Picture, or it didn't happen

  • Dec. 10th, 2011 at 9:35 PM
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So, that idea of documenting the whole tamales making process? I didn't count on the fact that my hands were going to be all messy and covered in dough through most of it, so for now this is my sole picture of my efforts in tamal cooking.

I'm kind of surprised that they turned out well! They're queso con rajas, which is dough made with masa, finely grounded white rice, homemade chicken broth, lard (next time I'm trying it with olive oil, but decide not to mess with original recipe for now), and salt. In an effort to keep it simple I stuffed the tamale dough with farmer's cheese and poblano and serrano slices. Pretty tasty, although they're missing a good tomatillo sauce on the side.

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My mom, the cook

  • Dec. 7th, 2011 at 10:42 AM
logovo: (Food)
I grew up completely spoiled by my mom's cooking. Little did I realize that other people's moms would not be necessarily be as - um - focused on their cooking. I didn't really learn to cook from her as much as I could have, because she had little patience, didn't cook from recipes, and most times doing 3 course meals was way more than she should have been doing every single day.

Apparently, once I moved out, my mom's cooking started not being as good as it used to be. Talking to her, it seems that I was the one who always commented on how good the food was, and after I left she wasn't as motivated. I have little memory of this, but she insists that even as a kid I always talked about what made food good. Not the technique, that was beyond me until my late 20s, but texture and tastes and comparisons to meals we had weeks, months or years before.

Talking to Mr. L last Sunday reminded me how lucky I was. His mom wasn't a good cook, and according to him one of the best things she made was a spam* and rice dish. Which explains his interest in learning to cook more than the basics and his praise of almost anything I make. But he cooks better rice than me, so he did learn something from mom!




*I've never had spam myself, but since most people make the DDDDDDDD: face when they hear the word spam, and M*A*S*H had a running joke on the awfulness of eating spam all the time, I'm guessing spam =/= good.

Tamales

  • Dec. 5th, 2011 at 1:30 PM
logovo: (Food)
Spent most of my Saturday over in Tijuana with ma', making great quantities of tamalas: pork, chicken, cheese and peppers, and pineapple-cinnamon. We wrapped them up and froze them, ready to be put in the tamalera on Xmas Eve. The whole eating, present opening and partying happens on the 24th, which is pretty convenient, because then we cross the border Xmas morning to spend that day with family and friends in San Diego. My family mostly spends that day eating leftovers in their PJs, so not being around is perfectly acceptable.

Perhaps for the first time ever I'll be able to make and share some tamales of my own on the 25th. I plan to cook some on Saturday as an experiment, although we already have gingerbread men baking planned for that day. Might be too much to even think of making a pound of masa, a tiny amount by any Mexican cook's standard, but still we're talking tamales here. Is there another Xmas food that takes as much time and can be so thoroughly fucked up?

There is also the possibility of pozole, but that is going to have to be on my mom's shoulders this year. No way am I crossing the border again until the 24th. It took me 2 hours to get through.

Figs and other bounty

  • Aug. 7th, 2011 at 8:28 PM
logovo: (Food)
Our summer crops are coming in, with the favorite of mine being figs. They're still unusual enough that every single one is appreciated and eaten with much gusto. We have a young tree in our yard that will have it's first serious crop of fruit this year. Luckily we're getting a lot of sun, unlike last year in San Diego, although we have yet to get any seriously hot weather. That usually comes in later in the year, at weird times, like October.

It feels to me that even more so than good tomatoes, good figs can only be had when you can get to them quickly after ripening on the tree. I've had many bad figs in the past, with tough leathery skins or on the mushy end of their lives, already going off. Nevermind how expensive they can be and that organic ones are probably even more so.

I can't say how much I'm looking forward to experimenting with different ways of serving figs this season and sharing them with our friends.

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Ramen

  • Aug. 3rd, 2011 at 12:52 PM
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I love the Miso flavor ramen with extra pork that this place sells close to the office. It's so delicious and yet everytime after I eat a bowl of their yumminess my body goes WTF ARE YOU DOING?



I wonder if they put in huge amounts of MSG into their broth or if there is something else going on. My mouth will be all puckered and salty tasting the rest of the day.

