Thanksgiving Spice - Chef Camerino Torres




What better way to celebrate our country’s rich culture than by fusing a traditional American holiday with flavors from other countries? 

Promising a new world where people could live free, America became a melting pot of cultures ever since the Mayflower landed in Plymouth, Mass. The “land of opportunity” fuses more ethnic flavors than any other country in the world.

Throughout the centuries, as people continued to emigrate from every continent in the world, many adopted the “American” way of doing things. However, certain ethnic customs and influences have thankfully simmered through, mixing and mingling in the most delightful ways, especially in the area of gastronomy.

Three desert chefs — one Italian, one French, and one Mexican — who moved to the States to pursue their culinary dreams, talk about how their love of dishes from home influence their celebration of the traditional American holiday of Thanksgiving.


Hot peppers, chili, cilantro, avocados, tomatoes, and chocolate bring a distinctive Mexican flair to Camerino Torres’ Thanksgiving meals.

“I feel so proud when I prepare traditional Mexican food,” Torres says. “Since the preparation can take a long time, the celebration and joy in eating it with family and friends gives me great pleasure.”

Torres’ first Thanksgiving when he moved to the desert 24 years ago comprised traditional American fare: turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, corn, and pies. “Once I married, with a family of my own, the holiday became more meaningful to me as a family celebration,” he says. “Making different types of Mexican recipes for this meal has always been a passion.

“For Thanksgiving, my family loves having turkey with mole sauce,” Torres says.

“It enhances the meat’s flavor to perfection. We serve that dish with a Spanish rice and, mmm, deliciosa y riquisima!”

In 2005, all of his brothers and sisters visited from Mexico to celebrate the holiday together. “We had so much fun,” Torres says. “When you gather from different parts, coming together to share that particular family meal, it just makes it all the more special.”

8 avocados, cubed
4 tomatoes, diced
1 c. red onion, diced
1/2 c. cilantro, chopped
3 oz. fresh lime juice
Arils of one pomegranate
1 T. salt
1 T. white pepper
30 Tostaditas (mini tostada chips)
6 oz. queso ranchero (can be purchased in
the refrigerated section of a grocery store)

Combine avocados, tomatoes, onion, cilantro, lime juice, and arils. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Spoon on tostaditas. Add queso ranchero crumbles on top as a garnish.

Serves 12 to 16

1 turkey, 10-12 lbs, cut in separate pieces
8 ancho chilies, dried and destemmed
8 California chilies, dried and destemmed
8 cloves garlic
1 T. ground cumin
2 T. ground oregano
3 T. Mexican chocolate (if chocolate is fresh,
you can crumble it; if it is hard, you can grate it with a cheese grater)
8 whole cloves
3 T. salt
1 c. toasted sesame seeds
4 oz. flour
4 oz. vegetable oil

Cook turkey over low heat approximately two hours in large soup pot covered in salted water. Separate the broth without fat and set aside.

Put chilies in a large skillet over medium heat, turning them until toasted on all sides. Remove chilies and soak in 3 cups of hot water for 20 minutes. Drain.

Place garlic, cumin, oregano, chocolate, cloves, salt, sesame seeds, flour, and chilies into a large blender. Pulse and combine till smooth. Strain mixture and chili skins and set aside.

Heat oil in large skillet on medium heat and gently add chilies mixture. Simmer 5 minutes. Add turkey pieces and 6 cups of turkey broth and simmer until the mole thickens, about 15-20 minutes.

Serves 12 to 16

2 1 /2 c. flour
2 eggs
1 T. baking powder
8 oz. lard, melted
4 T. sugar

1 c. sugar
1 T. ground cinnamon

2 c. water
2 c. 4 oz. brown sugar
Juice of 1 lemon
5 Cloves
4 Cinnamon sticks
2 c. vegetable oil

Place flour on a flat surface and form a well. In the center, add remaining dough ingredients. Mix by hand, working to form a manageable dough. Let dough rest one hour before rolling into a thin layer, about 1/8-inch thick.

Cut dough in 2- and 3-inch rounds for different displays.

Combine sugar and cinnamon.

Fry buneulos in melted lard and then toss in cinnamon mixture.

In a saucepan, combine syrup. Heat on medium heat until reduced to half. Pour through a strainer. Drizzle syrup on top of bunuelos.
Bunuelos can be served hot or cold.

Serves 12 to 16

Las Casuelas Terraza
222 S Palm Canyon Dr
Palm Springs, CA 92262-6312
Phone    760-325-2794

Comments to this website are moderated by staff. While all comments are welcome, we encourage all to be polite and please do use this system for advertising or business promotions. Any complaint towards a business or service should be directed directly to that business and not posted here. If anyone has a complaint that a comment is defamatory, please contact me at and I will take appropriate action promptly. Thank You

Add your comment:
Palm Springs Life

Related Articles

Ernest Coffee Palm Springs Imports Local Baked Goods

The caffeinated buzz going on about Ernest Coffee in Palm Springs is as much about the coffee as it is about the fresh pastries coming from off-site bakers.

Thrillist Ranks Las Casuelas Terraza Among Top Mexican Restaurants

Las Casuelas Terraza in downtown Palm Springs has been named a “Top 21 Mexican Restaurants in America” by the editors of Thrillist.

TRIO Palm Springs Heats up in August With Menu Specials

August brings much-anticipated weekly menu specials and Brunch A Go Go with bottomless mimosa, plus the celebrated extended happy hour in the always-jumping bar.

Chef Roy Choi, Kogi BBQ, Chego!, A-Frame, Sunny Spot, and POT

Chef Roy Choi shares his recipe for and prepares Korean barbecue on the final day of Food & Wine Festival Palm Desert™ 2014

Solano's Bistro Caters to Locals All Summer Long

Solano's Bistro owner and chef Francisco “Paco” Solano says his La Quinta restaurant is a “locals” place that works to serve customers all summer long.

Promotions + Contests

90 Days of Summer Romantic Palm Springs Getaway 2014

90 Days of Summer Romantic Palm Springs Getaway 2014

Experience the beauty, romance and excitement of the Palm Springs area when you enter to be the lucky winner of this romantic couple’s getaway
90 DAYS OF SUMMER Instagram Contest 2014

90 DAYS OF SUMMER Instagram Contest 2014

Win a fabulous Palm Springs weekend!

Win a fabulous Palm Springs weekend!

Each month, a first place winner will be selected to win a fabulous Palm Springs weekend!And, each month, three additional runners up will be selected to win a wonderful Palm Springs area Dining certificate!
2013/14 Best of the Best

2013/14 Best of the Best

Palm Springs Life’s annual Best of the Best. Readers tell us who their choice is for the “Best of the Best” of the Coachella Valley in over 40 categories.
Cartoon Caption Contest

Cartoon Caption Contest

Each month, we provide a vintage 1950’s cartoon illustrated by Alice Rovinsky. You are invited to submit a caption or vote for your favorite caption.
Enter to Win A Celebrate Dance Experience!

Enter to Win A Celebrate Dance Experience!

Enter just once for a chance to win tickets to one of the second annual Palm Desert International Dance Festival performances.