Chapulines in Oaxaca

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We are now in Oaxaca, and we are ready for more food adventures! To quote another website, “The one food that is unique to Oaxaca is chapulines. In the market, farmers’ wives sell these grasshoppers from wicker baskets of small, medium and large. Apparently, the best-tasting ones are found on corn and alfalfa crops. The chapulines I tried were vermilion from the powdered chilli and looked rather desiccated, although the large ones had plump, off-white bodies. I ate them as they were – spicy, salty and quite sour from a generous sprinkling of lime juice – although they are just as good wrapped in a tortilla with chilli and a lick of salsa de tomate verde, made with fresh green tomatillos, a close relative of the tomato.

I had mine with guacamole. They smelled like a wet dog, tasted like chile and had the texture of fish scales. More guacamole was called for.

On our last night in Atlixco, we went to the square to try atole con cajeta This recipe is from another website:

ATOLE

This thick, hot drink, is not unlike thin mush. It was a favorite for Mission Fathers and Indians and is enjoyed all over Mexico today as it was in the past..

Mix 1 cup of corn flour (masa) or rice flour with 2 cups of cold water and a pinch of salt. To this add 2 cups of boiling water. Cook it, oh, so slowly; for 1 hour.

There are many ways to make atole:

For plain atole ~ serve as is.

For spicy atole ~ add a little chile.

For fruit atole ~ add some fresh or canned fruit

For sweet atole ~ add a little brown sugar with cinnamon

For chocolate atole ~ add cinnamon, sugar and grated Mexican or bitter chocolate to the atole and you have made champurrados ~ or a “full bodied” hot chocolate.

I had mine with cajeta, A thick, dark syrup or paste made from caramelized sugar and milk-traditionally goat’s milk, although cow’s milk is often used. Cajeta can be found in several flavors (primarily caramel and fruit) in Latin markets. It’s used in Mexico and in some South American countries primarily as a dessert by itself or as a topping for ice cream or fruit. Definition from AllRecipes.com dictionary. You can buy it in any Mexican grocery store.

Cajeta Pound Cake

I had some hot chocolate this morning:

MEXICAN HOT CHOCOLATE

Hot chocolate was very popular among Mexicans. The chocolate was brought from Mexico on trading ships. Chocolate beaters

[molinillos], used to fluff up the chocolate cocoa, are available in Mexican food stores. Squares of bitter chocolate are second to Mexico’s own sweet chocolate “rounds.” Milk, eggs, sugar, and cinnamon can all be used in making Mexican hot chocolate.

*2 cups boiling water or 2 cups scalded milk

3 ounces Mexican chocolate, broken into small pieces

* [the ancient Mexicans used only water]

In a small heavy saucepan bring water to boil; stir in chocolate; mix over low heat, stirring until the chocolate is melted. Pour the mixture into an earthenware pitcher and whip it to a froth with a wooden molinillo or mix in blender for 2 to 3 seconds until frothy. Add cinnamon to make it fit for a party. Serves 2.

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