TASTE OF THE EARTH TORTILLAS HECHAS A MANO

Yields 12, beautifully Earthy tasting, handmade tortillas using pre-contact ingredients.

  1 C. amaranth flour

  2 C. *blue corn meal, finely ground

  1 T. sunflower oil

  ¼ tsp. sea salt

  About 1 C. warm water, or more as needed

Mise En Place

In a mixing bowl, combine amaranth flour, blue corn meal and sea salt.  Add sunflower oil and combine mixture using your fingertips. Slowly add the water, a little at a time, and knead well, adding more water until you have the consistency of soft play dough – just a minute or two.

Let the dough rest for 10 to 15 minutes under a damp towel. 

After the dough has rested, make little balls (about the size of two **ayoyotes), keeping them covered under a damp towel while you work. 

Heat up a large skillet, preferably cast iron, to medium-high heat for 4-5 minutes.

Using a tortilla press, place 1 ball of dough between 2 sheets of plastic wrap (I like to use common grocery bags), and press them out to about 4-5 inches in diameter.  Begin to cook the tortillas as you finish pressing the others by cooking them 1 at a time, about 45 seconds.  Using a thin spatula, flip, and do the same to the other side. 

Wrap the cooked tortillas in a dish towel to keep them warm, and serve immediately.  

 

 

*You can find blue corn meal at most health food stores as well as the cookingpost.com.

**Two ayoyotes are about the size of one golf ball. 

 

 © Felicia Cocotzin Ruiz, LLC   RuizEnPlace.com

MAHNOMIN BUNDLES

This simple recipe using Native wild rice and delicate yellow squash blossoms explode with flavors of the earth.  The little bundles are best served warm, and would be a nice accompaniment to a bright, leafy green salad.  Experiment with other seasonings and textures with the addition of fresh herbs, pepitas, or even the tiny baby squash that is occasionally attached to a female blossom.    

INGREDIENTS

12 -16 squash blossoms, rinsed, patted dry

1/3 C. Native wild rice (*mahnomin)

1 C. vegetable broth

1 T. butter

2 T. mushrooms, finely diced (I used crimini)

1 T. purple onion, finely diced

2 T. Manchego cheese, grated

2 T. olive oil

sea salt and pepper

 

Serves 4-6 as an appetizer

 

MISE EN PLACE

Add the butter to a medium sauce pan with lid, set on med-low heat.  Add diced mushrooms and onion, saute for one minute. Add wild rice, and stir to coat.  Add vegetable broth, bring to a boil, then turn down heat and cover.  Simmer for 40-45 minutes until the rice is tender, adding more broth if necessary. Once cooked, set aside to cool.  Add sea salt and pepper to taste.

Once the rice mixture has cooled, stir in the Manchego cheese. 

Using a butter knife, gently fill the squash blossoms about half full with the rice mixture.  Twist the petals around the mixture, creating little bundles.

Using a large saute pan, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over medium high heat.  Working in two batches, place half of the filled squash blossoms in the saute pan and cook about 2 minutes per side until gold brown.

Remove from the pan, and keep warm.  Continue with the second batch, using the remaining olive oil. 

Serve warm.

 

*You can find true hand-harvested mahnomin at NativeHarvest.com.

Felicia Cocotzin Ruiz, LLC ©

 

PURPLE PERUVIAN POTATOES SLEEPING IN WARM POBLANO PEPPERS

I was invited by the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian (Washington, DC), to prepare a dish using potatoes (potatoes are indigenous to South America) for the Living Earth Festival and Native Foods Symposium.  What resulted was a simple to prepare, yet complex in flavor, savory dish of creamy potatoes, nestled in roasted Poblano chile peppers.  You will find no cheese or deep frying in this recipe, making it more healthful, and keeping in theme to my ancestors not having dairy or lard as available ingredients before contact with Columbus.  Your whole house will smell indigenously delicious! 

Serves 4

Cooking Time: 1 ½ hour

 

INGREDIENTS

2 lbs. Peruvian purple potatoes, peeled, small dice

4 medium crimini mushrooms, small dice

2 Serrano chiles

4 Poblano peppers

4 plum tomatoes

1 white onion, skin left on, halved

3 cloves garlic, unpeeled

2 tsp. maple syrup

2 T. tomato paste

¼ C. vegetable broth

1 tsp. ground cumin

2 T. olive oil

sea salt

 

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. 

