Saturday, November 24, 2012

Mexico... and more muffins!

Saludos desde Mexico! Ariel here, with your usual blarging from an all new location! I have recently moved to Mexico (yup, really!), and have been busy settling in, starting up at my new job, learning the language, and, of course, trying new food.

Not to mention eating tons of fresh produce from the local markets. I'm in fruit and vegetable heaven!

Reads: Delicious carrot juice. Not false advertising! 
I've been here for about two weeks, and already am falling in love with the place.

Wandering Texcoco.
Why yes, that is four men hanging upside from tall pole! 
Did I mention that we have a... puppy?!
Though a lot of the food in the area is meat and dairy centered (think tacos and quesadillas), I've been able to find plenty of delicious vegan things to try. At the organic market we go to on Saturdays, there are tamales (corn meal steamed in a corn husk) filled with sauteed mushrooms (grown by the woman who sells them!) in a spicy tomato sauce.

More wandering!
Another favorite is tlacoyos - blue corn dough stuffed with beans and cooked over a grill, topped with spicy salsa and a salad made from nopales (cactus!) and onions. They're normally topped with cheese, but I ask for mine sin queso. They're delicious!

I can't wait to learn recipes for cooking mexican cuisine, and to try more things (and share them here with you!). It's so exciting and refreshing being in a place with such a new and rich culture.

Slicing the spikes off the prickly pear cactus leaves (nopales).
In the meantime, I've been baking up some of the classics (in our tiny toaster oven... which actually works great!). Though the thought occurred to me that you miiiighht be sick of muffins (nonsense!), it was too hard to jump that ship. So I'm sharing a muffin recipe that combines everything you could want in a muffin into a warm, delicious, hearty bundle.

Filled with jam... and love. :D
Filled with homemade blueberry-blackberry jam, these Apple Oatmeal Muffins were fluffy, moist, had the perfectly slightly-crunchy muffin top (maybe due to the silicone cups we used, or the convection setting on the oven?), and made a wonderfully hearty breakfast. Seriously delicious.

Jam-filled Apple Oatmeal Muffins
yields 12 small, 6 large, or 4 small and 4 large muffins
1 cup wheat flour
1 cup rolled oats
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt

3/8 cup of sugar
1/4 cup oil
3/4 cup water or soymilk (I used water)
2 small-medium apples, cored and quartered

1 small-medium apple, chopped

blackberry jam (or a jam of your choice!)

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F/177°C. In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, oats, cinnamon, baking powder, and salt.

2. Put the two cored apples in a food processor, and process until the very bottom starts to get mushy (think applesauce texture), and the rest is finely chopped. This took us about a minute of pulsing and mixing.

3. In a larger bowl, combine the sugar, oil, water or soymilk, and processed apples.

4. Add the dry ingredients to the wet, and mix well. Fold in the last chopped apple.

5. Distribute between muffin cups (if you're using a metal pan, grease lightly with oil or use paper liners; if you're using silicone cups like we did, no need to oil!).

Tuck 'em in all nice and snuggly!
6. Add a dollop (~a teaspoon or two) of jam to the center of each muffin. Gently, tuck muffin batter from the side of the muffin over the top until the jam is just covered.

Baking beautifully in our glorious (toaster) oven!
7. Bake for 20 - 25 minutes. Let 'em cool (we thought they were actually better once they'd cooled off!) and NOM away!

Buen provecho! 
Deeeeeeelicious! Give them a try and enjoy! :)


Anonymous said...

Looks and sounds delicious!
It's great that you're finding so much fresh produce.
What do people do with the cactus leaves? Looks intriguing

Ariel said...

Thanks! People generally boil them with onions and salt, and drain the water to remove the slime (though I really like it!), then serve them as a salad as is or with tomatoes and cilantro.
I actually made some a few days ago that I'll probably share up here sometime soon! :)

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