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caroline

Home Meals

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Esperanza and I constantly return to the realm of private dining in Mexico.

as it's hard for visitors to find their way in to private houses, I thought an example might help.

A couple of weeks ago, Ricardo Muñoz, one of Mexico's leading chefs and food authorities, brought a culinary tour to Guanajuato. He asked if I could arrange a traditional family meal in a home.

This is what we were able to come up with, thanks to my neighbor LuzMaria Gonzalez de Cárdenas. She's the leading caterer in town but on occasion also uses her house as a restaurant. We asked her to leave to one side the "muy elegante" meals she prepares for catered events. What we wanted was a tasting menu of traditional regional family dishes.

This is what she prepared. (Of course families would have only one dish in each course). I won't editorialise right now except to say that I was thrilled by the group's reaction.

Rachel

Sopas

Sopa de acelgas con papas (Chard and potato soup)

Capon (soup of xoconostle with chicharron)

Sopa seca de fideo con frijol negro y queso fresco (thin noodles with black beans and fresh cheese)

Entradas

Chile ancho relleno de frijol y chorizo bañado con jocoque de la sierra (Dried red chile stuffed with beans and chorizo and served with buttermilk from the sierra)

Tortitas capeadas de coliflor en salsa de jitomate (Cauliflower fritters with tomato sauce)

Penca de nopal rellana de nopalitas y flor de jamaica (Penque of nopal filled with sliced nopales, cheese and flowers of Jamaica)

Platos Fuertes

Carne de cerdo en salsa especial de mi abuela (Pork in my grandmother’s special sauce-hot)

Las pacholas (thin patties of spiced beef served with a green salad)

El mole de mi abuela con arroz y pollo (My grandmother’s mole served with rice and chicken)

Postres

Ate de membrillo con queso (quince paste with fresh cheese)

Gelatina de cajeta

Nieve de coco con xoconostle (coconut water ice with xoconostle)


Rachel Caroline Laudan

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:wub:

What a menu! I'm wildly envious and wish I'd been at table with all of you.

On the other hand, I will be in Pátzcuaro and Uruapan over this coming weekend and plan to get a big 'fix' of corundas, uchepos, atole, and enchiladas placeras. There will no doubt be churipo, atápakuas, quesadillas de maíz azul, and other goodies as well.

What a life we lead here--estamos en la gloria de veras.


What's new at Mexico Cooks!?

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I'm just stunned by the sounds of the dishes and feeling thoroughly deprived.

What an event it must have been.

And I have sweet sweet memories of corundas from Uruapan and Patzcuaro - oh to be there again. :wub:

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any chance you would share a few of the recipes of this wonderful sounding meal?


**************************************************

Ah, it's been way too long since I did a butt. - Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"

--------------------

One summers evening drunk to hell, I sat there nearly lifeless…Warren

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Glad it sounds as good as it tasted. I am just closing down my computer to go to Texas for a month. When I return I will work on the recipes. But for now, I am toying with an idea. There are so many skilled cooks in the Mexican provinces. some would like to make some money. Is there any way of setting up a way of putting them in touch with visitors who would love nothing better than a chance to experience fine home cooking? Of course, most could not open for just one or two people. Any ideas?

Rachel


Rachel Caroline Laudan

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Glad it sounds as good as it tasted. I am just closing down my computer to go to Texas for a month. When I return I will work on the recipes. But for now, I am toying with an idea. There are so many skilled cooks in the Mexican provinces. some would like to make some money. Is there any way of setting up a way of putting them in touch with visitors who would love nothing better than a chance to experience fine home cooking? Of course, most could not open for just one or two people. Any ideas?

Rachel

This is a brilliant idea- we should look into it- a friend has gone on small-group tours of Asia where a home meal in the house of real people was included....everybody could benefit!

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On the other hand, I will be in Pátzcuaro and Uruapan over this coming weekend and plan to get a big 'fix' of corundas, uchepos, atole, and enchiladas placeras.  There will no doubt be churipo, atápakuas, quesadillas de maíz azul, and other goodies as well.

Actually, I too will be in Patzcuaro shortly and now I will know what to order.

Can hardly wait. Thanks for that list!


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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Wow. That meal sounds incredible. I love the way you name and describe the food and I have a couple of questions:

What is xoconostle?

and

What do you call a capon (I'm thinking of a castrated male chicken) in Spanish?

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xoconostle?

Isn't it the sour version of a cactus pear? Roberto Santibanez showed me how to make a salsa with them. They were roasted until soft, peeled and mixed with toasted chile de arbol, garlic and salt. Delicious added to frijoles or used as a salsa with tacos.

We purchased them at the HEB in Austin, so they must be available in other HEB's in the U.S.

