Atole is a Mexican corn beverage drink that is served since Aztec times during festivities. At this time the plain atole was prepared by cooking maize (corn) with water and lime until soft; then ground and cooked until thickened.
If milk is added, it is called atole de leche and if also chocolate is added, this preparation is called champurrado.
Other variation include the bark of cacao (atole de cascara), honey (atole de agua miel), red chile (atole de chile) or the native brown sugar called piloncillo (atole de pinolei).
The addition of chocolate came probably from the Mayan culture and until now in Yucatan (old Mayan territories) they serve a thick chocolate atole perfumed with honey, black pepper and allspice called tanchcua.
As you see there are many different ways to prepare this beverage, I will give you my version; however, you may adapt it to your taste!
For the decoration of the picture I used the “muñequitas” which I bought in Mexico almost 30 years ago in “San Cristobal de La Casas” (Chiapas) and which we still keep for the pleasure of our eyes and souvenirs.
Champurrado - Mexican Hot Chocolate with Corn Flour
I hope you know quinces, if not, I wish you get some and try to prepare this divine preparation which can be prepared in advance and which can be part of menu in both sweet and savory winter dishes in the coming festive days.
“Dulce de membrillo” or simply “membrillo” (Spanish name of quince paste or quince cheese) is a sweet, sticky, very thick jelly made with quinces, and is a typical dessert eaten with cheese in Spain (as the name), but it is also wonderful served for breakfast on toasted bread.
This year we got a very mild autumn and until now, the temperature did not reach the freezing point.
At the beginning of October, we collected most of the quinces, but some of them were too high for the harvest. This week the last quinces fall down, I collected them, and I knew I had to preserve them as soon as possible.
I remembered that I have already prepared quince paste, but this time I wanted to use less sugar and add more lemon flavor. I also decided to blend them only after turn reddish; it is easier for me to reduce the liquid in this way.
As membrillo contains a lot of sugar, it may be kept in the fridge for a long time. However, as I in my recipe I reduced the quantity of sugar, I suggest to keep it well wrapped in the fridge for about 2 weeks, if you want to keep it longer, I suggest to freeze it.
Place the sugar in a heavy pot add grated lemon zest, the juice of the lemon and the water. Stir. Place the pot to very low heat.
Immediately peal the first quince, remove the cored and dice them. Add the prepared quince to the sugar mix and stir. Continue to prepare the quinces add them one by one to the mixture. You will see that the quinces will release their liquid-
Let this simmer slowly stirring form time to time to reduce the liquid; don’t let it stick and burn at the bottom. Most of the quinces will turn mush and after about 1 to 1½ hours, the mixture will begin to turn orange-reddish.
When the liquid is mostly reduced, turn it to puree using the hand blender.
Continue cooking stirring frequently with a wooden spatula, until the paste becomes very thick and has a deep orange color.
There several ways to check if the paste is ready to be poured in the molds:
Draw the wooden spoon along the bottom of the saucepan: it should leave a trail and the quince mixture will stick to the spoon.
The mixture is thick enough to hold the spoon upright
The paste should easily come off from the sides of the pan.
The paste is thick enough if you are able to see the base of the pan when you draw the wooden spoon through the mixture.
Scrape the paste into your prepared tin (I use simply clear foil) and level the top. I also used silicon molds, which worked perfectly for this. Leave to set for at least a day in a warm place, then wrap and store airtight in the fridge.
Our delicious oranges from Crete (the best I know!) inspired me to prepare homemade candied orange zest and since then I am using them for different recipes.
Just before Easter, I prepare my “Colomba” again (Easter Italian Dove Cake) and this week these easier version perfect for breakfast and for giveaway!
In recipe I mentioned the soft candied orange zest; I made it at home boiling the cleaned orange peels (after easting the orange first) in water, throwing away most of the liquid and adding the sugar (same weight as the zest). I’ve boiled until the water was evaporated and the zest quite dry but still soft. I spread it on a baking tray and the next day I sliced it and placed it in small jars. In order to prevent mold, I placed the closed jars in a pot with boiling water (covering half of the height of the jars) and after simmering for at least 30 minutes, switched of the heat and waited until cooled down in the pot. This is not the conventional way to prepare the zest, but it’s easy for me and I love to have this wonderful ingredient ready to be used.
If you don’t make the candied orange zest yourself, I suggest soften it for a few hours in little hot water prior use.
We know that not everybody has his culture of sourdough, for this reason a placed the alternative directly in the ingredients!
