Mexican buñuelos are some of my favorite treats. They used to be made for Christmas, although in recent years, they have become increasingly available at fairs and other celebrations throughout the year. Buñuelos are like fried wheat flour tortillas that are covered in sugar and canela or piloncillo syrup.
When I was a teenager in Mexico, I spent lots of time with my maternal grandparents. That included traveling with them to their casa de campo, which was up in the hills of Pachuca, in a little town called Mineral del Chico. Getting to that house involved an 8-hour drive from Monterrey and those trips always included a stop to visit one of my Grandfather's colleagues.
When the weather gets chilly, a warm soup is just the ticket. This soup has an earthy flavor from the mushrooms and epazote and a seductive heat from the dried chiles. It will warm you up from the inside out. And it is very fancy to serve to your guests too.
Milpas are traditional Mexican vegetable parcels. The word milpa comes from the Nahuatl tongue and it refers to a piece of land that is planted with specific types of vegetables. In these parcels, you will always find native ingredients like corn, squash, beans, tomatoes, chiles, and wild greens. These plants not only grow perfectly well together, they also nurture each other, making milpas a self-sufficient type of farming.
Pickling food by mixing with vinegar has been a method of preservation for thousands of years. Vinegar is an acid and it prevents bacteria from forming in food. In the age before refrigeration, mixing food with vinegar was a perfect way to preserve food.
The practice of combining food and vinegar comes from the Arabic world, where they usually used this method to preserve fish. From there, the practice went to Spain and from Spain it came to the New World.
The last time I was in Mexico, my friend Alma made this dish for me. I had tried it once before, but this time it made me really curious about the origin of the dish. I asked everyone I know if they knew where it came from and no one could answer me.
Buñuelos are a Christmas tradition in Mexico… one of those things to look forward to all year. These buñuelos are easy to make and very pretty to look at. Serve them with a mug of hot chocolate and you’ll feel like you’re spending Christmas in Mexico!
Discada Norteña is a typical northern Mexican dish that has its beginnings in the fields, where laborers used old plowing discs as a “wok” to make a meat-laden sort of stir fry that made a great taco filling. This is the closest thing to “wokking” there is in Mexican cookery. It’s delicious and can feed a crowd, so invite your friends over!
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