Celebrate Culture with Food

When people see my last name its pretty common for them to look at me with that look of trying to fit the puzzle pieces together. I tell them no my husband isn't Mexican, I am. My 5 year old self really thought there was no other way to be than Mexican. It meant my dad had brown skin and my skin would glisten with copper tones. It meant we had a million family members and when you were traveling there was always a place to stay. It meant lots of hugs from your grandma who curses only in Spanish, music and dancing in the kitchen, and 50 people was considered a small gathering. It also meant some not so comfortable things like judgement and marginalization.

I share my Mexican culture with my mothers European culture which translated to some that I was neither white or brown enough to be either. Yes color matters. It is the illustration of tradition, oppression, triumph, history, lineage and needs to be honored, respected and celebrated. But what happens to your culture when your color isn't clear enough? For me that part of my story became invisible.

Learning about my clients birth and adopted cultures has become so important to me. Whether we wear it clear enough for others to sense or not, it shapes our essence and energetic being. It is important, and should be celebrated. I write this as a way to share my culture the most tasty way I know how. FOOD. I honor you and your culture so lets taste our way through it.

Here are a few of my family favorites passed down from my us to you. I hope you enjoy with all my warmth, love, light and full bellies.

Ayala Bean's

I love these beans. If you want to avoid gas I super suggest pre-soaking because these are so tasty you just might eat a whole lot. This is my Dads recipe. He created it after my mom passed away to honor her love for "experimental" cooking and his craving for my Grandmas staples.

Mexican Pork Pozole Rojo

Here is one of our Christmas favs. Now let me warn you, it's a labor of love. If you are a fan of Menudo but not the taste of tripe this is your new go too. The robust flavor of red chili meets the tender bites of pork and crunch of fresh cabbage. A favorite for all.

Pork Green Chili Stew

This next one is my specialty developed from the melding of all my women chef teachers, Grandma, Mom, and Angie Gomez. While its not completely homemade its homemade with a touch of convenience and equally tasty.

  • 3-4 lbs of pork shoulder/butt cut into 1 inch cubes (for lower fat versions you can use tenderloin but it does change the flavor profile) If you are nice to your local butcher they will even cut it into cubes for you.

  • 1 jar of Frontera tomatillo salsa

  • 1 white/yellow onion chopped

  • 3 cloves of garlic minced

  • 2 13oz or 1 28oz of Bueno mild green chilies (can be found in the frozen section defrost but do not driain the liquid. Caned green chilies can also be substituted)

  • 1-2 Tbls of Cumin (I know its not precise but I usually just eyeball everything)

  • 1 tsp of Mexican oregano (add more if you like but I like the forward taste of the chilies

  • Salt and Pepper

  • 1 ketchup packet of Savory Choice of chicken stock concentrate or one of your choice.

  • 1 cup of water.

  • Some EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)

Heat about 1 Tbls of EVOO in a dutch oven/pot on medium high eat. After the pork has been trimmed season well will salt and pepper on all sides. I like to put the meat in a bowl to do this. Get those hands dirty and massage that salt and pepper right into every square inch.

Work in batches and add about 10-15 pieces of meet to the hot oil and give it a healthy sear. This is the most painful process of all. It will take about 5-6 rounds. If needed, add additional splashes of EVOO to keep the meat from sticking. Place meat in a bowl and set to the side. Relish in all the beautiful brown bits on the bottom, this is where we get flavor.

Add the onion to the pot and give it a good sweat about 5 min. Add the garlic and cumin, give the onions a stir and let it sizzle for 30 seconds. Next add the meat back in with the jar of salsa and green chilies and loosen up all those brown bits on the bottom. Follow with adding the packet of chicken stock concentrate. Make sure the meat is covered with liquid, if you need add a bit of water. We want liquid but not too much as the meat will create some of its own.

Bring to a boil give it a gentle stir. Cover and turn that heat down to low just before it touches the first notch of medium (on my stove it's the dot between 2 & 3). Don't touch that lid and let it go for 90min-2 hours. Check the tenderness of the meat and if it needs more time let it cook, it will be fall apart and whole at the same time. Serve in a bowl alongside some fresh tortillas.

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The Branch Counseling PLLC

4099 McEwen Rd Ste. 780
Farmers Branch, TX 75244

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