Artisans from San Cristóbal de las Casas hand roll these glorious candles, available in the market. The flowers as well as the candles themselves are made of wax. They're almost impossible to transport. The last time Mexico Cooks! tried to bring some home to Michoacán, all of the flowers broke in transit despite their packing materials.
When I saw this tray of pastries in the market, I stopped dead in my tracks. Could they be cream puffs, here at the indigenous market? Indeed they were. Called mocas, these delicacies are prepared exactly as cream puffs are and are filled with a custard similar to creme patissiere. The little cups with pink spoons contain just the custard, with a raisin on top.
Called xuti, shuti, or zoque, these large (2-3" long) freshwater snails come to market in San Cristóbal de las Casas during the first few weeks of Lent. They're purged and prepared as caldo de xuti (snail soup), seasoned during cooking with tomato, onion, garlic, and hoja santa.
Flores de Colorín en Pipián
1/2 pound pumpkin seeds
3 chiles anchos
1/2 pound flores de colorín
Sea salt to taste
1 stem epazote
Over a low fire, toast the pumpkin seeds hull and all. Remove the seeds and grind with the chiles until the mixture is like a paste.
Remove any seeds from the colorín flowers and bring them to a boil in enough water to cover. Allow them to boil until the flowers are cooked. Take them off the heat.
Heat the water again with a pinch of sea salt and add the flowers. Incorporate the pumpkin seed/chile mixture until it is the consistency of a soup. Allow the soup to rest for a bit so the flavors can marry. Add sea salt to taste and flavor with the epazote.