Molino Tortilleria: Making Tortillas Like a Millennium Ago

From making tortillas from scratch in their home kitchen using imported non-GMO heritage corn varieties from a milpa or small cultivated farm in Oaxaca, Mexico to the recent opening of their just recently opened 2,500 square-foot retail and production space in Sawyer, Molino Tortilleria has seen a whirlwind year or so. I met owners Aaron and Christie Harris and Christie’s teenaged son, Ethan Estes, when they were selling their tortillas at the St. Joseph Farmer’s Market where if you didn’t get there early, you might miss out. They hand make each tortilla, a lengthy process.  The first step is that the corn arrives dried, sorted by variety–Blue Bolita Corn producing a blue hued tortilla, the red corn knowns as Bolita Belatove and yellow corn tortillas using Ollotillo Armarillo corn.

Then harking back millennials, the family processes the corn by cooking the kernels, soaking them overnight in cal or powdered lime minerals. After that, the kernels are ground (by hand) using volcanic rocks and then mixed with water to create the tortillas. Christie Harris also makes Mexican style sweets (pan dulce) that were favorites at the farmer’s market.

         “We’re excited,” says Aaron, who offered thanks to those who had visited them at the St. Joseph Farmers Market and also on Friday nights in Benton Harbor when food trucks would gather during warm weather to sell street food.

Molino Tortilleria is located at 5846 Sawyer Road in Sawyer MI. You can peruse their offerings online at MolinoTortillas.com.

For those buying tortillas, they’re great just simply heated up (I do mine in a very hot cast iron skillet, flipping them after a minute or so on one side) here are a few fun recipes to try.

Spicy Chipotle Chicken Wings with Sweet Potato Wedges, Cilantro & Lime Yogurt

Serves: 4

Prep: 10 minutes

Cook: 1 hour

1 3/4 pounds chicken wings, separated into wingettes and drumettes

1 3/4 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch [2½cm] wedges

2 teaspoons chile powder

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

1 tablespoon dark brown sugar

3 tablespoons olive oil

Sea salt

Zest and juice of 1 lime, plus lime wedges, to serve

4 to 5 tablespoons Greek yogurt

A handful of fresh cilantro leaves, chopped, plus more to serve

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Place the chicken wings and sweet potato wedges in a large roasting pan or rimmed baking sheet.

Mix together the chile powder, smoked paprika, brown sugar, olive oil, 2 teaspoons sea salt, and half of the lime zest and juice. Pour the mixture over the chicken and sweet potatoes and mix well with your hands to coat evenly. Transfer to the oven and roast for 40 minutes.

Turn the heat up to 400°F and roast for a further 20 minutes, to crisp the chicken skin.

Meanwhile, mix together the yogurt, chopped cilantro, remaining lime zest and juice, and a pinch of sea salt. Set aside.

Sprinkle the chicken wings and sweet potatoes with cilantro leaves and serve with lime wedges and the yogurt dip alongside.

The above recipe is reprinted from Dinner’s in the Oven by Rukmini Iyer with permission by Chronicle Books.

Mexican Chicken and Corn Street Tacos

4 servings

For the Kale Slaw:

Chipotle-lime Dressing

1 cup sliced kale

To make the dressing:

Solid coconut cream from 13.5 ounce can of full-fat coconut milk

1/4 cup fresh lime juice, about 2 limes

1/3 cup packed fresh cilantro, leaves and stems

3 cloves garlic

1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt

Place all the ingredients in a food processor, blender, or smaller bullet-sized smoothie blender. Blend until smooth.

Note: if the sauce is too thick, add 1 teaspoon of water or lime juice at a time until you have a consistency you like. Enjoy immediately or store in the refrigerator for later.

Store in a sealed container for up to 7 days.

In a small bowl, toss the kale with the chipotle-lime dressing (recipe below) until it is fully coated. Set aside.

Make the chicken filling:

2 tablespoons salted butter

3 cups cubed baked chicken breast

2 cups cooked fresh corn kernels or frozen corn kernels

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice (about 1 lime)

1/2 teaspoon chili powder

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon paprika

1 teaspoon coarse sea salt

Heat the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once melted, add the chicken and corn and cook for 2 minutes to warm through.

Add the lime juice, chili powder, garlic powder, paprika, and salt and toss to coat the chicken and corn. Sauté for 3 to 4 minutes, until the chicken is slightly browned.

