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caroline

eG Foodbog: Caroline

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And this is my chance to say something about one of my favorite things in Mexico, aguas frescas, that whole tribe of lightly sweetened long cooling drinks of fruits, nuts, flowers, grains and so on.  I am working on a project to have a different one from every week of the year and it's more than possible.  I'm not fond of canned soft drinks so these are a life saver for me.

So shock when a Mexico City buddy and ardent NY Times reader,Ruth Alegria,  calls me up and says that Mark Bittman has an article on eating in Mexico, and shock, he talks about the watery juices of Mexico. Hasn't anyone told him, she says, that juice is jugo, and that agua fresca is something different.  Apparently not.

I just had occasion to spend six weeks in Michoacan, four of them with a family in Morelia. The cook, Chila, made a different agua fresca each day. And she would announce them in the morning: "El agua del dia es jamaica." And then later, the soup: "La sopa del dia es tarasca."

There was something about these announcements, and their accompanying solemnity, that made me smile. Not sure why. But she noticed, and from then on in, it turned into a joke. Everything was announced as being "del dia."

And, Rachel, I agree with you. I'm not a soda pop drinker, either. Far too cloying and sweet for me. Those cool, refreshing aguas are one of the best things about Mexico. But very far removed from "juices."

Chila told me that her secret for her exquisitely-flavored orange and lime aguas was to add just a touch of the peel.

And when a particular day's agua was a blend of various left-over fruits, she would announce, "El agua del dia es tooti-frooti." But never without collapsing in a wave of giggles.

Jaymes, that is such a wonderful story. I'm going to make tooti frooti tomorrow! And thanks for filling in for people on aguas frescas. See you soon,

Rachel


Rachel Caroline Laudan

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According to University of California's Agriculture and Natural resources site (the three avacado groups) The Mexican varieties have an anise scent to the leaves and the West Indian and Guatemalan varieties do not.

Yes it seems that the Mexican sub-species Persea americana var. drymifolia has the anise scent and flavour. This doesn't mean that all Mexican avacados have the anise scent, for example Mexico grows a huge amount of Hass and this is likely to be hybrid of Guatemalan and Mexican sub-species.

How strong is this anise flavor? Could I add a some ground anise to guacamole to approximate the flavour?

You could. I don't think these tiny avocados are usually made into guacamole. Most people eat just the flesh or flesh and skin. The everyday avocado for guacamole is the Hass. There's a trend to add fruit to guacamole but it does nothing for me. Mash the avocado, add a spoon of salsa verde, and done,

Rachel

Hass I can do :rolleyes: . I must admit that when using avacado of questionable quality, I usually added samba olek to the guacamole.

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Now those candies look amazing ! And I had forgotten dulce de leche/cajeta, which IMO is the absolute best use for milk. EVER. I can eat dulce de leche/cajeta by the spoonfull, straight from the bottle/can/whatever. No adornments needed nor wanted.

Thank you for sharing Doggie with us ! He/she is beautiful. We need a kissie-face icon for pet photos........


--Roberta--

"Let's slip out of these wet clothes, and into a dry Martini" - Robert Benchley

Pierogi's eG Foodblog

My *outside* blog, "A Pound Of Yeast"

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Rachel, wonderful, wonderful blog. I've only visited Mexico twice, and one of those times I was eight months old (hence no memories). The other was last year, but was on the Riviera Maya in a carefully plotted tourist resort.

Question (and you may have answered this already, I'm not really awake yet, having only had one café con leche) - is the ensaladilla rusa you get in Mexico similar to the one we eat in Spain? Basically potatoes, carrots, green beans, peas and ham with a mayonnaise?

It's one of my favorite things here.

Thanks again for this beautiful blog!

K


Basil endive parmesan shrimp live

Lobster hamster worchester muenster

Caviar radicchio snow pea scampi

Roquefort meat squirt blue beef red alert

Pork hocs side flank cantaloupe sheep shanks

Provolone flatbread goat's head soup

Gruyere cheese angelhair please

And a vichyssoise and a cabbage and a crawfish claws.

