I am so lucky to have both sets of grandparents around at my age. My grandmother on my dad’s side (the abuelita who makes the mole) lives here in Chicago, but my mother’s mother lives in Tlacotalpan, Veracruz. I see them about once a year when they come and visit, but this year I saw them twice! Once this January when Steve, my mom, and I went to visit them and again this summer. I was so lucky that they planned their short two week stay after our three weeks in Europe. Needless to say, I tried to get them to myself as much as I could while they were here. It was a challenge since all of my uncles and aunts adore them and want them to themselves, but I shared them with my mom and they came over twice with her to spend a little time in our home.
It was so nice to have them over. Steve and my grandpa watched sports–Tour de France one Sunday and the Wimbledon finals the next. My grandfather absolutely loved it. He doesn’t normally watch these sports-he normally sticks to the annual bull fights in Tlacotalpan- so it was such joy to watch his amazement as he got totally wrapped up in the matches. In between his grandpa naps on the couch he would ask Steve questions about the rules of the games as he patiently waited for his meal to be prepared.
Meanwhile, my grandmother, mother, and I set off to make picadas for brunch. Picadas are a staple in my grandparents state of Veracruz. They are considered and antojito (snack or appetizer), but are also consumed for breakfast. I love to eat them any time of the day. They are simply thick homemade tortillas with the edges pinched up to contain their delicious topping. They are traditionally topped with black beans, salsa, and white onions. I sometimes like to add steak, chorizo, eggs, or avocado.
As I was preparing the kitchen, I brought out my tortilla press (pictured above) but my grandmother insisted on hand making them as any grandma would. My mother worked on the beans, chopped the onions, and crumbled the cheese. I set to work on the salsa and scrambled some eggs. My part was pretty easy so i pulled out my camera to capture the magic between my mother and grandmother.
They have one of the strongest bonds mother-daughter bonds I’ve ever witnessed. My mother adores her mom and my grandmother doesn’t deny that my mother is her favorite. It’s so special to watch them together. They worked in silence, assembling the picadas, each knowing what the other is doing without looking.
The ladies served the men in true old-school Mexican fashion and we sat at the table and devoured our food and gossiped about family. it was so nice to have most of the favorite people in my life all to myself.
A happy sunday, indeed.
These measurements are approximate. I learned from my grandmother, and well grandmothers don’t follow recipes, so I just usually eyeball it.
You have two options for the dough:
A. Store bought masa. You can pick this up at most Mexican grocery stores. It is usually in the refrigerated section and labeled as Masa para Tortillas. (be careful not to pick up Masa para Tamales)
B. Home made masa. I use Maseca masa flour mix for tortillas. Again, this can be purchased at Mexican grocery store, but I have also seen it at my Whole Foods once in a while.
2 cups of Maseca
1 1/4 cups of water
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1 or 2 tablespoons of oil or lard (optional
- Turn your griddle on to medium high.
- Work through the dough with my hands. The consistency should be firm and just a bit sticky. If it’s too dry add water, if it’s too wet add flour.
- Work the dough into small golf ball size balls.
- Flatten the tortillas with your hand so that they are about 4-5 inches in diameter. I use a tortilla press, my grandmother works them with her hands and finishes them off between two layers of wax paper to get to her desired thickness.
- Grease your griddle and heat your tortillas for about 1-2 minutes on each side depending on thickness. I usually re-grease between batches.
- Let cool for just a bit and pinch edges up along the perimeter.
- Top with whatever your hear desires.
white onions thinly sliced
Let me know how they turn out if you give them a try!