MISE EN PLACE

On a large baking sheet, lined with foil, place Serrano chiles, Poblano peppers, garlic cloves, tomatoes, and onion halves in a single layer.  Drizzle with 1 T. olive oil.  Roast in the oven for 30 – 40 minutes, or until the skins are charred, turning occasionally to promote even roasting (Poblano peppers and onions will take the longest).  Transfer tomatoes, onions, Serrano chiles, and garlic to a plate, and place Poblano peppers in a medium size bowl, and cover tightly with plastic wrap.  Keep covered until peppers are cool enough to handle, about 30 minutes.  While the vegetables are cooling, start the potato filling.

Using a medium sauté pan, warm remaining 1 T. olive oil, add Peruvian potatoes and cook, stirring often until cooked through yet firm.  Add mushrooms, tomato paste, cumin, and vegetable broth.  Cook 5 minutes more.  Salt to taste.  Take off heat and keep warm. Use this mixture to stuff the peppers.

Peel the roasted tomatoes, onions, and garlic cloves.  De-stem and de-seed the Serrano chiles.  Using a blender or food processor, add the tomatoes, onions, garlic cloves, and Serrano chiles and pulse until desired consistency (I like mine a little chunky). Place the salsa puree in a medium saucepan, add maple syrup, bring to a simmer and cook 10 – 15 minutes.  Prep the peppers. 

Remove the skin from each pepper.  Make a slit down one side, and carefully remove the seeds.  Stuff the peppers with the potato mixture, and serve with the tomato salsa. 

Felicia Cocotzin Ruiz, LLC ©

 

 

 

FRIDA WATER

Delicate and refreshing, this pink tinted tea, using the purple and/or pink leaves of the bugambilia plant, can be served like an iced tea, sweetened with honey and a squeeze of lime.  Or, you can serve it hot as a "remedio", used for "tos y mas", like many Mexican grandmothers suggest. 

The bugambilia plant (which goes by many spellings), is native to South America, and is one of my favorites outdoor plants because of their beautiful vibrant pink leaves. When I was a child, my parents had huge bushes of these growing in our yard.  I would get all scratched up from the thorns trying to cut "flowers" for my braids and for my mom's massive altar.  It wasn't until I was a teenager did I learn that my favorite artist, Frida Kahlo, would adorn her hair with them, which made me love them even more.  

 

FRIDA WATER

4 Cups boiling water

4 Large handfuls of rinsed bugambilia *flowers

A few thin slices of fresh ginger

Honey to taste

Lime to taste

 

Place the bugambilia flowers and ginger in a large measuring cup.  Pour boiling water over the flowers and ginger, steep for at least ten minutes.  Add honey and lime.  Allow to cool, strain over ice. 

*Bugambilia flowers are actually the tiny (generally white) flowers surrounded by the specialized, colorful leaves.  You do not have to remove the inner flower for the tea. 

 

Felicia Cocotzin Ruiz, LLC ©

SALSA DE GUAJES/HUAXIN

As the end of May approaches here in Phoenix, guajes (from the Nahuatl word huaxin), are showing up in the Mexican markets. These tasty little seeds grow on trees indigenous to Mexico, which means they can even be found growing in California and Texas ;)  They are uniquely green and earthy in flavor, with nuances of pepitas, garlic, and pistachios. 

The seeds can be eaten raw, toasted, and even dried, then ground into a meal. Today I am preparing them very simply to be eaten as a salsa, perfect for warm corn tortillas, eggs if you eat them, or scooped into a bowl of homemade frijoles de la olla (beans from the pot).  

Be forewarned: It is time consuming to shell the seeds from the pods, so plan accordingly, it is worth it. 

 

INGREDIENTS

1 large handful of guaje pods, shelled, yielding about 1/2 cup seeds

4 medium size tomatillos, husked and rinsed

2 - 4 serrano chiles, depending on your heat preference (I used 4)

1/4 tsp. garlic powder

sea salt to taste

 

MISE EN PLACE

Using a comal or a cast iron skillet placed on medium-high heat, roast the tomatillos and chiles until slightly charred. This only takes about five minutes. Using tongs, be sure to turn the tomatillos and chiles so they roast evenly.  Put aside on a plate to cool.

