New this week

January 9, 2017

Tuscan beans on grilled bread

Beans are part of a simple way of cooking that is often referred to as “peasant cooking”, “Cucina povera”, “Cocina para pobres” or “l’alimentation paysanne”, in the few languages that I can understand. Even the fancy Scandinavian smørrebrød has its origin as simple bread topped with whatever was readily available for populations that did not have many options. Local and inexpensive ingredients such as grains, legumes, noodles and breads together with a few available vegetables... View Article

January 7, 2017

Mayan Street Food and Taco Tour with Cozumel Chef in Playa del Carmen

I have been travelling to the Mayan Riviera for years but must admit that I have never stopped to eat at street food carts and although we do eat at local restaurants, only a few serve mostly local people. Now before you dismiss me as a food elitist, please consider that, first, you can get authentic local dishes even at high end restaurants and hotels, you just pay more for them, and second, street food... View Article

December 21, 2016

Mayan Riviera: Enfrijoladas, tortillas with black beans

I first came across this dish at a cooking class at Latitude 20° restaurant in Puerto Aventuras, taught by Mexican chef Danny. The simplicity of the dish combined with the intense flavour appealed to me instantly and it quickly became a regular dish I prepare both here on the Mayan Riviera and at home, at latitude 50°. I am generally attracted to simple foods that make the indigenous cuisine of real people in villages around... View Article

December 20, 2016

Cooking on the Mayan Riviera: Roasted Salsa Verde

So my fridge is starting to look better with a few things in there ready to be pulled out and used in various dishes. This roasted tomatillos sauce known as salsa verde (green sauce) is a useful one to have and goes particularly well with chilaquiles that I tend to make here regularly. I get the tomatillos at a market that sets up in our resort village twice a week with fresh fruits and vegetables... View Article

December 19, 2016

Granola, Yogurt, Honey, Papaya

Local fruit and granola dishes are featured on any breakfast menu on the Mayan Riviera and although I rarely order it at restaurants I enjoy making it at home now and then. Just like we have unparalleled berries, apples, pears and stone fruits in the Okanagan, local fruits here are so ripe and full of flavour that they hardly resemble the version of these same fruits that we get at home. I am yet to... View Article

December 17, 2016

Chilaquiles with red sauce and fried egg

Chilaquiles, meaning “broken up sombrero” in one of the native Mayan languages, is a quintessential Mexican dish that you find anywhere, from humble beach cafes to five star hotel restaurants serving local cuisine. Chilaquiles is made with fried corn tortilla triangles (or strips) that are briefly soften in red tomato or green tomatillos sauce, then topped with fried egg, queso fresco, chopped red onion, plenty of chopped cilantro (forgot to put it on before taking the... View Article

December 15, 2016

Pickled red onions

If you have been to Mexico, and I am sure you have, you know how important pickles are to the layers of flavours in this simple yet complex cuisine. Almost every dish is accompanied by some pickles, be it the bright and colourful pickled red onion, mildly spicy jalapenos, pickled radishes or pickled fruits. The most commonly seen are the pickled red onions that go so well with the variety of seafood so abundant in... View Article

December 12, 2016

Report from the Mayan Riviera and Mexican tomato sauce recipe

We landed at Cancun airport a week ago after a short and reasonably comfortable Westjet flight from Toronto. We stepped outside into the colourful vegetation and fragrant air of the Mexican Caribbean and felt immediately at home in the familiar surroundings. Even my limited Spanish held up for the brief conversations along the way. Next we had to endure the usual ordeal of car rental, having to do with mandatory insurance that can quadruple the... View Article

December 10, 2016

Roasted cauliflower and chickpea salad

We are settled in our Mayan Riviera abode but I haven’t started cooking yet, not sure why. Maybe it’s working in a different kitchen not as well equipped as my own at home, or maybe it’s all the restaurants I want to try. In any event, I scheduled a few posts to be published until I get in the groove and begin to cook Mexican style here. One of the scheduled posts is this roasted... View Article

December 8, 2016

Fennel, apple and orange salad

Fennel and citrus are one of those marriages made in heaven. A squeeze of lemon or a few orange or grapefruit segments make the fennel come alive. This salad is made simply by combining the ingredients, squeezing the juice of the orange over and adding a drizzle of olive oil. A little sea salt goes a long way in this salad and there are two items that I must have: good honey and a handful... View Article

December 3, 2016

Potato and radicchio salad

I believe I have posted about 20 potato salad recipes on the blog so far and it says a lot about how I feel about this humble and much maligned vegetable. Potatoes are so fundamental to the development of civilization that it is beyond me how they are now blamed for everything from obesity to heart disease. Most of us tend to read materials that reinforce what we already believe but If you are open... View Article

December 1, 2016

Beet soup four ways

Making beet soup seems like a production but with a food processor it’s not that bad. Put on thin kitchen gloves to protect your hands from getting stained red and go for it. The results are worth it. I have some beet soup memories: a chilled beet soup with yogurt at the Dan hotel in Caesarea years ago, seated by the pool, my baby son in a stroller beside me; Beet soup with fried potatoes... View Article