martes, 14 de agosto de 2012


Silly comments within recipes are from my sister, Cliz, the librarian, who did the research.

Red Chili Sauce

1 cup red chili pulp
3 tablespoons fat (I’m sure that means that bacon grease our grandmother’s used to leave on the stove in a cup to fry our eggs with! SICK!)
1 tablespoon minced onion
1 teaspoon minced garlic
2 teaspoons flour
Dash of oregano
Salt to taste
¼ cup water

Heat the fat in a heavy skillet, add the minced onion and garlic, and cook until golden brown. Add the flour, blend well, then add the chili pulp, oregano, salt, and water. Simmer for 30 minutes. If the sauce seems too hot, add a little tomato sauce or a small chopped fresh tomato. (Or just tough it out! )

Huevos de Chili

This eggs-in-chili dish frequently was referred to in mission days a “Oxeyes,” presumably because of the fact the eggs seem to stare out of the dish.
(But, in actuality, they WERE eyes staring at you. Remember the beef used in yesterday’s recipe? Uh-hum, exactly.)

12 large dried red chilies
3 tablespoons butter (or fat) (depending on whether you used bacon or not last week!)
1 tablespoon flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 clove garlic, well mashed
1 tablespoon vinegar
12 eggs

Wipe the chilies clean; split, remove stems, seed veins and seeds; place in a small kettle and cover with boiling water. Steam for 15 to 20 minutes. Remove the chilies from the water and rub through a colander, adding a little of the water in which the chilies were cooked (this aids in removing the pulp from the skins). You should have a rich red puree.
Heat the fat in a kettle, stir in the flour (or if you prefer, ¼ cup of toasted bread crumbs); stir just until the two are well blended, then add salt and garlic. Pour in the vinegar, stir and add the chili puree. Cook for 20 minutes.
Pour the sauce into a casserole, drop in eggs one at a time and allow to stand in a warm oven until the eggs are set. To garnish, sprinkle around edge with finely chopped ripe black olives and onion.


The Indians in New Spain taught the Spaniards and the padres how to make nixtamal and how to use it. This is the base of many mission foods as well as Mexican foods: tortillas, tamales and tacos.

1 gallon water
1/3 cup unslaked lime (What’s unslaked? Look it up in your Funk & Wagnall’s)
2 quarts (8 cups) whole dry corn (maize)

In a galvanized kettle, mix the water and lime stirring with a clean stick (just in case you were thinking of using that dirty one) or a wooden spoon. Add the corn and stir until the mixture no longer effervesces.
Bring to a boil, then lower the heat so that the mixture cooks but does not boil – stir frequently. When the skins can be easily rubbed from the kernels (after about one hour of cooking) and the corn is moist through, remove from the heat.
Drain and wash in several changes of cold water until all trace of lime is removed. Rub the kernels between the hands until free of hulls.
You will have a clean corn much like hominy but not so well cooked. This is nixtamal, ready to be ground into masa.

Lime Water

Quick, or unslaked, (there’s that word again!) lime is used in making the nixtamal. The ratio is 1/3 cup lime to 1 gallon water. (Add some sugar and you’ve got lime-aide!)


1 cup nixtamal

Place on cup of nixtamal on a metate (the Indian grain grinder); sprinkle with water to keep it moist. With a small hand-stone, rub back and forth, over and over, until the corn kernels have formed a medium-fine dough. This is masa. Cover with a damp cloth to keep from drying.


Torrejas are corn dough fritters, or sweet corn wafers.

2 cups corn masa
1 cup white cheese (dry cottage cheese)
1 teaspoon salt

Mix the masa, cheese, and salt to a soft dough. Mold into small balls, then pat into thin 2-inch wafers. Bake on a ungreased griddle, then fry in deep fat for a few minutes until crisp.
Torrejas are usually served with dishes having an abundance of gravy, or combined with a cooked red chili sauce. They may also be served with a sweet syrup.


