Tomatoes were first found growing as a wild plant in South America in the Andes Mountains in what are today the countries of Peru, Ecuador, Bolivia and Chile. 700 AD: Aztec Farmers in what is today Mexico cultivated the wild plant, selecting for tasty and juicy fruits Early 1500’s: Spanish Conquistadors were first introduced to the tomato and introduced the fruit to The Phillipines (Southeast Asia) The Carribean, and Europe. 1692: The first known tomato recipe was published in a cookbook in Naples, Italy. At this time, eating tomatoes had caught on in France, Spain and Italy. When tomatoes introduced in Europe, they were believed to be poisonous because some people got sick from eating off of first plates.
The history of Salsa sauce originated with the Inca people. Salsa can be traced to the Aztecs, Mayans and Incas. The Spaniards first encountered tomatoes after their conquest of Mexico in 1519-1521, which marked the beginning of the history of Salsa sauce. Aztec lords combined tomatoes with chili peppers, ground squash seeds and consumed them mainly as a condiment served on turkey, venison, lobster, and fish. This combination was subsequently called salsa by Alonso de Molina in 1571.
SALSA MEXICANA: 3 ripe tomatoes, chopped; 1/2 cup chopped onion; 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped; 4 to 6 chiles verdes (chile serrano), finely chopped; 2 teaspoons salt; 2 teaspoons lemon juice. Mix well all ingredients in a serving dish (called salsera). Salt to taste. You can, of course, make your salsa as hot as you want, by adjusting the amount of chile serrano you use.
MOLE POBLANO DE GUAJOLOTE They say this legendary recipe was created in Puebla in the 7 th Century by two nuns surprised by a visitor. They had little in the way of food and so they used a molcajete to grind every ingredient they could find and simmered it in liquid until it thickened into a sauce. The original sauce used nearly 100 ingredients. Today, mole is still the classic celebration meal, present at weddings, birthdays, baptisms and other fiestas.
Mole Salsa: 1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp cooking oil 12 guajillo chiles (deveined) 3 red tomatoes 1 onion, chopped 10 garlic cloves 1/4 cup almonds, peeled 1/4 cup peanuts, peeled 8 cloves 4 grains black pepper 1 twig cinnamon 1/2 tsp anise seeds 1/4 cup raisins 1tsp sugarless confectionery cocoa (bitter chocolate) 1 tbsp sugar 2 tbsp salt, or to your liking 1/2 cup sesame seeds 4 cups chicken broth
To make the mole sauce, heat 2 tbsp oil in a heavy skillet, add the chiles and sauté for a couple of minutes. Then put the chiles in a bowl with hot water and let them stand for half an hour. Drain the chiles and grind them with your metate. Set aside, reserving the remaining oil in the skillet. Roast chiles chipotle and tomatoes in a heavy skillet. Peel tomatoes and pureé them with the chipotles. Reserve. In the same oil you used for the chiles, sauté garlic and onion until translucent, remove from the oil and make a pureé out of them. Sauté the almonds in the same oil for five minutes. Add peanuts, cloves, pepper, cinnamon and anise seeds, and sauté three more minutes. Grind this mixture along with the raisins. Heat over high heat, 1/2 cup of cooking oil in a big casserole. Add all ground and pureéd ingredients and cook for five minutes, stirring constantly. Mix in the grated chocolate and sugar, stirring constantly. When the mixture boils, pour in 4 cups of chicken broth. Cover and keep cooking over slow heat for 20 minutes. Add salt; check seasoning. If the sauce is too thick, add a little more broth. Add pieces of shredded chicken cover and cook over medium heat for another ten minutes. Meanwhile, roast the sesame seeds until golden. Serve the mole with sesame seeds sprinkled all over it. You may accompany it if you wish with Mexican rice and refried beans, and, of course, tortillas.
At the beginning of your fiesta, you can arrange a table with serving plates offering avocado cut into slices, sliced white fresh cheese (called queso fresco), tortillas kept warm in a tortillero, and the salsa; small individual dishes and napkins. Let your guests prepare their own tacos.