Winter has made itself comfortable in St. Louis like a tiresome guest who's kicked off his shoes, occupied your favorite chair, and doesn't seem to be going anywhere soon. I seek solace in searching the 'net for the perfect lodging in Tulum, or other off the beaten path beach destinations. Until we do settle on a trip (and I get my passport renewed), how about a kitchen getaway? I'll be exploring some specialty markets in St. Louis, and pairing these outings with posts on regional recipes. First up in the kitchen getaway series, we have Show Me Mexican!
Many St. Louis grocery stores stock Mexican groceries, but a visit to one of the Mexican markets in St. Louis reveals an exciting variety of ingredients. We hit the Supermercado El Torito at 2753 Cherokee Street last weekend. (Conveniently located only a couple of blocks away from Shangri-La Diner.) I was particularly fascinated by the dozens of dried chiles! So much to explore. Here's a sampling of items we purchased.
Starting top left, we have Herdez salsa casera, Ibarra chocolate, La Morena chipotles in adobo, La Morena refried bayo beans with chipotle, nopalitos (cactus), Maggi seasoning sauce, fideo, pepitas, Mexican dried oregano, and a molinillo.
The molinillo is a Mexican wooden tool specifically for frothing hot chocolate. Which I think is cool. Not only is it pretty, but it's a great excuse for making cocoa more often. Here's how it works. Place the large end of the molinillo in the cocoa, and spin the handle between the palms of your hands. The motion of the molinillo's loose rings creates the froth.
As for the Ibarra chocolate, it's flavored with sugar and cinnamon and comes in a box of large disks. Each disk is molded to have eight wedges (picture a pie cut for eight servings). So with my new molinillo and Ibarra chocolate, I was ready to make cocoa. This recipe is mildly smoky from the ground ancho chile. We enjoyed this cocoa right before our walk with Scout, and it certainly kept us feeling warm inside on a cold day outside.
I'll be back on Wednesday with another Show Me Mexican recipe!
Mexican Hot Chocolate with Ancho Chile
2 cups soy milk
4 wedges Ibarra (half a disk), chopped into thin slivers with a knife
1/8 teaspoon ground ancho chile powder
Heat soy milk in a pot over medium to medium low heat with chocolate and ancho chile powder. Stir periodically and heat until the chocolate has melted and the soy milk is steamy. Pour into a tall heat proof container to give room for sloshing (such as a 4 cup size pyrex measuring cup) and froth with molinillo by spinning the handle between your palms. If you don't have a molinillo, you could whisk the cocoa or use a blender to combine the hot soy milk with the Ibarra. Enjoy before walking the dog on a cold day.