Updates

Dearest reader, I have neglected my blog for quite a few weeks. That doesn’t mean exciting things haven’t been happening, it just means I’ve been busy living those moments instead of photographing them and writing them down. As much as I love recounting the stories of my adventures and taking photos to remember them by, there are times when I have to put down my phone or camera and only have the memory in my mind’s eye.

I rather liked the format of my last post about my Ruta Maya travels where I had some photos and then the rainbows (highs) and rain clouds (lows) of each experience. If you get all the way through the post there is a lovely cookie recipe waiting for you as your prize. They were a hit at my fellow Fulbrighter’s potluck going away party, so get excited for that!

Things I cooked

Rainbow: cooking club’s final meeting! Over the course of my months in Mexico I have gotten together with my fellow Fulbrighters in Guadalajara once a month and cooked delicious meals. We usually go all out with a salad, main dish, bread, and dessert. For our final gathering we made a four star picnic with a spinach, beet, and goat cheese salad with blackberry vinaigrette, tandoori chicken burgers with yogurt mint sauce (recipe from Baked Bree), mango lassis, and dulce de leche brownies with sea salt (recipe from Bakerita). We enjoyed our picnic at an outdoor movie at the Parque Metropolitano.

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Rain cloud: I saw this fantastic recipe for chocolate chip cookie dough stuffed pretzels by Halfbaked Harvest. Sounds amazing right? I’m sure they would have been amazing had I not been the one to make them. Some day I will get pretzels right, but until then I think I will take a break from them. They came out tough and the ones without the cookie dough were too sweet on their own for my taste. The inspiration behind making pretzels was a large bag of sea salt that I purchased (for 8.50MXN, around 60 american cents) that I needed to use. I’m going to keep looking for good sea salt recipes so I can put it to good use!

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Places I went: Tapalpa

Tapalpa is a pueblo mágico an hour and half outside of Guadalajara (theoretically). I went with some fellow Fulbrighters to unplug (poor cell service pun) and enjoy some time in nature next to some large rocks and a tall waterfall.

Rainbows: empanadas de membrillo (quince) and nieve de zarzamora (blackberry ice cream) were the culinary standouts. Also, the feeling after completing a surprisingly intense hike back up from the canyon of the waterfall.

Rain clouds: the banda music concert that began promptly at 6am and continued until 8am. Why anyone needs to have this music on a full blast at 6am on a Friday is beyond me.

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I only have two more weeks left until my grant period is over! I will be staying in Mexico a few days after to tie up some loose ends and hopefully travel a little more before I head back to the States. Until then, I have my bucket list with things I still want to eat and see in Guadalajara, as well as a half marathon around the streets of the the UAG and Providencia which I have gotten to know so well.

Now as promised: Cookies and Cups recipe for the Perfect Cookie Base

My notes: the brown sugar I found here in Mexico is a lot more granular and gave the cookies a sandy texture in my opinion (this didn’t deter people from eating them). I also didn’t want to buy a box of corn starch because it was huge and what am I going to do with so much corn starch in three weeks, so I bought a packet of vanilla flavored atole (corn starch based drink) mix instead and it gave the desired effect.

Ingredients

– 2 cups flour

– 1 Tbsp cornstarch (or atole mix)

– 1 tsp baking soda

– 3/4 tsp kosher salt

– 3/4 cup butter, room temperature

– 3/4 cup dark brown sugar

– 1/2 cup granulated sugar

– 1 egg

– 1 Tbsp vanilla

– 1 1/2 cups your favorite candy (I used m&ms and Kinder Delice chocolate bars)

How to Make

  1. Preheat oven to 350°
  2. Cream butter and the sugars together. Since I don’t have a stand mixer, I just beat them with a rubber spatula until they were well incorporated.
  3.  Add in egg and vanilla to the butter sugar mixture. In the original recipe it says to cream the butter and sugar until fluffy, but the mixture didn’t get fluffy for me until I added the egg.
  4. Whisk together flour, cornstarch, baking soda and salt. .
  5. Add the flour mixture until dough comes together.
  6. Stir in candy until evenly distributed.
  7. Place the cookies on a baking sheet and bake for 9-12 minutes, checking to make sure they aren’t getting brown on the edges and over baking.
  8. Enjoy!

