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Nancy in Pátzcuaro

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Everything posted by Nancy in Pátzcuaro

  1. Annie_H-- Where did you get seeds for your Spanish long-keepers? We first experienced them on Mallorca several years ago. I tried to save seed from one or two to take back to the US (illegally, probably) but couldn't get good results. Problem being the climate and short growing season. But I was fascinated by the idea that tomatoes would last for months and still taste good when you used them. By the way, that pile of tomatoes is beautiful!
  2. I'm going to try a new strategy for growing tomatoes next year. Start the seeds in December, transplant into larger pots at least once, ideally twice, and plant out in late January/early February to grow until the rain starts and the plants rot. I have tried for the past 4 years to grow tomatoes in large pots, with varying success, so I'm going to try to plant them in the ground to see if I get better results. I can get at least 3 or 4 months before I have to pull the plants in June or early July. I will have to protect the plants at the beginning with Wall-o-Waters so they get a good start. As for varieties, I have been growing heirlooms for a while, with some tasting better than others. (David Davidson's was a favorite, though the name shows a lamentable lack of creativity.) Buying heirlooms at a farmer's market is iffy at best. If they're ripe enough to taste good, getting them home in one piece is tricky. My sister, who gardens north of Denver, grows magnificent heirlooms. Her favorites are Gold Medal, Cherokee Purple, and Green Zebra, and I can vouch for how delicious they are. But then she has the right climate conditions to do that--a long growing season, for one thing, which I never had when I gardened in Salida, Colorado at 7,000 feet and a supposed 110-day season. (I say "supposed," because even though it didn't actually freeze in late August, overnight temps ran in the low 40s or high 30s. So those late summer days weren't real "days" in the sense that it took half the next day to warm up enough to start growing again.) And as for mangos, 'tis the season! Pickups loaded down with ripe fruit, 5 kilos for 30 pesos, which translates to "almost free." I'm going to be making a lot of mango jam and chutney in the coming weeks. My favorite fruit, my favorite time of year because of that.
  3. I recently made sheet pan pancakes for a crowd, and it worked beautifully. There were 6 of us, and some were what you might call big eaters. Take your usual pancake recipe, pour it into a well-greased sheet pan with 1" sides, sprinkle with fruit, chocolate chips, etc., and bake until puffed and browned. Serve with the usuals--maple syrup, butter, jam, yogurt, stewed fruits. Cut the big flat pancake into smaller servings. Beats standing at a hot stove making pancakes for your entire family, or stashing them in a warm oven until you run out of batter, at which point the first ones have dried out. In retrospect I think I thinned the pancake batter a little to make it easier to pour and spread in the sheet pan.
  4. You know, I think we looked at those last summer when we finally decided that we needed new floor covering in the little kitchen area. I think we'll need to look more closely when we get back to Colorado later this year. Thanks for that suggestion.
  5. We have two choices for the flooring: replace with glue-down tiles, or use the old vinyl as a pattern and stick it down in one piece. The size is so small that I'm sure a remnant from a bigger job would be too big. A third option is a "floating " floor, but I'm a little dubious. If anyone has experience with that kind of floor, let me know! We have a nephew and his family in Minneapolis, so you may see us one of these days. I'll be sure to let you guys know. Got a spot for a Class B van? My husband jokes that the van looks bigger on the inside than it does on the outside. Kinda magical.
  6. Creede is one of our favorite places in Colorado. Back in the day my husband used to fly gliders around the area and he fell in love with the place. We like to take in a few productions at the Creede Repertory Theater if we're in the area, and do some mushrooming. Haven't spent much time in and around Lake City, though.
  7. Our LG fridge is up against a wall on one side, and I can't open the right-hand door enough to pull out a tray called the "Glide-and-Serve Drawer" where I guess you can store party platters or other wide but shallow items. I can't even pull out the drawer enough to get to the back of it, which creates some interesting science projects when I finally get around to rooting around back there. This is where cheeses and things like sliced salami live. I like the LG very much, especially since the icemaker is so compact that you don't really know it's there. Unfortunately local water is too unreliable for us to use it.
