Monday, July 31, 2006

Mole Adventures

The end to my weekend involved quite a few hours toasting, roasting, marinating, pureeing and grinding. End result: tequila marinated roasted chicken and goat cheese & corn enchiladas in what I will refer to as "Mole Sauce #1". I adapted a recipe I found on the Food Network site, from none other than Emeril Lagasse.

The obsession with mole began several months ago on my 37th birthday when I made tamales in mole for about 30 of my friends. The recipe I used was fabulous, but it was also spicier than I like. In trying to tame the heat, I found it hard to maintain that perfect sweet/spicy flavor without drowning it in tomato sauce.

And then a couple weeks ago I did a personal chef job and had a little...shall we say... mole disaster... that resulted in my resorting to store bought enchilada sauce. Now I'm not against taking certain shortcuts as long as quality is not sacrificed. But I couldn't find one single sauce at the Berkeley Bowl that would fit my definition of quality. So I resolved then & there to keep making mole until I got it right.

Since it's been requested that I bring mole sauce to my dear friend Chip's birthday dinner this Thursday, I want to try out a couple different recipes before then. One down, two more to go.

Mole sauce #1 turned out to be amazingly tasty, as my wonderful pal Emily will attest (and isn't she a saint for patiently waiting until 11 pm to finally eat?). I made a few adaptations, such as grinding the spices in a spice grinder before adding them to the food processer. I also plumped the raisins in warm water. To tame the heat a bit, I omitted the dried chile seeds. The paste was still plenty spicy just using the roasted chiles. This particular mole used sesame seeds, peanuts and almonds. I was skeptical about the lack of pumpkin seeds, but who am I to question Emeril?

In fact, in my quest for mole recipes, I discovered that there are vastly different ways to approach this wonderful delight. I'm looking forward to spending the evening tonight using a recipe that calls for pureed plantains and roasted poblano peppers. Yum.....

Soundtrack: She Mob's "Turn to Chocolate", of course!

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