Marianas Mexican Recipes

Red Charred Salsa

Salsa-Roja-Asada_Ingredients

It seems like magic to me how with just a few ingredients you can achieve a whole lot of attitude, an incredible amount of deep of flavor, and spice. I’ve seen lots of recipes calling for way more trouble and ingredients than this one and they do not end up tasting half as good. This recipe has only four ingredients.

What makes this salsa dance?…It’s all about the cooking method. Slow charred tomatoes, toasted dry chiles and a lot of arm work make this salsa like no other you’ve ever had.

If you have the time to disconnect for a bit and make this recipe the old fashioned way, you will find the salsa bright center of the universe. What is the difference between blenders, food processors and immersion blenders versus mortars or pestles? Well its in the name. All a blender does well is as its name describes; it blends, which leaves more whole seeds in the salsa than you might wish for. Now, let’s talk about mortars-molcajetes. For me, there is a tremendous amount of nostalgia in using a mortar/molcajete because the act of using a stone vessel is a whole different experience in the kitchen. It relaxes me and makes me conscience of the transformation of the ingredients and therefore I savor the whole process. Besides the romantic aspect, the difference I see between blenders and Mortars is that mortars pulverize the seeds, as you smash them against the stone adding extra flavor to the salsa. The stone adds flavor to the sauce and you are able to enjoy the earthy aromas when smashing the garlic and the sea salt, the toasted chiles, the smell of the fruity tomatoes as the consistency of the salsa changes. I would recommend you try to make the salsa this way for the simple pleasure of it.

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I know nowadays we all are creatures of convenience; if you are not as romantic as me about the whole traditional process~ Hey! Food processor or immersion blender are my weapons of choice. They get the job done in a fraction of a second and get you ready to enjoy the salsa in less that 5 pulses. Best of all is that with this recipe you can still achieve a great deal of flavor by using them.

Flavor wise this salsa has a smokey background and medium moderate spiciness. Please don’t be scared about the amount of chiles. Dry chiles when toasted, become smokey and very pleasantly pungent. Combining these kinds of chiles balances the act. Chile de arbol brings the spicy note and chile cascabel adds deep, color and character. The charred tomatoes and the garlic make this salsa extra savory. Fresh onion and chopped cilantro add a bit of fresh texture that makes the salsa irresistible to eat with chips.

Despite your method of choice, I assure you this red charred salsa will make you dance. It is a staple at our house I make a batch every other week. It keeps really well in the refrigerator for up to ten days.
It is quite a versatile salsa. I use it to top ranchero eggs, breakfast tacos, pork loin, carne asada, beans, bean soup, shrimp, whole fish (like red snapper), and if you add more tomatoes it is a great salsa to use in chilaquiles rojos. And of course its great with chips and salsa a good pilsner beer for spicy little snack. Enjoy!

Salsa-Roja-Asada_Yes,-more-please!

Red Charred Salsa

Makes 4 cups

3 medium large tomatoes about 4”round is what I used.
(like Better boy, Big Beef, Bush big boy. Any juicy, meaty tomato with high acidity content work best)
8-10 dry chiles de arbol
3-4 dry chile cascabel
2 medium garlic cloves, peeled
1-1 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
water

Garnish with:

½ medium size red onion and small bunch of cilantro, finelly choped

Preparation

1. In a cast iron pan or “comal” toast the chiles at medium heat, turning them constantly using a wood paddle. Once they look evenly toasted and showing an intense dark red remove the pan from fire and let them cool a bit until easy to handle. Remove chile stems.

2. Using the same cast iron pan, place tomatoes upside down, set the heat over medium, cover them with a lid to apply some pressure on them so heat will cook them more evenly. Turn them upside up and keep rotating them until well blistered, charred skins and they look cook through. About 8-10 minutes.
Once the tomatoes are charred and cooked set them aside until easy enough to handle. Remove skin, and with a paring knife remove the core of the tomatoes.

3. If making salsa in the food processor or blender:
Place tomatoes, garlic, sea salt, and toasted chiles in blender or food processor and pulse until coarsley or smooth blend. Add a little water if needed. Taste and adjust for salt if needed.

4. If making salsa in the molcajete or mortar:
Place garlic cloves and sea salt in the mortar, smash until pureed. Add toasted chiles 2 at the time and smash until a coarse paste, make sure you smash almost all the chile seeds. If you need more traction add a pinch of sea salt. Once you have a paste, add one tomato at the time into the mortar and smash until well combined. Repeat until you add all 3 tomatoes. Taste and adjust for salt and salsa consistency. This is entirely up to you. Add a bit of water at a time, until you feel is the right consistency for you.

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Red Charred Salsa

Top with fine diced onion and cilantro, serve at room temperature,

along with chips and a nice cold beer. Eat with abandon!

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Raw Veggie Tostadas

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Is it Spring time yet?… I think we are almost there. This Raw Veggie Tostadas scream welcome spring!, Spring is about renewal, everything in nature starts again, a new cycle that makes me feel like eating fresh,crunchy root vegetables. There is an abundance of them right now, lots of cabbage, carrots, radishes at the farmers market. For me is time to set aside the roasting pans, lets eat them raw. Raw vegetables have an earthy and unique flavor, they are juicy and sweet. I’ve learned to loved them when I shred them, it is so easy to eat them raw and when you combine them in a salad they are also so attractive to the eye and all together make a crunchy symphony texture, simply amazing.
This recipe screams “easy”, you can whip this up for a week dinner or an easy-laid back weekend lunch.  This recipe its one of my favorites, Ian and I used to have them almost once a week for our veggie night or our MM, Meat-less Monday. Have fun and enjoy!

Raw-Veggie-Tostadas_shreded-veggies~Yes,-more-please!

