Name: Emily Miller
Hometown: Cleveland, Ohio (Forest Hill Presbyterian Church)
Assignment: As coordinator for projects and relationships in northern Mexico, I accompany MCC partners through the monitoring and evaluation process for projects related to migration. My position, based in Ciudad Juárez, is new and part of my role is to identify needs and possible partner agencies in locations along Mexico’s northern border. I also work closely with MCC learning tours focused on migration.
Typical day: Begins with email, communicating with partners and MCC Mexico team members. I work from my home helping partners with funding applications or follow-up information and sometimes travel to visit partners. I also reach out to possible partners to learn more and stay current on migration issues, which change on a daily basis. Some days after work I visit with my neighbours, who have become my extended family.
Joys: Spending time with partners and understanding the context of their location and work. Learning more about different chilis and how to use them in cooking. Being part of the Mennonite Church, Iglesia Anabautista Menonita Nuevo Pacto.
Challenge: Life on the border is continuously changing. U.S. policy changes and court rulings have an immediate effect on the flow of migration and challenge the limited resources of Mexican border communities. Living in and learning a different language is also a challenge.
Reflecting on faith: Micah 6:8 has been an important verse for me in guiding my life. During this service assignment, the song that has resonated with me is, “Here I Am, Lord” by Dan Schutte. Often, in the midst of the confusion of a new position and service in a new place and space, I have to remind myself to step back and just be present and pray, “Here I am, Lord, now use me as you wish to use me.”
Recipes to share: Emily Miller shares three recipes for foods that are often enjoyed among colleagues, partners, neighbours and fellow church members along the U.S. and Mexico border (cards with these recipes were sent as part of a package to participants in a January 2021 MCC Virtual Borderlands Tour).
This is a family recipe for flour tortillas that has been passed down through the family of Ana Alicia Hinojosa. Based in Texas, Hinojosa serves as immigration education coordinator for MCC Central States. These tortillas are for tacos but are delicious eaten fresh with a little butter.
3 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
3/4 to 1 cup HOT tap water or boiling water
Mix dry ingredients thoroughly. Slowly add 3/4 to 1 cup water. Continue mixing until dough becomes a ball but not sticky.
Spread out flour on the counter and knead dough until shiny. Let rest for 10 minutes.
Form even balls and roll out with a rolling pin.
Tinga de pollo (Chicken tinga)
This recipe is from the kitchen of Señora Molina. You can adjust the quantity of ingredients to the number of people you plan to serve and to your taste. This is traditionally served on tostadas but can be served in soft tortillas as tacos or burritos as well.
4 pounds bone-in chicken breast
1 can chipotles in adobo sauce
1 white onion
6 tomatoes (about 3 cups diced)
2 Tbsp oil
Salt to taste
Boil chicken breast until cooked through (30 to 50 minutes). Shred chicken using two forks or your fingers.
Chop tomatoes and place them in a blender with the chipotles in adobo sauce. You can start with half the can of chiles. Blend and then add more to taste.
Thinly slice the onion. Sauté with the oil in a large pot until caramelized. Add shredded chicken and cook for 2 to 5 minutes on medium heat to let flavors mingle. Add tomato and chipotle sauce from blender and heat.
Salsa verde asada (Roasted green salsa)
This recipe is adapted from Ricardo Muñoz Zurita’s cookbook En La Cocina Mexicana. You can adjust the level of spice by decreasing the number of chiles or removing the seeds and veins from the chiles.
1 pound tomatillos
3 serrano chiles
1/4 cup white onion
3 cloves garlic
1 1/4 tsp salt
2 Tbsp cilantro (finely chopped)
Roast tomatillos, chiles, onion and garlic. This can be done on the stove top or under a broiler. Stove Top: Roast ingredients in a frying pan. Turn as each side roasts. Broiler: Place ingredients on a pan and roast under the broiler. Turn vegetables over as they roast.
Place roasted vegetables and salt in the blender and pulse until it reaches a consistency you like. Add cilantro and pulse one to two more times. If you like a thinner salsa, you can add water or broth.
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