MALIBU, California

MALIBU, California

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

going South of the Border for Day of The Dead..Menu Nov 1st

Midnight Oct 31st through November 2nd are the dates when Mexico and parts of Latin America celebrate Day of the Dead.
Originally it went on for these dates but after the Catholic Missionary's arrived they teamed it up with All Saints Day (Nov 1st), so now it might only be held on this date.
I am using the following  vegetables in some form for tomorrows menu:

 Nopales..these are the paddles from the prickly  pear cactus that have been de-spiked and sliced. I cook them first in boiling salted water for about 10 minutes before adding to the soup, and am also adding to the enchiladas

Hominy..this is large white corn kernals that have been soaked in lye..they usually come canned and have to be washed well, when added to any soup or stew they have to be cooked until they pop, they are featured in the Pozole Soup, and the Green Vegetable soup

Avocado and fresh limes...the ripe Hass avocado is for the lime and avocado soup and also for the seasonal salsa that will be served with the entrees.
Always buy hard unripe fruit a few days ahead and let them ripen at your home, this way you are ensured they are not bruised or damaged.
Once ripe they can be stored in the fridge for a couple of days without cutting.

Red Chili sauce...this can be  bought ready made in a can or made from scratch
take 3-4 large  dried red peppers ( you chose the heat you prefer,  by the choice of dried pepper you purchase..ask your store keeper for advice).
Heat the dried chilis in an ungreased skillet and toast them for a few minutes, this will make them more pliable.
Remove from heat and open with a knife and remove the seeds and any stems.
Place the toasted peppers in a blender, add 2 cups fresh filtered cold water, and blend on high speed until smooth.
Add 2 roasted tomatoes, and or 3 roasted tomatillos, one small onion ( this can be scorched too), 2 cloves garlic, salt and  blend well.
Place in a small pan and heat through, check for seasonings before use
( can add cumin or cilantro, or spice of choice).
I am using it to make vegetable cheese enchiladas.

Mole..a pumpkin seed, chilis and chocolate paste, that is also quite spicy.
I don't know anyone who makes this from scratch and I buy my Mole blend from my local Spanish Butcher. The mole paste is mixed with water  or stock, and then used in either a stew or casserole, I am using mine for vegetable cheese enchiladas

Corn tortillas..try and buy these freshly made as it makes all the difference to the finished dish.
I am using these fabulous gluten free "wraps" for both of my enchilada dishes one spicy with mole the other non spiced with tomato sauce.
Fabulous flavors and texture ensuring a freshly made product.
Also dip the tortillas in the sauce before filling and folding, then adding more sauce and cheese and this will give you a much more tender and flavorful dish.

The menu for tomorrow is :

Green vegetable soup with tortilla chips

lemon and lime soup

Pozole with cabbage and potatoes ( traditionally served on Christmas Eve and made with pork)..very spicy and delicious

Entrees..... all come with an avocado-tomato- lime salsa
Spinach and mushroom Strudels with red chili vegetables ( no cheese)

Cheese and vegetable Enchiladas with mole

Cheese and vegetable Enchiladas with a non-spicy tomato sauce

The vegetable mix for both enchiladas includes, nopales, carrots, yams, potatoes,onions, garlic, cilantro plus cheese and the respective sauces

For Dessert

A Blueberry-apple Crumble Pie..whole wheat oatmeal crust with poached fresh blueberries and Fuji apples, topped with broken lemon-almond oatmeal cookies

Lemon and almond oatmeal cookies

 Here is a great site for a granite Molcajete a mortor and pestle to grind authentic Mexican spices:
Imusa Granite Molcajete (Google Affiliate Ad)Imusa Granite Molcajete (Google Affiliate Ad) 

Enjoy the photographs I took today at my local "south of the border" market:

prickly pear cactus fruits

Cut and ready to cook  Nopales Cactus ( paddles from the prickly pear cactus)


Fresh young coconuts

Mexican Papayas

Fresh chilies

Chayote Squash

Yucca Root...peel well and cook like a potato..remove stems which are woody when cooked

Butternut squash and Aloe Vera leaves ( which can be juiced or pulped)

Previous 3..dried chili peppers,in large bins

Sweet potatoes

Corn husks for tamales

Garnet Yams


Center, fresh guavas

Fresh Peppers

Fresh Jalepeno peppers, and in bags small green tomatillos

Fresh Limes buy by the pound

Bright orange marigolds sold for Day of the Dead

Monday, October 29, 2012

The better the bread ...the better the Panzanella Salad

I have often made this salad and find that the better and more flavorful the bread..the better the salad, which really only makes sense; but in restaurants is very rarely seen.

Try and use a good "Granary", wholewheat and seed, a good dark rye, something with some texture to it, please do not use American commercial so called "French breads"/ and Italian Ciabatta these are too light and will result in a mushy salad which defeats the object of this salad.
I have even used day old bagels with some success.

This salad was developed as a vehicle to use up stale bread, not toasted, crust ends, nor moldy breads. It was usually made with bread that was bought fresh the day before as is common in Europe, bread is bought freshly baked, daily.
I prefer to leave the crust on my bread for Panzanella, although some restaurants do remove them, I prefer a salad with some texture.

If you cannot find sweet red/purple onions, then rinse the sliced onions ( brown and white) in running clean water to remove the sulphur, strong flavor, and drain well.

Don't chop the basil, rather tear it into bite sized pieces to prevent it oxidizing.

The best olives are the oil preserved, Kalamata, with large brined capers...also do not use too much salt as the olives and capers add this flavor.

if you do wish to use anchovy fillets, mash them with a little olive oil and use them to make the dressing with red wine vinegar, sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper, this way the anchovies will be emulsified, and a little goes a long way.

Try and use well washed,  very ripe, not mushy tomatoes, remove the stem end with a melon baller , and cut into bite sized chunks.

Once the salad is dressed, the vegetables and the bread cubes, mix well and cover, do not refrigerate, rather keep at room temp. wait at least an hour before serving...and there again toss well before serving.

Don't use too much good quality, extra virgin, cold pressed olive or avocado oil as it should be a tart salad to be refreshing, also balsamic vinegar is too sweet for this salad when tomatoes are at their peak, in season.

This is a wonderful salad

Goes great with anything although made with a really good bread, it stands alone.

Another fantastic dish using "left overs".

The photos below are of the salad before mixing the bread and dressing.

own made sour dough whole wheat with poppy  & caraway seeds, & basil  bread

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Halloween Treats..desserts are all out of the oven

walnut, butter, brown sugar praline that will cook and become caramel under whole wheat oatmeal crust for the Screaming Witch pies

Pumpkin custard for the Screaming Witch pies

The whole wheat crust goes over the walnut praline before filling and baking

Elf and safety cookies

Goblin Gobbler Grub

Screaming Witch pie completed

Goblin Gobbler Grub

Pumpkin custard, no crust

Elf and safety  cookies ( whole wheat, oatmeal, milk and white chocolate chip, cookies)

Happy Early Halloween!

Halloween Prep. descriptions of menu items, on previous Halloween Blog..Photos

Own grown dwarf heirloom eggplants for the Abnormal sauce

Mixed sprout & seed sour dough bread for the Cold Revenge Salad

The Abnormal Sauce for the Loose Eyeballs

Frogs Legs and Slime, simmering

Green Pond Life cooking

Blood thickening on simmer

Green Pond Life ready and cooling, to be packaged tomorrow with added slime

Blood thickened and cooling waiting for addition of maggots

Frogs legs and slime, cooling

Abnormal Sauce packaged & cooling, Loose Eyeballs will be packaged separately

These 3, Blood and Maggots packaged and cooling