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Pirahna eating

  • May. 25th, 2011 at 3:40 PM
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Having never fished in my life, catching a piranha as my first fish ever seems to have been the most memorable touristy moment of our trip to Amazonas. I've mentioned it often enough to people around me, including the fish fry that followed, because I thought it was fun. Some people made the D: face at the idea of eating piranha, but my mental rule that 99.9999% of food, if fried, is pretty palatable, holds.

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Food with eyes

  • May. 1st, 2011 at 5:34 PM
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At the farmer's market I got a whole chicken. Not for vegetarians. )

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San Diego

  • May. 1st, 2011 at 6:58 AM
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The light in the morning has been pretty amazing. I'm just looking out our bedroom window into the garden, enjoying myself.

Doing a place called Eclipse Chocolate for brunch with two friends, one of which is driving up from Tijuana. The place is tiny and takes no reservations, but I hope it's a good experience.

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Stop looking at my food!

  • Apr. 25th, 2011 at 11:54 AM
logovo: (Food)
I was reading a blog that said something like, it's really no one's business what anyone else eats, and I was yes, of course! But after mulling it over (and considering how many freakin books I read on the subject of food and food production I should not have needed to think about it that much) I had the *duh* moment when I remembered that while any one individual's choice is certainly none of my business, what we in general choose to eat pretty much is everyone's business.

What the people around me chooses affects what is available to eat and how much I pay for this food. I've benefited from the selections made by others that have resulted either in better quality food or at least more information on what we eat, so I'm grateful to that collective will, but the flip side of that is if the current food culture turned, if suddenly it was back to meat and potatoes all the time, I'd be pretty screwed.

Food is now such a controversial subject in the US, what with the moralizing and then the backlash of I WILL HAVE THIS COOKIE!, that I rarely discuss it to any great length with anyone besides Mr. L, who gets to hear way too much about factory farming and subsidies, the weird luxury of fresh, tasty vegetables and the not-that-slow death of Mexican food culture. Then he runs away.

The moralizing over food was what that blogger I mentioned was trying to poke at, but I came away thinking about interconnectedness, distribution chains and shifts in what we will allow to be sold to us as food.

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What was that?

  • Nov. 30th, 2010 at 4:22 PM
logovo: (Food)
I've been avoiding sugar in quantities greater than might be in a small cookie or a glass of iced tea, kind of an easy thing to do since candy rarely calls to me. Except earlier today, when after a spicy lunch I accepted someone giving me a Jolly Rancher lollipop. About half an hour later I was feeling kind of nauseous and just, IDK, really bad. It took me a while to connect it to the candy, because I've never had a reaction like to sweets. I think it's just my metabolism changing as I get older. I hope that's the reason, because yikes, that was not good.

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Bread

  • May. 19th, 2010 at 1:26 PM
logovo: (Food)
Why is San Diego so bad at making bread? We have something like over a million people here, lots of money, lots of people willing to pay for good food, and yet we have the most mediocre bread among the big cities I've visited in the US.

Come on, if Tlaquepaque can figure it out, there has to be a way for more than 2 bakeries in San Diego to make decent bread. I'll settle for mediocre, by Guadalajara standards, bread!

::weeps bread bereft tears::

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Huitlacoche!

  • Apr. 27th, 2010 at 10:48 AM
logovo: (Food)
I may LOL forever.

For years, scientists have assumed that huitlacoche (WEET-LA-KO-CHEE) — a gnarly, gray-black corn fungus long-savored in Mexico — had nutritional values similar to those of the corn on which it grew. But test results just published in the journal Food Chemistry reveal that an infection that U.S. farmers and crop scientists have spent millions trying to eradicate, is packed with unique proteins, minerals and other nutritional goodies.

And here's a bonus: agro-economists have found it can sell for more than the corn it ruins.- The Associated Press


The reason I looked this up is that someone at the office came up to me to ask about this mysterious and scary looking Mexican food. Apparently it's the hot "new" thing. Heh.

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Tortillas (!?)

  • Feb. 7th, 2010 at 8:49 AM
logovo: (Food)
For the first time ever I attempted flour tortillas last night*. They tasted tortilla-like, I made a big mess and wonder how the hell you get them to be nice and round, but I was encouraged to try them again, this time with lard. See, I made them with evil-EVIL Crisco this first time, because I was not brave enough to try the less easy to work with fat. Or so I'm told! My mom made some with olive oil or (UGH) canola oil, but they never tasted anywhere as good as lard. But lard was verbotten at in my mom's kitchen, to the weird point where she actually used Crisco sometime for tamales, thinking Crisco was healthier than lard. Oh mom, the bastards lied to us :(

Anyway, yes, I feel bad about using Crisco, but now I have some lard in the fridge and think next weekend I'll make another batch and see if I can make tortillas that are closer to a round shape.




