Not for nothing is there a saying that goes “as American as apple pie.” Pie in the US is American comfort food of the first order.
Pie in Mexico is pay.
Pay : a sweet taste of el sueño Americano, a bite of the ideal life en los Estados Unidos. Just like a milkshake, just like a Hollywood blockbuster, just like being able to wear a pair of laid-back Levi’s jeans.
In the 80s, when I was a tween like my son Sami is today, my school friends and I would go for a thick and tall slice of pay, right after watching an American blockbuster film. Which wasn’t often. Back then, you had to wait anywhere from a few months to a year for any of these movies to make their way down to Mexico, if they ever did.
Continue reading Así es mi Pay de Limón…Mexican Lime Pie
Brochetitas de Sandía, Tomatillo y Mozzarella con Vinagreta de Miel y Limón
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 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
For the pound cake:
1 cup unsalted butter, preferably at room temperature, plus more for buttering the pan
1 cup granulated sugar
7 eggs, separated
Zest of 1 lime
1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting the pan
Pinch of kosher or coarse sea salt
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
For the syrup:
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
1/3 cup granulated sugar
For the glaze:
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2/3 cup confectioners’ sugar
To make the pound cake: In a mixer set with the paddle attachment, beat the butter over medium speed until soft and creamy, about 5 minutes. Add the granulated sugar and continue to beat until well mixed and creamy, another 2 to 3 minutes. Beat in the egg yolks, add the lime zest and continue to beat until fully incorporated, another 2 minutes or so. Reduce the speed to low, and gently add the all-purpose flour, salt and baking powder. Continue to beat for another couple minutes. The batter should be completely homogeneous and feel a bit dense and heavy.
Transfer the batter to a large mixing bowl. Rinse the bowl of the mixer well and change the paddle attachment to the whisk attachment. Beat the egg whites on medium-high speed, until they hold stiff peaks, about 4 to 5 minutes. Slowly, incorporate a bit of the fluffed-up egg whites into the heavy batter. Repeat with the rest of the whites, folding them gently but persistently, until the batter is completely incorporated and seems lighter and fluffier. Don’t over mix, or you will remove the puff effect form the beaten egg whites!
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter the sides and bottom of a loaf pan and lightly coat with all-purpose flour. Shake out any extra flour.
Pour the batter into the prepared mold and bake in the oven about 50 minutes, or until the pound cake is golden brown on top, seems beautifully fluffy and a toothpick comes out clean. Remove from the oven. Let cool for at least 10 minutes.
To make the lime syrup: Combine the 1/2 cup lime juice with the granulated sugar in a small saucepan and heat over medium heat for a couple minutes, just until sugar has diluted. Run the tip of a knife around the edges of the pound cake. Place an inverted platter or board on top of the loaf pan. Invert to release the pound cake and immediately invert another platter on top of the upside down pound cake, flip over to have straight side up. With a toothpick, poke holes all over its surface, going as deep as the toothpick will go. Pour the entire lime syrup evenly over the pound cake. Let it sit for 10 minutes.
To make the lime glaze: In a small mixing bowl, combine the 2 tablespoons lime juice with the vanilla and confectioners’ sugar until thoroughly mixed. With a tablespoon, add one tablespoon at a time over the pound cake and rub it gently with the back of the spoon to spread it over the top. Let some of the extra glaze slide down the sides, as it will give it a pretty glazed look. Let the glaze dry for at least 10 minutes. Enjoy!
Cover the pound cake, so it will remain moist, if there is any left over.
© 2010-2014 MEXICAN TABLE, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
This is one of the quickest recipes that I have come up with.
It was just as quick to come up with it, as it was quick to make it.
It was sheer craving: I imagined it to accompany the Potato, Sweet Potato and Granny Smith Latkes, but you can use it to complement so many other things.
Continue reading Fennel and Lime Crema
LIME-RUBBED CHICKEN TACOS WITH CORN GUACAMOLE
Tacos de pollo con guacamole con elote
Serves 6 to 8
1 1/2 pounds boneless chicken breasts
2 tablespoons fresh-squeezed lime juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper, or to taste
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary, or 1/4 teaspoon dried
Corn Guacamole Ingredients:
2 large ripe Mexican avocados, halved, pitted and diced
1 jalapeño chile, roasted, chopped, or to taste
2 garlic cloves, roasted with the skin on, peeled and minced
3/4 cup corn kernels, shaved from corn, or cooked from thawed
3/4 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, halved or chopped
1 tablespoon fresh-squeezed lime juice
3/4 teaspoon kosher or sea salt, or to taste
To assemble Tacos:
10-12 corn tortillas, homemade or store-bought
To make the Chicken:
Mix the lime juice with the olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper and rosemary in a bowl. Pour on top of the chicken, in a container. Cover and refrigerate anywhere from 1/2 hour up to 12 hours.
