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So the recipe I used calls for *both* orange juice and lime juice -- there was plenty of acid in there. And the achiote paste should have been fresh -- just ordered from an online supplier recently.

The banana leaves are an interesting question. I bought frozen banana leaves from a local asian market. When I defrosted them they had such a rank smell that they actually made me gag -- I couldn't get them out of the kitchen fast enough. So while I'd planned to use them, in the end I didn't...

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So the recipe I used calls for *both* orange juice and lime juice -- there was plenty of acid in there. And the achiote paste should have been fresh -- just ordered from an online supplier recently.

The banana leaves are an interesting question. I bought frozen banana leaves from a local asian market. When I defrosted them they had such a rank smell that they actually made me gag -- I couldn't get them out of the kitchen fast enough. So while I'd planned to use them, in the end I didn't...

Hola,

I don't know if buying from an online supplier is any guarantee that it is fresh either... I think that part is hard to control. In any case the achiote doesn't have a potent flavor / aroma itself.. it imparts a certain "freshness" & clay aroma... think drinking water or tequila out of a clay mug.. and of course you have other items in the paste like allspice & garlic. However, I should note the cuisine of the Yucatan is significantly more subtle than mainstream Mexican... spices & herbs are usually tempered etc.,

As for the banana leaves... if you can't find fresh, or the frozen have the bad aroma... I thinks it much better to go with hoja santa / fennel / fennel seed / anise seeds & corn husks or parchment paper.

NOTE... the banana leaves, while now very traditional, are NOT the original flavoring used in Pib-il... it is believed that the original aromatic was Xtabentun flowers in Corn Husks and of course the original Pibil was Yucatan venison not pig.

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Although I am a beef cheek, salmon sashimi, lamb barbacoa eating omnivore... I feel my best when I eat vegetarian every other day... and generally keep my animal flesh consumption lower... some people call this Flexitarianism. Whatever you want to label it, it is a good description of how people have been eating in Mexico for the last 8,000 years... my lunch today is typical of the meals my parents prepare, and also jives with the general tenor of Mexico's 8,000 year culinary history.

Calabacitas (Zucchini) Sancochadas (Sweated over high heat to brown a bit) with a Rancho Gordo oregano indio scented Etmole (bean sauce), Avocado-Tomatillo-Serrano salsa & wedge of Queso Fresco (I admit it is the pedestrian Cacique brand)

6056593431_1e443be512.jpg

Edited by EatNopales (log)
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Calabacitas (Zucchini) Sancochadas (Sweated over high heat to brown a bit) with a Rancho Gordo oregano indio scented Etmole (bean sauce), Avocado-Tomatillo-Serrano salsa & wedge of Queso Fresco (I admit it is the pedestrian Cacique brand)

6056593431_1e443be512.jpg

That is an appealing, simple meal with a nice variety of flavors. Would there typically be a starch like corn or flour tortillas to roll bits of the items in?

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Calabacitas (Zucchini) Sancochadas (Sweated over high heat to brown a bit) with a Rancho Gordo oregano indio scented Etmole (bean sauce), Avocado-Tomatillo-Serrano salsa & wedge of Queso Fresco (I admit it is the pedestrian Cacique brand)

6056593431_1e443be512.jpg

That is an appealing, simple meal with a nice variety of flavors. Would there typically be a starch like corn or flour tortillas to roll bits of the items in?

Heidi that isn't even a question :raz:

Corn based starch is assumed to be in the meal 99% of the time. (The other 1% of the time reserved for Wheat Flour, Oat, Barley, Amaranth or lettuce wraps in the case of modern dieters)

This was my lunch yesterday as well.. I had corn tortillas (but they got moldy)... in addition to tortillas the meal could / would / has been served with tamales, gorditas, atole, bolillo or even rice.

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Smoked Bone-In Pork Chops are a staple in Mexican butcher counters. I am surprised they aren't more mainstream in the U.S.... they just need to be browned, it is impossible to make them tough & chewy like fresh, lean pork chops are... and when you add a little bacon fat or quality lard to the pan they take on a fantastic bacon like flavor & texture but are actually much leaner.

Their big drawback is that they tend to be extremely salty which is why in Mexico they are commonly finished in an unsalted Salsa Verde... or as is common in the highlands of Jalisco... the pan is deglazed with leftover Escabeche liquor & served with Vegetables en Escabeche, or as on this occassion you simply pan fry them & serve them with a mountain of Nopalitos & a little bit of refried beans & the whole thing balances out.

