We all have our favorite foods that bring joy to our hearts. For some it’s a good cheeseburger, for others a warm bowl of ramen. Certain times of year will make you long for different types of food. If you’re craving some good Mexican food, but aren’t sure what to get, here’s some options for you to explore depending on the season. Though a side note, they’re really good any time of year but they particularly shine during these times.
Spring is that weird in-between where it’s starting to get hotter more often but then randomly gets cold again. Winter foods like soups are starting to feel too heavy for the heat that’s starting to bear down on you, so you want something lighter yet still filling. These are some spring go-tos in the world of Mexican food.
Ceviche is great because it doesn’t require any traditional, over the stove cooking so you’re saved from having to stand over it wondering where you went wrong in your culinary choices. You just need some fish, typically tilapia or catfish, all nice and cut up and left to soak in lime juice. The acidity of the lime cooks the fish so you don’t need to worry on that front. Then you just add in some tomato, tomato sauce and paste, chiles, cilantro, give them all a stir and you’re all set. Get some tostadas or tortilla chips to spread it on. This is especially nice in spring because not only is it quick to throw together, but it’s not so hot out yet that you need to worry about the outside heat ruining it like in summer. Not that it would last long enough for that to happen since it’ll be gone as soon as you put it out.
2. Guacamole and Chips
Ok, so this is really an all year food because guacamole is good always but there’s something about spring that especially calls for it. Maybe because it’s when picnics, barbecues, etc are starting to kick off again and it’s such a staple of those events (at least in this writer’s family). Get yourself four or five good avocados at the grocery store, not too black or too green. Too green and the inside will be too hard and will be harder to break down into the creamy goodness of guacamole. Too black and you risk the inside having started to go bad, which you can tell because it’s just a tad too squishy when you give it a light squeeze. Making the guacamole itself is pretty easy, just add the onion, lime, salt, and chiles. Some people add in tomato and/or cilantro, you do you.
The sun is blazing, calling you to the outdoors with its siren song. If you’re in school, you’ve been freed from the chains of academia and it’s time to hang out with friends and family by the pool. The summer holidays are rolling in one after the other, so what better way to celebrate than with some barbecues! If you’re lucky to be invited to a Mexican barbecue here are a couple of Mexican food staples you might find by the grill:
3. Carne Asada
At this point, every one knows what carne asada is. Delicious beef that has been marinated and grilled to absolute perfection. Just the image of it in your mind’s eye will set your mouth watering. You’ll find two or three dads standing around the grill keeping vigil so that the meat develops just the right amount of char without compromising the marinade that they so lovingly coated it in the night before. When the first piece is done, lifted up for inspection and deemed worthy you’ll know from the rousing cries of “ESO!!” followed by triumphant laughter. Then it’s a race to get your plate so that you can snag your share first.
If there is carne asada, then there are tacos. Them’s the rules. Once you’ve succeeded in beating your cousins to that succulent piece of carne asada then you hustle into the kitchen where all of the matriarchs of the family are dancing around each other getting up all sorts of side dishes, including tortillas. Then you just have to go stake out a shady spot and assemble it all together. so not only can you have the carne asada on it’s own, but you can turn it into tacos. Two for one.
Finally, you can see the opressive heat of summer beginning to fade away and winter’s chill creeping in to replace it. You’ll want to ease yourself into it by indulging in some classic fall Mexican foods.
5. Pan Dulce
PAN DULCE. If there was every anything to shout devotion to from the rooftops it’s pan dulce. Also known as conchas, everyone is a fan of these sweet breads. The bread itself is light and fluffy, the sugar top adds the famous sweetness as well as a bit of crunch. They’re so pretty, coming in a bunch of colors and designs but the same sweet taste through out. You can enjoy them in the morning chill with your coffee, or in the evenings with some tea or hot chocolate. You can take them with you to school or work as a treat to get you through the day. Pan Dulce is everything.
6. Carne En Su Jugo
When you want a soup to gently carry you into the winter, look no further than Carne En Su Jugo. It’s pieces of thin steak that have cooked in their juices with beans, bacon, and a tomatillo sauce. Because the meat is cooked in the juices it releases it creates a rich, flavorful broth that sends your taste buds to another realm entirely. It’s the perfect meal when that first rainfall hits, the smells gliding through your kitchen and ensconcing you as you take that first bite. It’ll be gone before you know it, but that’s why you make a big pot of it right?
The cold has arrived, but that means the holidays have too, and with them the holiday Mexican food!!! They’re foods that are just so associated with the holidays that they had to be put in the winter category because it just felt wrong putting them elsewhere.
This is what every mom, grandma, aunt, cousin, friend is serving up at any given opportunity the second the temperature drops. You won’t be eating it just for one day either, get ready to be eating this hearty soup for at least three days. Every week. This is not an exaggeration. If you’re lucky though, it might get changed up from red pozole to white pozole to green pozole, which just means they’re changing the kind/amount of chiles in it or omitting them entirely. Pork or chicken is usually the meat you’ll find, again depending on the type pf pozole being made. What is always the same is the inclusion of hominy. Come Christmas Eve you’ll either be chowing down on some pozole or the other holiday favorite: tamales.
Tamales are one of those Mexican foods that require everyone in the family to pitch in, it’s incredibly labor intensive but oh so worth it. Like tacos the filling can be whatever you want it to be, though traditionally it’s either pork or chicken in with some kind of chile sauce. Unless you’re ordering them from someone else, expect upon arrival to the festivities to be given a place on the assembly line and be told you’re doing it wrong at least three times. There’s few things better though than unwrapping that beautiful package after some hours in the steamer and taking a huge bite. It’s what the holidays are all about.