The last few days running (no pun intended) up to Christmas will be busy ones. Yesterday we did "town" things. Today I clean house (that will take an hour) and cook. The snowbirds get together for a big meal together on Christmas day. It's planned, so we all know what we are bringing.
My contribution is to roast one of the turkeys. We have between 35-40 people coming so we need three or four turkeys, plus a ham. Each will be cooked by a different person. Doing a turkey means doing dressing as well, and gravy. Since I can't get a turkey into my boot-box sized oven, Zak will bone our turkey and turn it into a turkey roast.
In addition, I am bringing candied yams, homemade tamales and mole negro (moh-lay neh-grow). I make mole once a year, for the Christmas turkey, and to top the tamales. It's a complex, rich blend of flavours which I simply have to have from time to time. I used to seek out and grind the peppers, now I go the easy route and simply use chili powder. Mole is not hard to make, it freezes well and makes chicken or turkey into a meal fit for a king. Mole was once the official court dish of the Aztecs and was served only to the king, male nobility and the high priest.
Drummm rolll please!
Recipe for Mole Negro:
1/4 c. ground chili powder
1 can diced tomatoes
2 medium onions, peeled and diced
4 cloves garlic
2 pieces of toasted bread, diced
1 c. blanched almonds
1/4 c non-hydrogenated smooth-style peanut butter
1/2 c raisins
4 Tbs. toasted sesame seeds
2 tsp. Five-spice powder (Chinese section)
1/2 c butter
2 squares bakers chocolate
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
stock or water
Place chili powder in bowl with two cups hot water. Allow to sit for 30 minutes. Stir occasionally. Using chili/water mixture, process onions, garlic, tomatoes and toast in blender until it forms a paste. Do this in two lots if necessary. Place paste in bowl.
In blender, process almonds, raisins, the sesame seeds, the peanut butter and the five-spice powder into a paste. Mix throughly with the chili paste.
In a large heavy saucepan melt the butter and then add the chili paste, stirring it constantly, until the onions no longer smell raw. Add the chocolate squares, salt and sugar. Stir as the chocolate melts into the sauce. Dilute the mole if necessary, to the consistency of heavy cream. Cook for 20 minutes over very low heat.
I was delighted yesterday to find corn tortillas in the market! I hadn't been able to buy corn tortillas in Calgary in ages, though you had to leap over great displays of flour tortillas in practically every aisle. (Okay, so I exaggerate a little, but it makes the story more interesting doncha think?)
Anyway, I bought corn tortillas and will feed my kids a real Tex-Mex feast while they are here. Tamales, mole negro, enchiladas, Spanish rice, refried beans, tortillas, salsa and guacamole. (Oops, forgot sour cream for the guacamole, well, I'll get one of them to go to town and buy some.)
We came home after shopping yesterday, gave the cat a short walk, put the perishable groceries away and quickly trundled down to the clubhouse for the snowbirds Christmas party. It was fun, with a gift exchange and a snacks "potluck". We had a really good time, laughing and talking with our lovely neighbours.
Now, the anticipation begins. Forget Santa, I'm waiting for our kids to arrive. Can't wait to see them all!