The Lady of the Dead / La Dama de la Muerte

La Catrina, also referred to as la pelona or peloncita, is the "Lady of the Dead". Created by José Guadalupe Posada, this Catrina is  one of the most popular figures of the Day of the Dead celebration. She symbolizes an elegant woman of upper class. Posada illustrated her as a fabulously dressed skeleton making death the neutralizing force that shows that at the end, everyone is the same. 

This song is for her. I leave you with the lyrics translated the best I could and I invite you to listen to the music while enjoying pictures of La Catrina and of some altars. 

La Guapachosa

I was making a little altar 
on November first
with cempasuchitl flowers
and what used to make him happy.

When I added his picture
a breeze came out of nowhere,
my skin got goose bumps
leaving me very scared.

Guapachosa la catrina
who entertains herself with the breeze
coming and going, going and coming
coming and going, going and coming.

Guapachosa peloncita
who entertains herself with the breeze
coming and going, going and coming
coming and going, going and coming.

Don't be scaring me,
I've given you candles
I've given you flowers
your little Madonna.
I gave you molito, your tortillitas
your cigars, your tequilita

What more do you want catrincita?
I think you want to sing
you're going and coming, you're coming and going
you're going and coming, you're coming and going

Altar made by Adriana dedicated to my nephew Rafa

Altar made by Grace dedicated to my father

My altar dedicated to Faten and Bruce, two good friends and coworkers


Summer or Autumn / Verano u Otoño

The season is officially autumn but here, in the beautiful city of San Diego, the weather still pretty much like mid summer. Today, the temperatures reached 88°F but last week we had a couple of cold, rainy days - summer or autumn, who knows?

I recognize that fall is here because all the markets are full of cold weather fruits and vegetables. The apples have been making an increasing appearance at the market, alone with persimmons, pomegranates and a good variety of winter squash.  Also, we have been getting lots of butternut squash from our garden and now we are also getting kabocha squash which is delicious.

I have made several dishes with my squash and today I'm sharing a delicious pancake recipe with kabocha. This is perfect for Sunday breakfast, I prepared it last week and we really enjoyed it.  

Kabocha Squash

Kabocha Squash Pancakes

1 egg
1/2 cup buttermilk or yogurt 
1/2 cup roasted kabocha ( any other winter squash can be used)
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder 
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch of salt
2 tablespoons melted butter

In a large bowl, mix all ingredients with an electric mixer to obtain a smooth batter. You can also do this in a blender, food processor or by hand.
Cook pancakes on a hot, well greased griddle. Serve hot topped with maple syrup.


How Pretty Is My Homeland / Que Bonita Es Mi Tierra

To finish the celebration of Mexican Independence, I'm dedicating this post to Pily and I'm presenting you with one of her own recipes - Chilles Rellenos en Escabeche. To see the recipe, follow the link.

La Cocina Mexicana de Pily
México is a great country, rich in many ways. Its gorgeous landscapes, its exquisite cuisine, its lovely people are all reflections of my homeland's beauty.

My country has a great deal of natural beauty and an abundance of world famous artwork and well known music. The beauty of México is also present in everyday-life; in the handicrafts created by artisans and the impressive architecture of its buildings. You can find this beauty in the local market or while walking on the streets. 

They say that beauty is in the eye of the beholder so, through my eyes and on these pictures, I want to show you how pretty my homeland is. Hopefully, you'll see the beauty I see.


Free México / México Libre

Photo by Ana Red
Free México!
Pozole is a hardy soup made with hominy. It is most commonly made with pork and red sauce but in some parts of México is also made with chicken and green sauce. It is very traditional to serve pozole for the celebration of Mexican Independence, my family usually prepares this on September 15 to proclaim independence. We all love a good pozole de puerco (the pork kind) however, today I'm presenting an alternative that I'm sure will be appreciated by our vegetarian friends. I have posted this recipe before but I think it is appropriate to bring it back during this holidays.

This pozole is an unconventional one. It was inspired by a recipe from the book, Al Calor del Sabor, but I use my own sauce and prepared my own nixtamal with blue corn. Using chanterelle mushrooms instead of meat makes this pozole a treat that even my vegetarian husband can enjoy. 

