Jump to content

Nancy in Pátzcuaro

participating member
  • Content Count

    299
  • Joined

  • Last visited

Posts posted by Nancy in Pátzcuaro


  1. The problem with a machete--well, there are 2: first, we don't own one, and second, I've seen way too many people with missing fingers on the non-machete-using hand. But I kinda like the hacksaw idea. I'm pretty sure that our Spanish teacher's husband uses a machete.

     

    Thanks--

     

    N in P

    • Like 1

  2. Every fall our Spanish teacher brings us an enormous winter squash, a sort of hubbard/acorn type that the local indigenous population grows from seeds saved from previous years. I've asked for the name, but she tells me it's just "calabaza" (squash). My dilemma is always how to cut it apart without needing a trip to the emergency room. I have a distant memory of putting it in the microwave to soften the hard skin, but this puppy is way too big for most microwaves. Can I heat it in the oven? Normally I cook it uncut in the oven and scrape out the flesh, but I'd rather have slices to use in gratins or cubes for risotto, that sort of thing, instead of a puree--I still have some left from last year. It's a lovely dry squash very similar in taste to acorn, and I'd like to be able to cut it apart into manageable chunks.

     

    Any help would be greatly appreciated.

     

    Nancy in Pátzcuaro

     

     


  3. Chiles Rellenos are common around here, and are always--always--made with poblanos. I've never seen Anaheims here, which I associate with California (possibly incorrectly). We have a large variety of fresh chiles but no Anaheims. In any case, you can use whichever chile appeals to you and is available in your supermarket.

     

    Some time ago I posted "My Spanish Teacher's Chiles Rellenos" in the RecipeGullet section: roasted, peeled poblanos stuffed with a thick piece of queso fresco, coated with a light batter made of separated eggs (whites whipped) and a little flour, slowly shallow fried in oil, drained on paper towels, and then finished in a thin tomato broth. Yes, it's a bit of a production, but you can do them in stages and then just finish them in the tomato broth for serving. In many ways they're almost better the next day, oddly enough. Served with white rice and beans.

     

    I also make a casserole version similar to the ones discussed above, and one for breakfast that's an egg and milk custard type that is very well received. But right now I really want the classic version! I have poblanos in the fridge but no queso fresco, so it will have to be tomorrow. I'll toast the chiles today and put together the rest tomorrow. Yum!

     

    Nancy in Pátzcuaro

    • Like 4

  4. I understand from NPR this morning that the standoff has been resolved. The president capitulated and restored the gas subsidy. Is this correct? If so, everyone must be breathing a big sigh of relief. Having been in Ecuador in the past when the indigenous were blockading roads, I can understand the feeling of insecurity and apprehension. Combining that with food shortages means everyone has been very tense.

     

    Nancy in Pátzcuaro

    • Like 3

  5. Here's a good topping for tostadas, courtesy of Diana Kennedy: Equal amounts of good quality chorizo and white cabbage (doesn't need to be exact, but try to not skimp on the chorizo), a chopped white onion, a little garlic if you want, and some commercial salsa if things look a little dry. Cook them together for a while until the cabbage and chorizo are fully cooked. No need to add oil because the chorizo generally releases enough fat to keep things from sticking. Pile onto tostadas and top with crumbled queso fresco or crema (we prefer the cheese). Leftover chorizo mixture is good in tacos or stuffed into zucchini or chayote and baked.

     

    Nancy in Pátzcuaro

    • Like 1
    • Thanks 1

  6. We do Thanksgiving for 60+ people here in Pátzcuaro. We rent tables and chairs to spread around the house and garden, and I hire a lovely young woman to help. Chela is all of 5 feet tall, with a smile that lights up the room, and just about everyone knows and likes her. She pours wine, makes sure the buffet table is clean and well supplied, clears plates and glasses, washes dishes, and helps with the clean-up at the end of the day. I'll never do Thanksgiving without her. (She also cuts hair and does manicures and pedicures.)

     

    I make the turkeys (2), cook a ham if I can find one or a couple of slabs of Costco salmon if I can't, both on the grill , make the dressing and gravy and sometimes a side dish like my grandmother's red cabbage or glazed carrots, and cranberry sauce if we can find cranberries at the right time. Everyone else brings their favorite dishes. Three categories: appetizer, side dish, or dessert. I ask people to let me know what they plan to bring so we can avoid having too many duplicates. It works out nicely for everyone and we have a grand time. I think people enjoy the company and the opportunity to make some dish that they've always loved. Thanksgiving is to be shared, after all.

