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Posts Tagged ‘Mexican cooking’

Raise a Glass of Atole de Calabaza for Day of the Dead

Atole de Calabaza Recipe

Few holidays capture the imagination like El Dia de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead. From November 1 (All Saints’ Day) through November 2 (All Souls’ Day), families throughout Mexico and Central America build elaborate altars to lay out the favorite foods of their dearly departed. Platters of rice and beans, moles, tortillas, tamales, calaveras (candy skulls) and brioche-like pan de muertos dusted with sugar welcome the spirits home — albeit for a brief time — before the food is shared by family and friends.

Atole, a hot beverage thickened with fresh corn masa, corn flour or cornstarch, is a holiday staple, though it’s enjoyed for breakfast year-round. Traditionally sweetened with unrefined cane sugar, or piloncillo, and flavored with fruit, a chocolate version called champurrado is served at Christmastime. This atole de calabaza is made with fresh pumpkin slowly cooked with aromatic spices like anise, allspice and clove. While the Day of the Dead is a time to reflect on the past, this richly textured drink will keep you looking forward to the crisp fall days ahead.

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Trends Across the Country: Much Mexican Food

Deep-fried and served with fresh fixin’s, fish tacos are a fave amongst surfers and southern Californians.

To celebrate this year of the Olympics and a presidential election, Cooking Channel asked fans what dishes represent their states and then worked with our kitchens to create original recipes for each of the 50 states. (Read all about the project here.) Each state has its own unique food scene, but we couldn’t help but notice some trends across the map from coast to coast.

Though we discovered interesting recipes from all Across the Country, a few states’ dishes in particular caught my attention. It looks like I need to book a flight to visit the states that specialize in my favorite cuisine: Mexican.

From the great state of California comes one of my all-time favorites, Fish Tacos (pictured above). Whether you like them deep-fried and crispy or refreshingly topped with nothing but lime juice, these Southern California staples will turn your kitchen table into a taqueria.

A burrito was once accidentally dropped in the fryer (or so the tale goes), and the crispy, meat-filled chimichanga was born.

From the border state of Arizona comes a fried favorite: Pork Chimichangas. It’s basically a burrito that was dropped in the fryer — what could possibly be bad about that? Top it with some sour cream, pico de gallo and guacamole and you’re set for a deliciously crunchy dinner.

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Party in Five: Mexican Fiesta

Photo: Melanie Grizzel

In the summertime, entertaining needs to be easy — so you have more time to sit back, relax, and enjoy the warm-weather eats. We set out to create fun, complete party experiences using only five essential ingredients, from tasty food and drinks to decor and games. Party on!

 

Here in Texas, we eat a lot of Mexican food; Tacos, enchiladas and guacamole are such a staple on my dinner table that they practically constitute their own food group. So when the outdoor temps heat up, I love to make these favorites feel a little more festive by throwing a south-of-the-border fiesta complete with frosty margaritas, colorful maracas and a candy-filled piñata. I recently celebrated summer’s arrival with such a fête in my backyard, and jazzed up my normal outdoor setup with vibrant flowers, a spicy menu and décor that channeled a Mexican beach town.

To throw this fiesta at home, you need five essential ingredients:

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Post Cinco Breakfast

Chilaquiles

One too many margaritas last night? We’ve got the cure for that. Treat yourself to a hearty Mexican breakfast and you’ll be back to your old self in no time.

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Spicy Seafood Guacamole

This guacamole is alive with heat and salt, because instead of simply tossing chopped onions, cilantro, and chiles into fresh avocado, I mash them up with a generous sprinkle of salt into an intensely flavored, bright green paste.

Only afterward do I scoop out pieces of perfectly ripe avocado and bring it all together into this superb guacamole.

The result is a bit like salad, perfectly dressed in vinaigrette: Every creamy piece of avocado gets coated with the paste, so every bite starts with a pop of flavor, heat, salt and herbs, and ends with the mellow, buttery flesh of the fruit.

It’s sensational, but add a little crab and shrimp marinated in orange juice and chipotle and you have a modern version worthy of the most elegant restaurant, but simple enough for a weeknight dinner at home.

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