Monthly Archives: June 2012

Nuestra Mesa – Agua de Horchata con Tuna Roja y Nuez

Foto: Chef Aldo Saavedra

Con el calor que está haciendo, pensamos es traerles esta horchata de semillas de melón.  Esta bebida es una refrescante tradición oaxaqueña y una versión diferente de las tradicionales aguas frescas.

Rinde: 2 litros, aproximadamente

Grado de dificultad: 2 (intermedio)


1 ½  tazas de semillas de melón.

2 litros de gua.

1 cucharadita de extracto de vainilla.

Azúcar al gusto

1 kilo de tuna roja.

Nueces garapiñadas al gusto


1. Pela la tuna y haz un puré extendiéndolo en un refractario, pónlo a congelar

2. Mueve el puré cada 15 minutos hasta que forme nieve. Reserva.

3. Muele  las semillas de melón con un poco de agua, cuela y reserva.

4. Vuelve a moler lo que quedó de las semillas, hasta que no quede nada de la pulpa

5. Endulza al gusto y pónla a enfriar.

6. Ya que el agua esté bien fría, sírvela en vasos altos, pónle un poco de nieve encima y un poco de la nuez garapiñada en pedacitos. Vas a necesitar cucharas largas y popotes.

El Chef Aldo Saavedra ha cocinado para huéspedes de establecimientos como el conocido Hotel Condesa D.F. y ha contribuído con sus recetas en proyectos con marcas de la talla de Larousse y Danone. En Nuestra Mesa, el Chef Aldo comparte con los lectores de  La Vitamina T, su pasión por la cocina y por México.


Would you like to see this recipe in English? Let us know!


Taste Cuba through the Food of a Local

There is nothing like touring a country with a local to get to experience the real thing, and in my view, the same applies to food.  In Cuba, patrons of paladares (improvised restaurants in people’s houses) can enjoy an even more intimate experience feeling almost as a family guest. Did you watch Fresa y Chocolate? The movie featured La Guarida, one of Cuba’s most famous paladares. These establishments became legal and openly popular in the 90s.

My granddad lived in Batista’s Cuba, where he developed a taste for the local fare, among other things. Now retired and living in Miami, Cuban food is a must when we get together. We have made as many memories around tacos and comida de fonda, as those we  have made around plates full of rice and beans.

I was incredibly excited when I heard Paladar was coming to Chicago. The name, for one, gave it instant credibility. Plus, the menu offered family recipes and regional cuisine. I decided to give it a try as soon as I could. I did not make a reservation, and stopped by on a Saturday evening. We were warmly greeted as soon as we arrived.

I wanted to depart from the staples, and instead of ropa vieja, I ordered the red fried snapper, as it reminded me of the mojarras with garlic we eat in Mexico. Our waitress was so nice that she brought additional sauces. Try the avocado sauce. It  is amazing and will have you saying wepa! at the first bite! It was so good, I ended up putting it on my rice.  The food was perfectly cooked, delicious and generous, and the mojitos, are simply out of this world. The menu offers a variety of flavors. I had a cucumber mojito and a guava mojito.

The restaurant is cozy, casual and curiously decorated. It has pictures on display and china plates, a nod to the Cuban tradition in which hosts give a piece of the china set they receive as a wedding gift to their special guests. What’s more, the gracious owner, José Gonzáles, makes multiple rounds to engage with his patrons. The service is so personal and warm, you may as well be in his dining room.

I am never one to skip dessert, but in this particular instance, not even the prospect of flan could pull me away from my plateI simply couldn’t put my fork down.

Paladar  is open Monday-Sunday 11am – 12am. Find it in Chicago’s Logan Square area, 2115 N. Milwaukee Ave.

The proof is the flan I did not have. Not even the prospect of dessert could pull me away from my entrée.