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Looks like a plain old ham steak to me :wink: but I really, really like the idea of deglazing with the escabeche juice. I've recently had ensalada de nopalitos with (Valled de Ojos Negro) burrata twice. Creamy, crunchy, a little acidic, a little grassy and herbecous, I could eat that salad every day :laugh:

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Smoked Bone-In Pork Chops are a staple in Mexican butcher counters. I am surprised they aren't more mainstream in the U.S.... they just need to be browned, it is impossible to make them tough & chewy like fresh, lean pork chops are... and when you add a little bacon fat or quality lard to the pan they take on a fantastic bacon like flavor & texture but are actually much leaner.

I make a pretty good 'quickie' green chile stew starting with those smoked pork chops. They are indeed a terrific thing to have waiting in your fridge after a busy day.

Especially on crisp fall evenings.

Which, God knows, I'm hoping eventually will arrive.

Even in Texas.

I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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Looks like a plain old ham steak to me :wink: but I really, really like the idea of deglazing with the escabeche juice. I've recently had ensalada de nopalitos with (Valled de Ojos Negro) burrata twice. Creamy, crunchy, a little acidic, a little grassy and herbecous, I could eat that salad every day :laugh:

Well its a bit different... for starters it is much thinner than ham steaks I've had, also they are cut from the loin whereas ham steaks are typically from the leg (with a center bone), ham steaks have lots gristle these don't have any.. also ham steaks rarely have the smoked flavor and are uncooked... these are fully cooked so they just need to be browned.

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Next time you're down, I'll show you our ham steaks :smile: they are indeed from the leg, but they're definitely smoked (such as it is) and gristle is not usually a problem, either that or my teeth are more powerful than I thought.

Edited by kalypso (log)
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Next time you're down, I'll show you our ham steaks :smile: they are indeed from the leg, but they're definitely smoked (such as it is) and gristle is not usually a problem, either that or my teeth are more powerful than I thought.

I must admit my exposure to ham steaks is limited to Farmer John, Hormel & the "even more budget than Farmer John" brands :shock:

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Next time you're down, I'll show you our ham steaks :smile: they are indeed from the leg, but they're definitely smoked (such as it is) and gristle is not usually a problem, either that or my teeth are more powerful than I thought.

Incidentally my variation on a theme lunch for today... was leftover smoked pork chop bits tossed with leftover, room temp zucchini sancochado, seasoned with escabeche juice... some of the bean sauce from two days ago (btw the Oregano Indio is a really nice).. and tortillas to make tacos.

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Tortitas de Huatli con Hongos a la Diabla

(Amaranth Cakes with Mushrooms & Chipotle-Butter mole)

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Incidentally, I used Rancho Gordo amaranth grains... it was fantastic. First you cook the grain until its a porridge that tastes like buttered popcorn with hints of grilled corn husk. Then you blend with eggs & masa harina to make a pancake batter & fry over hot oil... absolutely delicous.

Incidentally... I had the crepe pan running at the same time and also made them on the comal as an experiment... it took a will to get the correct size & cooking time down but huatli is delicious as a pancake as well... then I had a revelation... when the Spaniards like Bernardino de Sahugan & Bernal Diaz del Castillo were describing "Amaranth Tortillas", "Sour, Very Sour Tortillas", "Stinking Tortillas"... I have a hunch they were describing something like Injera made with Amaranth & corn masa... part of the revelation is due to the discovery that even though the amaranth grains are fully cooked into a porridge they have some kind of yeast that survives and you start getting the beginnings of sour dough within hours... it is absolutely remarkable. Further the Spanish definion of a tortilla.. includes any pancake thinner than a casserole.

The flavor of the Amaranth pan cakes / crepes is very different than the fried cakes... will have them for lunch tomorrow.

I should note... Chipotle was not the right flavor at all for this dish... Poblanos, Mushrooms & Huitlacoche are a sacred trilogy in Mexican cooking... I should have gone with something "green" tasting to combine with the nutty, buttery amaranth.

Incidentally, I was catching up on my cable recordings today... I have 3 or 4 cooking / food series from Once Mexico (public tv by the Polytechnic University system) and 22 and they concidentally all had Amaranth on their shows.

Chef Paulino Cruz of El Nuevo Rincon de los Sabores did Crab, Caper, Olive & Tomato stuffed Squash Blossoms that were battered with flour, egg & raw Amaranth

The Spanish guy who does the Sabores de Mexico show did Canutillos (Canolis) made with Amaranth batter, stuffed with Nopal-Pineapple pudding

I forget the name of the show but the chef befind Casa Oaxaca in Oaxaca City did some kind of chocolate ganache dessert lasagna (red cactus pear sauce) with alternating layers of puff pastry & puffed amaranth

It is obvious the establishment in Mexico is moving aggressively to reclaim this ingredient that had been outlawed by the Spanish (due to its association with the Aztec war god Huitzilopotchli) and almost lost to history

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Wow and wow again.