To assemble the tacos:

8 regular-size corn tortillas

1 cup crumbled Cotija cheese (omit for dairy-free)

4 lime wedges, for serving

Place a small skillet over medium-high heat. Once hot, put one tortilla in the pan at a time and warm for about 30 seconds per side, until the tortilla is pliable and begins to brown slightly. Repeat with the remaining tortillas. To keep the tortillas warm while you are heating the remaining ones, you can wrap them in a kitchen towel. 5. To assemble the tacos, add the chicken and kale slaw to a warmed tortilla and garnish with Cotija cheese. Serve with lime wedges.

The above recipe is courtesy of Cook Once, Eat All Week: 26 Weeks of Gluten-Free, Affordable Meal Prep to Preserve Your Time & Sanity by Cassy Joy Garcia (Victory Belt Publishing.)

Isla Mujeres: Ixchel’s Island

Isla Mujeres or Island of the Women earned its name in 1517 when Spanish explorers discovered statues of Ixchel, the Mayan Moon Goddess on this island just 25 minutes by ferry from Cancun.  Ixchel’s temple is still here, perched atop a rocky cliff overlooking the Caribbean Sea in Garrafon Reef Park – it’s where Mayan women once traveled to pray for a fertile marriage. Isla_Mujeres,_Garrafon_(24032614729)

Today, visitors come for snorkeling in the fish filled coral reefs, zipling above Mayan ruins, frolicking with dolphins and taking the short jitney ride to the bustling shopping plaza on Avenue Rueda Medina in the island’s only town.  Here artisans display their wares – elaborately embroidered Mayan dresses, Talavera pottery and an assortment of pretty trinkets. Isla_Mujeres,_Pelicanos_(24374202586)

Wander the town, past brightly colored stucco homes, stopping at the stalls of local vendors for fresh fruit sprinkled with fiery red pepper and spicy hot meat stuffed into freshly made tortillas.Azules_de_Isla_mujeres_-_panoramio_(1)

The following recipe, typical of Isla de Mujeres, is courtesy of Pati Jinich, host of the popular Emmy and James Beard nominated PBS series Pati’s Mexican Table and author of Pati’s Mexican Table: The Secrets of Real Mexican Home Cooking and Mexican Today: New and Rediscovered Recipes for Contemporary Kitchens.

Brocoli y Coloflor Rostizadas con Aderezo de Cotija

Roasted Broccoli & Cauliflower with Queso Cotija Dressing

5 to 6 servings

For the vegetables:

1/2 cup freshly squeezed lime juice

1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice

3 chopped chiles de arbol or 1 generous teaspoon red pepper flakes

1/2 cup olive oil plus more for brushing

1 teaspoon kosher or coarse sea salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 pounds broccoli cut into 1/4″ vertical slices, including thick part of stem

2 pounds cauliflower cut into 1/4″ vertical slices, including thick part of stem

For the dressing:

1/2 cup crumbled queso cotija

2/3 cup Mexican crema

1/2 cup vegetable oil

2 teaspoons sherry vinegar

2 tablespoons water

1 clove garlic

1/2 teaspoon kosher or coarse sea salt or to taste

Preheat oven to 475 degrees Fahrenheit.

Mix the lime juice, orange juice, olive oil, chile de arbol, 1 teaspoon salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Brush 2 large baking sheets with olive oil. Place the broccoli and cauliflower on each baking sheet, making sure that it is well spread out and not crowded. Evenly pour the orange juice mixture all over the vegetables.

Place in the oven and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, flipping once in between, until well roasted and considerably charred. Remove from the oven.

In the jar of the blender, combine the queso cotija, Mexican crema, vegetable oil, sherry vinegar, water, garlic, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Puree until smooth.

Serve the broccoli and cauliflower in an extended platter and ladle the queso cotija right on top, or let your guests spoon sauce onto their plates and dip their vegetables in the sauce to their liking.

Isla_Mujeres,_Garrafon_(24032614729)
All photos courtesy of Wikimedia 

Website: http://www.garrafon.com/

Hours: The park is open every day from 9:00 am until 5:00 pm in winter and from 9:00 am until 6:00 pm in summer.

