Hello Friends, I’ve always wanted to try mole with scallops since I saw saw it in a book. It paired a very modern white chocolate mole with scallops. Wanting to treat myself to a special meal today, I thought I would give it a go with my own mole.
Happy Holidays to all our readers from the Savor Sisters: Amy, Carolyn and Tia Marta. we are grateful to all of you for following our blog, some of you for many years, as we share our enthusiasm for wild foods, local Southwestern foods, and spices and flavorings. Since you find our offerings interesting, perhaps you have friends or relatives who would also read or cook in Southwest style. If you are stymied for the perfect gift, we have some ideas for you.
Prickly pear fruits are found throughout the Southwest. They are delicious, full of vitamins -and free! If someone you know likes to cook, a copy of The Prickly Pear Cookbookmight help them try something new. The book includes recipes for both the magenta-colored fruit and the nutritious pads called “nopales.” The link above takes you to Amazon, but consider ordering from your local bookseller.
For the Southwest history buff and those interested in regional food, A Desert Feast: Celebrating Tucson Culinary History tells the tale of how corn and irrigation entered what we now call the United States. Agriculture spread from the Santa Cruz Valley very slowly north and east to the rest of the United States. Lavishly illustrated, the book has won four awards, one for design. Order from Amazon, Native Seeds/SEARCH, or your local bookseller.
Also, FOODS make great inspiring, clutter free gifts! With Mano Y Metate mole powders, culinary creatives can go WILD and those just learning to season food can add a pinch to any dish for balanced flavor that taste like someone has been in the kitchen their whole life, and all that day.
Mole gift boxes can now be customized! Choose which variety of mole with chocolate: Mole Dulce with handmade Oaxacan chocolate and a homey taste that reminds me of my grandma, or Mole Negro with a spicier smoky complexity made with fair trade roasted cacao nibs. Also, choose between my original mild Pipian Rojo made with Santa Cruz mild red chile from Tumacacori Arizona or Pipian Picante made with Santa Cruz hot chile, for a medium spice level. Both pipianes are full of pumpkin seeds, or pepitas, almonds and warming spices.
Rounding out all gift box sets are tins of Adobo and Mole Verde for contrast and variety. Included are recipes to make the classic mole sauces and a recipe card for Enmoladas, enchiladas made with mole sauce, and lots of ideas for vegetarian, vegan and meaty fillings. Butternut squash is a favorite!
I (Amy here) personally make and package the mole, so I can send it directly to your loved ones or business contacts, or of course to you so you can give it in person.
I’ll be IN PERSON at Tohono Chul Park’s Holiday Nights December 10,11,17,18 evenings 5:30-8:30pm. (Masks required, outdoors). Stop by our booth and talk about food with my family. We would love to meet you!
Happy November full moon! Amy here today experimenting with roast poultry.
I wanted to make a roast chicken with mole as a seasoning, rather than as a sauce. Something exciting but still traditional enough for a roast chicken or turkey. Also, I couldn’t decide which variety of mole to use. So I separately mixed some Mano Y Metate Adobo and Mole Negro powders with olive oil and rubbed them one on each side of a chicken. I slid some under the skin and in the cavity. I sprinkled a little salt everywhere, too.
I trussed the wings and legs with dental floss.
I let it marinate uncovered in the refrigerator for 36 hours. Supposedly this helps the skin get crisp when baking.
In that time the mole dyed the skin a deep color, but it looked dull. So I moistened it with a little more olive oil and set in a 375 degrees F oven.
As it baked, I basted it a few times with its own drippings.
After it was almost to temperature (160 degrees F) I cranked the oven to 400 to crisp the skin for the last few minutes. Then I removed it from the oven, and while resting ensured the breast temperature climbed over 165F.
The skin was crisp and spicy! The meat was savory, flavorful and complex but less spicy. It was bold and special without feeling wild and crazy, or that the sides needed to work around the mole theme.
As for Mole Negro vs Adobo, I think the extra heat of the Mole Negro was my favorite, but the Adobo made the prettier crust and would be my choice for a serving a crowd.
I considered making mole sauce to spoon on the plate, but instead put some of the drippings into and on top of the mashed potatoes. Delicious!!!!!
The bones and drippings made an incredibly rich colored broth with hints of mole. It was spicier than I thought it would be. I can’t wait to make it into soups, the best part of roasting a bird. Enjoy the weather and happy cooking!
Amy here, sharing a classic dish that I’ve made several times recently. Years ago my young niece showed me how she made nachos. I didn’t grow up with them, and had never before gotten into making or eating nachos. Ava’s authoritative recipe in the microwave was such a delight that afternoon. So even if I make my own version now, I always think of her when I do.
I like to start with corn tortillas. Thin ones are best, and if they’re dried out a little, even better.
I fry them in a shallow layer of neutral oil until crispy and brown.
Then sprinkle them generously with salt right after coming out of the oil.
Freshly grated cheese is a must. I like jack, but of course anything that melts is good!
My niece used leftover beans and so did I. These are mayocoba beans cooked with just water, garlic and salt.
