One day I, Susan, was venting on Twitter about how the book I was reading, The Secret Book of Frida Kahlo by F.G. Haghenbeck, was making me hungry. In addition to a storyline that follows Frida’s life very accurately and based on secret journals of hers, the historical fiction novel was chock full of traditional Mexican recipes! I am a sucker for a novel with recipes, and this one was making me very hungry. And thirsty. (Reading Frida’s story in this form made me want tequila and margaritas, too) So instead of cooking (effort) I whined about it on Twitter (effortless).
Nonnie, a longtime friend of ours replied back and said that she would like a recipe that had no sugar, sweetener, preservatives, gluten and also, dairy free.
I found one that looked good, and had ingredients that would be available in most US grocery stores.
Ribs For Dead Dr. Leo
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon salt
12 garlic cloves, chopped, and 6 whole cloves
2 racks of pork ribs, cut, with the ribs seperated
2 tablespoons lard
4 cups water
8 serrano chiles
1/4 onion, in pieces
2 pounds of green tomatoes (tomatillos) peeled
8 sprigs of cilantro, crushed
salt and pepper
Add the cumin and salt to chooped garlic, then rub the mixture on the ribs. If at all possible, let the ribs rest overnight so the flavors will be absorbed into the meat.
Place the ribs in a large pot, then bring to a boil. When the meat can be easily pierced with a fork, remove the ribs from the heat.
Fry the ribs for 10 minutes in the lard, then set aside.
In another pot, add the 4 cups of water and the whole garlic cloves. Bring to a boil, then add the onion and chilis and cook for 5 minutes. Add green tomatoes and cook for another 5 minutes.
Remove everything (except the ribs) and pound on the molcajete until it has a consistency of a puree (Susan note: I would throw it in the food processor and puree it).
Add 2 cups of the rib broth and freshly crushed cilantro. If the sauce is too thick, add more water.
In a large pan, add 2 tablespoons of lard from when the ribs were previously fried. Add the puree and boil, covered, for 10 minutes.
Add the ribs, season with salt and pepper to taste. Let cook over low heat for 20 minutes
And if historical fiction is your thing, this quick and simple read did a great job of following her life. Yes, there are fictional elements but I enjoyed the magic realism, the story, the selection of life events to highlight, the way that the author captured Frida’s personality and…yes…the recipes.