Departures from Cancun: 9:30am and 11:00am
Returns from Garrafon: 4:15 pm and 5:30 pm (subject to change)

 

Queretaro: Colonial Charm in the Highlands of Mexico

My first morning in Queretaro, about a 90 minute drive north of Mexico City, I walked along the cobblestone streets in the city’s historic center to the fairy tale castle-like La Casa de la Marquesa, once a private home built in the 1756, now a restaurant and hotel. The menu reflects the vast citrus groves, ranches, cactus and cornfields that are part of the highland landscape here. Periodistas USA y dueno Casa de la Marquesa (1)

Plump figs, recently picked, sit on platters in the ornate dining room. Fresh oranges squeezed with cactus or beet juice are served on silver platters by waitresses dressed in garb that I at first thought was from another era of Mexico history but which I am told were designed to look like what Mary Poppins might have worn if there had been a Mary Poppins.

My host recommends Encarcelados – layers of fried eggs, beans, and ham topped with green sauce and crispy pork skins (a very popular food here and though not at all healthy, much more tasty than the pork rinds sold in the U.S.).Q 1

Accompanying breakfast and served in delicate cups are endless servings of hot coffee and crema caliente or hot cream. I decide not to worry about calories as I will be exploring the historic district, known for its fountains, city gardens and brightly painted buildings with wrought iron balconies, oversized carved wooden doors and, of course, this being Mexico, the most wonderfully ornate churches, many in a Spanish style characterized by elaborate engravings and known as Churrigueresque.

There’s an over the top creativity in this ultra clean city (there always seem to be uniformed groups hosing down the streets) and I peak into a restaurant and bar that was once an old apothecary shop whose interior walls are still stacked with the small drawers that once held pills and another one made of stone where water cascades down the length of a wall. The city is made of public squares, each with a fountain and often a statue or two as well. Food vendors sell candies, cook tacos on hot griddles and slice fruit that is then rolled in spices. A gaggle of school girls in uniforms ask if they can take my photo and want to pose with me. Most restaurants, if there is space, have outside seating since the weather is almost always fair.Periodistas USA y Enlace

Queretaro, though it has sophisticated cuisine, is also famed for its enchiladas, which are stuffed with beans, Oaxaca cheese, potatoes and topped with a red chile sauce or a cream sauce and often served with horachata, a sweet rice water drink common in Mexico. Guacamole with pork rinds for scooping are served with almost every meal, including the oyster and octopus tacos (much better than they sound) we taste later that night at Harry’s Bar, which features a blend of New Orleans and central Mexican cookery. Q 3

Evenings, after exploring the cathedrals with their 24 carat gold interiors, end with a stop at one of the many hot chocolate and churros (fried pastries) shops that dot the walkways. And each night I promise myself that I will walk an extra mile or so tomorrow not only to see more sights but to hopefully leave a few calories behind before I go home.

Enchiladas Suizas
(Creamy Enchiladas with Chicken, Tomatoes and Green Chile)

Ingredients:

2 28-ounce cans good-quality whole tomatoes in juice, drained
Fresh hot green chiles to taste (roughly 3 serranos or 2 jalapeños), stemmed
1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil or rich-tasting pork lard, plus a little oil for brushing or spraying the tortillas
1 medium white onion, chopped
2 cups chicken broth, plus a little extra if needed
Salt
1/2 cup homemade crema, crème fraiche or heavy (whipping) cream
About 2 cups coarsely shredded cooked chicken, preferably grilled, roasted or rotisserie chicken
2/3 cup shredded Mexican melting cheese (Chihuahua, quesadilla, asadero or the like) or Monterey Jack, brick or mild cheddar
12 corn tortillas
A few sliced rounds of white onion, separated into rings, for garnish
Fresh cilantro sprigs for garnish

In a small dry skillet, roast the chiles over medium heat, turning regularly, until they’re soft and splotchy-black, about 5 minutes. Place in a blender or food processor along with the drained canned tomatoes. Blend to a smooth puree.

In a medium-size (4- or 5-quart) pot (preferably a Dutch oven or Mexican cazuela), heat the oil or lard over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring regularly, until golden, about 7 minutes. Raise the heat to medium-high, and, when noticeably hotter, stir in the tomato puree. Cook, stirring, until darker in color and thickened to the consistency of tomato paste, about 10 to 15 minutes.

Stir in the broth, partially cover and simmer 15 minutes. Taste and season with salt, usually about 1/2 teaspoon. The sauce should be a slightly soupy consistency—not as thick as spaghetti sauce. If it is too thick, stir in a little additional broth. Keep warm over low heat.

