“Chef Ana” – La Villa Bonita Mexican Culinary Vacations http://lavillabonita.com Mexican Culinary Vacation Packages in Tepoztlan, Sayulita, and Puebla, Mexico with Chef Ana Garcia Wed, 27 Sep 2017 16:41:41 +0000 en-US hourly 1 My FAVORITE Celebration in Mexico: Feria del Huipil y Cafe http://lavillabonita.com/huipilpart1/ Tue, 16 May 2017 20:28:44 +0000 http://lavillabonita.com/?p=2495

Let me introduce you to one of MY FAVORITE CELEBRATIONS IN MEXICO!  This festival is called the Huipil and Coffee Festival in Cuetzalan, Puebla.  We are witnessing this festival with a special week September 28 – October 5, 2017.  It is a combination of cooking in Tepoztlan and visiting the Historic City of Puebla as well as experiencing one of the most authentic and beautiful Mexican festivals in Cuetzalan.  The full itinerary can be found here.

So what is a “huipil?”  A huipil is a traditional blouse that is made by the indigenous women in Puebla.  The festival of the huipil takes place to select a huipil queen for the region.  One young woman is selected from each of 11 towns around Cuetzalan.   She is then judged by village elders on the quality of her blouse, her traditional attire and her ability to talk about her village along with its history as well as preserving traditions in both Spanish and Nahuatl (the Aztec dialect).  This is an incredibly engrossing ceremony that takes place in the town square in front of the cathedral.

Prior to the Huipil coronation ceremony, there is a full day of the “voladores” or flyers who climb an incredibly tall tree that has been placed in the town square and slide down ropes upside-down until they reach the bottom.  A flute player dances on top of the log while the flyers come down and then he or she joins the other at the bottom.  Each village has their own style and you cannot take your eyes off of them.  I have seen this day now three times and I am mesmerized!

Later in the day come the procession of dancers from each part of town.  These extravagantly costumed dancers each have their own personality or character and they come one-by-one into the town square while the voladores continue with their descent.  Each group of dancers accompanies an elaborate wax sculpture that is to be delivered to the cathedral.  As well, in previous years we have been graciously invited by the “mayordomo” or local sponsor of the event to visit his or her house in town where the dancers come to pay their respects before proceeding to the cathedral.

There is a ton of things that we do during the Huipil week like visiting Puebla – the talavera pottery plant, the centro historico for the walking-eating tour, the incredible International Baroque Museum.  We also visit our friend in Libres, Puebla to have a wine and cheese party at his very beautiful little establishment.   I have more to share about this week so more entries will be coming!  We still have space for this year’s event in September and we would love to have you join us!

 

Have a question?  Want to book space? Want to chat? Fill out the form below:



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Chef Ana Makes Arroz a La Tumbada http://lavillabonita.com/chef-ana-makes-arroz-a-la-tumbada/ Thu, 20 Jun 2013 16:06:00 +0000 http://lavillabonita.com/2011/chef-ana-makes-arroz-a-la-tumbada/
Arroz a la Tumbada

This is one of my favorite dishes from the State of Veracruz that originated in the port of Alvarado.  This is a fisherman’s dish that as legend has it was prepared by a cook who just “tossed or threw together” the rice with the catch of the day, hence the name in Spanish “a la tumbada.”  Many will take a quick look and think that this is similar to a paella, but it is not.  This dish is great and has some similarity to a paella but this is much more like a soup.  

Important — this is my version! What I always tell my guests is that Mexican cuisine is a living cuisine – it moves over time – which is what makes it so great.  Every house has its own mole, their own secret recipe, their own way to make that special dish handed down over the generations. 

 
For those of you who want to pull down a PDF version to print, you can find it here.

Serves 6 to 8

2 cups of long grain rice
2 tablespoons olive oil
10 cups of hot fish broth or water
½ cup white onion chopped
3 garlic cloves minced
2 cups tomatoes chopped
16 u/8 shrimp peeled and de-veined with tail on
½ cup cooked octopus or squid rings
4 blue crab cleaned and cut in half
1 cup mussels or small clams (whatever you like best or can find freshest) 
½ cup peas
½ cup carrot, peeled and cut pea-size
¼ cup chopped cilantro
3 or 4 Serrano Chiles chopped
4 limes cut in wedges
Sea salt to taste (about 2 tablespoons)

We will need a large sauté or paella pan about 25 inches in diameter and 4 – 5 inches deep.  You will need a lid to cover the pan. 

