Tag Archives: Marcela Valladolid



I figure, it’s been a month (gulp!) so maybe I should stop neglecting my blog, huh? The past four weeks have gone like this: my birthday; work stress; rushing the cat to the vet after he puked blood, upon which we discovered three coins in his stomach (!!!!) – they’re gone now and no, that was not cheap; a week in Chicago for a good friend’s wedding; recovering from said trip to Chicago seeing as I haven’t had a week that debaucherous and sleep-deprived since college – so worth it but oh it hurt; catching up on work; election stresses; more work; and here we are!


A few weeks ago I promised to memorialize Marcela Valladolid’s recipe for Polvorones on this site, and today I shall deliver. For anyone not familiar, polvorones are amazing, shortbread-y little nutty cookies, a staple in Spanish and Latin American cooking, made by grinding and/or chopping lots of walnuts into a thick shortbread-type cookie dough and baked off.

But that’s not the best part – that happens after they come out of the oven and get rolled in powdered sugar. What happens when you roll warm cookies in powdered sugar is that the sugar sort of “sets” on the cookie and makes this almost-shell of sweetness around the entire cookie, but also becomes part of the cookie itself. Obviously, it makes them completely irresistible. So, get them out of the house before you eat the entire platter!


You can almost watch this process happening – as the sugar sets it’s like it becomes a part of the cookie – very cool :). Totally delicious and classic. Try them if you’ve never done so. Enjoy!

Source: Fresh Mexico by Marcela Valladolid

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
½ cup granulated sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
½ cup ground walnuts
1 cup chopped walnuts
½ cup powdered sugar

Using an electric mixer, beat the butter in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Add the granulated sugar and beat until well blended. Beat in the flour, then the ground and chopped walnuts. Divide the dough in half, forming each in to a ball. Wrap them separately in plastic wrap. Refrigerate until cold, about 30 minutes.
Preheat your oven to 325 F. Put the powdered sugar in a separate bowl and set aside. Grease a baking sheet or line with a silpat.
Working with half the chilled dough at a time and keeping the rest in the fridge, roll 2-teaspoon-size chunks of the dough between your palms to form balls. Arrange the balls on the baking sheet, spacing them ½-inch apart.
Bake the cookies until golden brown on the bottom and just pale golden on top, about 18 minutes. Let cookies cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes. Then toss the warm cookies in the powdered sugar. Transfer the sugar-coated cookies to a cooling rack and let cool completely.

Featured Cookbook Friday: Fresh Mexico by Marcela Valladolid

I picked this week’s cookbook, Fresh Mexico by Food Network’s Marcela Valladolid, on something of a lark – I needed a salsa for some tacos I was making, Marcela’s first book has a beautiful recipe for yellow tomato pico de gallo; once I made that one, I decided to keep going! It was a good week. 🙂


The Yellow Tomato Pico de Gallo was delicious – a very classic Mexican pico but with a twist of yellow tomatoes instead, which makes it slightly sweeter. Good on tacos, good on tortilla chips!

Yellow Tomato Pico de Gallo

Next up I decided to do some baking – another Mexican classic, Polvorones! These are fabulous little cookies, coming to the blog in their own post soon!


Since fresh sweet corn will be leaving us soon, I made this extremely tasty Mexican version of a classic potato salad: Grilled Corn and Poblano Potato Salad. Baby potatoes are boiled then halved, corn is grilled on the cob, poblanos are roasted and peeled, then the whole thing gets tossed together in a mayonnaise and sour cream dressing with plenty of scallions and cilantro. Very nice!

Grilled Corn and Poblano Potato Salad

Lastly, I’ve long since been intrigued by one of her dinner salad recipes: White Bean and Octopus Salad, so this provided as good a time as any! The recipe calls for baby octopus, which I couldn’t find, so I (nervously!) ordered already cooked octopus legs from Fresh Direct, praying they wouldn’t be overcooked, (they weren’t, yea!) and just warmed them in some garlicky olive oil, which became the base for the dressing. Beyond that, I made the salad as written, and we both absolutely loved it!

