Friday, September 14, 2018

Friday Food: Extra-special Shingles Edition


Short version: Teamwork pizza

Long version: My parents arrived this evening and, as a special treat, I planned on making pizza. For the sourdough pizza I make, this requires starting the dough the day before. Luckily, I also made the pizza sauce the day before, too. So when I had to be gone all afternoon on Friday to get my shingles medicine, I could leave behind two prepared pans of pizza dough and instructions for A. on how to bake and top them.

When I arrived home at 6:45 p.m., the pizzas were just done. We used the asadero cheese in place of mozzarella, and no one could tell a difference. One pizza was plain cheese. The other had chorizo sausage and onions on one half, and onions, bell pepper, and beet greens (from our garden) on the other half.

I had also planned on making a salad, but I just wasn't up to it. A. assured me he put so many vegetables on the half of the one pizza that it was pretty much a salad pizza. And there are tomatoes in the sauce. Good enough.


Short version: Restaurant food

Long version: My parents took us to eat at the restaurant in the village. I wasn't very hungry--which I attribute to the virus and/or the medicine for it, because I am NEVER not very hungry--so I didn't even order anything. I was pretty sure there would be leftovers from everyone else's food anyway. I was right. So I ate a little of my mom's chicken fajita salad, the last bit of Charlie's bean burrito, the last inch of Jack's hot dog, and some french fries.

Cubby ate every last bit of his green chili cheeseburger, selfish child, so I didn't get to taste that. It would probably be too spicy for me, anyway. He certainly enjoyed it.

I also sneaked half of my dad's chocolate chip cookie. So basically, everyone fed me, whether they wanted to or not.


Short version: Antelope, bread and butter, roasted sweet potatoes, roasted zucchini/bell pepper/onions, cucumber and tomato salad

Long version: On Saturday morning, Rafael's son Ray showed up at my door bearing an antelope roast. He's a hunting guide, and he had a client that shot an antelope* but only wanted the head for mounting. Thankfully, Ray took the meat and brought some by for us.

I had never had antelope before, but I figured it couldn't be much different from venison. The roast looked to be the hindquarter, and it was big, so I cut it in half. I froze one half, and cut the other into chunks, which I browned. I took the meat out, made a sauce with diced onion, garlic, sliced mushrooms, dry vermouth, and cream, then added the meat back in to cook a little more.

Verdict: Antelope is even better than venison. No gamy flavor at all. It tasted like beef. It was a bit chewy, though I suspect that's because the temperatures here preclude hanging meat for any length of time, which goes a long way towards tenderizing it. Next time I'll be more careful to leave it a bit more rare.


Short version: Pork steaks, baked potatoes, sauteed calabacitas, green salad, CAAAKE!

Long version: Okay, so I actually don't know what the calabacitas really is. That's what Rafael calls it. It's definitely a variety of squash, but when I looked it up online, calabacitas seems to refer to zucchini or a variety called tatuma squash, which doesn't look like his. His have green stripes and a neck.

He told me when they're small--which the one he gave me this week was--they should be cooked like zucchini. But when they get big--and at this point in the conversation, he measured about a foot in length with his hands--they can be cut in half and baked in the oven with brown sugar and butter. I gather from that they are actually a variety of winter squash that can be cooked at the immature stage.

I dunno. I sliced it and sauteed it in olive oil with garlic. It was good, whatever it might actually be.

I also tried a new thing on the baked potatoes this time. There's a product in stores here called Mexican crema that is described as being similar to French creme fraiche, though it is also marketed as a kind of sour cream. It tastes more like creme fraiche to me--less of a tang than sour cream. I like sour cream better anyway, and the Mexican crema has some unnecessary ingredients in it, so I think I'll stick to my Daisy brand sour cream.

The CAAAAKE! was a complete departure for me. I am not prone to making cake randomly (special half-birthday microwave cakes aside), but I had way too many bananas on hand that were heading south. Like eight. And not enough room in my freezer. So I used four of them to make a double-chocolate banana cake. The recipe says they're muffins. I say that person is fooling herself. It's cake. Delicious cake, but I wouldn't try to pass this off as breakfast. I doubled the recipe and baked it in a big Pyrex pan. Like a cake. Because it is.

My dad, who is a cake person like me, appreciated it. And agreed that one should not eat it for breakfast.


Short version: Chicken tacos, pinto beans

Long version: It seemed very fitting to make tacos for my parents' last dinner with us. Tacos were a great tradition in my family when I was growing up. I remember the chopping of all the toppings to take soooo long. Now, of course, with my vast experience with kitchen tasks that actually take so long--three-hour peach jam, I'm looking at you--chopping taco toppings doesn't even register.

You don't scare me.

I cooked the chicken thighs and drumsticks in the morning and then stripped them (leaving me with a lot of chicken stock again, which I was not motivated to try to can again) and shredded the meat. At dinner time, I just cooked some diced onion and garlic, added salt, cumin, chili powder, and a little vinegar, then the chicken and a little stock and heated it through.

I started the pinto beans in the morning too by quick-soaking them (cover with water, bring to a boil, then leave covered off heat for two hours, drain before re-covering with water to cook), and then cooking them with onion, garlic, cumin, chile powder, salt, chicken stock, and tomato juice left over from draining the tomatoes for the pizza sauce on Friday.

I have learned that it's traditional here to cook pinto beans very plain, not even salt, in anticipation of seasoning them at the table with whatever sauce is going along with the main dish. Or with just salsa. I prefer to season them when cooking into something more like chili beans, so I guess I'll never be a traditional New Mexican cook.

