Queso fundido is the epitome of an antojo. What we Mexicans call a food craving that can be eaten anytime of day as a quick snack, or a full meal if eaten in a big enough amount. Antojo literally translates to craving, and I don’t know a single Mexican that doesn’t drool over the thought of a queso fundido.
I whipped up a version of a traditional drink from Veracruz for everyone, called a torito. A name I love because torito translates to “little bull,” which refers to the little kick it gives. It can be deceiving because it’s so sweet and creamy. Since pumpkin is such an essential ingredient in Mexico, I did a pumpkin torito this time.
The last time I went to Los Angeles, one of our producers reached out to Liz and Ramon, who have watched my show for a long time. They were asked if they’d like to make some of my recipes on camera, but weren’t told that I was going to be there. So it was a great surprise when I walked in. In return for them welcoming us into their home and feeding me and my team, well, drinks were on me! I decided come up with a new drink to share with them, a Melon Basil Margarita.
I think one of the most common versions of salsa macha is a take from the state of Veracruz that uses dried chipotle chiles, garlic and peanuts. But there are of course countless versions. In this one, I use some of my favorite nuts —walnuts, pistachios, and pine nuts. And I play with the crowd-pleasing taste of guajillos and the feisty bite of chiles de árbol. I also add something new that I’ve never put in a salsa macha before — amaranth seeds.
I love how Thanksgiving embraces and holds onto to classic recipes and traditions that have been passed down through generations. But I also love how it welcomes new and surprising additions that complement the rest. In that spirit, I created a Dulce de Leche Chocolate Pecan Pie.
For us Mexicans, celebrating means having tequila around. We even joke about it. You got a promotion at work? Come over for some tequila! You are getting married? Do you have enough tequila?!? You have a dinner at home and are having me over? Can’t show up without your favorite tequila because, frankly, you probably don’t have enough.
The story goes, governor shrimp tacos, or tacos gobernador de camarón, were created in the state of Sinaloa in the early 1990s to surprise governor Francisco Labastida Ochoa, after he told a few friends how much he loved his wife’s shrimp tacos. That bit of information was passed on to the owners of Los Arcos in Mazatlán restaurant, before he headed there to visit.
The very first class I taught at the Mexican Cultural Institute, after I switched from being a policy analyst at the Inter American Dialogue, was October 18, 2007. I remember the date exactly, because it was a day after Sami’s 6th birthday. For months, I had been teaching him and his two brothers, Alan who was then 8 and Juju who was just 1, how to make sopes every night for at least 3 months.
Mexican cuisine is riding such a high wave these days. Compared to when I first moved to the US, 20 years ago, you can now find all the ingredients you need to prepare Mexican food. People are not only eating Mexican food out, but are bringing it into their home kitchens. There’s the #tacotuesday and the #taconight. Wherever you travel to in the US, there’s Mexican food to be found…
What to do with a couple cans of sardines? Do what the people from landlocked Aguascalientes do: make the tastiest empanadas. Over the past dozen years, I have been amazed by so many things, as I’ve ventured into a deep exploration of Mexico’s cuisine to share it with the world – or whoever will listen. Its richness, its diversity, its depth, its accessibility, its generosity… One thing that has also stood out, everywhere, is the resourcefulness of its people.