Friday, March 20, 2009

Regional Recipes #6 (Mexico)

Before I moved to California, the majority of my experience with Mexican cuisine was in the form of Taco Bell. I know! I know! Tacos, and burritos -- such was the extent of my knowledge of Mexican cuisine. Fortunately, with the abundance of authentic and inexpensive Mexican food around, my culinary horizons have expanded.

Also, luckily for me, the culinary skills of the participants in the Mexican round-up of Regional Recipes goes way beyond tacos and burritos. There are 10 recipes ranging from beef to soup, salad, seafood, and even dessert.

In alphabetical order, we start with...
Adobo Braised Beef by Regional Recipes creator, Darlene of Blazing Hot Wok in Portland, Oregon. Darlene's recipe starts with memories of when she lived a few blocks away from the Mission District in San Francisco, where the weather was always sunny and the Mexican food was tasty and abundant. Nowadays, she prefers to cook Mexican food at home using ingredients that she previously overlooked such dried chilies.


Beef Tacos by The Meal Planner of Meal Planning 101 in Canada. Forget Taco Bell, authentic Mexican beef tacos need little else besides corn tortillas, beef, onions, cilantro, and guacamole. Or so says her husband, who went to Mexico three times to work at an orphanage, yet talked of little else besides the very simple, but very amazing tacos.

Camarones a la Mexicana by Mary of One Perfect Bite in Eugene, Oregon. (Warning: This site has music.) The vibrant flavors of the coastal city of Tampico come alive in this shrimp dish. Mary used the brine of pickled chile peppers to add a sweet-hot combination of flavors.

Carne Asada Fries by Gaga of Gaga in the Kitchen in California. Gaga misses San Diego's weather, beaches, and Mexican food, including this heaven/heart attack on a plate. Since she can't get carne asada fries where she is, she makes her own. All you need are crispy fries, gooey cheese, flavorful beef, and a huge dollop of guacamole.

Chicken Tortilla Soup by Wandering Chopsticks in Southern California. The first time I encountered this soup was in college. The thought of tortillas and avocado in soup was strange at first, but the crisp/creamy combination, along with the slight spice of chipotle makes this a staple in my house.

Flan by Susan of Open Mouth, Insert Fork in Southern California. Is love like a big red apple? Or is it like a peach? For Susan, love is like a flan -- thick and rich, perhaps not always "authentic," but definitely delicious. Her non-traditional secret ingredient of cream cheese makes this the yummiest flan she's ever tasted.

Grilled Chicken Salad with Rustic Guacamole, Romaine, and Queso Anejo by Pam of Sidewalk Shoes in Soddy Daisy, Tennessee. Even though Pam often cooked Mexican food, she had never opened her copy of "Mexican Everyday." So for this challenge, she flipped open a random page and this recipe came up. If you like cilantro, you'll love this recipe as it uses 3/4-cup of the love-it-or-hate-it herb in a master dressing that's brushed on the chicken before grilling, stirred into the guacamole, and used as a dressing.

Grilled Snapper Vera Cruz with Spaghetti by Joanne of Eats Well with Others in Boston, Massachusetts. Joanne is going to college in Boston and eats out every weekend in order to take advantage of this time in her life to explore the restaurants around her. One of those restaurants serves a puttanesca-like dish of snapper sauteed with tomatoes, capers, and green olives that's popular in coastal areas of Mexico.

Ostiones Pimentados (Peppered Oysters) by Kits Chow of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. This recipe comes from Diana Kennedy's "Mexican Regional Cooking," which combines travel, anthropology, history, and food. The heat in this dish doesn't come from chili peppers, but from ground black peppercorns.

Shrimp Veracruzana by Ning of Heart and Hearth in Manila, Philippines. And last, but certainly not least, we have a shrimp dish that uses several jalapeno peppers for lots of heat. Ning keeps her recipes in a notebook and, prior to blogging, didn't bother to keep track of where they came from, but she definitely remembered that this dish came from Vera Cruz, a coastal city known for its seafood.

Thank you everyone for participating and for submitting such fabulous entries. For next month, the culture and cuisine I'd like to explore is ...


Haha. I know I'm not venturing far, but I'm curious to see what people consider to be American cuisine. Will the Canadians assert their right to the other half of North America? Will it be hamburgers and pizza? Chinese-American inventions such as chop suey? Regional specialties such as clam chowder and jambalaya? What's American cuisine to you?

The talented duo of JS and TS of Eating Club Vancouver will be hosting the American recipe round-up for April. If you'd like to participate, please read the Regional Recipes Rules. Send entries to email (at) eatingclubvancouver (dot) com by midnight April 15. Darlene is also looking for hosts for other months so do let her know if you're interested.

1 year ago today, Ca Ri Ga (Vietnamese Chicken Curry).
2 years ago today, Beet Borscht for the very first time.


  1. Wow! So many different dishes and they all look scrumptious!

    I want to see that recipe for chicken tortilla soup :). The only stuff I've done to cook chicken tortilla soup would be to get a Fresh and Easy precooked tortilla soup, add water, add corn, and then put avocado on top!

  2. Thank you so much for the time and effort you spent making this months event possible. It is appreciated.

  3. WC, what a great round-up! Thank you for your hard work. And the participation was high. There really is something for everyone: starter, mains and even dessert! Yay!

    The avocado tortilla soup looks great. I ran across a recipe for it in one of my cookbooks and thought, I should make that.

    I'm so interested to see what people consider American, especially our overseas participants. Hell, there are regional foods I'm completely unfamiliar with. This is going to be fun!

  4. Great roundup! I've already figured out what dish I'm doing for America!

  5. I can't decide which dish I want to make first.

    Thanks for hosting and thanks for taking my last-minute submission.

    Now I have to start working on making biscuits and gravy. Does it get any more American than than?

  6. Fantastic roundup! Everyone is so talented :)

  7. Houston Wok,
    I was too after typing up this post.

    Chicken tortilla soup recipe is now up. :)

    Thank you so much for your appreciation.

    I think participation is high for the easier cuisines, hence my sticking close to home for the next one. :P I'm also curious to see what people consider to be American cuisine, especially as our country is so very diverse.

    Will you be doing something from Tennessee?

    I always seem to be sending in my submissions under the wire myself. Biscuits and gravy from Catfish Hollow? :)


  8. Hey there,

    I said to myself I should post a recipe for the *Mexican Festival* and completely forgot the dateline!!!!
    Can you believe that? I do, and you should.

    Anyways, everything looks as good as my mexican churros. I'm happy to know there's so many people out there who enjoys my country's food.


  9. Heidi,
    It's OK. We all get busy.

    You two were out of the country. Plenty of chances for the next round.


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