31 May, 2012

American Independence Day BBQ Menu for Delivery

Do you have plans for the 4th yet?  Feeling a little homesick for some BBQ?  We are offering a special menu to be delivered directly to your door for Independence Day. No party is too small!

Chef Boris Olvera Personal Chef Services
Home: 415-121-1485
Email: borisyjessi@yahoo.com

Like us on our Facebook Page
See lots of Pictures on our Wix Webpage

***Deadline for orders are Monday June 25th, 2012.***

American Independence Day BBQ Menu for Delivery
Minimum 5 People

Watermelon Wedges

Main Dish-  Choose one of the following
BBQ Ribs (Rack of Babybacks and Rack of Beef Ribs)
Oven Roasted Chicken Coated in BBQ Sauce

Side Dishes-
Coleslaw & Potato Salad & Corn on the Cob

Dessert- Choose one of the following
Apple Crisp OR Peach Crisp

Drink- Choose one of the following
Sweet Tea OR Lemonade

Pricing For Rib Menu:
10 people = $3,000 pesos
15 people = $4,500 pesos
20 people = $6,000 pesos
$300 pesos per additional person
***$60 pesos for each added Chicken

Pricing for Chicken Menu:
10 people = $2,750 pesos
15 people = $4,125 pesos
20 people = $5,500 pesos
$275 pesos per additional person
***$100 pesos for each added Rack of Ribs

30 May, 2012

Wordless Wednesday- Mango vs Papaya

The fight between Mango and Papaya in our home is equal to Coke vs Pepsi.  I (Jessi) adore papaya; the exotic perfumey flavor accelerated by a squeeze of lime is so refreshing on a warm day.

Our weekly haul of exotic fruits from the Tuesday Tiangis, can you name them all?
Boris on the other hand dies for Mango.  He is in heaven here in Mexico where you can easily find at least 5 different types of Mango at the local Tiangis each week.

Which do you prefer?  Papaya or Mango?

29 May, 2012

Tuesday in San Miguel de Allende

Tuesdays are our busiest day and my favorite day in San Miguel.  I spend Monday night planning my attack on Tuesday.  I look forward to market day like a kid looks forward to Christmas, because to me a trip to the market brings many treats and gifts and I don't have to wait all year for it.

Tuesday starts with walking the dog, a quick cup of coffee and we are on our way; shopping bags in hand. We head straight for the Tuesday Tiangis on the opposite side of town and head straight for our favorite stands.  First  Don Guadalupe's stand for fresh local produce.  He has a wide selection of fruits and vegetables all from Celaya, and sometimes he has apples from his own backyard and his wife makes the best pickled peppers.  We load our bags with exotic fruits until they are bursting at the seams.  After dropping our bags in the car we make a visit to our cheese lady and the spices guy where I find the secret ingredients and garnishes for the weeks menu.  By then we are drooling and our stomachs are growling like wild dogs.  We make a bee line for the food section of the tiangis having the debate the whole way there, "Tacos, Gorditas or Cecina?"  We sound like Dorthy, "Lions and Tigers and Bears- oh my!"  Most of the time we lean towards tacos.  We wait for a seat like vultures, as we circle from one side to the other, checking the trompa of the Pastor before circling back to the other side again.  Once a table is cleared we dive in.  I order Tacos al Pastor with Pineapple and a Gringa with Bistec.  Boris orders Lengua, Cabeza and Campechano.
Boris' tacos...MEATY
Pastor tacos with Pineapple...this is meat candy!
When we are not licking our fingers or Oooing and Ahhing over the food we have our eyes peeled for our little friend.  The most adorable 7 year old...well he says that he is 7 but we think he is  younger.  He comes around with his bucket of goodies that his mom prepares.  He is such a hard worker and is a very honest young man.  We wait for him to bring his treasures and try to find something to fit into our weekly menu.  We had to hunt him and mom down last week as we were earlier than our usual time.  He was just finishing his breakfast and preparing his bucket.  His face lit up as he tugged his mom's shirt, "Those are my friends!"  I will never forget that little face, and I think we bought one of everything that day.  As we walk back towards our car we wander the stalls to see the flea market finds and anything else that jumps out at us.

Excited from our market finds we scurry home to put away our treasures.  In the afternoon I make the weeks pot of beans and fresh salsa.  Towards evening we prepare for our weekly favorite event, The Newcomers Social Meeting.  We have so much fun at these events, meet really incredible people and see lots of fabulous houses.  If you live in San Miguel you must check out these events...even if you are not new to town!