Using the same comal/skillet, toast the guaje seeds, stirring constantly so they do not burn. This only takes a minute or so.  (Once they begin to pop, I take them off the heat).  Place on a small plate to cool.

Once the tomatillos are cool to touch, cut into quarters.  Once the chiles are cool to touch, remove the stems. 

Place the tomatillos, chiles, guajes, and garlic powder in a food processor or blender.  Pulse until you have a thick salsa.  If you have a molcajete as I do,  work in batches to grind your ingredients down to desired consistency.  Salt to taste. 

Add-ons: lime juice, cumin, pepitas, onion, jalapeños.

Felicia Cocotzin Ruiz, LLC ©

 

 

 

 

 

BLUE CORN POSOLE WITH TEPARY BEANS

The following recipe is from the cooking demonstration I presented at the Pueblo Grande Museum in Phoenix, Arizona for their annual Auxiliary Indian Market.  For us desert people, the cold wind that weekend got into our bones, making the posole a tasty hit for everyone wanting to warm up. 

INGREDIENTS

2 cups dried *blue corn posole                                                                              

4 New Mexican red chile pods, stems and seeds removed                              

6 cups vegetable broth                                                                                           

4 cloves garlic, minced                                                                                              

1 white onion, diced                                                                                      

1 teaspoon Mexican oregano                                                                                 

1 cup **tepary beans (white, brown, or black)

sea salt to taste                                                      

 

MISE EN PLACE

Cook blue corn posole: In a medium sized pot, cover posole with plenty of water and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and cook until tender, about 2 hours. Drain.                                                                

Cook tepary beans: In medium sized pot, cover tepary beans with plenty of water and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and cook until tender, about 2 hours. Drain.                                                               

In a large pot, heat sunflower oil and sauté the onion until translucent.  Add minced garlic and sauté for one more minute. Add the cooked posole, the dried chiles, cooked tepary           beans, and vegetable broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes.                   

Salt to taste.

Serve with warm corn tortillas.

 

*Blue Corn Posole can be found here, if you cannot find it locally: http://www.newmexicanconnection.com/newmexicodryposole.aspx

**Tepary Beans can be found here, if you cannot find them locally: ramonafarms.com      

 

Felicia Cocotzin Ruiz, LLC ©                                                                                        

SUN SEED PORRIDGE

2 SERVINGS

SUN SEED PORRIDGE IS PACKED WITH IRON, CALCIUM, PROTEIN, AND ESSENTIAL AMINO ACIDS!

INGREDIENTS

1/4 C. amaranth seeds

1/4 C. chia seeds

1/4 C. quinoa seeds

2 1/4 C. water

MISE EN PLACE

Combine all of the ingredients in a small pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for about 20 minutes, until the seeds are fluffy and the water is absorbed.  

Enjoy with maple syrup, fresh fruit, nuts, and your choice of milk. I love mine with hemp milk :) 

 

Felicia Cocotzin Ruiz, LLC ©

 

FIRE STATION #12 CHILI & LIME WALNUT TACOS

Chili Lime Walnut Tacos

Makes 4 hearty tacos with lots of protein minus the bad cholesterol.

 

INGREDIENTS

1 head of romaine lettuce OR 2 small bundles of collard greens

 

WALNUT FILLING

2 cups raw walnuts

2 tablespoons jarred sundried tomatoes (in olive oil)

1 tablespoons ground cumin

1 tablespoon ground coriander

2 teaspoons chili powder

½ tsp. garlic powder

dash black ground pepper

¼ tsp. sea salt

 

ACCOMPANIMENTS

Avocados, sliced

Cherry tomatoes, cut in half

Purple cabbage, thinly sliced

Lime wedges

 

Wash and drain the greens and set aside.

Place all of the walnut filling ingredients in a food processor. Pulse several times until crumbly, making sure not to over blend. Spread the walnut taco “meat” on the leaves in 4 equal servings. Serve with avocados, tomatoes, and lots of lime.