Place the pan on medium heat and add the olive oil.  Place the rice and fry for 2 to 3 minutes until the grains are translucid on the outside and white on the inside.  Don’t mix the rice.  Gently fold the rice so it won’t break and turn mushy after cooking. 

Add chopped onion and cook for another minute, then add minced garlic cook for another 30 seconds.  Add chopped tomatoes and cook for another minute.  Salt freely the rice tomato, onion and garlic mixture. 

Add 4 cups of the hot fish broth or water.  Allow to come to a boil.  Taste the broth and see if it needs more salt.  It should taste a little salty since you will be adding seafood and vegetables.  After you are satisfied that it is salted correctly, put on low heat and cover for 10 minutes.

Add another 2 cups of hot fish broth.  Nestle the blue crab into the rice and cover for 5 minutes.   The broth should always be ¼ inch above the level of the rice.  Add up to two cups of broth to do so.  It is not necessary for the broth to cover the sea food.  Taste the broth.  It should be a little salty.  Also taste the rice as it should be almost cooked. 

Add the rest of the seafood, carrots, and peas.  Cover the pan for 5 minutes after the broth comes to a boil again.  You may need to add more broth do so.  Again, making sure the broth is ¼ inch above the rice.   Important: This is a soupy style of dish.  It should have liquid as you serve the dish in a bowl.  This is not like paella which is much drier. 

When the rice is cooked but still al dente, serve in a bowl and sprinkle with cilantro and Serrano chile.  Give everyone a wedge of lime to squeeze over the dish.
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Chef Ana’s Recipe for Sopa de Lima from Cozumel Weeks 2013 http://lavillabonita.com/chef-anas-recipe-for-sopa-de-lima-from-cozumel-weeks-2013/ Fri, 22 Mar 2013 15:52:00 +0000 http://lavillabonita.com/2011/chef-anas-recipe-for-sopa-de-lima-from-cozumel-weeks-2013/ Day one #chefanaincozumel sopa de lima - lima soup with bell peppers, chicken and tortilla strips #lavillabonita
On occasion we will leave the comfortable confines at La Villa Bonita and cook in different environments or different parts of Mexico to add to my repertior and give guests a new and different experience. This year we had cooking sessions on the island of Cozumel. While big tourism has changed the cuisine offered in hotels, there is a local cuisine that is still delicious and good. It needs to be elevated and learned. I was amazed at the amount of Italian cuisine restaurants in both Cozumel and Playa del Carmen. Such food is great but there is a wonderful local cuisine that is not being appreciated. When we travel, we always try to elevate the local cuisine so that it is visible and accessible. 
 When we come back to Tepoztlán we integrate these elements into our repertoire for our culinary packages. We had a great time with our guests in Cozumel, getting to know or fish providers and the wonderful variety of seafood available in the region and discovering these great local dishes. This particular dish, sopa de lima, is very popular in the southeast section of Mexico. It calls for Limas which are a specific type of lime. We have them in Tepoztlán in our back yard and they are a different type of lime. If you do not have them substitute Key Limes and they will work fine but the Lima has a distinct flavor.

Sopa de lima (Lima Soup) 6 servings

1 chicken breast with skin and bone 10 oz. chicken feet or wings or backs
2 garlic cloves, pealed
 ½ medium white onion
 1 clove
 1 cilantro sprig
 1 epazote sprig (if possible)
1 teaspoon dried oregano
3 quarts or 12 cups of water
 1 tablespoon salt
 1 teaspoon olive oil
 ½ cup red onion, finely chopped
 ½ cup green bell pepper, finely chopped
2 cups tomato, peeled, seeded and finely chopped
6 Limas or Key Limes or 3 Persian limes, thinly sliced
4 corn tortillas cut into strips and dried for 2 to 3 hours or overnight
 1 cup of canola oil
1 avocado (optional)

Broth
My preferred method of making broth is with a pressure cooker but if you don’t have one you may use a regular stock pot. Place chicken into the pressure cooker or the stock pot and add garlic cloves, the clove inserted into the onion (so they are not floating around in the pot), cilantro, epazote, dried oregano, water and salt. Place pot over a high heat and allow for broth to come to a simmer. Reduce the heat. Take off the foam that will form with a spoon and repeat this procedure until the broth doesn’t produce any more foam. If you are using the pressure cooker place the top of the pressure cooker and cook for another 45 minutes on medium high. If you are using a regular stock pot, cook for 1hr and 30 minutes on medium high. When chicken broth is ready take the chicken breast out. Allow it to cool enough to shred.

