Last week for February break, my gnome, Louie Jr., and I flew down to Mexico City for some unfamiliar food. We did not have to look long before we found chapulins in the marketplace.
Chapulins are grasshoppers! Mexicans serve chapulins the same way we serve salted nuts and just like nuts, they have protein. I brought back some to show, but like I expected, there were not many interested tasters. Understandably this is a culinary adventure beyond most American's comfort zones. The only tasters had to have parental permission first. Let it be known that Chef Lisa would never force feed bugs to children.
As you can see from the picture, Louie Jr., ate a grasshopper. He said it did not taste like fried chicken. On the menu that night at dinner, we found chapulins served as a topping on guacamole and corn tortillas. See the second item on the menu below. We ordered it and thought it was a two thumbs up! Then again, almost anything would taste good with fresh avocados and homemade tortillas.
During dinner at Azul Histórico, Yolanda made the tortillas served with grasshoppers. While we waited, she taught us how to make a tortilla. We brought her recipe back for the Cooking with Chef Lisa class.
Yolanda's simple tortilla recipe follows.
2 cups masa harina (do not use corn meal)
1 1/2 cups water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1. Mix together the masa harina and water until smooth and pliable.
2. Preheat a griddle or skillet to medium high.
3. Divide the dough into 12 equal sized balls.
4. Press each ball between two sheets of plastic wrap and press flat with a rolling pin or tortilla press.
5. Place the flattened tortilla on a preheated griddle or pan for 30 seconds or until slightly browned.
6. Turn the tortilla over and cook the other side for 30 seconds.
7. Repeat and keep all tortillas covered and warm, until ready to serve.
Pico de Gallo (fresh Mexican salsa)
Chop up the following ingredients:
4 medium tomatoes
2/3 cup of cilantro
1/2 cup white onion
jalapeno peppers to taste (optional)
Mix all chopped ingredients together in a bowl.
Add 1 tablespoon of lime juice to the mixture and serve with fresh tortillas and Guacamole (recipe below).
The juice from the half of one lime
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 cup of the Pico de Gallo (above)
1. Peal, remove the seed and mash the avocados in a bowl with a fork.
2. Add the lime juice and all the rest of the ingredients together to make a smooth consistency. Some prefer it chunky.
3. Serve immediately, with the tortillas and salsa, because it will turn brown.
Mexico's Gift to the World - Chocolate!!!
No trip to Mexico is complete without chocolate. The cacao bean came from Central American 3,500 years ago and was often used to barter for goods. The Mayans and Aztecs created the first hot chocolate drink without sugar. They believed that chocolate had healing powers. The conquistadors took the drink back to the Spanish king and queen in 1520. Eventually sugar was added and its popularity spread throughout the world. In honor of Mexico's gift, and Milton Hershey for perfecting it ,the Pies, Cakes,Cookies and More class made the following chocolate confection using Mitlon's kisses.
Moctezuma and Milton's Chocolate Besos
1 pouch of Betty Crocker sugar cookie mix
1/2 cup of butter, melted
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup unsweetened baking cocoa
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
48 Hershey Milk Chocolate Kisses, unwrapped
1. Preheat oven to 375.
2. In a large bowl, stir cookie mix, butter, egg, flour, cocoa, and extract until soft and dough forms.
3. Shape dough into forty-eight 3/4 inch balls.
4. Wrap the dough around each candy and place 2 inches apart on an un-greased cookie sheet.
5. Bake 8-10 minutes or until set.