 

Felicia Cocotzin Ruiz, LLC © 

YUCCA FLOWERS SAUTÉED IN AVOCADO OIL

When your neighbor Maria, originally from Guadalajara, gifts you fresh yucca flowers...you get teary eyed. At least I did.  These edible flowers are perfect lightly sautéed and served just so, or tossed into other dishes for a unique flavor reminiscent of artichokes. 

Word of the Day: Iczoxochitl: Yucca flower in Nahuatl

 

YUCCA FLOWERS SAUTÉED IN AVOCADO OIL

 

 INGREDIENTS

1 C. fresh yucca flowers, rinsed and patted dry

1 T. Avocado oil

Sea salt

 

MISE EN PLACE

In a medium sauté pan, warm avocado oil on medium heat. Carefully add yucca flowers, being cautious of oil that may spatter from any water that may be on the petals. Stir gently until the flowers just begin to change color. Season with sea salt. 

 

 

 

 

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CHIMALXOCHITL WITH LIME: SUNFLOWER SEED PESTO WITH LIME

Chimalxochitl, Nahuatl for "shield-flower", is one of my absolute favorite flowers. Indigenous to Mexico, these flowers have always captured my curiosity, especially when dried. I love to look at the geometric spiraling seed patterns in the "shield" of the flower.  Their nutty earthy flavor pairs up nicely with lots of fresh lime. 

INGREDIENTS

1 C. raw sunflower seeds, soaked in water for one hour, then strained

1 large handful fresh basil leaves (about 1 cup)

2 limes, juiced

1/2 tsp. sea salt

1 T. olive oil OR avocado oil

1/4 tsp. garlic powder

1 -2 T. water

 

MISE EN PLACE

Place all of the ingredients, except water, in a blender and pulse until smooth, scraping down sides of the blender if necessary. Add the water, a little at a time, until you achieve your desired consistency. 

This bright pesto can be used to replace traditional pesto in pastas, or use it in your favorite sandwiches! I personally love it on avocado toast :)  Thin it out with more water, and you have a great dressing for your greens. 

 

Felicia Cocotzin Ruiz, LLC ©

 

 

 

SIMPLE SAUTÉED NOPALES WITH TOMATOES

 

INGREDIENTS

 

1 lb. *nopales (prickly pear cactus paddles) that have been de-spined, chopped

Sunflower oil

1/2 red onion, roughly chopped

1 jalapeño pepper, stem and seeds removed, chopped

1 medium tomato, roughly chopped

Salt and pepper

 

MISE EN PLACE

Heat a tablespoon of sunflower oil (enough to coat the bottom of the pan) in a large sauté pan on medium high heat. Add red onion and jalapeño. Cook for a minute, stirring occasionally, and then add the nopales. Cook for several more minutes. Then add the chopped tomato. Continue to cook until all vegetables are cooked through. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

 

*Fresh nopales can be found in most Mexican markets.

 

 

PINK GRAPEFRUIT WITH ROASTED CARROTS, AVOCADO, AND MANGO

Citrus is thriving right now in Phoenix, so I decided to pick some grapefruit from my friend's tree, and attempt to use every part of the fruit.  What resulted was a bright, refreshing salad that made me think of being in Miami.

The salad does take a bit of prep work, however, when you are all finished, you'll want to relax, play your favorite Cuban music, and imagine being on vacation.  

SALAD

2 lbs. carrots, peeled and sliced into ¼ inch rounds

1 avocado, peeled and diced into large chunks

1 pink grapefruit, peeled, seeded and segmented

1 mango, peeled and diced into large chunks

¼ C. raw cashews

olive oil

salt and pepper

 

DRESSING

¼ C. + 2 Tbsp. olive oil

1 pink grapefruit, zested and juiced

1 tsp. raw honey or pure maple syrup

¼ C. Italian parsley, minced

1 Tbsp. raw apple cider vinegar

1 ½ tsp. ground coriander seed

salt and pepper to taste

 

MISE EN PLACE

In a 450 degree oven, roast carrot rounds by placing them on a baking sheet with a drizzle of olive oil to lightly coat.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper, roast for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside in a medium bowl.