I never know what to do with the amaranth other than porridge and occasionally in soups, like quinoa. I'm told it has more protein than quinoa and is much easier to grow (as home gardeners all know). I don't know this to be a fact but I have heard that the commercial method to pop it is not very healthy and it's better to use a hot comal, which is nearly impossible for a novice to do without burning.

I'd also heard that the Aztecs mixed it with agave syrup and made figurines of the Spanish and would chomp on them in front of them but this may be a fancy story.

I can't wait to try this this week. Mil GRACIAS, brother.

Visit beautiful Rancho Gordo!

Twitter @RanchoGordo

"How do you say 'Yum-o' in Swedish? Or is it Swiss? What do they speak in Switzerland?"- Rachel Ray

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Wow and wow again.

I never know what to do with the amaranth other than porridge and occasionally in soups, like quinoa. I'm told it has more protein than quinoa and is much easier to grow (as home gardeners all know). I don't know this to be a fact but I have heard that the commercial method to pop it is not very healthy and it's better to use a hot comal, which is nearly impossible for a novice to do without burning.

I'd also heard that the Aztecs mixed it with agave syrup and made figurines of the Spanish and would chomp on them in front of them but this may be a fancy story.

I can't wait to try this this week. Mil GRACIAS, brother.

I believe it was Bernal Diaz del Castillo (one of Cortes' men who had a penchant as a chronicler) wrote that they mixed the puffed Amaranth with a syrup made of red tunas, then shaped them into the representation of Huitzilopotchli on his religious holidays... he didn't elaborate as to the context... but I imagine is that it was a more humane (or less expensive, or hierarchy enforcing) substitute for human sacrifice. It was probably just a select few in the royal, priest & political class that engaged in ritual cannibalization.. the masses got Amaranth instead. To the modern sensibility the commoners probably had the better deal.

However, it is important to note that in Mesoamerican cosmology, the advantaged class had a duty to experience pain & sacrifice to be worthy of their positions... Mayan kings regularly pierced their own penises with a needle made of sea urchin spins as part of ritual bloodletting. The Christian / Western has always been vested in portraying human sacrifice in Mesoamerica as something the acts of blood thirsty, savages however it is probably more likely that they saw it as a very unpleasant sacrifice that the God-Kings & the priestly class had to engage in to save their people from the wrath of the Gods.

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For lunch today I warmed up the griddled Amaranth cakes in a 400F oven and they crisped into a sort of Amaranth totopo*... so I went with a tostada approach. I topped each "totopo" with a dollop of Fage 2% (which I consider to be an awesome, protein laden proxy for crema), as well as Sambal Olek (Vietnamese dried chile & vinegar sauce), and the leftover mushroom guisado... damn these were fantastic I will be experimenting alot with these... you can get pretty creative with toppings maybe some frijoles chinitos (crispy whole beans), caviar, escamoles, Oaxacan grass hoppers etc.,

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* Totopo is often used as the common name for fried corn chips in Mexico however an authentic totopo is a corn tortilla that is baked in a comizcal (traditional cylindrical clay oven in the Tehuantepec region that is very similar to the Indian tandoor)

http://www.folker-wagner-hett.de/Ortstermine/Niltepec/Totopo%20guero/totopoguero.htm

Edited by EatNopales (log)
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However, it is important to note that in Mesoamerican cosmology, the advantaged class had a duty to experience pain & sacrifice to be worthy of their positions... Mayan kings regularly pierced their own penises with a needle made of sea urchin spins as part of ritual bloodletting.

Just sayin': Ouch! Give me an old fashioned hair shirt any day!

Totopo is often used as the common name for fried corn chips in Mexico however an authentic totopo is a corn tortilla that is baked in a comizcal (traditional cylindrical clay oven in the Tehuantepec region that is very similar to the Indian tandoor)

I saw them in Veracruz and I think the Yucatan where they would add dozens of little holes on a large thin tortilla-sized round of masa and then throw it on hot clay pots. They were delicious.

Visit beautiful Rancho Gordo!

Twitter @RanchoGordo

"How do you say 'Yum-o' in Swedish? Or is it Swiss? What do they speak in Switzerland?"- Rachel Ray

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However, it is important to note that in Mesoamerican cosmology, the advantaged class had a duty to experience pain & sacrifice to be worthy of their positions... Mayan kings regularly pierced their own penises with a needle made of sea urchin spins as part of ritual bloodletting.

Just sayin': Ouch! Give me an old fashioned hair shirt any day!

Totopo is often used as the common name for fried corn chips in Mexico however an authentic totopo is a corn tortilla that is baked in a comizcal (traditional cylindrical clay oven in the Tehuantepec region that is very similar to the Indian tandoor)

I saw them in Veracruz and I think the Yucatan where they would add dozens of little holes on a large thin tortilla-sized round of masa and then throw it on hot clay pots. They were delicious.

