LOL because I’m always like, I’M BACK and then life gets in the way and I’m gone for two months. Two babies, a teen, a dog, a man and God-knows how many jobs sometimes make it impossible for me to get into the right headspace where I feel I can communicate with you from an honest place.
Last week I opened up my home to adult strangers for the very first time. I’ve always worked with organizations that bring kids or teens because, you know, they’re usually nicer. Ha! For whatever reason, I just didn’t want to put myself in that position. I have enough going on, was the feeling. But then my friend/neighbor that I love dearly, even more so because her daughter Sabina and my son Fausto are best friends, asked if she could auction off a dinner in my home to benefit the Castro-Limon Children’s Pediatric Cancer Foundation. So, of course, I said yes. Long story short it was a huge success, both for the auction and me personally. I’ve always said “I’m too busy” for workshops but sometimes you have to make the space to do the things that nourish your soul, even if they don’t benefit you financially as well as other gigs, so I kinda feel I might be doing some classes here and there and just relive this experience but with a different group of people every month. And you guys do the cooking! But back to the dinner… it was magic. Absolute magic. It took an entire team of folks to put that night together and it took 20 years for me personally to hone the vision of what I want this lifestyle and business to look like and be. What aspects of my life/family/home/culture I want to share with you and, after that dinner, the answer continues to be a very clear “ALL OF IT!”
Day of the Dead has taken a whole new meaning for me in my adult life and since my mom passed. Let’s get deep for half a paragraph; the more I work on myself, the more I am lead to look for answers and meaning in my past. Both in my own past and my ancestors’. In that search I’ve not only uncovered so much about myself but I’ve made a much stronger connection to the traditions, rituals and customs of the country I grew up in. My mom has been honored on my altar for the past 10 years or so and, I have to tell you, this past one felt more powerful than the ones in years past. If you read a post I wrote a while ago about dealing with her passing, it had seemed I had blocked out a lot of emotions to be able to cope with her passing. I’ve never allowed myself to miss her. And this month, that the altar was up and my daily meditation happened in her presence, I kept getting images of what it would it would be like if she were still in this realm. I saw her reading stories to the babies before bed, forcing Fau off of the computer and bringing him to the dinner table, helping me return the glassware to the shed after the dinner, sneaking treats to the kids, picking them up from school if I was traveling, having coffee with Philip in the morning by the fireplace… I felt her presence. And I wasn’t sad about it. I honestly feel that it wasn’t just that I was allowing myself to visualize it, but throughout the month I FELT her presence and, man, it was beautiful. Warm fuzzies every time I walked passed her photo and the lit veladoras. She was there. That’s the power of believing in your traditions, that’s what happens when they become real to you because of their significance; they begin to have a much more powerful and meaningful impact on your life! So my advice? Do some digging and some research. Bring some history and tradition into your life. In that search you will not only become a much more interesting person, you will come out of it with a stronger sense of self. A tree with deeper roots is impossible to knock down. Ok done with the deepness I promise…
Here are the recipes and photos… I hope you enjoy them as much as we enjoyed that night!
Also, let me know feelings on workshops… XO M
Benefit dinner for @fundacioncastrolimon Table decor | @hijadetumadredecor Photography | @ceciliamdc.photo Altar | @artelexia Children calavera MUP | @mimisskisssMariachi | @mariachiestrellasdechulavistaCake | @daniflowers Handmade paper flowers | @tfischerdesign
ROASTED POBLANO CELERY SOUP
(Makes 6 enchiladas)
- 5 tablespoons of unsalted butter
- 1 head of celery chopped
- 1 onion
- roughly chopped
- 1 shallot roughly chopped
- 1 1/2 cups chicken stock, low sodium
- 1 roasted, charred and peeled poblano pepper (seeded, stemmed)
- Kosher salt, to taste
- Fresh ground pepper, to taste
- Pumpkin seeds, for garnish
- Queso fresco, crumbled for garnish
- Bacon, for garnish, optional
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium high heat. Add celery, onion, and shallot. Saute until onion is translucent, about 6 minutes. Add chicken stock and bring to a boil. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Reduce heat to medium and simmer for 10 minutes. Turn off heat. Transfer mixture to blender and process until smooth. Add roasted poblano and continue to blend. Adjust seasoning to taste. Strain soup through a fine mesh strainer. Serve soup with a drizzle of olive oil, pumpkin seeds, queso fresco and bacon.
