Archive for the 'Markets' Category

The Tortilla Woman Rings Twice

Wednesday, June 21st, 2006


Queseria “Arce”

Tuesday, June 20th, 2006

Tlacolula has very nice queso. Etla has great queso. But we found we liked the queso from a particular shop in Colonia Reformia Lourdes had steered us to. The quesillo is ultra bueno but they have a queso con chille that is perfecto!!!

We want to buy some cheese!!!!!!

Hometown Tehate

Saturday, June 17th, 2006

Sunday Mercado At Tlacolula

Sunday, June 11th, 2006

So many things, so little time – no one needs Sam’s Club!

Expo – Venta

Friday, June 9th, 2006

A delightful organic market exists at Garcia-Vigil on Friday Saturday

Huachinango At Juarez

Monday, June 5th, 2006

Fish At Juarez Market

At the southest corner of the Mercado Benito Juarez, are the fish stalls. Fish in Oaxaca is largely driven or flown in from the Pacific coast. On my very first trip to the Juarez market we were struck by a particular family cutting up the day’s stock. “Resturant Quality” turned out to be the only english these guys could speak. Behind all business exteriors were warm, skillful, and friendly fish mongers. We bought from them several times. The quality has never been less then first rate.

Fish Market

A Kilo of Anchos

Monday, May 29th, 2006

Okay, even though I don’t speak Spanish, a guy in a hat “talked” me into buying a kilo of ancho chiles. Willing victim, I slightly misunderstood the amount I was buying but then I thought what I could do with a world of chiles.

Well it all starts now!


Tuesday, May 23rd, 2006


We explained to the very helpful salesman that ‘no we were not going to Huatulco’. In these semi arid parts, where water collectted was very rare, He had every right to wonder what we were up to.



Saturday, May 20th, 2006

In the Etla Wednesday market, just round back of the zocalo, we stumble across 3 women vending agua miel and pulque. These are often described as aquired tastes but I took to them immedietly. It was with no small passing amusement that we realized as we were drinking our pulque and complimenting the ladies, a group of Japanese tourist were taking a video of us. Doomed Americans.

From My Mexico by Diana Kennedy

Pulque is the fermented sap of the century plant. It has a rather sour, earthy, fruity flavor and slightly slimy consistency, and is very much an acquired taste. Pulque is often curado, flavored with fruits – strawberries, pineapples, tunas, among others and sold in pulquerias or cantinas and even canned for consumption at home. Not only is it consumed as a drink, but it is also used for leavening bread, for rustic table sauces ( salsa borracha, etc. ) for grinding dried chiles, for seasoning pastes for bbq meats, for stews or adding with piloncillo to make a fermented tepache ( a drink more often made with pineapple).

Frijoles Con Pulque

8 ounces bayo, canario or pinto beans
salt to taste
1 large ancho chile, seeds and veins removed
1 cup pulqe or light beer
2 tablespoons lard
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 rounded tablespoons finely chopped onion
6 ounces queso fresco, crumbled

Pick over the beans, rinse, drain, cover with water and cook over low heat until the skins are soft, about 3 1/2 hours. Add the salt and continue cooking for 10 more minures. Reduce over high heat to 3 1/2 cups.

Lightly toast the chile, cover with hot water, and set asie to soak for about 15 minutes or until soft. Drain. Put 1/2 cup of the pulque into a blender, add the chile, and blend until almost smooth.

Heat the lard and oil in a skillet, add the onion and fry without browning until translucent. Add the beans and chile mixture and cook until reduced and shiny. Add the rest of the pulque and continue cooking for about 15 minutes. When the mixture has reduced to a thick paste, stir in the cheese. When it has melted, serve immediately.

Now I took several liberties with it. The first is I used frijoles negro, 16 ounces cooked with some onion and some epazote. From that I took my 8 ounces for the recipe. Then I used 4 guajillo chiles instead of the ancho. Both Bonnie and I love the ancho chile but I think the guajillo is sweeter tasting and I love the red color. Also I didn’t use any lard in the dish and actually only used 1 tablespoon of oil to fry the onion. And a final disgrace, we didn’t put any cheese in the dish. This and the reduction on oil was an attempt to reduce the calories. I suppose I will have to prepare it someday exactly from the book but we liked our version just fine. The pulque was tart and tangy, with the guajillo sweet in contrast.