Very cool... makes complete sense (soft tortillas spoil very quickly in the tropics)... but this is the first I've heard of them being used in Veracruz & Yucatan... which just goes to show you how unexplored Mexican cuisine really is... the Mexico City culinary literary is still busy swooning over Juchitan's culinary traditions... but there is great stuff everywhere in the southern third of the country... speaking of Amaranth.. Tlaxcala one of the few places where its Amaranth traditions were never broken is hardly explored (except by ethno botanist who have identified more than 100 endemic culinary & medicinal plants in that tiny state alone)

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In Mexico, the phrase Grilled Cheese literally means Grilled Cheese (or griddled, roasted etc.,)... although Asadero is specifically made for this purpose, the technique is a great way to use leftover Fresco & Panela cheeses that are either getting a bit dry & oozing liquid.

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For lunch today the Queso Asado was paired with an intoxicatingly delicious sauce of Roasted Poblanos, Oregano Indio & Greek Yogurt... some cherry tomatoes seasoned with escabeche juices & black pepper, & leftover Amaranth "totopos"

To make the cheese, I macerated the slices in olive oil & Mexican oregano overnight then broiled on a cookie sheet at 450F

Edited by EatNopales (log)
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I made mine last night. They were delicious but they didn't look much like yours. I'll post photos later. I think my batter was thicker somehow. My amaranth porridge was almost a paste. I added eggs and Maseca dry. I liked them better when I cooked them at a higher heat. They had a gossamer crunch on the outside but even when saturated with sauce they had a great texture.

First I had them with requeson (ricotta) that had been fried with serrano, epazote, onion and garlic (a trick I learned in Hidalgo as a tabletop addition to beans). This was sublime. Later I had them with some leftover chile/pork thing I'd made on the weekend, but then also with a bit of the requeson. Even with the heavy sauce the pancakes were great.

You need an award, EatNopales! Or at least a big thank you. And I think gluten-free folks would agree.

Visit beautiful Rancho Gordo!

Twitter @RanchoGordo

"How do you say 'Yum-o' in Swedish? Or is it Swiss? What do they speak in Switzerland?"- Rachel Ray

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I made mine last night. They were delicious but they didn't look much like yours. I'll post photos later. I think my batter was thicker somehow. My amaranth porridge was almost a paste. I added eggs and Maseca dry. I liked them better when I cooked them at a higher heat. They had a gossamer crunch on the outside but even when saturated with sauce they had a great texture.

First I had them with requeson (ricotta) that had been fried with serrano, epazote, onion and garlic (a trick I learned in Hidalgo as a tabletop addition to beans). This was sublime. Later I had them with some leftover chile/pork thing I'd made on the weekend, but then also with a bit of the requeson. Even with the heavy sauce the pancakes were great.

You need an award, EatNopales! Or at least a big thank you. And I think gluten-free folks would agree.

Glad you liked them! Yeah the texture of the cooked amaranth was like cream of wheat.

BTW, one of my favorite Indian dishes is a cream of wheat pancacke called Uttapam (sp?) which has slices of fresh tomato & onion baked into the pancake & served with Coconut Chutney... I think I am going to experiment with this approach soon.

Oh yeah a friend gave this awesome, artisinal bean pot from Puebla that I have seasoned & ready to.. can't wait to cook some fantastic frijoles de la olla.

Lastly... the Poblano-Fage-Oregano Indio sauce is fabulous... you don't lose much flavor depth replacing the Crema with Fage, and with the high protein density of Greek yogurt it really makes a fantastic vegetarian meal with a grain of your choice.

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Oh yeah a friend gave this awesome, artisinal bean pot from Puebla that I have seasoned & ready to.. can't wait to cook some fantastic frijoles de la olla.

Your friend sounds incredible. What a warm, wonderful soul he mush have!!!!

I wonder if I had enough water in the amaranth and I wonder if i cooked it long enough. Anyway, it was delicious.

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Why is my batter so much lighter than yours? I did add tequisquite and they did behave more like a regular pancake.

I also added my requeson mix. I am addicted to this stuff.

IMG_2666.JPG

I also tried with varying degrees of oil, all different and all good.

IMG_2680.JPG

This will be a new standard in my kitchen and I bet the kids would love it. Imagine the nutrition, as well!

Visit beautiful Rancho Gordo!

Twitter @RanchoGordo

"How do you say 'Yum-o' in Swedish? Or is it Swiss? What do they speak in Switzerland?"- Rachel Ray

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RG and EatNopales, I want to make those amaranth pancakes! could you give me some directions as to how much water for how much amaranth to make the porridge, and then how many eggs / how much masa? They look so good I can almost taste them, want to try them this weekend!

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