Monthly Archives: December 2015

Mole Dulce Brownies

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Amy here, running, needing something for a cookie trade! Recipe below.

Mole Dulce is perfect in desserts and sweet treats, like in EXO Roast Co‘s Mole Latte. My friend Amy there is always asking for more mole. I developed a Mole Dulce variation without the graham cracker, so the drink would be wheat free. Someday I’ll get to making a label for that, so people can buy it on the shelf.

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Savory, salty, spicy Mole Dulce gets its sweetness from raisins and Xocolatl, very fine Oaxacan drinking chocolate imported by my friends Yissel and Dave. The beautiful brown paper wrap with dried lavender protects the hand formed sticks.

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The chocolate contains cacao, cane sugar, almonds and cinnamon. The Mole Dulce powder contains additional almonds, giving body and flavor to the sauce. Or in this case, BROWNIES!

Mano Y Metate Mole Dulce Brownies

4 eggs (room temperature)
2 cups sugar
2 sticks softened butter (8 ounces)
1 1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons Mole Dulce powder (www.manoYmetate.com)
Mole Dulce powder for topping, 5 tablespoons or so, to taste
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Line a 9” x13” baking pan (or 2 pans, each 8”x8”) with parchment paper.

With an electric mixer, beat the eggs just until fluffy. Beat in sugar. Add remaining ingredients and beat. Pour batter into pan(s) and spread to level. Push Mole Dulce powder though a wire strainer to evenly distribute over the batter as a topping. Bake for 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out with crumbs instead of batter on it.

I like them thinner, so there’s more spicy, chocolaty topping per bite. Feel free to take it out sooner or bake them in a smaller pan if you like them gooey, but the edges of the pan always seem to go first around here.

Now, off to the cookie trade. And to grind more mole.

Love, light and peace to all! Amy

Categories: Cooking, Sonoran Native, Southwest Food, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | 3 Comments

Farmers’ Market Sources for Warming Body and Soul, Baking and Gifting

Autumn harvest from the NativeSeeds/ SEARCH Conservation Farm in Patagonia, AZ-heirloom Navajo banana squash

Autumn harvest from the NativeSeeds/ SEARCH Conservation Farm in Patagonia, AZ–heirloom Navajo banana squash (MABurgess photo)

What makes Tucson an International City of Gastronomy?  It is not only that we are blessed with amazingly creative chefs–like the ones showcased at the Mission Garden Picnic feast.  It’s also the availability of rare and wonderful heirloom foods that are adapted to our particular Baja Arizona climate, soil, and cultures!  Few other places have the flavorful and nutritious diversity of crops that have been part of our Baja Arizona agricultural landscape for about 4000 years. 

Tia Marta here to share ideas for finding the raw materials for some great slow-food feasting this Winter Solstice season.

OPEN NSS NAVAJO BANANA SQUASH FOR AN EXPLOSION OF BETA-CAROTENES!

OPEN NSS NAVAJO BANANA SQUASH FOR AN EXPLOSION OF BETA-CAROTENES!

Ignored, more than maligned, by present-day dominant cultures, the squash is a gift to menu-inventors.  It can be prepared as a savory dish with good old salt/pepper/butter, or fancied up with moles.  Or it can be made into fabulous desserts.  Use it in place of sweet potato for a genteel variation.  My favorite is to make it into a festive “Kentucky Pudding”.

Muff’s “Kentucky Pudding” Dessert Recipe

4 cups steamed or baked heirloom Navajo banana squash (or other heirloom) mashed or pureed

2-4 Tbsp mesquite honey or agave nectar (to taste)

2-3 Tbsp chopped crystallized ginger root (I found it at Trader Joe’s)

1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans or pine nuts

1/4 cup good bourbon whiskey

Steam or bake squash ahead.  (You can freeze it for using later in a variety of recipes–it’s so convenient!0  In a saucepan, heat mashed squash on medium.  Add honey, ginger, nutmeats.  When hot and steamy, stir in the bourbon quickly and serve with a flair.  You could even try flambé. Serves 4-6.

Navajo banana squash showing its interesting pattern of seeds inside

Navajo banana squash showing its interesting pattern of seeds inside

These luscious heirloom squashes, grown at NativeSeeds/SEARCH’s Seed Conservation Farm in Patagonia, are available now at our Flor de Mayo booth at Sunday’s St Philips Farmers’ Market.  Come see the size of them–one of them could feed the whole extended family or a small tribe!  We will be selling them by the smaller family-sized chunk as well.  Start salivating…  If you are seeking Vitamin A in glorious beta-carotenes, this is the food to find.

