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Nancy in Pátzcuaro

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Everything posted by Nancy in Pátzcuaro

  1. Nancy in Pátzcuaro

    The Savory Baking Topic

    I make a scone recipe that can be either sweet or savory. I favor the savor most of the time-- 6.75 oz. white flour 2.375 oz. whole wheat flour 1-2 Tbs. sugar (use the larger amount for sweet scones) 2 tsp. baking powder 1/2 tsp. baking soda 1/2 tsp.salt 1/4 c. chilled unsalted butter 1/2 c. thinly sliced green onions or minced white onions (omit for sweet scones) 3/4 c. plain yogurt 1 egg, beaten Possible variations: 1/4 c. chopped kalamata olives and 1-2 tsp. minced fresh rosemary 1/2 c. each coarsely chopped walnuts and dried cranberries; omit onion 1/2 c. chopped peeled poblanos (about one) and 1/2 c. grated cheese, and a small handful of pine nuts if desired 1/2 c. chopped rehydrated sun dried tomatoes and 1/2 c. feta Cut the butter into the flour and leavenings and salt, add the liquid and then stir in the rest of the ingredients. Mix and gently knead--you know the drill. Either cut apart or cut partially into 8 pieces and bake whole. Bake at 425 for 12-15 minutes or until golden. I make this very frequently for breakfast because it's a quick thing and everyone loves it. As I said, I usually make the savory variations, especially the rosemary-kalamata version, though we also really like the poblano-cheese one. My contribution-- Nancy in Pátzcuaro
  2. Nancy in Pátzcuaro

    Peruvian Chicken

    That looks like wonderful chicken--beautifully crisped skin. Did you like it? Any changes other than more cilantro in the sauce? I think I'm going to try this very soon. Thanks for the mouthwateringly-good photos too. Nancy in Pátzcuaro
  3. Remember my problem last year--too many limes? Well, our tree is once again heavy with fruit and I'm finding new ways to use them. The latest--Lime Curd. Here's the recipe I used, which eliminates many of the technical problems of traditional methods: 3 oz. (6 Tbs.) unsalted butter at room temperature 1 c. sugar 2 large eggs 2 egg yolks 2/3 c. fresh lime juice 1 tsp. grated lime rind Here's where this method departs from the traditional-- In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Slowly add the eggs and yolks, and beat for another minute. Mix in the lime juice. The mixture will look curdled but it will smooth out when it cooks. In a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan cook the mixture over low heat until it looks smooth--the curdled appearance disappears when the butter melts. Increase heat to medium and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens, about 15 minutes (I needed only about half that). It should leave a track on the back of a spoon and read 170 on a thermometer. Do not let it boil, especially toward the end. Remove the curd from the heat and stir in lime rind. Pour into a bowl and chill in the refrigerator.You may want to press plastic wrap on the surface to keep a skin from forming, though opinions differ as to whether it's necessary. Makes about 2 cups. I just made a batch of this and it worked perfectly. It's absolutely delicious, and I will have to make myself stop dipping into the bowl. The bulk of the curd will go into the freezer but I've kept out about a third for fresh use. Now, can I use this lime curd in a pie? I'm making a blackberry pie with walnut crumble tomorrow for Thanksgiving on Thursday and wonder if a thin-ish layer of lime curd under the berries would be good. What say you, eGulleteers? I don't want to make the crust soggy, though. Personally I think those 2 flavors are made for each other. Thanks for any ideas--you guys are the best. Nancy in Pátzcuaro
  4. Nancy in Pátzcuaro

    My annual problem/opportunity--too many limes

    Thanksgiving has come and gone and I want to report on the use of lime curd in a blackberry pie. I received many compliments on the pie, and everyone commented on the unexpected flavor that they couldn't identify. In short, it was a success. I made sure to get a piece for myself--which is often difficult with so many people crowded around the dessert table--and decided that it would be a good option when making pies. I imagine it would work in many fruit pies, like apple or cherry or even blueberry. And Andie, thanks for that idea. I'm not much of a cake baker but I'll certainly give that a try. A roulade would also be nice. Nancy in Pátzcuaro
  5. Nancy in Pátzcuaro

