Wednesday, October 19, 2011
This is not the first time I have said it and it’s certainly not going to be the last. Mexican food in NYC sucks. There are a few places to get a decent taco but beyond that, it’s the pits. So on my last day in Mexico City, I stopped by a tortilleria and stocked up on a few kilos of tortillas. I was planning to leave it at that but en route to one of our clinics, I stumbled upon an elderly lady dishing up the most amazing tamales I have ever had. As I was devouring my tamal, she made me try a bite of her mole as she listed off the ingredients…sesame paste, cinnamon, countless varieties of chilies and of course chocolate. I was immediately smitten with her potent paste and despite images of mole exploding in my suitcase (which it did), I bought a bundle of it.
Mole is just one of those things that I don’t think I’ll ever attempt to make unless I happen to move to Mexico City and have access to all those fresh ingredients. (Yes, this is foreshadowing.)Reading through what looks like an authentic recipe is overwhelming!
As far as jarred brands go, Doña Maria mole is actually quite good if you doctor it up. This time around I had the real thing however and it was fantastic. All I did was boil up some boneless, skinless chicken thighs, pull them apart and mix them with a few spoons of the mole paste and the broth they were boiled in. With a few slices of avocado and some rice, dinner was served. And when I run out of the mole in my kitchen, I can start scraping out the insides of my suitcase.
Thursday, October 6, 2011
I suspect we have a few more warm days this year, but it’s hard to deny that fall is in the air. I’ll continue to be in denial until late November when I’ll be shivering my way to the subway in open-toed shoes and insisting that I don’t need to get my coat out of the coat closet. (That last part was inserted for the sole purpose of bragging that I now have a coat closet. Go UWS!)
Anyways, earlier this week I made what I consider to be the last meal of the summer before I move on to roast vegetables, beef stews and lasagna. I choose a “pasta salad” that Rupal had made me a few weeks prior. I think it’s fitting since pasta salad pretty much epitomizes summer despite the fact that it’s often bland, oily and garnished with those dreaded flecks of green pepper.
Heidi Swanson’s take on it is original, healthy and a treat to look at. Instead of an oil and vinegar based sauce that rarely manages to stick to the noodles, she uses a blend of tahini, yogurt, garlic and spices. Cheese ravioli bulk it up as do the broccoli, cauliflower and green beans. I would recommend roasting the tomatoes since it gives the salad a depth that would otherwise be missing.
It was a successful transition meal. Now I just need to work on my closet.