Tag Archives: Chicago

Méx-O-Logy – Hardcore Horchata Recipe

Photo courtesy of Red Stag

Photo courtesy of Red Stag

Horchata, a delicious Mexican rice drink is one of my favorite beverages.  Chef, Jonathan Zaragoza, surprised us with a cocktail inspired in this drink. This is definitely horchata for adults.

Hardcore Horchata

  • 8 cups of water, divided
  • 1 cup long grain white rice, rinsed
  • 1 stick of Mexican cinnamon
  • ½ cup of sugar, or to taste
  • ½ cup Jim Beam Hardcore Cider

Working in batches, combine the rice, cinnamon and 4 cups of water in a blender, pulsing to grind the rice and cinnamon. Transfer the rice/cinnamon mixture to a bowl and add remaining 4 cups of water. Soak overnight. Puree the rice mixture, again and strain through a fine meshed strainer or cheesecloth. Mix in sugar and Jim Beam Hardcore Cider and chill. Serve over ice with a cinnamon stick as garnish.

 

A Chicago native, Zaragoza taps into his Jalisco roots to bring to life Mexican-inspired dishes with a creative twist. This recipe is the second of a series.  

Originally published on 6/16/2014

La Vitamina T was invited to an event sponsored by Red Stag by Jim Beam® Hardcore Cider and received free samples of food, pairings and product. The decision to write this review, as well as all opinions, are our own. 

Johnsonville “Sparks the Season” at the Chicago Polar Plunge with Grillmaster for a Day, Brian Urlacher

 

 

What do you do when Johnsonville invites you to kick off grilling season at the world’s largest grill while supporting a great cause? You say yes. And to top it off, we got to tailgate the 2017 Chicago Polar Plunge with out  favorite Chicago Bear/grillmaster for a day, Brian Urlacher.

Enrico gets a chance to take a selfie with Brian Urlacher

It could not get more Chicago than this- the cold never stands in the way of purpose or brats. We joined Johnsonville and thousand of fearless (and creative) Chicagoans at North Avenue Beach to witness the Polar Plunge. In its 17th year in our city, the event raises funds for the Chicago chapter of Special Olympics.

Participants received a warm reception!

It was truly inspiring to see so many individuals by themselves, or in teams willing to endure a bone-chilling experience to support the charity’s mission.

 

Shivering plungers were warmed up with towels, and of course, Johnsonville brats fresh off the burners of the Big Taste Grill, a 20-foot tall, 65-foot long grill which cooks 2500 brats per hour!

 

The brats were delicious. It reminded us it is time to grill.  A grilling tip from Urlacher: “Go low and slow”.

 

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Johnsonville. The opinions and text are all mine.

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.

 

Rosca de Reyes – A Slice of Gospel and Tradition

 

Photo Courtesy of "El Deleite".

Photo Courtesy of “El Deleite”.

Often used as evangelizing tools, celebrations in Mexico feature elements that are charged with symbolism. Take the piñata, for example, used as an allegory of sin (colorful and appealing on the outside, yet hollow and empty on the inside). Still today, during parties, people are blindfolded (a nod to faith being blind) when facing the piñata, which will yield fruits once fought and defeated.

The Rosca de Reyes (cake of kings) is no exception. Even as I type, kids who have been taught to expect the arrival of the three kings or magi, during Epiphany have already gone to bed with the hopes of finding gifts by their shoes when they awake. This festivity marks the culmination of the “12 Days of Christmas”.

Rosca de Reyes is shaped and decorated as if it were a crown. Inside, little figurines representing baby Jesus while in hiding from Herod can be found. Whomever discovers  the figurine it their slice of rosca gets to share their good fortune- they will buy tamales for the group on February 2nd, to celebrate the presentation of Christ at the temple.

Without even knowing it, tradition is celebrated and perpetuated in a delicious slice that is typically enjoyed with a cup of hot chocolate.

Yanet Hernández Tabiel, owner of “El Deleite”, a bakery in Mexico City, shared her popular recipe with La Vitamina T readers.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp of yeast
  • 5 1/2 cups of flour
  • 1/2 cup of sugar
  • 1 tbsp of vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup of milk
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 3/4 cup of butter
  • 1 1/2 cups of crystallized fruit
  • 1/2 cup of warm water
  • 5 plastic “muñequitos de rosca” (plastic rosca dolls). These can be substituted with large beans.

For the butter crumble:

  • 1 cup of butter
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract

Instructions:

  1. Combine the yeast with one of the tablespoons of flour and the warm water. Let rest for 1o mins. or until it’s foamy
  2. Combine the remaining flour with the sugar, vanilla extract, salt and milk in a mixing bowl. Mix until incorporated. Add the eggs and the yolks.
  3. Continue mixing until smooth. Add the yeast and mix until you have a smooth, and flexible ball.
  4. Add the butter and continue mixing until fully incorporated.
  5. Add the mix in a bowl and cover it with a damp cloth. Keep at room temperature until it doubles in volume.
  6. Make a dimple with your finger and knead.
  7. Extend the dough into a rectangular shape, add the crystallized fruit and the plastic dolls. Twirl to form a crown shape.

