Angelica Guzman is a farmer entrepreneur. Not only is she a great cook. She works the fields to raise crops — garlic, squash, corn, beans — that feed minions. Plus, she houses Mexican students who come to a Tlacochahuaya bilingual university for teacher preparation.
After our morning with her son Moises Garcia Guzman at the Tlacochahuaya church, we walk to the house in the fields where Angelica prepares comida (lunch) for us. Moises reminds me that water is scarce. It is summer, the rainy season. The milpas is planted, but there has been little rain. In some fields, yellowing corn stalks, like flags, wave in the breeze. Federal permits to dig a well are expensive. The government believes crops are thirstier than people.
At Angelica’s Casa del Campo there is a well and the corn stalks are young summer green. The cobs will mature for November harvest to feed people and animals.
Moises explains that the organic corn planted in this valley adapts to weather conditions. The grain may not be as big if there is not much rain, but there will still be a crop. Not like genetically modified grain which depends on commercial fertilizer and large-scale sophisticated irrigation systems a la Monsanto which the valley farmers resist.
Comida is the biggest meal of the day, usually taken between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. in the afternoon. Today, our menu is a traditional Oaxaca repast.
First, the horchata, adorned with walnuts, cubes of cantalope melon, and tuna (the red fruit of the nopal cactus).
Then, a botano (snack) of fresh off-the-comal corn tortillas that we fill with chapulines. Click on chapulines to see what we are eating!
Next comes the quesadillas al comal stuffed with squash blossoms and quesillo.
If that wasn’t enough, Angelica brings us platters of grilled tasajo — thin-sliced, seasoned and grilled beef, and beef chorizo.
And, then, the dish from the campo that all Oaxacans love — Sopa de Guias (gee-ahs). Sopa de Guias, sometimes called squash vine soup, is a vegetable stew of squash, squash blossoms, the tender new green shoots of squash before it fruits, and the squash plant greens, with an ear of corn cooked in the broth. It is delicious.
It was all I could do to waddle after giving thanks and saying goodbye late in the afternoon. Eating and visiting in Oaxaca is an all-day affair.
Higadito, Oaxaca Scrambled Egg Soup — Vegetarian Recipe
A traditional fiesta breakfast dish here in Oaxaca, Mexico is called Higadito — scrambled egg soup. It is always served at banquet breakfasts for weddings, baptisms, birthday parties and any other big family celebration. On Sundays, when I go to the Tlacolula Market and have lunch at Comedor Mary, it is a staple on the menu. (If you are here for the Oaxaca Film Festival, today is market day.)
Traditionally in Oaxaca, the base is chicken soup with bits of chicken mixed into the scrambled egg. It is flavored with salt, chiles, onion and garlic.
Sound familiar? A variation of egg drop soup, perhaps.
Last week I was having breakfast with my friend Janet at Boulanc, the European-style bakery on Calle Porfirio Diaz (between Morelos and Matamoros), when a woman from the campo walked in carrying a big bag of wild mushrooms, offering them for sale.
The wild mushrooms here are called hongos and are different from cultivated mushrooms, called champiñones. The bag she was carrying was huge and she was selling a pint size container for 20 pesos, three for 50 pesos. At the current exchange rate 50 pesos equals about $3 USD. (It’s a very good time to visit Mexico!) So, I loaded up with the idea I’d figure out what to do with them. And, I did.
Vegetarian Wild Mushroom-Garbanzo Scrambled Egg Soup
Optional: I had a lot of matzo leftover from Passover, so I crumbled one whole cracker into the soup to thicken it. Mexican-Jewish Food Fusion. You could use crispy tortillas, too. Do you know about restaurant Toloache?
Enjoy! Buen provecho!
Wild Blue Hongos from Estado de Mexico
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Posted in Cultural Commentary, Food & Recipes
Tagged cook, food, Mexico, Oaxaca, recipes, scrambled egg, Soup, vegetarian, wild mushroom