Tag Archives: Chicago metropolitan area

You say “Pigskin”, I think “Chicharrón” – A Quick and Delicious Snack for the #BigGame

 

 

Very close to el Día de la Candelaria, when Mexicans celebrate the end of the Christmas season with tamales,  a party of a very different ‘religion’ takes place: the Super Bowl.

The already amalgamated celebration of Día de la Candelaria, fuses the pre-Columbian tradition of making food and other offerings to several deities, along with the presentation of Christ at the temple. According to Jewish law, it was customary to bring a baby to the temple after forty days had passed from the day of the infant’s birth. Jesus would have been taken to the temple on February 2nd, which is when this festivity takes place.

Around the same time, and adding a layer of complexity to my world, I was quickly evangelized on the celebration of the Superbowl, which could very easily be considered a holiday.  Intriguing as the game is, though, I have always been more fascinated by the  soap-opera worthy plots, the off-the top commercials,  and of course, the food.

Food was my easy way in, and when I was first asked to bring a dish to the party I thought it would be clever to bring chicharrón… I thought, this is really “pig skin” after all.

For a quick and easy to make a snack, serve chicharrón in a molcajete with avocado, salsa and warm tortillas.

 

Enchiladas Suizas – Prueba Esta Deliciosa Receta de la Chef Priscilla Curiel

Foto: Chef Priscilla Curiel

Foto: chef Priscilla Curiel

Hace unos días, la chef  Priscilla Curiel, del restaurante Talavera Azul, en San Diego, nos habló sobre su pasión por la comida mexicana, y de sus platillos favoritos: las enchiladas suizas.

Una de las historias que más me gustan sobre el origen de este plato, se remonta a la época de la caída del imperio austro-húngaro, en la que un miembro del servicio de Maximiliano de Habsburgo  huyó a Coahuila y posteriormente a la Ciudad de México con las recetas que se servían a los emperadores. Armado con conocimientos y técnicas europeas, decidió abrir un café al que llamó “Café Imperio”.  Aquí, se dice que las enchiladas se hicieron de fama para después integrarse por clamor popular al menú de un afamado restaurante ¨de sociedad¨ y, posteriormente, a otros mucho más accesible, como el que ahora sabemos ligado a una famosa empresa de telefonía celular.

Pero para que no se queden con las ganas de probar esta verdadera delicia independientemente de sí están en México (o en San Diego), o no,  aquí está la receta para que la preparen en casa.

Enchiladas Suizas (Rinde para 5 personas)

Ingredientes

  • 2 pechugas de pollo
  • 10 tortillas de maíz
  • 8 tomatillos
  • 1 cebolla
  • 2 dientes de ajo
  • 2 ramas de cilantro
  • 1 taza de crema mexicana o queso crema
  • 1 taza de queso oaxaca o de manchego ( al gusto)
  • sal (al gusto)
  • pimienta (al gusto)
  • 1 taza de aceite vegetal

Proceso:

  1. Pon los 8 tomatillos y los 2 chiles serranos (sin semillas) en una cacerloa con agua suficiente que cubra los ingredientes. Deja que el agua hierva con una flama alta.
  2. Deja que los ingredientes hiervan por unos 10 minutos sin que el tomatillo se pase, por que se vuelve amargo. Después pon los ingredientes de la cacerola en una licuadora.  Agrega una media cebolla, los dientes de ajo y las ramas de cilantro con ¼ de crema mexicana o del queso crema.
  3. Licúa todos los ingredientes y vuelve a poner la salsa en una cacerola para que se termine de cocer.  Un buen tip es agregar el cilantro en crudo hasta el final para que la clorofila le agregue más color verde a nuestra  salsa.
  4. Deja unos 10 minutos más a fuego medio y agrega la sal y pimienta al gusto.

Tortillas

  1. En una sartén, pon una taza de aceite vegetal a calentar a fuego medio o alto.
  2. Toma una tortilla con pinzas y ponlas en el aceite por cada lado durante 7 segundos. No dejes que se frían de más por que quedan duras como tostada y no nos sirven para nuestras ricas enchiladas. Las tortillas deben quedar ligeramente fritas.
  3. Recuerda colocar las tortillas en unas servilletas para ese exceso de grasa.

El gratinado

  1. Calienta el horno a 250F. En una charola honda, pon las tortillas rellenas con el pollo deshebrado en rollitos y cúbrelas con la salsa.
  2. Pon rebanadas delgadas con queso rallado Oaxaca o Manchego sobre las enchiladas.
  3. Déjalas en el horno aproximadamente durante 10 minutos o hasta que el queso se derrita.
  4. Para finalizar esta receta puedes pon más crema encima de las enchiladas. D   ecora con rodajas de cebolla.