  8. I always have mixed feelings at the end of a 2 or 3 month trip. On the one hand, I'm sorry it's ending because we've had such a good time staying in the national forest campgrounds and occasionally "wild camping," outside of any kind of formal campground. The best was an open area above the town of Creede, CO, with the San Juan mountains as a backdrop. On the other hand, it's always nice to get back to our house, my kitchen (somewhat larger than that of the Class B van), my garden and our friends. I think the dog likes it too, though she's never so happy as hiking with us through the forests and trails. My favorite moment was watching her bounding through a field of tall wildflowers after a long hike. She loves water so it's hard to keep her out of any lakes or ponds no matter how stagnant and odiferous. Fortunately there's an outside shower. Because our trip happens during the summer, when it's raining here and sunny in Colorado, we have to winterize before we head south in the fall. Is it late enough in the year that you won't have to do that this time? We take everything that will freeze and store it in boxes at my sister and brother-in-law's house until the next time. I generally clean it, though being small it doesn't take that long. I know it will need to be touched up when we take it out of storage, though not much dust gets in when it's all buttoned up. Last year we (that means my husband with only modest encouragement from me) put 300 watts of solar on the roof, and this year the kitchen vinyl needs replacing. Other than that I don't think there are any more projects, which means we can get away quickly. Not sure about hanging around in the West this year, what with the increased fire danger, so we might turn east.
  9. Beautiful kitchen. I sympathize with your need for more counter/work space. My kitchen is fine, but in order to get maximum chopping and mixing space we installed a 3' x 5' butcher block counter over a new cabinet. The cabinet holds large items like my bread machine, large kettles, my clay bean pot, and miscellaneous small appliances, and the counter is one big cutting board. We brought it down with us--well, the movers did--when we moved into our house. It always takes some time to find decent cabinet makers when you're relatively new in town, but I'm very pleased with the result. We made it a couple of inches taller than the counter height to make standing and working a little easier on my back. One big space with doors on each side, two smaller spaces for condiments, etc., and two drawers. I covet your pantry. We had to have a carpenter make a free-standing cabinet that we put outside under the deepest portal in order to consolidate the various places where we'd stored food--most in our closet, the rest in a bodega (storage room) in the back of our property. Very inconvenient. Of course the pantry is full, and was from the beginning, unfortunately. We bought metal shelving from Costco to avoid having to have wood shelves and the resulting dark corners. My spouse installed lighting so I can find stuff in the dark. I couldn't tell from the photos, but is there room for a small-ish island for additional work space? In my old kitchen I had a much smaller island (but it was a real lifesaver. I don't know how I survived without it. Anyway, enjoy your beautiful new kitchen!
  10. Do I have to pick just one (whine)? Well, if I had to I'd choose Marcela's Farm Wife's Fresh Pear Cake, which I've recommended here before (Essentials, p.589). So simple, so tender, so impossible to screw up, so utterly satisfying. No frosting necessary, but I make it with a streusel topping to fancy it up for a dinner party. It also benefits from a splash of almond extract, but I think next time I'll add a pinch of cardamom--thanks for the hint, heidih.
  11. I think you could put any kind of filling in that tasty-sounding crust. I'm thinking goat cheese or ricotta, or spicy pork (carnitas), or Italian sausage, to name but a few. Though I have to say the little Hot Browns sound very appealing. May have to make the original recipe before I start playing around with it. Turkey's a little hard to come by here, but I have some in the freezer from T-Day. None of the other ingredients are a problem.
  12. It's my understanding that México requires that there must be a window over the kitchen sink. Don't know if that's really true, but every kitchen I've seen has had a window over the sink. Even if it's not the law, it makes sense that if you're going to be washing dishes it would be nice to see something other than a wall.
  13. I occasionally look at Blood Horse or other sites to start familiarizing myself with the horses. I read this morning that Crown Pride, the Japanese horse, was being schooled in the gate and, being startled by the bell (which they apparently don't use in Japan), "unseated" his rider. The horse was promptly scooped up by the outrider and returned to the gate, where he performed correctly and presumably won't cause trouble on Derby day. The number of horses entered every year is a little alarming when you think they're all being gunned out of the gate, trying to position themselves in the pack. I'm always amazed that there isn't a massive pileup. (And I hope I haven't jinxed it by saying that.) There are always horses with very little chance of being in the money, entered for ego reasons, I suspect. At least we won't have Baffert this time around, possibly never. I'm looking forward to a clean race this year. Never been a fan of mint juleps. Give me a shot of good tequila instead.
  14. Thanks! And my husband thanks you too. He left NYC a very long time ago (in the early 1970s) but some memories linger.
  15. Wait--wasn't there a recipe on Recipe Gullet just recently? Where is it now? Or am I going crazy? (Don't answer that.) I neglected to print out the recipe before it vanished (if it did and isn't hiding in some other topic) because my New York City husband loves them.
  16. Nancy in Pátzcuaro

