I recently ran across a great blog that combines the best of two worlds: food and books. I’ve previously participated in the Novel Food challenge on Simona Carini’s beautiful blog, and was very excited to find Cook the Books Foodie Book Club. The book chosen for August and September was F.G. Hachenbeck’s The Secret Book of Frida Kahlo. This is a slightly odd book that fictionalizes Frida Kahlo’s life in context of a little recipe book that Kahlo might have kept. Recipes are sprinkled throughout the book, and then there are a few of made-for-modern-taste versions of those recipes in the back.
I was especially excited to see a book about Frida Kahlo as the focus of this blog adventure. I have been a Frida fan for a long time now – and funny enough, my first really significant encounter with her art is also tied to a food memory. When I was in my late twenties, I took off for a road adventure by myself. I was newly single and trying to find my way. That way led to a road trip to Portland, OR and then all the way up Highway 101 to Tacoma and into Seattle. I stayed at the Edgewater hotel in Seattle and walked everywhere, including the Seattle Art Museum, which was having a spectacular exhibit of both Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera’s work. I was transported by Kahlo’s paintings – in life, they are even more stunning than in photos. After spending hours wandering through the exhibit, I went across the street and stumbled into a Vietnamese restaurant and ate Pho for the first time. Different cultures, different foods, different times, but for me, soup and Kahlo are inexorably linked in my memory because of that trip.
I’ve read other books about Kahlo, but I will say I enjoyed this venture into magical realism. Like Kahlo’s paintings, the book merges the real with the surreal and takes us to the very personal relationship that Kahlo had with death. And with food, of course. This book is filled with rich description of food and the rich relationship that the characters have with food. I doubt the truth of some of the book, but do like the thought that Frida Kahlo had such a rich life full of so many interesting people coming and going.
My book is now very sticky-noted with all the possible recipes I may yet try to adapt. For this particular blog post though, I decided to go with Posole, largely because it hits that note of comfort food that rings for me when I think of my encounter with Kahlo’s paintings.
Not so long ago, I ran across directions for making hominy through nixtamalization – the process of turning maize into hominy. I think it may be something I try someday (this is a farm fantasy moment – that day when I can grow my own maize, have chickens and goats, and so on). For now, I’m sticking with buying hominy in the store. I advise using dried white corn posole.
This adds a step (the white corn posole needs to be soaked overnight), but also gives the soup a better flavor than canned hominy. I’ve added a few more ingredients than what is called for in the book and have also gone with a pork loin roast (rather than a pork head or other parts, as advised in the book). This is a great Sunday Supper meal, as it can be tossed in the crockpot in the morning and can cook all day. It also makes a good freezer meal.
Here’s a picture of the pork loin all rubbed in spices:
And then the end result, seven hours later. This is definitely a soup that will be added into our winter crockpot meal rotation.
White corn posole, soaked overnight
1 chopped onion
2 roasted Anaheim peppers, peeled and deseeded
1 can diced tomatoes (15 ounces)
4 cups chicken broth (or 2 cups chicken broth and 2 cups water)
Pork Loin roast – between 1 and 2 pounds
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon coriander
1 teaspoon oregano or Italian seasonings
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon smoked paprika
½ teaspoon ancho chili powder
Combine the seasonings and rub on the pork loin roast. Add any remaining seasonings, the pork loin roast, and all other ingredients in a crock pot and cook on low for 6 to 7 hours or until the pork can be easily shredded with a fork.
Serve with wedges of lime, chopped up cilantro, and sliced avocado. Enjoy!