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Marlene

Camping, Princess Style

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38 minutes ago, Smithy said:

I'm sure the Hatch harvest season and the resulting green chiles are at least partially a local production

 

So here's what I have heard regarding Hatch chiles:   There is simply not enough harvest and land around the Hatch area that can supply the Hatch grown chiles to the rest of the world, so chiles are imported to Hatch, dried and/or processed in Hatch or close by enough to be called Hatch and then can be defined by the Hatch name.  I heard this 15-20 years ago when the whole Hatch chile thing took off in the culinary world.   

 

Myth of Hatch Chiles

 

 

 

All the cool kids are now all about the Socorro chiles 😀.  True story.

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45 minutes ago, lemniscate said:

 

So here's what I have heard regarding Hatch chiles:   There is simply not enough harvest and land around the Hatch area that can supply the Hatch grown chiles to the rest of the world, so chiles are imported to Hatch, dried and/or processed in Hatch or close by enough to be called Hatch and then can be defined by the Hatch name.  I heard this 15-20 years ago when the whole Hatch chile thing took off in the culinary world.   

 

Myth of Hatch Chiles

 

That makes sense. Spain's magical ability to export more saffron than it grows (despite using so much domestically) is the result of similar legerdemain.

 

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“What is called sound economics is very often what mirrors the needs of the respectably affluent.” - John Kenneth Galbraith

 

"Not knowing the scope of your own ignorance is part of the human condition...The first rule of the Dunning-Kruger club is you don’t know you’re a member of the Dunning-Kruger club.” - psychologist David Dunning

 

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1 hour ago, lemniscate said:

 

So here's what I have heard regarding Hatch chiles:   There is simply not enough harvest and land around the Hatch area that can supply the Hatch grown chiles to the rest of the world, so chiles are imported to Hatch, dried and/or processed in Hatch or close by enough to be called Hatch and then can be defined by the Hatch name.  I heard this 15-20 years ago when the whole Hatch chile thing took off in the culinary world.   

 

Myth of Hatch Chiles

 

 

 

All the cool kids are now all about the Socorro chiles 😀.  True story.

 

We wondered whether it was a supply vs. demand thing. Thanks for the link to hat great article! It's well-written and informative.

 

As for Socorro ...well, give us time. :)

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Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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After we got back from Deming, we continued south to the border, and walked across to Palomas and The Pink Store. I didn't take as much time shooting photos of the contents as I have in past years, because I was On A Mission for a friend, looking for glassware. Besides, we were hungry!

 

Still, leisure was encouraged. They greeted us at the door with a "would you like a drink?" and cheerfully brought us margaritas to carry around as we perused the store. My darling was more interested in perusing the menu. I enjoyed perusing both. I could spend hours wandering around there and still not see everything.

 

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The view from our table, looking outside to the courtyard:

 

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These gentlemen serenaded us with an extremely creative version of "El Paso".

 

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I know the song well enough to know that the rhythm and tune were off a bit, and the lyrics even more so. My Spanish is very rusty, but I'm quite sure Marty Robbins never sang about drinking tequila in the last verse!

 

I ordered a shrimp salad - I forget where the shrimp came from - and a bowl of squash blossom soup. My darling went with some sort of burger and fries.  I forgot to take a picture of his dish, but I sneaked a few fries and they were quite good. He said it was one of the better burgers he'd ever had.

 

The squash blossom soup was supposed to be a small bowl. It was enough to be a meal on its own.

 

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Then my salad came. It too was huge. The shrimp was deliciously tender, just cooked through, with lemon and butter, I think, for seasoning. The greens, onion and cucumber were crisp and fresh, and the onion had just a slight sweet bite to it.

 

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What kind of dressing did I want with it? our waiter asked. The choices were ranch, bleu cheese, thousand island, and something else - Italian, maybe? I chose ranch dressing, and it arrived.

 

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Okay, so they don't make their own dressings. :D  The salad didn't need it anyway.

 

There was a lot of food, and I ended up taking half the soup home with me for that night's dinner. We floated home on the strength of a successful expedition and some excellent margaritas, and made an early night of it.

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Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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15 minutes ago, Smithy said:

We floated home on the strength of a successful expedition and some excellent margaritas, and made an early night of it.