Form the masa into 2-inch balls; press and pat with the hand into a 6-inch round cake. Bake on a hot, ungreased griddle until slightly brown and blistered on both sides.

Jiricalla (custard)

This is a nearest to ice cream that the early Californians knew.

6 eggs
1 quart milk
¾ cup sugar
Dash of nutmeg
½ cup masa (or 2 tablespoons cornstarch)
½ cup water

Separate the eggs and beat the yolks lightly. Scald the milk, add the sugar and nutmeg; then add slowly to the beaten egg yolks. Dilute the masa with the water, blending well. Add the milk – egg mixture and cook over medium heat, stirring all the while, until it thickens. Beat the egg whites until light and fluffy, put on top of the jiricalla; sprinkle sparingly with sugar, place in the oven just long enough to set the meringue. Cool.

Champurrado (a thick hot chocolate drink)

In the early days of the missions, the Spaniards drank chocolate, and they liked it thicker and sweeter than we know hot chocolate today.

6 teaspoons grated chocolate (or cocoa)
6 teaspoons sugar
1 cup hot water
5 cups milk, scalded
Dash cinnamon or nutmeg
½ cup masa (or 2 tablespoons cornstarch)
2 eggs, well beaten
2 teaspoons vanilla

In a double boiler, combine the chocolate and sugar; add the hot water slowly, stirring until mixture forms a smooth paste. Add the scalded milk, a little at a time; then the masa which has been thinned with a small amount of the hot liquid (or the cornstarch which has been blended with some of hot liquid). Just before serving, fold in the eggs, vanilla, and the cinnamon or nutmeg.

Dulce de Calabaza

Translated, this is sweet or candied pumpkin.

2 pounds pared pumpkin
2 tablespoons (level) unslaked lime (dang!)
2 quarts water

Combine the lime and water, stir well, allow to stand 12 hours, stir again and let settle. Use only the clear lime water.
Pare the ripe pumpkin and cut into strips the size of a finger. Drop the pieces into the clear lime water and let stand overnight. Drain the pumpkin from the lime water, cover with boiling water and boil 10 to 15 minutes. Drain.
Make a syrup with 3 cups granulated sugar and 3 cups water. When the syrup begins to boil, put in the pumpkin pieces and boil briskly until the pumpkin is transparent but firm (about 15 minutes).
Lift the pumpkin pieces from the syrup (save syrup) onto a large pan or platter and place in the sun until the next day. Then reheat the syrup in which the pumpkin was cooked, return the cold pumpkin pieces to the boiling syrup, (make sure you pick the flies off of it first), and simmer until the pieces are tender but firm. Left from the syrup and roll in granulated sugar; spread on a plate until cool.


1 teaspoon aniseed
1 tablespoon sugar
¼ cup water
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
3 tablespoons shortening
1 egg, well beaten

Combine the aniseed, sugar, and water in a small pan and bring to the boiling stage; cook for 3 minutes. Cool. Sift together the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar; mix in the shortening, rubbing well together; add the beaten egg and the aniseed liquid; knead well until the dough is soft but elastic. Divide the dough into 3 portions; roll out one at a time and cut each portion into 4-inch circles. Add filling and fold over as turnovers. Press the edges together with a fork; prick the top once or twice with the fork. Bake in a hot oven (400 degrees) until golden.

Relleno de Calabaza (pumpkin filling)

1 cup cooked pumpkin
¼ cup sugar
1 teaspoon aniseed

Cook all the ingredients together for 15 minutes. Cool before filling the empanaditas.

Relleno de Frijoles (bean filling)

1 cup cooked frijoles (pink beans) (I would use Pinto Beans)
1 tablespoon fat (hope you still have some of that fat left from your bacon!!)
3 tablespoons sugar
½ teaspoon salt
Dash of cinnamon or nutmeg

Mash frijoles and sauté lightly in the fat. Add the sugar, salt, and spice and cook over a medium heat until the mixture is thick and separates from the pan. Cool. Fill the empanaditas.

