Whipping up a batch of agua de sandilla is so easy! Not only is it sweet and refreshing, but watermelon is a potent source of lycopene, an antioxidant shown to protect against inflammation, many forms of cancer, and Alzheimer’s disease. Here’s to your health!
3 cups diced watermelon
4 cups cold water
1/2 cup sugar, or as needed
mint and lime slices for garnish
Puree watermelon, water and sugar. Pour into glass (ice optional). Garnish with lime and mint leaves.
You may also want to try cucumber, melon, strawberry and pineapple aquas frescas.
Tomatillo Avocado Salsa
The creamy avocado in this raw salsa balances the bright acidity of the tomatillos. A rich source of vitamins C, B, and E as well as fiber, this salsa can be enjoyed on tacos, crudités, tortilla chips, or whatever your heart desires.
½ cup cilantro (leaves and tender stems are fine)
1½ cups tomatillos, roughly chopped (about 3-4 medium)
½ cup yellow onion, roughly chopped
1 clove garlic
2 tablespoons lime juice
¼ teaspoon salt
Layer ingredients in a blender, adding the cilantro first to ease processing. Blend all ingredients until smooth. Refrigerate until ready to enjoy.
Makes 2 cups
Creamy Corn & Red
Simple ingredients makes all of the
difference in this delicious soup.
2 red bell peppers, (roasted, peeled and deseeded is better)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 finely chopped onion
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 1⁄2 teaspoons cumin
1 (4 ounce) can diced green chilies
1 (14 ounce) can diced Mexican-style tomatoes
3 cups of fresh sweet corn, cut from the cob—save the cobs
3 cups chicken or vegetable stock
½ cup of light cream
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup Monterry jack cheese
In a large pot add the olive oil and heat. Add onion, jalapeño, garlic and red peppers. Cook until tender (1 to 2 minutes). Add cumin, salt and pepper, and then add the broth. Add corn cobs and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and add in corn, green chilis, diced and tomatoes. Simmer for 20 minutes. Remove cobs. For a creamier soup, puree in batches and pour back into large pot. Mix in cream (optional). Pour soup into bowls and top with cheese. Yum.
Succulent Snapper with Toasted Almonds
This inexpensive and easy red snapper dish only looks difficult to make. Serve with your favorite sides and with warm tortillas.
4 red snapper fillets with skin
1 teaspoon salt
¾ teaspoon black pepper
¾ cup of all-purpose flour or corn meal
1 cup sliced almonds
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 1/2 tablespoons finely grated zest and the juice from 1 lime
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
Lightly salt and pepper the fillets, and then dredge in flour or corn meal. Heat butter and olive oil in a pan. Add snapper fillets to pan. And cook for 2 minutes. Turn the fillets over and cook until golden brown. Transfer to shallow dish. Add almonds to the same pan sauté until golden. About 3 or 4 minutes. Add lime juice, garlic and zest to the almonds in the frying pan. Heat for a couple of minutes and then pour the mixture over the snapper.
Sopa de Albóndigas
A classic meatball soup loaded with vegetables and full of hearty flavor. It is often referred to as “Mexican soul food."
“Albondigas” Arabic for “hazelnut,” originated in Spain during the sixth century, while Spain was under Moorish influence. Albondigas were brought to Mexico from Spain by the Spanish Conquistadors, where the recipe flourished into a cultural favorite.
1/2 pound ground sirloin beef
1/2 pound ground pork
1/4 cup short grained white rice, uncooked
1/2 chopped onion
2 cloves minced garlic
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh mint
1/4 cup finely chopped parsley
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 - 1 teaspoon dried minced chipotle, or chili powder
1 teaspoon salt and pepper
1 bay leaf
6 cups beef broth
1 can (14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes (Mexican style)
1 minced white onion
1 peeled and cubed russet potato
2 chopped carrots
2 chopped chayote or zucchini
1 small poblano pepper, diced
2 chopped celery stalks
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 diced avocado
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
In a large pot, combine onion, potato, carrots, chayote, celery, bay leaf, salt, pepper, and broth. Heat to simmer.
In a large bowl, combine meat, onion, rice, cumin, oregano, egg, mint, parsley, garlic and salt/pepper. Mix well, first with a spoon, and then with hands. Let chill for one hour. Using wet hands, shape the beef mixture firmly into balls, each about the size of a walnut.
Carefully drop meatballs into soup. Return to a gentle simmer. Partially cover the soup and simmer for 30 minutes. Garnish with avocado and cilantro.