Raw Veggie Tostadas

Makes 4-6 Tostadas

Ingredients:

6 tostada shells*
(Baked or Milagro brand if you are her in Austin, definitely the best..)
1 cup of black beans cooked and smashed
4 shredded carrots…any color any variety.
2 shredded mexican zucchini (light green kind preferable)
¼ head of red cabbage, shredded
2-3 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro
1 lime
1 lemon
2 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/2 – 1 teaspoon sea salt (upon your taste)
fresh ground black pepper to taste

Garnish with:

2 tomatoes diced or in slices
4 thinly slices of red onion
1 avocado
3 tablespoons of greek plain yogurt + 1-2 tablespoon of milk + pinch of salt.
Whisk until well combined, to create a lighter creamy sauce. (for vegan options use tofu yogurt)
2 Tablespoons queso fresco or  feta cheese crumbled or  small diced firm tofu.
Red Roasted Tomato Salsa(recipe follows)

Red Roasted Tomato Salsa:

2-3 medium size tomatoes roasted and peeled.
6-8 toasted chiles de arbol.
2 toasted chiles cascabel (remove seeds)
1 medium garlic clove
1 teaspoon sea salt
Place all the ingredients in the food processor, until well blended, add a little warm water if needed for consistency. The salsa should reassemble a lose puree.

Preparation method:

1. Warm up the beans, you can use refried beans if you like.
2. In a large bowl, combine carrots, zucchini, cabbage, cilantro, the juice of lime, lemon, salt and pepper to taste, toss well.

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Raw-Veggie-Tostadas-healthy-refreshin-and-delicious-recipe-Yes,-more-please!

3. Make your Salsa…I made this Salsa Roja Asada click for recipe here.
4. Prepare your garnishes.
5. Assemble the tostadas, spread a light coat of beans on the tostada (this will be your glue!) and then a generous amount of the vegetable concoction. Top with slices of onion, avocado, drizzle some of the yogurt sauce, and some salsa. Serve immediately. Enjoy!Raw-Veggie-Tostadas_assambling-the-veggies-~Yes,-more,-please

Raw-veggie-Tostadas_topings`Yes,-more-please!

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Raw-Veggie-Tostadas-healthy-and-delicious_Yes,-more-please!

Have you had your rainbow today?

Cook with music! Music always sets the mood for cooking, My music pairing for this recipe:

 

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Pozole Verde a.k.a Pozolillo

Pozole-Verde_Pozolillo_ingredients~Yes,-more-please!

Pozole is a soup usually made with hominy, pork meat, spices and fresh garnishes that create a wonderful one bowl meal warm soup. Let’s say Pozole Is kind of the Mexican Pho. There are a couple of variations upon regions and availability of ingredients, red chiles , green tomatillos and poblanos, or just garlic and onion. There’s even not so traditional versions using chicken or turkey to make the soup a little lighter and healthier; even vegetarian versions using button mushrooms instead of meat, in my opinion all equally delicious in its own way.

Another variation on this dish would be the fresher version also known as ‘Pozolillo’, that uses fresh white corn in the cob kernels like in Michoacan and Guerrero. Which is the version I prepared.

The hominy used in Pozole is freshly made from dry kernels that are transformed into ‘nixtamal’ this process involves soaking the dry corn kernels  in water and limestone to burn and cook the skin. It is an intense preparation more commonly used in the South of Mexico, Sinaloa, Jalisco, Michoacan, Guerrero, State of Mexico and Distrito Federal. While in the norther mexican states like Sonora, Monterrey, Chihuahua, the proximity with the border has a not so preferred commodity, hominy on a can which to my taste is hard to equal the good flavor from the freshly made.

 Despite the regionalism, Pozole is a classic soup among mexican families, every family has its own recipe and a style; whether is white, red or green, a grandma, sister, mom or aunt who makes it; It is always a great comforting meal that brings family and friends together.

In my family, My Grandma, from my father’s side is my Pozole Guru. She will start to cook the Pozole two days in advance by soaking the dry corn-nixtamal with a bit of lime stone to lose the skins on the kernels, rinse it infinite times and slow cook it for a couple of hours. Grandma Mago used pork shoulder and very meaty pork cuts. Her Pozole was white, meaning she would not add any chiles to tint and flavor the broth, the flavor came from the cosmic union of the extremely well prepared artisanal hominy, tender pork, garlic and onion. Amazing, simply amazing.

On the other side of my family, the Pozole Guru is my Aunt Paloma, she makes the BEST Red Pozole. Absolutely delicious, she uses also pork and red chiles like ancho and guajillo which are very mild chiles that flavor the broth transforming it in this aromatic and savory broth you almost want to use a straw to drink it. Scrumptious.

As you can see I have a mayor task here, So far I’ve cooked both Pozole styles, white and red, I love them equally. And yes, it is the cook hand, what we call “sazon” that makes a dish your dish and the only way to exceed at it is practice,  practice and more practice my little grasshopper.

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This time I’m attempted to recreate a Pozole Verde or Pozolillo. First time I had this green gem soup was at a friend’s house she was from Michoacan. I inmediatelly fell in love.
This Pozole Verde is made with white corn kernels instead of hominy and uses tomatillo, serrano and poblano peppers to flavor the broth. What is so special about it? the broth in this Pozole Verde It’s light, fragrant, almost has a herbaceous flavor, and the green tomatillo adds a bit of a thickness to the broth without making it heavy to the palette. The corn kernels make this Pozole a great fresh taste, really unique and very achievable if you lack of a mexican Grandma, Aunt or good quality hominy.

In this recipe, I used sweet corn. Why? Well, Ian is more familiar with the corn flavor than with the hominy. Not a lot of people likes hominy and I strongly believe is because what they have tried is from a can. So what you do? What did I do?..I used what I had freshest available. This week I ran into a good corn sale at the market, it was fresh and tasted sweet, juicy and crunchy good enough to make it into a soup.
Now, I know some people will crucify-me about using sweet yellow corn but, I have to say that the variation came out tasting really good.
Do your best with what you have, use what is freshest available to you, if you find white corn this will be my first option, and if you prefer Hominy, I will encourage you to find “Rancho Gordo hominy”.
This Rancho Gordo California farm grows heirloom beans and grains, the quality and flavor resembles a lot of the hominy you can find in Mexico. Sometimes I can find them at Whole foods or Traders Joe’s. If you plan ahead of time, order them on-line. absolutely divine. http://www.ranchogordo.com/index.htm

Last option will be Juanita’s Mexican style hominy. Yes this particular brand has the best texture, and 3 ingredients, water, hominy, lime stone. Making it the best option. If can is the only option you have, this will taste good.

