Tuesday, February 23, 2010
A Yucatecan Adventure Supreme
I've been a woman on a mission. Couldn't stop thinking about the mole. I just couldn't leave well enough alone. So off to the fantastic Food Lion filled with hispanic delights. (I love Durham.) On the list: 15 dried pasilla and ancho chiles, copious amounts of onions for pickling, pico de gallo, and general awesome purposes. Lots of limes for garnish and ingredients, a bunch of cilantro, and some cotija cheese (kind of like Feta, but a smaller crumble).
After a most enjoyable and exciting trip, I got down to business. While I waited for my chiles to rehydrate in their bowling water so I could turn them from dried raisiny looking things into creamy, smoky, stain-my-hands-ochre-goodness, I made my pickled onions.
Not so hasty, there Hater. No need to go hating on all things pickled that are not cucumbers. I am allowed to say this because I was once like you. Until I had some nice little hot pink onions on top of my cochinita pibil in Xocen, Mexico. It was then I began to appreciate the rich contrast of flavors and textures that a pickled condiment can offer. Now make these:
Combine 1 very thinly sliced large red onion with
1 c. water
1 c. red wine vinegar
1 Tbsp granulated sugar
salt to taste
generous dash hot sauce (Valentina is my favorite, and a very economic option)
Let this mixture sit at least 5 hours. Overnight would be even better. These will keep up to two weeks in the fridge. Use them to top refried beans, tacos, chili, eggs with mole or salsa, or other endless possibilites! Don't spill them in your car like Jeremy did. It's not a smell you want lingering in the upholstery.
After that adventure, I was ready to drain my chiles, cook down some onions, tomatoes and raisins, toast some spices, dump everthing in a pot with a little chicken stock and bust out my trusty immersion blender. I'm not going to post this recipe for two reasons. 1) Laziness: this recipe calls for a million spices (of which I was astonished I actually had on hand) and is quite involved. 2) Moles of any variety are always full of very strong flavors. It's not like your typical sauce, and for some including me, it's an acquired taste. It's homey, comforting, rich and complex, but it's not velveeta.
That being said, if you want to try this mole, I will very happily post or send the recipe if I get the feedback. While that continued to simmer, I whipped up a batch of pico de gallo, or salsa cruda. This is a staple. It is something very useful to learn how to make, yet it is very simple and delicious. Now make this:
5 ripe roma or plum tomatoes, seeded and diced
1 medium spanish or red onion, diced
Juice of two whole limes
large handful of fresh cilantro, chopped
1 large jalapeno, seeded and deveined (or keep the veins in if you like it hot)
Large pinch of salt
black pepper to taste
pinch of sugar (optional)
Mix well and allow the flavors to come together for a couple of hours for optimal results. Tweak this however you want to make it spicier, or try substituting fruit like mango, pineapple or peaches for the tomatoes. Even better!
Now it's time to head to Mom and Dad's where the eats are serious and the chicken and pork are coming off the grill. If you've never had Bob's pork, it's high time you weaseled your way into his circle of friends and get some. All smoky crunchy on the outside and juicy and tender on the inside. I decided the mole would be best suited for topping a chicken leg and trying a la carte. We'll start this party with a large corn tortilla hot of the skillet. For the inside of my taco, I had to cook up some Mexican chorizo. It's just too good to pass up when you can find it, and it's so cheap!! (Don't read the ingredients unless you're particularly brave or adventurous with the parts of animals you ingest.) To top: a little black beans, some fat free greek yogurt, cilantro, pico de gallo, pickled onions. BLISS! So the mole was good, but come on, a taco complete with pickled onions tasting like you're eating it in the jungle of the Yucatan after a hot day in the milpa???? It just doesn't get better than that.
Tune in next time for what I did with my leftover mole. Oh, it's good...