Place the olive oil, grapefruit zest, 4 Tbsp. of grapefruit juice, honey or maple syrup, minced parsley, apple cider vinegar, ground coriander, and salt and pepper in a glass jar with a lid.  Shake well.

Pour ½ of the dressing mixture over the roasted carrots and gently stir. Arrange dressed carrots onto a large plate or platter. Add the diced avocado, diced mango, and segmented grapefruit over the carrots.  Finish with reserved dressing and top with raw cashews.

SUBSTITUTIONS AND ADD ONS

Substitute other citrus fruit such as tangelos or naval oranges for pink grapefruit.

Substitute peaches or nectarines for mango.

Substitute Marcona almonds for raw cashews.

Add baby mixed greens.

Add thinly sliced kale. 

 

Felicia Cocotzin Ruiz, LLC

HIBISCUS FLOWER AND DELICATA SQUASH SALAD

This fall recipe has everything I like: tart, savory, and sweet flavors all combined in one mouthful. For that tart element, I sautéed steeped hibiscus flowers in a little butter, and then finished them off with a touch of honey.

Hibiscus flowers are readily available in most Mexican food stores, usually sold in bulk as "Flor de Jamaica".  Although not indigenous to Mexico, Flor de Jamaica grows well in the tropic regions, and is now mainly used to make aguas frescas. Mmmmm. 

Side note: it's the sepals, not the petals that are used and sold...so the end result in this recipe is a chewy, tart, sweet morsel of vitamin C! Combined with two indigenous fall ingredients, squash and pepitas (pumpkin seeds), the salad really pops with color and is quite beautiful. *If you are vegan, simply omit the butter and honey. 

SALAD

1 Delicata squash, halved crosswise seeded, and cut into ½ inch slices

½ cup raw pepitas

1 pomegranate, seeded

6 cups spring greens

1 cup dried hibiscus flowers

6 cups water

1 Tbsp. butter

2 tsp. honey

olive oil

salt/pepper

 

DRESSING

Juice of 2 limes

1 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar

½ cup olive oil

salt/pepper

 

MISE EN PLACE

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large bowl, toss squash slices with 1 Tbsp. olive oil. Season with salt and pepper, place on baking sheet in one layer and roast 30 minutes.

Adjust heat to 350 degrees. On a baking sheet, spread raw pepitas in one layer and sprinkle with sea salt. Roast for 5 minutes. Alternatively, you could roast pepitas on a comal or in a heavy bottom skillet.

Bring water to a boil, add hibiscus flowers and remove from heat. Steep for 10 minutes.  Strain flowers and set aside along with 1/4 of the tea.

In a sauté pan, melt 1 Tbsp. butter. Add rehydrated hibiscus flowers and toss to coat. Add your reserved tea to the pan along with 2 tsp. honey and simmer until it has all liquid has been absorbed. Set aside to cool.

Place all dressing ingredients in a small jar and shake well.

In a large bowl add the spring greens, roasted squash, hibiscus flowers, pomegranate seeds, and gently toss with dressing. Season with salt and pepper, top with pepitas.

Felicia Cocotzin Ruiz, LLC ©

QUINOA WITH CHILE MANZANO AND GREENS

When my sister lived in Peru, she would tell me about the simplicity of the local food of the region, stressing how fresh and flavorful it was. Actually, anyone I've talked to that has travelled to Peru, has said that Peruvian food is some of the tastiest food they have ever experienced!  So, it doesn't surprise me that quinoa, and other Andean staples have become so popular over the past ten years. I want to honor this ancestral food, with a simple preparation, using Swiss chard, amaranth leaves, and a little heat from a chile manzano.  If you cannot find amaranth leaves, simply use more chard, or substitute with fresh spinach. 

 

INGREDIENTS

4 garlic cloves, mashed to a paste

1 chile *Manzano, seeded and coarsely minced

6 leaves of red Swiss chard, coarsely chopped, stems cut into 1/4-inch slices

small handful of fresh **amaranth leaves, coarsely chopped

2 cups quinoa, rinsed

4 tablespoons olive oil

salt/pepper

MISE EN PLACE

First, prepare the quinoa:

In a large saucepan, combine quinoa with 8 cups of water. Bring to a boil. Lower the heat, and simmer, uncovered for about 10 minutes. Drain very well and set aside. 

