New Favorite Product

 

I recently purchased this box of Knorr's Chipotle Minicubes. I love this product. One of the tiny cubes is equal to one chipotle. So easy to use. For lunch today, I made a taco filling out of left over pork roast and threw in a chipotle cube. It was perfect, just a little heat and that great smoky flavor you get from chipotles. I found this product in the Mexican food section at my local supermarket. Check it out!

 

Mariano's Invention

In my cookbook, Stewing in Texas, I write about the history of the margarita and how Mariano Martinez invented the frozen margarita machine. Mariano has received many awards and recognition for his invention which put the Mexican restaurant business on the map. The original frozen margarita machine sat in his restaurant on Greenville Avenue in Dallas for many years until the restaurant closed in 2005 and Mariano donated the machine to the Smithsonian Museum.

Recently the Smithsonian listed the top ten American inventions and there along with the electric light bulb, artificial heart, electric guitar and telephone was Mariano's frozen margarita machine. Congratulations to Mr. Martinez's, I will drink a toast to his machine next time I visit his restaurant in Arlington, Texas.

 

The BBQ Shack, Paola, KS

Recipe for Jalapeno Poppers featured on Food Network Show,

Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives - Real Deal BBQ Episode

Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives is one of my favortie Food Network shows. Don't watch it on an empty stomach, all the food looks so good. The Real Deal BBQ episode has run quite a few times, the owner of the BBQ Shack makes jalapeno poppers using the Chile Twister tool. Every time the episode runs, the Jalepno Cafe gets orders for Chile Twisters.

Thank you Guy and Food Network!

BBQ Shack's Poppers

Jalapeno Cafe Main Page

 

Preserving Jalapenos

This time of year, gardeners are harvesting jalapenos and wondering what to do with their bumper crops. Jalapeno peppers are easy to preserve, you can freeze them, can or pickle them or make them into delicious jellies and sauces.

When harvesting peppers for preserving, be sure to only take the perfect peppers, discard any with signs of rot or insect damage. Jalapenos can be harvested when they are still in the green stage, this is the jalapeno we are most famaliar with. You can leave the peppers on the plant and allow them to ripen until they turn bright red, these are good for jellies, just remember the ripe red peppers are much hotter than the green ones.

When working with chile peppers, you should use rubber gloves and rememeber to never touch your face, most especially in the eye area. If you do, splash plenty of water on the area to help stop any burning.

Freezing jalapenos is easy, wash them, cut off tops and stems and split lengthwise. Remove seeds and white membranes. Drop jalapeno pieces in boiling water for about 60 seconds, them place in bowl of ice water to cool. When cool, drain well and place in freezer bags or containers and freeze. They should be good for about 12 months.

Jalapeno peppers are delicious when pickled. You can make round slices, pickle them whole and add vegetables to the pickling mix. Look under Recipes/Preserve to find recipes for pickled jalapenos

You can make jelly from the jalapenos either at the green stage or red stage (or both, if you have enough jalapenos). Here is link for a recipe for Jalapeno Jelly .

Remember when canning or preserving jalapenos (or any vegetable or fruit), your jars and utensils should be boiled in water to sterlize before usuing. If canning jalepenos without any vinegar or acid liquid, the filled jars should be processed in a pressure cooker to insure safe canning following instructions that come with the pressure cooker.. Jars of pickled jalapenos which have an acid vingear liquid can be boiled in a hot water bath for 10 to 15 minutes. Be sure to lightly screw the lids and rings on the jars but do not tighten until after the hot water bath and cool down period.

Jarritos

Jarritos is a popular brand of Mexican soft drinks. The name "Jarritos" refers to the Mexican tradition of drinking water and other drinks from clay pottery jugs. In 1950, Don Francisco "El Guero" Hill started the Jarritos compamy in Guadalajara, Jalisco. The Jarritos brand quickly gained popularity in Mexico. They are made of natural fruit flavors and are less carbonated that American made soft drinks. In 1989, Jarritos started exporting to the United States and within a few years, became the most popular soft drink among Hispanic consumers. Jarritos come in eleven flavors, fruit punch, grapefruit, guava, jamaica, lime, mandarin orange, pineapple, strawbery, tamarind, mango, and watermelon. The next time you are serving a Mexican meal, buy an assortment of Jarritos. The rainbow colors of the drinks in tall glass bottles will give a festive look to your table. The sweet fruit flavors go well with the spicy Mexico food. (Thanks to the Dallas Morning News for the Picture of the Jarritos)

 

Pre-Hispanic Recipes

I recently acquired an issue of Arqueologia Mexicana magazine which featured foods and recipes from Mexico's Pre-Hispanic times. Here are a few recipes to give you an idea of Mayan and Aztec cooking.

Stone Broth - from Oaxaca

1 pound shrimp
1 pound fish
5 plum tomatoes, chopped
10 cloves of garlic
Chopped chives and dry chiles to taste
Sprig of epazote.

Before preparing the broth, you must also obtain five gourds, five small forked sticks to use as spoons, a terco of fire wood and 25 small white river stones.

To prepare, build fire and place the stones in the fire until very hot. Place equal amounts of tomato, garlic chives, chiles and epazote into each gourd. Add one or two of the stones to each gourd and stir to cook, removing stones before adding other ingredients. This procedure is repeated until ingredients cooked. Add the shrimp and fish. Finally add another hot stone to each gourd to allow the broth to finish boiling. Remove stones from the gourds and the broth is ready to eat.

