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Nancy in Pátzcuaro

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  1. A Small NYC Kitchen Reno 2017

    I don't think you can over-oil a board, especially if you live in a dry climate. We brought a 3 x 5 Boos countertop for an island counter in our kitchen when we moved down here, and I find I have to oil it frequently during the dry season. Of course I use it as a big cutting board and prep area which beats it up a little bit, so I keep a bottle of mineral oil around for touch ups. And when we go away for a day or 2 we oil it heavily before we leave. I think you'll find that you'll need to oil it periodically to keep it looking as beautiful as it does now. It is a gorgeous hunk of wood, isn't it? And my sympathies for your remodeling woes. There's nothing quite so disheartening as looking at the mess of tools and materials lying around your kitchen. You're fortunate to have access to another apartment while yours is in ruins. Fingers crossed that you'll be finished enough by the end of the year to move back in. Nancy in Pátzcuaro
  2. The Soup Topic (2013–)

    Where have I been? I've just read the entire thread and realized that I'd missed it completely. I rarely use a recipe for soup--just look in the fridge to see what's there and wing it. But I do have a wonderful recipe for a tomato red lentil soup that can raise the dead, or at least cure the unwell. I cut this out of a cooking magazine a zillion years ago so I can't give an attribution, but here it is-- Spicy Tomato Soup 1-3/4 pounds ripe tomatoes or 28 oz. can of crushed tomatoes 2 Tbs. vegetable oil 1 tsp. mustard seeds 1 medium onion, finely chopped 1 tsp. ground cumin 1/2 tsp. ground coriander 1/4 tsp. turmeric 2 dried red chiles 3/4 c. red lentils 6 c. water kosher salt to taste Peel and mince the tomatoes (or open the can). Heat the oil in a medium saucepan and add the mustard seeds. Cover and cook over high heat until they begin to pop and then reduce the heat to low. When the popping stops add the onion and cook, uncovered, until softened. Add the cumin, coriander, tumeric and chiles and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about one minute. Stir in the red lentils, tomatoes and water, add salt, and bring to a boil. Simmer over low heat until the lentils are falling apart, 45 minutes to an hour. 6 servings. I can vouch for the restorative qualities of this soup, especially with a sour tummy. It has an Indian subcontinent tone so I suspect it came from that part of the world. By the way, I've been reducing my stock to the "jelly" stage so that I can freeze it in ice cube trays and pop the cubes into a ziplock bag. Why should I freeze all that water when I can add it later when I make soup? I essentially make frozen bouillon cubes. Saves a lot of space in the freezer, which is always at a premium. One cube makes about a cup of strong stock. I have a new supply from the Thanksgiving turkeys and that should last me until next Thanksgiving. I save chicken bones in the freezer but generally use fresh vegetables--what I call The Usual Suspects, carrots, celery and onion, garlic, thyme and bay leaf--to make a pot of stock in between turkeys. Nancy in Pátzcuaro
  3. Looking for Breadmachine recipes

    I've relied for many years on "Rustic European Breads from Your Bread Machine," by Linda West Eckhardt and Diana Collingwood Butts (1995). Most of the recipes use the bread machine to mix and knead the bread and then you take it out to form it as you want. Wonderful recipes of all types, including an extensive chapter on sweet and holiday breads. There's a spiffy recipe for rye bread that I like very much. I'll bet you can find the book on Amazon. Nancy in Pátzcuaro
  4. Scratch Guacamole - Labor Intensive

    Here's another option: Last night as we were returning from a concert in Morelia we stopped for gas across the highway from what we'd heard was an avocado packing facility. While chatting with the guy pumping gas we learned that it will produce canned avocado puree. I'm assuming this won't be the chunky style most of us prefer for guacamole, but evidently this produces a product that is shelf stable and available all year when avocado production is in one of its low cycles. I don't know if this appeals to you, but it's an option. Clearly there's automation involved--I can't really see hundreds of people with knives and spoons processing tons of avocados, despite labor being pretty inexpensive around here. The facility is huge--easily twice as long as a football field and equally wide. We've watched it being built for the past couple of years. The first clue that something important was being built was the massive stone wall around it and the secure entry system in front. I also have a nifty avocado ice cream recipe that is dairy free and vegan, and stupid easy to make, if you want add it to your menu. The puree would be ideal for this. Nancy in Pátzcuaro (in the middle of avocado production in Michoacán)
  5. Scratch Guacamole - Labor Intensive

    There's a restaurant in Zihuatanejo that prepares salsa at the table, and one can specify how spicy it will be, what other ingredients other than tomato and chile, etc. It's always a hit. The wait staff gets a chance to show off a little, make it a bit of a performance, and get a bigger tip as a result. The Zihua restaurant has a young woman whose only job is to make the salsa, so you might consider dedicating one person for the guacamole. Nancy in Pátzcuaro
  6. Scratch Guacamole - Labor Intensive

    I don't know if there's any way to make as much guacamole that you do and still produce it quickly without just dumping it in a blender. If you make it in a molcajete and take it to the table that way it could be a selling point. It's compelling to have someone mash avocados for your own personal guacamole--I'm sure your customers would love it. But if you're using 70+ avocados every day I don't think you'd have enough molcajetes to go around. This is not a problem that most of us have. Nancy in Pátzcuaro
  7. Lasagna Wars

    For me it's the CI lasagne bolonese. No spinach, no ricotta, no mushrooms (alas), no mozzarella--just a good bolognese sauce, no boil noodles, bechamel and parmesan. Classic, a little boring, but always wonderful. Nancy in Pátzcuaro
  8. All Things Mushroom