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La Ruta Maya

 

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Over the last two weeks I saw, climbed, ate, and soaked up the best Southern Mexico has to offer. Thanks to a two week long spring break I traveled around the Ruta Maya (Mayan Trail) visiting Mayan ruins for most of the first week, and then basking on the beach for most of the second week. We missed out on some of our planned route due to unexpected circumstances (always expect the unexpected when traveling) but you always have to leave something out so you have a reason to go back.

Instead of detailing every part of my trip, I’m going to include my favorite photographs from each place we visited and a high point (rainbow) and a low point (rain cloud).

1. San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas

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San Cris was our first stop on the Ruta Maya. It is a darling town with an international flavor unlike any other city I have visited in Mexico.

Rainbow: Our boat tour the Cañón del Sumidero (pictured above). The cliffs reach up to 1 km in height from the water’s surface and crocodiles are common.

Rain cloud: Literal rain, we were not prepared for the somewhat chilly weather and precipitation we found in San Cris.

2. Palenque

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Palenque was my favorite archaeological site, probably because you can climb and explore the majority of the ruins. Since we visited on a national holiday week, there were a lot of people visiting the site that day. However, Palenque is very spread out and by venturing into the jungle a little, we were alone with the ruins.

Rainbow: Having the deeper jungle ruins all to ourselves.

Rain cloud: A “the white people are melting” worthy heat!

3. Yaxchilan and Bonampak

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Yaxchilan are some fairly recently opened ruins that are only accessible by boat. The river on which you ride divides Mexico and Guatemala, although to actually get over to Guatemala you have to visit the immigration office at the dock. You can climb all up and down the Yaxchilan ruins, and even explore the inner parts of a building and see bats and absurdly large spiders. Bonampak is a small site mainly famous for well preserved Mayan murals. It comes as a packaged deal with Yaxchilan on tours, and I don’t think it’s remarkable on its own.

Rainbow: Climbing up the many Yaxchilan stairs and seeing Guatemala from the boat.

Rain cloud: Literal rain, again, we were not prepared for rain and got soaked on the way back from our tour, to our cabin, to dinner, and back.

4. Campeche

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I adore the city of Campeche. I hope there is a great influx of tourism after the City’s renovations are completed. All of the buildings downtown are painted different pastel colors and the boardwalk provides a great view of the ocean. The food is good, the people are friendly, and the weather was warm but not suffocating.

Rainbow: After a morning run on the boardwalk we had breakfast at a local restaurant where a generous local paid for our meal. When we asked for the check, the waiter said that our bill was already paid. When we asked for an explanation he said that’s how Campechanos are and that the man who had paid for our breakfast was a regular who often did that as a welcoming gesture for foreigners.

Rain cloud: I was so excited to have a place to run on the boardwalk that I put in too much and hurt my foot. It was an annoying problem to have since we were putting in a lot of walking touring the cities and the ruins. I thought it was a stress fracture, but fortunately whatever it was has resolved itself and my foot is now pain free.

5. Mérida

DSC_0531 DSC_0533We arrived in Mérida on Good Friday, and as an good Catholic country would, the entire city shut down after 2pm with the exception of a few restaurants. We also had planned to visit the Uxmal ruins, but were unable to on Saturday because of a medical situation. Mérida, I’ll have to give you another chance on some other trip.

Rainbow: The delicious Yucatecan food. We tried traditional papadzules which are essentially tacos with shredded hard boiled eggs and bathed in chaya (we saw it translated as “Mayan” or “Tree” spinach) and tomato sauces as well as cochinita pibil and agua de chaya. 

Rain cloud: Not getting to see much of Mérida. I’m convinced there is more to it than what we saw.

