Tips from My Mexican Kitchen

March 30, 2012

I have learned a lot over the years in my Mazatlán kitchen. I shared a few tips with you once before – how to slice jalapeños and limes the Sinaloa way – but I recently realized I had a few more tips to share.

At the top of the post is a pile of blue corn tortillas.  I love these tortillas, and will pick up a package even if it contains more tortillas than I really want.  Watch the video below to see what I do with them as soon as I get them home.

 

Since I am a vegetarian, I don’t make a traditional taco.  Sometimes I do a “scramble” with onion and beans and chopped red pepper and squash.  Add some chopped cilantro and salsa and it is delicious.  Sometimes I even use dried soy crumbles or leftover rice.  It’s all good.

 

salad taco

Another tip from my kitchen is how I make my peruano beans.  I have been frustrated when making beans because they just aren’t that regular in the time it takes them to cook.  I have presoaked them and used a clay pot.  I have made sure I was buying fresh beans.  No matter what I would be checking and checking, and delaying lunch over and over.  No more!

For this tip, you’ll need a slow cooker. I rinse the peruano beans (my favorite, but this would work with others) and put them in the slow cooker with a cup of water.  Then I fill a kettle with water and put it on the stove to boil.  If you don’t boil it ahead of time you might wait for two hours or more for the water in your slow cooker to heat! So, while you wait for it to boil, add a couple of dried avocado leaves (you’ll find them cello-bagged in the spice aisle,) some epazote (same place) and a couple of bay leaves, to the slow cooker.  I like garlic, so I usually take all the cloves from one head of garlic and put them in there whole.  You’d be surprised how creamy and lovely they become.

Oh, you want to know how I prep a whole head of garlic easily?  Watch the video, below:

 

 

So, turn your slow cooker on high and add the boiling water.  How much?  I just add it until it is near the top.  I like our beans soupy.  Put the lid on and in less than an hour or an hour and a half your beans will be done.  Add a bit of salt and they’ll be creamy and lovely.  Trust me.  And the avocado leaves and epazote you added?  That means no flatulence!

Someday soon there will be another installment of My Mexican Kitchen!

More about Nancy

I'm Nancy, a US expat living in Mazatlán, México.

13 Comments
    1. In your slow cooker bean recipe, about how much dry beans do you use? I love to cook beans and have a slow cooker in California. I use epazote too as its easy to get in the Bay Area.
      Thanks for the recipe

      1. Carole, I just eyeball it but usually about 2 or 3 cups.

    1. I also just remembered that I have a gigantic avocado tree in my backyard in Vallejo,so I can use the leaves as you describe. Wow!

    1. We have been cooking our peruano beans in the slow cooker as you described to us a little while ago and it works a treat. And love the garlic trick, thanks!

    1. So now you tell me…..only one day to go before we leave!!! I can hardly wait to try this. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Yeah, thanks for sharing…as if I wasn’t already missing Mazatlan enough after three weeks back here in Texas where: mothers feed their 6-month old kids chickenfried steak and tacos AND flatulence is synonymous with legislative vocalizing in Austin. ;-> To quote several American heroes, “I shall return back down there, y’all!”
      p.s. Nancy, I DO appreciate the kitchen tips.

    1. Nancy, this sounds really stupid, but the entire time I was there, I never found a good source for blue corn tortillas. In fact, I would buy them often from La Cueva. It was just one of those things I would forget to ask about when I was in the mercado. Where is your source, if you don’t mind sharing? (that way, I can eat well in Sept.) 😉

      1. Carole, I also LOVE to put some cubed avocado right in the bowl with the beans as I serve them. Yum.

        Sparks, I shared that tip on Facebook and the gal who preps garlic for a local pizzeria thanked me up and down!

        Judith, You’re so welcome.

        Contessa, I can’t believe you’re leaving ALREADY. Dang.

        Les, Yes, you had better get back down here!

        Zoe, I buy them at Mega. They have a huge area with tortillas behind the deli/ham area. Usually under a sheet to keep them warm. They also have smaller once that are two bite taco size.

    1. I used to think that I couldn’t digest beans. Come to find out I’m allergic to wheat and now I can eat all the beans I want with no embarrassing side effects. Yay, beans!

    1. I love your first pepper method and the garlic thing! I live in Chapala and Barra de Navidad, but I’ve never seen blue tortillas here. Too bad!

      1. Marty, That’s interesting! I’d rather have beans than wheat, hope it is the same for you.

        Kathy, Here in Maz I can buy the blue corn tortilla mix in the flour section of most stores – I wonder if you’d want to make your own? They are very easy, actually.

    1. I wouldn’t mind making my own, but I’ve never seen the mix here. Funny how things are so different in Chapala and Mazatlan. Oh, well, I’ll watch for it. I also can’t eat wheat – Celiac disease – but I have no problems with beans at all.

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