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Mexico Inspired Recipes

Recipes Inspired by Mexico
Escabeche- Mexican Pickled Veggies

Delicious, spicy, with an almost pickled flavor, these fresh vegetables are the perfect accompaniment to any Mexican meal!

Escabeche in the Riviera Maya 




1 Tablespoon black peppercorns

2 teaspoons allspice berries

2 teaspoon coriander seeds

1 teaspoon whole cloves

1 Cup extra -virgin olive oil

I medium onion, sliced

10 peeled cloves of garlic or two whole heads with the tops cut off

I head of cauliflower broken into small pieces

3 medium carrots cut into thin rounds

1 habanero pepper or 2 jalapeños sliced

2 1-2 cups distilled white vinegar

6 bay leaves

2 Tablespoons dried oregano

1 Tablespoon salt

1 teaspoon cumin seeds





Bundle the peppercorns, allspice berries, coriander seeds and whole cloves in a double layer of cheesecloth, to make a small seasoning bag.  (a stainless-steel tea ball works too!)


Heat the oil in a pot over medium heat.  Add the sliced onion and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft- about 5 minutes.  Add cauliflower, carrots, and habanero (or jalapeños) cook , stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender-crisp, about 7-9 minutes.  Stir in the vinegar, bay leaves, oregano, salt, cumin seeds and the spice bundle and cook all together for about 2 minutes more.


Let cool for at least 15 minutes before transferring to a large nonreactive bowl (glass, stainless-steel, or enamel-coated).  Refrigerate, stirring occasionally, until cool- about 2 hours.  Serve using a slotted spoon to leave behind the excess oil.


Enjoy with totopos (corn tortilla chips) as an appetizer or as a garnish on the side of your favorite Mexican dishes.



Ginger, Lime, Spice and Everything Nice
Here in the Riviera Maya- it's HOT!  One of our favorite ways to cool off is with a delicious sweet, frozen treat.  Paletas or as you may know them, Popsicles are made with fresh fruit, and plenty of SPICE!  Try this Mexican inspired paleta recipe... Sweet, spicy and refreshing all at the same time!




1 cup water

1 cup fresh ginger, chopped (1 small bulb)

2 serranos, sliced with seeds

1 cone piloncillo (raw Mexican sugar), shaved (about 1 1/4 cups)

Juice of 6 limes (about 1 cup)

1 small pineapple, chopped (about 6 cups)




Combine water, ginger, and serranos in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and stir in piloncillo until melted. Allow to cook down until reduced by half, about 20 minutes. Strain, reserving syrup.

Combine lime juice, pineapple, and ginger-serrano syrup in a blender and puree until smooth. Pour into molds and allow to freeze 4 hours or more.

Run frozen molds under hot water for a few seconds to loosen before eating.


Pan de Elote- Mexican Sweet Corn Cake
Pan de Elote is similar to the Southwestern treat, Cornbread, but it is much sweeter and is usually served alone as a dessert; however, there are those here in Mexico that prefer to serve this delicious sweet treat topped with Mexican Creama and strips of Chile Poblano.  Whip up a delicious Pan de Elote to serve to dinner guests along with a hot steaming cup of coffee!

Pan de Elote

4 eggs, yolks and egg whites separated
½ cup all purpose flour
1 stick of butter - 1/2 cup
¾ cup sugar
1 tsp. of baking powder
5 cups of corn kernels

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Grease and lightly flour a 13 x 9 x 2-inch baking pan (or two 9 x 1 1/2-inch roundpans). Set aside.

Place corn in your blender and mix until you have a creamy chunky texture.

In a mixing bowl cream the butter using and electric hand mixer. Add sugar, egg yolks and continuing beating. Then mix into the corn mixture the baking powder and flour.

In a separate bowl, using a hand mixer, whip the egg whites until glossy and firm. Add 1/4 of the egg whites mixture to the corn batter. Continue to add the whites by thirds, folding very gently.

Pour the mixture into the prepared baking pan.

Bake in the oven for 1 hour or until a wooden pick inserted near center of cake comes out clean, or until cake springs back when touched lightly in the center.
It will have a nice golden color when done.

Pan De Elote

Buen Provecho!

