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I finally managed to cook those pieces of suadero on the barbecue earlier today. My aim was to have something nice and very tender to eat, but it did not turn out as planned. The meat became very though and chewy from the dry cooking, even though it had marinated for 2 days. The main reason is that the meat has a membrane that just tenses up and that was too thick to crisp well. Also the texture of the meat once cooked was not as expected. It looked like something like arrachera, bavette, or flank which has long fibers, but it really does not. I should have inspected it better before marinating it, but since I was too tired at the time it is my lost.

The taste was fantastic as the cut of meat is very tasty and with the added flavoring of the marinate it tasted very good. The meal looked great, and the side dishes were perfect for it. If it was not for the chewiness of the meat it would have been a great meal. Here is a look at the plated dish.

The plated poor man arrachera

Looking back at it I should have slow cooked it over moist eat or cooked it until it was very crisp. The stringy texture would probably go either way. I will see what I can do if I buy some again. I was tempted by the cheap price, and I got what I paid for. A big contrast with the nice pork we bought cheaply at the same place as it turned out great.

Since my motto is to learn something new each day, then I will not go to bed stupid tonight as I learned how not too cook suadero! Like in science there are no bad experiments in cooking, just some that yield unexpected results. No I have to go take something for the heartburn…

Lucito

Today we will have some nice looking meat we bought yesterday morning and that has been marinating in the refrigerator since yesterday afternoon. I was looking for something tasty and cheap as I had a craving for arrachera, but they only had marinated stuff at a fairly high price for the area. Without knowing if their marinade was any good I did not want to take a chance. I found a package of something called “suadero” that looked somewhat similar to arrachera meat, but thinner and lighter in color. The meat looked very tasty and to close the deal it was very cheap.

I decided to marinate it overnight in a marinade I have been using for over 25 years. I think I saw something similar in Gourmet magazine back in those days, and it was used to marinate butterflied legs of lamb. This is one of my all time favorite recipe and I will post it in its entirety whenever I have a special occasion to thaw that nice leg of lamb I have in the freezer. I wanted to do it last weekend, but the people we wanted to invite could not make it. It’s our lost and their lost if they miss the occasion we finely prepare it.

Going back the the meat, I researched on the internet and there are not real consensus on what really suadero is in Mexican cuisine. It is described as a thin juicy cut of meat from the breast of the cow, and depending of what you read it can also be from everywhere else including pigs. I need to ask the butcher next time where is suadero came from. The texture is somewhat similar to arrachera but thinner, and to me it looks like the thin muscle covering over the cow’s ribs as there are similar thin muscles on both pork and lamb ribs. I will stick to that definition until I am proven wrong…

The way I marinated it is very very tasty and it normally tenderizes the meat to the consistency of butter. Let’s see if it works as planned on that meat… You start with some onions, jalapeños, fresh ginger, and garlic cloves.

The basic ingredients of the marinade (onions, ginger, garlic, jalapeños)

You roughly chop those and place them in a blender and add some olive oil, sesame oil, soy sauce, honey, salt and pepper. You liquefy the whole mess and marinate the meat overnight or better yet a few days in the refrigerator.

the first piece of suadero in the marinade waiting to be covered by the second one

Both pieces of suadero marinating and getting more tender by the second (we hope)

Later this afternoon, about an hour before we are ready to eat, I will take the meat out of the refrigerator. I will grill the meat on the gas barbecue and baste it slowly will all the marinade. I will also prepare some oven roasted baby potatoes with herbs and olive oil, and grilled some marinated fresh asparagus that for some strange reason have been on sale for about 4 times less than the normal price at the local Walmart. I guess that I am the only one in the area that buys them and they dropped the price dramatically. Their loss and my gain…

I will take some pictures when we actually prepare the meal, and I will post the results later today or tomorrow… Wish us luck…

BTW, the banana bread from yesterday we had for breakfast this morning turned out to be heavenly!!!

Lucito

A bit after the holiday season this year Normita was in the mood for something different for breakfast one weekend. We used to occasionally buy some bran muffins at the local supermarket when we were grocery shopping to eat for breakfast when we returned home. As everything happening in Mexico in the past few year, things are going down dramatically in quality and prices are increasing just as dramatically. I’ve noticed in the past few months at our local Walmart that baked goods have gone up as much as 50% and the size of the items has been reduced by about one third. Quality is also a lot worse than before.

Due to all of the above we stopped buying most baked goods there, but the craving for something nice remained. Ages ago I used to bake a tropical banana bread with lots of rum inside that the girls at my dental clinic at the time used to enjoy a lot. The recipe is probably in storage up in Canada with most of our things, so that weekend I decided to improvise something. Since baking at very high altitude like where we live (close to 9000 feet) things can be a bit tricky at first, so by trial over the next few weeks I adjusted the recipe until it yields great results all the time. For those who live at saner altitudes adjust the recipe accordingly by adding a bit more baking powder and sugar, and reducing the liquids.