Since it is chile season, I roasted some from the Tucson CSA over the gas stove inside. After evenly charring, I put them in a lidded dry, cold saucepan, allowing them to steam in their own heat. Then the skins slip off easily.
Tucson CSA has had a good heirloom tomato year, so they go in whatever dish I’m making on the day they are ripe. And I sliced some white onion thinly.
I put the tortillas, cheese and beans to heat in the oven.
A thin layer of tortillas makes for more edges that can get crisp, but a full sheet pan with extra sauce and cheese is good, too! After baking, I top with the pork in Pipian Picante, tomato, onion and green chile. I recommend eating immediately like I did with my niece, enjoying the outdoors.
Hello friends, Amy here reminiscing about a couple foods I enjoyed as a child. I grew up eating mole with turkey made from Dona Maria mole paste. My grandmother added a few ingredients, like extra chocolate and a little peanut butter, to add sweetness and depth. Its was good but the paste contains unpronounceable ingredients. For my grandmother, it reminded her of eating her mother’s scratch made mole in Aguas Calientes, Mexico. With consultation from my mom, who remembers her grandmother’s mole, I now make Mano Y Metate mole powders with more wholesome ingredients. Cooking dry spices in oil to make a fresh mole paste results in a more vibrant sauce than the premade paste. Plus the cook gets to choose the oil (vegetarian neutral oil, lard, chicken fat, etc.), and that oil does not need preservatives.
As Tia Marta announced last week, curry is in the air! When I was a kid, my sister’s friend’s mom from Japan introduced us to Japanese curry. Apparently the British introduced a westernized Indian curry to Japan in the 1800s, and cooks there made it their own. Sweet and mild, it really tastes like no other curry in the world. Recently, I learned that the spices from the Japanese curry roux bricks I used all these years is available as a powder with no oil, thickener, MSG or anything but the spices!
After consulting many recipes, I started by caramelizing lots of onions and a little garlic in butter.
I then added half as much curry powder as flour to thicken the sauce.
When the flour and spices were moistened by the butter and cooked, I had essentially made the curry paste we always used to buy. To that I added water and ground beef, like I remember my sister’s friend’s mom used. She also used plenty of diced carrots. Tucson CSA carrots are in season now but they are so pretty I left them in coins.
She also used bell pepper and apple, everything cut in tiny pieces or even grating the apple. Potatoes our family added years ago because they were in the photo on the curry paste box. It also makes for a heartier dish, which we often made while camping or backpacking.
As the veggies became tender, I added a few of the fun secret ingredients suggested online to see if I could mimic my taste memory. The suggestions included all manor of sweet and savory condiments, reminiscent of the secret ingredients cooks add to mole for background complexity. I added sake, mirin, soy sauce, miso and honey (Sleeping Frog honey via Tucson CSA). Other suggestions were ketchup, chocolate, coffee, red wine, cheese, yogurt, vanilla, banana, chutney, oyster sauce, Worcestershire sauce, tonkatsu sauce, etc.
Mine needed chile, so I added Santa Cruz Hot from Tumacacori, a kitchen staple with a bright flavor and amazing color.
As the pot simmered, I tasted. After a little more miso and soy sauce to balance the sweet onions and honey, WOW, it really worked! In fact now that I eat so seasonally, I often don’t purchase the apple and bell pepper, but they made a huge difference to this tasting like my childhood memory.
I ate it with Japanese short grain white rice as my sister’s friend’s mom did.
Hello Friends, Amy here with comforting dish of turkey in rich Mole Dulce topped with buttery, browned mashed potatoes. I made a single size portion and just devoured it myself. Perfect to change up leftover turkey or special enough for the main event in a very non-traditional year.
I started with cooked turkey in turkey broth from my freezer. Of course, chicken would also be perfect here.
Then I cooked a rounded spoon of Mano Y Metate Mole Dulce powder in enough oil to make a paste. I let it get darker in color and bubbly.
By this time, the turkey broth was mostly defrosted.
Then I added the broth to the mole paste.
When the mole was smooth and thick, I added the turkey…
and placed it in a little oven safe dish. Of course, you can stop here and just enjoy it with tortillas!
But to make something different, I continued. So after covering with mashed potatoes, I put it to bake.
The top browned easily, but I really let it go until the whole thing bubbled and glistened. I ate the whole thing in the beautiful autumn sun.
Hello, Amy here today in the waste not want not kitchen. Feeding a sourdough culture usually creates more dough than an irregular baker needs, especially baking for one. I never like to waste, but now I have an elevated purpose for my cause….
Since my all sourdough pizza experiment was such a success, I tried the supposedly easier task of making a crust from older, less active, refrigerated “discard” sourdough with added commercial baking yeast for extra insurance. The dough never rose AT ALL.
So I decided to make crackers. Good save, and at the first taste I was so glad that I had not salted the tops! Also, I discovered what may have happened to my pizza dough. The recipe called for weighing all the ingredients except the tiny amounts of salt and yeast. But I glibly went online for weight equivalents. This would be fine had I used my fancy mole weighing scale at work instead of my less precise home scale. The excess salt must have inhibited the yeast and sourdough. Anyway…so today I have crackers!