Spiced Avocado Chocolate Mousse
This rich and spicy chocolate mousse is both decadent and good for you! The cacao tree originated in Mesoamerica, and it was in Mexico that the pleasures of consuming chocolate were first discovered. Native peoples not only ingested cacao, but the beans served as religious offerings, and currency. Today, while chocolate is generally favored as a sweet treat, or gifted as a romantic gesture, we know that chocolate contains potent antioxidant compounds called flavonols. Found also in tea, red wine, and cranberries, flavonols support healthy blood pressure, blood flow, and heart health. The avocado in this recipe is a source of heart-healthy fat, and the cinnamon and cayenne pepper are warming spices that also support heart health and circulation.
2 large, ripe avocados
½ cup good quality chopped dark chocolate (preferably 70%)
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/3 cup coconut milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 teaspoons coconut palm sugar
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
Pinch cayenne pepper
Pinch of sea salt
Bring an inch of water to a simmer in a saucepan. Place chocolate in a heatproof bowl that fits in the mouth of the pot, and make sure water doesn’t touch the bottom of the bowl. Stir chocolate as it melts, and when just a few small solid chunks remain, remove bowl from heat, and stir until smooth. Set aside to cool while you prepare remaining ingredients.
Halve avocados, remove pits, and scoop flesh into a food processor or blender. Add cocoa powder, coconut milk, vanilla, coconut palm sugar, cinnamon, cayenne pepper, and salt. Blend until smooth, then stream in melted chocolate, stopping to scrape down bowl or blender as needed. Pour mixture into four ramekins or small glasses, and refrigerate until well chilled, a minimum of two hours. Enjoy as is, or top with fruit, or whipped cream.
SLOW COOKER CHICKEN MOLE
Mole poblano originated in the Puebla region, and is heralded as the national dish of Mexico. Traditionally poured over turkey, mole is equally delicious with chicken, pork, and other meats, and even with mushrooms as a unique vegetarian option.
When the Aztecs first blended together chilies and chocolate, the combination was highly regarded as an aphrodisiac. In addition to its rumored effects on sexual desire, chocolate also plays a beneficial role in other matters of the heart, specifically, reducing blood pressure, reducing inflammation, and decreasing bad cholesterol while increasing the good. If chocolate is good for the heart, chilies are good for the head. Members of the capsicum family, chilies cause the brain to release pain-soothing endorphins. Looking for more immediate benefits? The spicy heat from chilies is also an effective home remedy for a stuffy nose and chest congestion.
This dark, rich, and earthy sauce is made with chocolate, garlic, tomatoes, nuts, and seeds—it’s hard to imagine a more potent and flavorful combination of foods together in one dish. While my mother would spend hours upon hours preparing mole for special occasions, this recipe fewer than half the ingredients of a traditional recipe, and with the benefit of a food processor, it takes only a fraction of the active preparation time. In my opinion, it is just as delicious as the original, but the chef has the luxury of spending less time in the kitchen.
4 pounds skinless boneless chicken thighs
1 bolillo (Mexican bread) If you can't find one, use a 6-inch piece baguette
1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 tablet Mexican chocolate, broken into pieces
4 dried ancho chilies, stemmed and deseeded
1 chipotle chili in adobo sauce, plus1 tablespoon adobo sauce from can
1/2 cup sliced toasted almonds
1/2 cup roasted peanuts
1 medium yellow onion, coarsely chopped
6 peeled garlic cloves
3 tablespoons avocado oil or extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 cup raisins
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Sea salt and black pepper to taste
Place all ingredients—except the chicken thighs—into a food processor and puree until smooth. If necessary, do this in batches. Arrange chicken thighs in a 4 1/2- to 6-quart slow cooker. Pour mole over chicken. Cover and cook on low for 5 to 6 hours or on high for 3 hours. The chicken is done when it can be cut with a fork.
Baked Avocado Fries
The most common way to eat avocados may be in salads but there are more decadent ways to enjoy this fruit. Keep in mind that this is the basic recipe for avocado fries as I tend to spice up the dips. Feel free to add your favorite ingredients, such as garlic, grated cheese, and paprika. Serve with a jalapeño or chipotle dip.
2 firm avocados
1 large egg, beaten
1 cup flour or cornmeal
1 tbsp. melted butter or olive oil
Pinch salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 400°. Peel the avocado and cut vertically into eight slices. Dip avocado slices in beaten egg and then roll in the cornmeal, melted butter, salt, pepper mixture. Place rolled slices on the parchment and bake for 20 minutes.
Makes enough to fill you up without feeling too guilty.
