The preperations for the Like water for Chocolate dinner
I start by frying the dried chilies then I add the onion and caramelize them well so they are almost candied. Then comes the toasting of the spices; ground Mayan cocoa, broken cinnamon, star anise, cumin, clove. When toasted well, add to the pot. When the spices start to stick to the bottom of the pan and almost look like they could burn…just almost but not quite. Don’t be too hasty! all of the oils must be hot so they can be free. Only then do I add the wine and the stock, and a couple of paste tomatoes canned from the tomato harvest, an apple and a sweet potato. Almonds should be toasting now. We’ll ground them later to add to the mole. This will simmer till just before evening chores.
The day outside is so blindingly bright from the sun reflecting off the snow that I have to untwist the cotton fabric that is secured by two tacks on each corner of the kitchen window, this little makeshift curtain is very useful when the hot summer sun sets and burns your eyes while you wash dishes. The light in the kitchen is soft and warm now and the aromas of the simmering mole and the oxtail soup are placing me in a calmed almost surreal state.
I’ve roasted the lamb bones and ox tails and now I’m simmering them with chipotles. The flavor is so deep and rich. This is a simple soup no fancy ingredients or spices, just the roasted bones simmered for eight hours or so with a few dried smoked peppers, some onions and later a few diced potatoes. This soup represents pure affection for the one you make it for. There is nothing that can express a simple act of love better and more profoundly then to serve them this soup. It will put the soul back in order. It will un- tangle the brain and even better relax the heart and the sphincter.
Yesterday I spent all day making two things. That how it is sometimes. Every ingredient had my undivided attention as it rose up and danced before me. How could I walk away? It would be rude. Today I’ll make the cockerel tamales. I’ve already slaughtered, dressed and slow roasted them, picked all the tender meat off the bones and mixed it with the juice of the mole. I’ll mix the masa. The corn husks have been soaking overnight so tamales will be the first thing I make after feeding the chickens, sheep and goats. Sally will be the first one to kid, she’s due on Saturday so I’ll give her a real look over and kiss her many times on the cheek. The sheep are close to lambing so I’ll keep my eye out. Hopefully no unexpected problems will arise that will keep me from my tamales.
To be continued…..