Every trip to Mexico City is a fantastic experience for one reason or another. This last time was especially memorable for me beacuse I learned a new way to prepare filled masa and was introduced to quelites- leafy greens, usually amaranth, but can be a number […]
Cold weather calls for savory, hearty, warming soup. Today, we are taking the time to make chochoyotes- tiny masa dough balls with an indentaion in the center to catch the garnishes for an extra tasty bite. And, since it is cold and rainy, we are making a thick and substantial soup complete with fresh garnishes to brighten it all up. Let’s get cooking.
Chochoyotes and Black Bean Soup
Serves 2 as a main course
Make the Black Beans:
1 ½ pounds black beans, washed and picked though
2 stalks celery
2 cloves garlic
1 bay leaf
1 handful of cilantro, stems, leaves and all
2 teaspoons sea salt
Place all ingredients except water in a slow cooker. Add enough cold water to cover the beans by at least double. More water is better than less. Set your slow cooker for 6 hours. When the beans are done, remove the onion, celery, garlic, cilantro and bay leaf and discard. *This can be done 1-2 days in advance.
Make the Black Bean Soup:
3 cups cooked black beans
1 cup cooking liquid from beans
Puree 2 cups whole beans and liquid together in a blender until smooth. Strain through a fine mesh strainer. Place in a small pot with the reserved 1 cup whole beans and heat gently to warm.
Make the Chochoyotes:
2 cups maseca
1 tablespoon lard
1 cup water
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon dried oregano
½ cup all purpose flour
Combine lard and all dry ingredients in a large bowl. Slowly add the water and mix by hand or with a firm spatula just until all ingredients are combined into a cohesive dough. Do not over work the dough.
Ball the dough into approximately 1 ½“ portions and roll between your palms to get them round. Press a hole in the middle and set aside. Continue until all dough is formed.
Boil in lightly salted water for 7-8 minutes until cooked through. Set aside.
Assemble the Soup:
Ladle soup into warmed bowls and place chochoyotes into soup. Garnish and serve immediately.
This week was definitely more colorful than the last. We took a trip to Tijuana to visit the markets, eat some tacos and tortas, and roam around the city. Take a look:
At Mercado Hidalgo the merchants are all ready for Dia de los Muertos. Candy skulls of all sizes, skeleton pinatas, and streamers are festively displayed.
On a walk around Old Town I discovered this small cemetery, El Campo Santo that dates back to 1849.
My new favorite tote bag. I will never part with it. ever.
Second lunch of the day was shrimp tacos and yes, these are my greasy fingers. These tacos were that good.
CECUT, Tijuana Cultural Center.
Happy hour is extra happy with a glass of chilled rose.
Breakfast and the Sunday paper. Hope your week was was good one.
Lately, we’ve been venturing out to TJ after a few years hiatus due to the craziness going on. It used to be, before we moved to SD, that we would jump in the rental car right after landing at the airport and head straight for TJ to eat. We miss those times dearly and are really glad to be traveling back again. There are numerous places to try and the exciting thing about it all is the food is totally Baja style, unique in its own way. This day we went to Foodgarden, a kind of casual food court style place where you can order from any stall you choose, and then pay and buy drinks at the cashier. Easy and delicious.
Our destination here was Basque style tapas at Etxeverria. With our memories of days spent bar hopping for tapas in San Sebastian and all of the new flavors we were introduced to, we just had to try this place and it did not disappoint. Below is the portobello mushroom pintxo and marmitako- tuna and potatoes which completely blew my socks off and I can’t wait until I have my kitchen back so I can recreate a version of this deliciousness.
Tacos Kokopelli was next on the list. I went for the cheese and shrimp taco with chile pepper and K got the octopus with black bean sauce. I never would have thought to drape an entire chile over the shrimp in my taco, but it worked and you bet I’ll be trying this at home!
By this time we were full and should have not continued on, but I love chilaquiles like nobody’s business and what a waste of a trip not to try them while were here. The chilaquile place makes all kinds, many variations. Here, we tried the tomatillo ones and they were absolutely fantastic with just the right amount of crunch and enough soft (not soggy) parts. And the beans! Ooooh, were they tasty. We will definitely be back as we are already talking about hopping over for a quick dinner on maybe a Friday night sometime soon (open till 10pm on most weeknights). If you’re in San Diego, you might as well grab your passport and head across the border for a unique lunch experience. Tip: park on the U.S. side, walk across, grab a taxi to Foodgarden and avoid the 2+ hour car wait to cross back to SD.