I used chicken one of my favorite chickens from Smith & Smith Farms, I know chicken again!!! well I do not mind when the quality of it is so good In fact, every other weekend I’ve been buying a whole chicken from this farms, there are so good I crave chicken!.. ridiculous I know…

Any how, easy recipe, one pot wonder, it keeps really well, I have not attempted to make this Pozole Verde on a crock pot, I see no reason why not you could use it. Please, if you do, let me know how it goes.
Keep warm and EAT your SOUP, do not lick the bowl, use a straw!.

Pozole-Verde_Pozolillo~Yes,-more-please!

Pozole Verde a.k.a. Pozolillo

Serves 4 Mexicans 6-8 Green coats.

8 cups /2Lt. chicken stock
3.5-4 lbs. Whole chicken or the meat of a roasted chicken shredded.
6-8 ears of white corn preferable or yellow corn de-kernel
2lbs green tomatillos.
3 poblano peppers remove seeds and deveined.
2-3 serrano peppers
1 large bunch cilantro
½ teaspoon mexican dry oregano
1 medium white onion
1 small head of garlic
2 teaspoons Sea Salt.

Garnish with:

Iceberg Lettuce shredded
Radishes
White Onion finely chopped
1-2 Lime wedges
Mexican Crema
Avocado
Corn Tostadas

Salsa toasted chile de Arbol:

1/4 cup Corn, Sunflower or Vegetable oil
14-20 Dry chiles de Arbol- (remove stems, include seeds)
1-2 medium garlic cloves
1 pinch of sea salt.

Toast in Oil about 14-20 dry red chile de arbol, until they have this mahogany dark color, remove from heat, add 2 garlic cloves cut in half and a good pinch of sea salt. Blend all this until a coarse puree. Add a dash of dis paste when ready to eat.The heat in this sauce-paste is mild, due to the toasting of the chiles, it makes it smoky and mild heat.

Preparation:

If you are using the whole chicken:

1. In a large pot add 8 cups of water ½ medium onion, ½ teaspoon oregano, ½ head of garlic ½ bunch of cilantro, 2 bay leaf, 1/2 teaspoon dry thyme, 2 carrots, 1 sprig of celery, 2 teaspoons sea salt. Add the whole chicken, skin on, cut in pieces, for faster cooking. Bring to a slow simmer; with a ladle remove the white foam that forms as it cooks. Cook for about 35-45 minutes. Until chicken is tender.
2. Once the chicken is cooked, Remove the chicken, herbs, onion, garlic, sieve the broth.
3. Let the chicken to cool down until riches a comfortable temperature to remove the skin and shred the chicken meat. Set aside.

If you are using a Roasted Chicken:

1. Remove skin from roasted chicken and shred. Save the chicken carcasses and set aside.
2. In a large pot add 8 cups of chicken stock, ½ onion, ½ teaspoon oregano, ½ head of garlic ½ bunch of cilantro, 1-2 teaspoon salt and the chicken carcasses from the roasted chicken. Bring to a slow simmer; with a ladle remove the white foam that forms as it cooks. Cook for about 20-25 minutes. Until chicken is tender.
3. Once the chicken broth is seasoned and cooked, Remove the chicken carcasses, herbs, onion, garlic. sieve.

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4. Remove the tomatillo husk, wash them and cut in halves. Cut poblano peppers in half remove the green veins, and seeds. In a blender add the tomatillos, poblano peppers, the other ½ onion, 3-4 garlic cloves, the other ½ bunch cilantro, salt, 2-3 serrano peppers. Add one serrano at a time and taste in between blending so you can measure how spicy it is. The serranos in this recipe are used to add flavor not spice, they act like black pepper. Add a little of the chicken broth from the pot to help blend all this. Blend until is pureed.
5. On a large deep pot add 1 tablespoon sunflower oil until oil is hot. Add the tomatillo blended sauce to the oil and cook for 5 minutes (careful it will splatter). Now that the sauce is sautéed, add the 8 cups of chicken stock, along with corn kernels. Bring to a slow simmer. Cook for about 25-35 minutes.The broth will change color from emerald green to a bright sage green. At this point taste to adjust for salt. Add your shredded chicken to warm through.

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7. Serve piping hot and garnish with shredded lettuce, chopped onions, slices of radishes, squeeze of lime and a dollop of crema. Enjoy!

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Pozole Verde~Yes, more please!

 

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Guava and Cinnamon Atole

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Quick Fire Recipe, this is a delicious warm drink ; “Atole “it does not have an exact translation, this drink dates from the pre-columbian times. Moctezuma used to drink it sweetened with honey.  The best way I can describe it is a warm cozy, slightly sweet and fruity light porridge. The consistency of atole varies anywhere from almost porridge-like to a thin, pourable drink.

It is made with milk, sugar, piloncillo or honey,  fresh fruit, cinnamon and a little bit of cornstarch or masa.  Other fruit variations can be: strawberries, blackberries, plums, mango, grounded pecans, cocoa powder, or simple vanilla.  I love this Guava and Cinnamon Atole, it is warm and the fruit makes this drink simply delicious. I hope you like it as much as I do, Enjoy!

Guava-&-Cinnamon-Atole_ready-to-drink-and-warm-up!

Guava and Cinnamon Atole

Serves 2 cups

2 Cups of Milk (you can use coconut milk, almond, soy, rice it will taste fantastic!)
1/2 cup water
4-6 Guavas fresh (You can use frozen or buy a guava juice concentrate)
2 cinnamon sticks
2 Tablespoons turbinado or raw sugar
2 tablespoons Corn starch disolver in 1/4 cup of cold water.

Preparation:

1. Cut and remove the seeds of the guavas and boil them in a small sauce pan with enough water to cover them, add a stick of cinnamon and cook them until fork tender. pure the guavas.

