Esquites – Mexican Corn Snack

Ingredients:

  • 4 Ears Corn on the Cob, husks and silk removed
  • 4 – 6 Cups Water
  • 2/3 Cup Diced White Onion
  • 1 Habanero or Serrano Chile Pepper, minced
  • 2 Teaspoons Chicken Bouillon Powder (optional)
  • 1 Sprig Fresh Epazote (about 8 leaves)

Garnish:

  • Light or Regular Mayonnaise, to taste
  • Freshly Squeezed Lime Juice, to taste
  • Cotija Cheese, to taste (substitute with anejo or romano cheese)
  • Ground Chile Piquín or Ground Chile Piquín & Lime Salt (substitute with any ground chile pepper of your choice)

Directions:

With the ear of corn held vertically in a large bowl, grasp the stem with one hand and slice the corn off in a downward motion with a sharp knife. (The corn kernels will likely fly off as you cut downward, so the bowl helps keep them from flying too far!) Slice the corn off all 4 ears of corn.

In a medium-sized pot set over high heat, add the corn, onion, minced chile pepper, chicken bouillon powder, and water. Bring to a boil.

Reduce heat to low and simmer 10 minutes. (NOTE: The corn cultivated in Mexico is white, not sweet, and takes much longer to cook than the yellow sweet corn commonly grown in the U.S. The cooking directions here are for Mexican corn. If you’re using sweet corn, you’ll need to add the sprig of fresh epazote immediately and only simmer the corn about 6-8 minutes.)

Add the epazote and continue to simmer another 15 minutes, or until tender.

Remove the epazote. Ladle the corn and some of the broth into bowls. Top with a spoonful of mayonnaise, a tablespoon of lime juice, 2 to 3 tablespoons of cotija cheese, and about 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of chile piquín powder – or garnish as desired.

After serving the esquites, stir to thoroughly combine the garnish with the corn and enjoy.

¡Buen Provecho!

Recipe Posted by Lindsay

Mexican Molletes

Note: Classic molletes include only refried beans and melted cheese, topped with pico de gallo. You may choose to follow the recipe below and only top the molletes with beans and cheese, or come up with your own combinations! The recipes below give you the option of adding meat or vegetables to your molletes. A common breakfast comfort food, molletes can be enjoyed any time!

Basic Mollete Ingredients:

  • 4 Bolillos (Mexican Oval-Shaped Rolls) or French Rolls
  • 1 Can Refried Bayo Beans*
  • 2 Tablespoons Vegetable Oil
  • 1 Garlic Clove, minced
  • 1/3 Medium Onion, finely chopped
  • 1 Serrano Chile Pepper, minced (optional)
  • About 1 Cup Hot Water
  • 1 Tablespoon Chicken Bouillon Powder
  • 1 Cup Shredded Manchego, Mozzarella, or Monterey Jack Cheese
  • 4 Tablespoons Softened Butter (optional)
  • Pico de Gallo (see recipe) (optional)

Ingredients for Molletes with Chorizo, Bacon & Ham:

  • 4 Bacon Strips, fried until slightly crispy
  • 2/3 Cup Chorizo Sausage, cooked to a crumbly consistency
  • 4 Thin Ham Slices, cut into about 1-inch squares

Ingredients for Molletes with Spinach & Mushrooms:

  • 225 Grams Cremini or Button Mushrooms, washed and sliced
  • 1 Medium Bunch Fresh Spinach Leaves, washed
  • 1 Garlic Clove, minced
  • 1 Serrano Chile Pepper, minced (optional)
  • 2 Tablespoons Vegetable Oil
  • Salt, to taste
  • Freshly Ground Black Pepper, to taste

Directions for Beans:

*Note: Instead of using canned bayo beans, you may choose to prepare our Bayo Beans recipe (and you won’t need to add the oil, garlic, onion, serrano, hot water, or chicken bouillon powder indicated in the ingredients above). Take 2 cups of your beans, including some of the broth, and mash them in a saucepan set over medium heat. You might need to add a little hot water to get a thinner consistency in order to spread it on the rolls.

If using canned refried beans, add the vegetable oil to a medium saucepan set over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, and serrano pepper and sauté, stirring occasionally until tender, 3-5 minutes.

