But this is a special time. It’s Halloween. It’s the last day of the Vegan Month of Food. Tomorrow is my 3rd Veganniversary. Tomorrow is also Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead), which in many parts of the world is more special than its eve. So tonight I begin this post with a recipe from local chef and food writer Lucinda Hutson. You may remember earlier this month I posted her recipe for hummus and a picture of her fabulous purple bungalow. She wrote a guest feature in the paper about the traditional drink of Dia de los Muertos, Champurrado.
From Austin-American Statesman
Oct. 29, 2008
Friends have come to expect this frothy hot chocolate to accompany the Day of the Dead breads that I purchase at local bakeries. For centuries, Mexicans have devoured versions of this tasty and nutritional beverage; after all, chocolate is a New World offering. A cup of champurrado tastes both soothing and invigorating on a cold night. Spiked with chile, cinnamon and yerbanís (Mexican mint marigold) or anise seeds, its essence will surely awaken the dead.
Although traditionally made with water, milk makes it even richer, especially when whisked to a froth with a molinillo (a hand-carved wooden Mexican chocolate beater) twirled between the palms.
1/2 cup corn masa flour (masa harina)
1/2 cup warm water
2 cups milk
11/2 cups or more water
3 oz. Mexican chocolate
2 or 3 Tbsp. piloncillo (Mexican unrefined brown sugar) or dark brown sugar
1 tsp. Mexican vanilla
1 tsp. anise seeds, crushed, or 1 Tbsp. fresh yerbanís, optional (in season now)
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1 stick canela (cinnamon)
1/2 tsp. crushed dried red pepper or chile de arból or cayenne
In a medium saucepan, mix together masa harina and 1/2 cup warm water and blend until smooth. Add remaining ingredients; simmer on low heat, stirring continually until chocolate and piloncillo are melted and mixture has thickened (add more water if needed). Whisk with a wooden molinillo or eggbeater until frothy. Pour immediately into small mugs and sprinkle with cinnamon.
Serves: 4 to 6.
I prepared a ¼ portion of this recipe, omitting the anise seeds (ick) and using several more tablespoons of brown sugar, because as much as I love dark chocolate it’s got to be just a little sweet. The warm Champurrado is thick from the corn flour and chocolate, and I couldn’t manage more than a couple of sips. How they eat a hunk of sweet bread with it I’ll never know. Oh, wait. I think I read somewhere that you can make it into an adult beverage by adding a shot of whiskey, so maybe that’s how!
HOWEVER!... As any good foodie would do, after it was cold and before I put it away, I gave it another taste test. I tasted what was one of the best chocolate puddings I’ve ever had. It wasn’t creamy like a tofu pudding, but more like what I imagine the chocolaty oatmeal concoctions so many of you are enjoying. The masa flavor was unique and even though I was already stuffed, I wanted more. I probably won’t ever make it as a hot drink again, but it so quick and easy to make I will definitely make it as a pudding again. So do give it a try if you have an intense chocolate craving and want to try something different.
For your Halloween treats, let me show you more of the goodies I’ve tested for Ricki, and remind you once again to be on the lookout for her cookbook in a couple of months. Everything I’ve made has been incredibly delicious, and these were no exception.
Orange Tea Biscuit
Finally, as this is the last day of MoFo, I just want to say how much I’ve enjoyed this incredible month of vegan food sharing. I’m amazed at how many fabulous chefs took part in this event! I think back to when I first started blogging about 2 ½ years ago. I tracked about 20 blogs. Now I can hardly keep up with the 200 I try to follow. I know many of you are used to posting daily, but I am not. I hope you don’t mind if I take a few days off, and then I'll resume my normal 2 posts per week.