 

 

 

Well, that’s one way to increase sales! 😂

 


Edited by DesertTinker Technical errors (log)
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12 minutes ago, Smithy said:

I was On A Mission for a friend, looking for glassware.

 

I see some glassware in the photos, was your Mission successful?

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6 minutes ago, blue_dolphin said:

 

I see some glassware in the photos, was your Mission successful?

 

Indeed it was.


Edited by Smithy Brevity, since I can't be clever at this hour (log)
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Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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The frozen tunas are rinsed and draining into the tallest bowl I could find, with a standard footed colander to provide some space between the juice and the pulp and a fine-mesh colander inside that one to block more of the glochids. Per @Shelby's suggestion, I've started discussing this operation in the Foraging for favorites topic, here.

 

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Note to self: if you harvest the fruit into a plastic bag, discard that bag immediately after dumping it. Do not plan to reuse it, because it's loaded with glochids. ¬¬ Those teeny devils are darned hard to spot and grab with tweezers!

 

I've made enough room in the freezer to start a fresh batch of ice. My darling should be happy.

 

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Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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On 11/10/2019 at 7:25 AM, rotuts said:

@Smithy

 

have you even posted full shots of the exterior of the " Camper " ?

 

 

 

On 11/10/2019 at 8:00 AM, Smithy said:

 

 

I'm not sure I have! This photo from Llano shows the whole rig, but not very clearly. I'll add a better one next time we open out.

 

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Here are some bettter shots from our current setup.

 

One of the unusual features of this trailer is the side deck that folds down, with sliding glass doors to allow sun into the living area.  This is one of my favorite features of the trailer. The deck is a good place to hang out in the sunshine (or shade), sitting and listening or reading. The stargazing last night was wonderful until the moon rose.

 

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On the other side of the trailer (bottom half of the picture above) you can see the room glides that move out to make living space when we're parked.

 

At the back of the trailer is the ramp that allows us to get the wheeled toys out of the "garage" when we're parked. The ramp can be set to a level position, as it is here, for a rear deck. This also has an awning and rail, if needed. 

 

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Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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Last night should have been cooking outside. We had thawed some of his favorite "superburgers" -- half hot Italian sausage, half beef, with a generous amount of chopped sweet onion thrown into the mix. There's a fair amount of fat in them, so we try to do them outside where there won't be so much spatter. We do them in a pan so as not to lose the fat to the fire.

 

It was not to be. Couldn't get the camp stove to light. There's plenty of fuel, and plenty of pressure, so our best guess is a problem in the burner somewhere. We'll try troubleshooting later. Maybe compressed air through the tubing will clear it? 

 

In the meantime, I cooked it atop the stove in the Princessmobile, with a spatter guard to contain the mess. The corn was a package of smoked corn my DIL did last fall. That's gooood stuff.

 

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He put his burger into a sandwich, but I didn't bother with a picture. I ate my burger patty with dabs of mayonnaise and mustard. Not very photogenic, but oh, so tasty.

 

Edited to add: we just tried the campstove again, and it lit and ran without trouble. Go figure.


Edited by Smithy Updated stove status (log)
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Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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Although we got the camp stove working, I opted to use the kitchen last night for its better light and the need to stage multiple ingredients. I used the last of our smoked salmon from Northern Waters Smokehaus at home, and several other items that needed using up, to make one of our favorites: smoked salmon alfredo. It's almost a one-pot dish, although if you count the pasta-boiling pot it really takes two.

 

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Salt and pepper and extra grated cheese, as we wished, were added after the photos. This time, I did not dump half the contents of my salt grinder into my serving.

 

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This was the view from our deck before I started cooking. If you look very carefully, you can see Venus framed by the branch circle in the middle of the photo, and Jupiter higher and to the left. Saturn is out of the frame, but about the same distance in line with the others. It's as fine an illustration of the plane of the ecliptic as I can imagine.

 

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Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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1 hour ago, Shelby said:

Looks really good.  Ronnie has been wanting crab ravioli.....you've inspired me to maybe get motivated and do that for tonight :)  Wish I had some asparagus, though.

 

Please do that ravioli, and post about it! It would be an additional incentive for me to get cracking on ravioli-making again. There's no access to crab for us, though. Well, maybe I could find some at a grocery store, which is where we got our asparagus. :) 

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Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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It's raining in the desert! It's raining in the desert! We had a series of much-needed gullywashers last night, and the mountain range about 5 miles away keeps vanishing and reappearing. As a rule when this happens it's due to a dust storm. Today it's due to rain.

