Sunday, October 28, 2007

RFTW - Ready For The World

Tempting. But I'm not talking about these guys!

For the past several weeks, I've used part of my weekends to prep food for the upcoming week. Today was one of those days.

In an effort to eat consciously and eat better foods, I'm working hard on preparing my own stuff. In the fridge, I've got a tub of rojo sauce for quick and easy chilaquiles, crumbled queso anejo and a squeeze bottle of crema. But that's not enough.

So today, I had some chiles that I picked up last weekend at a local farm. Don't know what kind of chiles they're hot and I tossed them into the smoker to dry. Since the smoker is fired up, might as well toss in a boneless turkey breast and a half-rack of pork short ribs for good measure.

Then there's the tub of chipotles that looked a bit too "smoked" from last weekend. Stemmed those and ground them in the food processor and now have a smaller tub of chipotle powder.

The nice thing about having the tube of chilaquile sauce is that I can ladle a couple spoonfuls into a pan, heat it up, pour over tortilla chips, fry an egg, drizzle with crema, cheese and sliced white onion and I've got a great breakfast in a couple minutes.

But that's not enough, roasted up some garlic and tossed a bunch of stuff - including roasted tomatillos, into the blender for a tub of salsa verde that I can use with tacos or plainly on tortilla chips. There were also some avocados and tomatoes sitting around, so I couldn't let those go to waste. Chop, toss into a bowl, mash, add some onions, cilantro, lime juice, salt and presto! Instant guacamole.

The only thing I'm worried about is that I'm down to my last bag of tortilla chips from Tortilleria Sinaloa. If I'm not careful and don't restock soon, I could be in trouble later this week.

But for now, I'm Ready For The World.


true said...

Sooner or later it will dawn on you that the chile is one of the most complex and beguiling plants that we have ever cultivated-- and that us norteamericanos really have no idea just how many flavors are out there beyond the five or six commercially available in our supermarkets. At the depths of my own chile obsession I had at least 80 varieties growing at the house; I met a botanist who had made chile research is life work, and he himself had several hundred varieties/species in his hot houses. He'd send me trays of seedlings from plants that people brought back to him from around the world. Seeds from chile plants found in single villages in the Amazon basin. Seeds from chiles found in rural Vietnamese markets. There are entire species of chiles, like the Chinense (from South America) that have never been grown commercially in the US. One in particular that I used to grow, the Arivivi Gusano from Bolivia, looks like a little yellow caterpillar. Cut it open and it smells like you just cut into a Meyer Lemon. The first hint of taste is like a fragrant kumquat-- then you realize that it is every bit as hot as the hottest habanero. Completely amazing.

Anyway, between this post and the adventures in chipotle, I just thought I'd say keep up the exploration and keep your eyes open for new flavors. For a culture that has so much (i.e., American superabundance), it is dumbfounding how much we have given up.

onocoffee said...

true dat!
I tell you, this whole exploration into the flavors of Mexico this past month and a half has been amazing. The depth, complexity and absolute deliciousness is beyond my expectations. Before I left for Mexico City, I thought I was somewhat versed in the cuisine, but I realise now that I'm just a neophyte. Those days of eating chile rellenos were just the mere tip of the iceberg.

Earlier today I was sitting in the "library" and browsing through some of my tomes on pizza and coffee when I spied one of my Japanese books and thought "gee, I really know next to nothing about food." So many cuisines. So many approaches. It was one of those moments where, just when I was thinking I was getting a grasp of things, I suddenly was being "schooled."