Market District Chef Crystal Baldwin stopped by PTL to cook up some delicious Mexican dishes!

Chicken Quesadillas
(Courtesy of Chef Crystal A. Baldwin)

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Serves: 12
Prep Time: 3 ½ hours (including rising time)
Cook Time: 50 minutes


  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 ½ teaspoon cumin
  • 3 poblano chile, roasted, peeled, seeded and chopped
  • 4 cups shredded cooked chicken
  • Salt and pepper
  • 4 cups masa prepared from store-bought masa harina
  • 4 tbsp lard
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • Canola oil or lard or combination, for frying

Garnishes: such as sliced lettuce or cabbage, sliced avocado, cilantro, hot sauce, crumbled queso fresco, and sour cream or cream fraiche


Heat oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Add chopped onions and garlic; cook until translucent. Stir in the cumin; let cook for 1 minute or until fragrant. Add the poblano chiles and cook for another 2 minutes. Stir in the chicken and season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove from the heat and let cool.

Make the empanadas: In a bowl, mix the masa with the lard and baking powder until well combined.

To form the empanadas, line a tortilla press with two small rounds of parchment paper or plastic wrap. Form a 1⁄4 cup of masa dough into a ball, then flatten the ball slightly. Place the disk in the center of the tortilla press. Close the press to form a large round about 1⁄8 inch thick.

Carefully peel away the top liner. Place some of the a ¼ cup of the filling in the center of the dough. Using the remaining piece of plastic to support quesadilla, carefully fold the shell in half to cover the filling. Press the joined edges of the pastry together to seal. Transfer to a parchment paper-lined baking sheet or platter and repeat with the remaining masa and filling.

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Heat a large pan with an inch of canola oil in it over medium high heat. Slide the enchiladas in the pan, gently, one at time with out crowding the pan. Cook until golden brown on both sides, turning once. Remove from the oil and drain on paper towel lined trays. Serve with the garnishes.

Mexican Hot Chocolate
(Compliments of Chef Crystal Baldwin)

Serves: 3-4
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes


  • 6 oz Mexican chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 4 cups milk*
  • ground cinnamon or cinnamon sticks for garnish (optional)


Pour your milk into a pot over very medium-low heat bring add the chocolate and bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally. Turn off the heat and vigorously whisk for 2 minutes to develop a frothy creamy texture. Garnish with cinnamon.

*water may be used in place of the milk

Hot Chocolate with a twist

  • 6oz bittersweet chocolate
  • 4 cups chocolate milk
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1/8 tsp almond extract (or to taste)
  • Pinch cayenne pepper
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Place all the ingredients in a pot and follow the above directions for cooking.