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Nancy in Pátzcuaro

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Everything posted by Nancy in Pátzcuaro

  1. Nancy in Pátzcuaro

    Gardening: (2016– )

    Host's note: this conversation is continued from Gardening: 2016 (midyear). After the banana plant produces fruit the "mother" plant dies. So do not remove any new shoots, which will provide fruit the next time around. Producing this much fruit completely depletes the plant and the new shoots grow dramatically after the death of the "mother" plant. Kind of a creepy metaphor, don't you think? I see in your photo that there are 3 new shoots. Each of them will produce a fruiting plant but you should probably remove at least one of the small ones, probably both, leaving the largest shoot. It can get pretty crowded if all three are left. Our altitude here in Pátzcuaro is too high for fruiting bananas but we can grow the "ornamental" kind. The same thing happens with this variety, and though there's a flower beloved by bees there's no actual fruit. I'm not a fan of bananas--never have been--but I love the plant. Nancy in Pátzcuaro
  2. Nancy in Pátzcuaro

    Am I a plebeian or are black tomatoes a thing?

    Gardeners are true optimists. After swearing that you'll never plant that variety again, another spring comes around and once again you're seduced by the same plant. You think, "Maybe this year will be better." I know--I've been there. Black Krim is an attractive tomato (in my eyes) but in terms of flavor there are many better varieties. My sister's favorites are Green Zebra and Gold Medal, but my husband loves Prudens Purple. We grew them successfully in our garden at 7200 feet one year, but never again did I get much of a crop. Doesn't mean I didn't keep trying, though. Prudens is a big pink fruit with a fine flavor balance between sweet and acid. Nancy in Pátzcuaro
  3. Nancy in Pátzcuaro

    A food processor that isn't ugly to look at

    Can anyone tell me why it's so expensive to buy a replacement work bowl for the Cuisinart? Sometimes you want a second work bowl for a variety of reasons, not just because the original one is damaged in some way. Nancy in Pátzcuaro
  4. Nancy in Pátzcuaro

    Gardening: (2016– )

    The mind boggles. Nancy in Pátzcuaro
  5. Is it just me, or do all these lists of "things you can do with avocados" almost always involve several versions of salads and almost never something innovative or different? The most interesting recipe I've seen lately is a bean and corn pie with a crust that substitutes mashed avocado for butter. The photo of the crust looked a little heavy, so if you're hoping for a nice flaky crust you may not be happy. We live in avocado country here, and I can assure you that avocados picked for shipment could be used as weapons (if they weren't so danged expensive). I mean, they are rocks. They have to be harvested (by hand), hauled to the processing plant, dumped into refrigerated trucks, driven to the border where they may spend some considerable amount of time at customs before they head off to the distribution center and finally then to individual stores. They are shipped when they're mature but not ripe to protect them, and given the rough treatment they get at all points along the trip it's a miracle that they survive without massive bruising and spoilage. So give avocados a little more time, which doesn't help if you're trying to get dinner on the table. And I agree about the microwave ripening trick--I think I tried that once and vowed not to do it again. The only thing that works is time, unfortunately. However, you can store half-ripe avocados in the fridge, where they will happily wait until you take them out to finish the ripening process. That avoids the awful discovery that you've forgotten about them until it's too late, which is very disappointing. I've kept avocados like that for well over a week. Hope this helps--Nancy in Pátzcuaro
  6. I swear that the beans I cook in my clay pot (glazed on the inside) taste better than those cooked by other methods. Nancy in Pátzcuaro
  7. Nancy in Pátzcuaro

    fresh strawberries and salt

    As a child in Florida I grew up salting watermelon and cantaloupe. I don't remember when I stopped doing that--probably when my family moved to Colorado and we didn't eat melons as often as before. That, and the fact that no one in Colorado salted their melons. Is this a Southern thing? Nancy in Pátzcuaro
  8. Nancy in Pátzcuaro

    Gardening: (2016– )

    It's also easy to plant 40 feet of bush beans in the spring, but then dealing with the resulting quantity of beans is something else. One's enthusiasm and optimism are endless but one's energy is not. I don't think I've learned that particular lesson yet. I am still guilty (see above) of buying a lot of strawberries or mangos to make jam, but when I'm confronted by the task my zeal is much reduced. In the case of mangos, they require some days to fully ripen on the counter so there's a little time to get used to the idea. But strawberries wait for no man (or woman). Nancy in Pátzcuaro
  9. Nancy in Pátzcuaro

