mexican culinary vacation – 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 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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As Safe as Kokomo? http://lavillabonita.com/as-safe-as-kokomo/ Tue, 29 May 2012 19:39:00 +0000 http://lavillabonita.com/2011/as-safe-as-kokomo/ Quick Quiz:

Which town has the lowest murder rate?
A. Omaha, Nebraska
B. Toledo, Ohio
C. Tepoztlan, Morelos, Mexico
D. Kokomo, Indiana

Okay.  Trick question.  There are two right answers: Tepoztlán is tied with Kokomo for the lowest rate over Omaha and Toledo.  What?  It can’t be. Is crime out of control in Omaha and Toledo? Will Anderson Cooper be hitting the “mean streets” of Kokomo in a helmet and flack jacket for his next piece on “60 Minutes?”  Should the state department issue a warning about travel to America’s heartland?  Of course not.  They are all safe places . . . . and so is Tepoztlán.  They are not only great towns but idyllic communities in which to live, visit or just be.
So, you may have wondered where I have been with my lack of blog updates.  What have my legion of marketing minions been doing with their spare time (bad Robb! bad Robb!)?  Thankfully, we have been receiving a steady flow of guests and with my three kids (four, if you count the big one), I just haven’t had the time to keep up on the social media.  I am sure many of you know the feeling – you know you should be doing it but real conversations and real people get in the way.  I guess I have got to make the time in this day-and-age for the “face,” the “tweet,” the “pin,” the “blogidty-blog” and the “i-don’t-know-what.”  If my children would just surrender my iPhone every now and then, I might be able to do more. But I promise I will be more communicative from now on.  Really. 
I have wanted to do this post for a while.  We have had a great flow of reservations this year primarily due to studious foodies who do their homework about Tepoztlán and the quality of the experience at La Villa Bonita. We have been very busy. We still get the occasional call asking about security – which is ABSOLUTELY FINE.  We are happy to explain what a wonderful place this is.  The problem is that there is no reference or perspective to give you over the phone that would accurately portray an authentic and secure place like Tepoztlán.  So, we wanted to be able to offer a quick answer that would get right to the point.  With Robb doing his research, we can now respond, “as safe as Kokomo.”   
Everyone who lives here knows that Tepoztlán is a wonderful place.  The community is very tightly knit, the town maintains its traditions, great farmer’s market, vibrant artistic community, wonderful children’s orchestra, even a little league baseball team.  Life goes on here as it has for generations.  Robb, wanted the actual hard data to show with numbers how safe Tepoztlán is so he decided to start with the local tourism board.  The person in charge of tourism in Tepoztlán then petitioned the state for the official information who passed it along to Robb.  This is the first time this information has been shared.  Since this is a small town sometimes people don´t think about what it represents outside of the town.  The first reaction from the local functionaries was “We all know how it is here.  Is this a surprise?”  However, it is much easier to explain how nice a place this is with real data and comparisons than with anecdotes. 
Tepoztlán, as a town and county, has a lower homicide rate than pretty much every major city in the US.  Actually for 2011, there was not one murder inside of the town of Tepoztlán and only three in the entire county which has a population of over over 45,000.  
Okay.  Lets take a step back and understand how this works.  Very special thanks to my Robb for putting this together, because this is not my forté.  I cook — I don’t crunch numbers.  The actual town of Tepoztlán has a population of about 29,000 people and Tepoztlán is the county seat for Tepoztlán county (or “municipio” in Spanish) which includes other towns such as San Juan Tlacotenco, Santiago Tepetatla, Santo Domingo Ocotitlán, San Andres de la Cal, Santa Catarina, Ixcatepéc, Amatlán.  The total population of Tepoztlán county is about 45,000 people almost exactly the same as our friends in Kokomo.   
The murder rate is the number of murders and non-negligent manslaughter calculated per 100,000 residents.  Obviously the actual town of Tepoztlán has a rate of 0 for 2011.  The only incident that took place in the town of Tepoztlán in 2011 was the tragic death of a worker in the market who was hit by a drunk driver early on a Sunday morning.  For international statistical purposes that is not considered a murder even though in Mexico it is.  If you make the calculation for the county of Tepoztlán, you reach a number of 6.6 – same as Kokomo.  Lets take a look at some sample city rates for 2010 (we had to use these 2010 numbers because the FBI’s official stats for 2011 aren’t released yet, which surprised me):
New Orleans 49.1
St. Louis 40.5
Baltimore 34.8
Newark, NJ 32.1
Washington, DC 21.9
Kansas City, MO 21.1
Buffalo, NY 20.7
Cincinnati 20.5
Cleveland 19.0
Atlanta 17.3
Omaha, NE 7.3
Toledo, OH 7.3
Some smaller communities that are the size of Tepoztlán county:
Hot Springs, AR 17.5
Manchester, CT 14.0
Lancaster, PA 9.1
Hattiesburg, MS 7.5
Great Falls, MT 6.7
Kokomo, IN 6.6
I have never visited Kokomo, but I am sure they are a great people in a beautiful town.  After visiting their their site http://www.visitkokomo.org it looks like a fabulous place that I would love to visit. The pictures portray an idyllic small town America that time forgot.  Kokomo was named “Community of the Year” by the Indiana Chamber of Commerce as well the first car was created in Kokomo in 1894 by Ellwood Haynes.  They even have a Kokomo mobile app for Iphone!  Very impressive.  
Apart from the statistics, there are some similarities between the two towns: Tepoztlán is a very attractive town that time forgot with a flow of tourism, local eateries, great shopping, an artistic community, a vibrant farmer’s market, and a population that treasures its history, customs and traditions just like Kokomo (okay, we don’t have a mobile app but you don’t have a pyramid, eh).  I think fate (or Robb) has brought our two cities together and I am going to actively propose a sister city connection.  Two historic, artistic, fun, and safe places coming together.  What do you think, Kokomo?
My next post coming soon will discuss why Tepoztlán is such a authentic, safe and great place to visit.
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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