chefana – La Villa Bonita Mexican Culinary Vacations 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 Tue, 16 May 2017 20:28:44 +0000

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!


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Chef Ana Makes Arroz a La Tumbada Thu, 20 Jun 2013 16:06:00 +0000
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.