Marianas Mexican Recipes

Pan de Cazón Campeche México

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The first time I had Pan de Cazón in Campeche México it was a revelation to me.
I was traveling in Mexico with two of my best friends and architecture colleagues back in our student days, circa 1998. We were in Campeche on a very honorable mission of developing a great project for the City: The “Biblioteca Universo Maya” -“Mayan Universe Library”. The architectural dream project of every student. A constructive binomial, a Church and Monastery, from the sixteenth century that was going to hold the biggest collection of Mayan information in Mexico. I remember the first day in the city we met people and acquired information, details, measurements, and blueprints. We needed every single piece of information in order to start the project.
Between meetings and planning, the morning went fast and soon enough it was lunch time- “comida”. In the blink of an eye, we were guided to a restaurant to cool down. I remember not coping well with the humid hot weather of this beautiful city. Hungry and thirsty, we sat at a restaurant and started receiving some recommendations from the waiter and the friend who brought us. They both made the same recommendation: “Pan de Cazón”.

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Mexican Beans Manifesto

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Cooked, de la Olla, or Refried… I want to share with you my love for beans and how I bean.

I’m from Mexico. Along with corn, this simple food is a staple in our national diet. There are many great foods from my homeland but homemade beans have a way to my heart. The warm earthiness, texture, and flavor of a well-prepared pot of beans, this is my comfort food. In fact “frijoles de la olla” boil-cooked beans are my “last supper” meal. With this said, you can imagine I’m very particular and appreciative about identifying truly great beans.

My love affair with beans’ simplicity that made me realize how many versions of “how to cook beans” are out there. They utilize many ingredients, cooking methods, pots, herbs, you name it, and yet most miss the mark for me when it comes to authentic style Mexican beans. I can not understand how something so simple to make has been so misunderstood. I feel the deep responsibility to clear this confusion and define Mexican style beans. After this, you will discover an untroubled path in preparing this Mexican caviar.

Keep it simple. Slow down. When it comes to beans, It is about respecting the ingredient. Slowly and patiently cooking a pot of beans will yield the best pot of beans you ever had. Why cook them from scratch? they taste far better than from the can, period. So let’s start.

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Vegetable Taco Fillings A Mexican love letter to Vegetables

Vegetable Taco Fillings_Ideas_ recipes _Yes, more please!

Feelings…. nothing more than Fillings”… Hello friends, we’re back.We have been on a roller coaster; from a vacation in Mexico, to Slow Wine Festival, meeting new people, giving cooking classes, Ian giving lots of photography classes…we have been busy, but you have always been on our minds.

Visiting my Mexico after more than eight years was reinvigorating. Being back in my birth country was very fulfilling and I felt my roots strongly. We were welcomed at the airport with a big familiar smile and , thankfully, we did not have to get in the long customs line. During the visit we could eat and breathe the delicious in-season ingredients that Baja produces; from papayas, to avocados, chiles, lettuce, pineapples, limes, guanabanas, tomatoes, chard, radishes, you name it!. I just felt like a fish back in the water, especially walking along the pristine coastline. Now I’m melancholic… its hard to forget the people, the laughs, the air and the sea… and the food. From freshness, flavor, aroma, ingredients, preparations, sazones… can you imagine? Good thing we just visited one little town…Phew!

I have harnessed the melancholy and channeled it into a love letter to every Vegan and Vegetarian who has felt neglected by the Taco Love. Yes baby, not one, not two, but EIGHT vegetable fillings that will add vitamin “V” (vegetable) on any Taco night!

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Salsa Mucha Muchacha AKA Salsa Macha

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This is one of my salsa obsessions. In the chile kingdom and its spice scale, this Mucha muchacha salsa has the best flavor and intensity in my opinion. Chiles are one of my dearest ingredients because by preparing them in different ways they transform and have multiple flavors and textures to offer far beyond simply spicy and hot. The level of spiciness can be tamed by the cook and by combining different chiles one can create new flavors. From smoking, toasting, roasting, frying, charring, grilling, steaming, boiling, its an endless combination that ends with a delicious result and the best accent for a meal.