--"Johnny Saucep'n," by Moxy Früvous

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Put me on your mailing list so that I can read your memoirs as soon as they appear.  I love all this, Rachel

We could have almost gotten into one of those Versailles-mirror quoting things on the beans alone---with a garnish of Rachel, rachel in the lower corners.

And it just so happens that I am working on a little fun thing for the children for Christmas. It's a lot of things I've had thrown in boxes, old e-mails to and from a dear friend whose cheery greetings from Arkansas bright me as I wait for the coffee to perk, and LOTS of cut & paste from my posts on eG and several other kitchen-related sites. So it's mostly about cooking.

There's a lot of ME in these little musings, and I seem to have shared it with e-world more in the last few years than with my family. So they're getting a bit of it as a little Kinko's-type book, if I can get all those hundreds of pages condensed to a manageable handful.

I LOVE the platter of sweets---we go to a wonderful bakery for all shapes and sizes of pastries and sweet things (it's close to the house, and I did a little photo bit on it last year). I also loved the market display, with the little procession through the churchyard, just so matter-of-factly placing the end of life right out there with the food---like Beetlejuice surrounded by donuts. I think that's a lovely way to honor the deceased, tasting the sweetness of their lives, and to keep their memory a part of life, just channeling the generations as one.

And I LOVE Chila---must go---the cereal del dia is oatmeal.


Edited by racheld (log)

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and Bimbo, which appears to be Mexico's answer to Wonder Bread.*  The baking concern has decorated "Team Bimbo" cars cruising the streets promoting -- what, I don't know, besides the bread.

You'd better believe it's the answer to Wonder Bread. Bimbo is the world's second biggest bakery after General Mills. It rules Latin America, parts of Europe, is very strong indeed in the southern US (a large number of popular brands in Texas like Mrs Baird's are in fact now owned by Bimbo). It's a model of business management, run by the Servitje family who arrived here from the Basque country in the Spanish Civil War.

I don't know what your tolerance for or interest in trivia is (mine is extremely high), but you might find this tidbit amusing:

The US company that now produces Wonder Bread, Interstate Bakeries Corporation of Kansas City (the US' largest wholesale bread baker; General Mills is into so much more than bread -- they were the biggest flour miller in the US, for instance, even before they bought crosstown rival Pillsbury), is operating under Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

What might we expect when the franchisors figure out NAFTA and invade the US?

Check your vegetables!

Well, the tomatillos I see are all at the street stalls on 9th Street and the full-time produce vendors at the Reading Terminal Market. There's more (besides what you've shown thus far)?

What are some of the big franchise operations in Mexico, and what do they sell?

Yup.  I find it exciting to be in a country that is changing by the minute.

Rachel

I can only imagine. I suspect that what we read and see in the US media, focused as it is on illegal immigration, doesn't even begin to scratch the surface of contemporary Mexican society. I got to see former President Vicente Fox on a popular US "news analysis" program, and he struck me as right at home among heavyweight world leaders, giving his blowhard host as good as he got. Going any further here gets way OT, but let's just say I'd trade places with you in a minute.


Sandy Smith, Exile on Oxford Circle, Philadelphia

"95% of success in life is showing up." --Woody Allen

My foodblogs: 1 | 2 | 3

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Rachel, wonderful, wonderful blog. I've only visited Mexico twice, and one of those times I was eight months old (hence no memories).  The other was last year, but was on the Riviera Maya in a carefully plotted tourist resort.

Question (and you may have answered this already, I'm not really awake yet, having only had one café con leche) - is the ensaladilla rusa you get in Mexico similar to the one we eat in Spain?  Basically potatoes, carrots, green beans, peas and ham with a mayonnaise?

It's one of my favorite things here.

Thanks again for this beautiful blog!

K

Thanks Bergerka. I loved yours! The coastal resorts are carefully plotted. One of my walking companions reported, with something between amusement and irritation, that the hotel she stayed in in Cancun had a "Mexican night."

