Cooking Up a Color Story

Roasted pasilla chiles stuffed with a ground pork and green chile mixture, topped with a pecan and queso fresco cream sauce, garnished with pomegranate seeds and served with sauteed plaintains.
Grilled prickly pear cactus leaves, jicama and tomatoes are julienned then tossed in a lime and olive oil dressing.

Red, white and green rices are flavored with a variety of chiles and vegetables.

With color on my mind, this past weekend I cooked up a dinner party and menu with a color theme – the red, white and green of the Mexican flag.

Inspired by the cookbook, Frida’s Fiesta’s – Recipes and Reminiscences of Life with Frida Kahlo by Marie-Pierre Colle and Guadalupe Rivera, I’ve been experimenting with the recipes and themes in the book. A very beautiful cookbook, the photos and stories are inspiring. The recipes. . . well, they remind me of my abuelita’s (grandmother’s) recipes. Something very important is missing from most of them. The missing item is usually an ingredient, amount or technique that ranges between  crucial to the success of the recipe to a minor taste problem. Maybe the recipe editor had more to do with this than Frida did, but nonetheless, reading her cookbook reminds me of my abuelita’s passionate artistic temperament (she was a concert pianist and gifted chef). The recipes that my abuelita  gave me were always more of a suggestion than a solution.

With that in mind, I’ve been playing with the recipes, using them as a melody line I can embellish or rearrange as I play. I’m putting together Mexican / Chicano inspired recipes for a new cookbook I’ll publish this summer. Till then, here are a few of the dishes. Last weekend I presented each dish in the Mexican flag color scheme of red, green and white as a homage to Mexico and because it was a  fun design element to work with.


  1. Judy Shasek says:

    There is nothing so magical as watching a color-passionate artist with a flair for compelling mixing of flavors, textures and cooking. I look forward to the recipes and books sure to come from Cristina over the years.

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