Add the hot water, chicken bouillon powder, and canned beans.

Stir to mix thoroughly, and heat over medium-low until the beans start to simmer. Cook another minute or so, making sure the beans are of a consistency that will be easy to spread on the bolillos. Set the beans aside.

Directions for Molletes with Chorizo, Bacon & Ham:

Cut or break up the cooked bacon into small pieces. Combine with the cooked, crumbled chorizo and ham. Set aside.

Directions for Molletes with Spinach & Mushrooms:

Add the vegetable oil to a medium saucepan set over medium heat. Add the garlic and serrano pepper and sauté 2-3 minutes. Add the mushrooms and salt and pepper to taste. Sauté another 2-3 minutes.

Add the fresh spinach leaves.

Cook until the leaves wilt, 2-3 minutes, and set aside.

Prepare the Molletes:

Preheat oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit or heat a comal (griddle).

Bolillos are the classic Mexican rolls used to make molletes, but you can use any medium-sized rolls.

Slice the bolillos in half lengthwise and carefully scoop out some of the bread on the inside to make room for the toppings.

Depending on the hardness of the bolillos or rolls, you may choose to spread about 1/2 tablespoon butter over each half and lightly toast in the oven or hot comal (griddle). Remove and spread 1 to 2 spoonfuls of refried beans to each half.

Top each half with the chorizo-bacon-ham mixture or the spinach-mushroom mixture.

Top with shredded cheese.

Place in the oven (7 to 10 minutes), or toast on a hot comal (griddle) by carefully and periodically flipping the molletes until the cheese has melted.

Remove and enjoy your delicious hot molletes immediately!

Serve with pico de gallo, if desired.

Recipe Posted by Lindsay

Mexican Pineapple Mint Water – Agua Fresca de Piña con Menta

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 Fresh Pineapple, rind removed
  • 50 Fresh Spearmint Leaves, or to taste, washed
  • 1.5 – 2 Liters Water
  • 1/4 Cup White Sugar or Honey, or to taste

Directions:

Chop the pineapple and add it to the blender pitcher. Then fill the pitcher with water to about the 5-cups mark.

Blend on high until smooth.

Pour directly into a 2-liter (or 2-quart) pitcher. (Do not strain the blended pineapple.)

Add the fresh spearmint leaves to the blender pitcher and fill it with water to about the 3-cup mark.

Blend on high about 30 seconds.

Pour the mint water through a sieve set over the pitcher containing the pineapple water. Add another 2 to 3 cups of water to the blender pitcher to rinse it out, pouring this through the sieve as well.

Discard the mint remaining in the sieve.

Depending on the sweetness of your pineapple and your choice of sugar or honey, you might only need to add a little sugar or honey to the water. You might want to sample your water before adding anything to sweeten it. You’ll probably add about 1/4 cup, but basically just sweeten it to taste. Stir with a wooden spoon to dissolve completely.

Cover and refrigerate until well chilled, or serve over ice. Stir before serving.

Enjoy!

Recipe Posted by Lindsay

Sweet & Spicy Mexican Salad

Ingredients:

  • 1 Head Red Leaf Lettuce
  • About 200 Grams Panela Cheese (Fresh Mozzarella may be substituted)
  • 3 Manila Mangoes
  • 3 Golden Delicious Apples
  • 1 – 2 Shallots
  • 100 Grams (about 1 Cup) Pecan Halves or Pieces
  • 2 Tablespoons White Sugar
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Sea Salt
  • 1 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Ground Nutmeg
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Ground Cloves
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Ground Ginger
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Dry Mustard
  • 1/8 Teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
  • 1 & 1/2 Tablespoons Vegetable Oil

Directions:

Wash and tear lettuce and place in a large bowl.

Cube panela (or mozzarella) cheese. You should have about 1 cup.

Manila mangoes are buttery and sweet when they’re yellow, but even when green, they can be ripe enough to eat, depending on your preference. When cutting a mango, stand it up vertically on a cutting board and slice it in half (the pit in the middle is quite thin).

Now slice it vertically on the other side of the pit. You’ll have two halves and the middle section containing the pit.

Now slice the mango halves vertically and horizontally without cutting through the skin – essentially cutting the mango into cubes while still attached to the skin.

