Why I don’t cook in Mexico

November 13th, 2010

Breakfast at Fonda Dona Raquel, originally uploaded by sbmilagros.

So last year, you may remember that I came down with all kinds of good intentions of learning to cook authentic Mexican food. I did take a couple classes- my favorite was the market tour at Sazon.

But it became rapidly apparent that the whole exercise was a lost cause; I could buy better food more cheaply than I could cook it.

Case in point- this was my breakfast at Fonda de Dona Raquel in the San Juan de Dios market this morning. For about $4.50 I got: a chile relleno (the real thing- big blistered, battered & stuffed w/Oaxacan cheese), potatoes, beans, rice, salsa over the whole thing and tortillas plus a mug of tamarind agua fresca.

Now why the heck would I shop, cook, & clean up?

Check out my latest photos

TGIF #40

November 12th, 2010

Garden Statue, originally uploaded by sbmilagros.

I love this garden statue I saw on the trip out to La Purisima de Jalpa this week. We were moving quickly so I didn’t get its history. But it’s nearly big enough that you could curl up in her lap. She looks like she wouldn’t mind a bit.

Here’s hoping you can find a quiet sanctuary…

Here are some links to start your wkend right.

tequila 101

November 10th, 2010

tequila 101, originally uploaded by sbmilagros.

Due to popular requests (OK, it was Brad O), I’m including a primer on tequilas.

Here’s the best explanation I’ve found. But I beg to differ on a couple points. “Silver” “Gold” and “Reservo” are for suckers. If you want to mix, go for Blanco. To sip, you want either Reposado (my favorite) or Anejo. Mixto is for idiots. If you want Mezcal, order it. (and don’t say I didn’t warn you.)

To get an idea of what’s going on w/tequila, if you’re in Seattle, get yourself to the Mission Bar & Grille in West Seattle, and order a “flight” of tequilas. You can get a flight of Cazadores, which would include a shot each of Blanco, Reposado & Anejo & decide for yourself. I have to say, my sons introduced me to Mission, which proves I’ve done something right.

As I’m on a budget, and can’t afford Warren Hardy Spanish School, I get my Spanish lessons from taxi drivers and Don Juan de la Boca. His lesson on tequila & margaritas is not to be missed. Although, I’ve heard more swearing in a CA schoolyard recess than 3 months in San Miguel. Maybe they swear more on the coast?

I did nearly use the “P” word today when I couldn’t find a taxi & some Mexican cutie nearly hit me in her LandRover… Luckily, I had some reposado & sangrita waiting for me when I finally reached the casita.

Sangrita makings

November 8th, 2010

Sangrita makings, originally uploaded by sbmilagros.

I had never heard of sangrita (no, not Sangria) before coming to Mexico. Having tried it for the first time, at the Cafe Iberico in San Miguel de Allende, I knew I had to try to duplicate in the casita.

“Sangrita” means little blood. Probably the closest relative would be Bloody Mary mix. But in Mexico, sangrita is consumed three different ways:

  • On its own, as a spicy tomato drink
  • Mixed with tequila, it’s called a completo
  • The most common way, sipped alternately with a glass of fine sipping tequila (try Cazadores Reposado- expensive, but worth it.)

So, yesterday, I found a recipe to tamper with (from a newsstand cookbook- Better Homes & Gardens Ultimate Mexican) and came up with what I think is pretty darned good.Yes, I know the grenadine is weird, but it works- trust me.

2 cups tomato juice
1/2 cup fresh orange juice
1/2 cup fresh lime juice
2 TB grenadine syrup
2 TB Worcestershire sauce
1/2 TB San Luis hot sauce
1/2 tsp chile-limon powder

Stir and chill. Sit on your patio in the sun & consume whichever way seems best to you.