Chongos Zamoranos- a Traditional Mexican Dessert

Chongos Zamoranos is a delicious dessert with a custard-like consistency.  When refrigeration was difficult and milk was fresh delivered or bought at the market instead of the supermarket, it would often spoil.  This recipe gives spoiled milk a use, so as not to waste it.  It's like up-cycling food!  Here is bisabuela's~ great-grandma's recipe.  Try it!  You just might like it!!

Sweet Deliciousness 


Leave milk to spoil for about two days.  You will see that the milk fat starts to separate.  When this separation begins and before there is a very distinct border to the separated parts, put the milk on the stove and bring to a boil with a stick of cinamon.  Add sugar to taste (about 1 cup per liter of milk).  Stir and move the mixture back and forth with a wooden spoon until it thikens and forms the Chongos- curds or clumps.  Let cool and serve.  For best results prepare this dish in a clay pot or earthenware casserole, but it will also turn out just fine if prepared in any pan.
¡Buen provecho!
Homemade Flour Tortillas

No Mexican meal is complete without TORTILLAS!  Tortillas are a staple of the Mexican diet.  They are easy enough to make, but require a bit of practice to turn out pretty, round and as evenly thin as abuelita (grandma) makes them!   Try it for yourself!

This recipe makes about 2 dozen tortillas so you will have enough for everyone and maybe even some leftover to make chiliaquiles or huevos rancheros for breakfast the next day!


Flour Tortillas 



4 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons baking powder

2 tablespoons lard  ***NO substitutions!! 

1 1/2 cups water



Whisk the flour, salt, and baking powder together in a mixing bowl. Mix in the lard with your fingers until the flour resembles cornmeal.

Add the 11/2 cups of water to the mixture and mix until the dough comes together.

Place the dough on a lightly floured surface and knead for a few minutes until it becomes smooth and elastic.

Divide the dough into 24 equal pieces and roll each piece into a ball.

Preheat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Use a well-floured rolling pin to roll a dough ball into a thin, round tortilla or you can use a traditional tortilla press, if you happen to have one laying around! 

Place the raw tortilla onto the hot skillet, and cook until bubbly and golden; flip and continue cooking until golden on the other side as well.

Place the cooked tortilla in a tortilla warmer; continue rolling and cooking the remaining dough.


Ta-Da!  Fresh, homemade flour tortillas for your family to enjoy!  ¡Felicidades!  Now you are cooking like a real Señora!

Cool and Refreshing Mexican Horchata

Mexican Horchata is one of the staple Aguas Frescas or fresh water- freshly made sweet, cold beverages. This traditional beverage sweetened, rice-water beverage is a wonderful accompaniment to any spicy meal as its cool, refreshing flavor help to put out the fire in your mouth from Mexico's other traditional favorite- chilies!


Horchata can be made from a liquid concentrated syrup available in many Mexican markets and the international section of various grocery stores, but since it is so easy to make and MUCH more delicious when made fresh, there really is no reason not to make it from scratch!


2 quarts water

1 cup long grain rice, rinsed

1/2 cup white sugar 

1 cinnamon stick, broken into pieces

1 teaspoon vanilla (optional)



In a large saucepan, combine rice, water and cinnamon stick. Set aside for 3 hours.

After 3 hours, bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 30 minutes. Allow to cool.

Puree rice mixture in a blender until smooth. Strain through cheesecloth or a fine sieve. Flavor with vanilla and sugar to taste. Chill, and serve over ice.

Tepache: Homemade Happy Hour

Tepache is a easy to make, slightly carbonated, alcoholic beverage made from fermented pineapple.  It is very refreshing on a hot day severed by itself with ice or with a  squeeze of fresh lime and a dash of hot sauce!  Gearing up for summer means getting ready to make Tepache!  Imagine how proud you will be when you announce to your friends that you can make your own home-made pineapple brew!

 Tepache Recipe

One of the best things about making Tepache is that it is made out of the skin from the pineapple, which would normally be wasted: waste not want not, and get wasted!  


The skin from 1 pineapple with some fruit on it (enough to get all the eyes)
16oz of Piloncillo  (subsitute brown sugar or raw sugar)
4 quarts of drinking water
1 beer- preferable Dos XX or any lager you prefer

Dissolve the sugar in 4 quarts of water.  If you are using Mexican piloncillo cones, dissolve over heat and cool to less than 100º F.  While the sugar water is still warm, transfer it into a non-corrosive container with a lid- not metal, glazed ceramic is the traditional choice in Mexico but a food grade plastic container will work just as well.  Add the pineapple skin.  Cover and let sit in a warm spot in the kitchen for 3-4 days. 

