Spanish Tortilla, Bro!

Usually when I’m bored I go for a cooking sprint, and it gets pretty nasty. How nasty does it get? You might be wondering. Well, I go to my local supermarket and simply “go for it”. A bunch of dishes starts to appear in my head, hence, an imaginary list of ingredients types itself in my mind.

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This is just a wee example of my cooking sprints.

Spanish Tortilla

Pick 3 to 5 good size potatoes, the yellow kind, half an onion, slice thinly these vegetables. In a medium size pot, put a lot of water to boil, add 1 spoon of salt and put the potatoes there. Let them cook until soft but still firm. Drizzle a large size non-stick pan with some extra virgin olive oil, stir-fry the onions and a garlic clove (already cut in brunoise), until soft, don’t let them caramelize, don’t add any salt, just pepper to taste. Get those tatoes out of the water, and put them in the pan, stir gently until brown.

In a metal bowl, crack four or five eggs, whisk, add salt, pepper, 2 spoons of water, 2 spoons of sour cream, a pinch of dried parsley, and keep on whisking, who told you to stop? Now, let the potatoes and onions to cool down a little, integrate to the egg mix.

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Now the fun part, use a much smaller pan, like half the size of the one you used previously, drizzle more olive oil, put the stove to medium heat, ready? Add the mix into the pan. Why are we using a much smaller pan? Simple, this will make a thicker tortilla, easier to handle while cooking, and it’ll look great when plating.

Where was I? Right! Let the mix cook in the smaller pan, you’ll notice when it’s ready to turn when the top isn’t runny anymore. I usually put a lid on to get a firmer tortilla. Now grab a plate larger than the pan, put it on top, and flip it, put the pan back on the stove and carefully return the tortilla from the plate to the pan. Let it cook for 4 to 5 five more minutes in medium-low heat.

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Now plate!

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You can double or triple this recipe in order to make more Spanish tortillas, this dish is a great entrée and will not disappoint.

Ps. Mexico City is currently experiencing its worst environmental crisis in 15 years. The local authorities determined that limiting the amount of cars on the streets seemed the logical first step to solve the problem. I reckon that the pollution comes from the industrial zones located in the states of Puebla, Estado de México and Hidalgo. The authorities have done nothing to regulate these zones; in the meantime, Mexico City’s administration still hasn’t presented a public transport improvement plan, just saying.

Facts-about-Air-Pollution-in-Mexico-City

This is where I “live”… 

Mexican Matriarchy and Gender Equality

The following is a social stance regarding gender inequality. 

I was born in a matriarchy, meaning that for the rest of my life women in my family will govern or influence my path. They gave me the illusion of free will and self determination, but, as Mexican women are, they were wisely pulling the strings of my life in order to become a good man.

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As for me, I was taught to look for strong and confident role models. And those role models my family thought were inspiring weren’t those of the stereotypical man obsessed with money and power, or the lad of many women, nor the bloke looking for an alcoholic enraged fight at a local bar.

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My role models were diverse and uncommon, honest and more realistic. As an International Studies graduate, names like Helen Clark (NZ), Rigoberta Menchu (Guatemala), Elena Poniatowska (French-Mexican), Frida Kahlo (Mexico), Vivian Malone Jones (USA), Margaret Thatcher (UK) and more recently, Malala Yousafzai (Pakistan), come to mind along with the names of other leaders and relevant international figures of modern human history.

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Strong women have been seen as a threat to the Mexican Macho culture, just because women are supposed to be submissive and mere decorative, devoted to her family, solely.

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I remember overhearing conversations where an independent women, or a working mother would be judged and blamed for her husband’s unhappiness, or that her entrepreneurship desires will become a cause of divorce, or the reason her husband went looking for a “better woman” (justifying infidelity seems like a standard in gender unequal societies).

Nowadays, I’m glad to see that many of my female friends have fought and worked for better jobs, better salaries, respect among their peers, and a more balanced family life. As for my male friends, most of them, not lucky enough to been raised in a family like mine, struggle with this “new” dynamic.

I don’t call myself a feminist, I’m more of an Egalitarian, where “equality reflects the nature state of humanity”. Hence, gender equality is something I value, whilst strongly disagreeing with gender roles, objectification of women, or gender discrimination.

Gender-Inequality 2014The point of the above is pretty clear, I’ll do my best to nurture and strengthen a more egalitarian society, while respecting each individual decision to make this place a better place for us and our descendants. Because, in the end, the expenses of living in this planet should be shared by both genders, the responsibility of raising children ought to be of both parents, and the possibilities of professional development must be the same for everyone.