Chantarelle Pozole

1 lb. blue or white nixtamalized corn (I made my own nixtamal from dried corn but it can be bought already made; it is called hominy or pozole)
1 medium white onion
5 garlic cloves
2 sprigs fresh oregano (or 1 tsp. dried Mexican oregano)
Salt to taste

3 guajillo dried chiles
5 red New Mexico dried chiles
3 garlic cloves, with peel
1/2 medium white onion
1 tsp. dried Mexican oregano
1/2 tsp. cumin
Salt to taste

3 Tbs. olive oil
1 lb. chantarelle mushrooms, cleaned and coarsely chopped
1/2 onion, chopped

For garnish:
Sliced radishes (I used black radishes but any kind will be good)
Shredded green cabbage (or iceberg lettuce)
Chopped red onion 
Lemon juice
Hot Sauce (your favorite)

Clean the nixtamal, place in a large pot and cover with water. Add onion, garlic, fresh oregano and salt. Slow cook for approximately 2 hours or until the corn has grown in size and has become soft. Add water as needed to keep corn covered.
In the meantime prepare the sauce. Clean the dried chiles, cut in half and remove the seeds and veins. In a dry cast iron skillet toast the chiles about 3 seconds on each side until aromatic. Take care not to burn them or they will be bitter. Soak the chiles in a bowl of boiling water for about 20 minutes. Meanwhile roast the onion and garlic in the same skillet until they are blackened, about 3 minutes. Peel the garlic. Transfer the onion and peeled garlic to a blender, add the oregano, cumin and salt. With tongs lift the chiles from the soaking water and add to the blender. Taste the chile water, if is not bitter add 1/2 cup of this water to the blender plus 1/4 cup of plain water. If the chile water is bitter just add 3/4 cup of plain water. Purée to a smooth sauce. Pass the sauce thought a strainer or a food mill into a bowl and set aside.

In a large dutch oven heat the olive oil and sauté the onions and mushrooms until well caramelized. Add the sauce and cook for a couple of minutes. Removed the onion, garlic and sprigs of oregano from the nixtamal and discard. Add the cooked nixtamal with its water to the mushroom mixture. Correct seasoning and cook together for about 10 more minutes until all flavors had incorporated. 

Serve hot topped with desired garnishes.

La Cocina Mexicana de Pily


"México Lindo y Querido"

Natalia Charra

Mexican cuisine is very popular around the world and this is a testimony of the wonder and deliciousness of our food. People outside México appreciate our food not only for the constant process of searching for and discovering the right combination of ingredients, but also because our cuisine demonstrates the great imagination of our people.


The richness of Mexican cuisine comes from far and wide across our country and it has been brought to the world by many of us who have left our homeland but have kept México close to our hearts through its food.  We specially remember and honor our food during our Mexican Independence holidays which are celebrated in the month of September.

Don Pedro's kitchen

During this month, I try to cook only Mexican meals for my family. Caldo, as we call soup, is one of my favorite things to serve. A caldo is more than a soup, it is a meal in a bowl and it’s very common in Mexican kitchens. Who does not remember the delicious sopa de fideo (noodle soup), or the incredible caldo de res (a hardy beef stew with chunks of vegetables), or the healing powers of a hot Mexican caldo de pollo (chicken soup)? Pozole is the soup most commonly prepared to celebrate Mexican Independence but this time I’m sharing my recipe for chicken caldo, a delicious chicken soup that brings me closer to my “México lindo y querido”.

Chicken Caldo with Pasilla Pepper 

2 Tablespoons of olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 garlic clove, minced
6 cups of water
2 chicken breasts, cleaned
2 sprigs of thyme, finely chopped
Salt to taste
2 pasilla peppers, seeded and deveined
10-15 tomatillos milpero (I like the very small and purple in color), cleaned and halved.
3 small carrots, chopped
3-4 small zucchinis or summer squash, chopped
3 small potatoes, peeled and quartered

In a medium pot over slow fire, heat the oil. Add onion and garlic and sauté until translucent. Add the chicken, water, salt and thyme. Bring to a boil, reduce to simmer and cook for about 20 minutes.

While the chicken cooks, soak the peppers in boiling water for 10 minutes. When soft, place in a blender with the tomatillos and a little bit of the soaking water and purée to make a sauce. Pass the sauce through a fine strainer to separate the solids and set aside. 

When the chicken is tender, remove from the pot and set aside to cool for a few minutes.  Add the carrots and potatoes to the pot. Cook until vegetables become fork tender. Shred chicken and return to the pot. Add the zucchinis and pasilla sauce. If needed, correct the seasoning and simmer until the chicken and all the vegetables are cook thoroughly. Serve hot.

Enjoy these picture of México lindo and don't forget to follow the link to Pily's blog to colaborate with her in showing the beautiful things México has to offer and to find great Mexican food recipes.

I love the clean streets of a small town

Tequila, Jalico

Santa Maria del Oro, Nayarit

Yaca Tree

Adobe House in Huaynamota. Nayarit

Delicious Mangos from Huaynamota Groves