 Soup
In your soup pot place the olive oil and red onion and cook over medium heat for 3 minutes or until transparent. Then add the green pepper and tomatoes and cook for another 2 minutes. Add the chicken broth with slices of lime. Save a few fresh slices for serving. Bring to a simmer and cook for 5 to 10 minutes and take the lime slices out.

Corn strips
 In a sauté pan add the canola oil on high heat. When it is hot add the corn strips and then fry until golden. Take out and place on paper towels to drain.

In a soup bowl place the shredded chicken, tortilla strips and a slice of avocado and a fresh slice of lime. Ladle some of the chicken broth and enjoy. If you would like to print out this recipes click here for the PDF version.

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Recipe for Sopa de Lima or Lima Soup: Cozumel http://lavillabonita.com/sopadelima/ Thu, 21 Mar 2013 17:12:37 +0000 http://lavillabonita.com/2011/?p=1147 Day one #chefanaincozumel sopa de lima - lima soup with bell peppers, chicken and tortilla strips #lavillabonita

On occasion we will leave our comfortable confines at La Villa Bonita and cook in different environments or different parts of Mexico to add to my repertior and give guests a new and different experience.  This year we had cooking sessions on the island of Cozumel.  While big tourism has changed the cuisine offered in hotels, there is a local cuisine that is still delicious and good.  It needs to be elevated and learned.  I was amazed at the amount of Italian cuisine restaurants in both Cozumel and Playa del Carmen.  Such food is great but there is a wonderful local cuisine that is not being appreciated.  When we travel, we always try to elevate the local cuisine so that it is visible and accessible.  When we come back to Tepoztlán we integrate these elements into our repertoire for our culinary packages.

We had a great time with our guests in Cozumel, getting to know or fish providers and the wonderful variety of seafood available in the region and discovering these great local dishes.

This particular dish, sopa de lima,  is very popular in the southeast section of Mexico.  It calls for Limas which are a specific type of lime.  We have them in Tepoztlán in our back yard and they are a different type of lime.  If you do not have them substitute Key Limes and they will work fine but the Lima has a distinct flavor.

Sopa de lima (Lima Soup) 6 servings

1 chicken breast with skin and bone

10 oz. chicken feet or wings or backs

2 garlic cloves, pealed

½ medium white onion

1 clove

1 cilantro sprig

1 epazote sprig (if possible)

1 teaspoon dried oregano

3 quarts or 12 cups of water

1 tablespoon salt

1 teaspoon olive oil

½ cup red onion, finely chopped

½ cup green bell pepper, finely chopped

2 cups tomato, peeled, seeded and finely chopped

6 Limas or Key Limes or 3 Persian limes, thinly sliced

4 corn tortillas cut into strips and dried for 2 to 3 hours or over night

1 cup of canola oil

1 avocado (optional)

Broth

My preferred method of making broth is with a pressure cooker but if you don’t have one you may use a regular stock pot.  Place chicken into the pressure cooker or the stock pot and add garlic cloves, the clove inserted into the onion (so they are not floating around in the pot), cilantro, epazote, dried oregano, water and salt.  Place pot over a high heat and allow for broth to come to a simmer.  Reduce the heat.  Take off the foam that will form with a spoon and repeat this procedure until the broth doesn’t produce any more foam.

If you are using the pressure cooker place the top of the pressure cooker and cook for another 45 minutes on medium high.  If you are using a regular stock pot, cook for 1hr and 30 minutes on medium high.  When chicken broth is ready take the chicken breast out. Allow it to cool enough to shred.

Soup

In your soup pot place the olive oil and red onion and cook over medium heat for 3 minutes or until transparent.  Then add the green pepper and tomatoes and cook for another 2 minutes.  Add the chicken broth with slices of lime.  Save a few fresh slices for serving.  Bring to a simmer and cook for 5 to 10 minutes and take the lime slices out.

Corn strips

In a sauté pan add the canola oil on high heat.  When it is hot add the corn strips and then fry until golden.  Take out and place on paper towels to drain.

In a soup bowl place the shredded chicken, tortilla strips and a slice of avocado and a fresh slice of lime.  Ladle some of the chicken broth and enjoy.

If you would like to print out this recipes click here for the PDF version.

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Where am I? http://lavillabonita.com/where-am-i-2/ Sat, 26 Dec 2009 14:17:00 +0000 http://lavillabonita.com/2011/where-am-i-2/ Many of you may be wondering where I am! I am still here! I have been traveling very much over the past 5 months on projects with my sponsors, television appearances, and in furtherance of my own telelvision series in the US. All in all, it has been a crazy year but we are all looking forward to a great 2010. I can tell you I am very happy to be home and looking forward as well to receiving guests at La Villa Bonita in January and February. Time to get back to what I do best — teach my traditional Mexican family dishes to my guests and open windows into the richness of Mexican culture.

