local food – 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’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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Bringing the Family Together Over the Kitchen Table: Tips on Getting Kids to Appreciate Good Food http://lavillabonita.com/bringing-the-family-together-over-the-kitchen-table-tips-on-getting-kids-to-appreciate-good-food-2/ http://lavillabonita.com/bringing-the-family-together-over-the-kitchen-table-tips-on-getting-kids-to-appreciate-good-food-2/#comments Wed, 09 Sep 2009 13:24:00 +0000 http://lavillabonita.com/2011/bringing-the-family-together-over-the-kitchen-table-tips-on-getting-kids-to-appreciate-good-food-2/ One of the things I am proudest of in my short 5 years of “parentdom” is getting my kids at a very early age to appreciate a wide variety of food. I was very proud of my 5 and 1-year-old on a recent family trip to Maine to visit our good friends, Cookie and Tony. As a family, we love eating the best local food or specialty dishes we can find. Of course, in Maine you must have lobster, blueberries, wonderful summer vegetables, and mussels. My kids ate everything with a passion along with harvesting their own mussels and devouring them for dinner.
I am not a child psychologist, expert or anything of the sort but I have made a few observations along the way that may be helpful. This blog entry is an introduction into what we will explore in upcoming blogs in more detail.

1. Its Up to You. Parents give signals to their kids all the time. Little facial gestures or unintended messages that you probably don’t even notice. Studies have shown that even small babies have incredible facial-recognition ability. Trust me, they are watching you! If you are picky eater as a parent, your kids will be too. If you express disdain about eating a particular food, they will copy you — especially young children. As a parent, you need to take the lead. If you expose your children to a wide variety of foods at an early age and express your enjoyment in eating something good, your children will pick up on it.

2. Start Young. Don’t limit your child’s palate at an early age. Expose them to fresh food. I see a lot of young eaters become picky when they first start on solid foods. I know it is convenient to purchase the supermarket baby food. After a long day of work, it is totally understandable. I have used them myself especially when traveling, but creating your own baby food ,even out of the simplest things, will start them out early on the right path. There is an early window of opportunity to get your kids to have an adventurous palate. In my experience, that age is between 1-3 years old. It is harder to change bad habits once they reach the age of saying “no” randomly and expressing their independence.

3. No Kids Menu. None of my children eat off the kids menu, but not because I say so. Chicken fingers, hot dogs, pizza or other dummied-down dishes for your kids are convenient pretexts for placating picky eaters but just plain bland. My husband and I have traveled with our 5-year-old since he was very young. When we would go out to a restaurant, Robb and I would order for ourselves and Matias would eat from both of our dishes on his own plate. Now at age 5, he refuses eat off the kid’s menu and actually cried when one of our friends ordered from it on his behalf. Kids enjoy good food too!

4. Cook with Them. Kids love to cook and they will appreciate the effort of preparing food if they have participated in making it themselves. My eldest loves to claim that he is “a good cooker.” Giving kids the opportunity to cook with you is an easy way to get them motivated to eat well and appreciate the effort. Finding small tasks and developing knife skills will give them the ability to actually help. The Montessori system in school helps a lot! This is my eldest helping Tony put the lobsters in the pot.

5. Show Them The Source. This is one of the most important elements. Kids need to understand that food doesn’t naturally come in shrink-wrapped plastic. Showing children where vegetables and fruit actually come from with the local grower is a great way to introduce them to the concept. It is fun for kids to pick their own produce in the summer or better yet when you have a little garden in your back yard. When we were in Maine, we went to the Lobster pound to see how they are harvested. As well, we waded into the mud to gather our own mussels. Both kids loved getting muddy, trying to find the right-sized mussels. It gave them context to what they were eating and a great story to tell.

6. Appreciate Where You Are. We try to go on a family vacation every summer and eating locally is one of our favorite things. Getting the best of where you are is important, not only to appreciate the joys of traveling, but to expanding your child’s palate. Don’t just plan what tourist sites you are going to see, talk about what you are going to eat long before you get to your destination. My son was talking about the mussels, one of his favorites, long before we arrived in Maine. He enjoyed his meal even more after he harvest, cleaned and helped prepare them.

Coming up! The recipe that we enjoyed in Maine — Lobster Enchiladas with Pipian (Mole Verde). It was so GOOOOOD! Picture below.

As always . . . Peace, Love and Good Food.

Chef Ana

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