Guava-&-Cinnamon-Atole_how-to-cut-and-de-seed-a-guava

Guava-&-Cinnamon-Atole
2. In a medium pot warm the milk, 1/2 cup water, cinnamon stick add the sugar until dissolve.(watch your pot at all times-do not let it boil!)
3.Once that the milk is warm add the guava pure, stir until well incorporated, and add the cornstarch dissolved in cold water little at the time and stirring the milk at all times until it thickens a bit. let it come to a soft simmer.

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4. Serve warm un a mug and dust with cinnamon.

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Fruity and Delicious, Enjoy!

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Corn Flour Cookies

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These cookies are originally from Sinaloa, Mexico and traditionally made in Sonora and Chihuahua. They are called “Coricos” or “Pinturitas” and they are made with corn flour ( a.k.a. MASECA), dry corn flour, lard or vegetable shortening, sugar or turbinado sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla. They are traditionally baked in brick-wood ovens that is the traditional recipe.

I got inspired and changed the recipe a bit. I used butter or coconut oil, a conventional oven and some aromatics and citrus to enhance the flavor of the cookie.

I suspect that by now you will be asking yourself what is MASECA? And why MASECA?
Maseca is a brand that uses a play of words: Masa(dough) and Seca (dry) .After all it is a dry corn flour commonly used to make corn tortillas. Now, before I answer the why,
I do have a request from you: please, do not judge these cookies by the fact they are made with the same flour you make corn tortillas. I know it sounds a bit odd but believe me you have to try this recipe. They are the most simple and utterly delicious cookies. In fact, I could say Coricos are one of my favorites cookies.
They are crumbly with a nutty flavor from the toasted dry corn flour and not overly sweet. It’s this simplicity of flavor that allows you to add any aromatic spice like cinnamon, vanilla, orange blossom water, orange zest, lemon, zest, or cardamom.

The dough is so simple and playable, it is great to make with kids, plus you do not have to wait for a resting time or chilling the dough. You can have these delicious gluten-free cookies in less than 30 minutes!!!.
This dough also works well if you roll it out it and make cut outs for decorated cookies. Although their more traditional shape looks like a ring you can make them any size and shape you like. These Corico cookies are usually eaten plain, but I like to dust them with a little powdered sugar and cinnamon for a simple tea or coffee treat, although recently I experimented with some glazes and I have to say I’m in trouble now. The glaze makes them ridiculously good and you’ll see what I mean…

Making cookies makes me happy. So many recipes…so little time! I’m especially fond to this recipe because it’s simplicity and with glaze or no glaze they taste so good to me either way…

I hope you like them and I would love to hear your feed back, and new discoveries. Enjoy!

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Corn Flour Cookies

Makes 2 dozen – 2.5” rings cookies

2 cups masa harina MASECA
½ cup butter (1 stick, 4oz, 125 gr) softened-room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon orange blossom water (optional, but highly recommended)
¼ cup up to ½ cup of water, milk or orange juice.

Preparation:

1. In a bowl, cream the butter with a wooden spoon or using a hand mixer at low speed.
2. Add sugar and mix until a bit fluffy. Add egg, vanilla, cinnamon and orange blossom water. Mix until a bit fluffy and well combined.
3. Add ½ of the corn flour, mix until combined, add the water little at the time and the rest of the corn flour until a soft dough, that resembles like play-dough.
4. Form a small ball If it does not holds together or cracks on the edges when press, add a teaspoon of water a the time until the dough holds together, is not sticky and do not crack on the edges.
5. Now the fun begins! Take a little round ball and roll it into a cylinder then shape into a ring. Press the two ends slightly to close the circle. (no need egg wash or water to seal)
6. You can make any shape or size, coins, balls, thumbprints, or roll the dough and make cookie cut outs. You name it. Have fun!
7. As you go, place the rings on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.
8. Preheat the oven at 350 bake for 18-20 minutes until slightly brown. Remove from oven wait for 3 minutes and then transfer them to cool on a rack.
9. Glaze or sprinke with powdered sugar when they are cool.

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Glaze:

½ cup powder sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons lemon juice or orange juice or milk.
The zest 1 lime, orange or lemon. Or 1 teaspoon of cinnamon.

Whisk all this ingredients until glossy with no lumps. Proceed to glaze. Dry them on a rack.

Enjoy!

Corn-Flour-cookies_glaze-away!!

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~Powdered sugar ~

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G o t    m i l k ?

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Chicken Tortilla Soup “Mariana Style”

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In this global world we are living, what is authentic anyway?…

I think as I get to know more people from different backgrounds, cities, expatriates, cultures, beliefs, culinary eccentrics, purist, creators; the more I conclude that authenticity is not a place, a language, a heritage, a culture, or a belief.
I think authenticity comes from within. Who you are at this right moment, in this place and at this time; and the one that you want to become…. that’s authenticity for me.

It reminds me of a monolog phrase in the movie “All about my mother” from Almodovar’s
and one of the characters in the movie quotes the following:
“… because you are more authentic the more you resemble what you’ve dreamed of being” – “La Agrado’s” monologue (All About My Mother) Almodovar.

And you are wondering what does this has to do with tortilla soup?,
In the culinary world, I’ve always questioned myself about  what is considered an authentic dish? Perhaps it is the dish that resembles more to the people who created it?
For example, If you are from Mexico; is the soup that your grandma prepares more authentic, than my grandma’s soup?.. No, I really don’t think so.
I believe you embrace the flavors that make you happy and satisfy, that make you re- create a memory a flavor, an aroma and you create the soup you want to eat and share with your loved ones… It will be hard to imagine Mexican grandmas cooking for the authenticity sake! I believe you can cook along the way with tradition and make it your own with a few touches.

In this Chicken Tortilla Soup, I wanted to evoke the aromas, textures, flavors, freshness, from the cooking style in Guadalajara, Jalisco the city I’m originally from. This soup re-creates a little memory of my home city, easy on the condiments and full of flavor…
I hope you like the soup as much as I do. So let’s cook!. Enjoy.