***Warning*** at this stage it will look terrible and you be sure that you ruined it- that is exactly what is should look like.  It will be a frothy, fermenting, white moldy mess.  At this point, pour in the beer.  Cover it again and let it sit for another 24 hours.  

Strain and serve! 

*For more flavor you can add cloves, all spice berries and cinnamon sticks to the mixture before fermentation. 




Flan: Tradition Mexican Custard With Caramel Sauce

Flan is a delicious custard caramel dessert typical of the Mexican kitchen.  This delightful dessert is easy to make, but there is a trick or two, to master the art of perfect flan making. Once you get the hang of it, flan is sure to be one of your favorites!!

Mexican Flan 

Carmel Sauce-

Sugar can be cooked two ways: "wet" or "dry." Wet cooking is the easier method, because it gives you greater control over the degree of caramelization.

  • Sugar and water are brought to a boil; the water boils away and the sugar changes from pale gold to amber to brown.
  • You can stir the pan to help dissolve the sugar, but stop stirring once the mixture boils.

Dry cooking usually involves adding an acid, such as lemon juice, to keep the sugar from crystallizing.

  • Toss the lemon juice with the sugar until it's the consistency of wet sand.
  • Heat the sugar until it melts. Don't stir, which promotes crystallization--the caramel will seize up and be grainy, not clear--but you may swirl the pan slightly to help redistribute any sugar that's starting to brown.

For either method, as soon as the caramel reaches a deep golden brown, remove it from the heat and pour it into the dish or dishes in which you will be baking the flan. (It will continue to cook once you pull it off the heat, so don't let it get too dark or the caramel will taste bitter and burnt.) Be very careful to avoid burns.


Some recipes call for sweetened condensed milk while others use cream or whole milk. A flan made with sweetened condensed milk will be slightly denser than one made with milk or cream. Likewise, flan made with milk rather than cream will be slightly lighter than a cream-based custard. Experiment with different ingredients and recipes to find the one that suits your tastes.

  • Place the milk, solid flavoring--vanilla bean, cinnamon stick, citrus zest--and sugar into a large saucepan. (Liqueurs and extracts are added after the mixture cooks).
  • Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally.
  • While the milk mixture heats, whisk the eggs until pale yellow. Don't over-mix the eggs: you don't want the eggs to become foamy, because the air bubbles affect the texture of the finished product.
  • In a slow stream, pour the hot milk mixture into the bowl of eggs, whisking constantly.
  • Pour the custard base through a fine mesh strainer into a clean bowl to ensure a silky smooth texture in your flan.
  • Stir in extract or other flavorings.
  • Divide the custard equally between your caramel-coated dish or ramekins.


Baking custards in a water bath is crucial, due to their delicate nature. The water insulates the custard and keeps it from cooking too fast, which causes cracks in the finished flan and a rubbery texture. Lay a dishtowel on the bottom of a roasting pan, place the flan dish or dishes on top of the towel, and then fill the pan with boiling water about halfway up the sides of the custard cups.

The flan is ready to be removed from the oven when it has begun to set. Gently shake the pan: the centers of the custard should jiggle slightly. You can also insert the tip of a knife into the custard near the center; if the flan is still liquid, it needs more time in the oven. When the flan has begun to set, remove the roasting pan from the oven, being very careful not to spill the hot water. Let the flan cool while sitting in the water bath, until the ramekins are cool enough to handle. Refrigerate before serving.



The caramel, which set up hard in the bottom of the dish, will have softened due to the moisture in the custard. You should be able to slip each custard out of its cup with ease: run a butter knife or the tip of a paring knife around the edge of the ramekin to release the flan.  Invert a small dessert plate over the ramekin, turn it over, and gently remove the dish. You should have a creamy, picture-perfect flan crowned with a syrupy golden caramel.


1 cup white sugar
1 cup whole milk
1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
3 eggs
3 egg yolks
1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1 tablespoon grated orange peel
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 cup heavy cream


Place sugar in a heavy saucepan over medium-high heat, and cook, stirring constantly, until the sugar melts and turns a golden amber color, about 10 minutes. Watch carefully once syrup begins to change color, because it burns easily. Carefully pour the melted sugar syrup into a flan mold. Let cool.


