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January, 2014


January 30, 2014
tamalera

I grow really fond of my cooking tools. Most of the Mexican ones have come straight from Mexico. Some have been passed down from my family, like the comal my mom gave me in hopes I would become a good cook. Some I have shamelessly taken, like the lime squeezer, which comes from her kitchen, too. The many wooden spoons I have come from different regions in Mexico and have come tucked in my suitcase. As for the molcajete, I asked my father-in-law to get me one from the Mexico City market, and he lugged it for me in his carry-on bag (he reminds me to this day…). Yet, I found my tamalera, a special pot for steaming tamales, here in DC!

When my dad visits from Mexico, ever since we moved to the U.S., he has brought some for me. And I didn’t start making tamales at home, until I had kids. First, I used a vegetable steamer. Once I moved to DC, I found this one at Panam, the mostly Mexican (Latin) grocery store on the corner of 14th Street and Parkwood.

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Tamalera

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January 30, 2014
Dried corn husks

Corn has been a central part of the Mexican diet and culture since ancient times. Not only is it eaten fresh in its many varieties, its dried kernels are used for an infinity of things, including masa to make everything from tortillas to tamales. It’s husks are also treasured as an ingredient to wrap and cook food in. Tamales, of course, have remained the wrapped and cooked food par excellence in Mexico. Methods have varied from steaming, to cooking over comales or the open fire, to cooking in underground pits.

Now, the use of fresh or dried leaves for wrapping and cooking foods is not exclusive to Mexico. Grape leaves were used since ancient Greece and banana leaves in the Philippines, to name some. In Mexico, there has been a large variety of ingredients for this use like banana leaves, avocado leaves, chaya, hoja santa leaves, large spinach leaves and even some exotic flower leaves. Still corn husks, fresh or dried, have been and remain a crucial one.

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Corn Husks

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January 28, 2014

“It was 1997, and I was excited. A year after moving to Dallas from Mexico City, where I was born and raised, I would finally have the chance to get what Tex-Mex cooking was all about. I was visiting San Antonio, the capital of Tex-Mex, at one of its most famous Tex-Mex restaurants. And then the food came.

The large, oval combo platter in front of me was supposed to be cheese enchiladas with red rice and refried beans, but all I could see was a thick blanket of cream-colored sauce with melted, yellow processed cheese on top, threatening to spill over the plate and possibly even out of the restaurant. I couldn’t tell whether the tortillas were corn or flour, and they were barely filled; the mealy red rice had a watered-down tomato taste and an overdose of cumin; the refried beans were runny and — oh, heresy! — there weren’t enough of them to eat along with each bite. I was hungry, and curious, so I ate it all. In a strange way, it was comforting, but I was perplexed. After I finished, I told the Mexican waiter: No entiendo lo que me acabo de comer. I don’t get what I just ate.

I still think about that meal because it is emblematic of the problems people have with Tex-Mex. Mexican food purists take swipes at it, claiming it is simply bad Americanized Mexican food, while Texans rush to defend it as its own breed…”

To read the entire article, click here.


Tres Leches and Strawberry Mexican Gelatin

Tres Leches and Strawberry Mexican Gelatin
Gelatina de Tres Leches con Fresas

Serves: 8

Gelatina de Tres Leches con Fresas" alt="Tres Leches and Strawberry Mexican Gelatin
Gelatina de Tres Leches con Fresas" />

Ingredients

For the tres leches gelatin:

1 cup whole or 2-percent milk

1 14-ounce can La Lechera sweetened condensed milk

1 12-ounce can evaporated milk

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 envelopes unflavored gelatin powder (or about 2 tablespoons)

1/2 cup lukewarm water


For the strawberry gelatin:

2 cups cranberry or pomegranate juice

2 envelopes unflavored gelatin powder (or about 2 tablespoons)

1/2 cup lukewarm water

1/2 pound strawberries, stemmed, rinsed and quartered

To Prepare

To prepare the tres leches gelatin: Bring 1 cup of milk to a boil in a medium saucepan. Reduce heat to medium-low and allow the milk to simmer for 5 minutes. Add the sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk and vanilla extract, and stir to combine. Increase the heat to medium-high to return to a simmer, then reduce to medium-low and let simmer for 5 more minutes. Remove from heat and pour into a large mixing bowl.

Pour 1/2 cup of lukewarm water into a medium bowl and add 2 envelopes of unflavored gelatin. Stir until well combined, then let it rest until the mixture puffs up (it will increase slightly in volume and appear as if it’s solidifying) – approximately 4 to 5 minutes. Meanwhile, fill a small saucepan with 2 to 3 inches of water and bring to a simmer over medium-low heat. Place the bowl with the puffed-up gelatin mixture on top of the saucepan with the simmering water. Let it rest there, stirring occasionally, until the gelatin has completely dissolved and the mixture has a barely amber color – approximately 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from heat.

Pour the dissolved gelatin into the bowl with the tres leches mixture and stir to combine.

To prepare the Strawberry Gelatin: Pour the juice into a large mixing bowl. Repeat the same process to mix and dissolve the gelatin as outlined in the second paragraph above. Pour the dissolved gelatin into the juice and stir to combine.