Chicken-Tortilla-Soup-'mariana-style'ingredients

Chicken Tortilla Soup “Mariana Style”

Serves 4-6

For the chicken stock:

1 whole chicken 3.5-4 lbs. I’m in love with the chickens from Smith & Smith Farms
1 medium size with onion
2 carrots
2 celery stalks
1 roma tomato
1 head of garlic
3-4 sprigs of thyme
2-3 sprigs of fresh oregano
1 teaspoon dry epazote or mint
1 tablespoon of salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

2 ears of corn- cut the corn of the cob
(my preference is white corn if I can find it, but yellow is ok too)

For the sauce:

2-3 dry Pasilla chiles slightly toasted
4-6 dry Guajillo chiles slightly toasted
1-2 dry Arbol Chiles slightly toasted
4 Roma tomatoes
¼ piece of onion
1 garlic clove
4 tablespoons of corn or sunflower Oil
Salt and pepper.

4-5 cups Chicken stock previously made… or the best option you have available.

Garnish with

8-10 Corn Tortillas cut into 1/2-1/4” wide strips.
½ to ¾ cup Canola Oil

1 ripe avocado, cut in slices or cubes
1 cup queso fresco crumbled
½ cup Mexican style crema or Creme fraiche
½ cup diced onion
2-3 Limes
2-4 dry Arbol Chiles toasted with a little bit of oil, until they look dark. (see photo below)

 

Preparation:

1. Start by preparing your chicken stock on a 7-8 qt pot. Place the whole chicken and add all the stock ingredients, add water enough to cover the chicken. Bring to boil and then lower down the heat to a slow simmer cover with a lid and cook for about 45 minutes.

Chicken-Tortilla-Soup-'mariana-style'

2. Mean time slightly toast your chillies on a pan, small comal or cast iron pan.
3. In a small pot boil the toasted chillies and the tomatoes.
4. Once they are soft, place the chillies, tomatoes, onion & garlic into a blender or food processor and puree.
5. Using a strainer, strain the chilli puree to eliminate the seeds and pieces of skin. (see picture below)

Chicken-Tortilla-Soup-'mariana-style'how-to-make-the-broth

6. Cut and Fry the tortilla strips. Once fried place them on a plate with a paper towel to remove the oil excess. Sprinkle with salt while they’re warm.

Chicken-Tortilla-Soup'Mariana-Style'-frying-tortilla-strips
7. Check on your chicken stock, the broth should look translucent, no foam on the top, vegetables soft and onion translucent, chicken fork tender. If it is done remove at least 4 cups of chicken stock and strain. Take out the chicken, place it on a bowl and cover with some aluminum foil wait a bit until ready to handle, remove the skin and shred the chicken.
I usually use about ½ a chicken to serve 4. you can save the rest for tomorrow’s enchiladas…hehehe
8. In a medium size pot add 4 tablespoon of canola, or sunflower oil, once is rippling hot add your chilli-tomato puree, and cook the sauce in medium low for about 4-5 minutes.
9. Add chicken stock, and corn kernels season with salt and simmer for about 10-15 minutes.
10. Taste the soup for salt and paper.

Chicken-Tortilla-Soup-'mariana-style'_making-the-soup

11. Chop and prepare your garnishes

Chicken-Tortilla-Soup-'mariana-style'-Garnishes
12. Serve on a deep bowl place the shredded chicken 2 to 3 ladles of the chilli broth place a good handful of the fried tortilla strips, and garnish with the cream, crumble cheese, avocados, and some of the chile de arbol fresh or toasted with a little oil for more heat.

 

Chicken-Tortilla-Soup'Mariana-Style'-close-up

Chicken-Tortilla-Soup'Mariana-Style'-bowl~yes,-more-please!

Chicken-Tortilla-Soup'Mariana-Style'-ready-to-eat~yes,-more-please!

ENJOY!!!

Smith&smith-chicken I’m in love with the chickens from Smith & Smith Farms, it is a small family operated farm, they specialize in  pasture raised meats that are hormone and antibiotic free. They  raise Dorper Lambs, all different breeds of laying hens, Cornish Rock meat chickens, Red wattle hogs, and Broad Breasted White Turkeys. All of the animals on their farm are free range and roam around every where! They are all as happy as can be, and you can taste the happines when you cook them. Delicious!

If you live in Austin, check their website for hours and farmers markets locations at: http://smithandsmithfarms.webs.com

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Hibiscus-Orange Glazed Cornish Hens

Hibiscus-Orange-Glazed-Cornish-Hens_aromatics-for-the-recipe_01

Hibiscus-Orange-Glazed-Cornish-Hens_Bay-and-Sage

Have you ever tried hibiscus?… hibiscus is a flower from a tall plant that when dried makes the most fabulous aromatic and vitamin C loaded tea or cold beverage. It is one of my favorite ingredients.
I’m from Mexico and Hibiscus is called “Jamaica” and it is pronounced Ha-my-cah, not to get it confused with the Island. Hibiscus is used in many different preparations, the most common is to prepare “agua fresca”flavored water. Jamaica it is very floral and refreshing, its our natural instant beverage.
It is also used in candy making in Mexico on the Chapala Lake Riviera, in Jalisco. There they make delicious sweet and tart hard candy pieces. If I was to describe the hibiscus flavor, it resembles a little to cranberry. The difference: Hibiscus has this floral notes that makes it so remarkable.

I was thinking of a little spin on Thanksgiving for people who find cranberry too tart so I thought of Jamaica. Then, what to do besides agua fresca and candy? Chutney?.. no… Glaze!