Crumble and Decoration

  1. Mix the butter with the sugar, eggs and the vanilla extract
  2. Decorate the rosca with strips of this mix.
  3. Glaze your rosca with the eggwash and decorate it with crystallized fruits
  4. Bake for an hour at 375 degrees or until golden brown

Enjoy!

 

Nuestra Mesa – Recetas Típicas Navideñas: Ensalada de Manzana

En caso de que todavía te estés preguntando qué vas a preparar para la cena, aquí está otra receta para Navidad, que además de ser muy tradicional, es deliciosa, sana y fácil de preparar.

Foto: Manuel Rivera - Ciudad de México, México

Foto: Manuel Rivera – Ciudad de México, México

Ensalada de Manzana Navideña

Según la receta de la señora Lilia Gómez Rojas, Ciudad de México, México

Ingredientes:

  • 1 kilo de manzana
  • 1 lata de 500 gramos de piña o duraznos en almíbar
  • 100 gramos de almendra
  • 100 gramos de avellana
  • 200 gramos de pasa güera
  • 1/2 litro de crema ácida o yoghurt natural
  • 300 gramos de azúcar
  • 2 cucharadas de canela
  • 1 cucharadita de nuez moscada

Preparación:

1. Pon en un recipiente hondo la crema o yoghurt con el azúcar y las especias. Mézclalas.

2. Pica las avellanas y almendras e intégralas a la mezcla.

3. Escurre la fruta en almíbar.  Pícala en cubos de 1 cm, e incorpórala a la mezcla de la crema

4. Pela y descorazona las manzanas.  Pícala en cubos de 1 cm e, incorpóralas al resto de los ingredientes.

NOTA:  Pela y añade la manzana hasta al final para evitar agregar ácido y evitar la oxidación.

Encuentra más recetas navideñas haciendo click aquí.

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 Saavedra comparte con los lectores de La Vitamina T, su pasión por la cocina y por México.

Publicada originalmente el 13 de diciembre del 2012

Pair your “Pavo” like a Pro – Cava Córdova’s Head Winemaker Shows you How

Winemaker Fernando Farías Córdova will launch Cava Córdova in 2015 Photo: Cava Córdova

Winemaker Fernando Farías Córdova will launch Cava Córdova in 2015 Photo: Cava Córdova GSM

From the Series “World Class: Mexican Wine and the Hands who Make it”

Mexican entrepreneur and winemaker Fernando Farías Córdova  followed his love for winemaking all the way from his native Jalisco to Valle de Guadalupe. Impressively,  although barely thirty, this young wine and tea sommelier is now making a living out of his passion, and is preparing to release his own wine label.

Sleeping in a cellar awaiting for its 2015 debut, is Cava Córdova GSM. Originally from the southern Rhône Valley, here, this blend of Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre grapes is being nurtured to become a wine that is both elegant and approachable.

It is impossible to resist asking an expert how to pair your food. Just in time for the Thanksgiving meal, Farías Córdova gives us tips for every palate:


White 
Look for wines with low acidity and high floral or fruit notes to highlight the flavor of cranberry sauce, such as wines made with Viognier, or Riesling grapes. A Moscato is a great option as long as it is not too sweet; and the butter notes of an oak-aged California Chardonnay would complement rich dishes very well.

Rosée
Dry, medium-bodied and very fruity wines will offer a refreshing contrast to pair elaborate dishes. Look for wines made with Grenache, Syrah or Carignan grapes

Red 
Red wine and turkey? Absolutely. Long gone are the times where poultry was usually only accompanied with white wine. Serve young red wines with notes of red fruit, jam and spices that intensify the flavors of our dishes. Look for Merlot, Zinfandel, Pinot Noir, Malbec or Syrah.

Sparkling
For a night of celebration, chose to pair your pecan pie with a Proseco Brut. Sparkling wines are also a great complement to spicy foods (in case mole or tamales verdes find their way to your table) and, why not, go ahead and pop that bottle of champagne that you were saving for a special occasion. This is one of them.

How do you know what wine is best for you? It is the one you like… and hopefully, it is wine from Valle de Guadalupe.

¡Salud!

 

Stay tuned for an update on the 2015 release of Cava Córdova GSM.

 

 

Prior articles in the series:

< AlXimia: The Art and Science of Extraordinary Wine

<¡´Biba´México! The Zeal Behind Mexico´s Pasión Biba  

< World Class: Mexican Wine and the Hands who Make it (Introduction to a Series)

 Originally published on 11-25-14

 

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!