"Is there any way of setting up a way of putting them in touch with visitors who would love nothing better than a chance to experience fine home cooking"

culinary tourism - the latest buzz word. Yes, getting people - perhaps from the hotels, or somehow getting the word out to hotel guests, working with the hotels, etc. - to get a group together, take them in a bus and go for a pre-arranged lunch in a cook's home. It can be done, people would love it, but who would arrange it, that is the question.

s

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What do you call a capon (I'm thinking of a castrated male chicken) in Spanish?

Capon in Spanish is "un capòn". It is not very common in Mexico, in fact I´ve never seen one here, but I think they sell them in the San Juan Market in Mexico City.

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If they don't sell capons at San Juan market, they appear to sell everything else, including rattlesnakes and armadillos (which must be cooked thoroughly, the same as pork), among other things that I was unable to identify, although my brother took pictures of some of the signs. Some of the animal names are not translatable and may refer to animals that only live in Mexico.

While in Mexico, I stayed with my friend Michelle, and one of her maids cooked almost all of our meals for us. Michelle fixed a couple herself, with assistance from the maids, and all the food we had at her condo in Mexico City and house in Oaxtepec were extremely good. Here's a picture of one course to a meal, which included a black zapote dessert - made with negro zapote and orange juice.

Near the San Juan market is a store that has a wonderful selection of moles in both powder and paste form. We bought the powder form because the maid prefers to make her own mole, and I had her make me a green mole with reduced sugar/sweetener, and I liked it tremendously, although I am not a fan of mole. However, when the sugar is reduced, the mole tastes much better to me, although Michelle told me that it is not mole if it is not sweet.

I'll post more pictures later - we just got back and have lots to sort through. We had an excellent dinner at Ligaya in Col. Condesa, which was our only dinner not at home. Shopping at the market was a lot of fun!

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Oh Rachel Rachel Rachel, it sounds so divine, so delicious, I am so jealous just thinking (here in my hampshire, uk, garden) (where nothing delicious to eat exists with the exception of good bacon) thinking: of the complexity and simplicity all together, oh to be near a nopale and someone who knows their way around it.

thanks for sharing, its sooooooooo wonderful.

if i don't make my way to your neck of the woods soon i think i'll die of a broken heart.

x marlena


Marlena the spieler

www.marlenaspieler.com

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Thanks for all the comments. Nickarte and Shelora, I think something could be done with web pages to set this up. Get a list of people, phone numbers (most of the people who would do this can speak English I suspect), perhaps sample menus and then leave it to visitors to set this up. But when I get back to Mexico, I'm going to be talking to various friends about possibilities.

One of the things that interests me is that Guanajuato (both capital and state) is often supposed to be a culinary desert. That has never fit with the descriptions of cooking I hear from my friends every morning as we march along our accustomed walking route. It just goes to show once again that judging the cuisines of a particular region by restaurants and/or by street food can be misleading even if necessary. Oh and by the way, this meal ran $24 a person including beer, agua fresca and coffee. To be honest, I think that was probably a special rate.

Yes, Shelora, you're right that the xoconostle is a sour fruit of a certain variety of nopal (it's not, as often suggested, an unripe tuna, the sweet fruit of other varieties of nopal). It much used in this part of Mexico and is a wonderful addition to the world of souring agents.

Lars, so pleased that you had the chance to experience Mexican home cooking. I was a bit puzzled about the sweet moles. Some are sweetish from dried fruit, others are not.

And Marlena please make good on your promise to come back to this part of the world for a visit. We can swoon together,

Rachel


Rachel Caroline Laudan

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Near the San Juan market is a store that has a wonderful selection of moles in both powder and paste form. We bought the powder form because the maid prefers to make her own mole, and I had her make me a green mole with reduced sugar/sweetener, and I liked it tremendously, although I am not a fan of mole. However, when the sugar is reduced, the mole tastes much better to me, although Michelle told me that it is not mole if it is not sweet.

Green mole is not sweetened at all, and other moles vary widely in their sweetness. I think it a matter of preference, but the traditional mole poblano is usually a little sweet. I've had it deserty-sweet which I don't like. The Oaxaca ones are less sweet.

There is a great stand in the center of the Medellin market (between Medellin and Monterrey at Coahuila, colonia Roma) which is the market most convenient to most of Condesa, which sells moles in paste and powder form. The pastes are better, but need to be wrapped very carefully if you are traveling with them as the oil tends to seep out no matter how many bags you wrap it in. When you buy a paste, they will add a dollop of sesame and/or peanut paste to the lump for extra flavor. I'm not sure why it needs to be done this way.

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Glad it sounds as good as it tasted.  I am just closing down my computer to go to Texas for a month.  When I return I will work on the recipes.  But for now, I am toying with an idea.  There are so many skilled cooks in the Mexican provinces.  some would like to make some money.  Is there any way of  setting up a way of putting them in touch with visitors who would love nothing better than a chance to experience fine home cooking?  Of course, most could not open for just one or two people.  Any ideas?

Rachel

In Italy they have this. I think it's a fantastic idea. Growing up in LA I had my share of great home cooked Mexican meals. I'd love to try it in Mexico.

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