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

Pour whole milk, sweetened condensed milk, eggs, egg yolks, orange juice, orange peel, vanilla extract, and cornstarch into a blender, and blend for a minute or so, until the mixture is smooth. Pour in the cream, and pulse several times to incorporate the cream. Pour the mixture over the cooled caramel syrup in the flan mold.

Line a roasting pan with a damp kitchen towel. Place the flan mold on the towel, inside roasting pan, and place roasting pan on oven rack. Fill roasting pan with boiling water to reach halfway up the sides of the baking dish.

Bake in the preheated oven until the center of the flan is set but still slightly jiggly when moved, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Let the flan cool, then refrigerate for at least 4 hours. To serve, run a sharp paring knife around the inside of the mold to release the flan. Invert a plate on the mold, flip the mold over, and gently remove the mold to un-mold the flan and reveal the syrupy caramel topping.





Lisa Love Juliot Lisa Love Juliot walked across the California, Mexico border with a backpack and the intent to travel all of Mexico and Central America.  Eight years later, her journeys continue throughout the Riviera Maya and Yucatan Penninsula.  She currently resides in Playa del Carmen and spends her time exploring this magical area.   She enjoys working for BuyPlaya, a local Playa del Carmen real estate company as the Social Media Community Manager.  A long time blogger and travel writer, sociologist at heart and amateur photographer she is enthusiastic about Mexico travel and culture.  Follow Lisa on Twitter and Facebook/BuyPlaya to find out more about her adventures, events in the Mexican Caribbean and information about living in Playa del Carmen.


Rosca de Reyes

January the 6th is a special day in Mexico. Known as 'El Dia de Reyes' (Three Kings Day), this holiday represents the height of the Christmas season. The date marks the culmination of the twelve days of Christmas and commemorates the three wise men who traveled from afar, bearing gifts for the infant baby Jesus.

Rosca de Reyes is a pastry that is traditionally eaten on this day! Although it is not an easy recipe and takes about a total of 2h15 to complete, it is well worth it!



  • 1 (1/4-ounce) packet active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup warm water
  • 1/4 cup dried figs, cut into strips, plus more for garnish
  • 1/4 cup candied orange peel, cut into strips, plus more for garnish
  • 1/4 cup candied lemon peel, cut into strips, plus more for garnish
  • 1/4 cup chopped candied cherries, plus more whole for garnish
  • 2 tablespoons light rum
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 1/2 to 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 large eggs, divided
  • Water


In a small bowl, combine the yeast and warm water; stir to blend. Let stand until the yeast comes alive and starts to foam, about 5 to 10 minutes.

Put all of the candied fruit in small bowl and drizzle the rum on top. Let stand for 15 minutes to 1 hour to infuse the flavor.

In a small pot, warm the milk over medium heat. Add the sugar, butter, vanilla, cinnamon, and salt.

In a large bowl, mix 3 1/2 cups flour, 2 eggs, yeast mixture, milk mixture, and the rum soaked candied fruits, mixing very well until the dough gathers into a ball. If the dough is too wet, add additional flour, a little at a time, if needed to form soft dough. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until it's smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. Put the ball of dough back into the bowl and cover with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel and set aside in a warm spot to rise for 1 hour.

Remove the dough from the bowl and knead on a lightly floured surface. Using your palms, roll the dough into a long rope. Shape the coil into a ring, sealing the ends together. Insert a little doll or coin into the bread from the bottom, if desired. Line a baking pan with aluminum foil and coat with nonstick cooking spray. Carefully transfer the dough ring to the prepared baking pan.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Beat the remaining egg in a small bowl with 1 tablespoon of water to make an egg wash, and brush the top of the bread. Decoratively garnish the top of the bread with more candied fruit and bake for 35 to 40 minutes until the cake is golden.

Cool on a wire rack before slicing.

Makes approx. 8 servings

Cook's Note: Let your guests know there is a little doll or coin inserted inside.





Emmanuelle Grenier is the Social Media Community Manager for BuyPlaya. She is currently studying Public Relations with the University of Victoria, BC.  Ema decided to move to Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo 9 months ago to satisfy her thirst for adventure. With a passion for travel and meeting people, this is the perfect occasion for her to learn about different cultures and personally grow.  She is ecstatic to have the opportunity to interact and explore this paradise she now calls home. Follow Ema's expat exploits on Facebook Google+ and the social media sites for www.buyplaya.com.