    Grocery Shopping

    Well, that was a surprise! If they are fresh enough you can do a spore print, which will help with identifying. Put the cap, gill side down, on a sheet of paper that ideally has both black and white areas. Put a glass over the cap and leave it for a couple of hours. If there is no print, put a drop of water on the cap and try again. The color and shape (you'll need a magnifier for that) will be a major part of identifying the critter. We've found that even the driest mushroom will sooner or later drop a few spores. Note also the gills--do they attach directly to the stem or are they one of several other options? (From the photo I think they are not attached.) Are they single strands or do they branch? (Couldn't tell.) Is the cap sticky or dry? That will go a long way toward ID-ing it. I haven't investigated any resources on the internet--we use books--but I'm sure there are plenty of sites that will walk you through the process if you're interested. I just realized that you probably have eaten them by now and that there's no way to do a spore print. Oh well-- Perhaps your friend from Shanghai will know at least the local name and maybe from that you can figure out the latin name. How did they taste? To me there's nothing as good as a sauteed wild mushroom. Nancy in Pátzcuaro
  10. Nancy in Pátzcuaro

    Grocery Shopping

    If those are boletes in the first photo, they will have tubes rather than gills. They do have the chubby stem of boletus edulis but the caps are very small. N in P
  11. Nancy in Pátzcuaro

    Grocery Shopping

    I recognize the morels but what are the others in this post and the previous one? Nancy in Pátzcurao
  12. Nancy in Pátzcuaro

    Lasagna baked in bainmarie style ?

    That is one of my pet peeves. Some of the recipes are only available online with an additional subscription. In my mind, a subscription to the NYT should include everything. I wonder if the unavailable-online recipes are in the print versions? As to the concept itself, I guess it works if you want something a little soft and creamy. I personally prefer my lasagna bolognese a little firmer than that, nice and bubbly and crusty. And you can make pesto with walnuts. In fact many people prefer it even if pine nuts weren't crazy expensive in comparison. A friend who started a brew pup/pizzaria in our small town in Colorado used walnuts exclusively in his pesto more for the taste than the cost. Nancy in Pátzcuaro
  13. A couple of possibly unusual recipes-- Avocado Fudge 1/2 c. butter 1 avocado 1 tsp. vanilla 1 c. cocoa 3 c. powdered sugar 1/3 c. walnuts, chopped (optional) Melt butter and cool slightly. Puree with avocado in food processor until perfectly smooth, with no chunks of avocado left. Return mixture to saucepan over very low heat and add the rest of the ingredients, except the walnuts, adding the powdered sugar in several batches. Once all the sugar has been added the mixture should be thick and somewhat hard to stir. Add walnuts if desired and transfer to a loaf pan. Refrigerate until firm--don't rush it or you won't be able to slice it. Avocado Ice/Sorbet 1 c. water 1/2 c. sugar 2 small ripe avocados, mashed pinch of salt 2 Tbs. fresh lime juice 2 tsp. grated lime rind Heat sugar and water and boil until syrupy, and cool completely. Add to the other ingredients except lime juice and rind, blend until smooth, and pulse to mix in the juice and rind. Freeze as usual. Another recipe uses agave syrup, light coconut milk and twice as much lime juice and rind. Avocados are coming into season in a big way now. The last time I was in the mercado they were 20 pesos a kilo, though they have at times been twice as much. Around here it's not a party if there's no guacamole. Everybody has their favorite recipe, but ours uses cilantro and chile peron (aka chile manzana) and a pinch of kosher salt ground together in a molcajete, avocado, a small amount of diced tomato, lime juice and salt to taste. All mashed together in the molcajete and carefully taste tested by the preparer. No onion, no garlic. And served with totopos (chips), never chicharron (have you ever smelled that stuff being fried?). Nancy in Pátzcuaro
  14. Nancy in Pátzcuaro

    Can I Substitute???

    I've found thicker crema in our local mercado--not a store brand like Lala. They tend to be from local cultures and are quite a bit more sour than the store brands. Generally they're sold in plastic cups in various sizes with plastic-wrap on top held in place with a thin rubber band. Store brands are handy but when I want something with real flavor I buy crema in the mercado. The vendors also sell cheeses. Look in your local mercado to see if you can find this, or in a supermercado deli section. Try that and see if you like the result. Nancy in Pátzcuaro
  15. Nancy in Pátzcuaro

    Dried Chestnuts

    A friend just gave me a package of dried chestnuts and obviously they have to be processed somehow before using them. Do I boil them or let them reconstitute overnight in water? They are little hard rocks and something tells me they won't go quietly. The packaging says they're originally from Hong Kong by way of Vancouver and ending up in Brooklyn. And then when they're soft enough, can I use them as I would fresh chestnuts? I assume I can't roast them like the fresh ones. Thanks for your help! Nancy in Pátzcuaro
  16. Nancy in Pátzcuaro

