Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Dolores Hidalgo II

While in Dolores we went and visited Hidalgo's house. He is considered Father of the Nation. He had a pretty large property about two blocks from the church. On the night of the "Grito" he left with the criollos and peasants to fight for Independence. The house was looted. After his death and the Mexicans having gained their Independence (1821), the house was restored. None of the original furniture remain, but many similiar things were brought to the house and made a museum. The furniture there is very old, so no photographs could be taken. But I could take photographs of the kitchen. I would love to have a kitchen like this (really).

The things shown there are the same as te ones used in a kitchen from 200 years ago, and they are still found in many houses today!! In many small towns, the bakery still bakes its bread in brick ovens. I loved this place!

Stone sign marking the house.

The courtyard is very nice, with lots of trees and plants.

The well, it still has water!!

Dish rack, wooden spoons, earthenware jugs.
They are still made the same way as in the past.

Pots, pans....

These are grinding and mixing utensils
made from volcanic rock.
The ones on the right are molcajetes. They are used
mainly for making red and green salsas.
Then on on the right is a metate. This is used for grinding
coarser ingredients like seeds, to make thicker salsas
like mole and pipán (a special mole made with pumpkin seeds).

The brick oven.

Many things were (and still are) cooked
in copper pots.

This is a very nice place to visit. There were many other things, but photographing was a very limited thing. All the things seen in this kitchen can be bought in any "mercado". I love the copper pots, but they are pretty expensive. They are used for making "carnits" (deep fried pork).

School madness is about a quarter done. Three quarters still left. It will all end in June. Gotta go and start making my final exams...

Will make one more post about Dolores, then will continue with Guanajuato.

Que tengan buenas noches!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

¡De regreso! (y Dolores Hidalgo)

After about 10, 000 years (in Mexico we tend to exagerate) , I'm back.

This is that time of the year when lots of Mexican teachers start to go crazy. Bi-monthly exams, final exams, National exams, Public Class, whew! So much work, and not even half-way through. But thankful to have a job, and doing our best till the last day of school.

So I will be posting every once in a while.

About three weeks ago, our whole class went to Dolores Hidalgo. It is a small town about an hour and a half from where we live. This place is where the Independence movement began in 1810. This year is the 200th anniversary of this event. The whole state is getting ready for this celebration in September. I will be posting photos a little at a time so you can see this pretty place.

The Independence movement began here, at this church.
The person who got the peasants together was
"El Cura Hidalgo" (Priest Hidalgo).
He rang the bell at the steps to call everyone
to take up arms and fight
against the Spanish.

Every year, on September 16 at 11:00 p.m.
the bell is rung, and the governor (sometimes the president
of Mexico) will shout:
"Viva Hidalgo,
Viva Morelos,
Vivan los héroes de la independencia,
Viva México, Viva México, Viva México!"

Then everybody shouts Viva!!!

The inside of the church is very nice.

A lot of restoration work is going on...

On each side of the altar there is some incredible
woodwork. On this side the wood is covered with
gold sheet.

On the other side the wood was left natural.
The guide said that the official verson was that
it looked very nice like that,
but the truth was that they probably ran out of gold!

Some detail of the wood carving.

I will try to make shorter posts, so I can put something up every day. Tomorrow I will continue the tour of this town...

So till tomorrow (hopefully)!

Thursday, April 8, 2010


Mexico is a very big country with a large variety in its cusine. But something that can be found everywhere in this country are enchiladas. While enchiladas are made more or less the same way everywhere, the sauces can be very different from one region to another.

The three most common enchiladas are verdes (made with green tomatillos), rojas (made with red tomatoes), and the ones made with mole sauce. And all of these (and most enchiladas) are made by frying the tortilla, and then smothering them with chosen sauce. I have not met a single Mexican housewife who makes their enchiladas in the oven. The only enchiladas I know that go in the oven are the Enchiladas Suizas (Swiss) which go into the oven after the tortilla has been fried, and only so the cheese placed atop them melts.

Yesterday my neighbor and I made chile guajillo enchiladas which are from this region of the country. While I like any type of enchiladas, these are my favorite. They are not too difficult to make, but they are kind of messy. These enchiladas use no meat.

chile guajillo
ranchero cheese (wll explain)
day old tortillas

Extra sauce:
green tomatillos
serrano chile

The first thing I do is cube potatoes and carrots in a small size,
and boil them until soft, but not musshy.
I boil them separate beacuse the potatos cook faster.
All of this was for two families, a total of nine people.
There was enough for all of us to
eat in the afternoon (la comida 4:00 p.m.),
and then for dinner (la cena 8:30 p.m.)
And today Naty (my neighbor) and I ate three more each
for lunch!

While the potatos and carrots are cooking, I diced onion.
It has to be cut pretty small.

Chile guajillo is a dried chile that is mildly hot.
For us it is not hot at all.
It this case the chiles will be boiled for a bout 10 minutes.
Let them cool.

Since the guajillo chile is not hot, everybody makes another hot sauce.
Naty boiled green tomatillos and serrano chile
with a piece of onion.
Then she put it in the blender with some salt,
and that's it!

This is called Ranchero cheese here. In some other places it is
called queso fresco (fresh cheese).
This is a fresh cheese that can be made from cow's or
goat's milk, and slightly salty.

The cheese is a type the crumbles easily, but it is not dry.

Add the diced onion. Unless you don't like onions,
then only crumble the cheese.
Also chop lettuce (no photo).

Put the boiled chiles in the blender with
some water, a few cloves of garlic, and some salt.
Blend until a smooth liquid.

Strain, put aside.

Heat some oil in a pan, add the carrots and potatoes,
and pour some of the guajillo sauce.
Let it cook a few minutes while stirring carefully
till the vegetables are red.

Now here comes the messy part.
Put enough oil in a small pan.
Heat as if for frying.
(Put on an old apron, you can get very dirty).
Dip the tortilla in the guajillo sauce, and put in the hot oil.
And hereis where all the splattering occurs!
I like my enchiladas a little crispy,
so I leave them longer. We use day old tortillas, because fresh
tortillas get all limp and break easily.

Fry on one side, the the other.

Put the torillas on a plate, add vegetables, and fold.

Yes, I know the plate looks messy, but we were
"en confianza" (among friends).
These should be eaten right away while hot.

With lettuce, cheese and onions, and waiting for the salsa.
The cook is always the last to eat.
But that's OK, Naty and I enjoyed the meal

Click on dried chili information and substitute so you can see what subtitutes you
can use if you can't find chile guajillo.

As I said, there are many types of enchiladas. There are some delicious ones in the state of Colima. The sauce has a smokey taste to it, almost like a barbecue sauce. Sometimes chicken is added. On mole enchiladas, sesame seeds are sprinkled on top. They are all great tasting.

Hope you try them, I'm sure you'll like them....


Sunday, April 4, 2010