Thursday, December 31, 2009

cooks illustrated

For hangover mornings we like making chilaquiles con todo.

Huachinango al Ajillo: Snapper baked with lots of butter, garlic, and dried guajillo peppers. PJ had this at a seafood restaurant La Veracruzana and its his favorite.
It went well with a cold, raw chayote salad.

Quesadillas Fritas
Our favorite food stand is on the corner of Colima and Morelia streets in the neighborhood called Roma. A lifeless white monolith by day, it folds out into a bright oasis from seven to eleven pm, eminating light, warmth, and delicious smells. Inside the stand a mother and her grown son make warm comforting food for the hungry crowd. During the holiday, hot Ponche (a fruit and cane drink) is served from a bucket over fire. The stand specializes in quesadillas fritas skillfully crafted by the mother always with a calm friendly face. The experience is magical and we are mesmerized by the performance for the entire thirty minutes of waiting.

The other night, we made our own. We would first press a ball of fresh masa dough into a disc with the tortilla press and then add the filling of oaxaca cheese and rajas. The tortilla is folded and sealed in a half-moon shape and then fried in vegetable oil. The familiar sensory experiences made us feel as if we were huddling near the hot fryer of the quesadilla stand.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Shoe Leather

A few notes about my favorite way to get around...

Subway- For some reason, I was programmed to feel nervous about taking the Metro in Mexico City. I have some news... It's the cleanest, most efficient joy ride you can imagine. We've never had to wait more than 20 seconds for a train. At certain times of day, they reserve the front half for women and children. Vendors come onto the cars, no surprise, but yes surprise to what they sell: Algebra textbooks, rubix cubes, and laminated copies of the Periodic Table. I love science and math, I'll take five of each! I also love the music vendors (usually blind) who walk in with a stereo strapped to their chest blasting Ace of Base or No Doubt. The whole system must move millions of people through the city per second, and it only costs 2 pesos a ride (15 cents).


Sunday, December 20, 2009


Kenny, just being himself

Ashland sits on "The Moon Pyramid" and wonders why none of the structures have rooms

Bad boys enjoy an off-limits side of the pyramid

Man basks while we catch our breath and talk about Michael Jackson

The sun as seen from "The Sun Pyramid"

Our friend Ashland was in town for the week and encouraged us to take a trip out to the pyramids (something we'd been meaning to do). The chachki vendors were out in full force, of course, and one guy followed behind Kenny while massaging his back with a polished obsidian ball. They also gave us quite a fright blowing these whistles that actually sound like growling jaguars. The pyramids are breathtaking and the atmosphere is strangely quiet and serene. It was a well-needed escape from our busy city-life. Haha, yeah, we're real busy...

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

"The biggest X-mas tree in the world!"

Brought to you by PEPSI

Just to clear up some rumors... This is one tree that cycles through many colors and displays.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Recipe: Huachinango a la Veracruzana

While I was making the last huachinango dinner, I was told of a traditional preparation for this local fish: Huachinango a la Veracruzana. The whole fish is cooked in a spicy tomato sauce with olives. That was the only thing I knew about the dish but all I needed to know. This was really the dream meal for me at the moment, a simple mexican dish with flavors similar to those of Morocco. Tomato is simmered until sweet with aromatics, spiced mildly with jalapenos, and dotted with briny olives. Cooking the whole fish in the sauce allows the essence of the fish to spread throughout, harmonizing the flavors.

serves 2:

2 T olive oil
1/2 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 jalepeno, sliced
1 lb fresh tomatoes, chopped
1/2 c green olives, smashed and pitted
2 small red snappers, cleaned and trimmed
1 T chopped fresh parsley

Heat oil in a pan that has a lid and is wide enough to fit the fish. Sweat onions, then add garlic and jalepeno and cook for one minute. Add tomatoes and a generous pinch of salt and simmer untill soft. Add olives and simmer a minute before giving it a stir and placing the fish in the sauce. Cover and cook about ten minutes on low. Serve fish whole with sauce and parsley.


Wednesday, December 9, 2009

El Grafico

The highlight of every morning living in New York was walking past the newsstand on my way to the subway. The daily journals would compete for the most eye-catching front page with a clever and punny headline. The New York Post would usually take the cake. Here's one of my favorites:
The stories advertised on the cover tended to be a little trashy, but also quite tame and humorous. "Oh No! Bedbugs are Back!"

Now, the papers here in Mexico City certainly know how to kick it up a notch. The most eye-catching of all: El Grafico. Viewer discretion is advised...

So, I can't say that walking past the newsstand here is the best part of my day, but it is always interesting. I also don't know Spanish well enough to determine if the headlines are puns -I hope not! Everyday -without fail- the front page has a sexy body, a violent crime scene, and a dead person. I'm having some vague school-memory of Freud's three "psychological drives" being sex, aggression, and death...?


Dot Com

I've been a little busy lately putting together a website of my artwork:
Kenny, his family, and my mother teamed up to reunite me with my external hard-drive over Thanksgiving. I'm so grateful to all of them!


Saturday, December 5, 2009


We had two new friends over for dinner on thursday. That morning I bought huachinango (red snapper) at the San Juan Mercado, which is always crazy and fascinating. Its where you can buy interesting things like dog (which is what PJ told our guest we were serving). I walked past a five foot heap of dead suckling pigs on my way to the seafood. I then bounced between four teams of vendors before settling on some snapper selling for 240/kilo. It was a fru-fru dish: corn stuffed snapper with coconut corn broth and cabbage salad. PJ made an excellent guac and the famous crema-tomato-green chili dip which is always eaten with Doritos.

The Mexican Dorito recipe is far better than the USA's. They're a bit spicier and they even have a touch of fresh cilantro flavor.


Teva and I have been together for five years. She was born in New Orleans and has since lived in Ohio, LA, Philadelphia, and New York. Now she's here with us in Mexico!