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Nancy in Pátzcuaro

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Posts posted by Nancy in Pátzcuaro

  1. Some years ago a friend told me her favorite--and possibly easiest--tomato sauce recipe. Thickly slice ripe tomatoes (any type) and layer in a casserole with anchovies, many or few depending on your preference. (I use a 2-oz. can (in oil) for a 9-10" round deep casserole.) Cover with foil and bake slowly in a 300 or 325 oven until the tomatoes are thick and jammy. Taste for salt. The beauty part is that you don't even have to stir. Of course the anchovies disappear.


    But I also love Macella Hazan's recipe, which is almost as easy but faster.


    Nancy in Pátzcuaro

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  2. We just spent some time in northeast Arizona on the Navajo Nation. No booze allowed anywhere on the reservation, though in campgrounds it's pretty hard to enforce. If you're not a jerk about it and are discreet, and you don't try to sell it to a Navajo, you shouldn't have a problem. By the way, Canyon de Chelly (pronounced "shay") should be on everyone's bucket list. Stunningly beautiful red rock country, and the ancient dwellings are fascinating. There are many similar ancient sites throughout the southwest but this one is special. It's near Chinle.


    Now we're waiting for the snow in Boulder to clear before we head home. About 8" on the ground but the sun is coming out and melting is happening rapidly. I gave up snow when we left Colorado, so this has been disappointing.


    Nancy in Pátzcuaro

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  3. At first glance I thought it was a papaya, the kind we get here in México--much larger than the Hawaiian type. But as someone else (Lisa) mentioned that the stem gave it away. Too bad you didn't get more guidance from the gardener who gave it to your son. I guess I'd just pretend it's a cucumber and make a big salad. It looks crunchy--


    Nancy in Pátzcuaro

  4. Yes, Mexicans put ketchup on their pizzas, along with sliced pickled jalapenos, and mustard. Plain ol' yellow mustard. Normal toppings--hawaiian (though that's not normal in my book), Italian, pepperoni, plain cheese--but ketchup and mustard liberally applied. Yikes!


    Nancy in Patzcuaro

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  5. Here's a deliciously addictive recipe I found on the California fig producers website. I suppose it could be frozen but I doubt it would last that long, given how good it is.


    California Fig Bars

    16 oz. figs, stemmed and chopped medium-fine

    1/2 c. chopped walnuts

    1/3 c. sugar

    1/4 c. rum or orange juice (I used rum, of course)

    2 Tbs. hot water

    1/2 c. butter, softened

    1 c. packed brown sugar

    1 large egg

    1-1/2 c. all purpose flour

    1/2 tsp,. baking soda

    pinch of salt

    1-1/4 c. old fashioned oats


    Heat oven to 350F. Coat a 13x9-inch baking pan with cooking spray. Combine figs, walnuts, sugar, rum and hot water; set aside. Beat together butter and sugar until creamy. Add egg and mix until smooth. Stir in flour, salt, and baking soda; blend in oats to make a soft dough. Reserve 1 c. of flour mixture. With floured fingertips, press thin even layer of remaining dough on the bottom of prepared pan. Firmly pat fig mixture over dough. Drop reserved dough by teaspoonfuls over top, allowing fig mixture to show between drops. Bake 30 minutes until golden brown. Cool completely in pan. Drizzle with rum glaze. Makes 36 bars.


    Rum Glaze: Stir together 1/2 c. powdered sugar and 3-4 tsp. rum or orange juice until smooth.


    In retrospect, I think I could have used less sugar, because these are pretty sweet, partially because the glaze is very sweet. Doesn't mean we didn't want to eat the entire pan, of course. I also think it would have been improved by the addition of an herbal element--thyme perhaps.


    Nancy in Pátzcuaro

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  6. I've just been reading this thread and I have to say, the scent of roasting chiles, Hatch or otherwise, is one of my favorites. Who was it that said earlier that if Glade made a roasted chile air freshener it would be a sell-out success? What about perfume? I'd buy that! I recall shopping a couple of miles from where they were roasting chiles and I could smell that fragrance as if it were right next door. It draws you in like no other aroma.


