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Nancy in Pátzcuaro

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Everything posted by Nancy in Pátzcuaro

  1. I feel sorry for supertasters. Imagine going through life tasting everything more intensely than the rest of us. A friend of ours, who visits occasionally, is a supertaster and quite frankly he's a real PITA to cook for. A Mexican friend can't tolerate black pepper. He can eat every chile pepper known to man, but a speck or 2 of black pepper--no. And another friend thinks that beets taste like "dirt." As they say, different strokes. Nancy in Pátzcuaro
  2. I just saw this notice on the New York Times this morning and thought of your camping plans. The book looks good enough to me that I think I'll order it myself even though our RV has a small kitchen and I don't often cook over a campfire. Hope this helps-- "Emma Frisch, the author of a new guide to eating well in the woods, has strong professional credentials as the culinary director of Firelight Camps, which offer fairly luxurious safari-style accommodations in the Finger Lakes region of New York. Those planning a camping trip will find in this guide a detailed equipment list; how-tos for packing a cooler and building and dousing a campfire; and key campsite cooking essentials, like condiments and cooking oil. Among the recipes are beet salad with dill, lemonade made with scorched lemons, grilled corn with feta and cilantro, marinara pasta bake with capers and tuna (the convenient kind that comes in foil packets), salmon in foil and grilled stone fruit with bread crumble. Sandwich recipes include a shelf life for how long they’ll last, and Ms. Frisch offers three-day menu planners: “Feast by Firelight: Simple Recipes for Camping, Cabins and the Great Outdoors” by Emma Frisch (Ten Speed Press, $22)." Nancy in Pátzcuaro
  3. If the packaging says "Product of México," they're coming from Michoacán, about 10 miles from where I live. The area has exploded with white plastic hoop house structures. I enjoy the resulting products (strawberries, blackberries, raspberries and blueberries) but the white plastic really spoils the view. Corn has given way to berries around here. Nancy in Pátzcuaro
  4. In our house we say, "Shall we throw it out now or chill it first?" Nancy in Pátzcuaro
  5. A friend and I spent 2 wonderful days browsing through the large cookbook collection at Denver University. I understood at the time--and I'm trying to remember when it was, possibly late 80s-early 90s--that it was the second largest collection in the country, assembled by an obsessed collector. We wore gloves, even though some of the collection were the small recipe booklets put out by product companies or community fundraising cookbooks. However, a significant amount was quite old and sometimes a little fragile--definitely handled gently. That was when I learned that broccoli was known much earlier than I had thought. Books that taught the new bride how to take care of her house and family, cookbooks for beginning cooks, cookbooks that were thinly-disguised etiquette manuals--it was fascinating. My friend was a food writer interested in the history of food, how food tastes and ingredients changed over time. We had only enough time to skim the collection, pick a book here and there to look through or try to follow a theme through different periods. There must have been thousands of books, large and small, in the collection. I wonder if it's still intact. I have my grandmother's Boston School cookbook stuffed with handwritten recipes and newspaper clippings. She was a very good German cook--people used to sigh over her sweet and sour red cabbage, which I have failed to adequately reproduce. My mother, on the other hand, was a terrible cook. Sometimes these things skip a generation. Nancy in Pátzcuaro
  6. I don't know why I didn't think of this before, but foil packets would be a great option for you. They can be cooked directly over the fire on the grate, and most importantly can be made ahead and stashed in your cooler. Hint--brush the foil with oil to keep the food from sticking, and leave some head room to allow for steam. There's also a nifty cookbook--The New Camp Cookbook--that would be a good thing to have on hand. $13.91 at Amazon. I wish I'd had it when we were car camping. Now I travel with a kitchen in our small RV, but I bet I'll find new ideas in this cookbook. Check it out to see if it would be useful. I also like to make a simple cucumber salad that can be made ahead, and in fact it improves with age. Thinly slice a cucumber or 2, peeled or not, add a thinly sliced small red onion, and dress with a splash of olive oil, rice wine vinegar, salt and pepper, and sugar to taste. It can tolerate a less-than-ideally-cold cooler. Nancy in Pátzcuaro
  7. Actually that corn looks kinda menacing. Maybe it's just the photo angle-- Nancy in Pátzcuaro
  8. Wow--Are these state parks? That seems extreme to me, but then I've never been to NC and don't know how things work in that state. Nancy in Pátzcuaro
  9. Another use for the flip over that nasi goreng mentioned a couple of posts earlier is to cook fish over a fire without losing too many pieces that fall into the fire. I also recommend a stir fry basket--sorry don't know the name for either the basket or the flip over thingy--that allows you to stir fry vegetables and meat. Look for it near the grills and other tools for grilling. The one I have is square with small round holes on all sides and the bottom. A flat bottomed wok with a handle would also be useful. Take a potholder or 2--they don't weigh much and take up very little space. Use them to cushion breakables. At some point you have to edit the amount of equipment you haul around, especially when you start using walk-in sites, depending of the distance and how many trips you have to make to and from the car. The cooler alone will require a trip of its own. If you're in a state park or national forest campground the tent site may be a very short distance from the car and you can pack more gear. By the way, it's true that most government campgrounds, whether state or federal, have rules about liquor consumption. They are routinely ignored if you're quiet about it and consume your beverage in an opaque plastic cup or glass. We now use a small RV and keep the bottles inside. Just be discreet. No one will get worked up about a beer or glass of wine. Now that I've encouraged you to break the rules, I hope your future camping experiences will be as positive as this one. I think you're already getting good advice about the food. Have fun! Nancy in Pátzcuaro
