It’s been a while since I’ve visited my friends at Fiesta Friday so I thought I would stop by the party and bring a little flavor of Mexico. Since I have my little “jumping bean” and his sister, back (no pun intended) to feeling well after a tag-team bout of bad backs and slipped discs, I feel like there is reason to celebrate.
Yes, yes, I know it is Sunday but as you might be aware, I am self-proclaimed to be notoriously late; sometimes, it is better late than never. These ribs are some of the best I have had (Mr. Fitz, you should appreciate that) but this is really about the quinoa salad because so many are vegetarians at this little Fiesta.
My sister-in-law, Irma is from Oaxaca, Mexico and her Mom makes the best mole sauce that I have ever tasted. I’m hoping she (Irma) will bring me some when she returns from her visit (hint, hint), but until then, I have found a really good product that I do recommend. I am not one to like bottled sauces since I am big on making my own, but every now and again, I do find one that is well worth it’s weight in gold. This one was a “must-try” since it is, in fact, “Smoked Oaxacan Mole Sauce” from a company called Bunches & Bunches. It is no “Mama Elowina Cardona’s” sauce but it will definitely, always have a place on my shelf (and in my food). Yum, yummy, yum!
Spicy quinoa & pozole salad in an acorn squash bowl, served with a side of Oaxacan-kissed ribs
The sum of the parts can all be prepared far in advance, making this perfect for entertaining; just the kind of thing I love! Making one cup uncooked quinoa will yield more than you will need if feeding only two feet and eight paws; the rest can be used as a do-ahead for weekday lunches (bonus!).
You can cook your own cacahuazintle (AKA pozole) or use canned. Again, you won’t need the whole lot but now you can use the leftover pozole to make a fabulous (true) pozole stew, (Irma, when will it be ready?, I’m/we’re coming over!). If we ask really loud, perhaps she will share her process?
The avocado should be added carefully to only the amount of salad you will be serving. Leftovers should be saved without avocado (if possible) and added at the time you will be eating them (otherwise they will turn slightly brown; no real big deal).
The squash is not added to the salad but rather scooped up bit by bit as you are eating out of it’s natural bowl. The sweetness of the squash is a welcome partner to the spiciness of the mole sauce. Tom even proclaimed it to be delicious and he is not a particular fan of squash (or quinoa).
INGREDIENTS (for 2 servings, easily multiplied)
1 acorn squash
1/4 cup cooked, drained cacahuazintle (AKA pozole,)
3/4 cup cooked quinoa
2 TB lime juice
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 roasted red pepper, diced
1 green onion, diced
1 TB Bunches & Bunches, Smoked Oaxacan Mole sauce (or another delicious mole)
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
1/2 avocado, 1/4″ diced
Oaxacan-kissed Ribs (recipe to follow)
Cut the squash in half, lengthwise, and scoop out the seeds (I save these to cook like a pumpkin’s).
Cook the squash, wrapped in foil, for approximately 45 minutes in a 350-degree oven, or until soft. Set aside.
In a bowl, mix the cacahuazintle (AKA pozole) with the lime juice and sea salt. Let sit for 10 minutes then add the rest of the ingredients. Stir and season to taste. That’s it, simple huh?
Divide the salad between the cooked halves of the squash. Garnish with some whole cilantro and serve alongside the ribs, if you wish (Tom insists you wish).
Squash, similar to sweet potatoes, is very healthy for the canine connoisseur. It goes without say that I scoop some of the squash meat out for Buddy & Ginger which they eat mixed with some of the plain, cooked quinoa. Bon appe-pup!
1 slab baby back pork ribs (I go for quality over quantity and favor small over large)
Sea salt and pepper to season (I roast sea salt, pepper and coriander for my own “seasoning”; ground with my molcajete or in my Blendtec)
Juice of one lime
Enough mole sauce to evenly coat the ribs (approximately 1/4 cup) (as mentioned, I used Bunches & Bunches “Smoked Oaxacan Mole Sauce”)
Wash and pat dry the ribs.
Season evenly and then squeeze over the lime juice.
Line a sheet rack with foil and place the ribs on the rack.
Brush evenly with the mole sauce.
Add a 1/2 cup water to the bottom of the sheet rack (for moisture) and cover well with foil.
Cook at 375-degrees for 2-3 hours or until tender and succulent. I like to check in on them every half hour or so just to see how they are coming along. Baste with a little more sauce if they seem receptive.
When tender and succulent, uncover and cook 10 minutes further.
Let rest a few minutes before cutting between individual bones and serving.
These can be cooked in advance and reheated, uncovered, or grilled.
Irma, por favor, tráenos salsa de mole de tu madre y más “botella de coca cola”. Te queremos y enviar mis mejores deseos para la salud de su hermana y su familia!