Fresh-ground chorizo made with lean pork tastes a whole lot better than the stuff in the plastic package made from lips, snouts, and glands. The recipe is simple, especially if you use a meat grinder. The hand-cranked variety is very inexpensive. And wouldn't it be great to eat that fresh chorizo on your own homemade tortillas? The recipe for tortillas calls for masa, a pinch of salt, and...well that's it. All you really need is a sack of Maseca, salt, some water, and a tortilla press.

Okay, you see where I'm going with this. A few pieces of inexpensive equipment can make you look like a Mexican cooking authority. Where to find this stuff?

I suggest you head for the "mercado" district on Airline Drive near the intersection with 610. Reyes Produce at 2426 Airline has a huge array of pots, pans, tamale cookers, spice and coffee grinders, wooden and metal tortilla presses, several sizes of outdoor grills, and all manner of kitchen gadgets outside the front of the store. What you can't find here, you can get at neighboring establishments.

Mexican cooking authority Diana Kennedy suggests that the best way to make guacamole is in a molcajete. The stone grinding bowl also makes for an awesome tableside presentation. (Be sure to cure your molcajete first to remove grit.) So where do you buy a molcajete?

Try Rachel's Produce, located in a stall behind Canino's produce at the Farmers Marketing Association Complex at 2520 Airline. There are several sizes of stone grinding bowls for sale there along with all manner of clay pots, tortilla warmers, and cazuelas

For the ultimate in Ancient/Modern Mexican cooking, check out the giant cazuelas mounted on propane stands.



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