Jicamas are a bulbous root vegetable with thin brown skin and a crisp, crunchy, sweet flesh rather like a water chestnut. In Mexico, jicamas are a popular snack food sold by street vendors who cut them into sticks, douse them with lime juice, and sprinkle them with chile. Sometimes called a Mexican potato, it’s good both raw and cooked, although it is usually served raw as an appetizer or in salads such as this one. This spicy salad dressing goes well with a number of fruits and vegetables so experiment with your own combinations.
Although history doesn’t reveal the origin of these cookies, it’s believed that they were created by the descendants of the early Spanish settlers in New Mexico. Traditionally they are served at the holiday season and can be found gracing tables after the lighting of the luminaries on Christmas Eve. They are so popular that they have been declared the Official State Cookie. New Mexico is probably the only state that has one! These flaky cookies with a hint of anise must be prepared with lard for the traditional taste, although shortening can be substituted.
This is a very basic recipe for Mexican rice that will complement any number of entrees. Just about any green chile works well in this dish, so try using jalapeños, serranos, or poblanos in place of the New Mexican green.
Tamales can be filled with almost anything from meat or poultry to fruits and nuts. To create variations on this traditional recipe, simply replace the pork with the ingredients of choice. Tamales are traditionally served covered with red or green chile sauce–but use both for red and green “Christmas” tamales.