Huitlacoche Crepes Filled with Wild Mushroom and Bathed in Poblano Crème Sauce
(Makes 8 to 10 crepes)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- ½ white onion, thinly sliced
- 24 oz. oyster mushrooms, roughly chopped
- 5 sprigs thyme, leaves only
- Kosher salt, to taste
- Fresh ground pepper, to taste
- 1 ¼ cups whole milk
- 3 large eggs
- ¾ cup all-purpose flour
- 3 tablespoons melted unsalted butter, slightly cooled
- 1-7 oz. cans of huitlacoche (corn mushroom)
- Pinch of salt
- 2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) unsalted butter
- ¾ cup chopped onion
- 2 poblano chiles, charred, peeled, dices
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- ½ cup Mexican crema, for garnish
- 5 oz. queso fresco, crumbled, for garnish
- Chopped fresh cilantro, for garnish
Heat olive oil and butter in a large saucepan on medium high heat. Add garlic and onions, and cook until onions are translucent for about 3 to 5 minutes. Add mushrooms and thyme. Continue to cook and stir constantly. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cook mushrooms for about 5 minutes. Reduce heat to low, and continue to cook for about 8 more minutes until mushrooms are tender and lightly browned. Set aside, until crepe assembling.For the crepe batter: Place all ingredients in a blender and process until smooth. Let the batter stand for 30 minutes to allow any bubbles to settle.For the sauce: Melt 2 tablespoons butter in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook until translucent, about 4 minutes. Add the poblano chiles and cook for 1 minute to blend flavors. Add the heavy cream and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer until reduced and the cream coats back of spoon, about 6 minutes. Cool mixture slightly then transfer to blender and process until smooth. Season the poblano sauce with salt and pepper, to taste. Return the sauce to the same skillet and keep warm over low heat until ready to serve.
Heat a 10-inch-diameter non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Brush the pan with oil (or spray with non-stick cooking spray). Add scant 1/4 cupful batter to the skillet; tilt to coat the bottom of the pan with an even layer of batter. Cook for about 45 to 50 seconds until golden on the bottom, adjusting the heat, as necessary, to prevent burning, Using a spatula, turn the crepe over and cook for 45 seconds. Transfer to a plate. Repeat with the remaining batter.
Stuff each crepe with about 3 tablespoons of mushroom filling, and transfer to the prepared backing dish, fitting them snugly into dish.
To serve: Arrange the crepes on a platter and top with sauce, allowing some of the crepe to be visible. Garnish with Mexican crema, queso fresco and chopped cilantro. You can also sprinkle some edible flowers to make it look even more beautiful!
- One 8-pound chicken cut into 8 pieces (2 breasts, 2 thighs, 2 wings, 2 legs)
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled
- 1/2 medium white onion
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 pound Roma tomatoes, halved
- 1/2 large onion, halved
- 1/4 head garlic, peel intact, wrapped in foil
- Olive oil, for drizzling
- 1 cup plus 4 tablespoons lard
- 4 ounces chile negro, seeded and deveined
- 4 ounces guajillo chile, seeded and deveined
- 1 stale tortilla
- 1/4 bolillo roll
- 3/4 cup unsalted peanuts
- 3/4 cup pumpkin seeds
- 3/4 cup sesame seeds, plus more for serving
- 1/4 cup blanched almonds
- 1/4 cup raisins
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
- 3 coriander seeds
- 3 whole black peppercorns
- 1/4 cinnamon stick
- 4 ounces tomatillos, husked and halved
- 2 tablespoons salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 3 tablespoon sugar, plus more for serving, optional
- 1 1/2 disks Mexican chocolate, chopped
- Mexican crema, for serving
For the chicken broth: Rinse the chicken and pat dry. Place all 8 pieces of chicken in a large heavy pot with 8 cups boiling water. Add the garlic, onion and salt. Bring to a boil again. Reduce to a simmer and cover. Cook for about 1 hour. Remove the chicken and set aside. Maintain a medium heat under the broth as you’ll use it again for this recipe.
For the roasted vegetables: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Place the tomatoes, onion and garlic onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Drizzle lightly with olive oil and roast until the skins are blistered and the vegetables softened, 30 to 40 minutes. Remove from the oven to cool. Once cooled, remove the foil and peel the garlic and the skins off the tomatoes.
For the mole: In a large heavy saute pan heat 1 cup lard. Quick fry the chiles in the hot lard, being careful not to burn them or they’ll become bitter. Add the chiles into the pot of chicken broth and simmer for 10 minutes.
In the meantime, add 2 tablespoons lard to the saute pan and fry the roasted onions and garlic. Add the tortilla and bolillo and cook for 5 minutes. Add the peanuts, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, blanched almonds, raisins, oregano, cumin, thyme, coriander seeds, whole black peppercorns and cinnamon stick. Saute for 4 minutes and remove from the heat. Cool slightly. Remove the cinnamon stick and discard.
Working in two batches, transfer half of the cooled nut and seed mixture into a large-capacity blender. Then transfer half of the simmered chiles, without the broth, into the blender. Add half of the roasted tomatoes and fresh tomatillos. Allow to cool before blending. Process until smooth. A paste will form. If the mixture is too dry, add 1 cup of reserved chicken broth at a time. Strain the mixture into a large mixing bowl. Then repeat with the remaining ingredients, processing until smooth and then strain.
Clean the saute pan and place over medium-high heat. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons lard. Pour in the strained mole sauce and cook for 2 minutes. Season with the salt, some pepper and the sugar. Add 1 1/2 cups of the reserved chicken broth and stir to combine. Add the Mexican chocolate and stir to melt. Simmer for 15 minutes, uncovered. Return the chicken to the saucepan with the mole and cook until the chicken is warmed through, an additional 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and transfer to a large serving bowl or platter. Sprinkle with some sesame seeds and a couple pinches of sugar if desired. Drizzle the Mexican crema over the chicken mole and serve hot.