Yes, that's basically the Russian salad here. It seems to be popular across classes as I've heard mother's preparing it for their daughter's graduation from, say, a primary school in a rural village.

I imagine it came to Mexico in the late nineteenth century when, with a few other French-style dishes, it took over much of the world. You find it in Turkey, I believe, and the Parsi community in India. The milanesa that Emilia prepared yesterday is also part of that group of dishes.

Mayonnaise is common in Mexican kitchens. Judging by comments from a range of different people, a tortilla with mayonnaise is an after-school snack or a guilty treat from the refrigerator.

Rachel


Rachel Caroline Laudan

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Y ya. And there you are.

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Your quick filet of beef looks like a delicious quick main course. We have made a similar-looking dish with shrimp and ancho chiles, but I imagine that salsa morita (or the chipotle equivalent) would substitute nicely. I am enjoying this very much, and you have inspired me to dig up a map of Mexico to better follow along. :smile:

its pork filet not beef!! :wink:


"look real nice...............wrapped up twice"

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Susan asked me early on about salsas and I asked her to wait. Finally I am getting around to answering. I do not regard myself as an expert on Mexican salsas. I don't yet have that instinctive understanding of them that someone who has been born and bred in Mexico has.

So what I am going to do here is simply talk abut the salsas we use day in, day out: salsa verde and salsa roja.

First though let's get two out of the way. Occasionally I or Emilia will make what I think is called in most parts of the US salsa mexicana or pico de gallo: that is chopped onion, tomato, chile serrano, and cilantro. This is a very quick simple sauce. Men working on construction projects, for example, will whip it up for their meal.

Second, we will sometimes make a tomato sauce. Chop the tomatoes, onions and garlic (how often do my walking companions when exchanging recipes start out: se pica su jitomate, su cebolla, su ajo . . . .) and chile serrano if you want it, fry in lard or oil, blend. This is the sauce for capeados, the best known of which in the US is chile relleno. Sometimes I freeze this to have it on hand.

As to the powerhouse sauces, Emilia makes these in one quick swoop. (Note this is a simple village method. Fine cooking might well make all kinds of changes). Also you can vary the chiles, fry them after cooking, all kinds of things, just like, say, you can do all kinds of things to a basic bechamel.

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Tomates (tomatillos) and chiles serranos ready to boil.

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Boiled, about 20 minutes at this altitude.

Pour off the water, add a bit of chopped onion and a handful of cilantro. Blend. It should be semi-solid though some people like it more liquid.

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And here's the salsa.

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For the red, Emilia also boils the tomates (but one doesn't normally mix green and dried chiles in the same salsa).

Meanwhile she heats the chiles to release the aroma.

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These are soaked.

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Then she picks out the seeds and the veins, drains the tomatoes, and blends them.

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Behold, a salsa roja.

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We keep one container of each in the fridge for up to a week. They can be used as a sauce on the side, they can be cooked with eggs, you can add them to chorizo, you can use them to cook beef or pork or chicken and so on.

I find them incredibly useful for non-Mexican cooking. Depending on the type of curry, a spoonful of one or the other substitutes for the picante and acid ingredients in the curry. A spoonful of the red in goulash or beef vegetable soup helps a lot.

They are not necessarily particularly picante. The thickening comes from the pulp of the chile and the tomate.

Just wonderful. Couldn't live without them now.


Rachel Caroline Laudan

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So, to our meals. If these seem rather few it's because we don't normally eat a midday meal. We have something in the morning (for me, today, the first breakfast of a couple of buttered hand made tortillas inspired by the tortillas with mayonesa, and the second a couple of strips of bacon with tomatoes and mushrooms). Then we don't eat again until about 6, thus remaining quite out of synch with the Mexican midday comida between 2 and 4 in the afternoon.

I love cooking but usually prepare fairly simple meals. We keep certain things on hand.

Emilia makes the salsas, the fresh OJ (incredibly good) in the gorgeous aluminum hand-pulled machine you see in the background of some of the photos, and the aguas frescas. Today she's also making breadcrumbs saying to me this morning that she thought she'd better since she'd polished off the whole supply yesterday for the milanesas.

