My food is starting to reflect our new food environment, but there are some eastern things I just won't give up. Like maple syrup, of which I recently got a four-gallon delivery. Hooray for the miracles of modern shipping.
Short version: Chicken, baked potatoes, green salad
Long version: One of the random things A. bought me at the grocery store when he went to drop off our U-Haul trailer--along with the five dozen eggs and the asadero cheese--was masa. Masa is, essentially, flour made from corn instead of wheat. It's used mostly to make tortillas, which I feel no need to make as there are dozens of kinds of tortillas available in stores here. A. thought I might use it to make cornbread. So far, I used it to make corn pancakes--which were good--and to coat "oven-fried" chicken.
I must, however, call shenanigans on the very concept of "oven-fried" anything. Baking chicken in a hot oven on a butter-coated baking pan is never going to be anything like frying. It will not produce the same result. But it can still be good. This was.
In the morning I put the chicken--thighs and drumsticks--to marinate in a mixture of yogurt, milk, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. When it was time to cook them, I shook the pieces in a bag with the corn flour, paprika, salt, pepper, and more garlic powder, then baked them at 425 degrees on a foil-covered pan with a layer of melted butter on it. Flipped them once.
It was not as crispy as real fried chicken, but it was a hell of a lot easier and less messy, and very tasty.
Baked potatoes pre-cooked for five minutes in the microwave.
Green salad with a diced tomato, shaved carrot (I always do shavings of carrot with a vegetable peeler, because I dislike hard chunks of carrot in a salad), and the last of the homemade ranch dressing I made a few days before. Easy dinner, assuming I have it together enough to do the marinating ahead of time, and very good.
Short version: Bunless cheeseburgers, rice, steamed carrots
Long version: I cooked the rice in the pot roast liquid from the week before. And I guess that's all I have to say.
Short version: Pork shoulder, corn muffins, frozen peas
Long version: I put the pork shoulder in the oven at 300 degrees at 9 a.m. and took it out at about 3 p.m. I just shredded some of it, mixed it with mustard and maple syrup, and put it back in the oven to get crispy while the corn muffins were baking. Unfortunately, it mostly got dry, not crispy, but everyone still liked it except Charlie, who announced that it was "worse than mushrooms." Damning, indeed. Apparently, he dislikes mustard in all forms. Good to know.
The corn muffins I made from this recipe. In my continuing challenge to use the big bag of corn flour A. bought, I Googled "corn muffins," and this was the first recipe that came up. I considered it serendipity, as I had just been reading this book, and one of the profiled women was Edna Lewis. Plus, the recipe doesn't call for any wheat flour.
Plusplus, the instructions say to "mix well," instead of "mix until just combined." I get very anxious when I'm supposed to "mix until just combined." What if I overmix? What if there aren't enough lumps? What if my end result is TOUGH? Gasp.
I like mixing well. It's easier and less stressful.
I used yogurt+milk instead of buttermilk, as I always do these days, and I had to add extra milk because the batter was way too dry. High altitude adjustments. I didn't bother with making my own baking powder, because . . . no.
The recipe made more like 15 muffins rather than the stated 12, but no one complained.
They were a big hit with everyone. Well, except Charlie. He ate two that night, but then didn't eat one the next morning for breakfast, claiming he didn't like them. He's a real jewel.
Oh well. Cubby was happy to finish it.
Short version: Tuna patties, roasted potatoes, roasted zucchini/onion/bell pepper, cucumber slices
Long version: Tuna patties=canned tuna, mayonnaise, mustard, bread crumbs, eggs, dill. I used three big cans of tuna to make nine pretty big patties, and they were all eaten.
I used pork fat saved from the shoulder roast from the day before to roast the potatoes. Thrifty and delicious.
The zucchini and cucumber were the last of the last gifted vegetables I got from Rafael. Who knows what he may have next time? More zucchini, I bet. But here in the Land of Enchantment and Infrequent Grocery Shopping, I am happy to accept any fresh vegetables that come my way.
Despite A.'s touching efforts, I don't think we can count on our vegetable garden to get us through the winter.
Short version: Pulled pork sandwiches, coleslaw, baked beans
Long version: This meal featured two New York state products that I brought with me--Dinosaur BBQ's Sensuous Slathering Sauce, and Grandma Brown's baked beans. I'm gonna have to start making my own barbecue sauce and baked beans now, aren't I? Sigh.
Short version: Beef tacos, pinto beans
Long version: And this meal featured two 100% local products--beef and pinto beans.
The story of the beef is a nice one. At the Cowboy Camp Meeting we went to, I was talking with the preschool teacher and her mother--who also works at the school--about where I might be able to buy meat. Not grocery stores where I could buy meat, obviously, but from whom I might be able to buy boxes of beef or whole animals to be slaughtered.
My party conversation is still sparkling, yes.
It turns out that most people around here that work on ranches get meat as part of their compensation. So despite being surrounded by beef cattle, it's not that easy to buy the meat. But the preschool teacher's mother is married to a ranch manager, and they stopped by our house completely randomly on Tuesday night to give us some beef.
They wouldn't let me pay for it, though they did accept a loaf of bread. A loaf of bread for about eight pounds of local beef? Best bargain I've made in a while.
There were three packages of meat. One is a huge roast. The other two were labeled "sirloin tip steaks," and turned out to be thin-cut and tenderized steaks. So I seasoned one package of steaks (salt, pepper, cumin, lime juice) and quickly seared them on my griddle, then sliced them thinly and served the meat in corn tortillas with lettuce, tomato, salsa, and sour cream.
The pinto beans I got from the big bin at the tiny grocery store in the next village over (20 miles away). Close to here used to be a big pinto bean growing area, so they are definitely part of the local food history. I don't think anyone grows them here anymore, but they're still readily available in bulk.
I cooked these with onion, garlic, diced tomato, chili powder, salt, cumin, and the highly gelatinous juices left over from Sunday's pork roast. They were really good beans.
This girl started crawling this day, no doubt fueled by the beans, which she loved. Better than jet fuel.
Short version: Sausage, eggs, tortillas and cheese, tomato and cucumber salad
Long version: A. bought both chorizo sausage and something labeled "sage sausage" at the store when he went this week. I knew the chorizo would be too spicy for the kids--and me--so I made two different pans: one had the fried chorizo with scrambled eggs for A., and the other had patties made from the other sausage and fried eggs for me and the kids.
But of course, this is New Mexico. Even the sage sausage was spicy. Not as spicy as the chorizo, however, and everyone but Charlie ate it with apparent enjoyment.
Jack also ate some of the chorizo, because that was what Daddy was eating. Even if it burned a hole in his mouth, he would eat what Daddy was eating.
I just realized that I made eggs last Thursday, too. Thursday is like our Friday, thanks to the wonderful four-day school week, so I guess scrambled eggs are my version of easy pizza Fridays.
Okay, your turn! What'd you eat this week?