1/2 cup sourdough starter (100% hydration), alternative: 1/4 cup + 1/4 cup flour + 1 teaspoon instant yeast
1 cup water
1 cup flour
1 orange grated zest
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup melted butter (for the dough)
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
3 cups flour
1/2 cup of soft candied orange zest (best if made at home)
Additional flour for rolling out
6 tablespoons melted butter for brushing
3 tablespoons hot water
3 tablespoons sugar for clear glaze
Combine in a big bowl the sourdough starter, stir well, add the first cup of flour and stir well again. Cover and place in a war warm place to rise (I use the oven with only light on). The best temperature is around 26-27°C.
When the mixture is foaming add the orange zest, salt, the first 1/4 cup of butter, the sugar, and the egg. Stir well. Mix together 3 cups of four with the orange zest and add them to the dough. Stir and knead until well combined. You may stir/knead with the dough spatula in the bowl or use the kneading machine. The dough should result wet but not too sticky. If necessary, add some more flour.
Cover and let rise until doubled in a warm place (see above).
Divide the dough into two portions. Roll out the first portion onto a floured surface to the size of about 50 to 40 cm. Brush with 3 tablespoons of melted butter and roll the dough form the longer side. Now you have cylinder about 50 cm long. Cut the cylinder into 2.5 cm slices and place each one in a prepared muffin mold (I use silicone ones so I don’t need to prepare the surface). Repeat the same with the second part of the dough.
Place a heat-resistant bowl of warm water into the oven and place the molds in the oven to rise. Depending on your yeast/sourdough and the temperature, this takes 1 hour to a few hours!
Let rise until they rise (I let them rise until three fold volume!) and preheat the oven to 170°C (let the bowl in the oven.
For the glaze combine the hot water with the sugar and stir until the sugar almost completely melted. Gently brush the risen brioches.
In my life I have prepared nachos only once ( Nachos de Camarones) and my family asked me to make some more.
This special wish came perfect with the given list of ingredients I for the game “ready set cook” as tortilla and chicken were among the options.
The combination were done quite quickly and the result delicious.
I did not add cheese (as not in the list J ), and exactly had been appreciated as the dish resulted lighter; I think I would have added some cumin, but all spice was a great alternative and finally the addition of the thick yogurt made the dish fresher!
I recommend not adding too much salt, as the chips are usually salted; adapt the quantity to the chips!
This dish created for a cooking game where the ingredients are restricted from a selected list came out very tasty and delighted my family very much. I made a selection of the ingredients, which I had on hand and picked some winter savory (satureja montana) from the garden. For the cooking way I decided to create a new dish inspired by a vegetables stew with cheese, we got in Gran Canaria called “pisto”. Usually this dish is served with eggs, but in this case the cheese took the most important part and a so simple dish turned out in a great stew!
I’ve served this recipe as single portions in clay pots, but you can also place this is only one bigger oven proof mold. Serve with croutons or with a slice of rustic bread.
My personal interpretation of nachos: tortilla chips (tostadas) from the oven topped with different ingredients and a melted cheese-sauce. From this point of view we may experiment on this theme and we can add the ingredients we love.
This was my spontaneous recipe, enjoy and try your variation!
1 small jalapeño chili, sliced (quanity to taste!) or chili flakes
3 cups tortilla chips
100 g shredded Cheddar cheese (much more if you want or like!)
1 tablespoon fresh cilantro chopped
Place the cherry tomatoes into an oven safe mold, toss with 1 teaspoon oil and place under the broiler until the skin of the tomatoes begins to take a few darker places. Check from time to time. Remove from the oven and transfer the tomatoes into a small bowl or dish.
Set the oven to 180°C
Toss shrimps with Mexican spice mix and smoked paprika in a small bowl.
Heat the oil in a non-sticky skillet and fry the onion with the red pepper and the garlic for about 5 minutes.
Add the seasoned shrimps, the cream and fry for about 1-2 minutes to heat them up. Set aside and keep warm.
Season with the jalapeño.
Adjust tortillas chips in an oven and microwave save mold and top with broiled tomatoes, shrimps and pepper mixture.
Sprinkle with cheese.
Place in the oven until cheese is melted and the borders of the tortillas begins to turn dark. If necessary place the dish into the microwave until cheese is completely molted.
Top with fresh cilantro and if needed with more fresh onion and serve immediately
We tried these simply and delicious dish on Tenerife as we escaped the European winter for a few days.
Originally these peppers had been imported from America and now they are very much appreciated in Spain and all over the world. For this recipe you should use small green peppers (called pimientos de Padrón) each one just one bite!
Traditionally these peppers should be fried, after this some salt (with “sal Maldon“) is added and they are served immediately. In this version we will toss them with little olive oil and bake them in the oven.
These are usually served as appetizer, but as side dish works very well for us.
Pimientos de Padrón al Horno – Oven Baked Peppers from Tenerife