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Of Calabacitas, Courgettes and Zucchini
The Squash family, Cucurbita, is Mexican, whatever you may choose to call its various members, and the earliest traces, dating as far back as 7000BC, have been found in Oaxaca and Tamaulipas. However, the modern courgette or zucchini is thought to have originated in Italy in the 19th century.
Tortas, Part of Everyday Mexican Life
Tortas are an institution in Mexico, a part of every day life and an essential constituent of Mexican cuisine – there are even annual festivals in their honour. They are eaten by everybody at any time, and “torterías” are found on virtually every street corner.
Mexican Antojitos - Gorditas
Gorditas: little plump ones.... The name alone evokes gastronomic comfort and joy and the endless delight of Mexican antojitos. There are many ways to prepare a gordita but its main characteristic is that it balloons and puffs up as it cooks, producing a wonderfully crisp crust.
Mexican Antojitos - Papadzules
Papadzules are one of the specialities of the southern state of Yucatán, typically served at breakfast in the markets and on the streets. The word translates as “food of the lords”, a grand name indeed, but it is in fact a very simple dish with a subtle complexity of the flavours and textures.
The Herbs of Mexico - Mexican Oregano
If you believe that one oregano is much like another, you are mistaken! The oregano which most of us use in our cooking, whether fresh or dried, is Origanum Vulgare, native to the Mediterranean and part of the mint family. Mexican oregano, on the other hand, is not actually an oregano at all.
Mexican Antojitos - Sopes
The “sope” family is vast and convoluted, difficult to track, but whatever a sope’s origin, regional designation or topping may be, it is definitely a member of the clan. Name aside, it is simply a container or tartlet made of masa which acts as a base or plate for a delicious, savoury topping.
Mexican Antojitos - Enchiladas
As the name suggests, enchiladas pack a punch! The verb “enchilar” means to add chilli to something, and in its very simplest form, the enchilada is nothing more than a tortilla with a fiery sauce - but in most cases, the tortilla is rolled or folded around a filling and topped with the sauce.
Avocado, Pear of the Indies
The Aztecs’ ahuacatl has become the avocado but the name bestowed upon it by the Spanish conquistadores was both more romantic and more evocative: pera de las Indias, pear of the Indies, illustrating its shape and what must have seemed, in the sixteenth century, an exotic and outlandish provenance
Mexican Antojitos - Tostadas
Tostadas are rather like an open sandwich: a crisp, crunchy tortilla topped with anything from refried beans to smoked tuna and halibut, shredded pork and chicken to scrambled eggs with chorizo - as with most Mexican antojitos, the topping is up to the cook, and what is in season and available.
Mexican Antojitos - Quesadillas
Quesadillas, the Mexican version of a toasted cheese sandwich, are a crisp, crusty, golden envelope made from a corn tortilla, filled with rich, savoury cheese which is all gooey, melting and oozing out around the edges.
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