¡Buen Provecho!: Traditional Mexican Flavors from My Cocina to Yours, written by Ericka Sanchez, features over 100 recipes with authentic flavors and unique twists perfect for any time of year or special occasion. A few highlights include Salsa Macha (Salsa for the Brave Ones), Ensalada de Nopalitos (Cactus Salad), Sopa de Milpa (Garden Soup), Tacos de Flor de Jamaica (Hibiscus Tacos), and Atole de Pinole (Pinole Atole). I will also be sharing her recipe for Tacos Crujientes de Fideo (Crispy Fideo Tacos) following the review.
Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from Familius in exchange for my honest review. All comments and opinions are my own. This post contains Amazon affiliate links. If you purchase something through the link, I may receive a small commission at no extra charge to you.
Ericka Sanchez is a recipe developer and food stylist. She developed the culinary website, Nibbles and Feasts, in 2010 as a way to share traditional family favorites along with new recipes inspired by her travels and life in California. Her work has also been featured in The Latin Kitchen, Nestle Kitchens Blog, Disney Family, Spanglish Baby, Latinamom.me, Momtastic, General Mills’ Que Rica Vida, and more.
Ericka was born in Torreón, Coahuila, Mexico and immigrated to El Paso, Texas at the age of eight with her family. She is currently based in California and also the author of Aguas Frescas & Paletas.
¡Buen Provecho! begins with a short introduction of Ericka’s family and growing up in Torreón, Mexico. Within the book, you will find a combination of traditional home-cooked recipes Ericka learned from her family along with modernized dishes using ingredients more readily available around her current home in California.
The guide for basic tools is incredibly helpful along with descriptions and photos of types of chiles (both fresh and dried). There are also chapters devoted to homemade tortillas (Tortillas de Maíz and Tortillas de Harina) and a variety of Salsas to pair with the meals.
The chapters are divided according to course: Tortillas, Salsas, Breakfast (Desayuno), Appetizers (Botanas), Salads (Ensaladas), Soups and Stews (Sopas y Guisos), Sides (Guarniciones), Mains (Platos Fuertes), Drinks (Bebidas), Desserts (Postres), and Holidays (Dias Festivos).
Each recipe is paired with a full-page photo of the finished dish. There are also a few step-by-step photos to accompany techniques such as how to prepare poblano chiles and how to cook nopales (cactus).
Titles are written in Spanish with the English translation underneath. Measurements are listed in US Customary. The recipes have a headnote with background information, personal stories, helpful tips, prep/cooking time, and serving size.
Tacos Crujientes de Fideo (Crispy Fideo Tacos)
I have long held a love for Sopa de Fideo and Sopa Seca de Fideo, but cooking through ¡Buen Provecho! was my first time using the noodles as a filling for tacos. I can’t believe it took me so long to try them! They are now one of my favorites.
Corn tortillas are fried until crisp to create homemade taco shells and filled with guajillo-spiced fideos secos, avocado slices, crumbled queso fresco, a drizzle of crema, and fresh cilantro. Overall, everything came together in about 30 minutes for such a wonderful weeknight meal with a variety of textures and flavors.
Fideo is the Spanish word for noodle. For this recipe, Fideos are thin, short noodles usually around an inch long. I have been able to find them in larger grocery stores and markets with Latin American and Middle Eastern ingredients.
If you cannot locate them, substitute with a thin spaghetti or angel hair broken into about 1 inch (2.5 cm) pieces. Break them up in a bag or other controlled environment. Before I moved to an area with packaged fideo pasta, I often ended up with random pieces of angel hair flying across my kitchen.
I love the use of the guajillo chiles in the sauce for the fideos secos. They add a complex fruity flavor with a mild heat. Guajillo Chiles are 4-6 inches long with a deep red-orange tough skin. They are the dried version of the Mirasol chile.
Queso Fresco is a crumbly, unaged cheese with a mild flavor. It is made with cow’s or a mixture of cow and goat milk. It is located in many larger grocery stores and markets featuring Mexican ingredients.
Mexican crema is a dairy product similar to sour cream, but a bit thinner and more mild. It is available in some larger grocery stores and markets specializing in Mexican products. You can substitute with crème fraîche.
