Amy Cotler: The Locavore Way

Last month I attended a SMA Sustainable Organic Living Meet Up and I met Amy Cotler. She was the feature speaker and her illuminating and entertaining talk was followed by a wonderful potluck. There were about thirty people in attendance but unfortunately her book, The Locavores Way was not available for purchase. I’ll have to put out on my Amazon wish list!

In any case, her latest blog posting contains a from scratch mole recipe that sounds divine. Probably beyond the capabilities of my current one burner out of two burner functioning gas hot plate arrangement presently so I will have to file it for future reference. I have seen mole paste in the markets and I’m sure this version is superior to any canned or bulk foods bin variety at a Mexican WalMart!

Mil gracias, Any Corker for posting this! For one thing, I’ll be paying more attention to the different kinds of dried chile papers that look so mysterious in markets or even Princes Department Store in Orrville, Washington! This was the cross border shopping place for Okanaganites and was infinitely better in the ethnic food section than even the new Penticton Safeway.

Menudo anyone?

(I actually tried a bowl of home made menudo at a careterra/highway restaurante called Frieda Azul in West Ajijic during one of my daily walkabouts and omg, the broth was flavorful but the other main mystery ingredient had this squishy texture that has an unpleasant mouth feel when chewed and just wouldn’t slide down my throat. Nunca…

The waitress assured me that their Menudo has an excellent reputation amongst the local families who drive across town to savour it and I believe it. Apparently it is a popular Sunday dish.

I think you just have to grow up with it. Kind of like Vegemite in Australia!)

Amy Cotler The Locavore Way

Making Mole in Mexico

Posted: 03 Feb 2014 09:00 PM PST

The tasty mole prepared by Margarita Granado made in Honey Sharps kitchen in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico.
Mole ingredients (both pictures by Honey Sharp)
Years ago I made turkey mole from scratch. It took me the better part of the day, with results that didnt seem to quite match the effort. (Or at least my guests didnt think so. )
This quicker version makes plenty of tasty red mole sauce — complex, a touch hot, fruity with the dark flavor of chilies — which can be used over anything that moves you. Like her grandmother, Margarita, prepares it using mole paste from the market as the recipes core, then doctoring it with local ingredients to give it depth.  (You can find mole paste at many Latino food stores or on line.)
It was served over poached chicken breasts, which was delicious, but I might prefer it with turkey, chicken thighs or pork — poached, grilled or roasted — because they would stand up to the sauces intense multi-dimensional  flavor. (Note. Make it ahead, as the sauce gets better over several days.) Serves 8 or more (easily halved)


8 chicken breasts or 16 thighs, skinned and boneless or with bone in


1 carrot, sliced

1/2 onion, sliced

2 garlic cloves, sliced


3 dried peppers: 1 pasilla, 2 cascabel, 2 ancho, all seeded and steamed1 slice of onion

1 tomato, quartered

1 tomatillo, quartered

1/4 banana, sliced

1/4 apple, pealed and sliced

About 3 ounces chocolate, divided

1/4 cup peanuts

1 clove garlic, chopped

About 1-1/2 tablespoons flavorless oil

About 3 ounces of Mexican chocolate (or dark chocolate with pinch of cinnamon)

About 1-1/2 cups prepared red mole paste

4 5 plain crackers

Pinch cloves whole

Pinch marjoram

3 whole allspice

1 small bay leaf

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

salt to taste, if needed

1-Assemble all the mole ingredients.

2-In a pot, cover chicken with about 1-inch of salted water. Add the carrot, onion and garlic. Cook, covered, at a low simmer until done all the way through, about 20 minutes. (Check if you need to!) Turn off heat.

3-While the chicken is cooking, saute the peppers on both sides in a dry pan. Remove to a bowl and cover with water. Reserve for later use.

4-Cook the onion, tomato, tomatillo, banana, apple, peanuts, and garlic in the oil . Cook over medium heat until soft, stirring frequently, about 3 minutes. Add about half the chocolate and stir.

5-Add the cooked ingredients, drained and sliced chilies, chili paste, crackers, herbs and spices, and half the cinnamon to a blender. Blend with just enough stock from the simmering chicken to allow smooth blending.

6-Strain the sauce into a pot, pushing down on the ingredients to extract their goodness. Simmer for about 10 minutes, adding the remaining chocolate and cinnamon to taste. (Add salt, if needed, a touch more of stock if the sauce is too thick.)

7-If you used bone-in chicken, remove the bones. Serve chicken covered with sauce, accompanied with plenty of rice. (Remember, this sauce gets even better over the next few days)

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