A passion for food + fashion

Meet Mortimer

In Food on May 19, 2009 at 7:04 am

molcajete

What you see before you is Mortimer the Pig, aka our beloved molcajete—a Mexican mortar and pestle made from volcanic rock—that we received as a wedding present. Mortimer was billed as being pre-seasoned, but as of this writing, shamefully I have yet to put that to the test even though we’ve had him for going on two years now.

So picture this scene. On Sunday I run into Carolynn Carreño (a vicious competitor in our upcoming Guac Off), and she’s deep in conversation with my very favorite Mexican chef, Jimmy Shaw (chef/owner of Loteria Grill). What do you think they’re talking about? GUACAMOLE. I’m not even kidding. I had to shut it down right there on the spot. Carolynn later confessed that she was asking Jimmy about seasoning her molcajete. She has one like mine (sans snout) and believed hers was also pre-seasoned, only to make a test batch of guac laden with grit. And so, even though Carolynn is fierce, she is also a friend and was kind enough to share Jimmy’s advice for seasoning. First, rinse your molcajete and tejolote in water and allow to dry. Then put a couple scoops of rice rock salt and grind to a fine powder, using short, downward motions and not continuously around the side. [Note: I misunderstood: Jimmy recommends rock salt, but Carolynn has had several others tell her rice so why not try both?]

molcajetericerice

Do this every day for an eternity. Apparently it will take years to get this thing glassy smooth, and the oils and acids used in making salsas and guacamole help in the process over time, but in the countdown to Guac Off, we’ll be seasoning Mortimer daily to get him in fighting shape.

BREAKING NEWS: Meanwhile, to find out what Carolynn and her molcajete are up to, click HERE.

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  1. I am perfecting the simplicity of my guac, but continue to get sand in every batch. Fewer granules each time. But still. One grain is all it takes to turn the judges against….

    Jimmy recommends rock salt. I got the rice idea someplace else. THe rice takes longer to break down, so I feel it must be more effective. I got in a fight-ish with the guy at Sur La Table over the phone last night over the exact meaning of “pre-seasoned.”

  2. I seasoned my molcajete with rice as soon as I got it but didn’t realize I had to keep seasoning!! Thanks for the tip! Someone mentioned that I should season with oil and put in the oven but I got the impression that she perhaps confused the process for seasoning a cast iron pot…Any thoughts?

    • Gabs—I seriously don’t know about putting it in the oven. I’m guessing yours is made out of volcanic rock as well? I mean – volcanic sorta says to me that it can withstand the heat of the oven so why not give it a go? Question: does your molcajete still give off grit? Maybe you’ve already seasoned it sufficiently. I’m jealous.

  3. I am going to ask my sister and my uncle. It’s always good to have at least one Mexican in the family. Will keep you posted.

  4. Well here’s the deal, I have two molcajete’s, one which i got from my cooking teacher in Mexico and the other from a crafts fair. Surprise , surprise the crafts fair molcajete still gives off grit which is why it’s become a decorative centerpiece whereas the Mexican one doesn’t and still holds a place in my heart and my kitchen! Maybe I shouldn’t mess around with the oven, the molcajete’s been pretty good to me so far…

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