 

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An artificial watering hole, known in desert-wildlife-engineering parlance as a "guzzler", was as low as I've ever seen it when we arrived a few days ago: the water level was at least 6 feet below grade, and the submerged tank is sizeable. Last night's rain filled it to overflowing. Somebody did excellent survey work figuring out that a seemingly insignificant small watercourse would channel as much water as this one does.

 

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But I'm getting ahead of myself; my last post was well before we left Tucson, and there's a lot to tell.

 

First off, let me give the summary on the prickly pear juice. I posted in more detail about it in the Foraging for Favorites topic, here. It doesn't taste tart, as I expected; I get sweet honey and burnt caramel. In fact, I think it needs some tarting up. It's pretty, though.

 

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We met with @FauxPas and Mr. FauxPas for lunch one day. As usual, FauxPas had the good suggestions. This time it was a burger joint known for its sustainable practices and ethically-raised meat. This place, Graze Burgers, has several locations in Tucson and one was convenient to a shopping trip my darling and I needed to make. We all agreed to meet for a late lunch, allowing the FauxPas' to get home before dark and us to get our shopping done before eating. The place also sells beer, but it was a bit too early for that.

 

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Check out the fresh-cut fries and the dipping sauces! We all enjoyed trying out the various sauces. I'm not much of a ketchup fan as a rule, but I very much liked their Curry Ketchup. I also thought their Sriracha Mayo and their Fry Sauce (with mystery ingredients) were quite good.

 

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My burger was good, but got rather lost in the shuffle of all the extras I had added to it. The fries were the star of the plate, as far as I was concerned. My darling's chorizo burger was to his taste, but he complained that it had no cohesion. This led to much merriment on the part of the FauxPas' as to what exactly that meant, and they shared a story about having purchased a high-end grass-fed steak and having it fall apart on the grill.

 

I think the best part of the meal, aside from the company, was the fries. They were world-class: crisp on the outside, soft in the inside, not greasy, very flavorful even before dipping.

 

The company was far and away the best part, though. FauxPas and her mister are always fun. Our conversations are wide-ranging, sometimes about food, sometimes not. I always wish we had more time to visit when my darling and I are nearby! Unfortunately, the campground where we stay has a strict 7-day limit, and this was the time we all had available.

 

Before we parted company, FauxPas presented me with a little bag of goodies: a local paper that shows the goings-on for the week (this one featured breweries, so I'll be saving it), a jar of preground mole sauce ingredients, and a red jalapeno hot sauce. Both the sauce and the mole powder are produced locally. I'll write later about what I have done with them, and what they're like.

 

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What a neat gift! 

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Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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We got even more rain in the Tucson area and very early this morning we were awakened by some decent thunder and lightning as well. The sky is clearing now and the sun is shining but we might get another bout of rain later today. I have an appointment and some shopping to do, so I hope it holds off until I get home. 

 

I always find it hard to describe the taste of prickly pear. I think of it as a tropical berry flavour with a slightly chalky note. Someone (can't remember who) described it as a mix of watermelon and natural bubble gum flavour. My husband's 7 year-old grandson was visiting recently and had a sip and said it tasted like wine. I laughed, looked at his dad and asked, "He drinks wine?" I guess he has had a small taste or two.   😄

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And as we discussed, there are a gazillion places to eat in this area. We really have to meet at a more interesting place next time! But that location seemed very convenient for you folks and we had limited time that day. It's always wonderful to see you and I hope we have more visiting time during our next get-together! Our burgers were fine, quite good really, and we agree the fries were good. Also, loved that curry ketchup! 

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On 11/21/2019 at 8:28 AM, FauxPas said:

And as we discussed, there are a gazillion places to eat in this area. We really have to meet at a more interesting place next time! But that location seemed very convenient for you folks and we had limited time that day. <snip>

 

FauxPas and I nearlyl blurted it at each other when we met up that day: burgers are fine (they are especially my darling's preference) but there's so much else to explore! Even along Speedway Blvd, the road we had traveled for our shopping expedition, I kept exclaiming, "Oh look! There's an African restaurant! I wonder what that's about!" "Hey, there's another Middle Eastern place!" "Hey, Korean!" and for those of you who don't know, Tucson is a pretty big place. There's a lot to explore and I hope we branch out more.

