Sunday, October 31, 2010


This is our Day of the Dead offering to our grandfathers, Frank Edie Curran and Philip Lyon Rountree Sr., who passed away earlier this year. The idea is to celebrate our memory of them and invite their spirits back for one night. The scent of the perfumy cempasuchitl flowers helps them find us, and a full glass of water awaits to quench their thirst. (Teva thinks this is her new water dish.) The corn and photography gear represent personal memories with our grandfathers.

-Kenny and PJ


Our place-mat today at lunch featured a disturbed woman with jumbo ants crawling all over her.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

queso panela

Our everyday meal of black beans with root vegetables, spinach, and brown rice. This time with queso panela and food styling.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Basilica of Guadalupe

On the northern edge of the city at the base of the Tepeyac Hill is one of the most important religious sites in the Americas. According to legend, this is where the Virgin of Guadalupe miraculously appeared to Juan Diego and requested a church to be built in her honor (in 1531). What's important about the story is that she spoke in the indigenous tongue of Nalhuatl and physically resembled a preexisting native deity. Her relatable image eased the introduction of Catholicism in the Spanish conquest and eventually became a symbol of pride.

My purposefully blurry picture of the original Virgin of Guadalupe painting, as seen from the moving platforms...

It's pretty fun, they go in both directions. (A church service is going on just above this pit.)

Behind the old basilica is a mountain landscaped like Disneyland with fake waterfalls and sculptural tableaux, not to mention a beautiful view of the city.



Here in Mexico City, some of the trees are starting to turn and Dia de los Muertos/Halloween themed stuff is everywhere. Wanting something orange to eat, I was excited to see camote, or yam, at my produce stand the other day. It was beautiful with bright purple skin and soil still clinging to it. I wanted it to taste like fall without relying on the typical spices associated with the season. I cut the yam in rounds and cooked it in a pressure cooker with a cup of water, a tablespoon of olive oil, some laurel leaves, allspice berries, and a chile mora. (Bay leaves are called laurel here, I think its a different species.) After removing the yam, the cooking liquid was strained and reduced to make a fragrant laurel-infused broth. Crema, fleur de sal, and the diced chile topped it all. The flavor was very satisfying. The yam was nut-buttery, earthy, and sweet --made even more rich by the olive oil and crema. The broth had a cool laurel taste and slight holiday flavor from the allspice, and the chile mora brought a smokey heat. It was comforting to eat but also a little surprising.


smog check


egg snack

This is a medium cooked egg with balsamic caramelized onion, blueberry preserves, parmesan, and tomatoes.


Sunday, October 17, 2010

Balloons 2.0

balloons and tape

kid on dad's shoulders with balloons as giant wiggling butt-cheeks

subway art

at the Insurgentes station

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Friday, October 8, 2010


This historic blog post marks our one-year anniversary of living in Mexico City. To celebrate, we would like to share two easy and delicious salsa recipes:

Hillary's Famous Mexican Dip

Simple, rich, satisfying... Hillary, what is the secret? This potluck show-stopper will make an addict out of you after just one hit. I promise. Thank you, mother. -PJ

Kenny's Salsa Verde

This salsa was inspired by my favorite tacos de canasta stand on the corner of Álvaro Obregón and Monterrey in Colonia Roma. His salsa is the most balanced I've had in Mexico. Fresh tomatillos are tart -- you'll be surprised there's no lime juice involved! -Kenny

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Caviar Verde

Eggplant with brown rice, chard, huazontle, roasted corn, and red pepper sauce.

This is my first time using huazontle, a wild looking vegetable that's common to Mexican cuisine and requires a lot of prep time. It's sold in gigantic bushels of tough stems and leaves but it's usually just the florets that are used. Hauzontle is a nutrient-rich, pre-Hispanic food crop like its cousins amaranth (grown for its grain) and quintonil (bred for its tasty leaves). I prepared it by pulling off the little buds, rinsing them, and then boiling them for about seven minutes. Due to an unbearable bitterness, eating it raw is out of the question.

For this application, I tossed it with a little olive oil, lime juice, honey, and chile to balance out the remaining bitter flavor. I really liked how it looked on the plate: little shrubs of vegetation or delicate green caviar.

This dish was originally conceived around quinoa. But that plan fell through, so I used brown rice instead. I added one chile mora to the rice while it cooked. Chile mora is a smoked and dried red jalapeno similar to chipotle. When the rice was done I minced the chile and returned it to the pot along with some cumin and sesame seeds, both toasted for extra nuttiness.

Scattered about the plate is what I'm gonna call roasted corn, although it took three steps to sound that simple. First, the corn cob was boiled to ensure tenderness because Mexican corn is a little tough when raw. Then it was charred directly on the burner for smoky flavor and color. Before hitting the plate it was sauteed in very hot oil.

To make the sauce, I roasted red peppers on the stove-top and then charred tomatoes, onion, and a garlic clove on the comal. They were pureed with some pimenton and about a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar. It was robust, tangy, and smoky.

The eggplant was sauteed in olive oil but helped out with a splash of water for a shallow poach (the slices were pretty thick). After the water boiled off and the eggplant had sufficiently browned, I removed them and threw in some chard because I like having some leafy green in almost every meal. A bit of fresh menta (peppermint) tops everything for a couple surprise zings of coolness.

Thanks to Lesley Tellez for huazontle and chile mora inspiration.