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Nancy in Pátzcuaro

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  1. Cooking while Primitive Camping

    I don't know why I didn't think of this before, but foil packets would be a great option for you. They can be cooked directly over the fire on the grate, and most importantly can be made ahead and stashed in your cooler. Hint--brush the foil with oil to keep the food from sticking, and leave some head room to allow for steam. There's also a nifty cookbook--The New Camp Cookbook--that would be a good thing to have on hand. $13.91 at Amazon. I wish I'd had it when we were car camping. Now I travel with a kitchen in our small RV, but I bet I'll find new ideas in this cookbook. Check it out to see if it would be useful. I also like to make a simple cucumber salad that can be made ahead, and in fact it improves with age. Thinly slice a cucumber or 2, peeled or not, add a thinly sliced small red onion, and dress with a splash of olive oil, rice wine vinegar, salt and pepper, and sugar to taste. It can tolerate a less-than-ideally-cold cooler. Nancy in Pátzcuaro
  2. Actually that corn looks kinda menacing. Maybe it's just the photo angle-- Nancy in Pátzcuaro
  3. Cooking while Primitive Camping

    Wow--Are these state parks? That seems extreme to me, but then I've never been to NC and don't know how things work in that state. Nancy in Pátzcuaro
  4. Cooking while Primitive Camping

    Another use for the flip over that nasi goreng mentioned a couple of posts earlier is to cook fish over a fire without losing too many pieces that fall into the fire. I also recommend a stir fry basket--sorry don't know the name for either the basket or the flip over thingy--that allows you to stir fry vegetables and meat. Look for it near the grills and other tools for grilling. The one I have is square with small round holes on all sides and the bottom. A flat bottomed wok with a handle would also be useful. Take a potholder or 2--they don't weigh much and take up very little space. Use them to cushion breakables. At some point you have to edit the amount of equipment you haul around, especially when you start using walk-in sites, depending of the distance and how many trips you have to make to and from the car. The cooler alone will require a trip of its own. If you're in a state park or national forest campground the tent site may be a very short distance from the car and you can pack more gear. By the way, it's true that most government campgrounds, whether state or federal, have rules about liquor consumption. They are routinely ignored if you're quiet about it and consume your beverage in an opaque plastic cup or glass. We now use a small RV and keep the bottles inside. Just be discreet. No one will get worked up about a beer or glass of wine. Now that I've encouraged you to break the rules, I hope your future camping experiences will be as positive as this one. I think you're already getting good advice about the food. Have fun! Nancy in Pátzcuaro
  5. Using Mexican Chocolate

    Grate them on the large hole side of a box grater. That will make smaller pieces that will melt with heat. How old is this chocolate? Perhaps it's dried out and become harder than usual. Nancy in Pátzcuaro
  6. Dead Men's Finger Warning.

    These look kinda creepy. I don't think I'd be tempted to try them. Dead men's fingers indeed. Nancy in Pátzcuaro
  7. Tequila Cocktails

    Many years ago we were introduced to a cocktail called a Charro. It's essentially like a Paloma except it's made with either Coke (Charro Negro) or 7-up/Sprite (Charro Blanco). Tequila, lime juice, pinch of salt and either Coke or 7-up. Very refreshing on a hot summer day, and therefore slightly dangerous because they go down so easily. Nancy in Pátzcuaro
  8. Favorite Homemade Sauces for Pasta

    Thanks for reminding me of an uncooked tomato sauce I used to make back in the day. It's from a 1979 Food and Wine magazine--the recipe is pretty stained by now--which I just dug out of cold storage. 1-1/2 pounds ripe tomatoes (4-5 large, 8-10 Romas) 1/2 c. olive oil (these days I'd use evoo) 2 cloves garlic, peeled 1/2 c. black oil-cured olives Salt and freshly ground pepper Pinch of red hot pepper flakes or 1 sm. peperoncini, seeded and finely chopped 2-3 Tbs. fresh basil, coarsely chopped, or parsley, or dry oregano 1 pound spaghetti or vermicelli At least 2 hours before serving, seed the tomatoes by cutting horizontally and squeezing out the seeds, leaving as much moisture in the tomatoes as possible. Cut each tomato half into 4 long wedges or smaller pieces if you want a more subtle sauce. Toss the tomatoes with the olive oil in a non-reactive vessel. Slice the garlic very thin and add to the tomatoes. Pit the olives and chop coarsely and add to the tomatoes. Sprinkle on a small amount of salt and pepper and then add the dry chile flakes or peperoncini. Add the basil/parsley/oregano and toss again with a wooden spoon (?). Let stand at room temperature for at least 2 hours. Cook the pasta al dente and drain well. Toss with the tomato mixture--the dish will rapidly cool to tepid. This is a particularly nice dish for summer, taking advantage of good tomatoes and fresh basil. Serves 4-6. Of course the better and riper the tomatoes the better the final outcome. I also think it would be good with cherry/grape tomatoes, though perhaps the timing might change a little. Now I'm going to have to locate some oil-cured olives to be able to make this. I don't think it would be successful with kalamatas, which are readily available here. Nancy in Pátzcuaro
  9. Blanco, Reposado or Anejo?

    Actually, we also omit Cointreau in favor of fresh-squeezed orange juice. Partly because it gives them a lovely fresh orange flavor, and partly because I no longer drink anything with more than one kind of liquor. Additional sweetness comes from a dash of simple syrup. Fresh-squeezed lime juice (from our tree), fresh-squeezed orange juice, simple syrup, and your tequila of choice--this recipe gets raves from everyone we serve it to. It's my husband's specialty, and he doesn't give out the recipe to just anybody. I disagree with AB about reposados--we prefer blanco for its flavor of the roasted agave, both for sipping and for margaritas. We enjoy Olmeca Altos plata and include it on our "favorites" list. Plus it's great value. When sampling tequilas you can find some very delicious ones (and some very expensive ones), but Los Altos is among the best values. Another fave is Espolon blanco. What's interesting is how different distilleries bring out different flavors from the same blue agave. Nancy in Pátzcuaro
  10. Blanco, Reposado or Anejo?

    Always blanco, for everything--margaritas, sipping. By the way, a decent mezcal makes a pretty good margarita, though I think you'd have to give it a new name. Nancy in Pátzcuaro
  11. The Drainer Topic

    Thanks for the tip--I'll check it out. Nancy in Pátzcuaro
  12. The Drainer Topic

    Has anyone found a dish drainer that looks better than the usual plastic or plastic-coated wire ones? One that would look decent, perhaps even attractive, on the counter by the sink? Even when new the WM ones seem underwhelming. Nancy in Pátzcuaro
  13. spatchcocking fowl

    I'm going to have to look for one of these shears. Every year at Thanksgiving my husband and I struggle to cut apart 2 big turkeys (they cook perfectly that way--leg/thigh/wings first and breasts last). Those poultry shears look ideal. Any idea where to find them? Amazon, I suppose. Nancy in Pátzcuaro
  14. Fresh orange juice

    We finally replaced our faithful Braun citrus juicer with a Proctor-Silex--much cheaper and much noisier, but it works well enough. The Braun had too many broken parts that couldn't be replaced. Right now our juice oranges are perfect, but in the summer we'll stop buying them because the juice is pale yellow and flavorless. Nancy in Pátzcuaro
  15. Future of Agriculture in California

    Yep--slip of the fingers while typing. Or perhaps some insidious auto-correct did it. One of my least favorite features of computers and word processing. Nancy in Pátzcuaro