If there's anyone who knows her way around a Latin American grocery store in the U.S., it's Yvette Marquez-Sharpnack. She a proud Tejana, born and raised in El Paso but strongly in touch with her Mexican roots. She's also a food blogger and the author behind Muy Bueno: Three Generations of Authentic Mexican Flavor, a cookbook co-written with her sister and mother, inspired by family recipes taught by her grandmother, Jesusita.
Yvette started the Muy Bueno blog as a way to keep her family recipes alive by passing them down from generation to generation. Her aim is to help people discover her grandma's secrets to great Mexican food — and that's not without a few shortcuts! We got a chance to catch up with Yvette and talk about her favorite recipes featuring canned goods that you will find in your local Mexican grocery store.
Here are her top picks.
"Hominy is what happens when dried corn kernels are treated in a process called nixtamalization. This process transforms the dried kernels into edible, soft kernels. Hominy can be found in small and large cans in most grocery stores and Latin markets. I buy hominy to make dishes like Chicken Pozole Verde and Pozole Rojo."
"When translated literally, dulce de leche means candy of milk. This creamy, sweet spread is smooth and silky with a look and feel like caramel, but a more complex flavor. The sweetness is also far less overwhelming. There is always a can of dulce de leche in my pantry. It makes the perfect drizzle for any dessert! I like to pour it over ice cream when I am craving something sweet or make easy Mexican Chocolate and Dulce de Leche croissants. It's also a fun addition to these s'mores bars. For the holidays, I make Alfajores, which are traditional Latin dulce de leche shortbread cookies."
"These are actually dried, smoked, red japaleños. I use canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, which are marinated in vinegar and seasonings. The most popular recipe on my blog is Chicken Tinga, and you can't make it without this magical spicy canned good."
"If you love traditional Mexican desserts like Tres Leches and Calabaza en Tacha (candied pumpkin), or if you want to make your own dulce de leche in a slow cooker, then you definitely need sweet condensed milk."
Do you have anything else to add? Leave your favorites in the comments below.