Oh yes I experimented last week glazing some Cornish Hens and it tastes  delicious. My original thought was to glaze some quail, but I look for a good source of quail here in Austin and I was with out luck… so I cooked Cornish Hens…and what a treat!
The results?… Well  you have to try it. It’s floral, tart, sweet and I added a hint of orange zest, and ancho powder to give a little spicy kick….Ian loved it!.. and yes I liked it too.. I definitely want to share the recipe with you, let me know what you think!
Try it with Quail if you or some soul around reading this can find some. I think it will be wonderful and if not it’s great on Cornish Hen! And if you are already a Hibiscus Lover, try our recipe  Martini dos Flores… you will fall in love with it! https://yes-moreplease.com/2013/08/martini-dos-flores/

Hibiscus-Orange-Glazed-Cornish-Hens_with-herb-orange-Farro

Hibiscus-Orange Glazed Cornish Hens

Serves 2-4

2 cornish Hens, about 18 to 22 oz each
4 sage leaves
4 bay leaf
Sea salt and black pepper

Directions:

To roast the perfect cornish hens, I always follow the following steps:

1. Bring the Cornish Hens to room temperature. Take them out of the refrigerator at least 30 minutes before start cooking.
2. Preheat the Oven at 450 F/ 232 C – cook at 425 F/ 218 C
3. Using paper towels pat dry the hens. Salt, pepper and add 2 bay leaves and 2 sage leaves to each bird cavity.
4. Truss the birds, ensuring legs are tight and the tips of wings are behind the body just like if the bird is taking a nap in the sun. Trussing the Cornish Hens make a more even mass, so they cook more evenly.
5. Place them on a baking sheet or a heavy bottom roasting pan and roast for 30-25 minutes until a meat thermometer, inserted in between the breast and thigh reads 165 F/ 70 C anf juices run clear. 0While the hens are in the oven, make the glaze.

Hibiscus-Orange-Glazed-Cornish-Hens_out-of-the-oven

Hibiscus-Orange Glaze

The first time I made this dish I tried to make the glaze using the Cornish Hens drippings from the pan and de-glaze de pan like when you are making a gravy. I did not like this, the delicate floral flavors from the hibiscus were masked by the chicken fat so I made the glaze separate to keep the floral notes alive.

1 cup dry Hibiscus flowers
the zest of ½ medium size valencia orange
½ cone piloncillo, grated
1 aromatic clove
1 chile de arbol
1 teaspoon ancho powder
4-6 sprigs of thyme
1 tablespoon of butter
pinch of sea salt

Directions:

  1. Steep 1 cup dry hibiscus flowers in about 1 ½ cups of simmering water for about 8-10 minutes.
    In a small sauce pan add the concentrated hibiscus tea, piloncillo, clove, chile de arbol, ancho chili powder, orange zest, and thyme. Bring to a slow simmer, simmer for 4-6 minutes.
  2. Remove the sprigs of thyme clove and chilies. Bring the glaze to a rapid simmer stir constantly, until the glaze is reduced by half. Check the consistency by dipping a spoon into the glaze and running your finger tip across. If the line stays put, your glaze is ready (see picture below). At this point add 1 tablespoon of butter until melted and well incorporated, set aside.
  3. Check cornish Hens at 35 minutes. If the thermometer reads 160F/70C start glazing.
    Use a pastry brush or a rubber brush to varnish them. Apply 1 coat and keep baking for about 2 minutes, apply 2 or 3 glaze coats in total. If necessary turn on the broil on the oven and broil for 1 minute for a shiny glaze finish.7. Check temperature until reads 165F/74C and juices run clear.
    Remove from the oven and let them rest for 10-12 minutes before serving.
  4. Serve over a bed of herbed farro or buttery rice, recipe follows…

    Quick herb-orange farro

    Serves 2

    ½ cup farro perlato
    2 cups water or chicken stock
    ¼ cup finely chopped parsley
    1 teaspoon orange zest
    1 tablespoon butter (or you can use some of the chicken fat from the roasting pan)
    salt & pepper to taste.

    In a small sauce pan, bring water to boil and add farro. Reduce heat to a low simmer.
    Cook for about 20-25 minutes. Check for doneness. It usually takes 30-35 to be al dente,
    at this point add butter, chopped parsley, orange zest, salt and pepper. Toss well, remove from heat and cover with a lid for 5 minutes. Serve warm.
    Note: I love farro done this way, I like it a little al dente, not too mushy, and I like to add the herbs, at the end to keep the flavors fresh and colors vibrant.

Hibiscus-Orange-Glazed-Cornish-Hens_hibiscus-glaze-consistency

Hibiscus-Orange-Glazed-Cornish-Hens_roasted-cornish-hens_glazing-the-roasted-cornish-hens

Hibiscus-Orange-Glazed-Cornish-Hens_Yes,-more-please!

Enjoy!

Music pairing: Sabor a mi, by Lila Down

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Day of the Dead, a Tasty Mexican Tradition!

Dia-de-los-muertos_Altar_Frida_Khalo_Diego-Rivera_corazon-de-melon

Dia de los muertos translates into “Day of the Dead”.

The tradition of celebrating Day of the Dead dates from Pre-Columbian times, when the natives of Mexico focused a great deal on the manner in which someone died and rituals were created to commune with the dead and deities from those ancient times. As often happens when two cultures meet, the Spaniards combined the native rituals with their own beliefs which produced a festival that assimilated the ideology, religion, art, agriculture and all the ingredients of the existing culture and resulted in our modern “Dia de los Muertos”.
In 2003 The Day of the Dead, was named by UNESCO as a patrimony intangible of humanity. It is a symbol of Mexico’s cult to the dead and the fascination for the unknown. It is a remembrance of life and the necessity to keep our bounds that seem so impossible to achieve and maintain when our loved ones depart. It is of great importance to remember and maintain these traditions of a rich and colorful culture. Mexico has a lot of good traditions to share with the world…

In Mexico, Day of the Dead is celebrated over three days starting October 31st. November 1 day of all saints, and November 2nd day of all souls. We celebrate the people who departed in hope that they might come back and visit to celebrate with us. And if they are coming all the way from a different dimension we better have some feast worth the trip!

Family altars are decorated with the remembered ones’ favorite foods, photographs, possessions,sugar skulls, drinks and flowers. Candles are placed to illuminate the way for a safe journey back home. This phenomenon it is assimilated with respect and irony, defying the dead as they laugh about her. With a sarcastic bitter-sweet humor Mexicans celebrate the ones that are no longer with us but with the biggest respect they built altars to commemorate them singing, drinking and praying. Now a days people also makes altars for their Favourite historical characters, artist, singers, anybody who means or have influenced in some way your life, or that you just simple admire.
Our Altar in the picture above is made for the 2 most representative artist in Mexico, Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera which I admire the most.