White Bean and Octopus Salad

I really like this book. So far everything I’ve tried has turned out delicious!

Chocolate Margaritas

Chocolate Margaritas

Y’all know what day it is today? Besides Saturday, February 22, 2014? Yeah, it’s National Margarita Day!!! That is a thing, as well it very much should be. I do think margaritas may be my favorite cocktail.

Some bloggers and I got together and decided to properly celebrate this wonderful day in grand fashion – we’re all bringing you either a margarita drink or a margarita-themed recipe. It’s gonna be amazing, y’all!

Chocolate margaritas

I’m bringing a drink and a dessert to the party with these chocolate libations. These are some of the most amazing and special margaritas I’ve ever tasted, and if you are not a teetotaler or pregnant, then you NEED these in your life. They were impressively delicious; almost like really good, albeit spiked, chocolate milk. I absolutely loved this drink and can’t wait to find some excuse to make it again! Enjoy!!

chocolate margaritas

And be sure you check out the rest of the virtual Margarita Day party from my fabulous cohorts in crime! Also, I’m no stranger to margaritas on my blog, so here are some you may want to check out:

Apple Cider Margaritas
Beer Margaritas
Blood Orange Margaritas
Frozen Cactus Pear Margaritas

Chocolate Margaritas

{One year ago: Buttermilk Cake with Walnut Praline Topping}

Source: Mexican Made Easy by Marcela Valladolid

2 tbs grated Mexican chocolate, preferably bittersweet
½ cup chocolate syrup, plus more for the glasses
8 oz. (1 cup) anejo tequila
4 oz. (1/2 cup) chocolate liqueur
2.6 oz. (1/3 cup) orange liqueur
1/3 cup heavy cream
1 tsp almond extract
1 tsp ground cinnamon, preferably Mexican canela
Ice cubes

Put the grated chocolate on a small plate. Place a circle of chocolate syrup on another small plate. Dip the rim of the glasses in the chocolate syrup, then in the grated chocolate.
In a medium bowl or large measuring cup, whisk together the ½ cup chocolate syrup, tequila, chocolate liqueur, orange liqueur, heavy cream, almond extract, and cinnamon.
Fill a cocktail shaker with ice cubes and pour the tequila mixture into the shaker. Shake a few times, then strain into the prepared glasses. Work in batches if need be. Serve immediately.
This makes 3-4 servings, depending on the size of your glasses.


Margarita Bites:

Rosemary Skewered Chipotle Shrimp

Rosemary Skewered Chipotle Shrimp

Welcome to October! It’s finally *really* fall, it’s the time when I’m now allowed to cook with pumpkin (I don’t permit myself to use pumpkin before October 1), and it’s definitely apple and pear season.

marinating shrimp

So what’s happening? Indian summer! Of course. As I type this, I’m currently running the air conditioner in my office, I’m wearing a tank top, and it’s near sweltering outside. Good times! We are definitely grilling this weekend.

making rosemary skewers

rosemary shrimp skewers, before grilling

And with that, I thought a grilled shrimp skewer was appropriate for today. These are so cool. Instead of wooden skewers (which have to be soaked beforehand) or metal skewers (which get hotter than hell on the grill), these shrimp are skewered on rosemary branches. How awesome is that! It’s an all-natural skewer for the crunchy hippie in all of us, lol.

Chipotle Shrimp Skewers on the grill

I should warn you, these shrimp are very spicy. They do not mess around. That said, they are so flavorful, and we just love them. And, they can easily be adapted to an indoor grill setting, so you can eat them year-round! Enjoy!