    Planning a trip to Lima, Peru

    Your photos and descriptions are killing me! We have to wait until late April to experience this level of dining. I know that Peru has a very high reputation and is the current new favorite destination so I'm eager to try it out myself. I'm taking notes! Nancy in Pátzcuaro
  6. Nancy in Pátzcuaro

    Camping, Princess Style

    I'm late to this topic but want to chime in. We have a class B van--Pleasure-Way--that we have enjoyed for years. A two-burner cooktop, a microwave-convection oven that only counts if we're plugged in, a small fridge with a tiny freezer, and a pantry. Cooking under those circumstances requires one to be (a) creative and (b) flexible. Sequencing is vital. It requires me to keep things simple and uncomplicated. A jar of pesto, garlic, pasta, onions, chicken breasts, sun dried tomatoes, kalamata olives, good olive oil, fresh vegetables--put those together in various combinations and you have dinner. I'm a big fan of stir fries. I've always felt that it's cheating to call this "camping." I grew up backpacking and now that I no longer want to sleep on the ground I've become accustomed to a decent bed and an adjacent bathroom, and hot water to wash dishes. But now I have no qualms about being comfortable and I'll call it camping if I want to! There's always a bottle of wine in our fridge, and a bottle of tequila and a set of dominos for after dinner entertainment. We play for the great monuments of the world. I just recently won the Brandenburg Gate. Safe travels and good cooking-- Nancy in Pátzcuaro
  7. Nancy in Pátzcuaro

    Planning a trip to Lima, Peru

    I intend to watch this thread very carefully. My husband and I and 2 other couples are going for 12 days in late April. Most of the time we'll be touring around--Machu Picchu for 2 days, Cusco and the nearby sights, and then Lima for just a day and a half. Please let us all know your dining experiences in Lima. A quick search of restaurants yielded Nanka, IK, Beso Frances (crepes and such, overlooking the Pacific), El Ceviche de Ronald (local favorite) and--incredibly--Aji 555 Real Thai Cuisine, which was rated #1 in Lima on Trip Advisor. But there are many others that were also well thought of but that I didn't feel fit our dining preferences. All very subjective, of course. When we were in Ecuador I was determined to eat cuy--guinea pig--but the sight of their little hairless bodies laid on a styrofoam tray and wrapped in plastic in the supermarket was just too much for me. But I understand it's a significant part of the culinary history of the Andes region. We will all be interested in what you eat, and where, and what you think of it. My friends say--take insect repellent. Depending on the time of year the mosquitoes can be a problem. And they said they were always cold, so pack accordingly. Though you can buy some very nice alpaca sweaters if you need to. Most importantly, eat well and have a wonderful time. Nancy in Pátzcuaro
  8. Nancy in Pátzcuaro

    Gardening: (2016– )

    Back when I was gardening in Colorado I liked Nichols Garden Nursery in Oregon, Johnny's Selected Seeds, and Seed Savers Exchange. My problem with a garden at 7,000 feet was frost-free days, so Johnny's was particularly helpful. But I've been a fan of Seed Savers Exchange since back in the day when we used to trade seeds with each other via a catalog typed on a typewriter (remember those?) and mimeographed. I believe in their mission, which is to save the old varieties that the more commercial nurseries have dropped from their catalogs, and now they have an extensive list of wonderful non-hybrid varieties. My sister, at a lower altitude north of Denver, grows a dozen varieties of heirloom tomatoes and won't plant anything other than SSE seeds. I always preferred the family-owned and operated seed companies, like Nichols. They may not have had a huge catalog but I wanted them to stay in business. Does anyone know if Johnny's has avoided being scooped up by a bigger company? Nancy in Pátzcuaro
  9. I think a molcajete would be my first choice. Very useful tool, though quite heavy if you're going to bring it on the plane. I prefer the ones made with coarse stone because they do a better job of crushing and mixing. If you do buy one, be sure to grind white rice in it to smooth out the stone. Do it several times until the rice stays mostly white. At first the rice will be dark, which means that you're grinding off some of the stone. Better to do that than get a mouthful of grit in your guacamole when you use it the first time. If you're interested I have a good recipe for a red salsa that I make in my molcajete. Nancy in Pátzcuaro
  10. Nancy in Pátzcuaro