It is something very easy to make and I normally prepare a batch when I get up early in the morning and then bake it slowly. Since we normally have breakfast late around 10am or so, we have some nice warm bread just out of the oven at that time. I had been planning to bake one for the last 3-4 days, but each day we were doing something in the morning that prevented me to do so. Tomorrow morning is our normal house chores morning so I decided to bake one this afternoon while I was in the kitchen preparing other things so that tomorrow and most of the rest of the week we will have some nice banana bread for breakfast.

It is a very easy recipe to make. You start by mixing the dry ingredient together in a big bowl with a spoon.

The dry ingredients all mixed up

You then prepare the wet ingredients in another bowl and mix them well with a spoon.

The wet ingredients well mixed

You then pour the wet ingredients in the dry ingredient and mix well with a spatula and when everything is well incorporated you fold in the garnish.

The ingredients well mixed

The garnishes, in this case raisins and wallnuts, are folded in

That’s it! You then butter a bread mold, pour in the batter and bake in the oven. It is THAT easy!

A well buttered bread mold

The batter poured in the bread mold

The bread baking in the oven

The resulting bread is nice moist and heavy and the richness of the ingredient and the bite of the various alcohol makes it most importantly very tasty. It is a great way to start a day first with a nice fresh grapefruit which are in season and very cheap here these days, followed by a nice piece of moist banana bread with a great cup of very strong coffee. I am drooling just thinking about tomorrow morning’s breakfast.

A nice loaf of banana bread just out of the oven!

Recipe

Dry Ingredients

1 cup flour
1 cup lightly crushed Bran Flakes type cereals
1 cup oat bran
1/3 cup sugar substitute (low calorie fruit sugar)
1 tbs baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbs ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp ground dry ginger
3 tbs caramelized sesame seeds

Wet Ingredients

2 mashed bananas
1/2 cup milk
2 tbs margarine
3 beaten eggs
2 tbs honey
1 tbs vanilla
2 tbs orange liqueur
4 tbs rum
2 tbs coffee liqueur

Garnishes

2 handfuls raisins
2-3 handfuls had crushed walnuts

Preparation

1. Mix the dry ingredients together with a spoon in a large bowl
2. Combine wet ingredients and mix them well in another bowl
3. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ones and mix with a large spatula
4. Add nuts and raising and fold them in with the spatula
5. Pour in a buttered loaf pan
6. Bake at 350F for 1 hour 15 minute to 1 hour 40 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out dry

Lucito

I did not post the pictures yesterday because I could not get the digital camera to connect to the graphics computer last night and I was too lazy to even simply reboot the system to see if it would help, let alone actually diagnose the problem. Everything is fine today so I assume that it was just a transient glitch, though the camera is starting to show its age and is starting to act strange at time.

Yesterday’s curry turned out even better than I had thought and the meat was extremely tender and juicy. I had asked Normita how she wanted the curry and she had requested on the medium side, and it turned out that I aimed for that, but ended up more on the medium-hot side. Actually before I knew Normita, and then moved to Mexico I probably would have said it was extremely hot and probably inedible to me at the time, but now my taste has changed and I got accustomed to eat chiles and it was perfect for my taste and Normita devoured her plate so I guess it was good for her too.

I started with part of that nice piece of pork thigh we bought last week. Before freezing it I had cut it in 3 and froze each piece individually. Here is one of those pieces.

A nice juicy piece of pork thigh

I cut it in small cubes so it can cook a tad quicker as it was getting late and then I floured the pieces in a mixture of flour, garlic salt, onion powder, cumin and curcuma.

Cubed pork thigh

Floured pork cubes

I then quickly chopped a piece of leftover onion, some garlic cloves, and ginger. I sauteed the onion in plenty of olive oil and then added the garlic and ginger. Once the onions had taken a bit of color I added the floured pork cubes and browned them.

Some onion, ginger, and garlic

The pork cubes browning with the onions, garlic, and ginger

Once the pork was well browned I added a few cups of beef stock, so salt, pepper, cumin, curcuma, lots of curry powder, and some chili paste. I stirred everything together and let it simmer for about 30 minutes while I prepared some simple steamed rice.

Simmering pork curry

I very simply plated the dish with some rice at the bottom and a nice portion of curry on top. It was simply heavenly!

Plated pork curry on steamed rice

Lucito

We just finished eating a short time ago and the meal was both very satisfying and very tasty. Normita’s chicken soup had its normal effect of settling our stomachs and relaxing us. Something very needed this week. It is so effective it should be sold in every pharmacy…

Normita's World Famous Chicken Soup - A cure for all ailments

The tacos and accompanying sauce were also very satisfying and we both left the table well fed and in a better mood. What more do you want from a good meal? Now it’s back to work and we both hope to be very productive tonight!