We had a great response to our sale for Christmas and New Year sale but it was restricted because of very high airfare over the holidays. We did notice, however, a great drop in airfare for January and February from hubs in the US and Canada. Since we are finally home and want you to join us, we extended our $875 USD off per room sale to January and February dates. It is almost like getting your airfare for free! Escape the cold at LVB this winter!

Peace, Love, and Good Food

Ana Garcia

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Kids and Cooking, Kids for Free at La Villa Bonita http://lavillabonita.com/kids-and-cooking-kids-for-free-at-la-villa-bonita-2/ Fri, 24 Jul 2009 17:17:00 +0000 http://lavillabonita.com/2011/kids-and-cooking-kids-for-free-at-la-villa-bonita-2/
Coming Very Soon! My favorite topic: Kids and Cooking. This series of blog entries is very close to my heart. I firmly believe that if kids are introduced to the kitchen early, it can actually bring the family closer together and give them a great appreciation not only for food but where it comes from. No more chicken fingers, hot dogs or horrible children’s menu. They won’t want it!

To intoduce this new series to our blog, La Villa Bonita is offering an incredible opportunity. August has been declared a Family Month at La Villa Bonita. KIDS JOIN US FOR FREE FOR SELECT AUGUST DATES! Click for more information. Lets have fun as a family this August!

More to come!

Peace, Love, and Good Food,

Chef Ana

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Mexico Meets Colombia: Guajillo Chicken Stew http://lavillabonita.com/mexico-meets-colombia-guajillo-chicken-stew-2/ http://lavillabonita.com/mexico-meets-colombia-guajillo-chicken-stew-2/#comments Thu, 16 Jul 2009 14:04:00 +0000 http://lavillabonita.com/2011/mexico-meets-colombia-guajillo-chicken-stew-2/
Okay, todays recipe may make no sense unless I give a little context. I am close to signing an agreement with a major cookware manufacturer in the US market. We met with them last week and saw their current products which have primarily focused on the carribean hispanic market in the US. The gave me a sample of their products to take home and use in relation to the type of cooking that I do. One of these pots is called a caldero.

The caldero is a traditional Colombian pot close to a dutch oven that is great for rice dishes and stews. A sancocho, which is one of the national dishes of Colombia, can be made in this type of dish. It is made of thick cast aluminium but it is very light. This dish in Mexico we would call a budinera and use for something totally different — a budin or custard in English.

So, I took on of the big calderos and decided to create a new recipe for our family lunch – Guajillo Chicken Stew. I have to admit it turned out great. I love stews even in the summer. It is great comfort food as I grew up with lots of rustic stews that we would have for a simple lunch. So, LETS PLAY WITH OUR FOOD!

Click for the recipe in PDF (Adobe) format. Ana’s Guajillo Chicken Stew.

Peace, love and good food,

Chef Ana

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Happy 4th of July from La Villa Bonita http://lavillabonita.com/happy-4th-of-july-from-la-villa-bonita-2/ http://lavillabonita.com/happy-4th-of-july-from-la-villa-bonita-2/#comments Sat, 04 Jul 2009 18:49:00 +0000 http://lavillabonita.com/2011/happy-4th-of-july-from-la-villa-bonita-2/

My son said that I could get a temporary “green card” to celebrate the 4th of July if I made a cake with him for a party we are attending. We made a vanilla chiffon cake with a layer of lemon curd plucked from our trees, raspberries and blueberries for the stars and stripes and a whipping cream icing.

More coming up soon on kids and cooking!

Peace, love and good food!

Chef Ana

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Best Ceviche Ever (with Recipe) http://lavillabonita.com/best-ceviche-ever-with-recipe-2/ http://lavillabonita.com/best-ceviche-ever-with-recipe-2/#comments Tue, 09 Jun 2009 14:35:00 +0000 http://lavillabonita.com/2011/best-ceviche-ever-with-recipe-2/

Last week we decided to take a break and visit some friends in Puerto Escondido. It is very easy trip from Mexico City with a short one hour flight. On the other hand, it is a 13-15 hour drive in car. With a one and four-year-old, that option was quickly discarded. We have been to Puerto before so this time instead of just enjoying the immediate surroundings we fished, surfed, dined, and enjoyed the town a little more.

