The Tamalada: Tamales and Community

misssk Family, Handmade, Mesoamerican, Scratch cooking, Texas, Tradition Leave a Comment

Earlier this week we explored the holiday tamal tradition, tracking down possible explanations for the connection between these tasty steamed masa cakes and the holiday season. Of course no discussion of tamal customs and tradition would be complete without mention of the tamalada, a grand fiesta in which families gather to catch up, laugh, share stories and memories, and oh …

Tracing the Holiday Tamal Tradition

misssk Family, Handmade, Mesoamerican, Scratch cooking, Spirituality, Texas, Tradition Leave a Comment

In Texas, the holidays mean tamales. Along with Christmas trees, sparkling lights, and sweet treats, I will forever associate the abundance of tamales—making them, craving them, seeing them, eating them, buying them—with the holiday season. As the wonderful aromas of warm masa, stewing chiles and tamales de dulce emerge once again this year, I found myself wondering where tamales’ holiday …

Prickly Pear Fruit Smoothie

misssk Breakfast, Drinks, Gluten-free, Healthy snacks, Herbs, Kids, Latin, Mesoamerican, Natural healing, Raw, Recipes, Southern, Vegan, Veggie Leave a Comment

Prickly pear fruit can appear intimidating, but it is sweet, delicious, and full of nutrients. This smoothie is made with ripe mango and well-hidden parsley, offering a tasty, colorful and healthful snack your little one will love. It can also be frozen into popsicle molds. Yield: 24 ounces, 6 (4-ounce) smoothies Cook time: 15 minutes Ingredients: 5 fresh prickly pear …

The Other Tuna: Prickly Pear Cactus Fruit

misssk Eat local, Garden, Herbs, Mesoamerican, Natural healing, Texas Leave a Comment

As the summer heat slowly begins to die down and the first autumn breezes roll around, prickly pear cactus fruit, known as tuna in Mexico, is coming out bright and ripe. It’s a magical time. Prickly pear cactus is a characteristic plant of Texas. Wide-faced, inverted teardrop paddles grow in close clusters, some studded with sharp needles, others bred to …

Brown Rice Horchata Recipe

misssk DIY, Drinks, Gluten-free, Handmade, Kitchen, Latin, Mesoamerican, Raw, Recipes, Scratch cooking, Vegan, Veggie Leave a Comment

Last week, I offered up a little tutorial on making your own horchata, or spiced rice milk agua fresca. While this creamy, sweet refreshment is traditionally made with long-grain white rice (and can be made with any number of other ingredients including basmati or jasmine rice, nuts, seeds, etc.), a recent experiment with just the opposite—short-grain brown—yielded surprisingly delicious results. The …

Homemade Horchata

misssk DIY, Drinks, Gluten-free, Handmade, How-to technique, Kitchen, Latin, Mesoamerican, Recipes, Scratch cooking, Texas, Vegan, Veggie Leave a Comment

Horchata (or-cha-tah) has always been one of my very favorite aguas frescas, cooling flavored-water beverages popular in Mexico. It’s typically made by soaking rice with whole-stick cinnamon, blending it, sweetening it, and straining it into a refreshing rice milk. It’s sweet, cold, and creamy—a fantastic accompaniment to hot, spicy tacos. Although rice, cinnamon, and sugar tend to be horchata constants, …

Mayan Honey for a Cause—Now That’s Sweet.

misssk Adventure, Eat local, Mesoamerican, Natural healing Leave a Comment

Ah, local honey. Sweet, thick, familiar scents and flavors of home carried on the backs of bees and varied wildly from city to countryside, all condensed into a little pot or honeybear of golden goodness. Beekeeping is an ancient tradition in the Riviera Maya, and pedaling honey products is a common occupation among the locals. When a friend offered to …

Sweet Beneath the Thorns: Spiny Chayote

misssk Handmade, Kitchen, Mesoamerican, Scratch cooking, Vegan, Veggie Leave a Comment

Since moving to Mexico three months ago, I’ve seen and tasted some really cool produce you’d never find in the neighborhood supermarkets back home. Last week, Chef asked if I’d ever seen a chayote with thorns. Chayote is a medium, pear-shaped green squash with a mild flavor and firm texture. But thorns?! I had no idea they even grew that …

Meet the Molcajete

misssk Handmade, Kitchen, Kitchen tools, Mesoamerican, Scratch cooking Leave a Comment

Back in the day, before we had electric beaters and electric grinders and electric blenders and, well, electric anything, folks did things by hand. The molcajete, or Mesoamerican version of the mortar-and-pestle, dates back as many as 6,000 years (Delgado), long used in Aztec, Mayan and Mexican cuisines to grind chiles and spices and mash softer produce. Its name comes …