 

Since I haven't gotten on to the next big topic, I want to show my first experiments with the mole mix and the red jalapeno sauce FauxPas gave me. Here's a refresher on the mole mix, complete with instructions:

 

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I admit it. I can be cheap, and I wanted to make this stuff last. Did I really have to use the entire can's contents for a single meal? (For those of you who have never made a mole, it is a heck of a lot of work. You can see some examples in eG Cook-Off #9: Mole Poblano.) I decided to try using only part of the can and stretching it with my usual pilaf technique for chicken. I also decided against cooking the mole separately  and adding it at the end to already-cooked meats and vegetables. That used two pans, and I wanted to stick to one.

 

Here's the setup: that lovely mole powder; chopped chicken thighs generously seasoned with some of it; chopped red bell peppers and onions; rice (already soaking) and, though it isn't in the picture, chicken broth from the freezer.

 

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The instructions say to cook the mole powder in oil before adding the cooked ingredients. The aroma was tantalizing...I remember smelling something much like it in a cooking class I took to learn about moles. Ooh, this was going to be good! See the top half of this next photo:

 

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Then I added the onions, then peppers as the onions began to soften, and finally the chicken. Still looks pretty good in the bottom half of that photo, doesn't it?

 

From there I added the rice, broth, and water because I hadn't thawed enough broth. Brought it to a boil, covered, and lowered the heat to a simmer until the liquid was used up and the rice was cooked. This isn't much of a photo, but maybe you can see the air pockets forming through the rice bed to show that it's getting done.

 

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The final result...

 

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...was unfortunately insipid. Not enough broth to flavor it properly, waaay too much rice for the dish, and -- alas! -- we could barely taste the mole seasonings. I did not use that half-can well. 😞

 

Fortunately, the red sauce perked it up, as did salt and (for me) lemon.

 

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This is a HOT sauce; a little goes a long way, but I liked its fruity and sweet notes. My darling couldn't taste those fruit notes and resorted to what he likes to call "Sri Lanka" sauce. That's okay...leaves more for me, and I'll enjoy using this.

 

It's been a long time since I made pilaf; it used to be one of my standards, but I had apparently forgotten the ratio of rice to fillings - and rice to broth. I'll remember more next time, but I won't use any more of the mole mix on it.

 

Fortunately, I have half a can left (and the ordering information for that shop). Go back and look at the mole powder cooking in the oil. You'll see it used properly, sometime during this trip. That was a fabulous smell!

 

Many thanks again, @FauxPas!

 

 

 

 

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Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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1 hour ago, Shelby said:

I've always wanted to make mole, but then I forget about it.  When it enters my brain again, it's always too close to dinner time.

 

I have some leftover moles from a cooking class I took in Duluth, although they've been frozen and thawed so many times I may discover that they're shot by now. They ARE a lot of work, and this hand-ground, canned powder that FauxPas gave me takes all the work out of it. I'm sure, given time, the stuff could go off -- after all, it has nuts in it -- but it seems to me that keeping some on hand would be a good way to have mole available without having to start a day ahead of time. Okay, half a day ahead of time :).

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Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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I got the card announcing the 2nd Annual Sonoran Harvest festival at the Arizona Sonoran Desert Museum.

 

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I thought long and hard before deciding to go. As I noted last year, the first festival was so disorganized that I was disappointed in much of it. Still, there had been bright spots. Maybe this year would be better as they got the kinks worked out. Furthermore, I'd focus on the food. Never mind the animal enrichment shows, unless I could fit them in; first things first!

 

It was better. This year I thought I got my money's worth, even though the price for admission, food and beer had gone up from $45(?) to $60. I'll tell the story in several stages rather than one long post as last year.

 

The first bright spot was that the energetic and inimitable Sarah Lee-Allen, whose presentation features harvesting and processing Sonoran foods with "A Pot, Pillowcase, Blender & Butane", was a featured speaker in the auditorium. Last year I stumbled over her display at a small table somewhere along some trail. This year she had a sound system, an overhead projector, a large table and a specific time slot.

 

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This is what I mean about how animated she is!

