|Page from the cookbook for my daughter - note the |
very stained page from my notebook.
At this point in time, I could nearly fill the book with food photos of my own. I have been consistently making dishes and getting photos where possible. I wish that I had photos of all the places I visited back in the 1970s; sadly, I do not. Short of a nice long photography trip back to Guatemala, I have little hope of ever having those type of photos for a book. It was a most interesting time in my life and one I will always treasure. One of the many spices I learned about while there was Annatto:
Annatto - Bixa orellana
|Annatto Seeds (Achiote)|
I was cautioned, while in Guatemala, to avoid ever grinding the whole seed, as the inner seed is bitter and will ruin the flavor of a dish. I have never substantiated this admonition.
While I mainly write of these seeds as a spice, the reddish color they lend is also used in other varied ways. In some of the native cultures of these countries the red color, which rubs off of the seeds easily, is used "cosmetically" as a lip or cheek color. Many American processed cheeses, as well as some Cheddar or Colby cheeses are given their appetizing yellow orange color with annatto seeds.
|"Pollo en Jocon" or Chicken in Green Sauce|
Today, for whatever reason, I started thinking about Pepian, another very typically Guatemalan dish, and one I have never made. It is another stew type dish, made with beef or chicken usually, but this sauce is more red, and made with tomatoes, toasted sesame and pumpkin seeds, dried chili peppers such as ancho and guaque and possibly some annatto seeds for color. It is also served over rice, but may have the addition of vegetables such as carrot, potato or chayote squash. There are so many wonderful flavors in Guatemalan cooking and sometimes I become nostalgic. I am so grateful both for the time I spent in that country and for my ability to cook all these wonderful dishes.
My passion is teaching people how to create a harmony of flavors with their cooking, and passing along my love and joy of food, both simple or exotic, plain or fancy. I continue my journey in ethnic and domestic cuisines, trying new things weekly. I would love to hear from you, to help me continue my journey to explore diverse culinary experiences and hopefully to start you on a journey of your own. Join me also at A Harmony of Flavors on Facebook, and Pinterest.