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The avocado (Persea americana) is a tree native to Central Mexico, classified in the flowering plant family Lauraceae along with cinnamon, camphor and bay laurel. Avocado or alligator pear also refers to the fruit (botanically a large berry that contains a single seed) of the tree.
Avocados are commercially valuable and are cultivated in tropical and Mediterranean climates throughout the world. They have a green-skinned, fleshy body that may be pear-shaped, egg-shaped, or spherical, and ripens after harvesting. Trees are partially self-pollinating and often are propagated through grafting to maintain a predictable quality and quantity of the fruit.
P. americana, or the avocado, originated in the state of Puebla, Mexico. The native, undomesticated variety is known as a criollo, and is small, with dark black skin, and contains a large seed. The oldest evidence of avocado use was found in a cave located in Coxcatlán, Puebla, Mexico, that dates to around 10,000 BC. The avocado tree also has a long history of cultivation in Central and South America; a water jar shaped like an avocado, dating to AD 900, was discovered in the pre-Incan city of Chan Chan. The earliest known written
Chicken is the most common type of poultry in the world, and is prepared as food in a wide variety of ways, varying by region and culture.
The modern chicken is a descendant of Red Junglefowl hybrids along with the Grey Junglefowl first raised thousands of years ago in the northern parts of the Indian subcontinent.
Chicken as a meat has been depicted in Babylonian carvings from around 600 BC. Chicken was one of the most common meats available in the Middle Ages. It was widely believed to be easily digested and considered to be one of the most neutral foodstuff. It was eaten over most of the Eastern hemisphere and a number of different kinds of chicken such as capons, pullets and hens were eaten. It was one of the basic ingredients in the so-called white dish, a stew usually consisting of chicken and fried onions cooked in milk and seasoned with spices and sugar.
Chicken consumption in the United States increased during World War II due to a shortage of beef and pork. In Europe, consumption of chicken overtook that of beef and veal in 1996, linked to consumer awareness of Bovine spongiform encephalopathy or B.S.E.
Modern varieties of chicken such as the Cornish Cross, are bred
Agave tequilana, commonly called blue agave (agave azul), tequila agave, mezcal or maguey is an agave plant that is an important economic product of Jalisco, Mexico, due to its role as the base ingredient of tequila, a popular distilled spirit. The high production of sugars, mostly in the form of fructose, in the core of the plant is its most important characteristic, making it suitable for the preparation of alcoholic beverages.
The tequila agave is native to Jalisco, Mexico. The plant favors altitudes of more than 1,500 meters (4,921 feet) and grows in rich and sandy soils. Blue agave plants grow into large succulents, with spiky fleshy leaves, that can reach over 2 meters (6½ feet) in height. Agaves sprout a stalk (quiote) when about five years old that can grow an additional 5 meters (16 feet); they are topped with yellow flowers. This stalk is cut off from commercial plants so the plant will put more energy into the heart.
The flowers are pollinated by a native bat (Leptonycteris nivalis) and produce several thousand seeds per plant. The plant then dies. The shoots on commercial plants are removed when about a year old to allow the heart to grow larger. The plants are then
The chili pepper (also chile pepper or chilli pepper, from Nahuatl chīlli ['t͡ʃiːlːi]) is the fruit of plants from the genus Capsicum, members of the nightshade family, Solanaceae. The term in British English and in Australia, New Zealand, India, Malaysia and other Asian countries is just chilli without pepper.
Chili peppers originated in the Americas. After the Columbian Exchange, many cultivars of chili pepper spread across the world, used in both food and medicine.
Chili peppers have been a part of the human diet in the Americas since at least 7500 BC. There is archaeological evidence at sites located in southwestern Ecuador that chili peppers were domesticated more than 6000 years ago, and is one of the first cultivated crops in the Central and South Americas that is self-pollinating.
Christopher Columbus was one of the first Europeans to encounter them (in the Caribbean), and called them "peppers" because they, like black and white pepper of the Piper genus known in Europe, have a spicy hot taste unlike other foodstuffs. Upon their introduction into Europe chilis were grown as botanical curiosities in the gardens of Spanish and Portuguese monasteries. But the monks
The jalapeño or jalapeno ( /ˌhæləˈpiːnjoʊ/ or /ˌhæləˈpeɪnjoʊ/, Spanish: [xalaˈpeɲo]) is a medium-sized chili pepper. A mature jalapeño fruit is 2–3½ inches (5–9 cm) long and is commonly picked and consumed while still green, but occasionally it is allowed to fully ripen and turn crimson red. It is a cultivar of the species Capsicum annuum originating in Mexico, which is a bush that grows 2–4 feet (60–120 cm) tall. It is named after Xalapa, Veracruz, where it was traditionally cultivated. About 160 square kilometres (40,000 acres) are dedicated for the cultivation in Mexico, primarily in the Papaloapan river basin in the north of the state of Veracruz and in the Delicias, Chihuahua area. Jalapeños are cultivated on smaller scales in Jalisco, Nayarit, Sonora, Sinaloa, and Chiapas. Jalapeno juice is often used as a remedy for seasonal allergies and other cardiovascular problems.