And don’t forget those giant seeds inside!  They can be roasted easily with a little olive oil and sea salt and voila you have a healthy snack full of zinc to ward off colds in this chilly season.  You can save a handful of those seeds to plant next summer in your garden and keep the gift growing.

Heirloom organic locally grown White Sonora Wheat-berries

Heirloom organic locally grown White Sonora Wheat-berries

And here are some ideas about baking with local heirloom grains….  Get out your VitaMix or your hand-mill and get ready for a real treat–home-baked goodies made with fresh-milled flour from whole heirloom grains.  Find these precious ancient grains at the NativeSeeds/SEARCH Store (3061 N Campbell near Prep and Pastry) and at the Flor de Mayo booth–Sunday St Philips Food-In-Root Market.

Organic Khorasan Kamut wheat--great for bread baking

Organic Khorasan Kamut wheat–great for bread baking

If you don’t want to take the time, or if you don’t have milling equipment, no problem!  Just come by our Flor de Mayo farmers market booth and see your special grain being fresh-milled before your very eyes.  It is especially neat for kids to see where flour comes from.  Surprisingly, many an adult has difficulty making the connection with grain and flour.  The beauty and significance of keeping the grain whole until milling is that the grain is ALIVE!  When used fresh-milled within a few days of milling, the beneficial enzymes–the “life force” in the whole kernel–are still active in the flour.  And the taste of freshly-milled flour is a whole new flavor-ballgame.

Organic hard red wheat--perfect for Christmas cookies and cakes

Organic hard red wheat–perfect for Christmas cookies and cakes

Come actually touch our good organic grains!   Feel their liveliness.  We have recipe ideas to share, like our Baja Arizona White Sonora Wheat flour and Mesquite pie crust.  In addition we can recommend lots delicious whole wheat-berry recipes for Padre Kino’s white Sonora wheat grown locally by BKWFarms or the Pima club wheat grown by San Xavier Farm Coop and Ramona Farms.

For a completely new experience, try baking with a purple grain!–our heirloom Purple Prairie Barley.  Barley flour has the lowest glycemic index of all the grain flours hence helping to balance blood sugar.  It has a rich flavor that can enhance any bread or biscuit recipe.  The purple color indicates a high anthocyanin content– an important antioxidant.  When you cook the purple barley as a whole grain, you can use it in pilafs and marinated grain salads the way you might use rice or quinoa.  Combined with rice it makes a colorful high-contrast pilaf.  (I’d be happy to elaborate in another post.)

Beautiful purple prairie barley--an heirloom originally from Tibet

Beautiful purple prairie barley–an heirloom originally from Tibet–full of the healthful flavonoid anthocyanin

Try using Mano y Metate's Pipian Rojo Mole as a vegetarian spice for these Zuni Gold beans!

Try using Mano y Metate’s Pipian Rojo Mole as a vegetarian spice for these Zuni Gold beans!

Tis the season also to rejoice in the indigenous beans that have supported Native cultures for unknown centuries.

Beautiful Zuni Gold beans--used traditionally in the Winter Solstice celebration

Beautiful Zuni Gold beans–used traditionally in the Winter Solstice celebration

Heirloom beans are full of protein, full of flavor, and so versatile.  I like to cook up a big pot of these golden Solstice beans and then freeze them in serving sizes to prepare later in a variety of fun ways–as chile beans, as dips, in burritos, as hummus, and of course heart-warming bean soup–the list goes on… Come get inspired at our Flor de Mayo table when you see the biodiversity of beans spread before you!

Delectable Christmas Limas can be prepared as vegetarian centerpiece dishes to honor the season!

Delectable Christmas Limas can be prepared as vegetarian centerpiece dishes to honor the season!

The most festive heirloom bean of the holiday season is the colorful Christmas Lima (AKA Chestnut Lima) so called because of the timing when it is harvested.  (Check out past blog posts for some great recipes.)  We have even had jewelry-makers buy this bean to string as fetish-style necklaces.

Calling creative gift-givers!  Join us at the Sunday St Philips Farmers Market for some meaningful, local, healthful and tasty gifts that say “Baja Arizona” in the most delightful way.

Just for scale, Tia Mart hefts this heirloom Navajo squash. Who needs a workout center if you are a gardener or farmer?

Just for scale, Tia Marta hefts this heirloom Navajo squash. Who needs a workout center if you are a gardener or farmer?

