Greetings Taste of Home Fans!
I wanted to talk about Mexican cuisine and how it relates to American cooking. The biggest ingredients, in my humble opinion, for Mexican food are cumin and cilantro. Cumin is an amazing seed, brought to the Americas by the Spaniards in the Middle Ages. Did you know that in the Americas, the coriander plant grows cilantro leaves? No? Me either. To me, both spices are rather unique to Mexican cooking when compared to American cooking.
I will continue to try and replicate my grandmother’s Spanish rice but if you have rice, cilantro, cumin, tomatoes and chicken broth – eight times out of ten you are going to have an amazing side dish. While I appreciate the recent trend of ‘fancy’ Mexican dining, you can’t beat the simplicity of a corn tortilla garnished with a mix of seasoned beef and pork, cilantro, onions and slices of avocado. If you want to try ‘fancy’ Mexican food, I strongly recommend a Mexican dish (and something that is entirely different than anything American): Mole. I urge you to try this amazing concoction. It’s completely unique to the Mexican culture and the ingredients include chocolate, garlic, chili peppers and my personal favorite – peanut butter.
While I love to prepare and eat homemade Mexican, we have a tradition in the Padron household. Every Sunday, we try and get to the best Mexican restaurant in Milwaukee, Conijitos. My three-year-old daughter, Ella, and 9 month old daughter, Lucy, head for the Hispanic section of Milwaukee. Sometimes, mom likes to come along (it was our first date and location for our wedding rehearsal dinner). Other times, I think she likes to have some peace and quiet. For $3.85, you can get the best Huevos Rancheros in the city, period. And, it comes with pork, marinated in a mole sauce, beans, rice and open-flame heated tortillas. Ella always opts for “beans, rice and a cheese enchilada” and Lucy is typically asleep (thankfully!).
We hope to see you in Mexico over a plate of Mole!