The Rancho Gordo Blog — Travel in Mexico
Visiting the Mixteca Salt Mines in Zapotitlan Salinas
Ingredient Spotlight land salt On the Road puebla sal de tierra salt tehuacan Travel in Mexico valle de tehuacan zapotitlan salinas
Last week I was in Zapotitlan Salinas in Puebla with our Xoxoc partners. We stopped to see the salt flats again and as you can see, it's really a strange, beautiful and wonderful place. Land salt has been harvested here since long before the conquest. The salt cooks beans faster than normal and it's great with vegetables as it keeps them green. A little is great. Too much and you have pudding. Rancho Gordo Mixteca salt is available online, in our stores and from better retailers nationwide.
A master carnitas maker adds fresh orange juice to his cauldron. Actually they're called cazos but I think cauldron works, too! Go big or go home, I guess! (This photo is from our Rancho Gordo-Xoxoc Project Ag Tour earlier this year, in Hidalgo)
Last Crop of Images from Hidalgo
April 2015. Chapantongo, Hidalgo, Mexico This is one of the beanfields.
Even More Scenes from Hidalgo
April 2015. Chapantongo, Hidalgo, Mexico This is Araceli, who makes our stoneground chocolate.
More Scenes from Hidalgo
April 2015 Chapantongo, Hidalgo, Mexico.
Breakfast at the Hacienda
Breakfast at Rancho Gordo On the Road Travel in Mexico
I just came back from co-hosting our last Beans Tour (The Rancho Gordo-Xoxoc Food and Agriculture Tour and Workshops) in Hidalgo. I'm sad to say goodbye to this project but I'm more than happy to linger over the photos, especially of the food! The first morning. Waiting for the guests. Chabela and her kitchen staff prepare the masa treats. This morning, it's tlacoyos stuffed with refried beans and cheese and sopes, topped with several different ingredients. (Tlacoyos can be many things, depending on where in Mexico you are.) It's starts with the masa. Without it, you're off to a rocky...
Meeting the Great Traditional Chefs of Michoacan
Clay pot cooking On the Road Travel in Mexico
I was rather shocked when I got the invitation to be a judge for the Encuentro de Cocineras Tradicionales de Michoacan. I’d attended the event a few years ago and just loved it. About 60 women set up temporary kitchens in a park and the public was invited to buy tickets and sample their traditional dishes, which were competing for a good cash prize. Most of the cooks were indigenous women, many of whom traveled through very dangerous country to attend. They mostly cooked on huge clay cazuelas and comales over a wood fire. Even though many of the cooks...
A Beautiful Runner Bean from Michoacan: Ayocote Purepecha
In the garden Ingredient Spotlight On the Road Travel in Mexico
I will soon be writing more about a recent trip to Morelia that changed me in a lot of ways. For now, I wanted to introduce you to some lovely beans that chef Lucero Soto, of the famed Lu restaurant had waiting for me in my hotel room when I arrived. This is a single beans with many colors. I suspect it's an Ayocote (Phaseolus coccineus), but Lucero told me it's not. It came from Purepecha farmers in the countryside outside of Morelia and it was incredibly thoughtful of her to remember my relationship with beans and take the trouble...
My Short Career Making Tortillas
In the kitchen On the Road Travel in Mexico
In 2010, I had the notion to open a tortilla factory here in Napa using the heriloom corn we were importing from Mexico. A commercial tortilleria using heirloom corn was a rare idea, even in Mexico. My friends Yunuen and Gabriel of Xoxoc hooked me up with Gabriel's cousin in Actopan and I spent several rather warm, exhausting but fun days learning that I had no business in this business. This is the dried corn with some cal, waiting for a bath of hot water. It will cook for awhile and then sit overnight. In the morning the skins will...
Breakfast of Champions
Breakfast at Rancho Gordo On the Road Travel in Mexico Vegetarian
I was visiting my friends Maria and Isidro in their little village called Tepehuaje, right on the Lago Chapala and the first morning they asked if I wanted to join them for a pajarete. I had no idea what they were talking about but I wanted to be a good guest. We drove to a small glen where we were greeted by a lot of their friends. About 20 cows were eating and being milked. The women all had little kits with mugs and mysterious bottles. Everyone waited and gossiped but I still wasn't clear on the concept. At one...
Cooking with Clay: San Marcos Tlapazola
Clay pot cooking On the Road Travel in Mexico
I am a little nuts and plan to catalog my collection of clay cooking pieces. I have a lot and like all good hoarders, all I need is one more piece and my life will be complete. My preference is for "folk pottery", probably too vague a term, but I know what it is when I see it. First off are these pieces from Oaxaca. I'd met the women who make them in the market in Oaxaca and years later finally made it to San Marcos to see them, with my friends Yunuen and Gabriel. They had met them as...
2nd Annual Beans Tour and Ag Workshops in Mexico
I'm late posting the photos but here are some scenes from the Beans Tour ealier this spring. I actually stopped taking photos when I saw how good the photos were from some of the guests, but you'll get an idea. We announced the trip via email and we sold out within one and a half hours! The year before it took a full day. It makes it seem a little like winning a Willie Wonka ticket but the food is much better. The group was really fun and there wasn't a sour grape in the bunch. I was very happy...