Pan de Muerto is one of the elements that can not be missed on an altar, a bread that resembles a skull with bones. Enjoy it with a cup of hot cocoa, warmed up and sweeten up the memories of the ones that are no longer with us. It is a good excuse to make this delightful bread and maybe… acquire a tasty tradition…

And ofcourse you need some music to go with it… who is better than Chavela Vargas to accompany this recipe and also to sing to their friends…I hope you enjoy… This song talks about the simple things in life, about love and time…http://youtu.be/-mnZcErj-SA

DIa-de-muertos_Pan-de-Muerto-and-Sugar-skulls

PAN DE MUERTO

Makes 3 -6” round loaves or 4- 4” liltte round loaves.

Printing recipe at the end of the post

1 lb / 500 gr. unbleached all purpose flour* plus 1/2-3/4 of a cup more flour for dusting when shaping and  kneading. 
¾ cup / 200gr. Sugar.
¾ cup / 200 gr. Butter room temperature and cut into small chunks.
½ cup / 125ml. Whole milk
2 teaspoons dry active yeast or one little dry active yeast package of 7gr.
3 whole eggs
2 yolks, save the whites for egg wash later…
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon orange blossom water /extracto de flor de azhar
1 teaspoon ground anise seeds
1 teaspoon ground mexican cinnamon
the zest of one small orange

For the Egg wash:
2 left over egg whites you saved when making the dough…
A dash of milk

Coming out of the oven:
1 tablespoon melted butter
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 pinch of cinnamon

Directions:

Day one:

1. Measure and gather all your ingredients.

Pan-de-muerto_mise-in-place-ingredients
2. Start by warming the milk just about luke warm, add a teaspoon of sugar and sprinkle the yeast until bloom. About 10-15 minutes. The yeast should look foamy and creamy.
3. Meantime, on a clean flat surface make a “wheel” with the flour using your bowl to make a perfect circle.
4. Sprinkle the sugar around the flour wheel. In the center add the eggs, egg yolks, spices, extracts, anise, cinnamon, salt. Check on your yeast and if its ready add it to the center of the wheel. Mix all this ingredients using the tips of your fingers or a fork.

Pan-de-Muerto_-Flour-wheel
5. With your hand in a spider position, start incorporating little by little the flour from the edges. Be careful and gentle not to break the flour ring. Start in circular motions all around the inner flour circle until you have fully incorporated all the flour and almost all the sugar.

Pan-de-Muerto_incorporating-the-flour-and-liquids
6. Now using both hands start incorporating the butter. At this point you can decide, kneading the dough by hand for about 20-25 minutes, it is hard work, but I love the way the dough develops as the warm of your hands soften the dough and help the yeast making the dough smooth and shiny. This efforts shown when the bread is baked, it comes out with a tender finer crumb. The other option, using your mixer with a dough hook for about 10-15 minutes. Both routes work is just about preference and time. ~for me, the key to making a good dough is to feel the dough, that’s why I prefer to mix it by hand~
As dough is kneaded, you can add up to 1/2 cup more flour  if needed, if after kneading, the dough feels to sticky, sprinkle  1/4 cup  and knead, until your dough feels soft, moist, smooth,and has a shine to it. This dough is very easy to make and as soon the kneading develops the right texture you will know. It will feel soft and it looks a bit shiny, as you can see on the last picture below. So be patient, give the love and knead gently and confident that everything will come out  at the right time.

Pan-de-Muerto_kneading,-kneading

7. Once the dough is ready dust a large bowl with flour, place the dough in the bowl, cover with plastic wrap and a towel and place it in the refrigerator over night. I’ve tried different methods and the bread did not come out as tender and buttery as traditional good bread. 8 to 10 hours over night gives the right time for the dough to develop flavor.

Pan-de-muerto_Dough-texture

Day two:

1. Pull dough out of refrigerator, punch your dough and reshape kneading gently and briefely.
2.Flour a clean surface and cut into 4 equal parts. Shape each part using your hands creating a concave shape, gently surround the dough with your hand like a little cave, and gently, create circular motion with the dough rubbing against the table until you have formed a smooth round ball. Place each ball into a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, cover gently with a piece of plastic wrap dusted with flour and a clean kitchen towel.

Pan-de-Muerto_Punching-and-shaping

Pan-de-Muerto_shaping-the-Bread
3. Shape 3 parts of the dough and save one to make the bones and skulls for the tops. Divide this ball into 6 stripes and 3 small 1” balls equal sizes.
4.With your fingers make a little cylinder strip and gently pressing in between your fingers make the bones. (see picture below)

Pan-de-Muerto_-Sahping_Bones-and-Skulls
5. Place the bone strips, forming a cross and then place the a small ball in the middle, flattening a little making sure it sticks with the rest of the dough.
6. Cover the tray with a piece of plastic wrap dusted with flour to prevent to stick. Let the bread rise for a second time for about 45-60 minutes or until doubled in size. Once they are doubled apply the egg wash evenly.

Pan-de-Muerto_Egg-wash,-proofing-ready-for-the-oven!

7. Preheat the oven at 375F / 190C Place tray in the oven, and lower the temperature to 350F/ 175C .Bake for 25-30 minutes.Until golden brown and hollow sound.

8. Remove from oven, brush them with melted butter and drench in sugar. Cool bread on a rack. Prepare the hot cocoa, a cafe de olla and be ready to celebrate!

Pan-de-Muerto_sugar-dusting

Pan-de-Muerto_Dayof-the-dead

Pan-de-muerto_delicious-buttery-crumb!

Pan-de-muerto_with-coffe-od-hot-cocoa

Enjoy your Pan de Muerto and Celebrate life!

*   *   *

Altar dedicated to Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera

Sugar-skulls_La-catrina_Frida-y-los-caudillos

Traditional Sugar skulls are made with sugar and in the shape of skulls. One of my favorites Mexican cartoonist illustrator artists is José Guadalupe Posada who is the autor of the Famous Calavera Catrina. If you want to know more about him: http://publicdomainreview.org/2012/11/02/the-calaveras-of-jose-guadalupe-posada/

5 from 1 vote
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Sugar Skulls

www.yes-moreplease.com

How to make Sugar Skulls its easy and fun, you can decorate with sugar icing , sprinkles, candy, colored sugar crystals anything that rocks your imagination, have fun!


