Tag Archives: poblano pepper

Cinco de Mayo – The most popular celebration not celebrated in Mexico…

3 May

Ever since I lived in Chicago a few years ago, where there is a huge Mexican population, I learned that Mexico’s Independence Day is celebrated in September. I remember people riding outside their car windows carrying huge Mexican flags, parading themselves with pride.

So, if this is celebrated every year in September… why does every gringo I know believes Mexican Independence day falls on Cinco de Mayo?  My belief on the popularity of Cinco de Mayo is for several reasons (and I am just speculating here):

  • It’s simple to pronounce even if your main language is English. Try saying “dieciséis de septiembre”!!!! Rolling those “r’s” can be a challenge to many.
  • May more or less signifies the beginning of warmer weather so gives people an excuse to party in shorts
  • I truly believe a beer company started this as a promotional scheme to start selling beer in May rather than waiting until June/July when it’s actually hot.


Cinco de Mayo is not really an important holiday or celebration in Mexico. I am “friends” on Facebook with Chef Marcela Valladolid. And this is her perspective, as a Mexican, on Cinco de Mayo:

Chef Marcela - Cinco de Mayo

In reality, Cinco de Mayo is the date when the Mexican army drove away the French army at a great battle in Puebla. The Mexicans were never ever expected to win and they did. And for that… we celebrate!!!!

Nonetheless, for whatever reason Cinco de Mayo got popularized in the US, we use it as an excuse to celebrate everything Mexican. I wish I had a recipe for Mole Poblano in my blog to share with you all, but in the meantime, here are a few recipes that celebrate Mexico, France and combine a little bit of both…

French Quesadilla

Cordon Bleu Quesadilla

(In México, these are called sincronizadas because they’re made on Wheat Tortilla.  True Quesadillas are made on corn tortillas)

Fried Quesadillas with Fresh Tomato Salsa

Poblano Pepper Rajas

Chopped Avocado Dressing

Veggie Tortilla Soup

Mexican Lasagna



Chili Verde

13 Mar

A few weeks ago my Serious Eats Water Cooler group issued a challenge… let’s make CHILI!!!

I am not a chili girl at heart, as my introduction to chili was Wendy’s chili with meat and beans. Never a fan of beans, therefore never enchanted with chili.

Wanting to partake in the chili challenge, I decided to give a stab to a vegetarian chili recipe. Mixing my Puerto Rican root vegetable “roots” with a few Mexican flavors, this vegetarian chili recipe is hearty and filling like a sancocho but with a nice spicy kick from the salsa verde. This is certainly something you can adjust to your taste.

In regards to the chili debate – beans vs. no beans – this is certainly a bean-less chili that I hope will satisfy the most avid bean eater too. Enjoy…

chili verde 2 KFC


1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
One large Yukon gold potato, peeled and cut into cubes
One white sweet potato, peeled and cut into cubes
1 large parsnip, peeled and cut into cubes
1 tbs sofrito
½ large green bell pepper
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 cup whole kernel corn, I use frozen
1 vegetable bouillon cube
1 1/2 cup water
½ of a can salsa verde – I used Herdez brand
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Garnishes, such as crumbled cheese, chopped green onions, sliced avocados, lime wedges)
  1. Heat the oil in a heavy, large pot over medium heat. Add the onions, potatoes, sweet potatoes, parsnips, vegetable cube and sofrito. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. Cover and sweat until the onions are tender, stirring often to prevent browning, about 8 minutes. Mix in the cornstarch. Add the corn, the water and bring the chili to a simmer.
  3. Place the green bell pepper in a processor and mix with the salsa verde. Blend just until smooth. Add the sauce to the pot.
  4. Cover and simmer the chili 30 minutes, until the potatoes, sweet potatoes and parsnips are tender and the chili is reduced to a thicker consistency. Season with more salt and pepper if desired.

Poblano Pepper Rajas

20 Jan

When I went last year to Guadalajara, I fell in love with a taco filling they call RAJAS… Rajas are translated directly as STRIPS of something. I had the pleasure of having RAJAS made from Jalapeños, Nopales and Poblanos.

The Rajas de Jalapeños were delicious made in a creamy sauce with corn and little pieces of some other crumbly cheese. They served me three corn tortillas with the filling and you top them with your favorite veggies – lettuce, tomato, crema, etc. Something that surprised me about all the Pepper Rajas I had while in Mexico is that I always expected the dishes to be so spicy that I would not able to handle them. This was not the case… All dishes were mild, even to my wimpy palette.

I saw this recipe from Marcela Valadolid on making Poblano Rajas and I had to try it… I am almost certain I used some other chile other than a POBLANO, because after seeding and deveining, it was WAY SPICIER than what I remembered in Mexico. Maybe one of my peppers started to ripen and I’ve been told this adds to the spicy level of a pepper.

Who knows what happened… but the results were delicious. You should try this too…


6 fresh poblano chiles
3 tablespoons canola oil
1 medium white onion, thinly sliced
1 medium clove of garlic, minced
2 fresh ears of corn, kernels removed
1/4 cup heavy cream
½ cup plain yogurt – or Mexican crema…
¼ cup vegetable broth
1/2 cup, shredded Mozzarella cheese
¼ cup mild feta cheese, crumbled into small pieces
Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper
For Accompaniment:
Fresh baby spinach
Fresh tomatoes
1 cup of strained plain yogurt – or Greek yogurt
Slices of lime
Corn Tortillas


  1. Char the poblano chiles under the broiler of your oven until blackened on all sides. I did mine in a toaster oven. Enclose in a plastic bag and let steam for about 10 minutes.
  2. When the chiles have cooled a bit, peel and seed them. Cut the chiles into 1/2-inch strips (rajas) and set aside.
  3. Add the oil to a heavy large skillet over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the onion and garlic and sauté until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the corn kernels and cook for an additional 3 minutes.
  4. Add the strips of chile to the onion and corn mixture and sauté until the corn is tender, about 5 more minutes.
  5. Add the heavy cream, vegetable broth and yogurt. With the back of a knife, scrape all the liquid that resides in the corn hull left behind. Cook until bubbling, about for 8 minutes more. Add the cheeses and stir until melted and smooth. Season the rajas with salt and pepper, to taste.
  6. Transfer to a serving dish and serve as part of a Taquiza.
  7. Warm the corn tortillas in a dry skillet and place inside a clean cloth surrounded by aluminum foil to maintain warm and pliable as long as possible.

What’s a Taquiza??? When you set out all the fixings for making TACOS buffet-style… just like they do in Guadalajara. Buen Provecho!!!

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