Relleno de Carne (meat filling)

1 pound rump of beef
2 green onions
1 tablespoon fat (Yikes! We’re gonna have to definitely go on a diet after all this!)
3 tablespoons sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
1/3 cup seedless raisins
1 cup ripe black olives
1 egg, well beaten

Cook the meat until tender, then chop (not too finely). Mince the green onions and cook in the fat until light golden in color. Add chopped meat, sugar, salt, chopped raisins, and olives; allow to simmer for 30 minutes. Remove from heat, cook, and stir in the egg. Fill the emapanaditas.


Puchero means “a boiled pot,” and there are at least eleven different versions. Here is one.

1 knuckle–bone (sun-dried) (THAT SOUNDS GROSSE! A knuckle of what??? Oh, that’s just in case you cut your finger off, I guess)
2 pounds veal
2 pounds beef
3 ears fresh sweet corn
3 sweet potatoes
1 cup garbanzo beans
2 whole onions
3 fresh (or dried) tomatoes
2 green chili peppers
1 pound green string beans (tied in a bunch)
3 small summer squash
1 hard apple
1 hard pear
2 teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon pepper

The knuckle-bone should be left in the air and sun to dry. Cover the knuckle-bone and meat with cold water. Bring to a boil and skim.
Place all washed vegetables and fruit over the bone and meat, carefully and in order so that they will be whole when cooked. Simmer over a low heat for 3 hours – NEVER STIR.
To serve, lift out the whole vegetables onto a platter. Then place the meat on another platter. Strain the broth into a tureen. (What the heck is that?) Carry to the table while very hot.
Quantities may be cut in half but this changes and impairs the flavor. El puchero may be warmed over, and the flavor improves with keeping.


A brief history of each mission is presented here.

other sites

Welcome to the Food Timeline! Food history presents a fascinating buffet of popular lore and contradictory facts.

14 comentarios:

  1. Hello, my daughter is doing a mission report in her 4th grade class and is creating a cookbook. We are using many of your recipes and want to know if you would give us permission to use your pictures in her cookbook? Please let us know if that would be okay. It is due this week (sorry for the late notice). you can contact me at thanks!

    1. Hello from Gilroy CA. My granddaughter Adriana would like to use your recipes and pictures for her 4th grad class project, a cookbook. My email is Thank you for the great information.

  2. Hello, My son is also doing a mission report that requires a recipe book and we would also like to know if we can have permission to use your recipes and pictures. Thank you very much.

  3. Por favor avísenos si nos permitiría utilizar las fotos y recetas para un proyecto sobre las misiones de California.

  4. Finally a website that has the Mission period recipes for my child's Mission project. We have been searching for weeks and we are down to the wire. We'd like to get permission for my child to use your recipes and pictures for cookbook due this Thursday 2/18/16. I can be reached at Thank you and Sincerest Regards.

    1. Hi I would like to use some of the recipes on your site as well for my daughters mission project. I can be reached at
      Thank you so much

  5. Hello, my daughter is doing her mission projects in social studies. The information and recipes are really useful, so can I use the pictures and recipes? You can reach me at Thank you and have a great evening!

  6. Hi! I'm not sure if you check this blog anymore, but I am doing my senior undergrad thesis on the role women played at CA missions. I am wondering where you got these recipes--from a family member? Or a mission era document/cookbook/list? Would love to know where they came from, thanks!

    1. I believe I've seen these exact recipes in The California Mission (book): A complete pictorial history and visitor's guide by Sunset Publication.

  7. Este comentario ha sido eliminado por el autor.

  8. The lime used to make Nixtamal is not Lime from the fruit. It is lime from the stone, called Cal in Spanish, and sold at Mexican stores.

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  10. Hello! We are also trying to do our mission cookbook and would like to include your recipes and images, if possible. I can be reached at I thank you for your time and your efforts!