Using a large spoon, carefully scoop out the cubed mango from the skin.

Remove the peel from the middle section of the mango containing the pit and slice off any remaining fruit, cutting it into cubes. Repeat the process for the other two mangoes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Meanwhile, halve and quarter apples. Core and cut each quarter into three slices.

Mince the shallots until you have about 3 tablespoons.

When the oven is preheated, spread the pecan pieces on a broiler pan or cookie sheet lined with foil. Lightly toast in the oven about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, combine the sugar, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger, dry mustard, and cayenne in a small bowl. Add the oil and stir to combine.

When the pecans are lightly toasted, remove from the oven.

While still hot, toss the pecans in the spice mixture until well coated.

Spread pecans on foil-lined pan again.

Return to oven and toast another 7 to 10 minutes – being careful not to burn the pecans – until coating is dry. Remove from oven.

When ready to serve, toss the lettuce, shallots, cheese, mango, apple, and spiced pecans together. (Or, if serving later, toss all ingredients together except the pecans. Add the pecans and toss right before serving.) Once you toss the pecans with the salad, the spice mixture will also add flavor to the other ingredients, so you won’t need to add a dressing!

Bon appétit!

Recipe Posted by Lindsay

Mexican Chicken Tortas – Mexican Style Chicken Sandwiches

Ingredients:

  • 2 Boneless Chicken Breast Halves
  • 3 Roma Tomatoes, halved
  • 1 – 2 Serrano Chiles or Chiles de Árbol (depending on desired spiciness), stems removed
  • 1/3 Red Onion, quartered
  • 2 Garlic Cloves
  • Sea Salt, to taste
  • Freshly Ground Black Pepper, to taste
  • 1 Tablespoon Vegetable Oil
  • 2 Teleras (Mexican Flatbread Rolls)
  • 1/4 Cup Light Sour Cream
  • 2 Thin Slices of Red Onion
  • 1 Avocado, pitted, sliced, and peeled
  • 1/2 Cup Fresh Cilantro, coarsely chopped

Directions:

Season the chicken breast halves with salt and pepper to taste. In a medium saucepan set over medium heat, brown the chicken in the hot vegetable oil on both sides. Add water to cover the chicken, turn up the heat to high, and bring to a boil.

Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer about 14 minutes.

When the chicken is done, pour off the cooking liquid and set aside the chicken, allowing it to cool.

Add the tomatoes, chiles, quartered red onion, and garlic to a blender.

Blend to form a purée.

Pour the purée into the same medium saucepan you used to cook the chicken. Cover and set over low heat.

While that simmers a bit, shred the chicken.

Add the chicken to the tomato purée in the saucepan.

Stir to thoroughly mix the shredded chicken and sauce. Season to taste with salt.

Cover and simmer on low until the liquid has evaporated, about 7 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, slice the telera bread in halves lengthwise.

Divide and spread the sour cream on each half of the telera. Add the thinly sliced red onion and avocado slices to the top halves.

Add the simmered chicken and tomato mixture to the bottom halves of the telera bread.

Top the chicken with the chopped fresh cilantro.

Carefully place the top half of the telera bread on top of the half with the cilantro and chicken.

Serve immediately and enjoy!

Inspired by one of my students. Thanks Diana!

Recipe Posted by Lindsay

Salsa de Molcajete – Roasted Tomato Salsa

Ingredients:

  • 4 Garlic Cloves, peeled
  • 1/2 Medium White Onion, sliced
  • 4 Chiles de Árbol
  • 3 – 5 Roma Tomatoes
  • Salt, to taste

Equipment:

  • Molcajete and tejolote (For more information, see below at the end of this recipe.)

Directions:

In a comal or dry skillet set over medium heat, roast the garlic and onion.

Remove the garlic when somewhat blackened. Continue roasting the onion.

Place the garlic in the molcajete while still hot since it’s easier to crush.

Crush the garlic into a paste using the tejolote (the slightly pear-shaped rock which is used for grinding food in the molcajete).

The onion (still roasting in the comal or skillet) should be nice and blackened at this point.

Remove the onion and place the chiles de árbol on the comal or skillet to roast, flipping them occasionally.

Add the roasted onion to the molcajete with the crushed garlic (which should now be a paste).