Pozole Rojo

Wednesday, May 17th, 2006

Well that is one impressive logo

The Etla mercado was a real treat. It snaked through the hilly streets and would it’s way to the Zocallo and the indoor mercado and the absoulutely wonderful church round back. We exit the cab way before it got to the town square and so kinda entered the market through the back door. This proved to both lemon squeezer and banana bonus.

Creameria de Locale

Las Floras

Tuesday, May 16th, 2006

To alleviate the efforts of some overly enthusiatic gardeners, we took a little trip to a local garden center on the road to Tlalacalula. It had the flavor of any western garden center except for again the value and there was a lushness and variety that belongs to places south of where we are from.

The Price Of Pollo

Thursday, May 11th, 2006

We spent the morning about 20 miles south of Oaxaca in a town called Zaachila. Thursday is market day there. And Zaachila, like Mitla, is built right on top of unexcavated Zapotec and Mixtec ruins. (How important this town was in Zapotec times and how it became a mix of Zapotec and Mixtec is a story worth telling but not here and not right now). We took a collectivo (7 pesos) from our town Huayopaum to Oaxaca, south of the zocalo, where we could get a collectivo (9 pesos) to the Zaachila zocalo, where the market is.

And then there was the guy and his wife down by the fountain, where the sides were plenty and the chicken was plenty good and less expensive then Mary’s

Pasilla de Oaxaca

Wednesday, May 10th, 2006

Maybe the price was too high but I belive I really did buy high quality Chile Pasilla de Oaxaca in the Comsatti outdoor market. Our young yawning merchant had a friendly manner and did not seem to be a thief. And I have read in more then a few places that passilla de Oaxaca is sold by the piece ( 100 count ) rather then by weight. Still I paid too much(4 pesos for five) that first day and bought dozens of them for 14 pesos at the Reforma indoor market.

Today I decided to make the five I had bought earlier into a paste to mix into other dishes and possbly combine with cumin, celantro, oregano, and lime juice and smear of some chicken to be grilled the next day. Also a few of these smoky gems will find their way into a salsa verde in the next few days.

  1. First off, then chiles need to be seeded, and cleaned

  2. Then we need to toast the chiles. Sometimes I do this in the oven but today I am using a cast iron skillet to toast them on the stove top. The idea is to vaguely color the chiles, and release an aroma but not to darken or burn them

  3. Transfer them to a blender jar

    and blend till you have a rough paste. Adding a 1/4 cup of warm water will help

  4. Using a spoon, press the rough paste through a strainer till you have a very smooth paste. For greater quantities of chiles it is easier to use a food mill.

This last step is not 100% necassary. I myself do not mind the bits of skin and ribs left in the chili paste after the initial trip through the blender. I did in fact reserve those bits after I finished straining the paste and will incorporate them as I see fit into various dishes.

So while I was making this paste I decided I would devout this batch to a salsa. It would be a typical Salsa de Tomitillo but I have a feeling the pasilla de Oaxaca is going to muscle in and take over. This would not be a bad thing.

The Road To Chochoyotes

Tuesday, May 9th, 2006

Today we spent most of the morning with our cook and companion Lourdes at her favorite market in Colonia Reforma. She showed us the places where on our previous visits to Oaxaca she had brought home the most marvelous quesos and the most flavorful pollo and camerones. She walked through the indoor market, held everyday and identified the mysterious and the interesting. She introduce us to her quesso merchant first and then we meet the pollo butcher. In front of us she trimmed the breast off of a chicken and slice it into 5 fillets, which she passed back to her assistant ( maybe her daughter ) who pounded them scaloppini thin. The whole procedure took less then 5 minutes and cost 35 pesos.