The jalapeño is variously named in Mexico as huachinango and chile gordo. The cuaresmeño closely resembles the jalapeño. The seeds of a cuaresmeño have the heat of a jalapeño, but the flesh has a mild flavor close to a green bell pepper.
Jalapeño is of Nahuatl and Spanish origin. The Spanish suffix -eño
Pork is the culinary name for meat from the domestic pig (Sus domesticus), which is eaten in many countries. It is one of the most commonly consumed meats worldwide, with evidence of pig husbandry dating back to 5000 BC.
Pork is eaten in several forms, mostly cooked. Pork can also be processed into different forms, which may also extend the shelf life of the product, with the resultant products being cured (some hams, including the Italian prosciutto) or smoked or a combination of these methods (other hams, gammon, bacon or pancetta). It is also a common ingredient in sausages. Charcuterie is the branch of cooking devoted to prepared meat products, many from pork. However, by some definitions, "pork" denotes only fresh pig meat.
The pig is one of the oldest forms of livestock, having been domesticated as early as 5000 BC. It is believed to have been domesticated either in the Near East or in China from the wild boar. The adaptable nature and omnivorous diet of this creature allowed early humans to domesticate it much earlier than many other forms of livestock, such as cattle. Pigs were mostly used for food, but people also used their hides for shields and shoes, their bones for
Vanilla is a flavoring derived from orchids of the genus Vanilla, primarily from the Mexican species, flat-leaved vanilla (V. planifolia). The word vanilla, derived from the diminutive of the Spanish word vaina (vaina itself meaning sheath or pod), simply translates as little pod. Pre-Columbian Mesoamerican peoples cultivated the vine of the vanilla orchid, called tlilxochitl by the Aztecs, and Spanish conquistador Hernán Cortés is credited with introducing both vanilla and chocolate to Europe in the 1520s.
Initial attempts to cultivate vanilla outside Mexico and Central America proved futile because of the symbiotic relationship between the vanilla orchid and its natural pollinator, the local species of Melipona bee. Pollination is required to set the fruit from which the flavoring is derived. In 1837, Belgian botanist Charles François Antoine Morren discovered this fact and pioneered a method of artificially pollinating the plant. The method proved financially unworkable and was not deployed commercially. In 1841, Edmond Albius, a 12-year-old slave who lived on the French island of Réunion in the Indian Ocean, discovered the plant could be hand-pollinated. Hand-pollination
Annatto, sometimes called roucou or achiote, is derived from the seeds of the achiote trees of tropical and subtropical regions around the world. The seeds are sourced to produce a carotenoid-based yellow to orange food coloring and flavor. Its scent is described as "slightly peppery with a hint of nutmeg" and flavor as "slightly nutty, sweet and peppery".
In commercial processing, annatto coloring is extracted from the reddish pericarp which surrounds the seed of the achiote (Bixa orellana L.). Historically, it has been used as coloring in many cheeses (e.g., Cheddar, Gloucester, Red Leicester), cheese products (e.g. American cheese, Velveeta), and dairy spreads (e.g. butter, margarine). Annatto can also be used to color a number of non-dairy foods such as rice, custard powder, baked goods, seasonings, processed potatoes, snack foods, breakfast cereals and smoked fish. It has been linked to cases of food-related allergies.
Annatto is commonly used in Latin American and Caribbean cuisines as both a coloring and flavoring agent. Central and South American natives use the seeds to make body paint and lipstick. For this reason, the achiote is sometimes called the "lipstick-tree".
The chayote (Sechium edule), also known as christophene or christophine, cho-cho, mirliton or merleton (Creole/Cajun), pear squash, vegetable pear, chouchoute, choko, pipinola, güisquil (El Salvador) is an edible plant belonging to the gourd family Cucurbitaceae, along with melons, cucumbers and squash.
Chayote is originally native to Brazil (chuchu [ʃuˈʃu] in Brazilian Portuguese) where it grows abundantly and has little commercial value, and it has been introduced as a crop all over Latin America, and worldwide. The main growing regions are Brazil, Costa Rica and Veracruz, Mexico. Costa Rican chayotes are predominantly exported to the European Union, whereas Veracruz is the main exporter of chayotes to the United States.