Other preliminaries. Stir the crema into the sauce. Put the chicken in a bowl and stir 1/2 cup of the sauce mixture into it. Taste and season with additional salt if you think it needs it. Have the cheese at the ready.

Heat the oven to 350°. Smear about 1/4 cup of the sauce over the bottom of 4 to 6 nine-inch individual ovenproof baking/serving dishes or smear about 1 cup of the sauce over the bottom of a 13×9-inch baking dish.

Lay the tortillas out on a baking sheet (2 sheets if you have them, for more even heating), and lightly brush or spray both sides of the tortillas with oil. Bake just to warm through and soften, about 3 minutes. Stack the tortillas and cover with a towel to keep warm.

Working quickly so the tortillas stay hot and pliable, roll a portion of the chicken into each tortilla, and then line them all up in the baking dishes.

Douse evenly with the remaining sauce, and then sprinkle with the cheese. Bake until the enchiladas are hot through (the cheese will have begun to brown), about 15 minutes. Garnish with onion rings and cilantro sprigs. These are best served piping hot from the oven.

 

Silver & Tequila in the Sierra Madres: The Tale of San Sebastian de Oeste

High in the Sierra Madres, we follow the twisting road from Puerto Vallarta and the seaside on our way to San Sebastian de Oeste. Crossing the long spanned bridge over Rio Ameca, the road curves around a ridge and into the tiny village of La Estancia and Hacienda San Sebastián, a family owned raicilla and tequila distillery (for raicilla think tequila only much stronger and likely of inducing hallucinations in anyone who drinks too much).San Sebastian street

Founded in the 1930s and still family owned, their vast agave fields – called green plantations — can be seen on the surrounding hillsides. Besides making organic and flavored tequilas such as Licore de Café with its hints of coffee, chocolate and vanilla as well as almond tequila made from nuts grown in Durango and roasted here, the family also makes agave sugar and syrup, all without electricity. The peñas or agave hearts roast over an open fire as they were centuries ago and what power there is comes from solar panels.San Sebastian Comedor Lupita exterior

Sampling and then stocking up on organic tequila we continue on, taking a turn on a dirt road where cows, unconfined by fencing, have to be shooed out of the way, to San Sebastian. Here we stop at La Quinta Café de Altura, an organic coffee farm owned by Rafael Sanchez, his wife Rosa and Lola, Rafael’s sister. Five generations of the family have grown coffee here.

The family, in a building dating back more than 120 years, tend 11 acres of coffee trees, some as old as the house, handpick 30 tons of beans each year, dry, roast and grind them, making blends such as a mixture of ground beans with cinnamon and sugar for the traditional, and now often hard to find, Mexican coffee. Tastings are available and so are Rosa’s homemade candies such as guava rolls and sweets made from sweet goat’s milk. In an interesting aside, we learn that the Sanchez’s parents married early (the Don was 15), a 68-year union that produced 21 children. Their grandfather did even better, having 28 children, though that took both a wife and several mistresses.jalisco_destinos-principales_san-sebastian-del-oeste_int

Settled in 1605, San Sebastian was nominated as a World Heritage site by UNESCO. Lovely in its vintage charm, the surrounding pine covered mountains were bonanzas of silver and gold. Aristocratic families from Spain made the perilous travel across the sea and then land to oversee the mining of these treasures. Once here, deigning not to marry locals, they married each other. It made for interesting relationships, uncles were also cousins, sisters also grandchildren or whatever.

We hear the tales when we stop at the museum, housed in the 200-year-old Hotel Jalisco. It’s a very crowded museum–more like a fascinating  attic full of family heirloom items and the curator is a direct descendent of the founding families.In the museum, we see trunks inlaid with silver, 19th century lace gowns and jewelry boxes, china and silver that came from Spain.SS raicilla

It’s a story of glory and loss–at one time San Sebastian des Oeste had a population of 40,000; now there are about 600 and the occasional tourists. Silver was transported by horses and mules through treacherous mountain passes, robbers waited in wait. Pancho Villa and his men showed up regularly stripping away the wealth.

There were interesting family traditions. When a family member died, before they were buried (and remember it’s very hot here), a photographer had to be sent for from Puerto Vallarta to take a photo of the deceased. It could take days, but that’s how it was done.San Sebastian Cafe La Quinta Mary

Walking along the cobblestone road, past a massive 300 year plus ash tree and cascading white frizzes of el manto de la virgin, we enter Comedor Lupita. Here terra cotta platters loaded with chicken mole, fresh handmade tortillas (in America they’d be called artisan tortillas), refried beans and something I’ve never tasted before – machaca, a dish of dried beef mixed with spices and eggs, are heaped in front of us. As we eat, we watch the family busy behind the tiled counter, making even more food.

