My first formal job, after switching careers from political analysis to cooking, was as chef and cooking instructor of the Mexican Cultural Institute in Washington DC. This was 2007. A year before, I had created a curriculum that aimed to open, one class at a time, a window into Mexican cuisine, history and culture for anybody living north of the border. What I didn’t know, when I began preparing it, was that classes were to be for a crowd of 100 people…
If you are going to try a new potato salad, it has to be this one. It’s rich. It’s filling. Yet at the same time, it’s light and bright. How can this happen? You may wonder… Soft tender potatoes are combined with an exuberant poblano chile rajas, or strips, and lightly caramelized red onion mix.
One thing that surprises people who delve a bit more into the Mexican culinary world is how crazy we are about salads. Not taco salads, no, no, no… Wholesome salads that use vegetables and beans and grains and flowers and all kinds of dried chiles and herbs…
A couple weeks ago, right as I was setting up for one of my classes, “A Culinary Compass of Mexico,” at the Mexican Cultural Institute, Alberto Roblest came over and asked me a great question. “Pati, do you cook traditional Mexican recipes OR do you create your own?”
This year I promised my boys we would plant goodies in the backyard to harvest ourselves. At the nursery, jumping up and down as in a candy shop, they dragged so many plants to the counter, I had to give an absolute NO to half of them. We ended up with thyme, oregano, bay leaves, rosemary, mint, parsley, and cilantro. Ok, and tomatoes, cherry and roma.
I’ve been wanting to write this post for days. Every time I try, it feels like hundreds of flowers bloom in my head, clouding my thoughts. My tongue gets tied too. Which is not common. I usually don’t hesitate to express my thoughts. So, pushing aside the flowers and the thing with the tongue…
Yesterday, right after my blog turned 1 year old, I added a new category under Ingredients: Cheese. This site is a continuous work in progress. As my husband notes, it is very time consuming, but as I always respond, it is immensely rewarding. Truth is, I can’t wait to keep on adding more.
Avocados are, to me, amongst the most sensuous, luscious and luxurious of ingredients. Add how delicious, soft and subtly flavored they are, and you get a clear winner for Valentine’s Day.
Growing up in Mexico City, my sisters and I used to prepare exotic meals, perfumes and potions for the inhabitants of our enchanted forest. That was our dog, the bluebird, snails, butterflies and ladybugs that happened to peek into our backyard and witness our extravagant mess. It also included any family friend who happened to stop by and become a willing victim. We sometimes offered cooking classes too.
I have come to realize a couple things regarding a group get together around here… For one thing pot lucks are so popular. Maybe it’s because they can make entertaining easier and promote a warm feeling of collaboration. I don’t remember many pot luck meals growing up in Mexico. It was generally assumed that the host was in charge of the whole meal and guests arrived with a box of chocolates, a bunch of flowers, or maybe a bottle of wine or tequila too.