The word chayote is a Spanish derivative of the Nahuatl word chayohtli (pronounced [t͡ʃaˈjoʔt͡ɬi]). Chayote was one of the many foods introduced to Europe by early explorers, who brought back a wide assortment of botanical samples. The Age of Conquest also spread the plant south from Mexico, ultimately causing it to be integrated into the cuisine of many other Latin American nations.
The chayote fruit is used in mostly cooked forms. When cooked, chayote is
Cheese is a generic term for a diverse group of milk-based food products. Cheese is produced in wide-ranging flavors, textures, and forms.
Cheese consists of proteins and fat from milk, usually the milk of cows, buffalo, goats, or sheep. It is produced by coagulation of the milk protein casein. Typically, the milk is acidified and addition of the enzyme rennet causes coagulation. The solids are separated and pressed into final form. Some cheeses have molds on the rind or throughout. Most cheeses melt at cooking temperature.
Hundreds of types of cheese are produced. Their styles, textures and flavors depend on the origin of the milk (including the animal's diet), whether they have been pasteurized, the butterfat content, the bacteria and mold, the processing, and aging. Herbs, spices, or wood smoke may be used as flavoring agents. The yellow to red color of many cheeses, such as Red Leicester, is formed from adding annatto.
For a few cheeses, the milk is curdled by adding acids such as vinegar or lemon juice. Most cheeses are acidified to a lesser degree by bacteria, which turn milk sugars into lactic acid, then the addition of rennet completes the curdling. Vegetarian alternatives
A chipotle ( /tʃɨˈpoʊtleɪ/ chi-POHT-lay; Spanish: [tʃiˈpotle]), or chilpotle, which comes from the Nahuatl word chilpoctli meaning "smoked chili pepper" is a smoke-dried jalapeño. It is a chili used primarily in Mexican and Mexican-inspired cuisines, such as Mexican-American and Tex-Mex.
Varieties of jalapeño vary in size and heat. In Mexico, the jalapeño is also known as the cuaresmeño and gordo. Until recently, chipotles were largely found in the markets of central and southern Mexico. As Mexican food became more popular abroad, especially in the upper nations of North America, jalapeño production and processing began to expand into northern Mexico to serve the southwestern United States, and eventually processing occurred in the United States and other places such as China.
Typically, a grower passes through a jalapeño field multiple times, picking the un-ripe green jalapeños for market. At the end of the growing season jalapeños naturally ripen and turn bright red. There is an extensive fresh market for ripe red jalapeños in both Mexico and the United States. They are kept on the bush as long as possible. When the jalapeños are deep red and have lost much of their moisture,
Chocolate /ˈtʃɒklət/ is a raw or processed food produced from the seed of the tropical Theobroma cacao tree. Cacao has been cultivated for at least three millennia in Mexico, Central and South America. Its earliest documented use is around 1100 BC. The majority of the Mesoamerican people made chocolate beverages, including the Aztecs, who made it into a beverage known as xocolātl [ʃo'kolaːt͡ɬ], a Nahuatl word meaning "bitter water". The seeds of the cacao tree have an intense bitter taste, and must be fermented to develop the flavor.
After fermentation, the beans are dried, then cleaned, and then roasted, and the shell is removed to produce cacao nibs. The nibs are then ground to cocoa mass, pure chocolate in rough form. Because this cocoa mass usually is liquefied then molded with or without other ingredients, it is called chocolate liquor. The liquor also may be processed into two components: cocoa solids and cocoa butter. Unsweetened baking chocolate (bitter chocolate) contains primarily cocoa solids and cocoa butter in varying proportions. Much of the chocolate consumed today is in the form of sweet chocolate, combining cocoa solids, cocoa butter or other fat, and sugar. Milk
Chorizo (Spanish: [tʃoˈɾiθo], Asturian: chorizu [tʃoˈɾiθu]; Basque: txorizo [tʃoˈɾis̻o]; Galician: chourizo [tʃowˈɾiθo]; Portuguese: chouriço [ʃoˈɾisu]; Catalan: xoriço [ʃuˈɾisu]) is a term encompassing several types of pork sausages originating from the Iberian Peninsula. In English, chorizo is usually pronounced /tʃɵˈriːθoʊ/, /tʃɵˈriːzoʊ/, or /tʃɵˈriːsoʊ/, but sometimes /tʃɵˈriːtsoʊ/.
Chorizo can be a fresh sausage, in which case it must be cooked before eating. In Europe, it is more frequently a fermented, cured, smoked sausage, in which case it is usually sliced and eaten without cooking. Spanish chorizo and Portuguese chouriço get their distinctive smokiness and deep red color from dried smoked red peppers (pimentón/pimentão or colorau). Due to culinary tradition, and the expense of imported Spanish smoked paprika, Mexican chorizo (but not throughout Latin America) is usually made with chili peppers, which are used abundantly in Mexican cuisine. In Latin America, vinegar also tends to be used instead of the white wine usually used in Spain. Traditionally, chorizo is encased in natural casings made from intestines, a method used since the Roman times.