Basically, I rolled the dough very, very thin, cut to size and placed on a greased baking sheet.
I sprinkled the tops with either za’atar or with Mano Y Metate Mole Verde powder. The one on the right is Mole Verde (featuring cilantro, parsley, epazote). On the left is za’atar (a Middle Eastern spice mix made with thyme). Both have sesame and look so similar!!!!
After baking, the crackers were crisp. Unfortunately, there was no sourdough flavor, but the toasty wheat and the herbaceous spice blends were delicious.
To serve, I mashed back beans to make a quick hummus like dip.
A clove of garlic, a squeeze of lemon, a splash of olive oil and in place of tahini, whole sesame.
I topped with home cured olives and ate it all myself.
The next day, the less thin of the crackers were pretty hard. So they got crushed, mixed with toasted seeds, and served on top of a cream of cauliflower soup. It was an unreasonably good combination that stared with cauliflower stems cooked in leftover in pasta water. I’m not sure I could replicate any of this, but here’s hoping we keep each other inspired as we do with what we have. Love, Amy
Hello, Amy here with a results of a fun project. My Uncle Bob recently gave my mom a sourdough culture, and she sent the whole thing home with me.
The pancakes and multigrain crepes were delicious! But now that I have this culture going, what I really wanted was pizza. After a few days in the refrigerator, it was sluggish. So, I fed it and fed it, every 12 hours for a week, until it was as almost as active as when it came from my uncle. The gift came with these instructions. Before each feeding, it looked like a flour and water paste, as expected. But after bubbling on the counter for 12 hours, it was shiny, stretchy, over twice the volume, and ready to make into bread!
I added water, salt and more flour to make a dough. Mostly white flour with a handful of whole wheat.
After the first rise, the dough was irresistible to fold down, and I forgot to take a photo. But the after the second rising (below), it was airy and smelled sour and yeasty.
Flattened into a round on a cornmeal lined surface, I let it rise again.
Hi all, Greetings from sunny Tucson! Amy here, at my new urban homestead. Taking out a wall left me a pile of old bricks to re-purpose, so I made a little outdoor hearth. This bucket of rainwater helped me level the cooking rack, sturdy enough for my over-sized, seldom used, cast iron cookware.
Making dinner for myself outside to admire the newly cleared yard, I cooked what was on hand from my Tucson CSA share: a butternut squash, Yukon gold potato, yellow onion, and French breakfast radishes. I decided to make a dish from my camping childhood, a foil meal cooked on the fire!
Then I sealed the foil seams very well and made a mesquite fire.
When the fire was almost down to coals, I put the sealed packet on the grill.
After about 45 minutes, the potatoes were perfectly tender and the embers glowing more dimly.
The steam from the veggies and the Mole Verde powder made a slight bit of sauce in the packet. It was mildly spicy and herbaceous from the cilantro, parsley and epazote in the mole powder. Of course, this would work with many other veggie and meat combinations, and any of the mole powder varieties.
I ate my dinner by the fire and dreamed of what might come next on this old urban lot.
Hello, Amy here. Once I lived next door to Rosie, who made food that her husband Arturo peddled in the neighborhood. She made Sonoran classics including tamales de res, THE BEST tamales de elote, Mexican interpretations of Chinese food (for parties), and her own creations. One of Rosie’s creations was a spicy bean burrito, wrapped in bacon and fried, served with her own salsa roja.
Inspired by Sonoran Hot Dogs wrapped in bacon, she had no name for this delicious lunch, but it seems to me to classify as a chimichanga. The chimichanga has a few often sited origin stories, but it is a logical thing to fry stuffed flour tortillas just like you do corn tortillas!
To replicate Rosie’s dish, I started with Mano y Metate Adobo Powder. I cooked a couple tablespoons of powder in a splash of grape seed oil until it got bubbly and slightly brown.
Then I added a couple cups of cooked pinto beans and their cooking liquid. (Yes, these were from the freezer.) Of course, any bean would be delicious.
I let them defrost and reduced the liquid until it was almost dry. Then I mashed the beans by hand.
I heated a big wheat flour tortilla in by biggest pan JUST until pliable, an important step in making any burrito. Skipping this step makes for cracked, loosely rolled burritos. That is never good, but for this project would be a disaster.
The beans have to be spread pretty thinly, because these are only rolled without folding the ends, and because they have to be sturdy enough to fry.
Then a strip of bacon (or two) are wrapped around the burrito and fastened with toothpicks. (Yes, you could totally just fry the burrito without the bacon!)
Fry until golden and crispy. I had to add a little splash of oil to the pan, but by no means was it deep fried. Simply roll the chimichanga to brown on all sides. The bacon shrinks and attaches firmly to the tortilla as it cooks. If you started with a good flour tortilla, it might shed flakes of crispy dough, so handle gently.
I suggest eating immediately. (Yes, before you cook the next one.) Rosie used to pack each in small brown paper bag, to keep them crispy. But they are still wonderful at room temperature. ¡Buen Provecho!