I am very excited to have Seasons of My Heart food products from Susana Trilling. Susana is a chef, founder of Seasons of My Heart Cooking School in Oaxaca, Mexico, and author of the vibrant cookbook Seasons of My Heart: A Culinary Journey through Oaxaca, Mexico ( Ballantine Books, 1999).
Susana’s book is a companion guide to her 13-show PBS series in which she shares her deep passion and anthropological knowledge of this fascinating region whose cuisine remains virtually untouched by influences from the outside world. Oaxaca invites a deep appreciation of Mexican culture, and Susana is a gracious ambassador for the region she loves so much.
Those of you who have visited Mexico know that the local markets are wonderful places, and taking the time to stroll around and absorb all you see is a fragrant, colorful sensory event. Spices, foods, fruits, candies, crafts, clay cookware and simple, charming clay dishes and bowls, embroideries and weavings offer serious temptations.
In southern Mexico, in the markets of Oaxaca and the neighboring villages, you will also see quantities of chile-based seasoning pastes – mole* – for sale in rich earth tones of red, brown, and nearly black. The flavors of these moles are as extraordinary as the colors are vivid, and the tastes of each mole will be different one to another.
But each is unique and essential to the traditional cuisine of Oaxaca. Choosing just one mole is never an option when shopping in these vibrant markets!
Mole lovers know that these tasty and essential pastes traditionally take a day or longer to make and require a very long list of ingredients to obtain the proper flavors: fruits, nuts, spices, chocolate and chiles. The flavor of a specific mole is dependent on particular chiles which can be difficult or impossible to find in the USA.
If you rather not spend a day or more in your kitchen making mole from scratch, you can use Susana’s moles to create delicious, authentic tasting dishes for your family and friends. Susana has created three of the most famous of these mole pastes – Oaxacan Mole Negro (Black Mole), Mole Coloradito, and Mole Rojo (Red Mole) that are made with the right chilies, all natural ingredients and no fillers. All that is required is that the mole be reconstituted into a sauce and served with a generous portion of chicken, turkey, pork (or a combination of the three). And only you will know that you have Susana at your side!
Another not-to-be-missed item is Susana’s Chintestle (Smoked Chile Paste), something that I now cannot live without! I first tasted this product several years ago when I met Susana at a food conference but there was no way to purchase this product for resale at the time. Believe me, I have thought about this flavorful smoked chile paste more than a few times in the years since!
Lastly, we also have Susana’s chile jellies ( three types…red, green and yellow….which are excellent toppings for soft goat cheese for quick and tasty summer snacks on the patio…with a Margarita, perhaps ? ) and coarse and crunchy Mexican sea salt to flavor your favorite dishes .
*Chile pepper expert, food historian, magazine editor and cookbook author Dave Dewitt has this to say about mole: “Perhaps the most famous Mexican chile dishes are the moles. The word ‘mole’, from the Náhuatl molli, means “mixture,” as in guacamole, a mixture of vegetables (guaca). Some sources say that the word is taken from the Spanish verb moler, meaning to grind. Whatever its precise origin, the word used by itself embraces a vast number of sauces utilizing every imaginable combination of meats, vegetables, spices, and flavorings–sometimes up to three dozen different ingredients. Not only are there many ingredients, there are dozens of variations on mole–red moles, green moles, brown moles, fiery moles, and even mild moles”.
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