Chorizo can be eaten as is
Coriander (Coriandrum sativum), also known as cilantro, Chinese parsley or dhania, is an annual herb in the family Apiaceae. Coriander is native to regions spanning from southern Europe and North Africa to southwestern Asia. It is a soft, hairless plant growing to 50 cm (20 in) tall. The leaves are variable in shape, broadly lobed at the base of the plant, and slender and feathery higher on the flowering stems. The flowers are borne in small umbels, white or very pale pink, asymmetrical, with the petals pointing away from the centre of the umbel longer (5–6 mm) than those pointing towards it (only 1–3 mm long). The fruit is a globular, dry schizocarp 3–5 mm (0.12–0.20 in) in diameter.
First attested in English late 14th century, the word coriander derives from the Old French coriandre, which comes from Latin coriandrum, in turn from Greek κορίαννον (koriannon). The earliest attested form of the word is the Mycenaean Greek ko-ri-ja-da-na (written in Linear B syllabic script, reconstructed as koriadnon), similar to the name of Minos' daughter Ariadne, and it is plain how this might later evolve to koriannon or koriandron.
Cilantro is the Spanish word for coriander, also deriving from
Corn smut (Ustilago maydis) is a pathogenic plant fungus that causes smut disease on maize and teosinte (Euchlena mexicana). The fungus forms galls on all above-ground parts of corn species, and is known in Mexico as huitlacoche; it is eaten, usually as a filling, in quesadillas and other tortilla-based foods, and soups.
In Mexico, corn smut is known as huitlacoche [wit͡ɬakot͡ʃe], sometimes spelled cuitlacoche). This word entered Spanish in Mexico from classical Nahuatl, though the Nahuatl words from which huitlacoche is derived is debated. In modern Nahuatl, the word for huitlacoche is cuitlacochin [kʷit͡ɬɑ'kot͡ʃin], and some sources deem cuitlacochi to be the classical form.
Some sources give the etymology as coming from the Nahuatl words cuitla ['kʷit͡ɬɑ] ("excrement" or "rear-end") and cochtli ['kot͡ʃt͡ɬi] ("sleeping", from cochi="to sleep"), thus giving a combined meaning of "sleeping/hibernating excrement".
A second group of sources deem the word to mean "raven's excrement". These sources appear to be combining the word cuitlacoche for "thrasher" with cuitla, meaning "excrement". However, the avian meaning of cuitlacoche derives from the Nahuatl word "song" cuīcatl
Epazote, wormseed, Jesuit's tea, Mexican tea, Paico or Herba Sancti Mariæ (Dysphania ambrosioides, formerly Chenopodium ambrosioides) is an herb native to Central America, South America, and southern Mexico.
It is an annual or short-lived perennial plant, growing to 1.2 m tall, irregularly branched, with oblong-lanceolate leaves up to 12 cm long. The flowers are small and green, produced in a branched panicle at the apex of the stem.
As well as in its native areas, it is grown in warm temperate to subtropical areas of Europe and the United States (Missouri, New England, Eastern United States), sometimes becoming an invasive weed.
The common Spanish name, epazote (sometimes spelled and pronounced ipasote or ypasote), is derived from Nahuatl: epazōtl (pronounced [eˈpasoːt͡ɬ]).
Epazote is used as a leaf vegetable and herb for its pungent flavor. Raw, it has a resinous, medicinal pungency, similar to anise, fennel, or even tarragon, but stronger. Epazote's fragrance is strong but difficult to describe. It has been compared to citrus, savory, or mint.
Although it is traditionally used with black beans for flavor and its carminative properties, it is also sometimes used to flavor other
Frijoles negros (literally "black beans" in Spanish) is a nutritious dish made with black beans, prepared in Cuba, Puerto Rico, Mexico, and several other nations in Latin America. The black bean, a legume of the species Phaseolus vulgaris, are usually purchased in either canned or dried form. 1 cup of dried black beans yields approximately 2½ cups of cooked beans. Black bean soup (sopa de frijoles negros) is another commonly prepared Cuban favorite.
Frijoles negros is typically seasoned with salt, ham hocks, onions and garlic, tomatoes, powdered cumin seeds, oregano, chili peppers, vinegar, and sometimes other ingredients.
Black beans are high in folate (256 mcg), iron (3.61 mg), magnesium (120 mg), and phosphorus (241 mg); they are also a source of zinc (1.92 mg), niacin (2 mg), and thiamine (.42 mg) - based on 1 cup portion size.