Rosemary Skewered Chipotle Shrimp

{One year ago: Apple Hatch Chile Cobbler}

Source: slightly adapted from Fresh Mexico by Marcela Valladolid

6-7 fresh rosemary sprigs (pick sturdy sprigs as much as possible)
¼ cup olive oil
1 ½ tbs fresh squeezed lime juice
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 tbs chopped fresh cilantro
2 tsp chipotle chile powder
Kosher salt and black pepper
1 lb. raw medium shrimp, peeled but tails left intact, deveined
Lime wedges, for serving

Preheat your grill to high.
Remove the leaves from about three-quarters of each rosemary sprig, and set the sprigs aside. Chop enough of the rosemary leaves to make 1 ½ teaspoons. Discard the rest or reserve it for another use.
Combine the olive oil, lime juice, garlic, cilantro, chipotle chile powder, and chopped rosemary in a medium bowl. Season the marinade with salt and black pepper to taste. Add the shrimp and toss until coated. Let stand for 5 minutes. Then skewer the shrimp onto the rosemary sprigs, 2-3 shrimp per sprig.
Transfer the skewers to the grill and cook for 1-2 minutes per side, until the shrimp are just cooked through. Transfer the skewers to a platter, garnish with lime wedges, and dig in.

Huevos Rancheros Divorciados

huevos rancheros divorciados

Yesterday was Matt’s birthday, so of course I spent the day cooking up a feast for him. For dinner we had decadent burgers, grilled salad with homemade ranch dressing (one of his faves) and he requested this ice cream, surprisingly not this ice cream, for dessert.

making Salsa Asada

making green tomatillo salsa

Since it was Sunday, and we usually have brunch on Sunday, I wanted to make him a birthday brunch. When I asked him what he wanted, he thought for awhile, then said “Huevos rancheros!” As that is one of my favorite dishes of all time, I was quite happy to oblige.

Huevos Rancheros Divorciados

And since this was birthday Huevos rancheros, for a very special person no less, I thought I would jazz it up a bit and make it very special Huevos rancheros! The divorciados in the title refers to two different sauces – a red, tomato-based (typical) and a green tomatillo-based (unusual). It was quite scrumptious! The two different sauces added a lovely depth of flavor and the contrast looked very pretty on the plate. Most importantly, Matt loved it. A wonderful dish for a wonderful person! Happy birthday Matt!!!

Huevos Rancheros Divorciados

Huevos Rancheros Divorciados

A few recipe notes: Huevos rancheros is very easy to scale up or down. As written, there’s easily enough sauce for 4 servings. Or you can do as I did, make only two servings, and have delicious leftover salsa. Enjoy!

clean plates after breakfast

Source: heavily adapted from Mexican Made Easy by Marcella Villadolid


RED SALSA (Salsa Asada):
4 plum tomatoes
1 medium shallot, peeled
1 serrano chile, stemmed
1 garlic clove, unpeeled
1/3 cup chicken stock
Kosher salt and black pepper

GREEN SALSA (Roasted Tomatillo Salsa):
1 tbs olive oil
4 large tomatillos, husked and rinsed
1 small shallot, peeled
1 garlic clove, unpeeled
1 jalapeno, stemmed
1 tbs fresh cilantro
½ cup water
Kosher salt and black pepper

Canola oil
Corn tortillas: 2 per person
Sour cream: 2 tbs per tortilla
1 (15 oz.) can refried beans, warmed in the microwave until stirrable
Shredded Monterey jack cheese
2 eggs per person

First make the RED SALSA. Heat a 10” cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add the tomatoes, shallot, serrano, and garlic to the dry skillet and roast until charred on all sides, about 7 minutes. Don’t worry if the veggies are not cooked all the way through.
Transfer the tomatoes, shallot, and serrano to the blender. Peel the garlic carefully (it’s hot!) and then add it to the blender, along with the chicken stock, salt and pepper to taste. Puree until smooth. Pour the salsa into a small stockpot over medium-low heat. Simmer gently and let it thicken for about 10 minutes, or until desired consistency. This will also help cook out the veggies. Wipe out the cast-iron skillet and rinse the blender under running water.
Now make the GREEN SALSA. Place the same 10” cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil, then the tomatillos, shallot, garlic and jalapenos. Cook about 7 minutes, until the tomatillos are browned and the other veggies are charred.
Transfer the tomatillos, shallot, and jalapenos to the blender. Peel the garlic carefully (it’s hot!) then add it to the blender, along with the cilantro, water, salt and pepper. Puree until smooth.
Pour the salsa back into the cast-iron skillet and simmer gently over medium-low heat for about 10 minutes, or until thickened to your desired consistency.
Keep both salsas warm until needed.
Pour about an inch of canola oil into a large non-stick or cast-iron skillet over medium heat. When the oil is ready, fry the tortillas until crispy, about 2-3 minutes per side. Drain on paper towels.
Pour most of the oil out of the skillet, then fry up the desired number of eggs, sunny-side up, or over easy, however you desire.
To assemble: smear about a tablespoon of sour cream on a dinner plate where each tortilla will be placed. Anchor a tortilla atop each smear of sour cream. Dollop some refried beans on each tortilla and spread it to the edges. Place a fried egg on each tortilla. Top with shredded cheese, then spoon some red salsa on one and some green salsa on the other. Eat!