In a large sauté pan, warm the olive oil on medium heat. Add the garlic and sauté until just golden, about 30 seconds. Add the onion and chiles and cook until the onion is soft and slightly golden, about 6 - 7 minutes. Add the Swiss chard and amaranth leaves, and cook until tender, about 7 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat and stir in the cooked quinoa. If you have any leftovers, it tastes even better the next day! 

Sinchi wiksayuq, kusi sunquyuq   

"Full stomach, happy heart" - Quechua Proverb

 

 

*chile manzanos can be found at many Mexican grocery stores. 

**Look for amaranth leaves at your local farmer's market or Asian grocery stores. The amaranth I used for this recipe was Hopi Red Amaranth from my backyard. 

 

Felicia Cocotzin Ruiz, LLC ©

 

WHITE TEPARY BEAN, FENNEL, AND CHOLLA BUD SOUP

An amazingly hearty, light, and delicious vegetarian soup prefect for any time of year (for a vegan version just omit the cheese garnish.)

INGREDIENTS

1 teaspoon, olive oil
1 fennel/anise with fronds, bulbs sliced, fronds for garnish
1 yellow onion, thinly sliced
1 cup white tepary beans*, cooked
1 head of garlic, roasted** then pureed
1/2 cup of cholla buds*, cooked
1 small bunch of verdolagas/purslane, or any seasonal greens
juice of one lemon
lemon wedge for garnish
1 quart vegetable stock
Grated parmesan for serving 

MISE EN PLACE

Place the olive oil in a stockpot. Sautee the fennel and onions till softened.
Add the stock, beans, pureed roasted garlic, and cooked cholla buds. Let simmer to combine the flavors. Add the greens and cook until wilted. Add the lemon juice. Garnish with a tablespoon of cheese, lemon wedge and a fennel frond per serving.

Serves 4


*Dried cholla cactus buds are available from Tohono O’odham Community Action/TOCA, www.tocaonline.org

**To roast garlic, cut an unpeeled garlic head in half. Drizzle with olive oil. Place in heavy tin foil and wrap tightly. Roast in a 400degree oven until soft and caramelized – about 30 minutes. Remove from foil and squeeze out the roasted garlic.

 

Felicia Cocotzin Ruiz, LLC ©

ANCHO CHILE AND DRIED FIG SALSA

Ancho chiles have a deep, fruity flavor…the perfect compliment to figs! This recipe is from the "Cooking With Figs" class I taught recently at the beautiful Desert Botanical Garden here in Phoenix. 

INGREDIENTS

1 small head of garlic

6 dried figs

3 Tbsp. olive oil

juice of one lemon

2 oz. dried ancho chiles (about three chiles)

3 Tbsp. mild honey

1/4 - 1/2 cup hot water

MISE EN PLACE

Preheat oven to 400F

Slice the garlic head in half to expose the cloves and drizzle with 1/2 Tbsp. of olive oil.  Wrap the garlic together in foil and bake in the middle of the oven until tender and fragrant, about 30 - 40 minutes. Cool.

While the garlic is roasting, toast the chiles on a heavy skillet over moderate heat, turning until fragrant, about 1 minute.  In a medium size bowl, soak the whole toasted chiles and figs in hot (boiling) water until softened, about 20 minutes.  Once rehydrated, remove the chiles and figs, reserving the soaking water.  Remove the stems and seeds from the chiles, set aside. 

Squeeze the garlic from the skins into a food processor or blender and puree with the chiles, figs, lemon juice, honey, 2 Tbsp. olive oil, and salt to taste.  If the salsa is too thick, add the reserved hot water to thin out to desired consistency.  

This is a very thick, unique, and flavorful salsa that can be used as the base to many different sauces.  It works well as a marinade for fish, chicken, or my favorite, roasted vegetables! You can incorporate plain yogurt to make a light sandwich spread, or create a dressing by the addition of more acid such as lime juice or vinegar. Be creative!

Felicia Cocotzin Ruiz, LLC ©