By the end of the night you would think that we would be exhausted, but we are so hyper by the time we get home!  We feel so loved and welcomed and happy to be in Mexico.  It takes us a little while to settle for the night, but once we do we just dream about doing it all again the following week.

27 May, 2012

Cocktail Hour Aps by Chef Boris

We cater lots of events of all sizes.  Recently we had a small Cocktail Hour for a Birthday party.  Even though we offer service and bar tending for Cocktail Hours this particular customer wanted the appetizers to be delivered in advance. We worked with our customer to come up with appetizers that would fit his tastes as well as stay nice and fresh tasting even if they were delivered before the event.  We don't just bring food to the house, we offer party planning advice as well as accommodate for rental services.

Preparing the vegetable tray

Beautiful cuts!

Chef Boris hard at work!

Removing the veins of the bell pepper to keep them tasting nice and sweet

Chef Boris at work
Birthday Cocktail Hour Menu
Vegetable Tray with Ranch Dipping Sauce
Pigs in the blanket with BBQ Dipping Sauce
Mini Ham and Cheese Tortas with Chipotle Mayo
Mini Chicken Mole Tostadas

Vegetable Platter with special Ranch dipping sauce

Pigs in the blanket with BBQ dipping sauce

Mini Ham and Cheese Tortas with Chipotle Mayo

Mini Chicken Mole Tostadas

Ready for service!  A delicious treat for the Birthday Boy.
To see more tasty treats by Chef Boris head on over to our Facebook page, we have menus and lots of yummy pictures!

Magic Beans with Sunday Cookbook

As embarrassing as it is to admit I (Jessi) used to never be able to make a pot of beans on the first try.  Yes, it would take two attempts because inevitably I would burn the first pot.  This was devastating to me because I really  love beans.  I was so happy to marry a Mexican, who is also a Chef, so HE could make the beans!  This is my story of finding the perfect side dish: BEANS!

I like to blame my short comings in bean cooking on my mom...although it really was never her fault but this story I am about to tell you is rather convincing.  We returned home one afternoon to find black smoke pouring from my upstairs bedroom window, which I had left cracked open. The fire alarm was screaming and as we stood in front of our home the neighbors ran over saying they had called the fire department and thanks to God that we were not in the house.  My mom, whose mouth had been agape regained her self and exclaimed, "my beans!"  My poor mother who I have mentioned before is an excellent home cook, but on this particular day she had set a pot of beans to boil while she ran an errand.  She covered the beans with water, topped the pot with a lid...and forgot to turn down the heat.  While we were out the water evaporated in the pot and the lid became welded shut to the pot.  We love to tease my mom about having to throw away her pot and all the drama that ensued from trying to air out the house in the following days from the stink of burnt beans.  Every time that I burned my beans I would think of my mom and smile, at least I did not smoke out the whole house.

After my first bean fiasco with Boris in the house he carefully taught me how to make beans.  I was thrilled!  Finally my favorite side dish could be a regular in the house.  I got out my favorite recipe for Chili, bragging to Boris how good it was and started to make my beans. Two hours pass, three... the beans were still hard as rocks!  What could possibly have gone wrong this time?  They had enough water, I followed Boris' instructions perfectly... ah but the beans I had purchased at the grocery store were old and stale and even if I cooked those beans all day they never would become soft.  Boris to the rescue again, he introduced me to a magical shop that we had in Napa where he purchased ALL of his beans for the winery kitchen; Rancho Gordo. A whole shop filled with shiny neat packages of very fresh beans and not just the 3 or 4 kinds you can find in the grocery store, no at Rancho Gordo they grow heirloom varietals of beans.  I was in bean heaven!  Making beans was becoming so easy! Then I met the owner, Steve Sando, it was love at first bean conversation.  I bought his book that day, he even signed it for me :D  I had endless recipes to try with his endless supply of beans.  Could it get any better?

When we moved to Mexico I discovered true Frijoles de the Olla.  An Olla is a clay pot, it has many uses but my personal favorite is for making beans.  When you make beans in an Olla it takes less time to cook and they come out creamy.  No amount of cooking time, even with fresh beans can make a bean creamy like cooking in a simple clay pot.  We purchased one for $15 pesos after moving into our home in San Miguel de Allende, GTO and it is getting well used!  I make a pot of beans every week to use for sides or sometimes even the main course.

Now THAT is what bean should look like!  Yum!
For Dinner tonight we will have Frijoles Charros inspired by Steve's Anasazi Cowboy Beans in his book Heirloom Beans and what we call in home Tacos Huevones (Lazy Tacos) also known as Tacos Placeros (Market Tacos).