To layer your tres leches and strawberry gelatin: In plastic cups or single-portion gelatin molds, use a liquid measuring cup or small pitcher to fill about 1/3 of each cup with the tres leches mixture. Place the cups into the refrigerator until the gelatin sets (appears solid and does not slosh when moved), about 20 to 30 minutes. Do not put the bowls with your remaining tres leches mixture and juice mix in the refrigerator.

Remove the cups from the refrigerator and pour the juice mixture on top of the tres leches, filling about another 1/3 of the cup, and add some strawberry pieces. Cover the cups with plastic wrap, return them to the refrigerator, and let chill for at least 2 hours before serving.

(You are at free will to play with your combinations! You can decide how many layers - one or ten! - and how thick or thin you want to make them. You can choose which flavor you want to start with, or if you want to alternate. Continue until you are done using all of the flavored mixes.)

If you want to use a large 8- to 10-inch serving mold, fill it halfway with tres leches mix and refrigerate until set, about 20 to 30 minutes. Then pour the juice mixture on top and carefully add the strawberry pieces. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before unmolding. It should be firm and not feel sticky or sag, and it should slide easily out of the mold with a few gentle shakes.

Hint: If your gelatin mixtures start to solidify while you are waiting for layers to set in the refrigerator, not to worry! Adding a little at a time, stir water into the mixture until it becomes liquid, again.

© 2010-2014 MEXICAN TABLE, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

http://www.patismexicantable.com/2014/01/tres-leches-and-strawberry-mexican-gelatin/


What better way to end the season than with a big party? Pati throws a neighborhood bash and cooks up the easiest and best Mexican-themed dishes that would be a huge hit at any party. And what better accessory to a Mexican fiesta than a giant piñata? Pati also gets the chance to visit a piñata maker in the central market of Morelia.


Mixed Melon, Lime & Coconut Aqua Fresca

Mixed Melon, Lime and Coconut Agua Fresca
Agua Fresca de Sandia, Melón, Limón y Coco

Serves: 16

Agua Fresca de Sandia, Melón, Limón y Coco" alt="Mixed Melon, Lime and Coconut Agua Fresca
Agua Fresca de Sandia, Melón, Limón y Coco" />

Ingredients

12 cups cubed, seeded watermelon (about 1 8-pound watermelon)

4 cups cubed cantaloupe

2 cups coconut water

1/3 cup honey

1/2 cup freshly squeezed lime juice (about 6 limes juiced)

1 liter seltzer water

Lime slices, to garnish

Mint leaves, to garnish

To Prepare

Working in batches, combine the watermelon, cantaloupe, coconut water, honey and lime juice in a blender. Pulse until well pureed. If desired, pass the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer. Refrigerate in a large punch bowl until well chilled, about 2 hours.

Serve with a splash of seltzer and garnish with lime slices and mint leaves.

© 2010-2014 MEXICAN TABLE, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

http://www.patismexicantable.com/2014/01/mixed-melon-lime-and-coconut-agua-fresca/


Red Pozole with Traditional Garnishes

Red Pozole with Traditional Garnishes
Pozole Rojo

Serves: 12

Pozole Rojo" alt="Red Pozole with Traditional Garnishes
Pozole Rojo" />

Ingredients

For the pozole:

1 pound dried hominy or 3 29-ounce cans hominy, drained and rinsed

1 head garlic, papery outer layers removed, but not entirely peeled (if using dried hominy)

2 whole chickens (about 3 pounds each), rinsed and cut into serving pieces, or a combination of 3 pounds chicken and 3 pounds pork shoulder or butt

1 white onion, peeled

5 fresh cilantro sprigs

1 tablespoon kosher or coarse sea salt, plus more to taste


For the chile puree:

2 ancho chiles (about 1 ounce) rinsed, stemmed and seeded

3 guajillo chiles (about 1 ounce) rinsed, stemmed and seeded

3 tablespoons coarsely chopped white onion

3 garlic cloves

Pinch of ground cumin

2 whole cloves

1 teaspoon kosher or coarse sea salt, or more to taste

3 tablespoons vegetable oil


Garnishes:

5-6 limes, halved

10 radishes, rinsed, halved and thinly sliced

1 head of romaine lettuce, rinsed, drained and thinly sliced

1/2 cup chopped white onion

Dried ground chile, such as piquín, ancho, chipotle or a Mexican mix

Dried oregano

Crispy tostadas or tortilla chips, store-bought or homemade

Refried beans, store-bought or homemade (optional)

To Prepare

To make the pozole: If using dried hominy, place it in a large soup pot. Add water to the pot to cover the hominy by at least 3-inches. Add the head of garlic. Don’t add salt now or the hominy will toughen. Bring to a boil and simmer over medium-low heat, partially covered, for 4 to 5 hours, until hominy is tender and has begun to “bloom” or open up. Occasionally skim the foam from the top as the hominy cooks and make sure it doesn’t dry as it cooks, adding more hot water if need be. If using canned or pre-cooked hominy, start with step below.