Through the windows we see splashes of bright purple from the masses of bougainvillea that drape the stone exterior walls and here the sounds of caballeros, their horses’ hooves striking the centuries old street. We sip our sweet agua de Jamaica water and feel time passing in reverse.

For more information click here

Machaca Marinade:

1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
Juice of 4 limes
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tablespoon cumin
1 tablespoon chili powder
1/2 tablespoon salt
1/2 tablespoon black pepper
1/2 cup olive oil

Machaca:

2 lbs. skirt steak, cut into strips
1 large sweet onion, diced
1 green bell pepper, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, chopped
1 14 ounce can diced tomatoes with green chilies
1/2 cup beef broth
1 tablespoon oregano
1 tablespoon cumin
1 tablespoon hot pepper sauce (Tabasco or a Mexican brand, such a Valencia)
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons oil

Whisk all the marinade ingredients together, and then add the skirt steak. Marinate at least 6 hours or overnight tablespoon Remove meat from marinade, drain, and pat dry. Bring to room temperature. Discard marinade.
In a large heavy pot, heat oil. Sear the meat well on both sides, in batches so as not to crowd them. Remove the meat as it is browned and set aside.

Drain fat. Add in the onion, peppers, and garlic, cook until tender, then add tomatoes, broth, pepper sauce and spices. Bring to a boil, stirring and scraping the bottom of the pot. Return beef and simmer, covered, for two hours, stirring from time to time until tender. Cool and shred.

Lay meat on a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake at 250º for 20 minutes or until meat is dry.

Machaca con Huevos

2 chopped scallions (white part only)
1 hot green chili
2 tomatoes
1 cup dried machaca
2 eggs
Chopped cilantro

Sauté scallions and peppers in oil until tender, add tomatoes and beef until heated. Remove from pan, add eggs and cumin. Scramble, then stir machata mixture. Garnish with cilantro and serve with hot tortillas.

Search: San Sebastian de Oeste, Hacienda San Sebastián, agave fields
Keywords: San Sebastian de Oeste, Hacienda San Sebastian, agave fields, organic and flavored tequilas

Description: In San Sebastian de Oeste, near Puerto Vallarta is Hacienda San Sebastian where you can taste the organic and flavored tequilas such as Licore de Café with its hints of coffee, chocolate and vanilla as well as almond tequila.

 

Turnips & Tortillas: A Mexican Chef Spices Up the Southern Kitchen

Southern food meets Mexican food in Eddie Hernandez’s new book Turnips & Tortillas: A Mexican Chef Spices Up the Southern Kitchen.  Hernandez, the James Beard nominated chef/co-owner of Taqueria del Sol, has written a fantastic cookbook that explores the commonalities of these two cuisines.

Never hesitating to improve upon tradition, Hernandez tweaks classic dishes to make food taste better in such ways as by adding sugar to creamy grits to balance the jalapeños or substituting tomatillos for fried green tomatoes to achieve a more delicate texture. Turnip Greens & Tortillas offers a collection of both recipes and “Eddie’s Ways”–sidebars showing how to make each dish even more special.My Breakfast Muffins (c) Angie Mosier (1)

As an example, Hernandez says Mexicans view bread pudding as a special treat typically eaten only during Lent.

“It is not like any bread pudding you have had in the U.S., but the flavors should taste very familiar—a little like the inside of a cinnamon roll, with the gooeyness of pecan pie,” he writes in his description of Capirotada, a Mexican bread pudding recipe in his cookbook. “The exact ingredients vary with whatever’s in the cook’s kitchen cabinet that needs to be used up, but they usually include toasted and buttered bread, dried fruits, nuts, and mild cheese. My mother often added animal crackers, and I still find their crunchy texture works well in this mixture. Whereas my mother steamed her bread pudding on top of the stove, I bake mine. Instead of being held together by an eggy custard, the pudding is drenched in a warm syrup spiced with cinnamon and cloves that is made by melting piloncillos—unrefined sugar molded in cones and sold in Mexican markets or online—with water. Turbinador brown sugar works just as well. There is deep religious meaning behind the main ingredients: The bread symbolizes Christ’s body, the syrup is his blood, the cinnamon and cloves are the wood and the nails of the cross, and the melted cheese signifies the holy burial shroud. As serious as its message is, the dish is very festive and often served with ice cream and colored sprinkles. This bread pudding is even good for breakfast as coffee cake.”