Paladar Restaurant and Rum Bar on Urbanspoon

Oaxaca: Comida de Dioses (Food of the Gods)


Photo credit: Chef Aldo Saavedra. Oaxaca, Mexico

In Oaxaca, food is abundant and incredibly diverse. Casual or sophisticated, aside from flavor, chocolate is a delicious common thread in many Oaxacan dishes. Otherwise referred to as “food of the gods” chocolate, from the Náhuatl xocolátl, is one of Mexico´s greatest gifts to the world.
Find  this chocolate mousse with Pasilla chili powder, caramelized amaranto seeds and an edible flower at Casa Oaxaca.  Executive Chef and owner Alejandro Ruiz, delights guests at his downtown Oaxaca establishment with a modern take on Oaxacan cuisine that incorporates local ingredientes such as flowers and insects.
This is probably one of the priciest restaurants in the city. A visit, especially if you are planning a trip to the attractions in nearby Mitla or Hierve el Agua is well worth it, though.  Casa Oaxaca also offers cooking classes.   If you are in town or planning to go,  don’t miss the opportunity to check it out. Constitución 104-4, Col. Centro, Oaxaca, Mexico. Call ahead: 01 (951) 516 85 31

Barbacoa Roja: Regalo de Artesanos Oaxaqueños – Estampas de Mi Ciudad

Barbacoa Roja. Tlacolula, Mexico. Photo credit: Chef Aldo Saavedra

Our very own Chef Aldo Saavedra has embarked on a gastronomical tour of Mexico. He found this delicious barbacoa roja in the village of Tlacolula, Oaxaca, a town founded by the Zapotecs in 1250 A.D.  In Mexico, barbacoa has little to do with barbecue in the U.S.- this dish consists of goat meat usually cooked for hours in an underground pit. This Oaxacan treasure is cooked with a mix of 10 different chilis and is garnished with cauliflower, radish and cilantro. If you are in Tlacotula, you will find that this local favorite is accompanied with tortillas and a drink made with a sweet and refreshing cactus fruit called pitaya.

Estampas de Mi Ciudad – Chocolate de Agua y Pan de Yema

Chocolate de Agua and Pan de Yema. Oaxaca, Mexico.
Photo Credit: Chef Aldo, Saavedra.

Food is ubiquitous and readily available throughout Mexico, in settings both formal and informal. El Mercado 20 de noviembre, where this picture was taken, opened its doors in 1882 in the southestern city of Oaxaca, Mexico and is still in operation today.  This delicious chocolate de agua is a concoction made with ground cocoa beans and sugar. Pan dulce (translated as “sweet bread” but closer to pastries) is a staple of any Mexican breakfast meal.

Nuestra Mesa – Recetas para Consentir a Papá: Chirmole de Queso

Foto: Chef Aldo Saavedra. Ciudad de México, México.

¿No sabes qué preparar para papá? Te tenemos una fácil y deliciosa receta para preparar una botana con mucho sabor a México: chirmole de queso.

El chirmole se acostumbra comer en el desayuno, como antecedente al plato principal y  también se puede servir como una botana. Alternativamente,  esta salsa  se puede comer sola, sin el queso, y puede acompañar a platos más elaborados como la birria, los tacos de chicharrón, frijoles refritos o gorditas de masa y manteca, todos favoritos de papá.

Esta receta es de Ejutla, en la región de la costa del estado de Jalisco. Le agradecemos a la Sra. Teresita de Jesús Guerrero Villaseñor el que la haya compartido con nosotros. Debido a que en este estado la comida suele ser picante, puedes reducir la cantidad de chiles secos al gusto.


6 jitomates asados

18 chiles de árbol secos (reduce la cantidad al gusto)

Sal al gusto

Suficiente agua para moler

1 cebolla morada chica

1 ramito de cilantro

400 gr. de queso que derrita, Oaxaca, Asadero o  Chihuahua.

500gr  de tortillas de maíz.


