Wednesday, October 31, 2012

It's that time of year again...the time for...


Here's your first clue:  It's purple.

Here's your second clue: It's not a dinosaur.

Here's your third clue: I went to the market today.  The basket was so heavy I nearly got hit by cars several times on the way home.

Ladies & Gentlemen, may I now present...the cast of Colada Morada 2012!!!!!!


[applause, applause]
This is Black Corn Flour, the star of the show.  Miss Flour's personality is perfect for the role: poised and subtle in demeanor until, out of the blue, she stuns you with a breathtaking moment of pure brilliance.  Everyone agrees that she imbues any production with a rich color that would otherwise be lacking.  We eagerly await her performance.

Señorita Naranjilla hails from the exotic tropics.  She's a feisty one; she and the director suffered some creative differences, leading to a number of public arguments, broken nails, and hurled stiletto heels.  Now that she's mastered the basics of anger management, Srta. Naranjilla adds some much needed zest to the ensemble.
The perfect counterbalance to Srta. Naranjilla, Señor Panela is all sweetness.  Rumor has it that the ring is bought and the only question is when he will pop The Question.

Piña is a funky dude who doesn't let his hair get in the way of his work: he is 100% dedicated and will throw his entire self, from the skin to the core, into any professional endeavor.



Herbs and Spices are the rival factions of supporting roles in this production.  The constant petty antogonizing between the two groups will make you feel like you're back in high school.  When threatened by a common enemy, however, Herbs and Spices are the first to agree that, in this play, There are no small parts, only small actors -- and then forget about the common enemy and turn to look accusingly at each other.

It's no secret that Mr. Mortiño feels somewhat out of his element among this cast of highly skilled, highly experienced actors.  He is content to play his part with emphasis and meaning, ever serious and always seeking to serve his fellow castmates out of a strict sense of duty.  People tend to wonder whether he ever goes out and has fun.

Miss Mamey plays the unassuming matron who's got more than one surprise up her sleeve, and she fits her character to a tee.

The first of several redheads to join the cast, Señorita Frutilla is a down-home country girl, but she's not without her quirks.  (Tell me, do you know of any other fruit whose seeds are on the outside?)

Señorita Ciruela lives up to the stereotype: yes, she's got a taste for sass, but she's also got a heart of gold.

Doña Mora, the reigning redhead of the bunch, practically oozes emotion and evokes strong responses from every audience.  An experienced and versatile performer, she commands respect in any role.

So that's that. Basically what you do is boil a bunch of stuff in one pot, and a bunch of other stuff in another pot. 

Herbs and Spices come into play here, Spices being cinnamon; cloves; and allspice, and Herbs being the things on the left, only two of which I can positively identify (citronella and orange leaves).  Of the other two, one smells lemony, and one is, I am fairly certain, colloquially called a "monkey tail."

Thank you for your interest in herbology, and yes, there will be a test.

So after you've boiled your monkey tails, &tc.; and boiled your berries; and strained both mixtures separately, this is what you've got:

A bowl of pineapple-sugar-spice-and-herbs water, a bowl of berries, and the pièce de résistance: the black corn flour.  Watch the transformation when we take a bit of the mulled spice liquid and mix it with the flour..., voilà: jewel tone purple.  This is where colada morada (purple colada) gets its name.  Colada morada is a traditional Ecuadorian drink consumed on the Day of the Dead (November 2).  In the week or so leading up to the actual day, you can find it sold on the streets and in restaurants, or even from family owned shops and private homes, and if you go to the market you'll see sacks of black corn flour, piles of ciruelas, bricks of panela, little bags of mortiños, rows of mamey, and bundles of herbs every which way you look.

To finish brewing our colada, we throw everything together into a pot and then add in whatever fruit hasn't already been boiled. This includes more pineapple, as well as the ciruelas, which are a type of plum.

It also includes the mamey.

I'd never cut one of these open before, but if you've ever cut a mango, then you know what it's like, what with trying to navigate around the pit.

Only the mamey has not one...not two...but three separate egg-sized pits.  Oh, joy.
Throw it all in the pot, let it simmer, and give it a stir.
You've got yourself some colada morada.

Happy Halloween!!!

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