Now, I leave you with the first part of a poem written centuries ago by an important Mexican poet (FYI):

“You Foolish Men” – Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz (New Spain), 1651-1695

“You foolish men who lay
the guilt on women,
not seeing you’re the cause
of the very thing you blame…”

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Continue reading here

Ps. Ohhhhh, and Princess Leia (Alderaan)

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“I don’t know where you get your delusions, laser brain”

 

 

Due to Trump’s Recent Remarks…

Due to the recent derogatory statements made by Donald Trump regarding immigrants, specifically Mexicans; Tacos and Politics’ staff (myself and my mate who proofreads the posts before I publish them), its board members and collaborators (still my mate and I), is ending its business relationship with Mr. Trump.

We are addressing either him or his hair...

We are addressing either him or his hair…

We deeply regret these racist and inappropriate remarks, which not only offend the Mexican community in Mexico, but those who have crossed the border pursuing the American Dream (which nowadays is known as the Canadian Dream, but hey, still neighbours, right?).

Pretty much the routes Mexicans take to get into the US

Pretty much the routes Mexicans take to get into the US

Even though we are a tier 3 online media outlet, not at all relevant to the American public, nor capable of reverting the effects of Global Warming, Tacos and Politics has decided to halt any current or future endeavors with Mr Trump (Take that, Trump!)

Or his hair...

Or his hair…

We deeply condemn those who applaud and agree with Donald’s expressions full of hatred. You are supporting a hateful and narcissistic individual without any kind of values, both personal and business wise. As well, by supporting Trump’s presidential aspirations you are also supporting a growing trend of bigotry and division in the US and A.

Love

T&P Staff

Ps. If you haven’t watched or heard what he recently said, please feel free click on the following youtube clip:

Ps2. Here, have a Trump Piñata, which are becoming very popular on this side of the border.

You know you want one...

You know you want one…

Father´s Day Asado

Almost a month ago my dad had a stroke, it was the day after my birthday, as soon as we found out my sisters and I didn´t hesitate to run to our hometown, to be there with him and our mum. So, together, as a family, we made it, my dad has almost fully recovered and he is very keen to take the most out of this second chance life has given him. So, last weekend we came over again to celebrate father´s day with him. Indeed, it was a very meaningful celebration.

For this weekend, one of my sisters decided that we should feast as we always do on special occasions, throwing a massive asado (or “carne asada”, as we know it here in Mexico).

Ribs, picanha, and more meat... plain and simple

Ribs, picanha, and more meat… plain and simple

We used a charcoal grill, medium high heat, only using half of the cooking surface. This turned out to be a great idea as we usually just spread the heat all along the grill, in order to use all the cooking surface. However by doing this we were able to cook perfectly the pieces of meat and the rest of the veggies without burning them. Start by putting some jalapenos and tomatoes on the grill until they burn, later we place them on a mortar and make a salsa out of it. Wrapped in tin foil we placed some potatoes and onions really close to the fire, we want all the heat on them as they take longer to cook.

Let those jalapenos burn,  and destroy in that mortar, add some caramelized onions to the salsa and a splash of lime juice.

Let those jalapenos burn, and destroy in that mortar, add some caramelized onions to the salsa and a splash of lime juice.

Finally, for the “piece de resistance“, this time we had beef ribs, some fillets, and a 1.5 kg piece of picaña (which comes from the top back part of the cow). For the picaña (or picanha), the meat had to be scored first, it has a thick layer of fat, and you want the scoring not to get all the way to the meat but to be slightly deep, as you will be rubbing the whole piece with pepper and salt. Asado 3 My strategy is simple, put it on the fire, and let it cook on the surface, when you reckon it has a nice colour on the outside put the meat away from direct fire and close to grill´s lid, we are going for a medium level of doneness,  lots of juices and a beautiful pink in its core. The whole asado takes around 1.5 hours to 2 hours to cook, including the meat, ribs, vegetables, salsa and sides. Asado 4Indirect grilling turned out to be a fascinating technique, as it allows the meat to cook evenly, but without burning it, giving you more control during the process. Certainly the result was outstanding and it was the best way to celebrate not only Father’s day but also the successful recovery of my dad, he is getting there and we couldn’t be happier.

Beautiful indeed...

Beautiful indeed…

My Favourite Salsa

When I was learning how to cook, back in 2004, I was in France as a Mexican Exchange student, and after four months I started  craving some Mexican food. My cooking knowledge wasn´t great but I knew how to mix some ingredients and just went for it.