Easy Adobo Chicken


For the past ten or so days, I’ve been battling a migraine headache, complete with all the symptoms migraines love to bring, like nausea, light sensitivity, pain, the works. The meds my doctor prescribed offered minimal relief, so on Friday night, at his direction, I went to the ER to get more intense treatment. That was the plan, anyway. When I hadn’t been seen after waiting four and a half hours, I left. In tears. All weekend I took more medicine and tried some more home remedies, and it seems to have finally broken this morning. I am so thoroughly relieved. And I’m so fortunate I only get these every fourteen months or so.


Thanks to the migraine, I’ve been a little off the grid, and didn’t realize until this morning that it is Food Bloggers Against Hunger Day. So I don’t have a post prepared for such an occasion. The closest I can come is this Mexican staple, and it’s close to the challenge because this is a relatively inexpensive and easy version.


Since I am a bit unprepared for today’s event, I will mostly direct you to some of my fellow food bloggers who have posts dedicated to hunger awareness. The event is sponsored by Giving Table, a wonderful organization committed to ending hunger in America. The issue is something I’m rather passionate about. I occasionally volunteer at my local food bank, and I try to stay abreast of policy in this area. It’s maddening to me that junk food, processed food, and some edible items you couldn’t even call food are so heavily subsidized, thus making it so that many people literally cannot afford or even locate fresh fruits and vegetables. It’s hugely gratifying that there are so many great organizations working to affect change to this screwed up system.


I have been extremely fortunate in this area; I’ve never experienced food insecurity, and I had parents who preached the virtues of real food, and did their best to limit our processed food intake. And while I kicked and screamed against this message growing up, as an adult I am grateful I was taught those lessons. My home and my cooking reflect the messages I got as a child, namely those of eat real food and be sure to get your fruits and vegetables.


So without further ado, here are some links to some wonderful posts from bloggers who prepared a pertinent message for today. They have more information on Giving Table’s purposes and actions against hunger, as well as resources to see what you as an individual can do. Definitely check them out!

Juanita’s Cocina
Farm Fresh Feasts


Source: adapted from Mexican Made Easy by Marcela Valladolid

2 tbs canola oil
1 small white onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
10 dried guajillow chiles, stemmed, seeded and torn into 2-inch pieces
1 1/2 cups chicken stock
Kosher salt and black pepper
1 (3-4 pound) whole chicken, spatchcocked
Garnishes: cilantro, crumbled Cotija or queso fresco, scallions, warmed tortillas, etc.

Preheat your oven to 375 F.
Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook another minute. Add the chiles and cook another minute, stirring.
Pour in the stock and bring to a boil. Cook, covered, until the chiles are soft, about 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer to a blender and puree until smooth. Be careful when blending hot liquids.
Season to taste with salt and pepper, then puree again to combine.
Heat a large cast-iron or other oven-proof skillet over medium-high heat. Pour about half the adobo mixture into a bowl.
Meanwhile, brush the skin side of the chicken with about a quarter of the adobo mixture that is still in the blender. When your skillet is ready, carefully place the chicken, skin side down, to sear. While that side is cooking, brush the exposed bottom of the chicken with about a quarter of the blender adobo mixture.
Flip the chicken carefully, trying not to tear the skin. Transfer to the oven. Roast the chicken, basting every 20 minutes with the adobo that is in the bowl. Use a second pastry brush or wash the existing one to avoid cross contamination. It will be done when an instant read meat thermometer inserted into the center of the breast meat reads 165 F.
When done, remove from the oven and transfer the whole chicken to a cutting board. Let rest for 10 minutes, then carve and serve with garnishes.