    Gardening: (2016– )

    Now that the gardens are winding down, how about a good book to tide us all over during the winter? I like any of the books by Henry Mitchell, the late garden columnist for the Washington Post. My personal favorite is a collection of his columns called The Essential Earthman (the title of his column was "Earthman"). Mitchell was opinionated, often very funny, and the quintessential good-hearted curmudgeon. He had very little time for many popular roses and always complained about having too many daylilies and hence not enough room for irises, or facing the terrible prospect of tearing out some plant he loved but that had outgrown its location. He despised silver maples. I believe he passed away while helping a neighbor plant daffodils. I don't know if The Essential Earthman is still in print but it's worth searching for. Nancy in Pátzcuaro
  11. Nancy in Pátzcuaro

    Foraging for Mushrooms - the Season is Upon Us!

    I recommend buying a good book and learning how to do spore prints, or even going on forays with knowledgeable mycologists. This is how we learned originally. We no longer feel the need to know the name of every mushroom in the forest, just the ones we want to eat. Hence the chanterelles and porcinis. We rarely saw morels in Colorado but some friends who went to Nebraska City gave us a bunch that I dried. Morels are very interesting in that they're hollow--in fact that's one of the main identifying characteristic--which means they can be stuffed with goodies like crab. Some of the books we have vary in usability, but the best is Mushrooms Demystified by David Arora. It's a big book that relies less on photos than a key system that will require you to look closely at the mushroom, at the gills and other physical characteristics. But if you're just interested in the easy edibles it's much simpler. And try to learn the Latin rather than common names because there are often multiple common names that can be confusing. One hint--if you have any concerns about whether a mushroom is edible or not, take a small piece and chew it a couple of times and then spit it out. If you have tingling or other symptoms, that's your answer--it's probably not edible. If you have no symptoms, try eating a small piece and waiting to see what happens. This is what mycologists do, but they're all crazy and will put any damned mushroom in their mouths to try it out. Now, this can also mean that you're allergic to a particular mushroom. A good friend of ours, a wonderful cook and appreciator of good food, cannot eat chanterelles, a choice edible mushroom. They make his throat swell shut, which is never a good thing. And I can't eat any of the inky-cap family for the same reason, but I never found them very good anyway so it's no big loss. Just be aware of that. There is only one mushroom that we'll eat without cooking--clavariadelphus truncatus, which is sweet. All the rest must be fully cooked before consuming. Those white button mushrooms you get in the grocery store, an agaricus species, are another exception. I hope this isn't TMI. Nancy in Pátzcuaro
  12. Nancy in Pátzcuaro

    Foraging for Mushrooms - the Season is Upon Us!

    Oh, about preserving mushrooms. Freeze chanterelles and dry porcini and morels. I cook the chanterelles in a saute pan and when they've released their moisture and then sucked it back in, that's when I bag them up for the freezer. No additional fat or salt or anything else. I have a fond memory of my husband sitting outside on the picnic table cleaning the chanterelles and I'm in the RV cooking them and putting them in baggies. N.
  13. Nancy in Pátzcuaro

    Foraging for Mushrooms - the Season is Upon Us!

    Oh, don't get me started! My husband and I have been foragers for many years and have had great results in Colorado. We now live in México and are still learning about what's here and when to look for it--the seasons are completely different. However, when we were in Colorado this past summer we found that that our former favorite areas were completely empty. We suspect that because the insect infestation has destroyed the coniferous forests in the areas where we formerly found abundant mushrooms the forest ecology has changed. For one thing, the areas that once had dappled shade are in complete sun, which is bad news for most mushrooms. That, coupled with a dry summer and possibly unusually dry winter, means no mushrooms. I don't know what will happen in the next few years. Ideally the mycellium will adapt and survive to fruit again. We saw no mushrooms. Nothing. Not even a little dry unidentifiable husk. It was eerie to be at over 10,000 feet and be in full sun with the ground crunching underfoot, surrounded by dead trees. I don't know how you have found it in your part of the world but in the San Juans of Colorado things are very bad. Fortunately I still have a stash of chanterelles in the freezer and about a gallon of dry porcini, but I think I'm going to be hoarding them. For those of you who are finding mushrooms, enjoy. There is nothing quite so wonderful as the smell and flavor of a potful of chanterelles. I like them in risotto with bacon, and they're also very nice with chicken. Probably my favorite preparation is with bacon and potatoes, about equal amounts. Cook the potatoes beforehand, and then cook the chanterelles with the bacon and then mix them all together. This requires a lot of chanterelles, and I recommend that you don't skimp on that--it pays off in the end. Chanterelles and bacon--magic. I like oysters in an omelet. And porcinis--well, there are lots of recipes. And don't throw away the soaking liquid--it's like gold. Use it in polenta along with the reconstituted mushrooms. Dang--it's 11pm and I have a craving for chanterelles. Too late to do anything about it now but tomorrow there will be risotto with chanterelles and bacon. Nancy formerly in Colorado but now in Pátzcuaro
  14. Nancy in Pátzcuaro