Guavas (singular Guava, English pronunciation: /ˈgwɑː.və/) are plants in the Myrtle family (Myrtaceae) genus Psidium (meaning "pomegranate" in Latin), which contains about 100 species of tropical shrubs and small trees. They are native to Mexico, Central America, and northern South America. Guavas are now cultivated and naturalized throughout the tropics and subtropics in Africa, Southeast Asia, the Caribbean, subtropical regions of North America, and Australia.
The most frequently encountered species, and the one often simply referred to as "the guava", is the Apple Guava (Psidium guajava).
Guavas are typical Myrtoideae, with tough dark leaves that are opposite, simple, elliptic to ovate and 5–15 centimetres (2.0–5.9 in) long. The flowers are white, with five petals and numerous stamens.
The genera Accara and Feijoa (= Acca, Pineapple Guava) were formerly included in Psidium.
The term "guava" appears to derive from Arawak guayabo "guava tree", via the Spanish guayaba. It has been adapted in many European and Asian languages, having a similar form.
Another term for guavas is pera, derived from pear. It is common around the western Indian Ocean and probably derives from Spanish or
The habanero chili ( /ˌhɑːbəˈnɛroʊ/; Spanish: [aβaˈneɾo]) is a variety of chili pepper. The name is sometimes spelled (and pronounced) habañero—the diacritical mark being added as a hyperforeignism. Unripe habaneros are green, and they color as they mature. Common colors are orange and red, but white, brown, and pink are also seen. Typically a ripe habanero chili is 2–6 centimetres (0.8–2.4 in) long. Habanero chilis are intensely spicy, rated 100,000–350,000 on the Scoville scale.
The habanero chili comes from the Amazonas region, and from there it was spread in Mexico. One domesticated habanero, which was dated at 8,500 years old, was found at an archaeological dig in Mexico. An intact fruit of a small domesticated habanero was found in Pre-ceramic levels in Guitarrero Cave in the Mexican highlands, and was dated to 6500 B.C.E It migrated north to the Caribbean via Colombia.
Upon its discovery by Spaniards, it was rapidly disseminated to other adequate climate areas of the world, to the point that 18th-century taxonomists mistook China for its place of origin and called it "Capsicum chinense"—the Chinese pepper.
Today, the largest producer is Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula. Other
Pachyrhizus erosus, commonly known as Jícama ( /ˈhɪkəmə/; Spanish pronunciation: [ˈxikama]; from Nahuatl xicamatl, [ʃiˈkamatɬ]), Mexican Yam, or Mexican Turnip, is the name of a native Mexican vine, although the name most commonly refers to the plant's edible tuberous root. Jícama is a species in the genus Pachyrhizus in the bean family (Fabaceae). Plants in this genus are commonly referred to as yam bean, although the term "yam bean" can be another name for jícama. The other major species of yam beans are also indigenous within the Americas.
The jícama vine can reach a height of 4–5 metres given suitable support. Its root can attain lengths of up to 2 m and weigh up to 20 kilograms. The heaviest jícama root ever recorded weighed 23 kilograms and was found in 2010 in the Philippines (where they are called 'singkamas').
The root's exterior is yellow and papery, while its inside is creamy white with a crisp texture that resembles raw potato or pear. The flavor is sweet and starchy, reminiscent of some apples or raw green beans, and it is usually eaten raw, sometimes with salt, lemon, or lime juice and chili powder. It is also cooked in soups and stir-fried dishes.
Jícama is often
Lard is pig fat in both its rendered and unrendered forms. Lard was commonly used in many cuisines as a cooking fat or shortening, or as a spread similar to butter. Its use in contemporary cuisine has diminished; however, many contemporary cooks and bakers favor it over other fats for select uses. The culinary qualities of lard vary somewhat depending on the part of the pig from which the fat was taken and how the lard was processed.
Lard can be obtained from any part of the pig as long as there is a high concentration of fatty tissue. The highest grade of lard, known as leaf lard, is obtained from the "flare" visceral fat deposit surrounding the kidneys and inside the loin. Leaf lard has little pork flavor, making it ideal for use in baked goods, where it is valued for its ability to produce flaky, moist pie crusts. The next highest grade of lard is obtained from fatback, the hard subcutaneous fat between the back skin and muscle of the pig. The lowest grade (for purposes of rendering into lard) is obtained from the soft caul fat surrounding digestive organs, such as small intestines, though caul fat is often used directly as a wrapping for roasting lean meats or in the
Maize ( /ˈmeɪz/ MAYZ; Zea mays L, from Spanish: maíz after Taíno mahiz), known in many English-speaking countries as corn, is a grain domesticated by indigenous peoples in Mesoamerica in prehistoric times. The leafy stalk produces ears which contain seeds called kernels. Though technically a grain, maize kernels are used in cooking as a vegetable or starch. The Olmec and Mayans cultivated it in numerous varieties throughout Mesoamerica, cooked, ground or processed through nixtamalization. Beginning about 2500 BC, the crop spread through much of the Americas. The region developed a trade network based on surplus and varieties of maize crops. After European contact with the Americas in the late 15th and early 16th centuries, explorers and traders carried maize back to Europe and introduced it to other countries. Maize spread to the rest of the world because of its ability to grow in diverse climates. Sugar-rich varieties called sweet corn are usually grown for human consumption, while field corn varieties are used for animal feed and as chemical feedstocks.