Romeritos in Mole

Here in Mexico, this dish is particularly popular in December, March and April. During these months, it's very easy to find romeritos, a wild plant which has sprigs somewhat resembling rosemary, but which has a delicate taste closest to that of baby spinach. If you can't find romeritos where you are, you can substitute fresh baby spinach, although the final presentation might look a bit different. Other versions of this dish feature dried prawn patties, but we've made it a little simpler here by just including dried prawns. Enjoy this traditional dish from Central Mexico!



  • 2 lbs. Small Potatoes
  • 1 lb. Peapods
  • 1 lb. Green Beans
  • 2 Cups Nopal (Prickly Pear Cactus) Leaves, chopped
  • 1 to 2 lbs. Romeritos (Fresh Baby Spinach may be substituted)
  • 1/2 lb. Pre-made Mole Paste
  • 100 grams Whole Almonds
  • 100 grams Sesame Seeds, toasted
  • 100 grams Powdered Chocolate or 1 Tablet Abuelita Brand Chocolate
  • 2 Tablespoons Powdered Chicken Bouillon
  • 300 grams Dried Prawns
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive or Vegetable Oil


  • Boil the potatoes until tender, drain, and set aside to cool.
  • Once the potatoes have cooled, remove the skins, and cut into halves.
  • Steam or boil the peapods until cooked through. Drain and cool, but reserve the water.
  • When the peapods have cooled, remove the peas and discard the pods.
  • Steam the green beans until done, then set aside to cool. Again, reserve the water.
  • Once the green beans have cooled, coarsely chop them.
  • Boil or steam the chopped nopal cactus until tender, then set aside. Reserve the water.
  • Season the romeritos (or baby spinach) lightly with salt and simmer until softened. Drain and reserve the water.
  • Break up the mole paste into smaller pieces using your hand.
  • Measure out and prepare the almonds, toasted sesame seeds, and chocolate.
  • To make chicken broth, add the chicken bouillon powder to 1 quart of the water reserved from the steamed peapods, green beans, nopal, and romeritos. If you don't have enough reserved water, just add fresh hot water. Meanwhile, measure out and prepare the dried prawns.
  • Remove the heads and tails from the prawns and peel them.
  • Set aside the prawns.
  • Place the heads, tails, skins and about 2 cups of water in a small saucepan set over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, then reduce and simmer 10 minutes.
  • Pour this mixture into a blender and combine until smooth. Then strain the purée through a sieve to remove any fragments.
  • Pour this strained mixture back into the blender and add the mole, almonds, sesame seeds, chocolate, and 2 cups of the chicken broth. Blend until smooth. Pour this into a large pot containing the 2 tablespoons of oil and set over medium-high heat. "Rinse" the blender with the remaining chicken broth and pour it into the pot.
  • Bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Add the prawns and reduce heat to low.
  • Cover and simmer about 15 minutes, stirring often. Add an additional cup of water so the sauce is not too thick, and stir to mix well. Then add the steamed chopped green beans to the mole sauce.
  • Add the peas.
  • Add the chopped and steamed nopal cactus.
  • Top with the steamed romeritos.
  • Add the skinned and halved potatoes and mix to combine well. Remove from heat.

Serve with fresh bread, such as Telera or French bread - great for mopping up the mole!

Buen Provecho!




Ema Grenier 

Emmanuelle Grenier is the Social Media Community Manager for BuyPlaya. She is currently studying Public Relations with the University of Victoria, BC.  Ema decided to move to Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo 7 months ago to satisfy her thirst for adventure. With a passion for travel and meeting people, this is the perfect occasion for her to learn about different cultures and personally grow.  She is ecstatic to have the opportunity to interact and explore this paradise she now calls home. Follow Ema's expat exploits on Facebook Google+ and the social media sites for www.buyplaya.com.


Make your own Churros

These Mexican fritters are very common at fairs. In my border hometown, the line at this stand is always overwhelming. People wait hours in line just to get a taste of these churros.



