beef with shrimp, fish and fish with avocado.
They also put on the table some spicy-sweet sour sauce made with chile morita + tamarindo + chamoy + tomatoes; this sauce goes well on tortilla chips or with the tacos…
Brian had ceviche which was tasty and spicy (made with habaneros).
The name of the Restaurant is Splash and it has been operating for about 3 years.
Ummm… Thanks Fernando.
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From now on, I will try to collect recipes and good dishes from Mexico with more details…

Trans del Caribe.

Here you have the website to see what Trans del Caribe is: http://www.transcaribe.net/; for us essentially Trans del Caribe means Success to exit CUBA.

This Mexican company helped us to go back to Mexico, they are awesome and on top of that they fed us like kings on the boat and the cook Gustavo taught me a recipe that I will use as soon as I have access to an oven.

I am presenting several pictures of some of the meals offered while on board.
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-Lentils-

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-Spaghetti with chicken-

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-Soup-

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-Beef, rice and beans-

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-Salad and dressings-

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-Chicken-

-Queso Napolitano-
This is a sweet dessert, very tasty and simple to make.

Ingredients:
6-7 Eggs
1 Can of condensed milk
1 Can of evaporated milk
Vanilla to taste
½ Pack of cream cheese

Preparation:
1) Caramelize some sugar in a baking container. Not sure how big but we will fond out once we have the mix.
2) Mix all ingredients and pour into container.
3) Place the container in baño maría (water bath) inside the oven.
4) Bake for about 1 hour at a 275oF.
5) Make sure that it is fully cooked by using a toothpick; if the toothpick comes out clean then it is done.
6) Take dessert out of the water bath and out of the container and enjoy!!!
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Thanks so much Trans del Caribe for supporting us in our journey!!!
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