POMELO_20150811081604_saveLa chef Priscilla Curiel lleva la pasión gastronómica en las venas. De linaje restaurantero, esta joven chef, banquetera y estilista gastronómica, deleita a sus comensales con platillos nostálgicos y auténticos como los chilaquiles y las enchiladas suizas. Visita a la chef Curiel en su restaurante “Talavera Azul” en Chula Vista, California.

 

This post was first published in LaVitaminaT.com on 9-27-2015

 

5 Tips de 5 Papás para la Parrillada Perfecta #DíadelPadre

 

Hasta aquí en las latitudes más septentrionales, desafiando el clima que no se decide completamente a cambiar de estación,  las parrillas ya están a todo lo que dan. Para ayudarlos a prepararse para el Día del Padre, hemos consultado con varios papás expertos en parrilladas. Aquí les compartimos cinco de los tips que más nos gustaron para que usted los ponga en práctica.

Tip 1.  Los mejores cortes de carne para asar son los cortes  marmoleados con o sin hueso. Es decir, aquellos en los que la grasa se encuentra distribuida en la carne. Fíjese que este sea el caso cuando la compre, o pídale a su carnicero que le ayude.  Uno de nuestros papás, carnicero por más de 60 años, nos recomienda que asemos cortes como el rib eye, el porterhouse y el T-bone. Ahora que si la fiesta va a estar concurrida y necesita estrechar el presupuesto, pida tri-tip, un corte muy famoso en California. Este corte es bueno, bonito y barato.  Sí va a asar este tipo de carne,  aunque parezca abundante, no lo corte hasta que esté listo para servirse.

Tip 2. Los cortes más delgados quedan menos suaves al asar. Considere marinarlos antes de ponerlos a la parrilla. Esto aplica también para el pollo.

Tip 3. Si tiene una parrilla de carbón, cree dos áreas con dos intensidades diferentes. Entre más alta la pila de carbón, más intenso el fuego y más fácil será quemar la comida. Puede usar el área de mayor intensidad para sellar la carne. Gire la carne 45 grados para hacerle marcas en a parrilla. Cocine la carne a término en el área de menor intensidad.

Tip 4. Espere a asar su comida hasta que el carbón esté blanco. Si comienza a cocinar antes de que el fuego alcance su mayor intensidad, su comida sabrá a combustible.

Tip 5. Si cocina su carne en brochetas, considere alternarla con fruta como piña o manzanas. Las mejores manzanas para asar son las Granny Smith por su sabor y textura. Otra idea que nos encantó es la de poner tomates cherry al final de sus brochetas. Cuando la piel del tomate empieza a pelarse, es un buen indicador de que la carne está lista.

Pasa a visitar nuestra tienda en línea si quieres cocinar con una sal mexicana deliciosa la Sal de San Felipe

¡Feliz Día del Padre!

 

 

Priest, Peasant, Pop Icon: Pulque

Photo credit: Emma Victoria del Ángel

Pulque Coconut Curado. Photo: Victoria del Ángel

 

When trying to talk about pulque, it is only possible to scratch the surface. An ancient fermented drink made with nectar from 12-year old agave plants, this milky alcoholic substance has a soap opera-worthy history. Once a prominent sacred potion, and esteemed secular remedy to which aphrodisiac and extraordinary nutritious properties were attributed, pulque has also gone from being anything from the stigma of the demons of a caste, to the protagonist of the movement of Mexican independence.

500 years later, and after enduring both the rejection and nationalistic embrace of its own people, this drink continues to be a relevant part of Mexican life and popular folklore. In the early 1900s, more than one thousand pulquerías peppered the streets of Mexico City, with catchy, tongue-in-cheek names reflecting the innate humor of Defeño* social dynamics- “The Other Church”, “A Lady’s Belch”, “Better Here than There” (for an establishment across from a cemetery). Also, many of them are hosts to quite a collection of Mexican art.

Although today pulque is consumed primarily in rural areas where its  complex drinking and serving etiquette lives on, there seems to be a movement of resurgence in Mexico City. Tasting tours are now also available.

