Archive for May, 2006

Tamales

Today, we concluded our Mexican series with two types of tamales — a savory tamale filled with pork in a red chile sauce, and a sweet tamale filled with banana in coconut cream. Earlier in the week, Señora Carmen showed us how to make them.

Since making tamales involves assembly work, it is ideal to prepare them in the company of friends. We were fortunate to have Marina and Nazish help us.

Tamales

Here are the recipes.

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Mexican Seafood Soup

Today, we made a delightful seafood soup flavored with fresh squid. The key to this soup was cooking the squid in a gentle boil for 25 minutes to make it tender.

Preparing the squid enthralled the children.

Squid with Kids

The soup delighted squid-lovers, intrigued the unacquainted, and converted many skeptics.

Here is the recipe.

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Mexican Rice and Beans

Today, we used three classical Mexican ingredients — beans, rice, and pork. The first dish was Frijoles Mexicanos, also known as Mexican Refried Beans. Preparing the dish was easy — boil beans over a gentle simmer for 25 minutes with epazote (a Mexican herb that adds a subtle flavor and reduces digestive gases) and bacon lard, mash them, and then fry them with onion and garlic.

Preparing rice was a little trickier. It required a balance of heat and water to produce tender and separated cooked rice grains. Cooking involved three steps — fry the rice, boil it with tomato sauce, then gently steam it with water.

Preparing the pork dish, called Picadillo Oaxaque, was a bit involved. We fried coarsely ground pork with onions and garlic, and seasoned it with cinnamon, peppercorns, cloves, vinegar, and raisins.

Here are the Frijoles Mexicanos, Arroz Rojo, and Picadillo Oaxaque recipes.

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Tortillas

Today, we started a series on Mexican cuisine by using two of the most famous Mexican ingredients – corn and chile peppers. Corn was prepared into the ubiquitous tortilla and the peppers into salsa (sauce). Señora Carmen, my friends’ mother who is visiting from Mexico, showed us how to make tortillas by hand.

Senora Carmen

The tortillas were topped with red salsa and green salsa to make memelas, which resemble miniature pizzas. The tortillas were also folded with cheese to make quesadillas.

Here are the recipes.

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