Morocco Meets Mexico

My oldest brother came to visit from New Jersey. He is a retired economist, yes, very smart. Also an amateur, internationally known fish-ologist, that is ichthyologist, who collects and studies fresh water fish in Central and South America and the Caribbean. He has also taken it upon himself to cook and translate into English the entire set of Mexican regional Comida Familiar cookbooks. It’s an amazing task that might be published somehow, sometime.

My brother flew into Ft. Lauderdale. On the way home, we stopped at Penn Dutch, a very special supermarket in Hollywood. On a previous visit, he’d found freshly smoked sturgeon in stock; this time, only smoked salmon. They do their own smoking – and it’s great. I bought some salmon for my husband’s birthday dinner (more on that in a few weeks). My brother got some golden dragon fruit to take home. Next stop was the Chinese market. Shallots are so cheap there. Then home to rest and cook dinner.

The reason for his short visit was a Mexican market I’d recently read about. Homestead, Florida, south of Miami, is now on the national and international radars because of the infamous detention center in which young migrants have been (illegally) and inhumanely held. Historically, Homestead was the vegetable basket of North America. Winter tomatoes, corn, string beans, celery, and much more were grown here long before being displaced by the current crop of houses and apartments. Seasonal migrants from Mexico and Guatemala have long provided the necessary labor for the fields.

2017 Tomato Harvest, Homestead

Numerous Mexican restaurants are located in Homestead. Many varieties of tacos, enchiladas, burritos, etc. are the specialties in these eateries. I don’t know when the Mexico Market opened, how long it’s been there, nor even where I read about. When my brother heard about it, the trip was planned.

This morning, after a few delays, we made the trek down to Homestead. On the way, we made a slight detour through Miami Springs – a historic community created in the 1920s by inventor and aviator, Glenn Curtiss. Next stop, Homestead. After a few twists and turns we found the busy Mexico Market. Nice, fresh produce. The largest mandarins I’ve seen for a long time. The meat looked fresh and nicely butchered. Lots and lots of other stuff to cook Mexican and Central American food. I’ll be making something with tomatillos this week; they spoke directly to me (stay tuned!). I was also drawn to the freshly made tortillas – white corn tortillas – just perfect with the dinner I had planned. One stop on the way home, for dim sum – a different culinary treat and always delicious.

Fresh Tortillas

Because my brother does all the cooking in his house, I try to give him a break and cook special stuff for him when he’s visiting. Last night was fish. I had taken a branzino out of the freezer earlier in the day. It went into the oven with lime slices for about 20 minutes (it was a pretty big fish). As sides I made a lentil dish with celery and spices and an avocado and hearts of palm salad ( As soon as we got home from the airport, I mixed up the orange almond cake we like (see Book Club posting).

Dinner tonight was built around another Penn Dutch purchase. In the spring, they have loads of fresh lamb, including organ meat – awful offal, according to some. My husband and I enjoy this stuff and I have 2 packs of lamb hearts in the freezer. I hope you all don’t mind, it’s not to the taste of lots of people. I had recently saved a recipe for Moroccan-Inspired Lamb (Heart) Stew, thanks to The PaleoMom blog for the recipe. I did add mushrooms to the recipe, a nice bite.

I like to plan ahead, when I can. I had prepped and marinated the meat yesterday when we got back from the airport. Early this morning, I finished the rest of the prep cooking and put it into the oven. As my husband and brother were talking away this morning, I put a few things in the fridge – eggplant, zucchini, celery, onion – into a ratatouille. That, too, was cooked before our expedition to the Mexican Market.

Stew, tortilla, salad

And so, Morocco met Mexico – the stew was perfect filling for the fresh corn tortillas. My husband even introduced Mexico to France –tortilla filled with ratatouille. Good thing we liked it, we have tons of leftovers of all!

Tortilla and ratatouille

Mexico Market, Homestead, Florida

Moroccan-Inspired Lamb (Heart) Stew


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