  1. Pon a asar los jitomates, hasta que queden bien quemaditos.
  2. Pon a tostar los chiles secos, cuidando que no se quemen ya que pueden amargar.
  3. Ya teniendo estos do ingredientes listos se ponen a moler los jitomates y los chiles con sal al gusto y un poco de agua, la suficiente para que puedan molerse bien.
  4. En una sartén pon aceite a calentar, y echa la salsa a dorar. Deja que se sazone y verifica que esté bien de sal.
  5.  Ya que soltó el hervor, agrega el queso en cubos hasta que se derrita
  6. Ya que se haya derretido el queso, se sirve en un plato hondo al centro de la mesa, se le agrega en la parte de arriba la cebolla morada y el cilantro.
  7. ¡Haga tacos y disfrute! ¡Buen Provecho!

El Chef Aldo Saavedra ha cocinado para huéspedes de establecimientos como el conocido Hotel Condesa D.F. y ha contribuído con sus recetas en proyectos con marcas de la talla de Larousse y Danone. En Nuestra Mesa, el Chef Aldo comparte con los lectores de  La Vitamina T, su pasión por la cocina y por México.

Would you like to see this recipe in English? Let us know!

When Life Imitates Art – A dish inspired by Roy Lichtenstein

If you are in the Chicago area or plan to visit soon, The Roy Lichtenstein exhibition at the Art Institute in Chicago is definitely worth your time. When I first heard about it, a few of the artist’s cartoon-inspired pieces immediately came to mind.

For those of us who love Lichtenstein’s ability to speak to us with a surprisingly fun clarity (brush strokes representing grand gestures), as well as his knack for making art of the quotidian, the depth and breadth of the exhibit is a real treat. With more than 160 works, this is the artist´s largest exhibition to date.

For those who are not familiar with Lichtenstein’s work, the introduction to the artist is fun and easily relatable.

The exhibition thoughtfully spills into the food  served at  Terzo Piano, one of the eateries at the Museum, and a must-stop for lunch during your visit. I was happily surprised to find a dish inspired by the artist, which I decided to order. The meal hinted at the work of Lichtenstein in a delicious plate complete with the artist’s signature yellows and reds, lines and dots.

Let the magic of Lichtenstein make a true work of art out of an ordinary weekend . If you cannot make it before the exhibition ends on September 3, you can still stop by the restaurant for lunch. If weather allows it, consider sitting at the terrace. The views of Millenium Park are extraordinary.

If you have the opportunity to check it out:

Terzo Piano is open for lunch daily  11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. and open for dinner on Thursdays 5-8 p.m. You do not need to pay admission to the museum to enter. Reservations: 312.443.8650

Tip: If you are a Bank of America® customer you can visit this museum and exhibition for free the first weekend of each month through the company’s Museums on Us Program®Just show your credit or debit Bank of America card at the ticket counter.

Terzo Piano on Urbanspoon

Wepa! Caribbean Coconut Hurricanes (Lactose Free)

Bring the sabor of the Caribbean home with this delicious, refreshing and easy-to-make dessert. What’s more- it’s lactose-free. Wepa!

Prep Time: 10 Min

Start to Finish: 10 Min

1 1/2 cups light rum

1 can (13.5 oz) coconut milk (not cream of coconut)

1/2 can (15-oz size) cream of coconut (not coconut milk)

1/2 cup original-flavored soymilk

1 container (6 oz) Yoplait® Lactose Free French vanilla yogurt


1/2 cup unsweetened toasted chipped coconut

1.   In pitcher, mix all ingredients except ice and coconut.

2.   Pour mixture into 5 small glasses filled with ice. Top with coconut. Serve immediately.

5 servings 

1 Serving: Calories 560 (Calories from Fat 310); Total Fat 34g; Cholesterol 0mg; Sodium 65mg; Potassium 420mg; Total Carbohydrate 19g (Dietary Fiber 2g); Protein 5g

% Daily Value: Vitamin A 4%; Vitamin C 4%; Calcium 15%; Iron 10%; Vitamin D 20%

Photo and recipe courtesy of Yoplait®.

Yoplait is a registered trademark of YOPLAIT MARQUES (France) used under license.