Lazy Tacos
The whole point of lazy tacos is that you are able to walk down the street to the little tienditas to buy a few simple ingredients, a six-pack of your favorite beer and back home to really enjoy the rest of the day.  I normally just heat some tortillas and then lay out a platter with the remaining ingredients and allow everyone to build their own as desired.

Warm Tortillas
Queso Fresco, the whole wheel and a small knife to slice it at the table
Avocado Slices
Key Limes Cut in Half
Salsa, or even better, Nopales Salad
Salt Shaker
Frosty Cold Beers

Frijoles Charros
Getting ready to make beans


2 cups Pinto Beans, already soaked (or Black beans if you want to be more traditional)
2 Slabs of Bacon, cubed
1/2 Green Bell Pepper
1 Jalapeno or Serrano
1 small Onion
1 clove Garlic
2 Tomatoes
1 Tbsp Salt
Cilantro and chopped Onion, for garnish

Brown the bacon in a skillet.
Chop the Onions, Garlic and Chilies, add to the skillet and saute
Add your meat, sauteed vegetables and soaked beans to your Olla, cover with water by 1" and set to simmer over low heat for 2 hours.
Chop the tomatoes and add to the Olla, season with salt, cook for another 30 minutes.
When ready ladle the beans and their broth into deep dishes, garnish with cilantro and chopped onion if you desire.
Serve and enjoy!

26 May, 2012

Turn on the Grill! with I Heart Cooking Clubs

Tacos de Cabeza and Bistec from the Tuesday Tiangis
 I am a huge fan of One Plate at a Time with Rick Bayless.  My favorite episodes are when he does a taco crawl.  Here is a clip from behind the scenes of one such show (Baja Episode 8: Tijuana Taco Crawl) these tacos make me drool!  Especially the Gringa, one of my new found favorite treats.  One episode Rick even had a Taco Party at his home in Chicago!  We also cater Taco Parties as a part of our company and so we are always looking for the perfect taco, the perfect salsa, and the perfect garnish so that we can keep our parties of the best quality...and Tacos are by far one of my favorite things to eat!  If I go more than a week without a taco I get a serious craving.

Tacos Al Pastor with Pineapple- My personal favorite
Whenever we make Carne Asada on the grill at home I just HAVE to have grilled onions for my taco.  It is so easy and makes the smokey, meaty flavor of the meat sing.  Not to mention that it is so easy, you don't even need a grill to make them, you can char the onions on a comal just as easily.

Taco garnishes ready for purchase at the Tiangis
Grilled Onions for your Tacos

1 bunch - Bulb Onions or Green Onions with the white still attached
1-2 Key Limes
Maggi Jugo Seasoning Sauce

Peel the onions and chop off the ends.  Leave the green part attached.
Grill the onions until tender or slightly char the outside of the onions on a comal and cook until tender.
Place the grilled onions in a bowl and toss with a squeeze of lime and a few dashes of Maggi. (A little goes a long way, taste first before adding more!)
Slide into your tacos and enjoy!

Secret Sauce- yum!

Gettin' to Know Ya- Part I

I thought that we would tell you a little bit more about ourselves.  Since it is much easier to brag about my wonderful husband and very hard to talk about myself I think that we will start with Boris ;)

Jim Carigan and Boris Olvera
"Selfless,grounded, humble men are always looking forward."
               Pittsburgh Steelers Coach Mike Tomlin

Jim Fergisun, Boris Olvera, Eric Lee and Conrado Hernandez
Boris was born in raised in Mexico City.  He studied Business Administration with a Masters in Finance at the University of Mexico (UNAM) where he played Running Back in Football and graduated with honors.  From there he went to work for the Mexican stock exchange where he was the CEO Executive Assistant of Grupo Financiero Probursa.  After a few drastic life changes and one very sick mom Boris moved to the United States to care for his mother and to have a second chance at life.  

Todd Kawachi and Boris Olvera
He followed his passion for food and cooking and wound up under the wings of Eric Lee, then Executive Chef of Simi Winery.  From there Boris went on to work as the Sous Chef of Franciscan Estates under renowned Napa Valley Chef Todd Kawachi.  When Todd left to teach at the Culinary Institute of America, Greystone Boris took over the kitchen.  During the 10 years working in the food industry Boris was able to work alongside and compete with many big names, such as Victor Scargle, Peter Pak,and a few others that "The Network" will not let us use. After achieving all of his goals in the California Food and Wine Industry, receiving awards, accolades and reviews from papers such as the Sonoma Valley Sun and the San Francisco Chronicle, among others, it was time to take his talents back home.