*My parents are from Jalisco (central Mexico), where corn tortillas are king. Flour tortillas are more of a staple in the northern part of Mexico. So, mom never learned to make them until she was about my age. I remember her first attempts not producing round and fluffy results, but she learned to do them over time.

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SPN and food (mostly food :))

  • Feb. 5th, 2010 at 8:43 AM
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I don't know exactly how I feel about last night's episode. It had a lot of stuff that I adored, while at the same time the writing kept throwing in stuff that made me cringe. I'm going to let it simmer for a while and not rewatch for a long time, maybe until the S5 DVDs come out.

Speaking of DVDs, thanks to razielsoul I have a shinny new set of S4 DVDs. This weekend might involve some marathon viewing of my favorites, as I plan out food shopping and cooking for the next week.

Tax season is starting, so at home this means I take over all food planning and preparation, break out the bento boxes and try to keep both me and Mr. L healthy until April 15th. I made mole this morning for our lunches, using the paste that I bought in Tlaquepaque. I really like this Oaxaca brand, Mayordomo, and will probably buy more online once I figure out the best place to place an order. According to my mom, the local Tijuana open air market (Mercado Hidalgo) has smaller name brands of Oaxacan chocolate, which I haven't tried, but I tried their pinole and it was amazing. It makes me hopeful for other yummy stuff that I can't get at my local Mexican markets in San Diego.

Día de Reyes

  • Jan. 6th, 2010 at 8:53 PM
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Just said goodnight to friends we had over to share Three Kings cake. It was special this year since one friend was in town on holiday from Dublin and came with her boyfriend, who is from Lithuania. So I got to share a bit of Mexican tradition with some very lovely and warm people. Of course they wanted the plastic baby (a stand in for baby Jesus), even as I explained that normally people don't want the baby. In Mexico, the person who usually gets the baby has to make tamales on February second, so no one wants to go through that again so soon after Christmas.

I'm so full of cake and hot chocolate (and by that I mean I'm on a serious sugar high) that a steak or any kind of animal protein sounds quite delicious right about now.

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Super Cocina

  • Oct. 3rd, 2009 at 1:46 PM
logovo: (Food)
Just had another wondeful lunch at the hole-in-the-wall place that serves the best guisados and Mexican homecooking in town, Super Cocina. Inexpensive too! Give me more of that green chile pork thing that I can't remember now what it was called! Yum!

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Good Mexican Food

  • Aug. 3rd, 2009 at 1:09 PM
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Started up a list on my Yelp! account of places that I really like for local Mexican food. Considering that San Diego has hundreds of Mexican restaurants and taco joints, my list so far consists of 5 places. Sad, no?

http://www.yelp.com/list/good-mexican-food-san-diego

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Tomato plants

  • May. 28th, 2009 at 8:39 AM
logovo: (Food)
Even after being at it for a few years, it's so weird to be gardening. Notes from an accidental gardener. )

Reading another of the "scary food books" I keep buying, this one called The End of Food by Paul Roberts. One more reminder to myself to cut down on our meat consumption. It's just so easy and satisfying to eat meat, but the amounts of meat we eat in this country (and back home in Mexico) are insane.

Aguachiles

  • May. 2nd, 2009 at 8:29 PM
logovo: (Food)
Oh dear. My stomach might not be too happy that I overindulged in some aguachiles today.



But I found a place near home that makes it pretty good and so I bought more than I could possibly eat with some of the best home fried tostadas I've had in a long time.

I usually can handle a lot of spice, but without fat and with the extra acid from the lime juice (and without having to share, since Mr. Logovo opted for the more sedate shrimp quesadilla) my stomach feels a bit like it's on fire.

Need beer!!!

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Magically delicious :\

  • Apr. 17th, 2009 at 9:26 PM
logovo: (Food)
Self, fake Lucky Charms are still Not Food in our book, so stop it with the buying of crap, even if they came from Henry's. They're still crap, no matter freakin organic they are. Yes? Yes.

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