Very Simple, Very Easy, Very Authentic

My favorite aqua vendor.

My favorite aqua vendor.

Aguas. Cheap, healthy, easy, simple, authentic and good. Que mas Quieres?
The concept is simple. Blend and strain fruit– strawberries, watermelon, cantaloupe, pineapple, Jamaica flowers, or fresh squeezed citrus juice. Add water and simple syrup. Voila. Tasty beverage.
How to make it.
2 cups of fruit blended with enough water that you can pour it through a sieve.
Simmer one cup sugar in one cup water until dissolved. It’s a good idea to add half the syrup and taste, adding more as needed.
Combine both with a liter of water. Chill.
A good aqua is a balance of sweet, tart and it’s refreshingly watery.

Preparing to boil tamarindo pods.

Preparing to boil tamarindo pods.

Here I’m making aqua de tamarindo, which is a little different because you must cook the pods.
I cup tamarindo pods
1 cup simple syrup
I litre water
Break away the shell that comes easily. Cover with water and simmer for 10 mins. Cool and blend. Pour into a strainer and press flesh through.

Tamarindo debris after straining.

Tamarindo debris after straining.

Combine with syrup and water to taste. Chill.
The gringa a version; use sparkling mineral water.
Probecho!

I hope you enjoyed the first installment in my Very Simple, Very Easy, Very Authentic series, a monthly post exploring the Cuisine of rural Morelos

Soco Beans

The final installment of the perpetual campers series from my memoir, Humble Pie

This was the foundation of our diet when we were without electricity. It is Felipe’s favored bean recipe, the way his Mama makes them. They are so vsvevg!

Soco Beans

1 cup of beans
Water
Aprox 1/4 cup oil
Salt
1 chopped onion

Boil the beans until almost cooked and add salt. Continue to cook until Continue reading

How to eat a Chili

Third in a series from my work in progress

The realizations and irritations of electricity free living continued to reveal themselves, enlightening and annoying in turn. Some days it was the music I missed the most, others I was amazed that for thousands of year’s people read only by candlelight at night. It is not romantic. It is inconvenient at best; enduring the eye strain as the candle flickers, the bugs flying into your face, your book and your flame. My books are full of squished bug spots. It took a while to remember all the ways I use electricity. When getting ready go out in public, I would think, Oh, I’ll just iron that blouse, oops, guess I’ll wear a T-shirt. It is definitely a day for the fan! Guess not. But we can do anything for four months I reminded myself.

December rolled around and harvest came to a slow, disappointing end financially. Continue reading

Pulpo

Tamarindo is available in bulk pods in most Latin and Thai groceries. I love their rich, tart flavor in both sweet and savory dishes. Pulpo is a rustic candy, indicative of the intense sweet, sour, spicy flavor so prized in Mexico.


This is the easiest way I have found to rid the pods of their seeds and strings. First you must remove the hard outer pod. Then put the meaty interior in a pan and barely cover with water, simmer until the flesh is tender but not disintegrating. Place the pods in your blender with their water. Blend gently to knock the flesh from the seeds, strain through a sieve pressing out the flesh.

This paste can be frozen in ice cube trays and used for any tamarindo paste recipe.

Pulpo

Ingredients: these are my very approximate measurements as I don’t have a scale
1/2 lb tamarind pods – with outer skins removed –
1 cup sugar
1 Tbs cayenne chili Use a dry chili like cayenne, any spicy dry chili will work –  just don’t use chili powder as many powders will have cumin or paprika in them

Place the pods in just enough water to cover, cook gently until it is thick paste adding water as necessary, use medium heat and stir frequently, take care that it does not stick and burn. Continue to cook until the flesh falls form the seeds. Add sugar and chili, what you are going for is a balance of sweet, sour and spicy to your taste. Cool and wrap spoonful’s in squares of cellophane, tie it like a bonbon. We eat this with the seeds and strings, just spit out the debris, muy authentico.

Agua de Tamarindo

1 cup simple syrup- 1cup sugar melted in 1 cup water, I put a good pinch of salt in it for this recipe
1 cup tamarindo pulp, to taste
1 quart water
Mix and chill
quitased! (thirst quenching)