  10. Grate them on the large hole side of a box grater. That will make smaller pieces that will melt with heat. How old is this chocolate? Perhaps it's dried out and become harder than usual. Nancy in Pátzcuaro
  11. These look kinda creepy. I don't think I'd be tempted to try them. Dead men's fingers indeed. Nancy in Pátzcuaro
  12. Many years ago we were introduced to a cocktail called a Charro. It's essentially like a Paloma except it's made with either Coke (Charro Negro) or 7-up/Sprite (Charro Blanco). Tequila, lime juice, pinch of salt and either Coke or 7-up. Very refreshing on a hot summer day, and therefore slightly dangerous because they go down so easily. Nancy in Pátzcuaro
  13. Thanks for reminding me of an uncooked tomato sauce I used to make back in the day. It's from a 1979 Food and Wine magazine--the recipe is pretty stained by now--which I just dug out of cold storage. 1-1/2 pounds ripe tomatoes (4-5 large, 8-10 Romas) 1/2 c. olive oil (these days I'd use evoo) 2 cloves garlic, peeled 1/2 c. black oil-cured olives Salt and freshly ground pepper Pinch of red hot pepper flakes or 1 sm. peperoncini, seeded and finely chopped 2-3 Tbs. fresh basil, coarsely chopped, or parsley, or dry oregano 1 pound spaghetti or vermicelli At least 2 hours before serving, seed the tomatoes by cutting horizontally and squeezing out the seeds, leaving as much moisture in the tomatoes as possible. Cut each tomato half into 4 long wedges or smaller pieces if you want a more subtle sauce. Toss the tomatoes with the olive oil in a non-reactive vessel. Slice the garlic very thin and add to the tomatoes. Pit the olives and chop coarsely and add to the tomatoes. Sprinkle on a small amount of salt and pepper and then add the dry chile flakes or peperoncini. Add the basil/parsley/oregano and toss again with a wooden spoon (?). Let stand at room temperature for at least 2 hours. Cook the pasta al dente and drain well. Toss with the tomato mixture--the dish will rapidly cool to tepid. This is a particularly nice dish for summer, taking advantage of good tomatoes and fresh basil. Serves 4-6. Of course the better and riper the tomatoes the better the final outcome. I also think it would be good with cherry/grape tomatoes, though perhaps the timing might change a little. Now I'm going to have to locate some oil-cured olives to be able to make this. I don't think it would be successful with kalamatas, which are readily available here. Nancy in Pátzcuaro
  14. Actually, we also omit Cointreau in favor of fresh-squeezed orange juice. Partly because it gives them a lovely fresh orange flavor, and partly because I no longer drink anything with more than one kind of liquor. Additional sweetness comes from a dash of simple syrup. Fresh-squeezed lime juice (from our tree), fresh-squeezed orange juice, simple syrup, and your tequila of choice--this recipe gets raves from everyone we serve it to. It's my husband's specialty, and he doesn't give out the recipe to just anybody. I disagree with AB about reposados--we prefer blanco for its flavor of the roasted agave, both for sipping and for margaritas. We enjoy Olmeca Altos plata and include it on our "favorites" list. Plus it's great value. When sampling tequilas you can find some very delicious ones (and some very expensive ones), but Los Altos is among the best values. Another fave is Espolon blanco. What's interesting is how different distilleries bring out different flavors from the same blue agave. Nancy in Pátzcuaro
  15. Always blanco, for everything--margaritas, sipping. By the way, a decent mezcal makes a pretty good margarita, though I think you'd have to give it a new name. Nancy in Pátzcuaro
  16. Thanks for the tip--I'll check it out. Nancy in Pátzcuaro
  17. Has anyone found a dish drainer that looks better than the usual plastic or plastic-coated wire ones? One that would look decent, perhaps even attractive, on the counter by the sink? Even when new the WM ones seem underwhelming. Nancy in Pátzcuaro
  18. I'm going to have to look for one of these shears. Every year at Thanksgiving my husband and I struggle to cut apart 2 big turkeys (they cook perfectly that way--leg/thigh/wings first and breasts last). Those poultry shears look ideal. Any idea where to find them? Amazon, I suppose. Nancy in Pátzcuaro
  19. We finally replaced our faithful Braun citrus juicer with a Proctor-Silex--much cheaper and much noisier, but it works well enough. The Braun had too many broken parts that couldn't be replaced. Right now our juice oranges are perfect, but in the summer we'll stop buying them because the juice is pale yellow and flavorless. Nancy in Pátzcuaro
  20. Yep--slip of the fingers while typing. Or perhaps some insidious auto-correct did it. One of my least favorite features of computers and word processing. Nancy in Pátzcuaro
  21. I think that might be neem oil. It's useful against soft-bodied insects, mealybugs, scale, etc. Buy the concentrate--a small amount mixed with water will do the trick and the concentrate lasts a long time. I just dowsed a tomato plant that had a serious white-fly infestation and it dramatically cut down the population. It needs another treatment to keep them from coming back, which they will. Nancy in Pátzcuaro
  22. I think I could make these with chicharrones, fried pork skin. It's ubiquitous around here, though the smell of them cooking makes me gag. Nancy in Pátzcuaro
  23. One thing about avocados--they require adequate salt (and some lime juice, IMO) so they don't taste bland. Sometimes a surprising amount of salt, but make sure you taste as you go along. Nancy in Pátzcuaro
  24. Do you refrigerate this after storing in the glass jar? Nancy in Pátzcuaro
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