Because, you  know, even after a couple of hours away from the country Mexicans start to crave salsa and tamales

Because, you know, even after a couple of hours away from the country Mexicans start to crave salsa and tamales

So I bought fresh tomatoes, onions and some “Indian” Chilies, you know, France. I came back to the dorms and started cooking, suddenly I realized I´ve made something that slightly resembled Mexican food, I was so excited I literally ran down the hall with a spoon full of that salsa just to give everybody a wee try. I know, not really that hygienic, but I was thrilled I´ve made something edible.

My first salsa is super easy to make, and it will not disappoint:

 

Ingredients:choppedonions

  • 1 big ass onion
  • 3 fresh tomatoes
  • 3 chilies (serranos, or Indian chilies will do)
  • 1 garlic clove
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 spoons of canola oil

 

First, heat a medium size pot, pour the oil, and place inside the onion, sliced, let it cook. You will notice that the onion will sizzle and then start to caramelize, don´t add any salt yet. Then put in the chopped chilies and chopped garlic, let them integrate with the onions, open your windows if you are not used to this type of cooking, as the smell will make you cough and sneeze, true story.

SerranosRipe Tomatoes on White with Clipping Path

When you notice that everything is well cooked, add the tomatoes, diced; the juices of the tomatoes will put all the flavours together. Finally, add salt and pepper to taste, and half a cup of water. Let it simmer, the salsa isn´t supposed to be runny, you want it thick and with a curry-ish like texture.

I used to put this salsa on nachos or cous-cous, goes amazing with grilled fish and pork, aye, lots of pork.

Ps.  Non related to this culinary post, I do highly recommend this recent article posted on The Economist, titled: “The Feds Ride Out”, which talks about the Mexican government launching this new police force rather than improving the current crime-fighting forces. As said by some analysts, president Enrique Pena Nieto, seems to lack a national security strategy and keeps on denial that Mexico is under control of criminal forces.

http://www.economist.com/news/americas/21613312-mexico-gets-new-police-force-it-needs-new-policing-strategy-feds-ride-out

Credit to: Peter Schrank

 

Mexican Censorship Reform

Hey lads out there, haven´t you noticed that the Telecommunications Initiative presented by the Mexican President, Enrique Pena Nieto, to the Senate last week, clearly violates freedom of speech and access to information?:

“A particularly undesirable aspect of the document is an attempt to establish a mechanism for discretionary censorship of social media through the possibility that the authorities could order Internet providers to suspend service “during events and at critical locations for reasons of public and national security”, which opens prospects of authoritarian control and opaqueness for ends incompatible with any democratic purpose.” La Jornada

Because screw you, that´s why

This pretty much means that if any authority (still isn´t clear which one) determines that something posted on the web affects national security or there´s a relevant event happening, well, the internet or certain websites shall be banned/blocked. And by relevant events let´s say that a massive protest “Venezuela Style” happens, the authorities could just demand the internet providers to shut down broadband signal.

Good old fashion authoritarianism, ladies and gens!

And just like countries as North Korea, Syria, Egypt, Iran, and even Venezuela, the Mexican authorities are moving into the path of blocking telecommunications and censoring the internet under the argument of national security.

Literally, if there´s a relevant event that the government wouldn´t like outsiders to find out, well, blocking any way of communication seems appropriate.

This will stop real time broadcasting of human right abuses preformed by the authorities in case of a public display of discomfort by the Mexican citizens, this according to the article 197 of the Telecommunications Secondary Law Initiative presented by Pena Nieto last week.

And under the argument of regulating the wealthy, the rest must settle for nothing but censorship

Let´s go further, not only human rights violations or relevant events to the public would be blocked from the rest of the country, also in the next presidential elections this seems very beneficial for the State Party candidate. Even if the other candidates are having a successful campaign, if the government decides which information threatens national security, maybe its opponents also pose a threat to the state´s national security.

It´s a Me, El Chapo

So, El Chapo was recaptured in a Mexican-American joint operation last weekend in the coastal city of Mazatlan in the State of Sinaloa, Mexico. The former Mexican drug lord, leader of  the Sinaloa Cartel  was re-arrested after 13 years of being off the leash.

It looked a lot like this… according to some witnesses

He “escaped” the prison of Puente Grande in 2001, and according to the information found, he bribed the prison guards, however it is known that some Mexican Security officials visited the offices of this prison the days prior his escape. No need to say that later these officials served as close members of Felipe Calderon´s team during his administration (2006-2012) or performed as corporate intelligence executives at major corporations like, let´s say, the third largest cement company in the world (wink, wink)

Ok, it was more like this, but don´t  tell me that the mariachi SWAT team looks more awesome? Huh? Nah? Anyone?