6. Chichén-Itzá

DSC_0552DSC_0626The ruins at Chichén are quite impressive. There are a lot of ruins to see and they are quite spread out, but the big pyramid that everyone thinks of when they think of Chichén is right near the entrance of the site. You can no longer climb it, which was a bummer, but most of the sides of the pyramid were pretty well preserved. After visiting the site we stayed at a hotel nearby which was across the street from a water filled sinkhole – cenote – where we swam after a hot morning at the ruins.

Rainbow: Finally seeing the Chichén ruins and swimming in the cenote which we couldn’t do in Yucatan. Also, we saw the ruins for free because on Sundays Mexican residents don’t have to pay.

Rain cloud:  The tunnels of vendors we had to go through in order to access different parts of the park. As two young white women we normally get a lot of attention and I wasn’t expecting harassment at an archaeological site.

7. Playa del Carmen/Tulum

DSC_0653DSC_0667The Caribbean Sea has the most beautiful water you will ever see in your life. Cameras can’t accurately capture the varying shades of blue and turquoise, not even with Instagram filters. We enjoyed 4 days on the beach at Playa del Carmen and during that time we took a day trip to the Mayan ruins of Tulum, which are the only ruins to be right on the ocean. The ruins themselves aren’t all that impressive, but with that view they are worth visiting.

Rainbow: Being on the beach and feeling the gentle sea breeze.

Rain cloud: A disappointing and expensive snorkel tour on the island of Cozumel. I might have to give Cozumel another chance because what we saw was not that impressive.

8. Isla Mujeres

DSC_0677 DSC_0703 DSC_0721Isla Mujeres is a small, skinny island off the coast of Cancún. The water is gorgeous and the beaches have long extensions of shallow water.

Rainbow: Staying at a beautiful hotel with view of the water and a small pool.

Rain cloud: The heat! We couldn’t stay in the direct sun for too long because we would melt. I couldn’t believe how hot it was on the island, even with the sea breeze.

That was my Ruta Maya trip in a nutshell! If any reader wants more information specific to accommodations, restaurants, and sites for their own travels, I would love to talk to you.

I’m closing in on the end of my grant period and I promise to be a more active blogger for my last month!

 

 

 

 

Ruta Maya

I’ve been a terrible blogger the past few weeks – sorry guys! And I am going to continue to be a bad blogger because I am going on a very exciting and very long trip. I will be completing part of the Mayan trail, visiting the southern Mexican states of Chiapas, Campeche, Yucatan, and Quintana Roo over the next two weeks. I’ll try and post some cell phone updates, but I don’t know how trustworthy that will be. Wish me luck and I’ll be back soon!

Brie and Chipotle

I’ve been a terrible blogger the past few weeks. Mainly because of different recent family events I haven’t been cooking. Since the majority of my posts are about things I make, if I don’t make things I don’t feel like I have anything to post. I’m going to continue to be a bad blogger and just post some pictures of a sandwich I made for lunch yesterday. Many of my favorite sandwiches from home have brie, turkey, and/or a fruit jam. Don’t limit yourself to fruity spreads on sandwiches only after Thanksgiving! Any jam or jelly of your liking can elevate an ordinary sandwich.

The favors at a baptism I went to last weekend were artisanal chipotle and habanero jams. I took two chipotle ones on accident, but it’s so tasty I don’t mind the mistake. I had some danish brie in the fridge, along with some french greens, tomato slices, and a lovely loaf of bread from an adorable local bakery so I made myself up this delicious sandwich.

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Thyme challah and blackberry chia jam

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Baking is an incredibly humbling experience. It requires accuracy, discipline, and patience. I do not consider myself to be naturally patient. There have been a few instances this week that have reinforced the fact that I need to practice my patience. So why not practice and have something delicious to show for it?

Every month Buzzfeed’s food section has a list of recipes with products that are made with seasonal ingredients or specific to a holiday in that month. While looking over the list for March I found a recipe for pretzel challah from the Hola Jalapeño blog. It looked delicious and one of my new years resolutions was to bake more bread, so I decided to go for it.

