Thursday, August 12, 2010


Atole.  It's all I've been hearing about lately.  I swear, my teacher gets an idea in her head, and we talk about it for days.  Luckily, her topics tend to be food based.  Also fun, but probably meaningless to you unless you're Andrea or Karen, neither of whom read this blog:
Salvadoran varieties include atol shuco ("dirty" atol, a reference to its darker color), particularly popular in the Cabañas region. The Nicaraguan homologue is pinolillo. In some parts of Honduras, fresh corn is ground and the expressed liquid is used as the base (instead of masa flour).

Figures that the Salvadorian one would be dirty. . .   man, it's less fun to tease when I know she won't see it.

In any case, Elvira is all about atole with aveno (oatmeal) - screw that masa noise.  And I must admit - the idea of drinking some sort of slurry just sounds more appealing when it's oatmeal, which is kind of slurry-y anyway, instead of flour slurry, which as far as I know is for thickening sauces.  The fun part is you can add all sorts of tasty flavors - chocolate, strawberry and pine nut are popular, and Elvira loves it with guyaba (guava) and her husband Francisco prefers manzana (apple).  Another tradition that I think will fit right in around Christmas.

I am definitely dragging my dad around in search of this while he's here - especially since it's typically served with tamales.  That's a lot of masa in one meal, but it's worth a shot!  

Atole de Elvira - enough for two people to have two cups
I wish there were some way to capture gestures here so I could show you how much she shows me to use - instead I'll use some of the many recipes floating around out there to help me along. 

* a handful of oatmeal - probably about half a cup
* water or milk (see now, not helpful - she says some in a pot and some in the licuadora with the oatmeal.  I say start with less, you can always add more if it's too thick) - let's say 4 cups in the blender
* brown sugar (or white sugar, whatever you have; the piloncillos if you can find them!) to taste - figure about 1 tbsp for each cup, so 4-5 tbsp total
* vanilla extract - 1 tsp

If you want to do fruit, just leave out the cinnamon and vanilla.  Although, I think the cinnamon would be great with apples.  If you're using apples, you'll need four, I know that much.  If you're using another fruit, start out with a small amount and add more if you think it needs it.  You quarter, decore, and parboil the apples to soften them a bit first; but I don't think that's necessary with softer fruit.  

Put the oatmeal, water or milk (and here Elvira doesn't recommend using milk as it makes it harder to strain, but doesn't milk just sound better?), cinnamon, sugar, and fruit/nuts/Mexican chocolate, whatever you might be using; into the blender.  Puree until super smooth.  Pour through a strainer (to remove any chunky bits of oatmeal, cinnamon or whatever else might be lurking in there) into a pot to heat.
You don't need to boil it, it doesn't need to be THAT hot (thinking of YOU McDonald's coffee in the lap lady)- which by the way, holy crap, I had no idea she got third degree burns, that IS some damn hot coffee. . . .), but if it starts to boil, no biggie, just turn off the flame.

Voila.  Atole.
Also, I totally want a molinillo for whisking my chocolate atole, or champurrado.  I totally think I'm Mexican now.
(for those that don't know me, I actually am a bit Mexican, fyi, but I'd classify myself as guera over latina . . .)

1 comment:

Quinn said...

You are totally Mexican now. I made sure Andrea saw this one.