Passing Down Family Recipes

Do you have a favorite family recipe that you can share? Do older generations in your family cook with recipes? If not, how are these recipes being pass down to younger generations? What has been some of the changes to the recipe that you are sharing?

Zona Abierta: Sofrito by Jorge Félix ― April 23, 2015 at the LCC

  • One story that I remember whenever I see pico de gallo is the time me and my dad made some when my mother was in Mexico. Despite never having made any before, me and my father were able to bond/laugh on our efforts in trying to make the perfect pico de gallo. — Anonymous

  • The last time I was ever in Mexico building a house, our family cooked for us every day, making even the tortillas from scratch, and on that day I learned why Mexican grocery stores are popping up all over the place in America! Salud! — Levi

  • In the African-American culture, soul food is very prevalent. Food such as macaroni, greens, corn bread, and cranberry sauce has been in our culture for centuries. — Anonymous

  • Recipes used in African dishes are similar to the recipe Jorge Felix used in his show and tell. Each ingredient compliments each other to create the ultimate taste for the dish. — Anonymous

  • Flautas Recipe — Anonymous
    • Ingredients:
      • 1lbs of chicken (whole or breast)
      • Tortillas (corn, any color)
      • sofrito
      • Sazón & adobo
      • Ground garlic, ground onion salt, pepper
    • Directions:
      • Boil chicken till it can be pulled apart. Season will all ingredients listed above (to your liking).
      • Take a tbsp full of seasoned chicken
      • Place near edge of the tortilla (warmed) and tightly roll.
      • Heat oil
      • Place rolled tortilla with the chicken inside with the folded side down and fry.
      • Fry until tortilla is golden and crisp
      • Take out and place it on napkin to remove excess oil.
      • EAT!

  • My grandma has a metate. Every time we visit her in Mexico she cooks Mole for us. She makes it from scratch, using the metate. She grinds all the spices there and it takes a lot of work. It is usually my grandma or my aunts who use it, but they made up that using the metate is a good workout. They tell us that the metate workout makes our butt tighter and slims our stomach. Who knows if it actually works, but my sisters and I do the grinding on the metate every time we go. My grandma’s Mole is the best Mole on Earth! — María

  • This activity (sofrito event) reminded me of my childhood when I would help my family cook in the kitchen. I really liked what Jorge said about how cooking unites families as well as creating a space to share stories. I think of the holidays and all the delicious food that my family makes. — Anonymous

  • My abuelita’s favorite story to tell is when I destroyed her sacred “molino” grinder, which she would use for all her traditional recipes from tortillas to salsas. I was probably 5 years old when I found her molino station, which was the most fascinating metal “toy” I had ever seen in the middle of her vegetable garden. I grinded rocks and sand all day until she realized what I was doing! After experiencing Jorge Felix’s “Sofrito” performance I realized how my abuelita probably felt in that instance losing her molino. Now, as a cook and father, I can appreciate the art and magic that happens in the kitchen–the community bonding and love, and all the tools and ingredients that remind me of my rich Mexican cultural heritage. I love you Abuelita Atanacia! — Mario

  • Once in a while my mother starts baking our traditional Ecuadorian empanadas. I sometimes help her by curling up the edges of the “masa.” I love that bonding moment with her because its something from our culture that we all love to eat. By the end of the next day the bowl of empanadas are gone. They are delicious empanadas filled with cheese and sugar on the top. Everyone should try them. — Anonymous

  • I remember the first time my mom showed me how to make huevos tibios. I made them everyday because I thought I was so cool! I made them so much that I’m now sick of them. — Anonymous

  • I cannot remember what it was my mom was preparing but it involved garlic. She called me while she had stepped out and said “me le pones un ajo” and not knowing that only meant one, rabano as older people would assume (I was probably 14), I put an entire garlic into the recipe. She came home to taste it only to get SURPRISED with how much flavor was packed into her meal. — Anonymous

  • When I was much younger my dad and I really enjoyed gardening. I grew up in an apartment so there was not much room for gardening, but now that we have a home we garden all the time. I think of it as a way to communicate with him and I feel like he relates gardening to his childhood. These moments that we share are priceless. — David

  • Arroz con Gandules Recipe
    • Ingredients:
      • long grain rice
      • olive oil
      • cilantro
      • adobo con pimienta
      • garlic, onion (Spanish), green pepper
      • achiote
      • clives
      • gandules  

Spring 2015 Open House ― January 14, 2015 at the LCC

  • Piña Colada Recipe From the Kitchen of: Brito-Lucero Family
    • Makes one gallon, and don’t forget…save and reuse your gallon containers!
    • Ingredients:
      • 1 can of Coco Lopez, cream coconut
      • 2 cans of Dole pineapple juice
      • 1 can Dole pineapple slices
      • Tequila, 1 ounce per drink
    • Directions: Mix all the ingredients in a blender and then strain. Serve cold or with ice. Tequila is optional but Don Julio is recommended!
    • Story: This is my mother-in-law’s recipe passed down to my wife Cindy, and it is a “must-have” drink in every family holiday celebration. This drink recipe for piña colada brings many childhood memories and is a favorite among the young ones in our family. — Mario

  • Quesitos Recipe From the Kitchen of: Torres Family
    • Ingredients:
      • Cream cheese
      • Vanilla extract
      • Pastry dough
      • Butter
      • Sugar
      • Honey (optional)
      • Egg white
    • Directions: Mix cream cheese (room temperature) with vanilla extract and sugar. Make it sweet, but not too sweet. Cut pastry dough into squares and put about a tablespoon of mixture in the pastry. Close the pastry with egg white and sprinkle sugar in top. Bake in an oven, temperature 365 for 15-20 minutes or until they are golden brown.
    • Story: This has been my favorite pastry since I was little. Once we came to Chicago from Puerto Rico we could not find them anywhere so we made our own. — Ian