Also good for Easter are Hernandez’s breakfast egg muffins topped with a tomato-habanero sauce.

Mexican Bread Pudding (Capirotada)

Makes 6 to 8 servings

1 pound cane sugar, turbinado sugar, or brown sugar

3 cups water

2 cinnamon sticks, preferably Mexican (canela)

6 cloves

8 ounces French bread or 4 bolillo rolls, cut into ¼-inch-thick pieces

4 tablespoons (½ stick) butter, melted

1 cup golden raisins

1 cup coarsely chopped pecans

1½ cups crushed animal crackers

1 cup crumbled queso fresco or grated Monterey Jack cheese

¾ cup shredded sweetened coconut Ice cream (optional)

Colored sprinkles (optional)

To make the syrup:

Combine the sugar, water, cinnamon sticks, and cloves in a medium saucepan set over medium-high heat.

Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to maintain a simmer, and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes, until slightly thickened.

Remove from the heat; cover and let steep while you prepare the remainder of the dish.

This step can be done a day ahead.

Heat the broiler to high, with one rack set in the middle of the oven and one 4 or 5 inches from the broiler source. Brush the bread with 2 to 3 tablespoons of the butter. Place the pieces in a single layer on a sheet pan and set under the broiler until lightly toasted, about 1 minute (watch carefully). Remove from the oven and set aside until ready to use.

Set the oven temperature to 325 degrees. Brush a deep 8-inch square pan or 2-quart casserole dish with the remaining 1 to 2 tablespoons butter.

Place one-third of the bread in a single layer in the baking dish. Top with one-third of the raisins, pecans, animal crackers, cheese, and coconut. Remove the spices from the syrup and ladle one-third of the syrup over the mixture. Let the syrup soak into the bread for about 15 minutes, then repeat the layering with the remaining ingredients two more times, finishing with the syrup. Let the syrup soak into the bread for 15 minutes.

Cover the pan tightly with foil and bake for 45 minutes, then uncover and bake for 10 minutes longer, or until the top of the pudding is golden brown. Serve warm or at room temperature, with ice cream and garnished with sprinkles, if desired. The pudding will keep for several days, tightly covered, at room temperature.

My Breakfast Muffins

Makes 12 muffins

12 large eggs

4½ teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

4 ounces andouille or other smoked sausage, cut into 24 slices; or left over roasted vegetables

¾ cup grated Monterey Jack or Colby cheese (goat cheese or other kinds of cheese can be substituted)

2 cups Tomato-Habanero Sauce (see below) or use your favorite salsa

Heat the oven to 425 degrees. Spray a 12-cup muffin tin with nonstick vegetable spray and set aside.

Whisk the eggs, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl until smooth. Place 2 slices of smoked sausage and 1 tablespoon of the cheese into the bottom of each muffin cup. Divide the egg mixture evenly among the muffin cups. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until puffed and lightly browned.

Meanwhile, heat the sauce. Ladle some of the sauce onto plates and top with the egg muffins.

Tomato-Habanero Sauce

Makes about 4 cups

5 to 6 medium tomatoes (about 1½ pounds)

1 habanero or other types of chiles

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

¼ cup finely diced onion

1 garlic clove, crushed

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup chicken stock, preferably homemade

Place the tomatoes and habanero in a large saucepan, cover with water, and bring to a boil over high heat. Boil just until the tomato skins start to crack. Drain in a colander. Remove the stem from the habanero.

Transfer the tomatoes and habanero to a blender and puree until smooth.

Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat until it shimmers. Add the onion, garlic, and salt and cook until the onion is translucent and soft, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the tomato puree and the stock, increase the heat to high, and boil for 3 minutes more. Taste and adjust the seasonings as desired. The sauce keeps for up to 3 days, covered and refrigerated.

The above recipes are from Turnip Greens and Tortillas: A Mexican Chef Spices Up the Southern Kitchen by Eddie Hernandez. Reproduced by permission of Rux Martin/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

Ifyougo:

Eddie Hernandez will be talking and signing copies of his book on June 3 at 1:30 p.m. at Read It & Eat, 2142 N. Halsted St., Chicago, IL. For more information:  (773) 661-6158; readitandeatstore.com