    I will never again . . . (Part 4)

    Sorry to have hijacked the thread. Here's my contribution-- I will never again light my gas oven and forget to turn it up to bake my bread--it's very disappointing. I will never again neglect to carefully read the recipe and discover halfway through that I don't have a critical ingredient, like eggs, for instance. I will never again use my mandoline bare handed--that's something I only did once and will forever remember. Who am I kidding? The top coming off the salt shaker, the big pile of curry powder in the pot, the misreading of recipes, adding a tablespoon instead of a teaspoon--it's one of those "aw jeez" moments that we've all had in the kitchen. We try to learn from our mistakes but we're only human, or at least I am. Now we'll return to our regularly scheduled programming. Nancy in Pátzcuaro
  15. Nancy in Pátzcuaro

    I will never again . . . (Part 4)

    Mexican chorizo is good fried with scrambled eggs; in fact that's a classic breakfast preparation. I also do a chorizo and cabbage thing cooked together and served as a tostada with either Mexican crema or queso fresco on top. (See page 137 in Diana Kennedy's My México.) I've added it to a meatloaf. There are people who use it on pizza but I'm not one of them. You can cut the long tube into smaller links and grill them as part of a mixed grill dinner. Think of it less as a sausage than as a spicy ground meat product. Take it out of the casing, of course. One of our carnecerías here in Pátzcuaro does a chicken version that I like. Don't get me wrong--I like Spanish chorizo very much but the only place I see it is in Costco. Some years ago we went to a matanza (a slaughtering of a pig) in Mallorca, and most of the pig was turned into a soft sausage that was heavily seasoned with red pepper and then hung in a cool place to dry. Seemed to me very much like Mexican chorizo. Nancy in Pátzcuaro
  16. Nancy in Pátzcuaro

    Manitoulin Unravelled

    Um, this is not pozole. It may have corn in it, but the color and the presence of what looks like black beans means that it's something else. Tasty, I'm sure, but not pozole. Pozole has big kernals of white corn (aka hominy) with either pork or chicken, and then either a green or red salsa is stirred in to taste. Toppings include chopped cabbage, sliced radishes, chopped white onion, chopped cilantro, and a generous squeeze of lime. A meal in a bowl, in fact. In some small restaurants one can opt for neck meat, an ear, a piece of the snout, or other less well-known parts of the pig. I've never been brave enough to choose anything other than neck meat, though people tell me that I'm missing out on the ear. Pozole done the right way is something of a production--soak the dry corn in lime water (not the fruit), and then cook it for a long time with pork neck bones before the meat is taken off the bone for service. An exceptional variation, Pozolillo (Little Pozole) is on page 44 of Diana Kennedy's My México, using fresh corn instead of dry. Shorter cooking time, and a very fresh flavor. She advises to use what we call field corn rather than the sweet variety that we enjoy in the summer. Pozolillo needs a little "chew" to be good. Sorry to be pedantic. Please take it in the spirit it was given. Nancy in Pátzcuro
  17. Nancy in Pátzcuaro

