When I went to Oaxaca's marvelous Guelaguetza a couple of years ago, I ate with JOY the many moles...a sweet, spicy sauce that tantalizes the tongue, usually the red mole, to the deep black mole that takes the top of your head off. I was in the Oaxaca main market and came upon a bucket of black stuff that looked like tar and I asked the woman selling it what it was. She laughed, took a spoon and handed it to me...it took the top of my head off. RICH, que rico, in chilies, chocolate, and so many spices I couldn't separate them on my tongue. After following the dancers in the street all day, dancers from villages/towns all over Oaxaca filling the streets with music, burning copal, laughter, their stunning costumes, beautiful women, handsome men...I went to have some dark mole at Como Agua 'Pa Chocolate...Like Water For Chocolate. Named after the novel and with recipes from the novel...I was in HEAVEN. The chicken mole was home made, the flesh melting in my mouth with the dark chocolate, chilie mix making love to my mouth, and my stomach too. I felt like the woman in the novel who had to take a cold shower as the place caught fire, via her tongue, her heart, okay her body. DAMN...and I had a mezcal margarita, okay, I had two, as I looked out over the Zocalo. Immense bunches of balloons below, vendors gathering themselves to walk and sell...stalls with fresh food being cooked, juices being squeezed from just peeled pineapple, oranges, mangoes. I understood the need for a cold shower and it was definitely a hot day as well, those brave dancers hardly sweating in the Fifth Sun. Their presence, dancing, "We are here, we survived, we survived the burning of our sacred books, our ancestors enslaved, our ancient cultures razed, our women raped, we have survived, we kept the best of you in our blood, discarded the violence, kept the songs to our Sun, we are HERE, we have survived, and we have come to dance..."
I was in Califas in July to teach, then to visit mi familia, old friends, later...my (wonderful) daughter and I went to see, hear Pete Escovedo's band, and one of the very talented musicians invited us to dance in the aisles...no dance floor, que pinche...this guy played a flute that made me want to weep and laugh at the same time, a sax that was purely sexy, and marimbas that made me, yes, want to dance...the entire band magicians of moving the feet, Escovedo and two of his sons on drums. I sat through two songs, then they started in on a drum winging salsa, so I jumped to my feet, started dancing in the pinche aisle, and the guy who played the flute, sax, marimbas, put out his hand for me to join him on the stage. So I did, a tiny spot teetering at the edge of the stage in front of his marimbas, but he held onto me and I didn't fall off, and we danced...We are here, we survived, and we have come to dance into the Sixth Sun.
The Kokopelli comes from my walks in Venice Beach...when I cross the MEXICO/USA border, I always hear him playing his flute (his sax, his marimbas), and even when I'm x-rayed at the border they will never (ever) see my true heart, mi alma, which reveals herself only in my dance...we are here, we are here, dancing into the Sixth Sun.
**For Pete Escovedo's music, go to Youtube...
For Chicken Mole enchiladas, see below...to be eaten with mezcal margaritas, then take a cold shower or you'll start your house on fire...
Chocolate Mole... I live in San Miguel de Allende, so I find this beautiful, dark mole at the market, but this is delicious.
10 dried ancho or poblano chilies (or 5 each, or canned if you can't find fresh)
3/4 cup dark raisins
5 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1 1/4 cups chicken stock
1 tbsp canola oil
1 large onion, peeled, chopped
3 garlic cloves, peeled, chopped, or more to taste
3 tbsps sesame seed (save some to sprinkle over dish)
3/4 cup slice almonds, toasted
3 tomatoes chopped, or 1 1/2 cups canned tomatoes and their juice
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon, cloves, oregano, cumin, ground coriander seeds, ground anise seeds
1 tsp coarse salt, freshly ground pepper
1 tsp chile powder, to taste
1. Remove the stems from chiles, slice them in half lengthwise, scrape out most of the seeds. Place in pot, cover with water, place a plate on top of chiles to keep sumberged, simmer for 10 mins or till tender. Allow to stand until cool.
2. Place raisins, chocolate in a blender, heat the chicken stock, pour into blender mixture, let stand for a few minutes to melt the chocolate.
3. Heat the oil, saute the onion until limp, then add garlic cooking for a few mins, stir frequently.
4. Drain the chilies, add them to the blender along with the onion, garlic, sesame seeds, almonds, tomatoes, all the spices, salt, pepper. Blend until smooth, taste, and add more chile powder if you need more spice, yum...
**Mole can be refrigerated for up to 5 days, and frozen up to 3 months in a freezer bag.
Pollo/chicken- (The rooster on the roof next door...)
1. Boil one chicken until tender, then piece it all up into a bowl, let cool.
2. A dozen, or more, large CORN TORTILLAS.
3. Add cooked sauteed, garlic, sprinkle of chile powder, sliced BLACK OLIVES (I like them, up to you), and some of those black raisins, to the bowl of chicken, mix well.
4. Warm the chocolate mole, almost hot....line a baking dish with two inches of the mole, some extra chicken broth to thin it out.
5. Quickly dip a corn torilla, one at a time, into the chocolate mole- and fill it with el pollito mix.
6. Continue to dip the tortillas, filling them until the chicken is gone, placing the tortillas side by side in the baking dish.
7. Heat the oven to 350 degrees.
8. Spoon the chocolate mole over all the filled corn tortillas, add more chicken broth to thin out if necessary. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, checking the mole to see if it needs more chicken broth to make it all moist, just keep adding, and spooning a bit more mole over the enchiladas...QUE RICO Y SABROSITO, HOW RICH AND DELICIOUS...don't forget the mezcal margaritas, the cold shower, or a hot bath sprinkled with red roses, candles, someone you like/love, the 2nd mezcal margarita...
I just read a wonderful, very wise book... "Long Life, Honey In The Heart,' by Martin Prechtel, who grew up on a Pueblo in New Mexico, then journeyed down to a Mayan village in the 1980s, Lake Atitlan, Guatemala, before the missionaries and government troops moved in and disrupted, tried to destroy, a beautiful, sacred way of life. We are here, we have survived, all human beings with Honey in the Heart who continue to sing and dance into the Sixth World. One of their prayers/poems ends...
"Long Life, Honey in the Heart,
White roads paved in the eyebrows of the Moon,
Which is sea foam,
Yellow roads paved with yellow, fat, and abundance,
From the tail of the Morning Star,
No Evil, Thirteen Thank-yous,
Earth Fruit Face, Thanks."