I make yogurt since all the dozens of yogurts on the grocery store shelves are sweetened. I'm out of starter at the moment though and have to wait until I get to San Miguel to get some absolutely fantastic yogurt from Remo who is Mexican-Italian and makes the best Italian cheeses you can imagine.

I make endless cakes and cookies and pies and puddings for my husband who regards meat and vegetables as a condiment.

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I usually have basic braised cubed beef in the freezer to turn into goulash, beef vegetable soup, beef stew of various kinds, even curry. Ditto kheema to eat alone or to stuff vegetables, and a ground beef/tomato sauce that can be used for spaghetti, shepherds pie, moussaka etc with various additions. These are helpful as we commute back and forth from Mexico City.

I make bread of various kinds and keep a backlog in the freezer: dinner rolls, spiced breakfast rolls, slicing bread since I can't stand Bimbo. I only make breads that are good softish, the very idea of making crackling crusts in my oven is unthinkable. The bolillos we buy at intervals and freeze.

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Finally last night's dinner was beef ribs with pickled walnuts, mashed potatoes, salad, spinach.

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The pickled walnuts I drag back from England. They are wonderful with cheese.

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Here they are alongside other young walnuts, the peeled young walnuts I bought in the San Angel market for making nogada sauce.

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Rachel


Edited by caroline (log)

Rachel Caroline Laudan

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I'd just like to add something about servants in the kitchen. It's a bit of a taboo subject for those who live in the US and (I think) Europe and many other parts of the world at all. Here's they remain omnipresent in the middle class. As I've heard friends say, you either have a servant or you are a servant. There's not a whole lot of other paid employment for the Emilia's of the world who leave school after secundaria.

I'm not going to address the social, economic and political issues involved here because it's out of bounds on eGullet.

But the culinary issues, yes. Because servants are such a taboo they are either over-estimated or under-estimated. Let's deal with the over-estimating first. I've heard expatriates in Mexico chatter excitedly about how they are going to be able to hire someone who will do their cleaning and cooking. Well if you want someone to really cook, you are going to have to pay a fair bit even in Mexico. Most young girls from the country, which is where most come from, don't have the experience to run a kitchen and have not had access to the kinds of ingredients and dishes that their employers want to eat. A Mexican housewife who wants help in the kitchen spends a good bit of time teaching, supervising, and usually reserves certain tasks for herself: desserts, very often, the final seasoning and so on.

More commonly in the English-speaking world they are underestimated. If you read "ethnic" cookbooks (a term that I wish would go away) published for an English language audience, whether they are Indian, Chinese, Mexican or what have you, servants are the ghosts in the kitchen. You'll find the odd mention. The simple peasant soup they prepare. The mother who consults with them in the morning. The author who loved to go into the kitchen and talk to them as a child. What they don't say, and it's one reason, though not the only one why the recipes often seem so complex, is that there is someone in the kitchen who can wash the vegetables, shell the peas, make the juice, and do a lot of the ordinary everyday chores.

I think if you are interested in the fine cuisine of many traditional parts of the world or of earlier periods in our own history, it's worth bearing in mind this shadowy presence. Not only do the servants do a lot of the work, they bring their own knowledge to the kitchen, they take ideas from their employers back to their own families. They tie together the cuisines of different classes in society.

That's why I wanted to bring Emilia out of the shadows and say up front that she's there, that she's an important part of my culinary life, that I learn a lot from her. That's why I wanted her and Don Bruno to see I wasn't just snapping their pictures but that they were participating in this blog too.

Rachel


Rachel Caroline Laudan

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Well, dinner tonight will be slightly titivated leftovers. So I'm going to stretch the bounds of the blog a bit and do a flashback to a dinner that I had two weeks ago that I'd like to share with you.

Background. Ten miles away and 3000 feet up from here (10,000 feet) is the village of Santa Rosa. Like mountain villages through history, it's poor. It's hard to farm, it's hard to get into the city to work. The men cut the forests for charcoal for the carne asada that are popular across Mexico, selling it to middle men who make all the money.

