Results tagged Mexican from David Lebovitz

Pickled Jalapenos

PIckled jalapeno peppers and carrot recipe-6

Yes, I know I’ve been presenting a lot of chile pepper recipes lately. But, well, ’tis the season. And when nature speaks, ya gotta listen. So I promise a chocolate recipe up shortly — fortunately, chocolate is an all-year round kind of thing — but I wanted to preserve a nice bag of jalapeños that happily made their way into my Paris kitchen. And since they’re something you don’t see at Parisian markets, I wanted to make my bounty last as long as possible.

Pickled Jalapeños

So I decided to preserve them for my next Mexi-fest, and pickle them in the style of those you find at taquerias, where they’re used as a condiment.

Pickled Jalapeños

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Persimmon Margaritas

Persimmon margarita

A few years ago, I had a major emergency. To you it might not seem like one, but it was springtime and I was finishing a book and needed to retest the recipe for Persimmon Cake because I wanted to give it one last go before it went to the printer. Persimmons are fall fruits and it’s impossible to find them outside of their season. And as much as I searched and searched and searched, there were none to be found.

Persimmon margaritas

So I started keeping an emergency bag of persimmon puree in my freezer at all times. I don’t know why, because I haven’t had a persimmon emergency since them (but heck, ya never know!) But when I pulled open my freezer lately and saw that it had become a frightening mélange of plastic bags whose labels had fallen off, ice cubes that had landed in the back of the shelves (with some misc. crumbs) – and – of course – just out of arms reach, scraps of things like tomato paste and bacon cubes, bits and pieces of cakes (I think) and pâté (I think), and bread ends, (probably) I decided to put an end to the madness once and for all, and do a massive clean-out.

Persimmon margaritas

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Guacamole

guacamole recipe

Okay, show of hands – who likes guacamole more than I do? Okay… Now that that’s settled, who was more thrilled that I was to score a batch of freshly fried tortilla chips and a big bag of just-about ripe Haas avocados this week?

I’m not asking any more questions, I promise. Because the answers were right here in my kitchen. Although what some people might not know if that the French like guacamole (and chips) as much as I do. So much so that a local Mexican restaurant named after the famed dip had to add an accent on the final é so people would pronounce the entire word (the last part of French words usually aren’t pronounced), rather than say guac-a-mole, which sounds more like a Mexican carnival game than the most delicious thing you can dip a chip into.

guacamole avocados

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Melon Nectarine Agua Fresca

One of the things I love about visiting Mexico, and other tropical countries, is how much they enjoy fruit served fresh. And it’s hard to pass by one of the stands serving fruits juices and drinks when there are piles of glowing, juicy melons, berries, and citrus, ready to be juiced and served over ice.

In France, we get marvelously sweet Cavaillon melons, which I sometimes was able to find in California as well. Although in France, it’s pretty much the default melon and when they’re abundant, sellers will offer these orange-fleshed melons for a better price if you buy two. So that’s me you’ll find, invariably lugging home two melons from the market in the summer. In the states, there are muskmelons and cantaloupes at grocery stores that are often quite good. But if you visit a greenmarket, generally you’ll find really great (and sometimes, rather unusual) varieties of melons sold by people who grow them themselves.

melon for agua fresca
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Clasico Argentino: Argentinian Helado in Paris

ice cream

I’ve come to realize that I’m not very good at ‘watching’. When I worked in the restaurant business, one of my cohorts said to me one day – “There are two types of chefs: doers and watchers.” Meaning that some chefs got right into the cooking with the line cooks, while others like to stand there and watch. I, myself, could be classified as a doer because I’m like I’m a shark: If I don’t keep moving, I’ll wither away.

I’ve kind of had my fill of watching and waiting, so instead of continuing to wither away, I decided to take matters into my own hands and deal with what I could control. This week the weather took a turn for the better in Paris; it’s always one day when the bleak weather suddenly changes and we revel in the hope that the cold snap of winter is behind us.

Everyone on the sidewalks of Paris is a little stunned to see the sunlight, almost walking around in a daze (including the number of people who refused to get out of my way when I was struggling to carry an iron pipe down the sidewalk and as a consequence, almost walked right into the butt of a massive metal pipe) but within a few hours, all the café terraces are packed – and not just with the usual fumeurs – but everyone craning their necks, trying to catch a little wedge of sunshine.

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Horchata

horchata

By noon yesterday, the temperature in my apartment was nearly 100ºF (38ºC) and with the sun bearing down full force on the entire city, and so few trees to provide any shade, it was the first scorching day of summer in Paris. Having lived in temperate San Francisco for much of my life, I was used to days that were always moderate; winter and summer weather could be nearly identical and one never had to do the seasonal ritual of the shifting of clothes when one season ended and another one began.

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Candelaria

tacos

Luis Rendón is my new favorite person in Paris. And the guy who makes the tortillas is my second favorite (I suppose if I got his name, he might be the first.) But it’s Luis behind the great Mexican fare at Candelaria, a narrow slip of a place in the upper Marais that serves authentic Mexican food.

adding masa hefting tortilla dough

Lately there’s a new openness, a willingness to try something new in Paris, and to take other cuisines seriously. When I moved here nearly a decade ago, the Japanese restaurants on the rue Saint Anne were nearly empty and never, ever in a million years (or even ten years, for that matter) would I have imagined that there would be several excellent Mexican restaurants to choose from in several neighborhood.

But here we are right now, and it’s encouraging to see them not filled with folks from elsewhere hoping for a taste of home, but young people happily slurping udon or soba, and yes, even picking up burritos and jamming them in their craw. (Although I still don’t have to worry much about having to share my hot sauce with other diners in the vicinity. Except for my friend Fréderic, who can easily outdo me in burrito and taco consumption. Good lord, can that man eat.)

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Paris Tacos y Burritos

tacos

It’s kind of funny because the two times I went out with two different French friends for Mexican food this week, they practically wiped the table clean. Both said after eating, “Daveed…j’ai encore faim.” (“I’m still hungry.”)

The first time was at Cactus, where my friend (who I am pretty sure has .5% body fat) wolfed down his burrito and the aforementioned declaration of hunger, proceeded to order three additional tacos and eat them in rapid procession, then eat dessert as well – plus a handful of chocolates he had stashed in his pocket.

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