Monday, April 5, 2010
Cascarones translates to: Easter Celebration!
The egg cracking, confetti flying traditions of Cascarones have been in the Southwest for a very long time but it has certainly made a come back in recent years. What are Cascarones? Cascarones traditionally were carried from Spain to the Americas over a century ago. Carlotta, the wife of Emperor Maximillian, was so fascinated by the eggs that she brought them to Mexico during her husband’s rule in the mid 1800’s. Originally the eggs were filled with perfumed powders. In Mexico people replaced the perfumed powder with brightly colored confetti. It was that point when Mexicans labeled the egg shells.... Cascarones... the word derives from the Spanish "Cascara" which means shell. In Mexico Cascarones were popular at one time, but the tradition eventually faded. Only in the late 1960s and early 1970s Cascarones regained popularity in South Texas. As a child in San Antonio Texas I can remember learning how to make the Cascarones in school. The Cascarones are a regular cottage industry in San Antonio from Easter to Fiesta time. I have seen very artistic creations which look like animals & popular cartoon characters. They are usually sold by the dozens however the more creative the Cascarones the higher the individual price. To make your own Cascarones prick a hole in one end of the egg & blow the yolk/white out of the egg through a larger hole in the other end. Once the egg is removed from the shell wash & dry the shell fill with confetti & seal the end with tissue paper. It is believed that the Easter Cascarones represent the Resurrection of Jesus & breaking the egg symbolizes Christ rising from the tomb. Also who ever receives a shower of confetti on the head will have good luck & fortune. So be not offended when you are showered with this goodness, someone is just showing you some love & sharing the luck! This year we did not make our own as I bought Cascarones pre-made & so we enjoyed hand dying Easter eggs along with our showers of confetti & Easter goodies!
Our recent meal of Ancho Enchiladas reminded me of a recipe I had years ago I had long since lost for Pork Enchiladas with Ancho sauce. I am still working on recreating that exact recipe but found this Vegetarian version of Ancho Enchiladas very nice, especially with the addition of the crumbled fresh Panela Queso.
For the recipe for those adorable Bunny Cakes check here:
Cottage industry?? Nope, just a little father/daughter egg dying hilarity & artistic creativity!
Ancho Veggie Enchiladas
1 Red Sauce recipe
1 Red Bell Pepper, sliced
1 yellow Bell Pepper, sliced
2 Zucchini, sliced
1 12 oz. Panela Fresca Queso, crumbled
10 White Corn Tortillas, softened
Saute Bell Peppers & Zucchini slices in 1 Tbsp. Olive Oil till vegetables are slightly tender while still crisp. Ladle 1/4 cup of Red Sauce over bottom of greased 9 X 13 dish. Soften Corn Tortillas & fold veggie strips into the enchiladas, layer Panela crumbles into the Tortillas. Layer the Enchiladas evenly over the sauce in the bottom of the pan. Pour Red Sauce over the enchiladas, top with remaining Panela crumbles. Bake @ 350* for 20-25 min. or till cheese starts to look slightly toasted & sauce is bubbly. Serve immediately.
Red Chili Sauce
8 oz Dried Ancho Chilis,
1 quart of water
14 oz. can of Roma Tomatoes
1 Chili Chipolte, stem removed + 1 tsp of Adobo liquid*
1 small Yellow Onion, roasted under broiler or on a Comal
5 cloves Garlic, roasted briefly, peeled & finely chopped
1 Tbsp. Mexican oregano (if using fresh only 1 tsp.)
1 tsp. ground Cumin
1 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
Remove stems & seeds from Adobos (seeds which do not remove easily will fall away once the chilis are cooked in the water.) Dry roast the Chilis Anchos for 3 to 4 minutes. Do not burn. Add to 1 quart of boiling water simmer for 10 minutes. Remove once the chilis are re-hydrated. Cool then remove rest of seeds & set aside. Reserve liquid for blending process. Roughly chop the Chilis Adobos, place in blender or food processor, to this add the Roma Tomatoes, 1 canned Chili Chipolte, 1 tsp. Adobo liquid the chilis are packed in, sugar, cumin, diced onion, garlic, oregano. Blend slowly by pulsing the blender or food processor. To this liquid I add the reserved water I simmered my Anchos in 1 Tbsp at a time. I like my sauce to be the thickness of catsup & not as thin as some of the store bought enchilada sauces. You might want a thinner sauce. It is your choice. This yields aprox 2 3/4 cups of Red Chili Sauce. Any extra sauce I have freezes well to use another day. **As with any of my more spicy recipes, this can be made with less heat, omit the chipolte if needed.