May you have happiness, health, peace in your hearts, and good cheer this holiday season –greetings from Rod and Tia Marta at Flor de Mayo!

Categories: Cooking, Gardening, Sonoran Native, Southwest Food | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Slow-Hot Tequila Toddy

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Aunt Linda here this December morning. We had some COLD weather here this week in the Old Pueblo. Our first pipe burst. That was a surprise. While hastening to shut off the water, I could not help but delight in the rainbow colors of the droplets in the bright dawn light.

The ground in front of my hives was a little frosty as well.  So the tiny corpses of honey bee drones that had been kicked out of the hive in November had little white blankets covering their black bodies. This holds it’s own beauty, but one you have to widen your inner gaze to see. Honey Bee colonies cull what it is not necessary, in order to increase their chances of survival, over winter.  With fewer sources for nectar and pollen available in the winter,  brood production is scaled way back, food foraging reduced, — and since drones eat, but do not contribute to the food stores,  they are escorted (forcefully) out of the hive. This practical strategy means the death of the drones, but increases the chances that the colony as a whole survives. Basically, the hive slows down most functions for the winter.

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The hen’s, older than a year or so, have slowed down there laying as well. The pituitary gland needs a certain amount of light for consistent laying of eggs. I am asked from egg customers and new chicken keepers “why” there are so few eggs this time of year; or “what is wrong”.  A hens pituitary glands requires a certain amount of light in order for a her to lay consistently, and in the winter that light is reduced.  Most of us have become used to a “food on demand “system of shopping and eating – and commercial egg companies keep light on their hens year round in order to push egg laying, even in the winter months. This allows the population to have as many eggs as it desires,  at any time of the year. But this can be rough on the birds.  I personally like to let The Girls stay with the cycles they evolved with, so I learn to live with fewer eggs. And I  have learned to keep hens of all ages so that I can count on at least a few eggs.

We humans do not seem to slow down in the winter.  Whether or not that is an intelligent adaptive strategy I’ll leave that for you to decode for yourself.  Even if we do not need to slow it down for the raw reasons that other creatures do, we may find benefits in doing so, nonetheless.

Hot Tequila Toddy: Todays recipe is a  “Tequila-Take” on the Classic Hot Toddy, which is usually made from amber colored Rum. Whisky, or Brandy.

It is simple. It is relaxing.

It may inspire an artful practice of slowing down – your mind/body, even if it cannot calm your external life. I will include photos of both the traditional as well as the tequila versions, so you can create what you’d like.

INGREDIENTS and How To:IMG_1539 (1)1) Fresh squeezed juice from one lemon or lime (depending on your preference). Squees right into your cup.

(It is citrus season and whether lime, lemon, orange, the fruit all started months ago “at the flower”. Bees, whether honey bee or orchard bees, visited the fragrant flowers, and carried out the ancient dance of completing the sexual transfer of pollen from flower to flower.  See photo below for an example of a bee at a citrus flower; and notice the pollen grains on the bees hind legs.

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The worker bee returns to the hive, where citrus honey is made from the nectar.

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Here you can see a full grown orange – smiling! – as well as two new blossoms.

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2) The best local honey you can find. 1-2 Tablespoons. Adjust to your taste. I learned this week that honey can actually help us sleep at night. I mention this because it relates to our theme of slowing down and relaxing. Apparently, the natural sugars in honey allows tryptophan to work it’s magic on us, just like the sleepy feeling we get after a eating a turkey dinner.

3) 1-2 ounces of Amber colored tequila, rum, whisky, or brandy of your choice. Many people choose to use a cheap quality/priced alcohol when mixing drinks.  In this particular case, where there are really just three ingredients, besides hot water, I used the best tequila I had on hand. It blended beautifully with the best honey and the freshest citrus; after all, this is part physical medicine. And the “medicinal quality” comes as much from the quality tastes as it does from the quality properties of the ingredients.

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A Soldier from Mexico  (a Federale) once shared me that a little tequila can help kill a cold that is beginning in your throat. I tried it the first winter cold that tickled, and sure enough, just a “shot” of Tequila,( held for a minute in the back of my throat before swallowing), seemed to “burn” the germs right out. Note that I am not a health care professional. Note that I am not pushing drinking alcohol. Note that I am sharing with you what worked for me.

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4) Hot Water – about a cup.  but not boiling water. You want the warmth of hot water, but to keep the medicinal qualities of the honey, which some feel boiling water can negate.

The steam is so beautiful you can almost feel the magic of slowing down, even before you take a sip. Enjoy!

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Categories: Sonoran Native | 4 Comments

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