Chipotle Chilaquiles


No one can do brunch like the Mexicans. Well, maybe the French. But I seriously adore Mexican morning food. It’s just utterly amazing. Every time we’re on vacation in Mexico (which is not anywhere near frequently enough, if you ask me), I wake up bright and early each morning to make sure I do not miss breakfast.


One of my favorite brunch dishes is chilaquiles (pronounced chee-la-key-lace). Chilaquiles, at its most basic, is stale fried tortilla chips tossed in salsa. Most of the time it’s jazzed up a bit – garnished with cheese, or sour cream, or avocado, or accompanied with a fried egg.


I’ve made this dish many times over the years, and my favorite way is topped with grated Monterey jack cheese, broiled until melted and browned, then each individual serving is topped with a fried egg with a runny yolk. The yolk runs all over the cheese and chips and makes everything luscious.


Chilaquiles is a great option if you’re hosting a small brunch gathering – maybe four to six people. The salsa can be made ahead of time, as can the fried tortillas. Then you assemble it in a casserole dish and cook up eggs while it broils. Serve with garnishes and of course a great brunch beverage, and you’ll have yourself a very festive Sunday morning!


Tip: I do not toss my chips in the salsa until right before I’m putting it in the oven. And I serve it immediately when it comes out of the oven, because I like a little crunch remaining on my chips. But you can certainly have them be softer and chewier if you please. Just let the chips sit in the salsa for a few minutes if this is more your texture. And of course the fried egg is simply my personal preference. Poached eggs or scrambled eggs will work beautifully too. And you really don’t even have to have an egg at all, if they’re not your thing.


Source: adapted from Mexican Made Easy, by Marcella Valladolid

8 corn tortillas, each cut into wedges of 4
1 1/2 tbs canola oil, plus more for deep frying
5 plum tomatoes, cored and quartered
1 small white onion, cut into 8 wedges
2 garlic cloves, peeled
1 chipotle in adobo
Kosher salt and black pepper
4 oz. Monterey jack cheese, grated
2-6 large eggs, optional
1/4 cup crumbled Cotija or queso fresco

Heat canola oil in your deep fryer according to manufacturer’s instructions. Working in batches, fry the tortilla wedges until crispy, about 1 minute per side. Remove with a slotted spoon to a paper towel lined plate and salt them. When all tortilla wedges have been fried, drained and seasoned, place them in a shallow casserole dish, one that holds about 1 1/2 quarts.
Heat the 1 1/2 tbs canola oil in a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add the tomatoes, onion wedges, and garlic cloves. Cook, turning frequently, until golden brown on all sides, about 10 minutes. Transfer the tomatoes and garlic to a blender. Remove the onions to a cutting board, snip off the root ends and then add them to the blender as well. Add the chipotle, plus salt and pepper to taste. Puree until very smooth.
Return the sauce to the skillet and cook over medium-low heat for 5 minutes. Taste for seasoning and add more salt and pepper if needed. Shut off the heat and keep warm if you’re not ready to use it yet.
Preheat your broiler.
Take the warm salsa and pour or spoon it over the tortilla chips. Give the casserole dish a few shakes on a flat counter surface to get the salsa to the bottom of the dish. Top with the shredded jack cheese and broil for 5 to 8 minutes, until melted, browned and bubbly.
Meanwhile, if using, make the eggs however you desire, allotting 1 to 2 eggs per person.
Remove the casserole from the oven and serve individual portions immediately. Top each portion with the eggs, and sprinkle each with the crumbled Cotija. Serve immediately.