 

 

Let There Be Fire! – The Universal Language of Grilling

Chimney starters help accelerate the process of getting the coal ready for grilling.  
Photo credit: Illya Samko

 

Summer is finally here, and in these latitudes, barbecue season often evokes images of sporting events and patriotic-themed cookouts. Of course, you need weather to cooperate, so as the words “barbecue” roll off your tongue, you have unconsciously summoned the idea of a picture-perfect day. Growing up in a part of the world blessed with rather benign weather year-round, it was not until I moved to Chicago that I understood why the state of the atmosphere often finds its way into the conversation or the news. Here, grilling is definitely a seasonal event and sometimes it is referred to as barbecuing.

In Mexico, barbecue or barbacoa, means something different- it is a dish that typically entails cooking meat on an open fire (usually lamb) in a hole that has been dug in the ground for this purpose. Barbecuing to us, is a parrillada or a carne asada (literally, “grilled meat”). These words immediately make me think of a Sunday spent surrounded by family and friends in Mexico. Putting the meat on the grill is the main event, and the process entails an unspoken ritual that, like any other party in Mexico, takes at least a whole day. To me, the most curious part of the custom is what is often done in hopes that the rain won’t spoil the day- scissors and knives are staked into the ground. In some instances, this is done forming specific shapes, in others, these artifacts are put outside along with ribbons or even eggs…

Last year, we asked a few suburban dads for their grilling tips right on time for Father’s Day. As I asked around, I realized that ideas were incredibly diverse-  from ingredients to techniques. Something I found particularly fascinating was that no matter who I was talking to, this conversation resonated.  The joy of grilling seemed universal.

Is it? I think it might be. I asked my friend Illya for a few grilling tips. He happens to be Ukrainian and someone who, like me, is truly passionate about food. What do we have in common? Our love for Mexico. His wife Myrna, is a Mexican transplant. What do you have in common? You speak the same language-  He is another guy who loves to grill.

Sizzling Hot: Our Primal Love for Food over Fire

 By: Illya Samko

 

Grilling in Monterrey, Mexico. Photo credit: Illya Samko

Grilling in Monterrey, Mexico. Photo credit: Illya Samko

Since man started cooking with fire, food has never been the same. There is something deeply primal about putting a piece of steak on the fire; the sound of  meat sizzling on the grill, its aroma and the divine taste of a fresh steak. I believe these images are seared into our DNA.

In the Ukraine, grilling is mainly associated with cooking pork. Pork shoulder is usually cut into cubes and marinated in mayonnaise, salt and onions. It is then skewered and cooked over charcoal slowly until it is well done.

Ukrainian grill. Photo credit: Ilya Samko

Ukrainian grill. Photo credit: Illya Samko

My greatest learning experience as far as grilling goes, took place during my first trip to Monterrey, Mexico (birthplace of my lovely wife, Myrna). Here, grilling  is a way of life to say the least. I was impressed with how Regios* know their grilling. They use a specific type of charcoal, Mesquite, which gives the meat a very smoky and distinctive flavor. The preparation process is as important as grilling itself- It takes a certain number of cheves** to get the thing going. First the fire, then the botanas*** and few hours later, when you are so hungry that you could eat just about anything, you finally hear that “magic sound” and smell the beef- you are lovestruck.

 At that point, in spite of all the beers you’ve had, your senses are heightened and the level of salivation is downright dangerous. Finally, the teasing is over and it is time to feast- the plate full of grilled goodness makes it to the table. Devour you will. Believe me. Not only is grilling a ritual that takes hours, it is also a way to celebrate anything. Mexicans seem to celebrate life if there is no other particular reason to party.

When grilling there are a few important things that you need to know. I believe these basic steps make a huge difference.

  • Never put any meat on the grill that came straight out from the fridge. Let it warm up a little. Room temperature is ideal.
  • Season your meat with kosher or sea salt and pepper. Good steak needs absolutely nothing else.
  • Be patient. You cannot rush a good burger, steak or whatever you are grilling.
  • After you take your steak off the grill, let it rest for about five minutes. This will allow all the juices to be redistributed back into the steak evenly.
  • I use a chimney starter to speed up the process of getting the coal ready for grilling. Using accelerators on the coal gives your food  a chemical taste.

Enjoy!

Born and raised in Western Ukraine, Illya Samko is a food enthusiast who loves to travel, learn about different cultures and try new cuisines. With a  degree in law, and a knack for anthropology, Illya has worked in London, New York and Chicago, where he currently lives with his Mexican wife, Myrna. 

 
*Regios short for regiomontanos, are a citizens from Monterrey, Mexico.
**Cheves is slang for cerveza or beer.
***Appetizers, snacks
 
Originally published 6-23-2013 www.lavitaminat.com 

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.