I also made Ericka’s Entomatadas de Queso Fresco (Queso Fresco Entomatadas), Chocolate de Agua (Water-Based Mexican Hot Chocolate), Barra de Concha (Concha Loaf), and Pepitoria (Pumpkin Seed Candy).
Entomatadas are a favorite of mine and I was so excited to see a recipe for Entomatadas de Queso Fresco included in the book. Corn tortillas (I tried Ericka’s homemade Tortillas de Maíz- still need a bit more practice on my end, but they were so good) are dipped in a light tomato sauce and filled with crumbly queso fresco. To serve, they are topped with more sauce, chopped onions, additional queso fresco, and crema for a delicious weeknight meal.
I made the Chocolate de Agua (Water-Based Mexican Hot Chocolate) to pair with the Barra de Concha. With only three ingredients, it came together easily and was perfect for dunking slices of the Concha.
The Barra de Concha (Concha Loaf) immediately caught my eye the very first time I flipped through the book. It was such a fun baking project! Ericka was inspired to make this loaf after trying it at El Cardenal Restaurant in Mexico City. Instead of individual pastries, the sweet yeast-based bread is formed with a long loaf and topped with alternating colors of the crumbly topping. It is baked until golden and served in slices for quite the memorable treat.
The Pepitoria (Pumpkin Seed Candy) was such a great way to use pepitas (pumpkin seeds). This thin and crispy candy is packed with roasted pepitas coated in caramelized sugar and a little vanilla. The mixture is allowed to set for couple of hours, then cut into serving sizes.
¡Buen Provecho! is a great option for those interested in Mexican cuisine and home cooking packed with flavor. Recipes range from quick and easy meals with only a few ingredients (and often around 30 minutes) to more elaborate desserts and stews requiring a bit more time. There is even a section dedicated to special occasions.
Many of the ingredients are readily available in larger American grocery stores. A few items that may require a market with Mexican items include tomatillos, dried and fresh chiles, queso fresco, epazote, crema, cotija, prickly pears, fideo pasta, masa harina, dried hibiscus, piloncillo, Mexican chocolate, and cajeta.
Tacos Crujientes de Fideo (Crispy Fideo Tacos) Recipe
Excerpt from ¡Buen Provecho!
Tacos Crujientes de Fideo (Crispy Fideo Tacos)
- 3 dried guajillo chiles stems and seeds removed
- 4 Roma tomatoes roughly chopped
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 200 grams (7 ounces) dry fideo pasta
- 1/4 cup chopped white onion
- 2 garlic cloves finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano crushed
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 cup vegetable or canola oil
- 20 corn tortillas
- Avocado slices
- Crumbled queso fresco
- Mexican crema or crème fraîche
- Place dried guajillos in a medium saucepan over medium heat with enough water to cover. Simmer for 10 minutes or until chiles soften.
- Remove from heat and set aside for 5 minutes. Do not throw away water.
- Add softened chiles, tomatoes, and 1 cup chile water to a blender. Blend until smooth. Set aside.
- Heat olive oil in a 5-quart saucepan over medium-low heat. Add fideo pasta and stir constantly until pasta is golden brown. Do not burn. Remove from heat and transfer to a separate bowl. Set aside.
- Return saucepan to medium heat. Sauté onion and garlic until tender, about 1 minute.
- Add guajillo mixture, oregano, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil. Add fried fideo. Reduce heat to low. Simmer for 15 minutes or until liquid has been soaked up.
- While fideo is cooking, prepare taco shells. Heat vegetable oil in large frying pan over medium heat. Test the oil temperature by dipping the edge of a tortilla in the hot oil with a pair of tongs. If the tortilla bubbles rapidly, the oil is ready.
- Using tongs, carefully fry tortilla in hot oil for 5-7 seconds on each side. Fold tortilla in half using tongs. Fry each side of folded tortilla for 10 seconds or until crispy.
- Lift taco shell over the oil, letting any excess oil drip off. Place shell on a paper towel-lined plate to absorb any excess oil. Repeat with remaining tortillas.
- Scoop fideo in taco shells. Add avocado slices, a sprinkle of queso fresco, cream, and cilantro leaves. Serve immediately.