Maize is the most widely grown grain crop in the Americas, with 332 million metric tons grown annually in the United States
Masa (Spanish pronunciation: [ˈmasa]) is Spanish for dough. In the Americas it is often short for masa de maíz, a maize (corn) dough made from freshly prepared hominy. It is used for making corn tortillas, tamales, pupusas, arepas and many other Latin American dishes. The dried and powdered form is called masa harina, masa de harina, and sometimes maseca, the name of a leading commercial brand. It is reconstituted with water before use. Masa de trigo is Spanish for wheat flour dough. It is also used for making wheat tortillas and other breads and pastries.
To make hominy, field corn (maize) grain is dried and then treated by soaking and cooking the mature (hard) grain in a dilute solution of slaked lime (calcium hydroxide) or wood ash, a process termed nixtamalization. Lime and ash are highly alkaline: the alkalinity helps the dissolution of hemicellulose, the major glue-like component of the maize cell walls, and loosens the hulls from the kernels and softens the corn. Some of the corn oil is broken down into emulsifying agents (monoglycerides and diglycerides), while bonding of the corn proteins to each other is also facilitated. The divalent calcium in lime acts as a
Nopales (from the Nahuatl word nohpalli [noʔ'palːi] for the pads) are a vegetable made from the young cladode (pad) segments of prickly pear, carefully peeled to remove the spines. These fleshy pads are flat and about hand-sized. They can be purple or green. They are particularly common in their native Mexico, where the plant is eaten commonly and regularly forms part of a variety of Mexican cuisine dishes. Farmed nopales are most often of the species Opuntia ficus-indica, although the pads of almost all Opuntia species are edible.
Nopales are generally sold fresh in Mexico. In more recent years bottled, or canned versions are available mostly for export. Less often dried versions are available. Used to prepare nopalitos, they have a light, slightly tart flavor, like green beans, and a crisp, mucilaginous texture. In most recipes the mucilaginous liquid they contain is included in the cooking. They are at their most tender and juicy in the spring.
Nopales are most commonly used in Mexican cuisine in dishes such as huevos con nopales (eggs with nopal), carne con nopales (meat with nopal), tacos de nopales, or simply on their own or in salads with Panela Cheese. Nopales have also
Queso Oaxaca is a white, semihard cheese from Mexico, similar to unaged Monterey Jack, but with a mozzarella-like string cheese texture. It is named after the state of Oaxaca in southern Mexico, where it was first made. It is available in several different shapes. It is also known as quesillo Oaxaca or thread cheese when shaped like a ball. Shaped in bricks for slicing, it is called asadero (meaning "roaster" or "broiler") or queso quesadilla.
The production process is complicated and involves stretching the cheese into long ribbons and rolling it up like a ball of yarn. Italian mozzarella is another cheese which is processed by stretching (the pasta filata process).
Queso Oaxaca is used in Mexican cuisine, especially in quesadillas and empanadas, where the queso Oaxaca is melted and other stuffings, such as huitlacoche and squash flowers are added to the filling.
Pasilla (pronounced pah-SEE-yah; literally "little raisin") refers to more than one variety of chile in the species Capsicum annuum. A true pasilla is the dried form of the long and narrow chilaca pepper. However, in the United States producers and grocers often incorrectly use 'pasilla' to describe the poblano, a different, wider variety of pepper whose dried form is called an ancho.
Pasillas are used especially in sauces. They are sold whole or powdered in Mexico, the United States, and the United Kingdom.
The pasilla chile or chile negro is the dried form of a variety of Capsicum annuum named for its dark, wrinkled skin. In its fresh form, it is called the chilaca. It is a mild to medium-hot, rich-flavored chile. It is generally 6 to 8 inches (15 to 20 cm) long and 1 to 1.5 inches (2.5 to 4 cm) in diameter. The fresh narrow chilaca can measure up to 9 inches (22 cm) long and often has a twisted shape, which is seldom apparent after drying. It turns from dark green to dark brown when fully mature.