Original recipe makes 4 servings

  • 1 cup water
  • 2 ½ tablespoons white sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 cup all-propose flour
  • 2 quarts oil for frying
  • ½ cup white sugar, or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon


  1. In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine water, 2 1/2 tablespoons sugar, salt and 2 tablespoons vegetable oil. Bring to a boil and remove from heat. Stir in flour until mixture forms a ball.
  2. Heat oil for frying in deep-fryer or deep skillet to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Pipe strips of dough into hot oil using a pastry bag. Fry until golden; drain on paper towels.
  3. Combine 1/2 cup sugar and cinnamon. Roll drained churros in cinnamon and sugar mixture.





Ema Grenier 

Emmanuelle Grenier is the Social Media Community Manager for BuyPlaya. She is currently studying Public Relations with the University of Victoria, BC.  Ema decided to move to Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo 7 months ago to satisfy her thirst for adventure. With a passion for travel and meeting people, this is the perfect occasion for her to learn about different cultures and personally grow.  She is ecstatic to have the opportunity to interact and explore this paradise she now calls home. Follow Ema's expat exploits on Facebook Google+ and the social media sites for www.buyplaya.com.


Mexican Lasagna

Most people think Italian when they hear the word "lasagna," but this one may change your mind. Corn tortillas take the place of pasta in this Mexican-inspired dish. A meaty sauce of salsa, peppers, onions and corn brings it all together.

Mexican Lasagna 


  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 pounds ground chicken ***, available in the packaged meats case
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1/2 red onion, chopped
  • 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained
  • 1 cup medium heat taco sauce or 1 (14-oz) can stewed or fire roasted tomatoes
  • 1 cup frozen corn kernels
  • Salt
  • 8 (8 inch) spinach flour tortillas, available on dairy aisle of market
  • 2 1/2 cups shredded Cheddar or shredded pepper jack
  • 2 scallions, finely chopped


Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Preheat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil - twice around the pan. Add chicken and season with chili powder, cumin, and red onion. Brown the meat, 5 minutes. Add taco sauce or stewed or fire roasted tomatoes. Add black beans and corn. Heat the mixture through, 2 to 3 minutes then season with salt, to your taste.

Coat a shallow baking dish with remaining extra-virgin olive oil, about 1 tablespoon oil. Cut the tortillas in half or quarters to make them easy to layer with. Build lasagna in layers of meat and beans, then tortillas, then cheese. Repeat: meat, tortilla, cheese again. Bake lasagna 12 to 15 minutes until cheese is brown and bubbly. Top with the scallions and serve.





Ema Grenier 

Emmanuelle Grenier is the Social Media Community Manager for BuyPlaya. She is currently studying Public Relations with the University of Victoria, BC.  Ema decided to move to Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo 7 months ago to satisfy her thirst for adventure. With a passion for travel and meeting people, this is the perfect occasion for her to learn about different cultures and personally grow.  She is ecstatic to have the opportunity to interact and explore this paradise she now calls home. Follow Ema's expat exploits on Facebook Google+ and the social media sites for www.buyplaya.com.


Chicken Fajitas

Chicken fajitas are a quick and easy fix!  Dazzle your family with this fun and tasty Mexican meal, the ingredients are readily available at your local grocery store and
this is a one pan, no muss, no fuss recipe. 

Chicken Fajitas Easy Peasy!! 


3/4 lb top chicken ***
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 garlic clove, finely minced
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon hot pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 flour tortillas (8 inch/20 cm)
1 -2 onion approximately- depending on size
2 small sweet peppers, of your choice (green, red, or yellow)

Hot sauce
Sour cream
Chopped onion and cilantro


Slice chicken into thin strips.

In bowl, mix together 1 tablespoons olive oil, lime juice, garlic, chili powder, cumin, hot pepper flakes, black pepper & salt.

Add chicken strips and stir to coat, set aside.

Wrap tortillas in foil and place in 350° oven for 5-10 minutes or until heated through.

Cut onions in half lengthwise and slice into strips and also cut peppers into strips.

In large non stick skillet over medium high heat, heat remaining tablespoons of olive oil.

Add onions & peppers stirring for 3-4 minutes, until softened; transfer to a bowl and set aside.

Add chicken to skillet, cook, stirring for 3-4 minutes.

Return onions and peppers to skillet; stir for about one minute.


Serve on tortillas topped with sour cream, hot sauce and chopped onions and cilantro if you wish!  Chicken fajitas are even better accompanied by rice and beans!


