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Nancy in Pátzcuaro

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  1. I like the Satchel Paige quote: "How old would you be if you didn't know how old you are?" It's the kind of question you should ask yourself every year, on your birthday. (Though I have a friend who says that she has a "birthmonth" which means she gets to celebrate all month. Sounds good to me!)
  2. I second the recommendation to plant a dwarf lemon in a large pot. We have a mandarina that has produced dozens of fruits on a plant less than 5 feet tall. Another advantage is that you can put the pot anywhere you want, in full sun, once you get it where you want (they're too heavy to move around). Be careful not to overwater--we killed a lemon that way.
  3. That's going to move to the top of my list of future baking projects. Thanks--sounds downright yummy.
  4. Aw--you're killin' me! We haven't experienced "mushroom greed" in a long time, when you pick more than you have time or energy to process. It's so much fun, going around with your knife and basket, but then when you get home you're confronted with the results of your excess! It's a great thing to experience, isn't it? We haven't had success in Colorado lately (and this year we didn't go north at all) that we've had in the past. All our favorite foraging places have suffered from drought, and a dead forest isn't the best place to look for mushrooms. I still have half a gallon jar of
  5. As to grocery chains, I grew up with King Soopers (Kroger) and Safeway. Albertsons was a distant third, mostly because the store was in a different part of town that I didn't often get to. Lucky's Markets, which originated in Boulder (CO), had at one time almost 80 stores, but as is so common in business they expanded too aggressively and in the past year or so have had to declare bankruptcy and close most of their stores. I think the only 2 left in Colorado are the north Boulder store and the one in Fort Collins. Too bad, because they had an amazing deli department, and made some of the best
  6. I'm late to this rodeo, but I wanted to comment about Andie's post describing the sweet potato ("camote" in Spanish) vendor's technique of spearing a camote, dusting it with sugar and then toasting it to melt the sugar. Sounds yummy. I have heard camote vendors all over México--I say "heard" because they use a small wagon with a wood fire roasting the camotes, which produces steam that he uses to announce his presence. There's a whistle on the chimney and when he gets to a neighborhood he opens a valve to activate the whistle. You can hear it for blocks! There is even a scene in "Roma" of a gu
  7. We have a very old Revere Ware kettle--I can't remember when I first got it as a present from my mom. I think it was when I first set up house for myself in the mid-70s--that's how old it is. Still whistles like a steam engine. Not as sexy as some kettles (if a kettle could be sexy) but gets the job done. It sits unobtrusively on the stove, unnoticed until needed.
  8. The secret to good tamales is to whip the masa until it's light and fluffy to avoid gummy-ness, and to use a light touch with the baking powder if you use it. Our neighbor makes quite good tamales every Saturday, which means I'm less likely to make them myself. I imagine most Mexican housewives have access to at least hand mixers, though perhaps those who make 100s at a time use a stand mixer. But it still takes a goodly amount of time to get it right even with mechanical assistance. In February, when we were in Oaxaca for a 5-day hiking trip from village to village, we visited a f
  9. My husband's all-time favorite tomato is Prudens Purple, but he admits he also likes Gold Medal almost as much. In the Colorado mountains we were restricted to short-season varieties, so while one year I successfully grew Prudens, the following years were not as good. And here because I grow tomatoes in pots to shelter them from the rains, I can't grow anything that large. Sigh. Right now I have 4 tomatoes in process--Siberian (not to be confused with the old tasteless variety Siberia), Juliette (a small roma type), Very Large Cherry (from Seed Savers) and an unnamed slicing tomato called "bol
  10. For as long as I can remember, Wednesday was always the day that the local newspaper produced a special section of grocery store ads. Websites like the New York Times and Washington Post post recipes and restaurant reviews on Wednesday. My question is--what's so special about Wednesday? When (and where) did this tradition begin?
  11. I was going to say Jackfruit, based on the texture. I'm not a fan, ever since our gardener on the coast brought us a big one. It's really really sticky when you take it apart--I told my husband I felt as if I had rendered a pig (it was that big). Oil takes the stickiness off your hands and tools. We didn't really like it after all that trouble. I understand it's a meat substitute these days.
  12. How about mincing the carrot tops too? Nice flavor. Actually a lot of vegetable tops are underutilized, like beet greens, but you only get them if you buy from farmers markets. And if they're not fresh--ick.
  13. Ah--that's the name of the butterfly who lays eggs on our vine. Not being a butterfly expert I didn't know the name. The resulting wormy thing has a big appetite for the leaves. Fortunately there are enough leaves to go around. I especially like to watch the bees as they gather pollen. They have to go up into the flower and get covered with the pollen, and then hover in air while they scrape it off their bodies onto the pollen baskets on their legs. Then they go back for more. One of nature's finer moments. Pollen is baby bee food but nectar makes honey.
  14. You can make passion fruit pulp to freeze to use in recipes. Scoop out the seeds and the gel around them and bump them around in the blender until the pulp separates from the seeds. Strain out the seeds and put in a container for the freezer. You can get a surprising amount of pulp from a modest amount of fruit. Creme brulee, anyone? Personally we just like to eat them, seeds and all. A friend can eat her body weight (a slight exaggeration) in passion fruit. Good thing we have a vine!
  15. How did it taste? Did you like it, or is it a "novelty" recipe that sounds interesting but ultimately disappoints?
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