I first attempted this recipe on Tuesday night. My first mistake was starting at 6 pm. This is a very time intensive process. You need to make the dough, let it rise for 2-3 hours, let it chill, boil it, and then bake it. I started my second attempt around 10 am and finished around 3 pm. Give yourself time to complete this.

My second mistake last Tuesday was heating the water to too high of a temperature for the yeast. Yeast are tricky little things. Some blogs say to let the tap run warm until its just hot enough that you want to take your finger out. Others say it should be like a baby’s bath water. These are two vastly different temperatures to me and I’ve been trying to figure out how to achieve the perfect yeast activating temperature. The first time around the water was too hot and it killed a lot of the yeast. There were a few bubbles and the top had a little froth so I thought it would be ok, it was not.

I went through the process of making the dough, kneading it, making braids and preparing the boiling solution before I realized it was a lost cause and I should just give up and try again over the weekend with more time. They didn’t turn out as lovely looking as in the original recipe, but I was pretty happy with the taste and texture of the loaves.

The jam is kind of a side note in this post, although it could be it’s own featured recipe. It’s tart and delicious and only requires four ingredients! Plus it’s really easy to make and basically fool-proof. It uses the Aztec diet staple chia seed, which I will be sure to write a post about soon because it’s versatile and does interesting things with liquids.

Thyme Challah (halved and adapted from Hola Jalapeño’s recipe)

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Ingredients (grouped in the order in which you will mix/use them):

Yeast mixture:

– 1 tablespoon of yeast

– 1/2 cup warm water

– 1 teaspoon sugar

Dry ingredients:

– 3 cups of flour

– 1 teaspoon salt

– 2 tablespoons of sugar

Wet ingredients:

– 2 eggs

– 1/3 cup vegetable oil

– 2 tablespoons honey

– 1/4 cup water

Extra:

– 1- 2 cups of flour for kneading

– Salt for sprinkling on top

– 1 tablespoon dried thyme

– 1/4 cup baking soda for boiling mixture

 

1. Mix together your yeast mixture and watch it get frothy and bubbly. If it doesn’t do this, start over immediately.

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Watching the yeast bloom successfully was a very exciting moment for me.

2. While the yeast is doing its thing, mix together the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Whisk together your wet ingredients in a separate bowl.

3. Once the yeast mixture is frothy, mix it into the dry ingredients, then add the wet ingredients with a rubber spatula until it is fully incorporated.

4. Flour your surface and knead the dough until it is no longer sticky – this will likely take a while. Once done kneading, split the dough into two parts and place them in two well oiled bowls. Roll the balls of dough around in the oil and then cover the dough with plastic wrap. Let the dough rest until it has doubled in size, which could take between 2 and three hours (you can make the jam during this time)

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How beautiful it is to have your dough rise.

5. Now that the dough has risen, divide it into two parts and then divide each part into three more parts. Roll the three parts into ropes about a foot long and then braid them. This is harder than it looks and could take a few attempts. Place your braided dough on a floured sheet and freeze for 20-30 minutes.

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6. While the dough is chilling, fill a large saucepan about halfway with water and add 1/4 cup baking soda. Bring the mixture to a boil.

7. Once the bread has chilled, boil each loaf for about 2 minutes on each side. Preheat the oven to 400 F or 200 C. Once after loaf has been boiled, sprinkle salt and dried thyme on top.

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8. Bake two loaves at a time for 15-20 minutes. Let it cool before enjoying!

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Blackberry Chia jam (Original recipe from Two Peas in Their Pod)

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– 1.5 pounds frozen blackberries (I had a 3 lb bag so I just eyeballed half)

– 3 tablespoons of agave nectar (it didn’t come out very sweet, add more for your own taste)

– 3 tablespoons chia seeds

– 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1. Warm the blackberries to a slow bowl in a large saucepan over medium heat.

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2. Reduce the heat and once the berries are nice and soft, use a potato masher to mash the berries. The original recipe suggests leaving some of the berries whole for texture, which I think is a wise choice.