Perspired Tacos - From Zacatecas

1 pound lean pork
4 ancho chiles
2 pasilla chiles
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic
3 tablespoons toasted peanuts
1/2 of a dry corn tortilla
18 small freshly made corn tortillas
Oil
Salt

Cook the pork in water until soft and tender. Drain and shred, keeping the stock. Remove veins and seeds from chiles, toast and soak in a little of the pork stock. Fry the dry tortilla in a little oil. Place tortilla, chiles with broth, garlic, onion and peanuts in blender. Blend until smooth. Add salt to taste. Heat two table spoons oil in skillet and add chile mixture, adding more broth as needed. Add meat and cook until mixture thickens. Fill the freshly made tortillas with this mixture and fold in half. Place in a steamer lined with a layer of corn leaves, cover with more corn leaves and steam until tacos begin to perspire, make sure they do not come apart.

Ha'Sikil-P'ar - From Yucatan

The name of this Mayan dish is taken from it's ingredients: ha', water, sikil, squash seed. and p'ak, tomato, The dish is still served in Yucatan and is called sikil pak. It is a soft squash seed paste that is served with crisp corn tortillas and makes a excellent appetizer.

1 cup squash or pumpkin seed (sold at Mexican markets)
1 habanero chili, roasted
1 teaspoon salt or to taste
1 large ripe tomato, roasted
2/3 cups water, or as needed
1/2 cup finely chopped cilantro
3 tablespoons minced chives

Toast squash seed in dry skillet or comal, taking care not to burn. Place squash seeds, about half of the habanero chili, salt, tomato and water in blender or food processor. Blend until smooth. Stir in cilantro and chives. Serve with crisp corn tortilla chips.

Cascarones

Easter is coming up and it's time to start saving egg shells for cascarones. These colorful confetti filled eggs are an important part of the Easter celebration for Mexican families in Texas. It's supposed to bring you good luck to have a cascarone cracked on your head. In San Antonio during Fiesta week, everyone has cascarones to crack on their friends' heads. Make enough to give a dozen to each child and of course the grown-ups have to have some too. This is a good craft project for kids.

Some people make elaborately decorated cascarones, and others just spray them with spray paint. I color mine with Easter egg coloring and fill with paper confetti. One year, I made the mistake of using the mylar confetti sold at the craft store. It does not degrade and I think is is still in my lawn. Sometimes I can find paper confetti at the Mexican party stores, if not, I get out my scissors and snip enough crepe or tissue paper to make a bag of confetti.

To get started, you will need to eat lots of scrambled eggs and omelets and save the egg shells. To open the eggs, take a knife and punch a tiny hole in one end of the egg. Break the egg open at the other end, making a large enough opening shake the egg out into a bowl

Rinse the empty egg shell and put it in an egg carton. When you are ready to make the cascarones, dye the shells just like you would Easter eggs. Put them back in the egg cartons to dry. Once they are dry, you can write or draw on the shell or paste on gold stars. Fill each egg with confetti and paste a piece of tissue over the top to hold the confetti in.

Here are some website that tell more about the custom of cascarones. Cascarones , Cascarones -Egging at Mexican Fiestas .

 

Popular Arts and Crafts of Mexico

Mexico has a tradition of arts and crafts that is as colorful as its cooking. I have included a link for a picture gallery of some old and new Mexican handcraft items for you to see.

Click here to see the Mexican Craft Gallery

 

The Jalapeno Cafe's

10 Favorite Mexican Cookbooks

1. The Cusines of Mexico - Diana Kennedy - 1972 - Ms. Kennedy is sometimes called the "Julia Child of Mexican Cooking", This is a must have cookbook if you want to learn about Mexican cooking. The recipes are sometimes hard to follow, but well worth the effort. Learn the secrets of making perfect Mexican fried rice using the recipes in this book

2. The Tortilla Cookbook - Dinan Kennedy - 1975 - Several good enchilada verde recipes, plus more. As with all Kennedy cookbooks, the instructions in the recipes are detailed.
3. Food from My Heart - Zarela Martinez - 1998- Zarela's first popular cookbook, great recipes and many interesting stories.
4. Mexican Family Cooking - Aida Galilando - Nothern Mexican recipes. Aida Galilando is Zarela Martinez's mother.
5. El Norte - The Cusines of Northen Mexico - Great meat recipes,
6. Authentic Mexican Regional Cooking - Rick Bayless - Can't go wrong with a Rick Bayless cookbook.
7. The Taste of Mexico - Patricia Quintana 1986 - Her recipes are elegant intrepretations of Mexican cusine
8. Mexican Cookery - Barbara Hansen -1975 - Hansen was the food editor of the Los Angeles Times and really knew her stuff. The Christmas Salad recipe is the best for this classic Mexican recipe. A good cookbook for someone just starting to try Mexican recipes.
9, 365 Easy Mexican Recipes - This is a solid cookbook, has lots of good recipes with shortcuts and easy preparation. This one is a good "starter" Mexican cookbook.
10. Mexican Cooking for American Homes - Josefina Valazquez de la Leon - 1948 - Hard to find paperback book with recipes in English and Spainsh. Recipes are broken down by region and are authentic. This book documents the origins of popular Mexican recipes.

 


 

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