Yolanda Baza arrived in Los Angeles as an undocumented migrant when she was just 19 years old. Even in those early years of extreme hardship and financial uncertainty, it was her love for her children and her family that kept her going. For example, by cooking chiles en nogada, Yolanda remembers her grandmother made the dish during times of financial hardship. Her perseverance and her love for food made it possible for her to succeed both as an entrepreneur and a mother. Paralleling the story of her own grandmother’s migration from Pueblo to Mexico City, Yolanda’s gift at cooking alongside her strong sense of diligence is what brought not only her own economic success in a new region, yet a legacy of success within her strong-knit family.
Chiles en Nogada (Stuffed Chiles with Walnut Sauce)
12 chiles Poblanos (peeled and deveined)
For the stuffing:
2 pounds ground beef
1 medium onion
4 cloves garlic
1 pear (peeled and diced)
1 peach (peeled and diced)
1 plantain (diced)
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
salt to taste
For the nogada cream sauce:
1 cup walnuts (soaked and peeled)
3 oz cream cheese
1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 teaspoon sugar
Blend everything for 2 minutes until smooth.
For the garnish:
1 pomegranate and 1 small bunch parsley
Fry garlic, onion and beef.
When the beef is almost cooked through, add the tomatoes, fruit and cinnamon.
Stuff the chiles with the meat and garnish with the cream sauce, pomegranate seeds and diced parsley.