Sean Putti, Boris Olvera, Chris Cosentino
Boris moved to San Miguel de Allende, GTO in March of 2012 to start his own Personal Chef Services offering food and services to private functions.  He has many new goals to achieve, first of which is sharing his food with the amazing people of this town.

Food for Nations 2009
For more information about Chef Boris Olvera, his accolades and for sample menus please check out his Facebook page.

25 May, 2012

May Potluck with Rick Bayless' I Heart Cooking Clubs

Rick Bayless' Grilled Corn with a Twist
There is nothing better than Corn on the Cob in the summer for a BBQ or grill... So I thought until I tried Rick Bayless' recipe for Grilled Corn with a Twist it was a major hit and I received a lot of requests for the recipe! It took corn to a whole new level and the little packages are a major step up in style from corn in your teeth and on your face from Corn on the Cob.  This tasty corn side dish started a conversation with my Mexican husband about Esquites. He remembered having Esquites as a kid after church on Sundays.  He described this steaming cup of corn that made me drool all over the table.  For those of you unfamiliar with this street cart treat; Esquites is kernels of corn boiled in a flavorful broth, served up broth and all with a smear of mayonnaise, a squeeze of lime and a sprinkle of chili and cheese.  It is so simple yet extremely flavorful all at the same time.  After our conversation I excitedly attempted to make Esquites adapting Rick's recipe with what my husband had described to me...and with out knowing any better dumped out all of the rich flavorful broth.  My husband just lowered his head and my suegra had a good laugh at my expense.  I salvaged the dish by tying it up in neat little packages like Rick's receipe and it was a hit with my gringo family all over again.  Attempt two began in boiling the corn ON the cob and resulted in chewy inedible kernels.  I needed to try the real thing before making a third attempt.

While traveling around Mexico we mostly dined on street food.  It was everywhere, it was delicious and we found ourselves seeking out specific items in different regions of the country.  Esquites became my Nemesis  during our travels because I would only ever find a cart when we had just finished eating somewhere and I could not fit another bite. It was on the top of my list of "dishes to try" and I could never find a cart when I wanted one.  Boris' niece is a self proclaimed aficionado of Esquites and recommended a cart to me while we were in Mexico City...the problem, it was on the opposite end of the city...so we never got to go.  Finally in Puebla, Puebla we were on the hunt for lunch, scouting the carts and fonditas in the area and there it was...an Esquites Cart with its beautiful shining pot of gold- flavorful kernels!  I ran up to the cart no longer caring about lunch and leaving my poor husband in my dust.  I was already diving into my little cup of creamy, spicy, citrusy goodness when Boris caught up with me, "you want one?"  I mumbled mouth full and smiling.  "No just a bite of yours," he replied as I glared at him over the top of my cup like a wild dog guarding its kill.  He ordered his own corn on the cob smothered in mayonnaise and dusted with chili powder and cotija....SMART MAN!

Look at that smile!  At last Esquites we meet!
The problem with trying to make Esquites in the States is the secret ingredient: Epazote.  It is a pungent, earthy herb that imparts lots of flavor to the corn broth, and it is what makes the dish!  Apparently it can be located on the East Coast but being a California girl I could never find it...which I thought was odd being that we have a huge Mexican population in California and you can typically find many herbs and spices at least dried and imported in a Mexican store.  One item that you can find is Avocado leaves, I would recommend using that if you cannot find Epazote.

Street Cart Esquites- Serves 6

For Corn:
6 Corn on the Cob
Big Pinch of Epazote (chopped) or 1 Avocado Leaf (whole)

For Garnish:
Cotija Cheese
Chili Pequin

Clean the corn and cut the kernels from the cob.  Set the kernels aside for now.  Place the cobs and epazote in a pot of water and cover with 2-3 liters of water.  Let simmer for 1-2 hours until the broth has reduced and is richly flavored by the cobs.

Remove the cobs from the water (and avocado leaf if you used that) leaving the epazote and add the kernels to the pot.  Let simmer for at least another hour until the kernels are flavorful and tender.

To serve; ladle the corn and broth into a cup.  Add a dollop of Mayonnaise, squeeze half a lime over the top and dust with Cotija Cheese and Chili Pequin or your favorite chili powder (depending on how spicy you want your corn).  Serve with a spoon.

*** Check out the other tasty treats at I Heart Cooking Clubs ***

Coyoaca'n- So Boho!