    My Spanish Teacher's Chiles Rellenos

    This recipe is a little labor intensive, but the results are definitely worth it. This is less a recipe than a technique, and so quantities are not specified. Olive or vegetable oil Chiles poblanos, skinned and seeds removed without making a big hole Queso fresco, cut into thick chunks to tuck into the chiles Eggs,separated Flour Salt and pepper to taste Good ripe tomatoes, or canned if the market has let you down White onion Garlic Dried oregano Chicken broth Rub the chiles with a light coating of oil, which makes them blister faster and doesn't overcook the flesh. Put under a broiler or turn over a gas cooktop until blistered and blackened. Pop into a plastic bag to steam and then peel and discard the seeds while trying not to make a big slit in the chile. I use a scissors to snip off the seed thing below the stem. Leave the stem on if you can--it will come in handy later. Put about an inch of oil in a skillet and heat to medium high. Beat the egg whites until stiff, fold in the yolks and enough flour to make a fairly loose batter. Try not to deflate the egg whites too much. Put some flour on a plate. Stuff each chile with a log of the cheese, roll in the flour and then dip into the batter. Try to keep the opening overlapped before you roll in the flour. It will keep the cheese inside a little better. Fry the chiles until both sides are golden brown and delicious (thank you Alton Brown) and remove to a plate lined with paper towels. You can use the stem to turn the chiles, but a spoon also works. If using fresh tomatoes, chop roughly and put in a food processor bowl. Roughly chop the white onion and garlic and add the oregano to the food processor. Buzz together until smooth. If using canned tomatoes, just dump them into the food processor and then add the onion, garlic, and oregano. Heat oil in a skillet and fry the sauce for a few minutes to thicken it, and then add the chicken broth. You are aiming for something runnier than you want for the final sauce. Cook the sauce until there's no taste of raw onion. Gently slip the chiles into the broth. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes, and then serve on white rice. You can add a salad or simple vegetable to the plate. Again, I apologize for the vague ingredient list. I was not given specific amounts by Alicia, because this is less a recipe than a technique, which I think is very straightforward. I've made this several times and I recommend breaking up the tasks, like roasting the chiles the day before. And if it's possible, this is almost better the next day. Nancy in Pátzcuaro .
  18. Nancy in Pátzcuaro

    Too Many Raspberries

    Oh my goodness--what fun it has been to play with unlimited raspberries. The jam is the bomb--7 half pints of deliciousness (is that a word?). My husband, the pie man, made a magnificent raspberry pie with walnut crumble (recipe upon request), and today he brought home another 2 kilos. Those will become syrup, sauce, infused into vodka, and possibly raspberry pancakes. And I want to dehydrate some just to see if that is a good thing. I have a question that probably should be posted to Pastry and Baking. Jam made with pectin has more fresh fruit flavor, but using pectin requires more sugar than I'm willing to use. Is it possible to reduce sugar while using pectin? Mind you, I generally thicken my jam via cooking down, so I don't have a lot of experience with pectin. Thanks for your help with this. My husband asked the guys growing and selling the fruit about what pesticides they use, and he was told that these berries (strawberries, blackberries and raspberries) are all organic, meant for export to the US and as far away as China. The boxes (about 3 kilos) all say "Dole," but given how promiscuous boxes are in México I wonder if these weren't borrowed from other suppliers. But it is a relief to know that we aren't eating icky pesticides. They also indicated that they would have raspberries through the end of the month and into June, until the rainy season starts. That's also when blackberries and strawberries disappear from our breakfast table. One thing that I've enjoyed the most about living in México is the realization--the remembrance, really--that food is seasonal. In the fall we have the interesting hard squashes that look like huge acorn squash, in the early summer the wild mushrooms appear along with the figs, and right now we are at the end of the passionfruit season. Juice oranges are pooping out and will soon be flavorless and a little sour. Best of all, though, are the mangos. At the height of the season in mid-summer they are almost free. Pickups loaded with mangos are parked by the side of the road, advertising 5 x 20, which means 5 kilos for 20 pesos. It's my favorite time of the year. Raspberry Fields Forever! Nancy in Pátzcuaro
  19. Nancy in Pátzcuaro

