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Tag Archives: exotic ingredients

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Eggplants

I never expected to find eggplant in Mexico. It doesn’t seem like a Mexican ingredient, but none the less they are available and usually quite inexpensive. The Spanish name is berenjena. One of the ways you find it prepared here is in salsa de berenjena, which means eggplant sauce, but I know it as Babba Ghannouj. We like eggplant grilled and in sandwiches but it also lends itself to appetizers.Today, I made couscous and served it with warm caponata. Caponata is supposed to be served chilled in order for the flavours to marry. The last time I made caponata, I served it with bread rounds at a dinner party, it was so popular that I was afraid that no one was going to want dinner.Another tasty eggplant appetizer is eggplant caviar, I am not sure why it’s called that since it doesn’t taste or look like caviar to me. I’ve served both of these as side dishes or even main ...

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Carimañolas (stuffed yucca fritters)

This a dish we ate in Panamà which I couldn’t remember the name of. This recipe is also from Cocina Panameña. I changed the recipe a little for clarity (the filling instructions used to be in the middle of the fritter instuctions) but the original was translated into English from Spanish so some of the wording is still awkward. Please read the notes before you make this for the first time. 3 pounds yucca 3 teaspoons* oil (aceite) 1 tablespoon salt (sal) oil for deep frying Peel yucca, cut into pieces and cook in water until slightly soft. Do not over cook. Grind while warm and knead with oil and salt until the batter is soft but firm. Form balls with the yucca, flatten it, add one tablespoon of the filling and close it, giving it an elongated form (cylinder shape). Heat the oil and fry the fritters until brown. Remove from oil and drain excess oil by placing them ...

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Platanos!!

Yucatan Today has an article about bananas! You can read it here. The range and variety of bananas really is incredible. We eat the tabasco or rotan bananas almost every day. Since fruit ripens so very fast here, we usually only buy a small hand (bananas come in hands!) of bananas, but the tienda that our neighbor’s have across the street almost always has bananas for sale. I already blogged about my love for platanos machos when made into tostones. But you can also use them like you do potatoes, in stews. A favorite meal in our house is carne guisado con platanos. I have decided that guisado means “stewed”, you see cocina economicas offering 3 guisos, which means 3 entrees, but things that are guisado seem to always have some sort of sauce in which they were simmered or stewed. Another way we also like machos is baked with rum and sugar, yum. Then there are the lovely little ...

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Homecooking

Someone suggested that I give cooking lessons. When my girls were in 4-H, I was one of the leaders of the cooking project. That was fun, my co-leader was also the Poultry Project Leader, so we did a lot of poultry. But, I think if you are reading this blog, you already know how to cook and certainly don’t need me to teach you. If you don’t know how, I suggest you learn like Husband did, get a cookbook like James Beard or Julia Child’s and follow the lessons, mastering them one at a time. Or take some classes, it’s a valuable skill. I don’t remember learning how to cook, so I probably learned watching my mom cook, my mom is an outstanding cook. My mom learned from cookbooks, my grandmother didn’t think it was an important skill since she fully expected my mother to have a cook and housekeeper or two. I don’t know where my Abuela learned because ...

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Consider the humble chayote.

The chayote is not a favorite vegetable of mine. It’s a squash, like zucchini and has many of the same faults and virtues. One thing is that I have used it in place of zucchini in recipes with a lot of success, and I can’t resist a bargain and chayote often is just that. The chayote also goes by the name green bottle gourd (East Indian) , vegetable pear, and merliton. I don’t think of it as an exotic veggie, we had it in the supermarket NOB, but while reading Indian cookbooks (yeah, I am the sort of geck who reads cook books for fun, I also read encyclopedias, well used to, I don’t have one here), I got the impression that they haven’t always been so common. I bought chayote because they were $5.90 a kilo. I made cream of chayote soup for lunch today using the non-dairy cream of vegetable soup recipe with the addition of half a ...

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The spice girls have nothing on me!

I received an email from my high school buddy, Carol. It was a recipe exchange, one of the requirements was that the recipe be simple and not use any exotic ingredients. I started thinking about exotic ingredients. Then that led to spices. By nature I am a collector, my garden isn’t an orderly affair of palm trees and ferns like I admire in many ex-pat yards, if one bougainvillea is good then 9 are better. Well, I am even worse with spices, I have 3 plastic shoe boxes of spices, plus jars of condiments and sauces. Everytime I see a spice or herb that I may need someday, I buy it. Sometimes I even use it. Which leads to this post, I thought out of morbid curiosity to list all the spices that I have acquired since I came here. The bulk of them were bought at regular supermarkets Walmart, Megabalcones, Chedraui and foreign food section of Liverpool. Whenever I ...

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