Buñuelos signify celebration and revelry. They may have different names in different cultures, but, whether wrapped in paper at a carnival or concluding a holiday feast, variations of this fried dough dessert appear across many different cultures during the Christmas, Ramadan, and Hanukkah seasons.
The traditional Mexican version is more like a crispy, paper-thin, sweet tortilla “cookie.” Also known as Mexican fritters, Mexican buñuelos are traditionally served with a syrup that’s flavored with anise seeds that are similar to fennel seeds and give the treat a subtle liquorice-like taste. Many family's have a special recipe, some know someone who has a great recipe, point is, Mexican buñuelos signal time to get together. The strong Catholic culture and the fervent celebrations create a unique Christmas season as Mexican await the arrival of baby Jesus.
In other countries, the 12 Days of Christmas are recognized, but in Mexico, the nine days of posadas leading up to Christmas Eve − Noche Buena (Holy Night) − are observed. During the reenactment, the posada hosts act as the inn keepers while their guests act as the pilgrims (los peregrinos). Holding lighted candles, each group takes turns singing verses to each other. Although primarily a religious holiday including attendance at Christmas Eve mass (Misa de Aguinaldo or Misa de Gallo), Mexican holidays always offer an opportunity to enjoy a fiesta in true Mexican fashion, and Buñuelos play their special sweet role.
Posada parties are not only marked by traditional rituals but are also filled with cheerful socializing, authentic food, and fun for the entire family, including a special Christmas drink and a piñata filled with candy. Traditional Mexican piñatas are designed in the shape of a seven-point star. The seven points represent the seven deadly sins that need to be destroyed by the ‘sinner’ who is blindfolded (signifying blind faith). Hoping to conquer sin, he attempts to hit the swaying piñata with a stick and break open the center, which bestows him with ‘blessings’ (candy and fruit).
Hope you enjoyed learning a bit more about my family;s Mexican heritage and we look forward to celebrating with you the Holidays with some wine and buñuelos. See you at our Holiday Party!
I like to make ceviche because it has a WOW factor, but also its heathy, fresh and easy to do ahead of time. Feel free to experiment adding or deleting ingredients depending on who I am cooking for! I love pairing it with our Keller Estate “Oro de Plata” Chardonnay and hope you’ll enjoy it too!
- 1 pound fresh, skinless snapper, bass, halibut, or other ocean fish fillets, or even small shrimp, cut into 1/2-inch dice, into thin strips, feel free to experiment!
- 1 1/2 cups fresh lime juice
- 1 medium white onion, chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
- 2 medium-large tomatoes (about 1 pound), chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
- Fresh hot green chiles (2 to 3 serranos or 1 to 2 jalapeños), stemmed, seeded and finely chopped (you might want to cut the pieces a bit larger so people can pull them out!)
- 1/3 cup chopped cilantro, plus a few leaves for garnish
- 1 to 2 tablespoons Keller Estate extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 large or 2 small ripe avocados, peeled, pitted and diced + Tostadas, tortilla chips or saltine crackers, for serving
HOW TO MAKE THIS RECIPE
- In a 1 1/2-quart glass or stainless steel bowl, combine the fish, lime juice and onion. Use enough juice to cover the fish and allow it to float freely; too little juice means unevenly “cooked” fish. Cover and refrigerate for about 4 hours, until a cube of fish no longer looks raw when broken open. Drain in a colander.
- In a large bowl, mix together the tomatoes, green chiles, cilantro, olives and optional olive oil. Stir in the fish and season with salt, usually about 1/2 teaspoon. Add the orange juice or sugar. Cover and refrigerate if not serving immediately. Just before serving, gently stir in the diced avocado.
Remember I said you could do it ahead of time? The fish may be marinated a day in advance; after about 4 hours, when the fish is “cooked,” drain it so that it won’t become too tangy. For the freshest flavor, add the flavorings to the fish no more than a couple of hours before serving.
There are many ways to serve ceviche. Here are some of our family’s favorites: Place the ceviche in a large bowl and let people spoon it onto individual plates to eat with tortilla chips or saltines; spoon the ceviche into small bowls and serve tostadas, chips or saltines alongside; or pile the ceviche onto chips or tostadas and pass around for guests to consume on these edible little plates. Garnish the ceviche with cilantro leaves before serving.
- Goat Cheese Rounds
- 1 ¼ cups fresh white breadcrumbs
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
- 11 ounces fresh goat cheese, cut into 8 rounds
- 2 eggs beaten to blend
- ½ cup all purpose flour
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- For the Vinaigrette
- 4 tablespoons champagne vinegar
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1 small shallot, minced
- ½ cup canola oil (for a change, no Keller Estate olive oil: a less flavorful oil is needed to allow the walnut oil to shine.)
- ¼ cup walnut oil
- 8 cups mixed baby greens
- 2 heads Belgian endive, cut crosswise into ½-inch pieces
- 2 large ripe pears, peeled, cored, cut into ¼-inch-thick slice. Be sure to cut the pears at the last minute so they do not brown.
- 1/3 cup chopped and slightly toasted walnuts
Mix breadcrumbs and thyme in a pie tin. Season the four with salt and pepper, cover the goat cheese with the flour, then dip into the beaten egg and finally into breadcrumbs. The goat cheese can be breaded and refrigerated up to one day ahead of time.
Whisk the vinegar, mustard, and minced shallot in a small bowl to blend. Gradually whisk in ½ cup of canola oil, and the ¼ cup of walnut oil; season to taste with salt and pepper. Combine mixed greens, Belgian endive and pears in large bowl. Place the walnuts on a parchment lined sheet pan and toast in a 325ºF oven for about 10 minutes.
Heat the 4 tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Working in batches, add cheese rounds to skillet and cook until crisp and brown on outside and soft on inside, about 2 minutes per side. In a large bowl toss the salad with salt, pepper and enough vinaigrette to coat the greens. Divide among 4 plates. Place 2 warm cheese rounds in center of each salad and sprinkle the walnuts over the top.