    But now that we live in México I've become a fan of poblanos, which are large and thick-fleshed and roast beautifully. One tip I learned from our Spanish teacher is to rub the raw chiles with a little bit of oil before you roast them--it makes the skin bubble and separate from the flesh quickly. I roast mine directly on the burners of my gas stove. I agree it's tedious to roast a large quantity that way, but I think the outcome is better. I imagine it would also work with Hatch chiles, especially if you're worried that they are thin-fleshed. And if you are able to select your chiles individually, try to get flat ones with a long stem--they roast better with no curvy parts, and the stem gives you a good handle (until you burn it off, which I do frequently).


    Now I'm hungry for a New Mexican chile-cheeseburger!


    Nancy in Pátzcuaro



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  7. Do you remember that the old Gourmet magazine had a feature where people would request a recipe from a restaurant? There was usually a preamble saying that the person had requested (sometimes begged) the restaurant for the recipe but was refused--correctly, I thought at the time. Somehow Gourmet managed to get the recipe and published it. It was one thing if the request came from someone who didn't live in the area of the restaurant and was just passing through--I could be more sympathetic in that case--but sometimes it was from someone who frequented the restaurant on a regular basis. I recall thinking at the time that the restaurant succumbed to the allure of having their recipe, and their restaurant, published in such a prestigious magazine. I also suspect that most restaurants refused.


    Nancy in Pátzcuaro

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  8. I have a dehydrator, though I think I may have to cut some of these in half--they're huge. I've seen smaller plums.


    Thanks--N. in P.

  9. Thanks for the idea about freezing them whole. And that ice cream recipe looks very good. Yum!


    N. in P.

  10. Of course! I'd forgotten about Ixtlahuacan de los Membrillos. As I recall it's north of the lake. We've never been to the fiesta though we've driven through the town. So you have no shortage of the fresh fruit to use if you get tired of the ate.


    Nancy in Pátzcuaro

  11. My Spanish teacher brought me a bucket (literally) of fresh figs. These are the white or green type, green with a blush of brownish purple. I still have jam left from the last year when she brought me figs, so I'm looking for other ways to use them. And quickly--they're perfectly ripe. I have recipes for appetizers with blue cheese and a fig-walnut tart, but if anyone has a different way to use them, and ideally a way to preserve them for future use, I'd be quite grateful. She has 5 trees, so there's no shortage if I want more. Frankly I don't know what I'd do with 5 trees loaded with figs, and I don't know how she uses them other than to eat fresh and give the rest to the birds.


    Thanks for your ideas!


    Nancy in Pátzcuaro



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  12. I don' t know how it is in hour neck of the woods in Ajijic, but here in Michoacán right now the mercado is full of women selling fresh quince (membrillos). Perhaps you could ask around to see if anyone has a tree or knows someone selling them in the markets so you could use the whole fruit, as you were accustomed to in Bisbee. I've already made a large batch of jam and I'm considering trying to make the paste, though the ate (paste) is readily available here. I also made a very tasty liqueur with it last year, using a basic limoncello recipe modified to use quince instead of lemon/lime rind. I have a lime tree so I used limes.


    I like your idea of using diced apple to simulate the chunkiness of chutney. What about using dried apples? Might intensify the apple flavor, if you think that would work. By letting the mixture cool before you add the quince paste you'd probably maintain the chunks of paste rather than melting them into the warm mixture. Are you planning to freeze this or otherwise preserve it, or will you just make the chutney as needed?


    It's strange--I'd never noticed quince in the mercado before, but for some reason this year I realized that the place was full of them. None of the big puestos, of course, just the village women on the street.


    Nancy in Pátzcuaro

  13. Unfortunately, adult eagles will do more than steal food from osprey nests--they will carry away the young ospreys to feed their own young. Two years ago both chicks were taken from the nest on Hog Island, Maine, to the horror of the many people watching on a webcam at the time. The past year the osprey pair hatched 3 chicks, 2 of which were taken during the night by great horned owls and the third was so badly damaged by the attack that it now lives permanently in a rehab center. This year, only one of the three chicks has survived to fledge. The parent birds have been forced to fight both eagles and owls to protect their young. Nature red in tooth and claw indeed.


