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The inspiration for this very untypical Mexican meal was the arrival of prickly pear cactuses at Fairway... I unassumingly bought a few, just to see what they were. Well, one thing led to another, and I was preparing a complex meal from scratch. Before I could even begin, there was a shopping list of new ingredients to fulfill. Luckily, Tulcingo del Valle in the Hell's Kitchen was a one-stop shop for everything from grated coconut and tomatillos, to avocado leaves and, of course, dried chiles.Some of the ingredients fascinated me - the chipotle and ancho peppers with their complex smoky smell and deep-deep red, almost black, color. Avocado leaves with their crisp anise aroma. Sticky tomatillos hiding in their brittle shells. And finally - the pear cactuses - with their bright maroon coloring and a rather mild flavor.So, it's no surprise I went so snap-happy! It was an epic four-hour experiment, the results of which just vanished in one memorable, but fleeting meal.

Categories & Keywords
Category:Objects
Subcategory:Food
Subcategory Detail:
Keywords:cooking, gourmet, mexican

The makings of the tart...

The makings of the tart...

Fresh bread crumbs

Fresh bread crumbs

Almond meal

Almond meal

Melted butter

Melted butter

Crust

Crust

Freshly-shredded coconut

Freshly-shredded coconut

Toasted slivered almonds

Toasted slivered almonds

Cream

Cream

Smoky dried chipotles

Smoky dried chipotles

Sweet marinade reconstituted peppers

Sweet marinade reconstituted peppers

Diced carrots

Diced carrots

Escabeche seasoning - allspice, thyme, marjoram & bay leaf

Escabeche seasoning - allspice, thyme, marjoram & bay leaf

Chopped plantains

Chopped plantains

El primero de chile relleno

El primero de chile relleno

Ancho Chile for Red Chileatole

Ancho Chile for Red Chileatole

Ancho Chile for Red Chileatole

Ancho Chile for Red Chileatole

Ancho Chile for Red Chileatole

Ancho Chile for Red Chileatole

Tomatillos

Tomatillos

Tomatillo sauce fixings

Tomatillo sauce fixings

Roasting tomatillos

Roasting tomatillos