    Waffles!

    No, but thanks for reminding me. Waffles and bacon--the best. Sunday's coming up, so I think I'll make these.
  17. I think this belongs in the "Food Funnies" thread. Gag-worthy (in both senses of the word) for sure!
  18. Usually the price is written as "USD" (US dollars) or "MNP" (Mexican new pesos) to avoid confusion. Mexico revalued the peso sometime in the '90s, I think, hence the "new' peso. A lot of people's saving were wiped out when Mexico chopped off three zeroes from the value of the old peso, leading to widespread mistrust of the government which persists to this day.
  19. Here in Pátzcuaro (and elsewhere in México) the water isn't considered safe enough to drink directly from the tap. Therefore ice makers are out of the question, plus being real space hogs. That being said, my LG with bottom freezer and french doors has a very petite ice maker tucked up under the refrigerator section with a bin underneath for the cubes. If I could trust the tap water it would be useful. But I have plenty of ice cube trays instead and I find that perfectly adequate. What really frosts me (heh heh) is when someone who shall remain nameless uses all but 2 or 3 cubes from the tray but neglects to refill it. There are people who have water-sterilization systems who can use their ice makers, but the maintenance on those systems is more than I want to contemplate. Or we could rig up a system that uses water from the garafon (5-gallon plastic bottles) we buy to use for drinking water, but that's too cumbersome. So it's ice trays for us.
  20. Don't get me started on the New York Times paywall for their cooking section. It's not enough to have a subscription to the newspaper, now I have to have a special subscription to get access to most of the recipes. (This, of course, would be in addition to the crossword puzzle subscription I already have... Ahem.) My impression of nori is that it's a strong flavor so I would imagine it should be used sparingly. But that nori oil sounds very interesting.
  21. Yeah, it helps to have a neighbor with a couple of lady goats. And remember, this was back in the 1980s when things were more casual. Now I get my goat cheese from Costco. Not the same.
  22. This is the technique to make ricotta as well. I've also used fresh lime juice; lemon would also work but I have a lime tree. Years ago I made fresh cheese from goat milk (my neighbor had a couple of goats and always had surplus milk) and used buttermilk as the curd-making agent. In that case you heated the milk with the buttermilk until the curds formed. Theoretically you can use the whey also to make ricotta, but I've never tried that. The whey was too useful for bread.
  23. Many years ago I bought a cast iron comal in a Mexican grocery store in Pueblo, Colorado. It says "Hecho en México" on the back but I've never seen any cast iron sold in México, so I assume it was for export to the US. It lives permanently on my stove and I use it constantly. If I'm making salsa, I use it to toast the chiles, tomatoes or tomatillos, onion and garlic. Quesadillas, pancakes, grilled cheese sandwiches--it's a workhorse. It spans the central 2 burners, but when we replace the stove I'm looking for one with the oval burner so there won't be a cold spot in between the 2 burners. I don't use it to roast and peel poblanos--I do that directly on the gas burners, which is the only time I remove the comal. After many years of use it's completely non-stick. I also have a cast iron wok that makes wonderful fajitas. Takes a little time to warm up completely--this is characteristic of cast iron--but once it's hot it's better than any other pan for making crispy fajitas. Which reminds me that I haven't made fajitas in far too long.
  24. Nancy in Pátzcuaro

    Fruit

    I'd be interested in this also.
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