Because the drink is fermented, selling it in cans is impractical, but may still be found. The best pulque is freshly fermented, and it is usually enjoyed by itself or mixed with fruits, in which case it is called curado. I have not stumbled upon pulque breweries in Chicago, but then again, I have not purposefully looked for them either yet, although I have read about people who brew their own for personal consumption. If you are outside of Mexico and know where to find pulque, here is chef Victoria del Ángel’s recipe to make your own coconut curado:

Curado de Coco

4 cups of fresh pulque
 1 cup of shredded coconut
1 can of creme of coconut
 Sugar to taste

Directions:

  1. Mix all the ingredients in a blender slowly incorporating the pulque.
  2. Refrigerate for 30-60 minutes.
  3. Serve.

*Defeños are citizens of Mexico City

Chef Victoria del Ángel discovered her passion for cooking at the age of three. Fascinated by Mexican cuisine, she obtained a degree in gastronomy by the Escuela Superior de Gastronomía in Mexico and a graduate degree by the Culinary Institute of Switzerland. Currently, Victoria is the owner of a chocolate boutique,  Xocolat del Ángel,  in Jilotepec, México.

 

 

 

Chile de Agua Rajas – A Recipe from Oaxacan Culinary Ambassador Pilar Cabrera

Photo: Pilar Cabrera

Photo: Pilar Cabrera

A food scientist turned chef and restaurateur, for over 20 years, Pilar Cabrera has delighted patrons at her La Olla restaurant in Oaxaca, Mexico. Also a culinary educator and ambassador, Chef recently spoke with us about her book, Casa de los Sabores, a compilation of some tradional Oaxacan recipes, and the written culmination of her work as a docent: Casa de los Sabores is chef Cabrera´s cooking school.

In her food, Cabrera captures the soul of traditional Oaxacan cooking, from local ingredients, to utensils and secret family recipes.

If you are in Oaxaca, you are in luck, as you can stop by and indulge in her dishes. If you are not, buy her book, and in the meantime,  Chef was very generous to share with us a piece of Oaxaca, so that you can bring it to life in your own kitchen. Here’s her recipe to make chile de agua rajas al orégano. Enjoy!

*Our heartfelt thanks to chef Aldo Saavedra for making this interview possible.

 

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Savor the flavors of a Mexican Christmas #PosadaShaman

Follow Your Dreams. Literally. This is How Claudia Sandoval Won MASTERCHEF.

MASTERCHEF: Claudia (L) wins MASTERCHEF in the all-new “Team Gordon Ramsay/The Finale” two-hour season finale episode of MASTERCHEF airing Wednesday, Sept. 16 (8:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX.  Pictured L-R: Gordon Ramsay, Claudia, Christina Tosi and Graham Elliot. CR: Greg Gayne / FOX. © 2015 FOX Broadcasting.

MASTERCHEF: Claudia (L) wins MASTERCHEF in the all-new “Team Gordon Ramsay/The Finale” two-hour season finale episode of MASTERCHEF, which aired Wednesday, Sept. 16 on FOX. Pictured L-R: Gordon Ramsay, Claudia, Christina Tosi and Graham Elliot. CR: Greg Gayne / FOX. © 2015 FOX Broadcasting.

Claudia Sandoval, the first Latina to be crowned winner of  home-cooking competition series MASTERCHEF, has a message that resonates universally- “follow your dreams”. But as a single mother living paycheck to paycheck, Claudia means this both, literally and figuratively.

First, she had to push herself to audition along with other tens of thousands of cooking enthusiasts. She said, “I put my dream off for a while. I was worried about not making any money, and about who would take care of my child.  I wondered what would happen if  I went away for potentially three months.” Finally, Sandoval, an events manager, decided to take a leap of faith one Wednesday. By Friday,  she was cooking the signature dish that would secure her a spot on the show’s sixth season.

MASTERCHEF: Contestant Claudia in the all-new “Team Gordon Ramsay/The Finale” two-hour season finale episode of MASTERCHEF airing Wednesday, Sept. 16 (8:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX.  CR: Greg Gayne / FOX. © 2015 FOX Broadcasting.
MASTERCHEF: Contestant Claudia in the two-hour season finale episode of MASTERCHEF. which aired Wednesday, Sept. 16  on FOX. CR: Greg Gayne / FOX. © 2015 FOX Broadcasting.

As this aspiring gourmand advanced through the rounds, she found that sticking to her instincts always gave her good results. For the “Mystery Box Challenge”, in which participants receive only one ingredient to prepare an elevated dish, she had to work with a single tomato.  Claudia won with a savory tomato Napoleon.

“I had a dream about it the night before,” she said.

Raised by a single mother herself, Claudia was taught how to cook by the Mexican matriarchs in her family.  Fittingly, for the final challenge, she created a three-course meal featuring flavors and ingredients representative of her roots: an appetizer of huitlacoche tamal with pork chicharrón, cactus salsa and avocado crème; a main course of grilled swordfish with chayote, chickpeas and Mexican squash; and a poached pear with key lime custard, candied lime and pepita cinnamon brittle.

