Wednesday, March 17, 2004

wed. food

"If there's anything better in the world than a warm doughnut, I don't know what it is."

Slow week, though NYT has a good review of cheap mandolines; and the LA Times has a nice piece on mole poblano. Which brings me to the Farmers Market Cookbook, by Neill and Fred Beck (Holt, 1951). It tells the story of Consuelo Castillo, of Santa Monica, foiled in her attempt to practice law because "strike one, she was a woman -- and strike two, she was a 'Mexican.'" The authors protest at the ridiculousness of this but are grateful to eat the fruits of Consuelo's fallback plan, The Spanish Kitchen restaurant in the Farmers Market. They give some more or less alarming recipes, a remarkably accurate discussion of how masa is made, and finally arrive at Consuelo's Mole de Guajolote. But they preface the recipe -- which, needless to say, is among the more alarming in their collection -- with this:

To make a turkey mole the way Connie does would be beyond the limits of patience and the capacities of most good cooks, but in its stead we offer a good, though simple version of this notable dish.
I will spare you the ugly details. But this reminds me it's time for more of my favorite things:

allioli

1. Mince six cloves of garlic
2. mash them to a paste with a half tsp. of salt in a mortar and pestle
3. pour in one cup of olive oil a drop at a time while you stir it with the pestle

You have to see it to believe it. The idea is to form an emulsion of nothing but oil and garlic. It should end up looking like a glossy and thick mayonnaise (to which sauce it is of course related). It seems impossible, and yet, as you add the oil ever so slowly, the emulsion forms before your very eyes. It probably helps to have a real Catalan ceramic/wood m&p. Most people nowadays make it with eggs and a food processor, which is fine, and will certainly hold longer, but it is really not that hard to do by hand. (The recipe is from my memory of the one In Colman Andrews's Catalan cookbook).

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