“Food has always been a big deal in my family. We’re not even finished with one meal when we start talking about the next,” says Lola Wiarco Dweck, a Mexican-American food blogger, recipe developer, and entrepreneur. In the kitchen of her Highlands Ranch home, she creates vibrant dishes using classic Mexican flavors and shares them—often alongside stories of the family members and traditions that inspired her love of cooking—via her blog, Lola’s Cocina (and her colorful Instagram account, @lolascocina). Here, Wiarco Dweck provides a twist on a tried-and-true recipe that’s perfect for your next fiesta—or even just a weeknight dinner.
Turkey Picadillo Tostadas
Picadillo is a traditional Latin American dish made of ground beef, potatoes, and spices, and is typically served with rice. Wiarco Dweck’s leaner version uses ground turkey instead of beef and crispy tostadas in place of rice.
3 tablespoons cooking oil
½ white onion, diced
1 pound ground turkey
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 medium Russet potatoes,
cubed into ½-inch pieces
2 carrots, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
2 Roma tomatoes, chopped
Salt, to taste
2 cups refried beans
Garnishes such as shredded cabbage, diced avocado, microgreens, salsa, and edible flowers
- In a large pan or cast-iron pot, heat oil over medium heat. Once hot, add onion and cook until translucent. Add ground turkey and garlic. Break up any large pieces with a wooden spatula and cook for approximately 10 minutes or until turkey is golden brown.
- Add potatoes, carrots, and celery and cook an additional 10 minutes or until potatoes are fork-tender.
- Add tomatoes and season with salt; cover the pan and reduce heat to low. Cook for at least 30 more minutes to develop flavors.
- Top tostadas with a layer of refried beans, picadillo, and as many garnishes as you like.
Agua Fresca de Tamarindo
15 tamarind pods, hard shells removed (Find them at Sprouts or Mexican specialty grocery stores like Lowes Mercado)
6 cups water
¼ cup sugar, or to taste
Lime and chile salt, optional
- In a medium saucepan, combine tamarind pods and water. Cover and bring water to a boil for five minutes, then remove from heat. Allow water to cool and tamarind pods to soak for at least one hour (or overnight).
- Using clean hands, extract as much of the pulp from the pods as possible and set aside. Remove and discard the seeds and stringy fibers.
- In a blender, combine soaking liquid, pulp, and sugar, and puree on high until smooth, for approximately 30 seconds. Strain into a pitcher and discard or compost pulp. Taste and adjust sweetness if necessary.
- Mix well. Pour liquid over plenty of ice in a glass rimmed with lime juice and chile salt. Top with a squeeze of fresh lime juice. Makes 6–8 drinks.
Tip: Your agua fresca de tamarindo may initially seem a little thick or strong in flavor, but the ice will water it down. If, after a little melting, the drink is still too concentrated, add more water.
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Three must-haves from Wiarco Dweck’s mercadito, an online shop full of gourmet pantry items and colorful artisan-made goods.
1. Salsa Morita, $14 for 12-ounce jar
Wiarco Dweck makes this spicy, smoky, oil-based salsa in micro-batches with no preservatives. Drizzle it onto eggs, add it to soups and sandwiches, or enjoy it as a gourmet dip for bread.
2. Flores Wooden Flower Salt Spoon, $7 each, $18 for set of three
Forget the shaker: These one-of-a-kind wooden spoons are a beautiful way to add a dash of salt to any dish. Handmade and painted in Oaxaca, Mexico.
3. Embroidered Apron, $75
Aprons are more than utilitarian clothing items in Oaxaca; they’re a statement of identity, style, and social class. Handmade by female Oaxacan artisans, these aprons feature embroidered floral designs and a tie back for a fitted look.