     

    Several years ago I gave up on the Norman Rockwell roasted turkey and began cutting apart the birds so I can roast the dark meat first and then lay the breasts on top to finish cooking. That way all parts are done properly and the breast meat isn't dried out. It takes some effort to cut apart a turkey--those bones are darned thick. I enlist my husband to do that, and it usually requires a mallet and a heavy knife.

     

    As October comes to an end I'll send out the invitations. I love doing this--Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. I just hope our street is finished by then--we're getting new cobblestones and water and sewer. Right now there's a small army out there chipping and laying stones--the Anvil Chorus. We already have the new sidewalks. Progress!

     

    Nancy in Pátzcuaro

    • Like 5
    • Delicious 1

  7. In Uruapan, about an hour downhill from Pátzcuaro, is a magnificent national park. It's a tropical oasis in the middle of a city that is famous for being the heart of the avocado business in México--they ship millions of tons of fruit every year. There is an astonishing amount of water in the park, either as the Rio Cupatitzio or man-made fountains, some of them very impressive. The origin of the water is a spring at the upper end called La Rodilla del Diablo, the Devil's Knee, where the devil knelt and created the spring. However, there are many more springs popping out of the ground to account for the volume of water flowing through the park. Flowering plants abound, vines are everywhere, and there are many orchids and bromeliads in the trees. A group of young men dive into the stream for tips, a sort of miniature version of Acapulco cliff divers.

     

    And in the middle of this lush landscape is a trout hatchery. One of my favorite things to do is to buy a bag of trout food and toss handfuls to the fish in the raceways, but I also find myself hypnotized by the slow movements of the fish, the reflection of the trees and the sun on the water. They're segregated by size, of course, because the big fish tend to snack on the little ones. You can buy whole fish or fillets. Can't get much fresher than that. I take comfort that the volume of water flowing through the raceways keeps the water clean--it's certainly clear enough. And probably the fish poop helps fertilize the downstream foliage. I'm pretty sure that all the "trucha" sold in local restaurants comes from the park.

     

    Here's a link to a pretty good description of the park, with photos: https://www.zocalotx.com/TheNationalUruapan.htm

     

    Nancy in Pátzcuaro

    • Like 4
    • Thanks 1

  8. OK--I'll have to dig up some of those menus. If I can find them, of course. When we moved to Pátzcuaro a lot of stuff went into long-term storage, but I'm pretty sure I know where they are. This may take a while.

     

    Nancy in Pátzcuaro

    • Thanks 1

  9. I don't know if this qualifies for this topic, but I have a collection of the menus from my voyage to Europe in 1969 on Holland America's Amsterdam. Here I was, a 21-year-old kid fresh from college, confronted by some of the most exotic (to me at the time) selections of "Continental" cuisine. Three meals a day and a midnight buffet, plus consomme and snacks all day long. The point being that if one's tummy was full and one was showing up for meals, one wouldn't suffer from seasickness. Seemed to work. That and liberal application of spirits, and I don't mean little gossamer creatures floating around in dark corners.

     

    Every now and then I take out those menus, which were printed on heavy paper stock with illustrations from Dutch country scenes, and reminisce. I stayed in Europe until the money ran out and I had to call my parents (remember those phone booths?) to  send me enough $$ for a plane ticket. Flew out of Munich to London and then to Denver on BOAC, but the Munich leg took off late because the flight originated in West Berlin and the East Germans routinely hassled airliners, delaying arrivals. So we all stood in line in London to rebook, including Martha Raye, who was in her US Army uniform (she was a nurse).

     

    Boy, does this bring back memories! I wonder if meals on the modern ships are anything like the ones on the Amsterdam. Anybody know how the food is?

     

    Now back to our regularly scheduled programming.

     

    Nancy in Pátzcuaro

    • Like 7

  10. I think one of the reasons people dislike asparagus is because of how it makes your urine smell. At least that's what one of my husband's cousins said when we talked about it. I don't get it, so it must be some kind of genetic anomaly that only some people have.

     

    For me, hands down is brussel sprouts. And bourbon.

