For this weeks project I sent an art care package to an old friend of mine who lives in Detroit, Michigan. He and his wife love cooking and experimenting with new ingredients so we sent them some of the best Mexico has to offer. My wife lived most of her life in Mexico, so whenever somebody comes to visit us they bring us a lot of spices and unique handmade ingredients that can only be found in street markets of Puebla, Mexico.
Puebla is located in Central Mexico about 90 miles south east of Mexico City. The city is situated at the foot of Popocatépetl, a massive smoking active volcano. The signature dish of the city is Mole Poblano however many types of Mole are produced. Common ingredients in mole are sesame seeds, chili peppers, chocolate, and pumpkin seeds. These ingredients are ground by hand on a stone called a metate.
The resulting paste is mixed with chicken or vegetable stock and used in soups or as a sauce in combination with cactus, vegetables, meat, chicken, eggs or fish.
- Items 1, 5, and 6 are three different types of Mole paste. These blends of spices are characterized by their color. The black mole is the only one that contains chocolate. Additional chocolate can be added if the flavor is to strong. The other two types consist of various types of seeds and chili peppers.
- 2, 3, and 4 are types of candy. 2 is a bar of egg yolk and milk candy. 4 is a ball of tamarind which was purchased directly from the farm. 3 is a bar of Mexican chocolate that is used to sweeten the black mole.
- 7 is amaranth seed. This can be used to make candy or snacks. It is very nutritious and high in protein. It makes an excellent addition to a cup of yogurt.
- 8 is a candied fig.
- 9 is a chunk of candied chilacayote. This is a type of Mexican zucchini.
- 10 are dried chipotle peppers.
- 12 is ground annatto seed also known as achiote in Spanish. This is commonly used in industrial food production to give a yellow, red or orange color naturally. However, when used in high quantities it gives meat or vegetables a nice red color and smokey flavor.
Mexican cuisine is one of the few truly unique ancient culinary art forms that survives intact today. I am very eager to see what types of colorful creations my friends can come up with by using this care package.