Sunday, January 28, 2007

Like Chocolate for Cornbread

One of my favorite movies is Like Water for Chocolate. If you take food seriously, as in eating to live (not the other way around), see this movie. In it, the main character Tita pours her soul into her cooking, which causes the people who taste it to experience what she feels.

When we were little, my cousins and I knew this to be true, and would not eat the food our aunties cooked if they were in a bad mood. We were suspicious and superstitious little shits, and we still believe we were right.

To this day, cooking is my way of coming to terms with my life, and setting me back on my path. Through food as my physical and spiritual medicine, those around me taste what it's like to be me. Obeying my first commandment "do no harm", what they most always feel is joy and abandon, or else they starve as I will not cook if I am not balanced and centered. Sometimes though the black and crispy parts of my soul do show through. The taste is bitter sweet. When I put together the Tastewheel this is the stealth program determining what matches when and why.

I think everyone's cooking is like Tita's, meaning, whatever mood you are in comes through in some way. If your sense of taste is acute, you know what I mean. What I think is destroying us, physically and mentally, causing so many food based physical and mental diseases - the soulless cooking of mass produced food.

Anyway, I use mole in cooking when I feel like flying. Here it is, Oh Solee Molee Cornbread.

Solee Molee Cornbread
(A word of caution, all these entries and recipes are copyrighted, so if you want to use any part of them, you have to give credit, and if you use it and change e.g., 1/2 tsp to 1 tsp, you still have to give credit).

Mole paste has some form of nuts and seeds in it. You will find cheap US knockoffs doing a Reese's peanut butter cup imitation by dumping peanut butter and candy store chocolate in the paste recipe. Run far away!

Basic mole paste has these ingredients, more or less, depends on if you want to add tomatillos, onions, garlic, tortillas and chocolate now or later when making the mole sauce from the paste. Since this is for a bread, not for a sauce and the rest of the poblano drill, I use a paste which already has:

  • Chilies: Anchos, Pasilla, Mulato
  • Nuts/Seeds: Almonds, Sesame Seeds, Pumpkin Seeds (pepitos)
  • Dried Fruits: Raisins
  • Spices: Canela (Mexican soft bark cinammon), Cloves, Peppercorns, Oregano, Mexican Chocolate
  • A few Tblspn of Oil
That's just to point you in the right direction. Authentic regional variations pastes can only be appreciated by starting off with the basics. Variations add Anise Seed, tomato, onion, garlic to this and one US variation adds a bit of raw peanuts in small quantities. That's just because they couldn't get the Sunflower seeds which is a required ingredient in some regional variations.
  • A word about the chocolate: If you really want authentic try doing the roasted carenero andsur del lago/maracaibo cacao beans.
  • A word about the spices: Some variations add cumin, nutmeg or thyme. I always add cumin.
  • A word about the chilies: chilhuacle chiles if you can find, else substitute the more easy to find anchos.
Unless I've prepared this paste ahead of time, I'm going to be using store-bought mole paste that's been sitting around for a while, either in my refrigerator or a Mexican market. Here's the important part. Take a bit of the mole paste and TASTE it, raw. Dense, dark, earthy, sweet, thick, grainy, hot.... and this was meant to go with poultry to balance it. However, there's going to be no chicken in this recipe, how do we balance it, what strange item oft overlooked in the food closet makes this work into cornbread to fly for?

Cornbread Recipe
(Oh wait, I've entered this into a contest so you'll have to wait til after the contest - sorry those are the rules!)


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