There are a few restaurants campestre, country restaurants, that specialize in cecina (superlative paper thin beef jerky) and home-made mezcal. And in the last few years, there have been signs of increasing prosperity. The women's co-op that I mentioned that makes truly fine pickles and preserves. A talavera (pottery) factory that ships all over and has provided employment for quite a lot of people.

Even so when we heard rumors that a truly fine restaurant had opened there, we were skeptical. Even more skeptical, of course, that it had any chance whatever of succeeding. In the Sierra de Guanajuato? No. The two wealthy towns that might support it, San Miguel which is full of rich gringos, and Leon which is full of rich Mexicans, are both about an hour and half's drive away. And the road through the Sierra is not a road to drive after a fine bottle of wine.

Anyway, we had friends visiting from Mexico City who were celebrating their engagement. So off we went. Sure enough there it was in a lovely wooded setting.

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I had the tasting menu for $50 ($50 in the Sierra de Guanajuato!), Vivette had the $30, and Larry and Juan chose from the menu. Of course we all shared.

Wow. When we got to the parmesan ice cream over ravioli, Vivette turned to me and said, "Me mató." It killed me (it's to die for), and pulled out the little leather book where she records the most important events of her life.

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It's run by two young (30s-ish) Mexican chefs who have worked in many of the best restaurants here and in Spain, including El Celler de Can Roca in Girona, Spain which has been extensively discussed on the Spanish board here on eGullet.

We were taken to Can Roca by friends in Girona this spring. If you rank restaurants, really good restaurants, I mean, on a scale of 1-10 with Can Roca getting 9, I'd give this a 7 1/2. Seriously world class.

The happy group taken by Vivette.

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I don't have more photos of the dishes. But may they survive and may they only get better. Here's their web site. www.ik-etznab.com with lots of pictures.

Rachel


Rachel Caroline Laudan

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Lovely squaring of the circle you just performed, Rachel. I'm glad you did bring them out of the shadows.

This does raise a question that's as sociological in nature as it is culinary, but nonetheless relevant: Might the widespread adoption of highly processed convenience foods by American home cooks, and the concurrent increase in the proportion of all meals Americans buy at restaurants or supermarket take-out counters, have something to do with not only the migration of American women from the domestic sphere to the world of work but also the general disappearance of servants from all but the homes of the wealthiest? I can think of a time in the US when many homes we would have called--and still call--"middle class" had, and were designed for, servants: the physical evidence of them is everywhere (19th-century rowhouses with cramped top stories, turn-of-the-20th-century streetcar-suburb houses with rear stairs and third floors, both of which were separated from the rest of the house by doors).

All this occurred over the course of several decades, so we who lived through it probably did so unaware of what was happening.


Sandy Smith, Exile on Oxford Circle, Philadelphia

"95% of success in life is showing up." --Woody Allen

My foodblogs: 1 | 2 | 3

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...

I make endless cakes and cookies and pies and puddings for my husband who regards meat and vegetables as a condiment.

gallery_8553_5285_306599.jpg

...

I make bread of various kinds and keep a backlog in the freezer:  dinner rolls, spiced breakfast rolls, slicing bread since I can't stand Bimbo.  I only make breads that are good softish, the very idea of making crackling crusts in my oven is unthinkable. The bolillos we buy at intervals and freeze.

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...

Enjoying your blog so much, Rachel!

I think you mentioned earlier that your are living at 7000 feet. Was/is it difficult to adjust recipes for baking there or are there many recipes there developed for altltude? The bread looks wonderful! (I just moved to 6000 feet and am proceeding gingerly with my baking, which is a great love for me. I have many well-loved recipes that I and my Mom have made over the years and I have some trepidation in how they'll turn out here.)


"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"

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Rachel:

First, thank you for contributing this view of your scholarly and culinary life in Mexico. Your discussion of servants is, indeed, brave and much too complicated for me to comment upon more than to thank you for gently pushing an issue from the background to the foreground.

