Texas to Mexico

Discriptions, pictures, recipes & monologue of life for a Texan in Mexico. The Mexico experience...

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Calaveras Azucar & Pan de Muerto

Dia de los Muertos

Day of the Dead as celebrated in Mexico! Remembrance of loved ones & continuance of life.
This weekend I ate pan de muerto at a local eatery. It was served as part of the celebration Dia de los Muertos on November 1st, in the US: All Saints Day or All Souls Day. Relatives who have died are honored with displays of the departed favorite food and drinks, as well as ornamental sugar skulls & photos of the deceased. Flowers, particularly marigold & candles are placed on the graves, are supposed to guide the spirits home to their loved ones.
Other symbols include the elaborately-decorated pan de muerto a coffee cake decorated with meringues made to look like bones, skull-shaped candies and sweets, marzipan death figures and papier maché skeletons, female Catrina skeletons dressed in 19th century clothing and skulls. Here in Mexico they view skull as a symbol of life ~ not death. During this time, homes are often decorated in the same manner as the graves. FYI anyone in Austin Texas can visit Mexic~arte Museum & check out the displays & artwork they have this time of the year. I really think with the inclusion of our Halloween here in the northern part of Mexico they have turned the Halloween/Dia de los Muerte into a 3 day celebration!


Monday, October 30, 2006

Molcajete~the ancient Mexican Cuisinart!

Recently I was given a Molcajete by my Spanish tutor Lily Lopez. I was very honored to have received this as a gift especially since it was given to her by her mother as a present for me. The basalt Molcajete was very worn & shows much care in the way it has been used for many years. This time honored classic has been used since Aztec times here in Latin America. It is used for centuries to grind, blend. It has been called the Cuisninart of Mexico. In this day & age the many cooks are using the blender to do the work of the Molcajete but it is still the truest & most honored addition to a true Mexican kitchen~or a nice conversation piece.The Molcajete is from the state of Jalisco where the basalt rock is carved into a bowl shape. (found a photo of men carving on web.)

Included below is a recipe I have used when I make Chicken Enchiladas. You don't have to have a Molcajete to make this tasty sauce~please feel free to use your blender. Bon Appetit!

Roasted Tomatillo Salsa Verde

10-12 Tomatillos (green with husks & look like small tomatoes), roasted

1-2 yellow onions

2-3 Tbsp. olive oil

1 green bell pepper, roasted

3-4 Anaheim or Hatch chilies, roasted

2-3 Jalapeno peppers, roasted

10-12 cloves garlic, roasted

1/4 c. fresh cilantro, chopped

1/4 c. fresh lime juice

1 tsp. fresh Mexican oregano, minced

1/2 tsp. cumin

1 Tbsp. sugar

Salt & Pepper to taste

All peppers, onions, tomatillos must be roasted. These can be done on a cookie sheet in the oven at 350 degrees for about 10-20 min. Turn these veggies so the roast evenly or you can use a stovetop comal to roast & blacken the vegtables. When they are softened & browned/blackened(stove top) Remove from the heat & cool slightly. Use tongs or gloves to de-seed the peppers. Put all the ingredients in a blender, food processor or Molcajete & process to desired texture. Adjust & add the herbs, spices. Let this sit at least 1 hour for flavors to meld together. Enjoy!

The word molcajete (mortar) derives from Nahuatl, the language of the Aztecs: “molli” (seasoning or sauce) and “caxitl” (bowl).


Saturday, October 28, 2006

Durango, Wild country & wild weather!
Durango~Wild West of Northern Mexico
Bell towers of the Cathedral
Ancient Petroglyphs
Man & his best friend?

Archaeological digs yet to be explored

And Saint Peter looks on...

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Pyramids & Petroglyphs ~

Weekend trip to Durango.
Durango is an old historic northern Mexico town dating back to the 1500's & there are beautiful buildings in the historic center of town including the stately Cathedral~Basilica. They are proud of their "old west spirit there" the side of city buses have ads with men in wild west costumes, caballeros & saloon girls that looked as if they stepped out of the gold rush in San Francisco. John & I saw the sights and walked around a great deal there but were much impressed by the less traveled Archaeological Zona outside Durango a few kilometers in an area known as La Ferreri­a. There were more ruins than we could possibly see in the time we had to visit & there more still being excavated by local college students. We climbed the Mesoamerican ruins dating from 450 to 550 AD. We saw stone foundations of houses enclosed by stone walls and sites of larger dwellings. We also climbed up to see ruins of the Grand Pyramid at the top of the hill overlooking the whole site there on the Tunal River. The ruin sites seemed to stretch on & the wild terraine brought to mind a John Wayne movie. We had a chance to see Petroglyphs & remains from an early Spanish Colonial settlement on the same site before a storm forced us to leave & head back home. As we drove home after dark on the winding poorly lit roads closer to Torreon we missed our Texas highways & yes, the way TX DOT keeps things in good condition. It is all relative here south of the border.

Cathedral ~ Basilica Durango

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Heck yes, these boots are made for walkin.... in Texas!!

The real Friday night lights!

Family time

Texas Trip! We took a whirlwind trip home to Texas for Parent's Weekend & saw our girls. We also celebrated birthdays & visited San Antonio. It is hard to be so far away but harder still to say goodbye on those brief visits home. When we arrived in Round Rock our first night home I am not sure who was happier: the dogs, the girls or the parents? It all just passed too quickly. However it wouldn't be Texas without a fall football game!

Sunday, October 01, 2006

City Lights

Torreon at Night
Last weekend when we were out in the evening at dusk & as the night closed in around us I thought about the many sights one might see in a 24 hour time period here in Torreon ~ actually any city in Mexico. At night in Torreon there is a whole different feel & look. The beggars have left the street corners for the day, traffic slows & the old men with donkeys pulling heavy loads have gone home for the night. As the lights flicker on people begin to pack the restaurants, bars & clubs; it makes the city look larger & even glamorous. The night seems to somehow wash the city clean & even the pervasive desert dust begins to settle some.

My favorite Poet is Robert Frost who penned perfectly his thoughts on night.

I have been one acquainted with the night.
I have walked out in rain - and back in rain.
I have outwalked the furthest city light.
I have looked down the saddest city lane.
I have passed by the watchman on his beat
And dropped my eyes, unwilling to explain.
I have stood still and stopped the sound of feet.....