Festive Picadillo Tamales in Corn Husk

Today we made tamales for the ‘Encuentro de Cocineros’ event. The event is to raise money for Pina Palmera- a very worthwhile organization that works with people with disabilities, many of whom are indigenous and come from remote communities.

For more info. on Pina Palmera and how you can get involved:

We teach these tamales in our Fiesta class at Chiles&Chocolate Cooking School.

Here’s the recipe:

Picadillo Tamales in Corn Husk
1 tablespoon olive or vegetable oiltamales
1 pound ground beef
1/2 onion, peeled, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, peeled, finely chopped
1 apple, peeled, cored and chopped
1 1/4 cups tomatoes, peeled and chopped
1 fresh jalapeno, seeded and chopped
1/2 cup raisins
½ cup almonds
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon cumin
Salt and ground pepper, to taste
12 corn husks, soaked until soft
1/2 cup lard or vegetable shortening
2 cups masa harina
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 cups warm chicken stock or broth
For the picadillo filling: In a large frying pan over medium heat, heat the oil and
add the ground beef, onion, and garlic and cook, stirring, until the beef is brown and
the onion is tender. Add the apple, tomatoes, jalapenos, raisins, cinnamon, cumin,
and salt and pepper. Cook uncovered for about 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally
to prevent sticking.
For the masa: In a large bowl, cream the lard or vegetable shortening until it’s light
and fluffy. In a separate bowl, mix the masa harina with the salt and baking powder,
then gradually beat it into the lard, taking care not to add too much at once.
Finally, slowly beat enough of the warm chicken stock into the masa mixture to
make a mushy dough. To see if the masa is ready, place a small piece on top of a cup
of water. If it floats, the masa is ready; if it sinks, continue to beat until the texture is
light enough for it to float.


To assemble the tamales: Place softened cornhusks on a flat surface. Spread 3
tablespoons of the dough on each husk, leaving plenty of room all around for folding.
Spoon 2 tablespoons of the picadillo in the center of the dough. Roll up the husk
from one long side, so that the filling is completely enclosed, then fold the ends of the
husk under. You can tie with strips of husk or kitchen twine, if desired.
To steam the tamales: Layer the folded husks seam side down in a flat-bottomed
steamer colander. Bring to a boil and cover tightly. Reduce heat and steam the
tamales for 1 hour. Serve warm, unwrapping the husks to reveal the fluffy tamales


Almond-Cacao Frozen Yogurt

We have an excellent organic market in Huatulco twice a month. Last week I scored some fresh plain yogurt- plain as in fresh from the cow with no extra additives. It had a chunky curd like consistency and tart flavor. Beside the woman who sold me the yogurt was a table selling a house-made almond-cacao spread and BOOM I knew what had to be done! I dusted off the Cuisinart ice cream maker and made a delicious cream based frozen yogurt that was the perfect balance of chocolate tartness.

Here’s the recipe:

In a saucepan heat

2 cups of sugar

6 tsp. of cornstarch

2 cans of evaporated milk

½ cup almond-cacao spread

Handful of chocolate chips

Cook over medium heat until chocolate is melted and the mixture is thickened. Stir constantly with a whisk to prevent burning.

Remove the mixture from the heat, and cool.

Stir in the plain yogurt. Refrigerate until chilled.

Pour the mixture into an ice cream maker, and freeze according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Serve with whipped cream and almonds.



Yesterday I held a three-hour restorative yoga workshop. While I love a powerful practice with lots of inversiDSCN3368 ons and chaturangas, a practice balanced with poses that encourage you to let go and stay longer is equally important. We need to check-in and come back to what the essence of yoga, it is a union between the mind and the body. Restorative poses help for 5-10 minutes become meditative, and you can feel the body releasing and opening, muscles and the mind softens with each breath.

It’s the same feeling I get when I go for a massage, and I first lie down on the massage table, my entire body lets go. I feel the gentle release at the base of my spine, like putting down a bag filled with bricks. We are constantly holding the body up, even often doing things that we think of as sedentary like watching television. Wherever you are reading this right now consciously let your shoulders soften and let you head fall forward so you can feel the stretch in your neck, then soften your jaw and let the skin of your face become slack. Focus on this softening of your body for ten breaths. Then gently open your eyes and lift your head. How do you feel? Hopefully restored.

Now start the week with an open heart.

Food, Living, Mexico

Food, Yoga, Life

Happy Friday and Welcome to my first post!

I had the good fortune of following the old adage and the words of Barry Manilow ‘do what you love and the rest will follow’. Almost twenty years ago, when I was a floundering college student, I feel in love…. with Mexico. Something about the abundance of children, focus on family and not worrying too much about the future appealed to my sense of adventure. I just kept doing what I love and so many years later here I am with a growing food services company, publishing a local magazine and teaching yoga. I feel so lucky that I wake up each morning excited to get to work! I look forward to sharing this little piece of paradise with you