I even had avocados this time to make guacamole, which was just the delicious avocado-icing on the taco cake. Yum.

Also, it must be noted that my dad took Charlie and Jack to the playground while I was cooking and my mom took Cubby for a bike ride, leaving me with just the (increasingly mobile) baby to keep track of:

She worked up her appetite by doing some yoga.

She refueled with many pinto beans, which she also smeared liberally around her high chair and person:

Yoga Baby becomes Beanie Baby. (Sorry, couldn't resist.)


Short version: Chicken and rice skillet, cucumbers

Long version: I diced a few sad-looking tomatoes I got from Rafael and cooked them in oil with salt, chili powder, and garlic powder, then added chicken stock and rice. While that cooked, I fried some of the leftover taco chicken in some leftover grease from the pork steaks (yummy because it's pre-seasoned with the spices I used on the pork, i.e, paprika, garlic powder, salt, and pepper). Then I added some frozen peas--zucchini would have been more in keeping with the Mexican theme, but Jack is the only boy who will eat it--then some of the cooked rice, then some cheese. It tasted a little bland still, so I added a little vinegar and a spoonful of "mild" (not mild) salsa.

Ta da! Dinner is served.

I also had a scoop of calabacitas in mine. Calabacitas refers to both the squash and a dish made with the squash that also includes corn, onions, and chili peppers. I know this because Rafael brought me some of the calabacitas his brother had cooked, so I would know how to make it. There are green chilis in it, which makes it much too hot for me, so I'm using just a spoonful at a time with other things to try to tone it down a bit.

It still makes everything too spicy for me, though. I am far too much of a wimp for this state.


Short version: Pancakes

Long version: Yup. Pancakes. That's it. And not with yogurt or fruit or anything that could let me pretend they were particularly healthy either. Just pancakes with butter and maple syrup.

Well, they were at least buckwheat flour pancakes, which have somewhat more protein that wheat flour pancakes, plus they had a lot of yogurt and milk in the batter. And I did give each boy a whole carrot to eat right after school, plus milk with their pancakes, so I think that covers all the food groups, right?

Right. Still pancakes.

Okay, your turn! What'd you eat this week?

* Antelope are everywhere here. We see herds of them on the range with the cows all the time. This means, of course, that I spend a lot of time singing "Home on the Range," mostly in my head, but sometimes out loud. It's so appropriate, it's just irresistible. I just looked up the lyrics, and I encourage you to go read them. I think my favorite line is, " . . . where seldom if ever, any poisonous herbage doth grow." They don't write songs like that anymore.


Anonymous said...

Hope you are on the mend.
That Rafael & Ray - how special they are!

Saturday - ate out
Sunday - zucchini pizza, vegetables
Monday - soup/stew made with chicken & various vegetables, garlic bread
Tuesday - leftover soup/stew with chicken & vegetables, garlic bread
Wednesday - salmon burgers, roasted vegetables
Thursday - salsa chicken over rice, salad, sautéed peppers, onion, mushrooms
Friday - leftovers or sandwiches


Sara said...

I count pancakes as a full meal occasionally!

Look up tromboncino squash. It matches your description. Pick early and eat as a summer squash, cooked as you would zucchini. Or allow it to mature into a winter squash.

Anonymous said...

Our grocery store 450 miles from the nearest corner of New Mexico had Hatch chilies the other week. So much work (that is, in "I hate to cook" terms) but such a lovely treat from time to time. No seeds and no veins make green chilies much less spicy, if you do decide you like the underlying flavor (which I do).

We sometimes have pancakes for supper — whole wheat, with token fruits on the side — but my husband resents the no-meat quality of it so it pretty much has to be when he's not home. Ha.

Someday I should keep a list of what we do eat in a week so that I can offer a relevant comment.


Kristin @ Going Country said...

Sara: Woah, those tromboncino squash are trippy. Rafael's don't look like that, though. His have a much shorter neck. They look more like gourds. I suspect they're some kind of cross-bred thing that just volunteered in his garden and he keeps saving the seeds from them. So I don't think they're anything other than Rafael's unique calabacitas.

Karen: That was a totally relevant comment. Chilis and pancakes are on topic. Not that I care if comments are on topic or not.I just like to read them.

mil said...

I found the calabacitas very interesting--and the translation I found was just "little squash," which makes total sense to me. It looks like a great dish. Every time I read one of the restaurant posts, I'm eager for one of those green chile burgers. My style!

Gemma's person said...

-itas added to a word usually means small or little in Spanish so they could be small Calabasas squash. Just a thought. I am loving learning about all the newe food and how you are dealing with it. I bet Rafael and his family are proud to have you be so welcoming to their offerings. Have you mentioned needing a freezer to him. He would probably know someone who had one to get rid of. Or anyone you meet probably. One day there could be a white pickup coming up the street with another prize for you.

Kristin @ Going Country said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kristin @ Going Country said...

G.P.: "Calabaza" is the Spanish word for pumpkin, but also a general word for squash. We don't really have room in this house for a freezer, unfortunately. It's a problem.

tu mere said...

I can totally vouch for the awesomeness of the meals we ate that you just described! You're truly one innovative, great cook.

We ate one very large zuccihini you sent which I sliced and broiled with italian dressing and parmesan cheese. Still have more along with lots of cucumbers. Thanks for sharing!