The corn tortillas pre-heating on the comal

Normita preparing the chicken tacos

The tacos cooking on the comal

The plated tacos, one with a bit of homemade salsa and heavy cream inside

Lucito

Today’s day is only marginally going better than yesterday’s, but I prepared a decent meal anyways. I was not sure what the fish I thawed yesterday was, as I have the bad habit of putting stuff in zipper bags and then freezing them and trying to rely on my memory to know what it is. It does not work and I really need to make an effort to start systematically labeling things with content and freeze date as opposed to only occasionally do it.

It turned out to be one of the last pieces of local “dorado” (mahi-mahi) from the over 1 meter fish we bought some months ago. At the same time we also bought a few large “huachinango” (red snapper). We are now down to our last few packs, so we need to plan another trip to the central fish market. The two pieces in the pack were from the tail tip of the filet and not well cut to cook as a whole.

Yesterday I had though of baking them in a tomato sauce, but today I was pressed for time and I wanted something quicker to prepare and something that gives a satisfying crunch when eating, as everybody knows that crunchy food is fun food. I decided to cut the pieces in small chunks, then bread them quickly with some savory breading.

I prepared a quick bound breading with first some flour mixed with garlic salt, herbes de Provence, citric chile powder and white pepper to lightly flour the pieces. I them passed them through a wash with eggs mixed with a bit of sesame oil, salsa “Maggi”, and heavy cream. Then I completed the bound breading with some hand-crushed Corn Flakes.

Dorado breaded in Corn Flakes

I pan-fried the fish in a few tablespoons of soy oil and it yielded incredibly crunchy pieces of fish with a moist juicy interior. I served it with the leftover sweet potato purée from 2 days ago. It turned out to be an very quick and easy meal to prepare that was very satisfying and very tasty.

The plated Dorado ready to serve

Lucito

As mentioned earlier I decided to prepare some thinly sliced pork chops that we bought on sale last weekend. We also bought half a small pineapple and I was planning to use that too. Here is a look at those very thin chops. Thinly sliced meat is very popular here in Mexico.

Here are those thinly sliced pork chops we ate

I ended up removing the flesh from the pineapple husk and chopping it roughly. I mixed it with some quartered mushrooms, tomato ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, balsamic glaze, cumin, salt and pepper. I oven-baked the chops in the pineapple mix on a bed made with pieces of pineapple husk. Here is a picture of the dish as it came out of the oven.

The dish coming out of the oven

The dish turned out fantastic and I will post the recipe in the coming weeks. I prepared some sweet potatoes purée to go with it as it had been ages that we had some. All in all a great meal! Now I need to go take a nap…

Here is the plated dish ready to eat

Lucito

As mentioned in yesterday's Daily Express, I prepared some ribs with an oriental-influenced marinade. They turned out incredibly good so I will post the recipe later this week as they are worth sharing.  Here is a picture to wet you appetite.

Lucito

We have a lot of fruit trees around the house including 4-5 peach trees, 4-5 pear trees, a few orange trees, a few lime trees, a ‘lima” tree which is a citrus tree that gives small yellow orange-like fruits that are lightly sweet, a pomegranate tree, a mandarin tree, a few prune trees, a few “capulines” tree that gives small tart berries, and a bush that produce some type of raspberry. Normally from late April to December we do not need to buy any fruits as the trees are producing a huge crop.

The first crop of the year are the peaches. Our trees produce a few varieties of very small peaches (~1-2 inches in diameter) with just a bit of fuzz and with a very hard flesh. When we moved here we thought they were not edible as they were very hard, but we rapidly found out that their hard flesh is very sweet and juicy.

The small peaches on the tree by the kitchen door.

This morning while we were passing the broom outside the house on the front patio and doing other chores like watering the trees, I found in the peach tree next to the kitchen door a small peach that looked ripe as it was larger than the other and bright red in color. I jumped up to take it and we tried it. Though it would have improved with another week or two on the branch, it was nice and sweet with just a bit of tartness. It looks promising for this season as all the trees are full with new fruits and in the coming weeks we will start our harvest.

Another view of the same tree.

I know someone who will be very happy about this as Bacchus, my Bouvier, loves to eat all the fallen fruits he can find and the peaches, stones and all, are his favorite. There is even a very small peach tree in the back that he can harvest himself and he takes good care of it and “waters” it daily…

Lucito

For all of you who were wondering, the pizza from yesterday turned out stunning. We ate about a third of it and the leftovers are in the refrigerator for tomorrows breakfast, that is if the Boyz don’t beg for it for their supper tonight. It is difficult to resist their pleas. Here is a photo of the results…

Homemade Pizza - Normita's half on the left and mine on the right!

As you can see Normita’s half has an hybrid half vegetarian and half salami slice in the middle as I was sure she would want to steal from my side. I was right!

Lucito

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