“Claudia was a strong competitor from the beginning,” said the show’s host, executive producer and judge Gordon Ramsay. “Her passion and unique dishes were what impressed us the most, and we look forward to seeing where her new culinary career will lead her.” 

Meanwhile, we can’t wait to hear what Claudia will dream of next.

Click here to see a clip of the series finale (Video Courtesy of FOX Broadcasting)

 

 

 

 

La Vitamina T to Bring Baja Flavors to the World of Latino Cuisine!

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La Vitamina T has joined forces with celebrity Chef José Bossuet Martínez  to bring the flavors of Baja California to the east coast! Our team will be participating with a world-class culinary demo at the World of the Latino Cuisine Trade Show at the Latino Food Show.  Chef Bossuet is the owner and chef de cuisine of  famous Lozhka Bistrot de Cocina Local in Ensenada and Café Contento in Guanajuato, México. La Vitamina T will be showcasing its beloved San Felipe Salt,  along with new exciting products, olive oil by Baja Olive  and a few labels of Mexican wine from award-winning Monte Xanic winery! See you in New Jersey August 26-27!

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Celebrity chef José Bossuet Martínez. Photo: Chef Bossuet

Don Churro in Pilsen – Churros with a Soul

 

At Don Churro, in Pilsen, churros are an artform.

At Don Churro, in Pilsen, churros are an artform.

I was touched by the sight of the churros that welcomed us, as if they had somewhow been coaxed into perfectly spelling out “La Vitamina T.” We were asked to arrive early since, like it is the case with any kind of magic, at Don Churro, these delicious fried-dough desserts  can only be conjured up in the dark.  

It was barely dawn when we got to the quaint Pilsen establishment, and the Molinas had been up all night. With no sleep and even in the the sweltering heat of the friers that have been going on for hours, the owners of Pilsen´s Don Churro, el Moro de Letrán (an homage to the iconic downtown Mexico City establishment) are extraordinary hosts.

María, the matriarch, speaks proudly and animatedly about how a mix of hard work and bravado landed her a business for which she had to fight every day to keep afloat. At first, she says, she would go out to sell churros on her bicycle. Fast-forward thirty years and Don Churro is making 5,000 pastries a day to keep up with a demand that spans beyond state lines, and has earned a spot as a community fixture. 

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The Molina family add passion and pride to their delicious churro recipe.

Edwin Molina, one of María’s three children, gives us a quick glimpse at the struggle and sacrifice that have built both, the family business, and his character.  Armed with a grateful attitude and a superhuman work ethic, Edwin  works  to  find new opportunities to merchandise his product and to continue to innovate. This place is not called Don Churro in vain. Here, churros are  serious business.

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What makes Don Churro so special? These churros have a soul. And I am not just talking about the delicious guava, cream cheese, bavarian cream, strawberry or chocolate fillings that make these crispy and chewy bundles of goodness extra special.

These popular transplants have gone through fire to become who they are, and much like the Molina’s, they are a real success, and they will steal your heart.

Don Churro

Address: 1626 S Blue Island Ave, Chicago, IL 60608

Phone:(312) 733-3173

M-S 6:00 am to 7:00 pm

Get there early, churros are particularly tasty when hot.

La Vitamina T Joins Documentalist Crew in a Sampling of Mexico in Chicago

The With a Smile Films Team with La Diosa´s chef Martínez and Mauri Ortega.

The With a Smile Films Team with La Diosa´s chef Martínez and Mauri Ortega.

A few days ago,  La Vitamina T was thrilled to participate in the project of Mexican documentalist crew, With a Smile Films. The group is working on an initiative that strongly resonated with our mission to harness the power of food to, among other goals,  invoke memories, overcome distances and bridge cultures. La Vitamina T had the good fortune to spend a  day with producer Alex Aguilar, director Danky Sáenz and tech wiz Santiago Casillas. The schedule, which was thoughtfully secured by our team, featured a tour of Chicago and included a few of the innumerable stops that highlight the pride,  passion and talent of food experts and enthusiasts who bring a little bit of Mexico to our hearts and tables in Chicago.

It is easy to see that Sophie´s Ron Aleman cooks with a Mexican heart.

It is easy to see that Sophie´s Ron Aleman cooks with a Mexican soul.

 

It is a good thing we walked so much, because we were generously fed everywhere we went! Stay tuned for more information on this documentary as it’s being “baked”.  It promises to be delicious!

 

María Molina proudly speaks about the passion behind "Don Churro".

María Molina proudly speaks about the passion behind “Don Churro” in Pilsen.