Corn Stuffed Chile Poblano

This dish symbolizes some of the oldest traditions of Mexican cuisine.  Its main ingredients are the staple foods grown throughout Mexico for thousands of years.  The ingredients are readily available at any grocery store and this dish can be adapted to suit any party or gathering.

Poblano Chile: Also known as chili ancho (Aguascalientes), chile corazon (Durango) or joto chile (el Bajío region), the Poblano is characterized by its fresh spicy taste, which makes it ideal to be filled with various ingredients such as cheese, nopales, tuna, corn and anything else your imagination can dream up!

 Corn Stuffed Poblano Peppers


11/2 Cups of Panela cheese (or any fresh light cheese)
3 Cups of sweet yellow corn
6 Poblano Chiles
3 Tomatoes
1/4 onion
1 Sprig Epazote (this herb can be found at any Mexican market)
1/2 Cup of cream
1/4 Teaspoon of pepper
Salt to taste


1 Roast the chiles, remove the skin and reserve. (In many Mexican markets skinned and deveined chilies can be found in the frozen foods section- this is a great time saver!)

2 Finely chop the onion and begin to heat the corn.

3 Wash and disinfect the epazote (if you are using fresh epazote, if not, crumble dried epazote) then chop finely and place in a small bowl.

4 Mix corn, cheese, onion, half of the sour cream, epazote, pepper and salt to taste in a bowl to be used to fill the chile peppers.

5 Gently spoon filling into the chiles.

6 To serve, slice the tomatoes and place the stuffed chiles on top.  Cover the stuffed peppers with the rest of the sour cream.

*Serving suggestion- This dish is best when served with Mexican rice and hot tortillas.


Pan de Muerto

With Day of the Dead fast approaching in Mexico, it's time to get your ingredients together for a traditional Pan de Muerto, meaning "Bread of the Dead".

Pan de Muerto 

During this dark yet colorful holiday held in the first days of November, Mexican families set up altars in their homes in honor of deceased loved ones. These altars are covered in marigold flowers, candles and food that the late family members loved when they were alive. Pan de Muerto is one item that can be found on every altar as well as at Day of the Dead parties across Mexico, so head into your cocina and learn to make this famous holiday treat!


  • 4 ½ cups flour
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup milk
  • ½ cup water
  • 4 large eggs
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon anise seed
  • ½ teaspoon fine salt
  • ½ ounce active dry yeast
  • 1 egg yolk beaten with 2 teaspoons water
  • Vegetable oil for the bowl


  • Pour the sugar, anise seed, salt and yeast into a mixing bowl.
  • Heat the milk, butter and water in a saucepan over medium heat until the butter is melted.
  • Pour the milk mixture into the dry mixture, then beat with a wire whisk.
  • Stir in the eggs along with 1 ½ cups of flour and beat.
  • Little by little, add the rest of the flour while stirring with a wooden spoon until the dough forms.
  • Lay the dough out on a lightly floured wood board.
  • Knead the dough until it's smooth and no longer sticky, which will probably take about 10 minutes.
  • Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl and cover it with a kitchen towel.
  • Let the dough rise in a warm area until it has reached double its size: about 90 minutes.
  • Heat your oven to 350°F with a rack in the middle.
  • Punch down the dough and divide it in half.
  • Cut 3 small, 1-ounce balls from each half to mold into bone shapes along with a small ball of dough to represent the skull.
  • Shape your 2 remaining large pieces of dough into round loaves, and place the bone and skull decorations on top.
  • Set your loaves on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and let them rise for another hour.
  • Glaze the loaves with the egg yolk mixture, then bake.
  • Halfway through baking (about 20 minutes), take the loaves out of the oven and reapply the egg yolk mixture, then sprinkle each loaf with granulated sugar.
  • Place the loaves back in the oven for approximately 20 more minutes, until the loaves have a golden brown color. You can tap them to see if they sound hollow to make sure they're ready.




 Laura Winfree

Originally from Virginia, Laura Winfree moved south of the border in 2005 to major in tourism at La Salle University Cancun. Today, she works as a copy writer for a local travel agency in addition to freelance blogging for a major Playa del Carmen Real Estate brokerage, and also does other writing and translating. Laura writes about her life as an expat in Mexico at http://gringationcancun.com and http://www.facebook.com/gringationcancun. Cancun nightclubs and weekly beach trips throughout the Riviera Maya are her favorite parts of living in Mexico.

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