     

    Nancy in Pátzcuaro


  11. Many years ago a friend and I spent 2 or 3 days examining the DU cookbook collection in Denver. She was interested in the history of food and how it changed (or didn't) over time. At the time I believe it was the second largest collection in the country, and the shelves went on for what seemed like a mile in a series of collapsible shelving units. We wore gloves and could only possess a pencil. Much of what we looked at were the little recipe books from church groups, women's clubs, fund-raising books, including recipes for products like baking powder or shortening (Crisco). These were almost always printed on non-pH neutral paper and some of the older ones were disintegrating.

     

    These recipes from our ancestors--handwritten, notes in their old cookbooks, clippings from newspapers--are like having your grandmother whisper in your ear as you make something from her recipe book. I still make my Nana's applesauce cake, though I had to make a few modifications to the recipe because there was no vanilla or salt, both of which I think are essential. And I add walnuts and sometimes the dreaded raisins (though I have no problem with them).

     

    Think I'll get some applesauce and bake a cake. That was a nice little trip down memory lane--thanks!

     

    Nancy in Pátzcuaro

    • Like 6

  12. I make yogurt by heating milk to the correct temperature on the stove in a heavy stainless steel pot, then cooling to the correct temperature, stirring in the starter, and putting the jars in a small insulated cooler with water that's about the same temperature of the cooled mixture. Close the cover, wrap the whole thing in a couple of thick towels, and leave it for at least 4 hours. I've left it as long as overnight (I forgot...). I also stir in a few tablespoons of dry milk--Nido is widely available here--which seems to thicken the final product a little more. Not as much as Greek yogurt, but more than the usual.

     

    Not complicated and pretty forgiving, but you do have to get the temperatures right. No equipment that you don't already have. I make it about every 10 days because we eat it on cut up fruit (right now it's mango) for breakfast most mornings.

     

    Nancy in Pátzcuaro

    • Thanks 1

  13. I'm late to this roundup but I remember many years ago, in the early 1960s when I was growing up in Boulder, Colorado, there was a delivery service that brought fried chicken dinners to your door. I still remember the slogan: "Don't cook tonight, call Chicken Delight!" I'm pretty sure they didn't have a restaurant per se, just a facility that cooked chicken to order. The delivery vehicle was a car with a lighted plastic chicken on top, so that all your neighbors could see that you were too lazy to cook. If I recall, the chicken wasn't that good, but I can't say that my parents ordered very often (we lived out in the country so probably delivery wasn't available).

     

    Thanks to this discussion I can't get that damned jingle out of my head!

     

    Nancy in Pátzcuaro

    • Like 3
    • Haha 5

  14. Thanks, Heidi, for the information about unopened shellfish. As for the kind of mussel, I don't know--I just know that the store has them but I haven't bought them yet. However, I now have confidence that the frozen ones will work pretty much the same as fresh. We'll get a supply the next time we go to Morelia.

     

    Thanks, all--

     

    Nancy in Pátzcuaro


  15. We have always loved mussels and just discovered a source for them here in nearby Morelia. However, they are frozen and I have no experience with frozen mussels. I assume you let them defrost and then check to see if any haven't opened as you would with fresh ones. Or can you steam them without thawing? I'm looking forward to inviting our French friends for moules and I don't want to poison anybody!

     

    Thanks for your help--

     

    Nancy in Pátzcuaro


  16. Many years ago when I was having serious problems with my stomach, I went on an elimination diet to identify which foods were the culprits. Turned out I was sensitive (I'm reluctant to say "allergic") to wheat, caffeine and red wine. (I know, I know.) After experimenting with alternative flours--buckwheat, barley, rice flour pastas--I discovered spelt, which is sort of a distant relative of wheat that seems to have a different molecular structure. I substituted spelt for wheat straight across and had excellent success. Later when I discovered white spelt flour it was another revelation. I like whole grain flour as much as anyone, but sometimes you want something a little less robust.

     

    I still can't tolerate caffeine or red wine (alas) but after all these years I can once again eat wheat. I did find that spelt seemed to have more gluten than wheat (in my not-very-scientific experience), which would make it unusable for anyone sensitive to gluten.

     

    Nancy in Pátzcuaro 

    • Like 2

  17. 34 minutes ago, donk79 said:

    We have grown ( or attempted to grow) Black Krims for several years.  My wife insists they are her favorite tomato.  However, we have yet to see better than two tomatoes from a plant.  A month ago, my wife insisted she was finally swearing them off.  So when I went to pick up her plants from the plant sale yesterday, what do you think I saw?  

    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

×
×
  • Create New...