Your week here is timely for me since I've just learned how to make tamales and starting to make simple Mexican food w accessible ingredients, including the two sauces you just prepared. The salsa roja is relatively new to me--are chiles other than Guajillo used?

As for the salsa verde, I've never seen it prepared w tomatillos and fresh green chiles boiled together! I've only made it either by blending the raw tomatillos or searing them in a pan while charring chiles and white onions. You acknowledge variety. I wonder if it's traditional to cook down the sauce w stock once it is blended, or if this is an American practice.

Finally, I was intrigued by your earlier comment about mole's ties to the Islamic world. At first I assumed you were tracing its path all the way back to Al-Andalus and I puzzled over the connection. Chocolate is also found in savory dishes in Sicily and Sicily was once the site of an Arabian court, but the chronology doesn't make sense. So, are chocolate and Al-Andalus both red herrings? Later, you mentioned Lebanese elements of Mexican culture.... If you are at all prepared to share your theories at this stage in your work, it would be interesting to hear more.


"Viciousness in the kitchen.

The potatoes hiss." --Sylvia Plath

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This does raise a question that's as sociological in nature as it is culinary, but nonetheless relevant:  Might the widespread adoption of highly processed convenience foods by American home cooks, and the concurrent increase in the proportion of all meals Americans buy at restaurants or supermarket take-out counters, have something to do with not only the migration of American women from the domestic sphere to the world of work but also the general disappearance of servants from all but the homes of the wealthiest? 

Absolutely. We´re in the middle of trying to work out a new way of organizing cooking. Because the disappearance of servants is the appearance of a much larger middle class. That's who they--wrong--probably all of us participating in this list actually are.

Rachel


Rachel Caroline Laudan

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Rachel: 

Your week here is timely for me since I've just learned how to make tamales and starting to make simple Mexican food w accessible ingredients, including the two sauces you just prepared.  The salsa roja is relatively new to me--are chiles other than Guajillo used?

As for the salsa verde, I've never seen it prepared w tomatillos and fresh green chiles boiled together!  I've only made it either by blending the raw tomatillos or searing them in a pan while charring chiles and white onions.  You acknowledge variety.  I wonder if it's traditional to cook down the sauce w stock once it is blended, or if this is an American practice.

Finally, I was intrigued by your earlier comment about mole's ties to the Islamic world.    If you are at all prepared to share your theories at this stage in your work, it would be interesting to hear more.

Sure, other chiles are used in red sauce. Pasilla, sometimes ancho and doubtless many others in different parts of Mexico.

I've never heard of stock in a Mexican salsa. For me one of their great joys is that you are free of all that awful stock mess, expensive, time consuming and not really good for home cooking in my opinionated view. Here you've got great-tasting, fat free, easy to prepare sauces that anyone can afford.

If you go to the blog that I've sorely neglected for the past week, you can find the original articles and discussion--try the food history page and last month's postings.

Thanks for the thoughtful comments,

Rachel


Rachel Caroline Laudan

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Since it keeps coming up...

Here on Earth podcast with Rachel Laudan and the Mexican Kitchen's Islamic Connection

Rachel's blog page on related articles

______________________________________________________________________

For me one of their great joys is that you are free of all that awful stock mess, expensive, time consuming and not really good for home cooking in my opinionated view. Here you've got great-tasting, fat free, easy to prepare sauces that anyone can afford.

Agreed, and I've written about this as well and it comes up again and again in my recreational cooking classes. Stock is not necessary for many recipes I see calling for it.


I can be reached via email chefzadi AT gmail DOT com

Dean of Culinary Arts

Ecole de Cuisine: Culinary School Los Angeles

http://ecolecuisine.com

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Then we get to unpacking.  I bought some beans in the San Angel market for Rancho Gordo who will be arriving in a week's time to spend two or three days with me.  He probably has them already but here they are.
I can't wait until we're breaking bread, er tortillas, together.

Ahem. :cool:

With jaymes, of course, who is integral to so many of my Mexican food adventures!