    Sorry to introduce such a downer to this topic--


    Nancy in Pátzcuaro

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  14. 6 hours ago, liuzhou said:


    My apologies. When you said "they knew"  I missed that you were talking about a specific family. I thought you just meant people in general.

    Funnily enough, the first time I heard about the brining technique was back in the 1970s when I found a description in a Latin document from the late Roman Empire.  I wish I could find it again, but any notes I made at the time are on the other side of the planet in my sister's attic.


    I'm told it was used in China even longer ago, but seems to have disappeared in modern cuisine. Some friends were horrified when they saw me throw what they thought of life-threatening salt into a brine one day.  I've has similar reactions when just salting water for pasta.


    But then,  I did have to wrestle three people to the ground to prevent them calling an emergency ambulance when they totally freaked because I ate a raw button mushroom. They were convinced I wouldn't last ten minutes. They love their food but,  like people everywhere, know very little about it.


    No apology necessary, no offense taken.



  15. 10 hours ago, liuzhou said:


    Brining has been known for centuries.

    Yeah, but I was talking about a largely under-educated family in a small mountain town in Colorado, part of an extensive Italian community that originally came to work in the mines. Education was minimal and ended early--Viola only went through third grade. They were wonderful people, very generous to me, and I learned a lot from them about chickens and gardening. The coffee pot sat on their wood stove all day, and the resulting coffee was so thick it almost didn't need a cup. You could just roll it into a ball and take a bite. I think that coffee was one of the origins of my stomach problems!


    Brining the chicken was something everyone who raised chickens apparently knew about through experience. That was over 30 years ago and I suspect that Sam and Viola are long gone. I hadn't thought of them in a very long time. Right now I wish I had one of those chickens and that Sam and Viola and I were sitting in their kitchen drinking their vile coffee and swapping recipes.


    Nancy in Pátzcuaro

    • Like 5

  16. Wait--soaking the chicken in salted water in the fridge--isn't that called brining? Apparently they knew about this more than 30 years ago.

  17. Many years ago I used to buy eggs from an Italian family, and once in a while I'd buy a chicken from them. For someone accustomed to grocery-store birds, these chickens seemed deformed. The breasts were long and thin and the legs and thighs were enormous because those chickens ran around all day eating insects and scratching in the dirt. Best tasting eggs and chicken I ever ate. (Edited to add: They told me to soak the chicken in salted water in the fridge for a couple of hours to rid the carcass of blood. I wonder if that would work with all chicken?)


    Nancy in Pátzcuaro

  18. I'm a big fan of composed salads--some leftover meat (could be store-bought rotisserie chicken, the last of a grilled flank steak, good canned tuna), some cheese (goat, feta, burata, etc.), a hard-boiled egg or 2, tomato/cucumber/red bell pepper/celery/red cabbage/pickles/olives/roasted nuts (some or all), a fresh herb-based dressing, all piled on salad greens, with a hunk of good bread to go with it. Ice cream for dessert. The best part is that except for the hard-boiled eggs all of this can be assembled from what you have in the fridge, and if you plan ahead even the eggs are manageable when hunger strikes and the very idea of turning on the stove makes you want to sit in a dark room with a cool cloth on your forehead. I generally steam the last few eggs from the carton--older eggs are easier to peel, IMO. Correct me if I'm wrong--


    I used to make a Julia Child beef recipe in my slow-cooker that was actually better cold than the hot version--Daube de Boeuf, p. 322 in Vol. 1 of Mastering the Art. I think I may have to make that soon, now that I've remembered it. It was seriously good.


    Gazpacho is good as was noted earlier, with good cheese and bread, and maybe olives if you have them. Every year I get a gazpacho jones and make up a big batch.


    Nancy in Pátzcuaro

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  19. You know, tools usually have an appearance that clues us into what it is and how to use it. This cheese slicer, if I didn't know what it was, is completely mysterious. But clearly it works, which is the whole point after all!