 

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She is a funny speaker and told great stories as she illustrated her points. When she talked about harvesting fruit from the saguaro cactus, she noted that the Tohono O'odham harvest it with a tool called a kukuipad that is made from the ribs of dead saguaro. You can see a picture of one here, in the lower right photo. Removing the fruit involves a twisting motion, not cutting, and the cross-member at the end of the pole is the trick. She explained that she didn't have one of those, but she has a clever husband who assembled a telescoping metal pole and a paint roller holder to do the same work. "And when it was all done," she said, "we were ready to paint the house!" :D

 

She talked about harvesting prickly pear fruit and how to process it. There's been quite a bit of discussion, some in this topic and some in the Foraging for Favorites topic, about my recent experiments with it. Some things she said were valuable information. She rinses the tunas a few times before bringing them into the house; that eliminates a lot of the glochids and keeps them from being tracked into the house or making a mess of the sink. Then she whirrs the fruit in a blender and strains it all through a pillowcase. She used to use multiple layers of cheesecloth, multiple colanders, and multiple straining stages. Then she realized that a pillowcase would do the same trick. It's a good shortcut, she said. She went on with cautionary notes: yes, you can reuse the same pillowcases, year after year, BUT...(a) turn them inside out and shake them outside, well away from the house, lest you inadvertently plant a bunch of seeds nearby; (b) wash them and do a double rinse of the laundry; else you'll end up with traces of pulp and glochids and seeds inside your washing machine. "Do not shortcut the shortcuts!" she cautioned, more than once.

 

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Toward the end of the class, when we were all crowding around the table and tasting samples, she asked whether anyone had tried the freezing method. I said I had, with little juice gotten out of the process, and I'd had to steam the fruit instead. "The fruit has to be frozen all the way through to disrupt the cell structure," she said. I think the Princessmobile's freezer just doesn't get cold enough. She also said that in side-by-side taste tests of juice extracted from frozen tunas vs. juice filtered from blended tunas, she and a class had thought the blended and filtered tunas produced a brighter juice. I don't remember what she said about steaming, other than that she didn't prefer that method.

 

She processes hundreds of pounds of prickly pear fruit during the season (she has a dedicated freezer for the pulp and the filtered juice) and they drink some every day. She asserts that her husband's cholesterol dropped dramatically, to the point of no longer needing medicines, some months after they had begun their daily cuppa. Jay, her husband, has come up with some excellent recipes for using the juice. I still have to try making his prickly pear ice cream, but I carry the recipe with me.

 

Other harvest treats were smoked cholla buds and three syrups (mesquite, prickly pear, and saguaro) that I didn't manage to photograph but I tasted or smelled. What I remember about the mesquite harvest and getting syrup from it is that you need the flavor from the pith of the pod. Don't bother popping those pods open and scraping them! Throw them into a pillowcase and crack them, then dump the lot into water to boil. Filter the remains in the pillowcase. To see which mesquite gives you the best flavor, taste them. If you don't like the flavor, don't mess with it any more. Velvet mesquite and Texas' honey mesquite are the preferred varieties, in her view.

 

One cautionary note at this point was that mesquite pods that have been lying on the ground can develop a fungus that, if ingested, will ruin your day and maybe your life. You should be picking the dried pods from the tree instead of picking them up off the ground. Unfortunately for her, the gardener in her neighborhood trims the trees higher than she can reach! To get around that, she waits until the day after the gardener has come by and cleaned up under the trees. The next morning, whatever is lying on the ground is still safe; it's only been there overnight.

 

Her smoked chollim smelled wonderful, but I didn't make notes on how she did that. I did take tastes of these tequila mesquite cocoa balls, though. I plan to try making these. Won't they make a good holiday treat? They're a nice twist on the cocoa rum balls of my early 20's.

 

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Edited by Smithy Corrected "agave?" to "saguaro" syrup after note from Sarah; corrected presentation title; made minor spelling corrections (log)
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Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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I'll get back to the Sonoran Desert Harvest festival, but first I'd like to sing the praises of this prickly pear juice and what it does for my breakfast. My latest batch of yogurt, made just before we left home, has an off-flavor that, truth to tell, has discouraged me from making yogurt lately. I'm sure it isn't dangerous, but it is exactly the flavor that puts us off most "Greek feta" cheeses in this country: what my darling calls a petroleum flavor. I don't know why it happens: time and temperature? Contamination? The starter culture has come from commercial yogurts that I like and that don't have that flavor.

