Mexican shrimp salad,Tequlla onions Back from Mexico …

Back from Mexico …

October 21, 2007

Back from maravilloso Mexico, and it was indeed a very lovely trip. We were in several places: Guadalajara, where we ate posole (made of tomatillo and fresh corn) at our friend Lourdes’ home. WE stayed at the lovely quinta Real hotel and lacked for nothing!

We were escorted to Tequila to visit Orendain Distillery with the owner’s son, Andres Orendain, our chauffeur and guide! And where we tasted their 55 proof Tequila served in a ram’s horn! (This was before lunch on a covered terrace overlook of the surrounding hills and mountains. (A Tequila recipe will follow this rant.)

Next we flew to Culiacan for a firecracker, candle, and Mariachi/disco blow-out wedding, where we danced toward dawn.

The next day we drove to the shore at Xicotencatl ( I think) for a day on the beach of other friends’ compound, complete with huge thatch-covered patios with hammocks! And where we were fed like kings on fresh caught shrimp and fish. For desert on the drive back to Cuilican we ate homemade pan de mujer filled with pumpkin jam.

In Matzatlan for half a day, we had a seafood lunch by the shore with fresh fried whole red snapper before we caught the plane to Mexico City. The lunch was fun and delish accompanied by Margaritas for the ladies and beer for the guys—some mixing their cerveza with lime and salt. Is that any way to ruin a cold bottle of Corona, Tecate, or Pacifico! No comment because there’s just no accounting for tastes! It’s called cerveza preparada, a term to forget which means, prepared beer, or what the Brits call shandy.

Here’s a quick recipe for shrimp from the lunch appetizer—a type of salad served on top of a toasted taco in the middle of a huge oval platter surrounded by oysters, octopus, scallops and fresh humongous shrimp—boiled whole. The shrimp salad appetizer is this:

One pound of pounded shrimp, ½ cup minced onion, hot as hell pepper—not sissy jalpeño—use chipolte or habanera and enough of it to bring tears to your eyes if you have the guts! and 8 ounces of Philadelphia cream cheese at room temp. Salt to taste. Mix together and pop onto a huge crisp baked or fried tamale … now dig in using corn chips, tortillas!

Off to Mexico City! Ole’! We stayed at a friend’s apartment in the Lomas de Chapultepec, and as luck would have it, he was out of town so he sent his chauffeur to pick us up at the airport and drive us all around town. What a hardship!

Ciudad de Mexico for only a few days is a shame, but it was long enough for us to take a city tour and to see the famous Virgin de Guadalupe one day and the next a drive out of town to visit the museum and pyramids at Teotihuacan. Incredible! After feasting with our eyes we feasted on lunch at the famous Hacienda de los Morales. Exquisite dining—pate de fois gras for starters, followed by a soup of fresh zucchini flowers, or flor de calabasa with a light pie crust topping. Felipe ordered a vino tinto from Ribeia del Duero (Spain). Each sip was a quick trip to Elysium.

My friend Linda lived near the Sangre de Cristo Mountains in New Mexico before having a farewell party and departing for the al di là, and this is a tribute to her fine cooking and taste. Quantities are up to the chef! You may use mushrooms with the onions for this Tequila cebolla amargo y dulce (sour and sweet) dish.

Here’s a recipe for Tequila onions:
a heavy skillet
some unsalted butter and Extra Virgin Olive Oil (Please don’t bust chops for amounts! Use your eyes! that’s why God gave them to you. Judge by the quantity of vegetables you will use.)
sliced sweet onions, or whole small ones, a few cloves of garlic if desired (whole and then remove)
small whole button mushrooms (washed and dried), or improvise with larger ones and slice them!
a tablespoon of sugar—those on diets, Splenda will work, or a bit of natural Stivia for you organic-conscious eaters (called Ka’a He’e, pronounced ka-ay-hey-ay in the Guarani language of Paraguay),
a splash of red wine or balsamic vinegar (I must confess that I’ve used other vinegars, such as white or apple cider, and the result is fine)
salt, pepper to taste
(may garnish with cilantro, or parsley, and may make without the mushrooms!)

High heat. Fry the onions and mushrooms (garlic) until golden, and season with salt and pepper—I use hot as Hades peperoncino because I’m married to a fiery Cuban-Italian! So feel free to use hot pepper if desired. Remove the garlic cloves. Add the sugar and stir around still it starts to caramelize. Then add a splash of vinegar. When all the ingredients are coated with the vinegar and it’s blended with the sugar into a mélange of sticky goodness, add as much Tequila (of course the good brand you’re drinking) as it takes (be generous, it’s your body, a true temple, you’re feeding) and reduce it over a low to moderate heat! This is a lovely medley and side dish to compliment any autumn dinner: meat, fowl or fish. Garnished with curly parsley or not.

Folks, if you notice any spelling or punctuation errors … adjust and fix them in your brains, and let me off the hook or these blogs will never get posted! Thanks! and for you speakers of the language in which to address God, por favor forgive any mistakes.

If anyone wants the recipe for posole, write me. That doesn’t mean I’ll give it to you, but write anyway.