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3. Add the agave and chia, mix well and heat until it thickens.

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4. Remove from the heat and allow the jam to cool. Add the vanilla and store for up to 2 weeks in the fridge in a sealed container or in the freezer.

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Pumpkin and cranberries part two

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Back in the fall I wrote quite a few posts about pumpkin and cranberries. Probably because they were the only things I couldn’t get my hands on when I wanted them the most. A week or two after Thanksgiving, I stumbled upon Libby’s canned pumpkin in the baking aisle at Superama and proceeded to purchase several cans. I used most of the pumpkin for holiday baking and by March I had one lonely can left in my pantry. Since it’s been around 75 degrees since I got back in January, I haven’t really been craving the warmth and comfort that pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves can provide.

Last week I attempted to make vegan pumpkin pancakes for dinner and they were a disaster. They cooked quickly almost to the point of burning, then when I wanted to flip them they wouldn’t retain their shape and flopped all over the spatula. They looked like small orange accordions and they didn’t taste like much either. Luckily, the recipe only called for 1/3 cup of pumpkin, leaving nearly 3/4 of the can left over. I put it in the fridge and yesterday when I saw a bag of four cups of oats for 11 pesos (around 95 american cents) I was inspired to make pumpkin granola. I found some leftover craisins in the pantry (also from Thanksgiving time) and added those in for some texture.

This was the first time I have ever made granola. Granola has the rep of being a “healthy food” when it’s really not at all. The kinds you buy at the store can be mainly oil and sugar (look at that nutrition label!), and since I’m not really one for overly sweet things, I thought I would try to cut the sugar down a bit. These are the lessons I learned from making granola for the first time:

– It takes a lot of sugar to make it sweet. The original recipe I used for reference had brown sugar and maple syrup, plus some applesauce. I used agave and honey in smaller quantities and once the granola was mixed with other things (almond milk or granola) you couldn’t detect any sweetness.

– It takes a while to get crunchy. I was not patient and took it out too soon, I’ll probably put it back in the oven later today to crisp up.

– It can be relatively cheap to make your own granola, plus you get to control the sweetness and the mix-ins.

– Alternate textures are key. The craisins were a good addition, but it could use some nuts or seeds to be more interesting.

Recipe: Pumpkin and cranberry granola (original: Pumpkin Granola from Two Peas and their Pod)

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Ingredients:

– 4 cups of oats (not quick oats, regular old rolled oats)

– 1/4 cup agave syrup

– 1/4 cup honey

– 1 cup pumpkin puree

– 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

– 1 teaspoon cinnamon

– 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

– 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

– 1 teaspoon salt

– 3/4 craisins

1. Preheat the oven to 325 F. Mix the oats, spices, and salt in a large bowl.

2. Mix the pumpkin, honey, agave, and vanilla in a bowl until combined.

3. Pour the wet ingredients onto the oats and incorporate well using a rubber spatula. Make sure that all of the oats are coated, this could take a few minutes.

4. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or tinfoil and spread the oats out in an even layer.

5. Bake for 20 minutes, then using a spatula mix the oats. Return to the oven for another 20 minutes and let cool. Add the craisins and enjoy!

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Pre-cooked oats

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Cranberries add texture, sweetness, and color.

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Enjoy with greek yogurt or almond milk, plus some fresh berries! Provecho~

Papas con rajas y calabacitas

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Eating vegetables can be hard. I had gotten into the habit of having a tupper full of sauteed spinach in the fridge to have with lunch or to mix into eggs for breakfast. Along with some sugar snap peas and baby carrots for snacks, that was the extent of my vegetable consumption for a few weeks. Eating fruit is just easier, it’s more colorful, it’s sweet, and usually requires less prep before eating. I stumbled upon a recipe for papas con rajas while looking at enchilada recipes and I was inspired to switch up my vegetable routine. I found some lovely chiles poblanos at my the mini-super near my house, along with mini Mexican zucchini (calabacitas) and regular old waxy potatoes. I roasted the chiles and then sauteed them with the potato and zucchini. It’s a quick and easy way to get more greens. One day I had it hash style with an over easy egg and tortillas, and the next day as a side with curried chicken.