Like this salsa.

This salsa will make your heart sing, and speak in tongues.

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Day of the Dead Amaranth Skull Cookies

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This year to celebrate Day of the Dead, I decided to make some cookies utilizing ingredients that were more commonly used in more traditional Mexican cooking. I used Amaranth and an assortment of seeds and dried fruits to decorate the cookies. Amaranth has being cultivated in Mexico by the Aztecs 8,000 years ago. It was a great source of nutrition for them. The real value on amaranth was and is its seeds. These tiny little seeds are loaded with 12 to 17% protein and are high in lysine and essential amino acids. Amaranth seeds are also high in Calcium, Iron, Magnesium and many more minerals and vitamins. I think we should start looking at this plant and its nutritional value with wider eyes. Puffed amaranth seeds taste like a nutty popcorn. They are soft, tender and hold a great natural flavor.

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Mariana’s Pipian Verde

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One of the most iconic and traditional Mexican dishes, Mole Poblano, gets all the fame and glory, but what about the rest of the Moles? There are at least another 7 moles from Oaxaca, imagine that is just one state… equally delicious, easier, different chiles and seeds combinations, seasonal, upon what is available in different regions and Grandmas’, Moms’, and Aunts’ taste. Each family has their own traditions, style and way to prepare them. Which one is more authentic?.. The one that is more you-er than you. I do not like to refer to a dish as authentic, I believe its more about tradition. Unless we go authenticating Grandmas, Moms and Aunts out there…unless it’s a Picasso painting.

Tradition is what a dish should reflect. The way and manner it was prepared in your family, at a place in time and history that has carry on within. That’s what resonates more with a recipe, like that yellowish piece of paper that has butter spots and crunchy edges, you can barely read from your grandmas handwriting, and that you have slightly adapted because of personal preferences but its done and evokes you memories and flavors that ground you, and hold a spot in your family history.

Mariana's-Pipian-Verde_ingredients

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Carne en su Jugo Jalisco Style

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This recipe is dear to my heart. A traditional dish from the city I was born: Guadalajara, Jalisco Mexico. It brings me lots of memories from my Mom’s cooking. You see my Mom is not an avid cook; but the dishes she prepared for my brother and I when we where little, where always prepared in a delicious manner, and well seasoned with love. This is one of my Mom’s best dishes for sure.

Now, how can something so simple and humble as a combination of beans, meat, and a simple broth can be so darned good? I do not know, but once you make sense out of this combination of ingredients that seems to want to be a guisado, but is not a guisado, and wants to be a soup, but its not a soup, once you prepare it, you will understand why I like it so much.

What is not to like about thinly sliced juicy meat, flavored with a little bacon, simmering in its own juices, along with fresh cooked beans and their broth, some herbs, chile and tomatillos? The result it is far better than it reads, or than it looks. It is a loose stew. Perfect for the transitional weather, when you almost want it to be Fall or Winter but its not there yet. And of course it is a must make dish on a rainy or cold weather day. Easy to prepare, one pot situation.

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Hibiscus Mint Fruit Punch

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While growing up, Hibiscus-Jamaica agua fresca was often the drink of choice to refresh on a Summery day.  I remember my mom and grandma buying the dry flowers in bulk. Hibiscus-flor de Jamaica or Roselle should not be confused by the ornamental hibiscus plants, these ruby red flowers come from a different plant scientific name Hibiscus sabdariffa which are dried and used in many preparations, from sweet to savory dishes. The flavor profile of this Hibiscus is highly acidic, almost citrus like. It contains high doses of vitamin C and a unique flowery citrus flavor that is just right for refreshing drinks and tames the thirst on hot summer days. For me, growing up in Mexico, Agua fresca de Jamaica was my “cool”aid.

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With this in mind and thinking of something refreshing and fun to drink, I thought of making a fruit punch, or the good Sister of Sangria. This Hibiscus Mint Fruit Punch  just got loaded with lots of fresh fruit, and SVETIA sweetener which makes this Fruit punch the good sister of Sangria, or the healthiest Agua Fresca!

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