Pasilla de Oaxaca is a variety of smoked pasilla chile from Oaxaca used in mole negro.
Pasilla peppers are often combined with fruits and are excellent served with duck, seafood, lamb,
Pepita (from Mexican Spanish: pepita de calabaza, "little seed of squash") is a Spanish culinary term for the pumpkin seed, the edible seed of a pumpkin or other cultivar of squash (genus Cucurbita). The seeds are typically rather flat and asymmetrically oval, and light green in color inside a white hull. The word can refer either to the hulled kernel or unhulled whole seed, and most commonly refers to the roasted end product. The pressed oil of the roasted seeds of a specific pumpkin variety is also used in Central and Eastern European cuisine (see Pumpkin seed oil).
Pepitas are a popular ingredient in Mexican cuisine and are also roasted and served as a snack. Marinated and roasted, they are an autumn seasonal favorite in the rural United States, as well as a commercially produced and distributed packaged snack, like sunflower seeds, available year-round. Pepitas are known by their Spanish name (usually shortened), and typically salted and sometimes spiced after roasting (and today also available as a packaged product), in Mexico and other Latin American countries, in the American Southwest, and in speciality and Mexican food stores. In the Americas, they have been eaten since at
Piloncillo is the name given in Mexico to small blocks or bricks of unrefined solid cane sugar. They are also often seen in the shape of small truncated cones.
In Central America and South America, piloncillo is called Panela or "tapa dulce" (in Costa Rica) because of its bottle-cap shape. In Panama it is called raspadura, thought to derive from the words "raspar" (to scrape) and "duro" (hard), a reference to the way the hard sugar brick is shaven to produce usable shards for cooking. The local dialect often drops the letter "s"; the word spoken is "ra'padura" or rapadura.
The color of piloncillo ranges from light tan to dark brown. Piloncillo was considered an inferior sweetener, used as a cheaper substitute for refined sugar in dishes and desserts which did not require a colorless sweetener.
Despite its inferior reputation, many Mexican desserts are made with piloncillo, such as atole, capirotada, sweet potatoes, flan, and more.
"Piloncillo" (in Spanish) (2006-12-17).
Plantain (/ˈplæntɨn/; also UK /ˈplɑːntɨn/ or US /plænˈteɪn/) is the common name for herbaceous plants of the genus Musa. The fruit they produce is generally used for cooking, in contrast to the soft, sweet banana (which is sometimes referred to as the dessert banana). There is no formal botanical distinction between bananas and plantains, and the use of either term is based purely on how the fruits are consumed.
North America was first introduced to the fruit as "banana plantain", and in the United States and Europe "banana" generally refers to that variety. The word "banana" is sometimes used to describe other plantain cultivars, and names may reflect local uses or characteristics of cultivars: cooking plantain, banana plantain, beer banana, bocadillo plantain, etc.
Plantains are classified formally as Musa acuminata, Musa balbisiana or hybrids Musa acuminata × balbisiana, depending on their genomic constitution. The archaic scientific name Musa paradisiaca is no longer used. Most plantains come from the hybrid AAB and ABB Cultivar Groups.
All members of the genus Musa are indigenous to the tropical regions of Southeast Asia and Oceania, including the Malay Archipelago (modern
Refried beans (Spanish: frijoles refritos) is a dish of cooked and mashed beans and is a traditional staple of Mexican and Tex-Mex cuisine, although each cuisine has a different approach when making the dish. Refried beans are also popular in many other Latin countries.
The name is based on a mistranslation: in Mexican Spanish, the prefix re is an informal form of emphasis meaning "very" or "well", which has been confused with the English re and the most common use of the Spanish (Latin) prefix re outside Mexico, which more often indicates repetition. Thus, frijoles refritos really means "well-fried beans", not "refried beans". In this dish, the beans are often fried, but may also be baked, thus making the term "refried" a misnomer on two counts.
In northern Mexico and in American Tex-Mex cuisine, refried beans are usually prepared with pinto beans, but many other varieties of bean are used in other parts of Mexico, such as black or red beans. The raw beans can be cooked when dry or soaked overnight, then stewed, drained of most of the remaining liquid, and converted into a paste with a masher (such as a potato masher), or pressed through a fine mesh sieve (to remove the skins).
Rice is the seed of the monocot plants Oryza sativa (Asian rice) or Oryza glaberrima (African rice). As a cereal grain, it is the most important staple food for a large part of the world's human population, especially in Asia and the West Indies. It is the grain with the second-highest worldwide production, after maize (corn), according to data for 2010.
Since a large portion of maize crops are grown for purposes other than human consumption, rice is the most important grain with regard to human nutrition and caloric intake, providing more than one fifth of the calories consumed worldwide by the human species.