Papas con rajas (Recipe inspiration: Saveur)

Ingredients:

– 2 waxy potatoes

– 2 poblano peppers (see photo for reference if you’re unclear as to which these are)

– 6 small Mexican zucchini or 2 regular size (also see photo if you don’t know which these are)

– 1 tbsp vegetable oil

– 1 clove of garlic

– salt and pepper to season

1. Rinse your poblano peppers and make sure they are completely dry. Roast over an open flame or in the oven at 400 C for around 10 minutes (I chose open flame) until the skin is black and blistered.

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2. Seal the peppers in a glass container with a lid while still hot and let them sweat. This will make it easier to get the skin off.

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3. While the peppers are sweating, chop your potatoes in half and then into slices of equal thickness (this is actually impossible, but I still try). Warm the oil and garlic in a pan over medium heat and cook the potatoes until they are about 3/4 done. They can burn easily, so keep moving them around.

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4. While the potatoes are cooking, chop your zucchini. Once the potatoes have reached desired doneness, add the zucchini.

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5. Now that the peppers have been sweating for a while, run them under cold water in the sink to get the charred skin off. The peppers should be soft and pliable, open them up and rinse out the seeds using cold water. If the peppers are still to hot to handle, wait or use gloves. Make sure to wash your hands thoroughly after handling the peppers and avoid touching your face.

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6. Chop the peppers into slivers and add to the pan with potatoes and zucchini. The potatoes and zucchini should be cooked all the way through now and your just letting the flavors meld. Add salt and pepper to season.

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Enjoy as a side to meat, or as a vegetarian main course with egg and tortillas. Provecho!

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Campeche

I am still trying to figure out how Viva Aerobus functions as a business. Much like Ryan Air in Europe, it is a bare bones airline that charges you a very cheap base fare and then adds on extras which you have to be very careful to unclick while purchasing your ticket to make sure you don’t accidentally sign up for a $15 MXN text message with your confirmation number (which no one I know has ever received), or a $100 MXN calendar of bikini clad women (seriously, you have to opt out of that). Because of the cheap prices (recently there was a 2 for 1 deal, I don’t even understand how they can make money), the page is almost always overloaded with traffic and buying a single ticket can take over an hour because the page times out and you have to start all over again. Foreign credit cards are almost always rejected, and once you pick your method of payment (such as paying in cash at OXXO, which is essentially a 7-11…you can buy plane tickets at a convenience store, along with a family size Corona, paper plates, and credit for your phone), you must pay with that method within 24 hours or your ticket will be cancelled and and you have to start the whole thing over again the next day. So if you click on the Banamex portal thinking you can pay there, good luck.

To minimize cost, the airline check-in counter at the airport is only open for an hour and a half at a time. When you purchase a ticket, they tell you the window of time the counter is open, and you MUST check in during this window or you lose your ticket. That’s it. You can’t print your ticket at home and breeze through security an hour before your flight. Even if you aren’t checking bags, you have to get your ticket during this time because the computers shut down after the designated time period. This happened to a friend of mine who was three minutes late for an early morning flight. The computers turned off and that was it, even though she was at the airport an hour and a half early.

In November, Viva Aerobus celebrated it’s 7th anniversary with base fares to select destinations costing only 7 pesos. That’s less than 70 american cents. Of course the taxes and fees were higher, and I purchased a round trip ticket from Mexico City to Campeche on the Yucatan Peninsula in February for around $80 USD. This past weekend I made the trip with a fellow Fulbrighter and I loved it! Downtown Campeche is a UNESCO World Heritage site with colorfully painted buildings and colonial style architecture. The wall that used to protect the city from pirates is being reconstructed and the board walk has recently been renovated. The downtown area is very small, but there are a lot of cute restaurants and shops to spend your timeImage

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Memelas

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Last Tuesday night I had the Fulbright girls over for the first cooking club meeting of 2014. Things were so hectic with winter break and the ETA and research mid-term reunions that we hadn’t been able to cook. It was so nice to get back in the kitchen and learn how to make something new and tasty.