My 4-year-old went with my husband and our hosts on an early morning fishing trip which netted great results: a 90 lb. Sailfish and two Mahi-Mahi or Dorados as they are called here in Mexico. Upon the return to shore, the local fish mongers prepared the fish right on the beach. I had the Sailfish prepared like thick salmon steaks and the Mahi-Mahi filleted. Immediately upon their arrival at the house, I decided to make a very simple ceviche with some of the Mahi-Mahi. I chose a simple ceviche because when you have fresh fish like this you want to taste it as much as possible and enjoy the great texture. This ceviche was one of the best I have ever had and the right-out-of-the-sea freshness made all the difference. Wow!

I took the Mahi-Mahi fillets and cut them into 1/2 inch cubes. This is important for a couple of reasons – first the fish needs to physically stand up to the lime. If you cut the fish too thin, the fish will disintegrate into a mushy mess. This is especially true with fish that is not very fresh. Second, you want to enjoy the full flavor of a fresh fish. Keeping it in cubes maintains the flavor in every bite as the lime doesn’t totally penetrate the fish. It is very popular in restaurants these days to have exotic ceviches with lots of extra or non-traditional ingredients which overtake the subtle flavor of fresh fish (it may also be a sign that you are not having fresh fish). When you have fresh fish, keep it simple. Don’t over complicate the delicate flavor. Everything else should take a back seat.

Okay, here comes my personal pet peeve — throw away those funny plastic lime concentrate bottles. I know they are there . . . in the back of your refrigerator. . . mocking me. Only use fresh-squeezed citrus as noted in the recipe. In fact, I don’t know when lime concentrate is ever needed in recipes. For this recipe, it is important for the acid in the lime to work as it should in “cooking” the fish. Concentrate just doesn’t do the job very well. Additionally, I prefer the smaller or mid-sized limes. We don’t have those big thick rind limes that you find in the States. I am sure they will work fine if you can’t find the smaller ones.

Is your mouth watering yet? Anyone up for a Mexican Coastal Cooking Week in Puerto Escondido? Red Snapper a la Veracruzana, local Rock Lobster in Pipian, Grilled Chile Encrusted Shrimp? Let me know and we will make it happen!

Here is the link to the PDF file for the complete recipe. Enjoy!

As always . . . Peace, Love, and Good Food!
Chef Ana

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Chef Ana’s Top Ten Reasons to Love Tepoztlan http://lavillabonita.com/chef-anas-top-ten-reasons-to-love-tepoztlan-2/ Mon, 11 May 2009 16:43:00 +0000 http://lavillabonita.com/2011/chef-anas-top-ten-reasons-to-love-tepoztlan-2/
  • Tepoztecos do not support chain restaurants. Local producers and restaurants rule!
  • NO SWINE FLU HERE. YES, I INTENTIONALLY PUT THAT ALL IN CAPS. I AM TEXTUALLY YELLING!
  • Tepoztecos are subsistence farmers who live comfortably and are very happy people. Stubborn, but happy. It is amazing what you can do with corn, chiles, beans, tomatoes and squash.
  • No rat race. Whether for better or worse, Tepoztecos work until they have “enough,” . . . then they go home and plan their next party. The social nature of your profession is almost more important than earning money. When I wanted to buy all of the masa for an event from the masa lady, she told me “If you buy everything, what the hell am I going to do for the rest of the day?”
  • Local traffic police remind me of a strange Mexican version of Andy Griffith’s Mayberry (yes, I have seen this show, there is one officer that actually looks like Barney Fife. My Photoshop abilities officially suck).
  • Excessive amount of fireworks for every festive event (not to be confused with bullets, only Barney has them in town and he drops them a lot)
  • Did I mention we have a lot of parties here? No one can stop a Tepozteco party, quinceañera, birthday, birth and death of historical figures, beginning and end of wars, every saint, every chapel, every day, party, party, party! Nothing stopped here over the past few weeks, not even for a moment.
  • In two seconds, you know everyone — La Casa Azul cheese house, Don Sergio the strawberry man, Doña Toña the butcher, the flower ladies from Tetela del Volcan, your favorite quesadilla stand, the tortilla and masa mill, the traffic cop, the mayor. They will know you long before you know them.
  • Absolutely courteous traffic. Did you read this one, Chilangos? Read and repeat, please. You are expected to let the other party go through on the narrow cobblestone streets. It is not only appreciated but you will receive the universal dictator’s wave in return.
  • Don’t Screw with Tradition — not only are you are expected to yield to any procession, celebration, or party going on, you are expected to participate. Party on, Wayne! Party on.
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