There are many varieties of rice and culinary preferences tend to vary regionally. For example in India, there is a saying that "grains of rice should be like two brothers, close but not stuck together", while in the Far East there is a preference for softer, stickier varieties. Because of its importance as a staple food, rice has considerable cultural importance. For example, rice is first mentioned in the Yajur Veda and then is frequently referred to in Sanskrit texts. Rice is often directly associated with prosperity and fertility, therefore there is the custom of throwing
The serrano pepper (Capsicum annuum) is a type of chili pepper that originated in the mountainous regions of the Mexican states of Puebla and Hidalgo. The name of the pepper is a reference to the mountains (sierras) of these regions.
Mature serrano pepper plants reach a height of between one and a half and five feet tall. Each plant can hold up to fifty pepper pods. Unripe serrano peppers are green, but the color at maturity varies. Common colors are green, red, brown, orange, or yellow.
A typical Serrano Pepper plant will grow to about a foot and a half. A single plant can yield dozens of peppers and they can be harvested while they are green or red. Serrano peppers prefer to live in soils with a pH between 7.0 - 8.5. Serranos are not frost tolerant and do best in warm temperatures above 75 F.
The serrano pepper's Scoville rating is 10,000 to 25,000. Their flavor is crisp, bright, and biting, notably hotter than the jalapeño pepper, and they are typically eaten raw. Serrano peppers are also commonly used in making pico de gallo. It is also commonly used in making salsa, as the chili is particularly fleshy compared to others, making it ideal for such dishes.
It is one of the most
Tamarind (Tamarindus indica) (from Arabic: تمر هندی, romanized tamar hind, "Indian date") is a tree in the family Fabaceae indigenous to tropical Africa. The genus Tamarindus is a monotypic taxon, having only a single species. The tamarind tree produces edible, pod-like fruit which are used extensively in cuisines around the world.
Tamarindus indica is indigenous to tropical Africa, particularly in Sudan, where it continues to grow wild; it is also cultivated in Cameroon, Nigeria and Tanzania. In Arabia, it is found growing wild in Oman, especially Dhofar, where it grows on the sea-facing slopes of mountains. It reached South Asia likely through human transportation and cultivation several thousand years prior to the Common Era. It is widely distributed throughout the tropical belt, from Africa to South Asia, Northern Australia, and throughout South East Asia, Taiwan and China.
In the 16th century, it was heavily introduced to Mexico, and to a lesser degree to South America, by Spanish and Portuguese colonists, to the degree that it became a staple ingredient in the region's cuisine.
Today, South Asia and Mexico remain the largest consumers and producers of tamarind.
The tomatillo (Physalis philadelphica) is a plant of the nightshade family, related to the cape gooseberry, bearing small, spherical and green or green-purple fruit of the same name. Tomatillos originated in Mexico, and are a staple of that country's cuisine. Tomatillos are grown as annuals throughout the Western Hemisphere.
The tomatillo fruit is surrounded by an inedible, paper-like husk formed from the calyx. As the fruit matures, it fills the husk and can split it open by harvest. The husk turns brown, and the fruit can be several colors when ripe, including yellow, red, green, or even purple. Tomatillos are the key ingredient in fresh and cooked Latin American green sauces. The freshness and greenness of the husk are quality criteria. Fruit should be firm and bright green, as the green color and tart flavor are the main culinary contributions of the fruit. Purple and red-ripening cultivars often have a slight sweetness, unlike the green- and yellow-ripening cultivars, and are therefore somewhat more suitable for fruit-like uses like jams and preserves. Like their close relatives cape gooseberries, tomatillos have a high pectin content. Another characteristic is they tend to
The word "tomato" may refer to the plant (Solanum lycopersicum) or the edible, typically red, fruit that it bears. Originating in South America, the tomato was spread around the world following the Spanish colonization of the Americas, and its many varieties are now widely grown, often in greenhouses in cooler climates.
The tomato fruit is consumed in diverse ways, including raw, as an ingredient in many dishes and sauces, and in drinks. While it is botanically a fruit, it is considered a vegetable for culinary purposes (as well as by the United States Supreme Court, see Nix v. Hedden), which has caused some confusion. The fruit is rich in lycopene, which may have beneficial health effects.
The tomato belongs to the nightshade family. The plants typically grow to 1–3 meters (3–10 ft) in height and have a weak stem that often sprawls over the ground and vines over other plants. It is a perennial in its native habitat, although often grown outdoors in temperate climates as an annual.
The tomato is native to South America. Genetic evidence shows the progenitors of tomatoes were herbaceous green plants with small green vegetable and a center of diversity in the highlands of Peru. One