We have had many food adventures in the region of Puebla. Yesterday, I may regret my adventurous spirit. Blame it on Anthony Bourdain, author of A Cook´s Tour. He has no fear of the food of the mercado. Following his example, I took a taste of barbecued cabrito (goat), and some sort of cactus fruit. As far as trying to follow that rule of not eating any salads or vegetables, for fear that they have been washed in local water, that is a difficult thing to do with Pablo, our host, scolding us when we try to brush off lettuce. He does not condone the wasting of food!
We had these little snacks, called memelitas at a couple of places, as appetizers. Here is a recipe from STREET FOODS OF MEXICO:
(Masa snacks with black beans, caramelized onions and cotija)
Makes 4 to 6 servings
The Masa “base”:
1-1/2 lbs. Masa Harina (processed corn flour used to make tortillas – it can be found in most Mexican stores)
Water or stock to reconstitute Masa, as needed
Place masa in large mixing bowl and begin to mix with your hands. Add a generous pinch of salt (approximately 1 tablespoon). Add small amount of water or stock, as needed, and blend dough completely until it is pliable and soft but not sticky. Roll small (ping pong ball-sized) masa balls between your hands, then press them into flat, oblong patties, 1-1/2 inches long by 1 inch wide.
Cook on a dry, ungreased griddle over medium heat for 1 to 2 minutes, then flip each one over and cook an additional 3 minutes until the bottom is slightly speckled. Remove masa patties from heat and let cool 10 minutes.
With the “more cooked” side facing upwards, form a 1/8-inch ridge with your fingers around the edge of each patty. It should be just tall enough to hold a spoonful of filling.
Our memlitas were served with tomatilla salsa and salsa roja (red salsa), with onions and Mexican cheese sprinkled on them.
My father and I took to the markets, where I have toyed with the idea of taking home mole poblano and pipian dry bases in plastic containers. I don´t know if I would make it through customs, though! We did buy mini tortilla presses, to make the mini chalupas also served as appetizers here.
Last night, my father made a gumbo out of ingredients found in the markets of Atlixco. We were panicking, as we could not find any celery, and wondered if we should try to find a grocery store. We found the celery, and found out later that there are no conventional grocery stores in the area, as Puebla is only 30 minutes away!