As I have mentioned before Boris' paternal side of the family is from Mexico City.  They are scattered all over the city but their roots lie in Coyoacan.  We have spent a lot of time here and for me it is always the highlight when going to Mexico.  I am not one for lots of crowds, busy streets and traffic.  Like I said before I am a country girl and I need open sky and lots of greenery to be happy.  Coyoacan is my breath of fresh air each time we visit the City.  Now don't get me wrong, we have had a lot of fun in and around the City, we visited the Cathedral, the pyramid, Xochimilco is fantastic, Los Leones was a gorgeous drive... Coyoacan is just something special.

My favorite time to visit Coyoacan is on a Sunday.  That is when the district is everything that you would expect it to be and more.  Vendors roll their carts out to the streets, everything is for sale; Meringue, dulces de leche, snacks and fruit, birdy fortune tellers, art of all different styles and methods, handcrafted jewelry... even puppies!

The streets are just bursting with color and life, it is a spectacular show.  There is a plaza where they sell art and on Sundays they have a live band in one corner and the people come out and dance in the plaza.  They are such beautiful dancers and they are dressed to the teeth!  Watching these two >>> was like taking a step back in time.  I could have watched them dance all day!  They floated like two butterflies swirling in the breeze...I don't think that their feet really ever touched the ground.

Of course there are many touristic things to do in Coyoacan and I highly recommend them all!  But... there are just some things that you MUST do when you go.  Tacos de Canasta are better in Coyoacan than anywhere else in the city!  Typically only available in the morning, but you want to get them when they are hot anyway.  You will find a man on just about any given street corner in and around Coyoacan.  He has a bicycle with a gigantic basket strapped to the back.  You know it is the right basket by the blue plastic peeking out from around the edges.  He has two jars of salsa hanging from the basket or the front of his bike.  Tacos de Canasta typically come in a few different favors; beans, potatoes, adobo potatoes (my favorite), and chicharon en salsa verde (Boris' favorite). Don't be shy!  Order 2 of each!  The tacos go fast and it is not something you want to order just one of as it is hard to get back in line for just one or two more tacos. Try the salsa but be careful!!!  It may look like innocent guacamole but that stuff will melt your lips right off of your face...no joke!

Since you got up early for tacos and you have a lot of sight seeing to do, you are likely going to need some coffee.  Cafe El Jarocho is where you want to go.  They roast their own beans and they have been doing it for years!  Don't pull a Starbucks order here, this is good quality coffee, get it black or with milk- period.

All of your touring will certainly make you hungry and very soon it will be time for lunch.  There are many places to eat in Coyoacan but for your first visit there is one place you must go-Tostadas Coyoacan at the Coyoacan Market!  We make a special trip every time we visit Mexico City.   This stand is so busy and so famous that they actually have four stands in the same location of the market.  Don't go anywhere else...it is just not the same thing!  You will find platters piled high like little pyramids of finger licking goodness.  Pace yourself...there are a lot of options to choose from and it is really hard to pick just one or two toppings.  You make your choice and get out your baseball mitt because those Tostadas come flying at you!  They also offer wonderful drinks of aguas and liquados; my personal favorite is a chia, that is a lemonada with chia seeds...very refreshing and the chia gives you just another little kick of energy for your afternoon touring.

24 May, 2012

Botanical Gardens at El Charco del Ingenio

We visited El Charco del Ingenio Botanical Gardens on Earth Day.  It was free admission and there was  no excuse not to go.  We grabbed our cameras and away we went.  Boy am I glad that we checked it out! It was a gorgeous day, not too hot and there was a delightful breeze coming off of the reservoir.  Every single one of the Cacti were in bloom.  We walked around like drunken paparazzi weaving from one Cactus to the next taking pictures of every Cactus, and each flower.  We had such a nice walk looking at all the flowers, the islands in the reservoir, the birds and the dam.  

Boris on the hunt for the next good shot

Across the dam (yes you can walk across it) was another path and lots of Cacti but this particular area had been recently burned.  Do you still call it a forest fire if the forest is made of Cacti?  This was the highlight to our trip to El Charco!  The burned up Cactus were not dead, they were sprouting fresh paddles from the tops of their charred bodies.  What had been burnt all of the way through revealed a gorgeous mesh and lace that only mother nature could produce.  It was gorgeous! And in some way inspirational...

Burned cactus paddles

Fresh paddles growing from the ashes

The trunk of a cactus after it had been burned
We had a wonderful time at El Charco and we both agreed that we want to go back every April when the flowers are in bloom.  But you do not have to wait all year to enjoy the botanical gardens.  Every week they have bird walks and nature hikes for very affordable prices!  I want to check out one of the bird walks! I would not call myself a "bird watcher" per say as I am very ignorant to the names of the different species of birds, but we have some bright colorful birds in San Miguel and I sure would like to know more about them!

Paparazzi Jessi on the prowl

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