    Too Many Raspberries

    Wonderful ideas, everyone. So far on my "to-do" list are jam (natch), syrup, sauce, infused vodka (love that one), and freezing whole for later use. Unfortunately there are no cellars, cool or otherwise, in this part of México, so raspberry wine is probably impossible, even if I knew how to make it (which I don't). I'm also interested in dehydrating them--raspberry raisins! I brought my dehydrator for some reason, probably thinking I'd use it for something, and this sounds like the perfect time to dig it out of the storage closet. I've found some interesting non-sweet recipes on the Internet that I want to try. It appears that raspberries and goat cheese are going to have a great future ahead in our house, and I'm going to try a raspberry glaze on chicken breasts. I think I'll just make that one up as I go along, tasting and adding levels of flavor. If I come up with something good I'll be sure to post it. In the meantime I'm going to make a big bowl of fruit--raspberries, blackberries, mango, pineapple--for breakfast, with yogurt and granola. To complicate things further, my husband and I bought another 2.6 kilos yesterday, most of which will go into the jam I'm going to make tonight. At least now I have enough to experiment with, and the growers indicate that the supply is ample. There were numerous flats of raspberries and blackberries, and piles of strawberries, with little chicks running around eating the fruit that fell on the floor. In the past year or less, acres of hoop houses have sprung up like mushrooms and this is the result. I doubt this is a Driscoll enterprise, though I don' t know to whom they are selling all this fruit. It's not often that I get the chance to play with an ingredient and I'm going to enjoy every minute of it! Thanks, everyone, for your good suggestions. I won't torment you with the actual cost, though. Nancy in Pátzcuaro
  20. Nancy in Pátzcuaro

    Too Many Raspberries

    Ooh--Black Forest Cake sounds wonderful. Thanks! Nancy
  21. Nancy in Pátzcuaro

    Too Many Raspberries

    My spouse just came home with a kilo of beautiful raspberries at an embarrassingly low price. They are being grown, along with strawberries and a small amount of blueberries, in the fields between Patzcuaro and Morelia and will be available until around mid-June when the rains start. So my question is--given an unlimited supply, what should I make with them (other than lots and lots of jam)? Syrups, fruit leather, eaten by the handfuls--help me out here! I am of course open to non-sweet applications. Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated. I've never had this problem before... Nancy in Patzcuaro
  22. Nancy in Pátzcuaro

    What's going wrong with my bread?

    &roid, when we moved from Salida to Patzcuaro 5 years ago the altitude was essentially the same, within about 50 feet. However, Breck is probably another 1500 feet higher, and that would require a further adjustment. All baking requires a sometimes drastic decrease in leavening and bread is not an exception. But I think shaping technique is probably your best bet here. Nancy in Patzcuaro
  23. Nancy in Pátzcuaro

    Baking Bread in a Bread Machine

    If you go to the King Arthur website you'll see weights for their flours, which I assume are essentially the same as other flours at least in terms of weight. For instance, all purpose flour weighs between 110 and 115 grams, bread flour weighs 120 grams, etc. I use this to convert recipes from volume measurements to weight and have found that I get better, reproducible, results. Using volume measurements means that you can make the same recipe several times and get different results each time. I have a nice little digital scale that gives me weights in both ounces and grams; I use the latter around here almost exclusively because Mexico uses the metric system. Takes a little time to figure it out, of course. Nancy in Patzcuaro
  24. Nancy in Pátzcuaro

    What's going wrong with my bread?

    What's your altitude? I've had similar problems making bread at higher altitude, and the answer was to reduce the yeast. Now I use only 1-1/4 tsp. for a loaf and the crumb is much more uniform--if that's what you're looking for. In any case the holes will be smaller when using less yeast. I use my bread machine to mix and knead the dough and then remove it to be baked on a preheated stone. I haven't baked a loaf in the machine in many years, though that experience taught me a lesson about the yeast. I kept producing a loaf that was dense at the bottom and almost crumbly on top, but reducing the yeast solved that problem. Experiment with quantities to find out what works best for your altitude. Or look up online the CSU (Colorado State University) Extension Service for their recommendations. Hope this helps--Nancy in Pátzcuaro
  25. Nancy in Pátzcuaro

    What went wrong with these cookies?

    Wonderful! Thanks again for your invaluable advice. One less thing to put on the list to bring from the US. Nancy
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