Considered the “most powerful drug trafficker in the world” by the United States Department of the Treasury, El Chapo was the protagonist of many conspiracy theories throughout his life.

Not the actual cover

Some said that he was instructing the Fox and Calderon administration on how to handle national security issues, and the best strategy for the elimination of other drug cartels in the  northeast of the country and all the borderline with the United States.

Others said that he could pay off Mexico´s international debt with his fortune if they let him handle his “business” without being disturbed by the authorities. Oh wait, that was Caro Quintero, now free. According to the, very recently updated, entry in Wikipedia (my favourite source of information these days), “El Chapo” was found inside his 4th floor condo at 608 Av del Mar in the beachfront Miramar condominium in MazatlánSinaloa, and he was captured without a single shot fired.

Are you bloody kidding me? 

The most wanted drug lord in the world, accused of killing over 6,000 people himself, and ranked by Forbes magazine as one of the most powerful people in the world (No, seriously: ranked 41st, 60th and 55th every year since 2009), was recaptured peacefully and without a sweat.

He was found just wearing his… well, now very trendy mustache.

I wish I could grow a mustache like that, look at it, perfect.

You gotta love the conspiracy theorists who have made viral a couple pictures of El Chapo from 2001 and El Chapo from last week, claiming that it isn´t the same person.

Honestly, I don´t know what to make of this nonsense.

Nah, El Chapo has been recaptured and there´s no doubt about this. Regardless of how critic I´ve been to Enrique Pena´s administration, I must acknowledge this milestone, and the efforts made by the Mexican Intelligence Unit on finding this awful human being (regardless of how cool his  mustache is).

Good boy

Ps. But why was he captured until now? Don´t you reckon the timing is sort of perfect as the group of Vigilantes in the State of Michoacan, fighting back the drug cartels, was getting too much attention from the media? I have too many goddamn questions.

No kidding, these are civilians (probably financed by other drug cartels) defending themselves from the the criminal groups

Ps2. so, the governor of the State of Sinaloa knew nothing about El Chapo drinking beer and watching Dora in his state all this time? Was it a staged apprehension? Will this affect the stability shown lately by the different drug cartels in Mexico, restarting the War on Drugs that the Mexicans suffered from 2007 until 2012? (Who am i kidding here, the war never ended). And why the heck can´t I grow  a mustache like that? Just look at it, is beautiful.

Ps3. Oh, did I mention that he was captured a few days after Barack Obama left Mexico, he was attending the Leaders of NorthAmerica Summit. I mean… conditions were perfect.

Mexican Satay

This is one my favourite recipes of all, it´s simple, just requires a few ingredients, time, and it goes well with pretty much anything. It must be said that no one taught me how to cook it, I just learnt to make it myself after tasting it throughout my life in its different versions.

That´s right, I´m talking about peanut and dried chillies salsa, or as my Kiwi friends told me once, “Satay”. This recipe was later renamed “Mexican Satay”, for obvious reasons.

 

 
 

Ingredients:

  • 1 garlic clove chile-de-arbol-pepper-1
  • 2 red tomatoes
  • 4 to 6 dried chillies (known as “chile de arbol”, just look at the pic, bro)
  • Half an onion
  • 1 handful of regular peanuts, unsalted.
  • 4 spoons of canola oil
  • Salt and pepper

Get a good frying pan, put the oil, medium heat, place the onions, now the garlic, wait until the onion sort of sizzles and softens; and you want that garlic a little bit burnt, let the aromas fill your kitchen. Add the peanuts, they will cook really fast, let them brown, now the chillies, you just need to heat them up a little, and as the peanuts, let them brown as well. Finally, add the tomatoes, they must be cut in quarters, you want their juices to deglaze the pan (those sexy sons of bitches juices…).

Oh yeah…. let them drip…

Now the fun part, get that freaking blender of yours, put all the ingredients inside and add maybe half a cup of water, now blend the shit out of it! Remember the salt and the pepper? Well, on the same frying pan, put a spoon of canola oil, salt and pepper, heat it up for a minute and then add the stuff you just blended.

It will be bubbly for a while, lower the flame and let it cook for 5 minutes. Be sure that it has been salted to taste, and serve.