Heat a medium-sized sauté or grill pan over medium-high heat. Add corn or safflower oil; once it is hot but not smoking, add the chicken. Sauté until golden brown and cooked through, about 5 minutes per side. Remove from the pan, place on chopping board to cool. When cool enough to handle, slice into diagonal strips about a 1/2-inch wide.
To make the Guacamole:
Place the jalapeño and garlic cloves in a small baking dish under the broiler, for 6 to 9 minutes, until completely cooked through, soft and skin is charred. Once cool enough to handle, peel garlic and mince along with chiles.
Place diced avocado in a mixing bowl. Add the charred and minced garlic and jalapeños, gently tossing everything together well. Incorporate the corn and tomatoes. Squeeze the lime juice on top and sprinkle the salt. Mix it all together.
To assemble Tacos:
In an already hot skillet or comal set over medium-low heat, heat the tortillas. It will take about 1 minute per side.
Place the tortillas in a tortilla warmer or wrap them in a clean kitchen towel or cloth napkin. Serve them together with the guacamole and the chicken at the table and assemble your tacos!
This episode explores three very different, very authentic and very simple twists on Mexican tacos, one of Mexico’s most iconic foods.
FRESH JíCAMA AND ORANGE PICO DE GALLO
Pico de jícama y naranja
Makes 8 servings
1 large or 2 small jícamas, 1 1/2 pounds, peeled and cut into sticks
3 oranges, peeled and separated into segments or sliced
3 tablespoons freshly-squeezed lime juice
3 tablspoons olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt, or more taste
1 tablespoon dried ground chile Piquín or Tajín, or to taste
1/2 cup shelled roasted (not salted) peanuts, chopped and toasted
In a mixing bowl, whisk together the lime juice, olive oil, salt and pepper to create a vinaigrette.
Place the jícamas and oranges in a salad bowl. Toss with the vinaigrette. Let it all marinate for about 10 minutes, either inside or outside of the refrigerator. Sprinkle with the peanuts and serve.
ANCHO CHILE AND ORANGE JUICE TEQUILA CHASER
Makes 10-12 small servings
1 ounce or 2 ancho chiles
3 cups fresh-squeezed orange juice
1/4 cup white onion, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh-squeezed lime juice
1 tablespoon kosher or sea salt, or to taste
Heat a comal or dry skillet over low-medium heat until hot.
Remove the stems, seeds and veins from the ancho chiles. Toast over the hot comal or dry skillet, over medium heat, for about 15 seconds per side, until chiles have softened and then begin to toast, have changed their color and released their aroma. Be careful not to burn them.
Place the chiles in a saucepan and cover them with water. Bring to a boil and simmer over medium heat for 10 minutes, until they rehydrate and look plump; let cool.
Place chiles and 1/2 cup of their cooking liquid in a blender along with the orange juice, lime juice, white onion and salt. Purée until smooth.
Serve as a drink alongside tequila in caballitos or straight, poured over ice cubes. Sangrita can be refrigerated for up to a week.
6 fresh ears of corn, husked and rinsed
Unsalted butter, to taste
Mayonnaise, to taste
1 cup crumbled queso cotija or queso fresco, or to taste
1 lime, or to taste
Kosher or sea salt, to taste
Dried ground chile like piquín or a mix like Tajín
To cook the corn, you can grill it or boil it. To grill, brush the ears of corn with a bit of oil. Place them over a grill or grill pan, set over medium heat, and let the corn cook and char slightly, turning every 3 minutes until all the corn is done, anywhere from 9 to 12 minutes total. Remove from the heat. You can also cook the corn it in boiling water until soft and cooked, less than ten minutes.
Once cooked, stick the corn on corn holders or a wooden stick. Choose your toppings! Traditionally in Mexico, we: spread butter, then a layer of mayonnaise, coat thoroughly with crumbled cheese, sprinkle with salt and ground chile and finally, drizzle with freshly-squeezed lime juice.
This year I promised my boys we would plant goodies in the backyard to harvest ourselves. At the nursery, jumping up and down as in a candy shop, they dragged so many plants to the counter, I had to give an absolute NO to half of them.
We ended up with thyme, oregano, bay leaves, rosemary, mint, parsley, and cilantro. Ok, and tomatoes, cherry and roma. Fine… corn too, don’t know what I was thinking. And wait! We couldn’t leave without jalapeños, which led me to run for some tomatillos. And scallions. I stopped there. I did.
Then Sami came back with a little watermelon plant. That was the wildest idea, oh, that monster of mine. We’ve no room to grow watermelon. I told him about the big wide fields in Northern Mexico, in states like Sonora, Chihuahua, Jalisco and Sinaloa where watermelon is grown extensively. Our backyard is… not so big.
We brought home Sami’s watermelon plant.
Continue reading Summertime Watermelon & Tomatillo Salad: Beat the Heat!
Summertime Watermelon & Tomatillo Salad: Beat the Heat!