    Dried Chestnuts

    OK--rounded up the camera, charged the battery, took pictures of the front and back of the packaging. I can take a closeup of the contents if that will help. Now I just have to figure out how to post a picture... Nancy in Pátzcuaro
  17. Nancy in Pátzcuaro

    Green Chili Burro

    Sometimes I think spellcheck causes a lot of misunderstanding. I use it with a large grain of salt. Most of the time I know I'm misspelling the word but I don't know how to fix it. Spellcheck to the rescue! But it has gotten me into trouble more than once. So all we can do is correct spellcheck and hope that it "learns." Some programs do incorporate corrected spellings into their dictionaries. In any case, I'm off to make the chile verde recipe that chileheadmike posted upthread. Sometimes I like to add a can of white hominy to the stew for a little visual interest. And served with tortillas, or if I'm feeling heretical, corn bread. Nancy Pátzcuaro
  18. Has anyone eaten recently at the Metate Room at the Far View Lodge in Mesa Verde National Park? Many years ago my husband and I had wonderful meals while staying at the Lodge, to the point that we extended our stay so we could eat our way through more of the menu. Especially memorable was the prickly pear creme brulee, but there were many other menu items that we devoured with great pleasure. Some of the appetizers were particularly good. I just wish it hadn't been so long ago because now I can't recall more of the menu. I'd like to find out if the restaurant is still as good as I remember it. I hope the Lodge has been upgraded in the intervening years, because it was a little rough around the edges compared to the elegant dining room at the restaurant. Nancy in Pátzcuaro
  19. Nancy in Pátzcuaro

    Green Chili Burro

    Forgive me for being pedantic, but some clarification of terms needs to be made. "Chili" is the dish made with beef and beans, "chile" is what you call poblanos or serranos. Hence, Chile Verde. For what it's worth I like them both, for different reasons. Nancy in Pátzcuaro
  20. Nancy in Pátzcuaro

    Foods you inexplicably hate

    This reminds me of a friend who won't eat orange or yellow foods. That eliminates mangos, which to me is a sin. But I'm with you on the pink food thing--that's just weird. Nancy in Pátzcuaro
  21. Nancy in Pátzcuaro

    Cleaning chocolate from floor

    I'm just curious--how did this happen? Nancy in Pátzcuaro
  22. I remember many years ago walking in the forest in an area with wet ground near our house in Westcliffe (Colorado) and coming upon a giant puffball in perfect condition. We made Puffball Parmesan and it was very tasty. Nancy in Pátzcuaro
  23. Nancy in Pátzcuaro

    Super Bowl 2019 what's on your menu?

    We're invited to a potluck again this year, and my husband plans to make his annual pie. There's always a lot of fussing over the crust--will it be flaky enough, will there be enough filling, should it be all butter or part shortning, did we add too much water and will it be tough. Because he only makes one pie a year it turns into a big deal. Most years it's apple, but one year it was a magnificent raspberry-walnut confection with a thin layer of lime curd on the bottom crust before adding the berries. The mercado is full of blackberries, so that might be an alternative. As for me, I'm leaning toward the savory end of the flavor spectrum. There will likely be around 50 or 60 people at the party, each bringing their own special contribution, so I will have to be careful in my choices. I don't do well, digestion-wise, at potlucks. Back in the day I could eat pretty much anything, but with age comes the awareness that one is not as one used to be. We don't have a dog in this hunt, the Broncos having stunk up the place as usual. I admit to be bored with the Patriots. Enough already. Nancy in Pátzcuaro
  24. Nancy in Pátzcuaro

    Can whipping cream be frozen?

    Is it possible to freeze whipping cream? Even though a carton lasts a reasonable length of time I still end up with too much, and I'd rather preserve it rather than toss it. Thanks, y'all. Nancy in Pátzcuaro
  25. Nancy in Pátzcuaro

    Can whipping cream be frozen?

    I made the cream scones last weekend but my results turned out differently from the photo. Instead of sitting up in nice wedges my scones turned into puddles. It seemed to me at the time that the batter needed more flour or less cream to get to the correct consistency. I thought the flavor was excellent, and I appreciate how much easier these are to make than traditional scones with butter and egg. So I'll try them again with more flour to make the batter stiffer. Any other ideas about where I went wrong? Nancy in Pátzcuaro
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