Crush the onion into a paste using the tejolote. (Again, the onion is easier to crush while still hot.)

The chiles de árbol should be blistered and blackened by now.

Remove the chiles and add the tomatoes to the comal or skillet to roast them, turning occasionally to blacken the skin on all sides.

Remove the stems from the chiles de árbol and add the chiles to the molcajete while still hot.

Crush the chiles into a paste, mixing with the crushed onion and garlic.

The tomatoes should now be roasted with blackened and blistered skin.

Remove from heat and add one tomato to the molcajete.

Carefully crush the roasted tomato so its hot “insides” don’t explode on you! As you crush the tomato, mix it with the crushed chiles, onion, and garlic. (Many recipes tell you to peel the tomatoes before crushing them, but as my mother-in-law says: “Ahi está el sabor” = “That’s where the flavor is!” So, include the roasted skin because the flavor from all the roasted and crushed ingredients is unique.)

Add another roasted tomato to the molcajete.

Repeat the crushing process and add a third roasted tomato.

At this point, the molcajete will be fairly full.

I prefer making this salsa with 3 tomatoes, but if you’d like a greater quantity of salsa (and less spiciness), pour the salsa into a bowl and repeat the crushing process with the last one or two roasted tomatoes and add to the rest of the salsa. Add salt to taste and mix well.

Serve immediately with tortilla chips as a tasty, fiery appetizer, or serve as an accompaniment to almost any of the main or side dishes on this blog. You can also store this salsa in the fridge in a sealed container and enjoy it for days afterwards.

¡Buen Provecho!

The molcajete and tejolote are the traditional Mexican version of the mortar and pestle. These tools are made of stone and have been used by the indigenous peoples of Mexico for thousands of years to crush and grind spices and to make salsas.

If you buy a new molcajete, you’ll need to break it in by adding a little uncooked rice and water to it and crushing the rice with the tejolote.  You’ll notice that little pieces of the rock will break off as you crush the rice. Dispose of the crushed rice, add some new rice and continue the process until you no longer see grains from the rock mixed in with the rice. Wash with soap and water and allow to dry. Now it’s ready for use. This process may take a few hours over a couple of days, so alternatively, you can rinse the molcajete with a little water and scrub it with a wire brush. Rinse away the rock grains occasionally and continue scrubbing for up to an hour. Wash with soap and water and allow to dry.

Now you’re ready to use your molcajete any time. Since its rough, porous surface makes it practically impossible to be cleaned completely, the molcajete becomes a “seasoned” tool (like a cast iron skillet) which enables flavors to be carried over from one preparation to another.

Recipe Posted by Lindsay

Mexican Rice Drink / Horchata de Arroz

Ingredients:

  • 1 & 1/2 Cups Uncooked White Rice
  • 1 Cinnamon Stick, broken into pieces
  • 7 & 1/2 Cups Water
  • 1 to 1 & 1/2 Tablespoons Vanilla Extract, or to taste
  • 3/4 Cup White Sugar, or to taste
  • Optional: 1/2 Cup Milk

Directions:

Lightly toast the rice in a comal, stirring constantly to prevent burning. (NOTE: If you don’t have a comal, you can use a skillet or pan set over medium-low heat.)

Lightly toast the cinnamon pieces in the same manner, being careful not to burn them.

Place the toasted rice and cinnamon in the blender.

Blend these dry ingredients into a powder.

Add 4 cups water to the blender.

Blend on high about a minute.

Pour the blended mixture into a 2-quart pitcher. Rinse out the blender with another cup of water to remove all the rice and cinnamon pieces and pour this into the pitcher. Add an additional 2 & 1/2 cups of water to the pitcher and allow to soak for 3 hours.

Strain the soaked rice and cinnamon through a fine sieve set over a large pitcher. (You’ll probably need to stir the rice solids in the sieve with a spoon to allow all the liquid to drain into the pitcher.)

Discard the rice and cinnamon solids. Add the vanilla and sugar to taste and stir to dissolve completely.

Many people like a little milk in their horchata, so if desired, you may add the milk at this point. I prefer horchata without milk, which serves as a tasty option for people who can’t drink milk products.

Chill until ready to serve, or serve over ice.

Recipe Posted by Lindsay