    Has anyone figured out how to judge when to go out in search of mushrooms? In Colorado the season is late summer into the fall, but the real question is whether they flush after a soaking rain, and if so, how long after the rain? After a heavy snow year to saturate the ground, with occasional rain to keep it moist? It's the hardest part about mushrooming--when to start looking. Nothing quite so disappointing as finding lots of porcini that are flabby and wormy because we should have been out there a couple of days earlier. I suppose mycologists have their theories. By the way, did you see the story in the food section of the New York Times about amanita muscaria? I thought it made a relatively poisonous mushroom sound a little too attractive to neophytes. Plus the author said that they can be mistaken for other members of the family, like Destroying Angel (amanita virosa), which is nonsense. Amanita virosa is an elegant white mushroom--amanita muscaria is chunky and crude in comparison, with what we call cottage cheese all over the red cap. Nothing else looks like that. However our experience is that porcini grow in the same places as the amanita muscaria, so when we find a patch we look closely for porcini. So they're not entirely useless! Nancy in Pátzcuaro
  9. Apples and Pesticides

    Here in México we use Microdyne, which is colloidal silver. I'm definitely trying the baking soda wash, though I don't know how to evaluate how well it works without a lab test. If anyone has any information about the effectiveness of Microdyne vs. baking soda, I'd like to hear about it. Nancy in Pátzcuaro
  10. Thanksgiving Side Dishes

    I don't have a specific recipe--it's different every time. Constants are shredded red cabbage, slivered red onion, a little garlic, a generous amount of red wine, cooked slowly for as long as it takes to get soft and jammy. I've added grated nutmeg, vanilla, dried cherries or cranberries, orange juice, a pinch of cinnamon, a little honey if it seems too tart--not all at the same time, of course. My German grandmother was famous for her sweet and sour red cabbage, so sometimes as an homage I've stirred in a little vinegar and brown sugar. But I much prefer it on the savory side. Salt and pepper, of course. I like the idea of apple juice too--gives it a nice fruit overtone. Allspice--hmm--gotta try that this TG. Nancy in Pátzcuaro
  11. Thanksgiving Side Dishes

    Braised red cabbage Cauliflower gratin Creamed spinach Glazed carrots Roasted root vegetables Corn pudding I'm sure I'll think of more--but this will start the conversation. Nancy in Pátzcuaro
  12. All Things Mushroom

    When I cook chanterelles I put them in a dry pan at fairly high heat. Liquid comes out in great quantity, and I cook them until the moisture is pulled back into the mushroom. No fat, no salt, no herbs--at least before I use them in the final dish. This is how I prepare them for freezing. Nancy in Pátzcuaro
  13. All Things Mushroom

    We've been foraging for mushrooms in Colorado for years; long ago we decided that we didn't need to know every mushroom in the forest, just the ones we want to eat. Those are boletus edulis (porcini), chanterelles, oyster, and one or 2 other minor species. However when we went out to restock our supply 2 summers ago we found that drought and insect infestations had destroyed the entire habitat. Miles and miles of dead coniferous trees meant that there was too much sun and not enough water. I'm still working through our stash of porcini (they are best dried and reconstituted, IMO) and frozen chanterelles. I have no idea if the habitat will recover in our lifetimes. Sad, but "así es la vida." I've been led to believe that morels grow best on ground that has burned in the past, so there might be at least something good coming out of the horrible fires in California this summer. As far as I'm concerned, chanterelles and bacon were made for each other. Jane Grigson has a wonderful recipe for chanterelles, bacon and potatoes, and my husband especially loves risotto with bacon and chanterelles. We don't have a story to compare with the long underwear, but some years ago we did come upon a massive quantity of perfect boletus edulis at the entrance to the Wheeler Geologic Area in SW Colorado near Creede. In those days (I don't know if it's still true) you had a 7-mile hike in to the entrance and then another 7 miles out again because the jeep road was often impassable. We always carried old 5-pound onion sacks in our packs in case we came upon mushrooms, so we harvested a lot--and I mean a LOT--of mushrooms that we had to haul 7 miles to the car. We put as much in our packs as possible and then carried the remainder in onion bags. (This is what's known as "mushroom greed.") Unfortunately the sky looked ominous so we started back before we could really do justice to the quantity of mushrooms available. As the sky got darker and darker we started walking faster and faster across the huge open meadow between the Wheeler and the car, to the point that we were jogging at the end. We made it without further incident, and later found that we'd harvested over 30 pounds. It's rare to come upon an area with that many prime mushrooms that have just flushed a day or 2 before and weren't full of worms, probably caused by cattle grazing. No cattle in the Wheeler, however. This story makes me want to get out in the forest. We have some good ones that show up in the mercado, and we've harvested some agaricus species here that are much better than the button mushrooms you buy in the grocery store, but no porcini or chanterelles yet. Maybe we can train our new puppy? Nancy in Pátzcuaro
  14. Worst Halloween candy

    And now for something completely different (and disgusting). This showed up in my inbox this morning-- http://www.coastalliving.com/food/entertaining/halloween-candy-wine-pairings You'll be happy to know that Prosecco is the wine of choice with candy corn. Don't say I didn't warn you! Nancy in Pátzcuaro
  15. Worst Halloween candy

    Sorry to have wandered off into the weeds-- The question was--worst Halloween candy. I've already admitted that as a child I craved candy corn, but of the other choices it would have to be anonymous hard candies or very old (dry) caramels. Tooth breakers, all of them. OK--what do you all hand out at Halloween? I think we've established that candy corn is the winner in the "Worst Candy" division, with Tootsie Rolls a distant second. I admit to being ignorant of current candy choices, so what other horrible options are left that we haven't identified? Nancy in Patzcuaro .