One of my fellow research Fulbrighters just returned from some time in the state of Puebla doing field research. She learned how to make several traditional dishes, among them memelasMemelas are similar to gorditas and huaraches in that they are made from ground and cooked maize in dough form called masa (essentially tortilla dough). The main difference that I found is that refried beans are incorporated into the dough. Since the beans used in memelas from Puebla are black, they usually have a marbled look. We used the typical frijoles peruanos, so the difference between the masa and the beans isn’t that noticeable.

Memelas

– 1 kg of masa

– 430 grams (1 bag of Isadora brand) of frijoles peruanos 

(Ahh! Metric system!)

– Water

– Salt

– Canola oil for the pan/comal

(This is what we used and it is by no means to be used as a reliable recipe)

1. Work the masa with a sprinkling of salt and a few tablespoons of water at a time until it is soft and workable.

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2. Take a ball of masa in the palm of your hand and make an impression for the beans. Place roughly a tablespoon of beans into the impression and work the beans into the masa. Flatten out the ball until it makes an elongated oval shape. We found it easier to use a plastic bag for getting them the right shape.

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2. Put a thin layer of oil on your comal or pan and cook the memelas until they are golden on one side, then flip.

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You can top your memelas with any kind of salsa, queso fresco, and/or shredded meat. We chose a red salsa and queso fresco, and they were pretty tasty

 

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Enchiladas de pollo con mole verde

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In a previous post I attempted to make enchiladas in the toaster oven and they were disappointing to say the least. I love enchiladas, especially with mole on top. If they’re on a menu, there is a 75% chance I will order them. The enchiladas de pollo con mole at Los Otates here in Guadalajara are my favorite enchiladas. The mole is Jalisco style, sweet and spicy and rich. I have never learned how to make mole,  I usually rely on my girl Doña Maria, who has a variety of moles which I can purchase in the supermarkets here and in the States. 

On a recent trip to the supermarket I found a new Doña Maria mole verde for sale. I searched for some recipes on how to make enchiladas on pinterest, and below are the tasty results. They were definitely better than enchilada attempt #1, and since I am only one human being, I have lunch for the rest of the week. 

Enchiladas de pollo con mole verde (method adapted from this recipe, via Saveur)

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Ingredients:

– 2 chicken breasts, boiled and shredded (I boiled them with some tomato bouillon cubes for flavor)

– 12 8 inch tortillas (or more if you’re ambitious)

– 1/2 cup of vegetable oil

– 644 mL box of mole verde (you could actually get the smaller glass jar, because I messed up, will explain later)

– 1/2 cup queso Oaxaca, if you can get it, if not any white melting cheese, such as mozzarella will do

1. Heat the oil in the pan over medium low heat. Grab the tortillas in groups of 2 or 3 with tongs and submerge them in the oil to make them pliable, it should only take about 10 seconds. Carefully removed them from the oil, making sure not to break through the tortillas where the tongs are holding them.

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Failure with the first batch

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The success with the failure

2. This is what you should do: warm the mole with water (follow directions on box) to thin out the sauce. You will end up with more mole than the box indicated. I did not do this, and just used what is essentially the mole concentrate. It turned out fine, but it probably would have been better the other way. Then mix 1 cup of the mole sauce with the shredded chicken.

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3. Set up your assembly line. Line the bottom of a roasting or brownie pan with foil and then lay out a tortilla.

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Place about 1/3 cup of shredded chicken mixture the the center of the tortilla and roll it up snugly.

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4. Smother the rolled up tortillas with the (ideally thinned out) mole sauce.

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5. Sprinkle with cheese and then bake at 375 F or 175 C for between 25-30 minutes.

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Buen provecho~