Do you think you will have time to take a class at María Ricaud Solórzano's cooking school? http://www.traditionalmexicancooking.com.mx/index.html

Thanks for introducing María, Farid. I've learned more about Mexican cooking from her than from anyone. Right now instead of nattering happily with all my eGullet friends I should really be getting on with translating her book on salsas. I think it could be foundational. The sauces are the basis of any great cuisine and they have a structure. Most books on Mexican cooking just give separate recipes and don't even take a lick at the structure,

Rachel

I would love to take her salsa classes and maybe have a comparative discussion about the use of spices, nuts, chiles, etc...

It would help with the Mexican conference I am planning here in Los Angeles.


I can be reached via email chefzadi AT gmail DOT com

Dean of Culinary Arts

Ecole de Cuisine: Culinary School Los Angeles

http://ecolecuisine.com

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If you haven't got used to overlooking my blurry, ill-lit photos by now here's your chance.  The shop has been in business over a hundred years.  The display counters came from DesPlaines which always amuses me.

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...

The base of most sweets is boiled down milk, milk fudge.  The flavorings are nuts and fruits. 

Oh my. :dreamy smile:. I want a pile of candied pineapple, some of the sticky circles on the lower right and anything milkfudge.

The Museum of Man in Balboa Park used to sell traditional Mexican sweets in a small shop at the entrance. I was very sad when they stopped. And since then, I have been very lazy, since its unlikely the sweets have disappeared entirely from San Diego.

Thanks for the view of life in Mexico, your way of cooking, etc.

I am greatly enjoying this blog. Muchas gracias, Senora!


"You dont know everything in the world! You just know how to read!" -an ah-hah! moment for 6-yr old Miss O.

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Well, here it is. My last post. Thanks all of you for reading this and for the provocative comments. I've learned a huge amount doing this, which is one of my major standards for whether or not something's worth doing.

As an expatriate, I've been lucky, like many expatriates, to have a certain anonymity in Mexican society, to be able to mix more easily with different groups than an local can. And I realize that my blog reflects this, because all the time I'm veering off into talking about people not about my assigned task, what I cook and eat. What I cook and eat, though depends on those people.

So more thanks to Emilia and Don Bruno, to José Luis Curiel and Mayán Cervantes, to Mario Casanuevo and Susanna, to Carmelita, Lupita, and Angelita, and to countless others. I hope that I've been able to use their generosity to introduce you to my rich and exciting culinary life in Mexico.

No one can live here though and not be aware of La Malinche, the (probably Nahuatl woman) who was Cortés's mistress and translator. Her position is Mexican history is ambiguous, a great woman and a great betrayor.

I'm not Nahuatl, I'm not great anything. But I am horribly aware that I am bridging cultures. It's not easy or simple and it's full of pitfalls. So to all my Mexican friends, please know I'm doing the best I can.

And to all, what better way than cuisine? When language, history, customs, don't make bridges, there's always food. Hurrah.

My blog's www.rachellaudan.com. It's not about Mexican food but about the world view through cuisine. Or you can pm me.

But for now it's over and out. Thanks all and great eating.

Rachel


Rachel Caroline Laudan

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And thanks, Rachel for answering my questions, and thank you Chefzadi for the links, though I blush to see that Markemorse linked the article early on in this blog. I look forward to catching up on the other bits I have yet to read, as well as reading more carefully what I have only scanned.

Two things, though. You probably cover this in your writing, but regarding the mole, what I find interesting is the symbiosis of cultures. Arabs bring spices, nuts, fruits to Spain as the conquerors. Centuries after the end of Cordoba's power, conqueror-wannabees bring tomatoes and chocolate back to Spain from the so-called New World, only to have culinary repercussions develop back where they came from.

Second, I respect your opinion regarding salsa verde and thank you for the feedback. I have enjoyed just about every version I've had and for the record, do not own any edition of Larousse. However, a friend took the freshly blended ingredients of salsa verde and reduced the sauce w chicken stock once. Twas very good!


Edited by Pontormo (log)

"Viciousness in the kitchen.

The potatoes hiss." --Sylvia Plath

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