Thursday, September 8, 2011

Holy Mole!


Two out of the four years of my undergraduate studies I shared an apartment with A. On paper we were complete opposites. She was from Mexico City, I was from Kansas City.  She was dignified and refined, eating hamburgers with a knife and fork and wearing heels to class. I went to punk rock shows and I, more than once, accidentally left for class without any shoes on.  She took very career oriented business classes; I took Latin and History of Jazz.

But friendship is one of those things that can go beyond stereotypes and what looks good on paper.

Then came the day that A decided that she would teach me how to cook. Did I mention that she is a brave soul? This isn’t to say that I didn’t know how to cook. I could boil water, open a box, make a sandwich, stir stuff and push the buttons on the microwave. But A had pots and pans that she used to make delicious food that she didn’t have check and double check a recipe 17 times to make. And of course, like all good cooks, she would tell me stories while she cooked, about her family and her culture.  I learned that food and eating was more than just something you did 3 times a day to not die. It could be sharing and caring.  I also learned how to cut open and clean a hot pepper without touching it.

One of the recipes she taught me was Mole, pronounced mo-lay  (2 syllables), not mole like the underground vermin. Mole is a lovely thick sauce made with chili peppers, spices, nuts and chocolate. Yep, chocolate. Chili and chocolate is actually a lovely combination.  For weeks I have been craving mole and last weekend I finally buckled down and went out and got the 745 ingredients, actually it only has 19.

The chiles! Not the most appealing picture, but the most important!

Roasting pecans, sesame seeds, aniseed and almonds

Adding raisins and a plantain to garlic and onions

Mexican drinking chocolate

Mix it all together and you get this beautiful thick red sauce.
 I smothered the sauce over enchiladas filled with potatoes (another tip from A), yams and chickpeas. Yes, I eat chickpeas almost every day. It’s an addiction.

HOLY MOLE! 

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