  • Secret Soda Bread Recipe From the Kitchen of: Guerrero/Reynolds
    • Ingredients:
      • Flour
      • Eggs
      • Raisin
      • Walnuts
      • Sugar
      • Baking soda
      • Unsalted butter
    • Directions: Secret!
    • Story: My great grandmother Bridie on my dad’s side came from Ireland in 1912. She was a great cook and had a famous soda bread recipe that the whole family loved. she was very secretive with the recipe and only taught a few of her 7 kids how to make it. My mom is Mexican and never half Irish soda bread until she met the family. she loved it so much that after about 20 years, my great grandmother gave her the recipe. She didn’t even give it to to my dad, or my aunt Jane, but the non-irish one in the family got the recipe! Well someday I hope my cooking’s up to snuff to get access to the famous recipe. My great-grandmother’s gone now, but her memory lives on through the family flavors! — Lena

  • Chocoflan Recipe From the Kitchen of: Lopez Family
    • Ingredients for flan:
      • 4 eggs
      • 1 can of lecherita
      • 1 can of condensed milk
      • 1 teaspoon of vanilla
      • ½ cup of rum (optional)
      • 1 cheese cream (8 ounces)
    • Ingredients for cake mix:
      • 1 chocolate cake mix
      • 3 eggs
      • 1 teaspoon of coffee
      • 1 tablespoon of oil
      • 1 cup of water or milk
    • Cooking purpose:
      • 4 ounces of cajetacaramel
      • Butter
      • Aluminum foil
    • Directions: Preheat the oven at 350 degrees. In the pan you will use for the chocoflan, cover it with butter or spray and put the cajeta. Set it aside. Mix all the ingredients for the flan together in a blender, and set it aside. Then in a pan, mix all the ingredients for the cake mix for about 5 minutes. In the pan already covered with the caramel, it is very important to put the cake mix first, and spread it evenly, then slowly pour the flan mix on top. Cut the aluminum foil so it fits the size of the pan, and cover it with butter so the cake mix does not stick. Finally, put the chocoflan in water bath (baño maria) and place it inside the oven. Bake it for 1 hour to an 1 ½. Place in refrigerator for 2 hours and then remove it from pan to a plate very careful, and voila!
    • Story: My dad was a great chef in his early years and he always cook in the house. I have always been excited to learn how to bake cakes, and so I told him. One day, he taught me how to make the most delicious chocoflan ever. Most importantly, when he teaches me how to cook different types of dishes it united us more and creates a very comfortable and fun environment for his stories. He taught me that the secret for good cooking is to make everything with love, a strategy that will stay with me forever. — Elizabeth

Chocolate in Pilsen: Cuisine and Heritage ― December 13, 2014 at the National Museum of Mexican Art

  • La Catrina Cafe: Torta de mole (Mexican baguette)
    Serving for 30-40 tortas

    • Ingredients for mole sauce:
      • 6 chiles pasia deveined (save seeds for later use)
      • 4 chiles anchos deveined (save seeds for later use)
      • 4 chiles mulato deveined (save seeds for later use)
      • 1 quart of water
      • 2 garlic cloves – sliced
      • 1/2 large yellow onion – diced
      • 1/4 cup of blanched raw almonds
      • 1/4 cup of raw pecans
      • 1/2 cup of raw blanched peanuts
      • 1/2 cup sesame seeds
      • 1 stick of cinnamon
      • 2 wedges of Abuelita chocolate tablet
      • 6 whole cloves
      • 6 whole peppercorn
      • 1/2 of chile seeds from seeded chiles
      • 1/2 cup of pure olive oil
    • Ingredients for chicken:
      • 4 chicken breasts skinless
      • 2 garlic cloves
      • 1/2 medium yellow onion
      • 1 teaspoon of salt
    • Ingredients for rice:
      • 2 cups if long grain rice
      • 2 large tomatoes
      • 2 garlic cloves
      • 1/2 medium yellow onion
      • 3 quarts of water
      • 1 teaspoon chicken bouillon or 2 cups of chicken stock
      • 1/4 cup of pure olive oil
    • Preparation:
      1. Cut and boil chicken with ingredients. You’ll need chicken broth for the rice and mole sauce.
      2. Once chicken is cooked, shred it.
    • Process:
      1. Cut chiles into pieces and fry in oil then soak in chicken stock.
      2. Fry onion and garlic, place in a large bowl, fry all the nuts and place in the same large bowl.
      3. Add chicken stock to the large bowl enough to cover all ingredients.
      4. Fry cloves, peppercorn, cinnamon and chile seeds and soak.
      5. Brown sesame seeds and soak. Soak chocolate.
      6. In a large Mexican clay caso, heat on a high flame until fiery red, lightly coat the bottom with oil.
      7. Start blending soaked ingredients, preferably in a blender
      8. Pour into caso, stirring frequently until all the sauce becomes dark tan, a good 45 minutes to 1 hour. Add chicken stock to keep sauce from thickening more like a puree.
      9. Blend the chiles, strain and add the sauce. Add salt to taste. Add shredded chicken.
      10. Brown rice in oil, blend tomatoes, garlic and onion, add to browned rice with 2 cups of water but preferably chicken stock, add salt to taste.
      11. Cook in a medium heat until 5 minutes, add 2 more cups of water cook 15-20 minutes. Check water level, add more water if rice needs more cooking time. Rice should be light and fluffy.
      12. Take the Mexican baguette (bolillo) slice in half but not totally apart. Place a good amount of rice, about 2 lath heaping spoon full and same amount of mole sauce.

We are collecting stories about universal concerns that people have around the world.

Find more stories from the UIC Latino Cultural Center community, and submit your own!