In our previous trips to Oaxaca, we had unfortunately intimate and continuous contact with the medical community, because of the condition of Bonnie’s mother. Her insurance had made it rather easy and inexpensive. But it was the level of attention, of concern and willingness to do the both small and large things (like housecalls) that had put us in mind of our childhood, growing up in the fifties, where this kind of attention was regular and normal from medicos. The Reforma Market pollo merchant put me exactly the same frame of mind. It made me remember Saturday morning shopping trips, where my mother would stick her head inside the butcher shop, call out her order ( which was regular and memorized by the butcher, but the communication, the quick repetition was really a way of saying hello, things are just fine ) and now she could return in 20 minutes and the chicken and steaks, stew meat, roast and chopped meat, would all be freshly prepared and ready as well as the gravy meat set aside separately for the sunday tomato sauce ( which was always called gravy by my grandmothers )

The skill of the Reforma butcheress was amazing but it was really the attention to our needs, and some knowledge that when we returned in a week, she would remember those needs and offer again the quick but still warm satisfaction. That the chicken was fresh and flavorful and tender were all kinda of givens. We hadn’t yet bought a bad chicken ( although earlier last years Lourdes and Bonnie had both encounter a chicken which after being prepared caused Bonnie to utter the colorful criticism “This chicken had died twice”. We had bought half a chicken in the Comsatti Friday market, which was quite good but had cost us 32 pesos. Not a great price but again the skill and attention of the butcher made me want to by from this man again. It’s really a very basic requirement of a transaction in food. Not just getting your money’s worth but getting some attention, some sanctification of the items we are going to consume in the most fundamental of ways. So many things we buy can do without this but food needs a blessing and I felt blessed the whole morning being with Lourdes and Bonnie in the Reforma market.

Cafe Frio

Sunday, May 7th, 2006

coffee people

In the town of San Andreas Huyapaum, where the lovely El Refugio is situated, there is a coffee merchant, really a coffee family. We sat with them and discussed their wonderful product and Bonnie promised to bring them her wonderful Ice Coffee and the method and we could sit one afternoon and talk beans and refreshments

The day we finally got to talking was also the day Mexico was unfortunately eliminated from the World Cup. This explains Bardomiano’s colorful outfit and also somewhat explains the abundant amounts of mescal we all wound up consuming as we were talking.

coffee people

Alright that isn’t a bean Bardomiano is holding but a tasty bug. In addition to showing us the beauty and intricacies of coffee roasting and chocolate making, Bardomiano and Micaela slyly raised the gringo quotient and playfully offered us a Mexican bug snack, popular from way back when.

bugs from coffee people

coffee people

coffee people

coffee kilo

coffee label

Mia Chiles

Wednesday, May 3rd, 2006

So today in this new journal I will record from some favorite sources the chiles I love and seek to love.

Chile Ancho

The name means “broad chile” from the shape. This is the most common form of the dried chile poblano. I have used them with great pleasure, for body but they contribute very little fruit or fire.

Scoville Heat Units: 2,500 – 3,000

Chile de Arbol

This small very very hot red chile is available both fresh and dried. My grandfather used to grow these in his garden. I always thought he was calling them “Diablo” and they have some claim to that name also

Scoville Heat Units: 15,000 – 30,000

Chile Chipolte

This brownish chile is a smoke dried version of the chile jalipeno. They are available plain or canned in a spice-paste sauce called adobo. Very hot, very good.

Scoville Heat Units: 3,500 – 4,500

Chile Costeno

This small chile is native to the coastal regions of Oaxaca. Dark yellow to orange in color, it can fairly or very hot. They have very nice fruit undertones and I have used them extensively in my bean recipes

Chile Pasilla de Oaxaca

This chile has become the basis for my favorite sala here in Oaxaca. They are smoke dried, like the chipotles. the Mixte people are the preeminent producers of Oaxacan passila.

Chile Guajillo

In terms of quantity, guajillos are the most used chiles in Oaxacan cooking, and common throughout Mexico. Sometimes they are very fiery but usually they are mildly spicy and very fruity in flavor. They make a great enchilada sauce.

Scoville Heat Units: 10,000 – 20,000

Chile Morita

A lesser know variety of smoked dried chile that hails from Veracruz. Pretty hot but not as a deep smoke flavor as the Pasilla de Oaxaca or the Chipotle. I have bought some here in the village of Huaypaum but the best I have bought came from Tlalocalula. It was fragrant and raiseny in texture.