Three Sisters Tacos
With a nod to the trinity of corn, beans and squash, known as the three sisters, these vegetarian tacos are a real crowd pleaser. Here, I’ve garnished them with Cotija cheese, Tomatillo Avocado salsa, and fresh cilantro leaves. Feel free to get creative with these.
6 cups acorn squash, cut into 1 inch cubes (approximately 1 medium squash)
2 tablespoons avocado oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
2 cups cooked black beans (canned are fine)
8 corn tortillas
1 cup Cotija cheese, crumbled
1/3 cup Tomatillo Avocado salsa, or salsa of choice
1/3 cup cilantro leaves
Preheat oven to 400°.
Toss the cubed squash with the avocado oil, crushed garlic, smoked paprika, oregano, salt, cumin and cayenne—to coat the squash evenly.
Place squash in a single layer on a parchment covered baking sheet, and bake for 45 minutes, tossing halfway through cooking time, until the squash is beginning to brown around the edges, and is tender in the center.
Heat beans in a saucepan until warm, and gently toast the tortillas in a pan to heat through. Divide the squash and beans among the tortillas, and garnish with cheese, cilantro, and salsa.
Makes 8 Tacos
Deeply red with an angular shape, annatto seeds are often used in Mexican cooking to impart a rich, earthy flavor and golden hue to popular dishes. From the achiote tree, annatto has a long and colorful history of culinary and medicinal uses, including as an insect repellant, a cure for diabetes, and a primary ingredient in Xocolatl, Aztec drinking chocolate. Annatto is an extraordinarily powerful antioxidant, and in this recipe lends a nutritional boost to cauliflower, a brassica whose nutritive properties can proudly stand alone. Serve this with a side of black beans for a savory vegetarian meal, or include it as an accompaniment to roast chicken.
2 teaspoons annatto seeds
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons diced onion
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
1 red bell pepper, cut into thin strips
1 jalapeno, halved, seeded and thinly sliced
1 head of cauliflower, broken into florets
¼ teaspoon ground cumin
¼ cup cilantro, for garnish
lime wedges, for garnish
Preheat oven to 400°.
Heat annatto seeds and olive oil in a small saucepan over low heat. Swirl pan frequently, being careful not to burn seeds. When oil turns bright orange, simmer for another few minutes, then allow seeds to steep off heat for 10 minutes before straining and reserving oil. Discard seeds.
Reheat annatto oil with butter in skillet. Sauté onions until soft, then add garlic, salt, pepper and cumin.
In a large bowl, toss the annatto oil and onion mixture with bell pepper, jalapeño, and cauliflower until vegetables are coated.
On a parchment lined sheet pan, spread out cauliflower mixture in a single layer, and bake for 35 minutes, or until golden brown, tossing cauliflower half way through cooking time.
Transfer cauliflower mixture to serving plate, garnish with cilantro, and serve lime wedges on the side.
Papaya Habanero Sorbet
Papayas have an unctuous texture that naturally lends itself to sorbet. The habanero peppers add a bite of floral spice in the background, but could be eliminated if you prefer your sorbet on the mild side. The papaya is left raw for this recipe, in order to preserve the enzymatic properties of the fruit. Papaya supports healthy digestion of proteins, aids with sports recovery, and supports healthy respiratory function.
6 cups cubed papaya
½ cup honey
½ cup water
2 dried habanero peppers
¼ cup lime juice
1/8 teaspoon salt
In a saucepan, combine honey, water, habanero peppers and salt. Simmer for approximately 10 minutes or until the honey and salt have melted, and the habanero peppers have infused the syrup with a bit of spice. Discard peppers, and allow mixture to cool to room temperature.
Combine the papaya and the syrup in a blender and process until smooth. Refrigerate mixture for 2 hours or overnight. Follow your ice cream maker’s instructions to finish the sorbet.
If you do not have an ice cream maker, you can still make this sorbet. Freeze the papaya in a single layer on a baking sheet. Once frozen, add the frozen fruit—and the cooled syrup of water, honey, salt, habanero and lime juice to a blender. Process until smooth and frothy, tamping down fruit as necessary.
Once your sorbet is processed, store in a sealed container in the freezer. It scoops much more easily if allowed to thaw for approximately 10 minutes before scooping.
Regional Mexican Food
The Northern region is well-known for meat and cheeses;
The North-Pacific coast grows more fruit and vegetables;
The Bajio region contains more rice, pork, and sausages;
The South-Pacific coast growing a large variety of chili pepper, chicken, and cheese;
The Southern region is known for corn and spices;
The Gulf region has corn and vanilla.