Course Snack
Cuisine Mexican
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings 8 2"x 3" small flat skulls

Ingredients

Royal Icing, for decorating:

  • 1 cup powder sugar
  • 1 teaspoon meringue powder
  • 1-3 teaspoons warm water
  • 2-4 drops of natural food coloring of your choice, start with one drop at the time until you achieve the desired color saturation.

For the sugar skulls:

  • 3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg white, from a large egg

Instructions

  1. 1. Mix troughly until you have a mixture that resembles like sand.

    2. Using a plastic mold pack the sugar into the mold really well and level it. Un mold carefully placing a piece of tick cardboard behind the mold, flip and remove the plastic mold carefully. Place cardboard on top of a baking tray and Bake for at least 1 hour on 200F/90C. Remove from oven carefully. Leave  tray on a safe place and let them air dry for an extra day.

    3. Proceed and decorate with royal Icing and a little black coloring or melted dark chocolate.

    This sugar skulls are not meant to be eaten, it is just for decoration since they will just taste like plain sugar…But you are welcome to eat them if you have a strong sugar tooth, have fun!

    You can buy this awesome Guadalupe Posadas Skull Molds and many more on the following link: Mexican Sugar Skulls

posada2-catrina

Day of the Dead a Tasty Mexican Tradition

~ Viva la vida! ~

Music Pairing: Chavela Vargas “Las Simples Cosas”

5 from 1 vote
Print

Pan de Muerto

This recipe is traditional style, that bread that tastes buttery and the egg yolks give the color and richness to the bread. Anise and orange zest give this bread a unique aroma and flavor. The texture is soft and with a strong crumb to hold up dunking the bread in to a cup of hot cocoa! Enjoy!

www.yes-moreplease.com

Cuisine Mexican
Total Time 2 hours

Ingredients

  • 1 lb /500gr. Unbleached all purpose flour, plus 1/2 cup more for dusting and kneading
  • 3/4 cup/200gr. granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup/200gr. Butter, room temp and cut in small chunks
  • 1/2 cup/125gr. whole milk
  • 2 teaspoons dry active yeast, equivalent to 1 7gr.package.
  • 3 whole eggs
  • 2 yolks
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon orange blossom water/ extract de flor de azhar
  • 1 teaspoon ground anise seeds
  • 1 teaspoon ground mexican cinnamon
  • 1 the zest of one small orange

Instructions

  1. DAY ONE:

    1. Measure and gather all your ingredients.

    2. Start by warming the milk just about luke warm, add a teaspoon of sugar and sprinkle the yeast until blossom. About 10-15 minutes. The yeast should look foamy and creamy.

    3. Meantime, on a clean flat surface make a “wheel” with the flour using your bowl to make a perfect circle.

    4. Sprinkle the sugar around the flour wheel.

    5. In the center add the eggs, egg yolks, spices, extracts, anise, cinnamon, salt.

    6. Check on your yeast and if its ready add it to the center of the wheel.

    7. Mix all this ingredients with a fork.

    8. With your hand in a spider position, start incorporating little by little the flour from the edges. Be careful and gentle not to break the flour ring.

    9. Start in circular motions all around the inner flour circle until you have fully incorporated all the flour and almost all the sugar.

    10. Now using both hands start kneading into the butter. And at this point you can decide, mixing your dough by hand for about 20-25 minutes (which is hard work but I love the way the bread comes out tender crumb and the warm of your hands will soften the dough making it really smooth and shiny. Or using your mixer with a dough hook for about 10-15 minutes. Both routes work is just about preference and time. The key to making a good dough is to feel the dough. That’s why I prefer to mix it by hand. You can add up to 1/2 cup more flour if needed, if after a bit of kneading it feels to sticky, sprinkle 1/4 cup and knead, until your dough feels soft, smooth, fluffy. This dough is very easy to make and as soon is the right texture you will know. It will feel not sticky and it looks a bit shiny, as you can see on the last picture below. So be patient, give the love and knead gently and confident that everything will come out at the right time.

    11. Once the dough is ready grease the inside of a bowl with butter and place the dough ball cover with plastic wrap and a towel and place it in a warm place over night. I’ve tried different methods and the bread did not come out as tender and buttery as traditional good bread. 10-12 hours over night is great. You can plan ahead and make it over the weekend. Wake up Sunday or Saturday and bake your bread and have it for breakfast with a cup of warm hot-cocoa or a coffee, cafe de olla.

    DAY TWO:

    For the Egg wash:

    1 egg slightly beaten, or those egg whites you saved when making the dough!

    a dash of heavy cream

    For the Glaze:

    1 teaspoon flour

    1/4 milk

    1 egg

    1/2 3/4 sugar for sprinkle the bread

    Directions:

    1. Punch your dough and reshape dough kneading gently and briefely.

    2. Dust with flour a clean surface and cut dough into 4 equal parts.

    3. Shape each part in circular motions. Until you have formed a round ball. Place it into a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

    4. Shape 3 parts and save one to make the bones and skulls for the tops. Divide this ball into 9 stripes and 3 small 1” balls equal sizes.

    5.With your fingers make a little cilinder and gently pressing in between your fingers make the bones. (see picture below)

    6. Brush the top of the bread with egg wash and then proceed to place the bone stripes, Egg wash it lightly.

    8. Cover the tray with a piece of plastic wrap dusted with flour to prevent to stick. Let the bread rise for a second time for about 30 minutes.

    9. Preheat the oven at 375F / 190C once the bread is in the oven lower it to 350F/ 175C and bake for 25-30 minutes.

    10. Remove from oven brush them with the flour glaze and top with sugar, bake for 5 more minutes. Pull them out of the oven check the center for doneness. Sprinkle a little more sugar on tops and cool them on a rack.

    Enjoy your well deserved Pan de Muerto and Celebrate life!

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