 

I've been on the brink of throwing away the yogurt. Yesterday I got the idea to try the prickly pear juice with it, along with my darling's breakfast fruit salad. Bingo! That prickly pear masks or cancels the off-flavor and makes the yogurt taste good; the fruit adds extra flavor. When I remember to add the flax flakes, I get extra fiber and omega-3 fatty acids. It all tastes good...

 

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...and isn't it beautiful? 

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Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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The ethnobotanists and food organizations were more in evidence this time than last year, although a few were familiar to me from before. I think the festival map was better marked too, to show where each could be found.

 

Iskashitaa Refugee Network is, to quote from their website

Quote

Iskashitaa Refugee Network (IRN) is an intergenerational network of Tucson volunteers and UN refugees from Africa, Asia and the Middle East, who locate, harvest, and re-distribute locally grown fruits and vegetables which would otherwise go to waste.

 

I like the social purpose. I also like the fact that they harvest / glean local food that would otherwise go to waste. If you travel around the southwestern communities like Tucson, Phoenix, and nearly anywhere in the L.A. Basin, you'll find that there are backyard trees planted by an earlier generation and no longer loved. There are abandoned farmsteads with growing crops. There are, of course, the native plants that flourish and provide food if you know what to do with it. Iskashitaa works in the Tucson area to get that food to people who need it. I have already noted that we came loaded with ridiculous amounts of food from home that somehow never got cooked over the summer. We don't need to be buying more; in fact, our shopping has been curtailed to date because of that. Nonetheless I bought these from Iskashitaa. My sister is coming to visit at Christmas, and I look forward to trying the prickly pear/calamondin marmalade with her. She may also like the green tomato relish.

 

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The San Xavier Co-op Farm is owned and operated by a local group of Tohono O'odham. I first heard of them because of their growing Sonoran White Wheat and other heritage grains that are used by Barrio Bread, a beloved bakery in Tucson that I didn't manage to visit this trip. Now I have information about the farm itself: where it's located, when it can be visited. They had a table full of items that I couldn't justify buying: mesquite flours, Sonoran white wheat flours, prickly pear syrups, some other items. Aha! They also had saguaro seeds. I tasted some. Nice crunch. They'll go well on rolls, like poppy seeds.

 

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I asked the young woman at the table whether she goes out for the saguaro harvest. "Oh yes," she said. Didn't she just about collapse in the heat? I asked. She smiled. "Yes, it's hot -- but we go out, because that's when the magic happens." I wanted to ask whether she meant magic in the figurative or literal sense, but couldn't think of a way to ask without sounding like a dumb insensitive houle/gringa/whatever the term would be to a local Native American. So I made my purchase, thanked her and moved on to the next table. The Farm is on my list of places to visit next time around. Maybe I can learn more then. Maybe somebody here knows.

 

The other place I've wanted to find and visit is the Mission Garden, known as the birthplace of Tucson. The Arizona Sonora Desert Museum works with them and there's an ethnobotany display in part of the ASDM grounds. I've read enough to know that the Mission Garden works to find and revive the old heritage crops: the oldest pomegranates they have found are propagated at the gardens, and it's a strain from the original mission. Same thing goes for figs, and so on. I now know that the garden is organized according to settlement eras. It should be an interesting place to visit. The representatives and their table were on one of the rambling paths and I was happy to find them. "At last!" I said, "I've been reading about you for 2 years! Now I can get some information!" I came away with no pictures of their table (what was I thinking) but with viable native chile and onion seeds, and on my way out they also insisted I take some aloe vera cuttings. There was lively discussion about what to do with it. "Keep it in your kitchen to rub on your wounds when you make a boo-boo!" "Stick them in a pot of soil, and they'll grow!" Some said it's best to plant it right away, and others said that the traditional method was to wait a few days first. By default I'm in the latter camp.

 

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The final nonprofit organization that I noticed was the Community Food Bank. Maybe we'll be back in time for their Farm to Table Dinner. Maybe one of you readers will find this flyer valuable.

 

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Edited by Smithy spelling (log)
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Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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2 minutes ago, Shelby said:

My grammy always had an aloe vera plant :) .  Used it on sunburns and kitchen burns.

 

Do you remember how big it was? Can I keep it in a small pot that won't eat the Princessmobile?


Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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