This is what you are looking for… not those droids

This “salsa/satay” goes fantastic as an entrée, with tapas, or just as a regular salsa for your tacos. I once used it to marinate a whole chicken (I know, a whole chicken!), later I put it on the grill, it was delicious!

Ps. Happy non-denominational holidays everyone!

That´s right… now try to get this mental image off your head today

Happy Mexican Festivus

Can I talk to you guys about happy things? I just feel like talking about great things today, as far as I know, regardless of how cloudy the day gets, well, there´s always a bright side, right? Besides, only two more days until Christmas, so, let´s be nice to each other (especially you, the quasi-hipster about to complain to the clerk at that organic coffee place because of the temperature of your soy-slim-latte-machiatto-doubleshot).

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Even if you aren´t feeling particularly optimist today, that doesn´t mean you aren´t thankful for the life you are living and the people walking alongside with you every day (except those vegetarians… but until we find a cure…).

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Mi casa es tu casa

So, let´s talk about something awesome, my country: Mexico. This is a great place where to be, regardless of the political turmoil, the poverty, the corrupted political system, having the U.S.A. as neighbour, still, Mexico is amazing. I´m thankful I was born here; I love travelling around the world and being able to say proudly “I´m Mexican”. There´s nothing greater than to listen to people´s reaction when I say where I´m from.

  • “So, you like to party hard?”
  • “Do you guys ride donkeys as a primitive form of transportation?”
  • “Why do you speak English, aren´t you supposed to speak only Mexican?”
  • “You guys are great at dancing”
  • “What is it with the chilli lollies?”
  • “Are you a Luchadore?”
  • “Eat this Jalapeno!”
  • “Ay caramba!”
  • “Do you sell weed?”

Besides, being Mexican is clearly a competitive advantage, specifically in how we find our way into happiness every single time. I know, after the war on drugs (“after”, it is still happening no matter what the current administration´s efforts to hide it), people decided that life must go on, and that they couldn´t be living in the shadows.

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The Zocalo, the cathedral, the flag… this is Mexico

Today, Mexicans know these are hard times, the political arena is confusing and the government isn´t really focusing on the people but in the private sector to reactivate the local economy. However, Mexicans have something more important, the strength of this country is its people´s faith, passion, patience, and hope, intangible values that motivate my countrymen into believing they can do it, and trust me, most of the time they do and achieve amazing things.

So, this existential post is dedicated to my country, its people, culture and values. Whenever you get the chance, come to Mexico, you won´t regret it.

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Happy holidays to all of you, I´ll be hanging out with these amazing girls: my sisters.

The Shallow Energy Reform / Mexico

In terms of oil production, Mexico is still a country with a high dependency on foreign investment, advice and technology. Since 1938, when Lázaro Cárdenas nationalized the oil companies in the country, we have experienced very short technological and efficiency outcomes.

As part of the major reforms that the “new” Mexican government wants to implement to improve the national economy, the Energy reform is the one that drives my attention the most. I noticed that regardless of the fact that foreign investment might be needed to make the oil national company (PEMEX) more efficient, it hasn’t at all touched the Oil Union. For years, unions in Mexico started as a way to protect the workers from abusive practices from their bosses and the  entrance of the free market. Throughout the years, the unions did improve the workers’ conditions and stood up against low wages, bad working conditions and lack of labour benefits.

“You give your resources away, well, screw you!” Lazaro Cardenas, seconds after he nationalized the oil companies in Mexico.

I come from a “Pemex” family, which means that most of my relatives have worked for the State Company. My education was mostly paid with Pemex money, and I always had the doors opened if I wanted to join the union. Since I was a wee boy I realized that Pemex wasn’t doing its job properly, and that the union became the heaviest burden for the efficiency and productivity of one of the major oil companies in the world. Pemex needs hard-core investment in its infrastructure and technology, better training for its technicians and a global business vision. However, this Energy Reform fails to touch the union, which is, in my opinion, the biggest cancer that the Mexican oil industry faces at the moment.

Until the government makes it clear that the union must obey clear rules in order to make its members better workers, professionals and technician, until then, Pemex will relay only on subsidies and shallow foreign investment.

So far, Peña’s administration has show weakness on establishing a clear path in order to foster a strong and reliant Mexican economy. His administration has neither satisfied the international market nor the opposition parties, some more nationalists than others, with their initial proposal. Maybe they should spend more time on straight forward strong initiatives and less money on telly spots where a high class Mexican explains to the low class population (around 70% of the Mexicans) why this reform will benefit all of us.

Ps. Oh, check the news about Mexico, after 8 months, there’s no much positive things to say about this administration. Just saying.