Meanwhile, place the chicken (and pork, if using), in a large soup pot. Add water to cover the top layer of chicken by at least 2 inches. Add the onion, cilantro and the tablespoon of salt and bring to a boil. Simmer, partially covered, until chicken is cooked through and tender, about 35 minutes. Drain, reserving the cooking broth. When the chicken is cool enough to handle, remove the skin and bones and shred the meat into bite-sized pieces.

In the soup pot, combine the cooked hominy and its broth (discard the garlic head), or the canned hominy and 2 cups water, with the shredded chicken and its broth. Taste for salt, add more if need be, and simmer all together for 10 minutes more.

To make the chile puree: Place the chiles in a 3-quart saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and simmer for 10 minutes, or until the chiles have softened and rehydrated. Place the chiles, along with 1/2 cup of their cooking liquid, the onion, garlic, cumin, cloves and salt in a blender or food processor and puree until smooth. If using a food processor, be sure to wrap a towel around the joint between the lid and the base to catch any escaping liquid. Pass the sauce through a fine-mesh strainer into a bowl, pressing gently on the solids with the back of a wooden spoon to extract as much liquid as possible.

Heat 3 tablespoons vegetable oil in the 3-quart saucepan over medium heat until hot, but not smoking. Add the chile puree, bring to a boil and simmer for 6 to 8 minutes, stirring occasionally and allowing it to thicken.

Add the red chile sauce to simmering pozole, let it cook for an additional 25 minutes, adjust the seasoning, and serve in soup bowls. Arrange the garnishes in smaller bowls on the table and let your guests customize their pozole. Or, if making ahead, let the pozole cool then cover and refrigerate, and reheat when you are ready to serve.

© 2010-2014 MEXICAN TABLE, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

http://www.patismexicantable.com/2014/01/red-pozole-with-traditional-garnishes/


Watermelon, Tomatillo & Mozarella Skewers

Watermelon, Tomatillo and Mozzarella Skewers with Lime-Honey Vinaigrette
Brochetas de Sandía, Tomate Verde y Mozzarella con Vinagreta de Miel y Limón

Serves: 6

Brochetas de Sandía, Tomate Verde y Mozzarella con Vinagreta de Miel y Limón" alt="Watermelon, Tomatillo and Mozzarella Skewers with Lime-Honey Vinaigrette
Brochetas de Sandía, Tomate Verde y Mozzarella con Vinagreta de Miel y Limón" />

Ingredients

For the vinaigrette:

2 tablespoons chopped cilantro

1 teaspoon grated ginger

1/2 cup honey

Zest of 2 limes

5 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice

1 tablespoon Maggi sauce


For the skewers:

6 cups seeded and cubed ripe watermelon

About 12 ounces tomatillos, husks removed, rinsed, and thinly sliced (about 3 cups)

1 large package (about 8 ounces) of small fresh mozzarella balls

To Prepare

To make the vinaigrette: Place the cilantro, ginger, honey, lime zest and juice, and Maggi sauce into a large mason jar and shake vigorously to emulsify. Alternatively, place all of the ingredients in a bowl and whisk to emulsify.

To make the skewers: Slide the watermelon cubes, tomatillo slices and mozzarella balls onto wooden toothpicks or small plastic skewers, alternating between each ingredient. Serve with the lime-honey vinaigrette as a dipping sauce.

© 2010-2014 MEXICAN TABLE, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

http://www.patismexicantable.com/2014/01/watermelon-tomatillo-and-mozzarella-skewers-with-lime-honey-vinaigrette/


Spinning Top Cocktail

SPINNING TOP COCKTAIL
Trompo Zacatecano

Serves: 1

INGREDIENTS
For rimming the glass:
1 lime wedge (about 1/4 of a fresh lime)
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 tablespoons ground chile powder, such as chile piquín, ancho, chipotle or a Mexican mix, or to taste
2 tablespoons kosher or coarse sea salt

For the drink:
1 1/2 cups ice cubes
4 tablespoons (2 ounces) mezcal or tequila
3/4 cup grapefruit soda
1/4 cup pineapple juice
1 to 2 fresh mint leaves

TO PREPARE
Run the lime wedge around the rim of a glass. Place the sugar, chile powder and salt on a small plate and dip the rim of the glass in the salt to coat.

Add the ice cubes to the glass, then pour in the mezcal, grapefruit soda and pineapple juice, stir gently. Tear the mint leaves into several pieces and drop them into the glass, stirring gently so they release their flavor into the drink.

© 2010-2014 MEXICAN TABLE, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED


January 26, 2014

“A companion to the PBS show of the same name, Pati’s Mexican Table is Mexican chef Pati Jinich’s beautifully rendered blog covering Mexican food culture and delicacies. The official chef of the Mexican Cultural Institute in Washington D.C., Jinich is a busy mom of three boys (who she lovingly calls ‘monsters’) who keeps connected to her Mexico City upbringing through food. Her posts are light, personal and relatable, while also being chock-full of Mexican culinary history. Her recipes are easy to follow, not to mention delicious! One of the best Mexican food resources online, Jinich’s table is one table at which I’d love to be offered a permanent seat…”

To read the entire article, click here.


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