Posts about what we prepare and eat for our main meal daily
I guess that by now most of you who are following us daily are starting to see a trend evolving over the last week or so. It seems that we never have time to do much cooking as we are rushing all over the place trying to put together some big projects on many front. Today is the same as we needed to go out this morning for some business meeting, and we were delayed as the neighbors on one side who are building a house came to visit with their little kids and 3 puppies. Of course a bunch of screaming kids and yapping puppies did not go well with our dogs who joined the fun, the the kids humans and animals on the other side of the fence were just running back an forth raising a huge cloud of dust. Since we cleaned the hose yesterday, that made us both very happy as there is now a huge amount of accumulated dirt everywhere.
I then had to go talk to the owners to convince them that it would be a good idea to finish building the huge wall they started to build and abandoned with the section still open being the center of a huge pile of dirt that the workers are sending to us daily. We have been living in a dust storm for over 2 months now and hopefully they will soon finish they wall so we can breath a bit of clean air once in a while. While we were driving to our meetings we both realized that once again we had forgotten to plan something for lunch. We finally stopped by on the way back to a supermarket and bought a cooked rotisserie chicken and some bread, so I guess we will now go make some chicken sandwiches. I will report later on how they turned out…
As mentioned multiple times we finally manage to have our nice steak as we both had the energy and the weather cooperated for a change and I could cook on the barbecue outside as the wind was only moderate. I quickly marinated some zucchinis cut in medium thick slices.
Prior to that I had prepared some nice baked potatoes and maintained them hot in a low oven while I prepare the rest. About 15 minutes before cooking, I took the steaks out and simply salted them and put some Montreal-style steak seasoning on them. Strangely enough I was raised in Montreal and when I was young you never saw that stuff in the supermarkets. Now I live in Mexico and you can see that stuff all over the place. Go figure… I prefer a simple dry seasoning to my steaks and never use things like oil either on the meat or on the grill. I cook the steaks at very high temperature with the barbecue lid closed, and that has worked for me for over 30 years, so I stick with what works.
I grilled the steak to around medium-cooked for Normita as she likes her meat dead, and to blue for me as I like my meat with a nice crust outside and with the inside at body temperature. If it does not go moo when I stick my fork in, it is perfect for me. We enjoyed the meat as it was extremely juicy and very tasty. Next time we go to town to do some shopping we will definitely buy another side of New York.
Yesterday, Sunday, I had thawed some nice New York cut steak. Late last fall I had bought an entire piece of New York and butchered it myself into some steaks and two small roast. I still have one of the roast frozen and those were the last of the steaks. We were planning to have those yesterday, but we had an emergency and had to go out late in the day. When we returned we were both too tired to cook and the weather was not cooperating as it was to windy for the barbecue.
In keeping with last week’s pattern I tried to creatively used what was at hand in the larder and use leftovers in creative way. I look into what I had around and found some rice, leftover sausages, chopped onions and tomatoes from Friday’s hot dogs, a few small zucchinis, a bit of frozen corn and chile poblanos, and another head of romaine lettuce. My devious plan was done in quick order. I decided to make some rice pilaf. Since I used the hot dog sausages as part of the ingredients I called it a Hot Dog Pilaf.
Making a pilaf is very easy, you put a bit of oil in a pot and brown the rice in it a bit, add your liquid and cook until absorbed. I first added to the oil the leftover onions and tomatoes as well as the zucchini. Then I added the rice and browned it a bit, then added the water with some powdered chicken broth and seasonings and herbs, and a tab of hot chile paste. I mixed everything and added the sausages cut in cubes to the mix, and cooked until the water was absorbed and the rice was tender.
It turned out surprisingly good, as my expectations were not high. We enjoyed the meal a lot as it was no problem to prepare and used up a lot of things we would not have know what to do with. today we will finally have the steaks and I will write about that later when I have a bit more time.
As mentioned earlier, last weekend was so hectic that I did not even had a chance to post the Daily Express. We were planning to relax and in the end we ended up rushing to the point that we forgot we even had to eat. It was late in the day Saturday when we realized that we were both extremely hungry and that we had not even thought about what to prepare. After a few minutes of quick thinking about what we had in the refrigerator, I decided to prepare a quick Capellini Alfredo. The very thin spaghetti like pasta in combination with an ersatz Americanized version of the original fettuccine with butter and cheese sauce was very satisfactory and very quick to prepare.
Since I had a few leftover hot dog buns form the day before I got an idea to make some garlic buns and to used the prepared garlic butter to make the Alfredo sauce. I made the garlic butter with a large clove of garlic and some fresh basil from the plant that is growing so nicely in Normita’s office. It was dying over the winter when it was in the living room, and since we moved it there has been thriving.
Starting with a basic garlic and basil butter I prepared the buns and then disinfected some romaine lettuce to make a nice fresh green salad. I boiled the capelettis and when ready, which only took a few minutes as they are so fine, I drained the pasta and in the same pot added the garlic butter, a bit of milk and heavy cream, salt, and pepper and brought that to a slow simmer. Once simmering I added some fresh Parmesan and when that was well melted and incorporated added the cooked pasta and tossed it in the butter and cheese sauce. We served it with a bit more Parmesan and a fresh grating of black pepper for toppings. It was just great and took almost no time at all to prepare.
It has been one of those days again. Somebody reported to me last night that the theme of the blog did not display the first photo of any page correctly as it appeared after a huge space. The problem only happened with Internet Explorer and everything was fine with Firefox. After I fixed the problem I finally ended up rewriting the entire theme to comment it better and to update things that were from many previous versions and I also started beautifying the interface. The day went by and I did not see it.
Around midday I realized that Normita had invited here sister and our two young nieces for lunch and we really did not have anything to serve them. After a brief moment of panic we ended up looking around and came up with some hot-dog sausages so we asked Normita’s sister if she could not pick up some hot dog buns on her way here. I made some mashed potatoes and Normita made some sugar-free gelatin for desert and a few jar of citrus fruit water and everybody had a good time and ate well. At least we managed to please everybody on short notice…
In continuation of our stressful week today we had the leftovers from yesterday which were partly leftovers from some weeks back that we had frozen. As a first course we had the leftover chicken soup from yesterday that, as usual, was tastier on the second day. We did another quick Mexican dish with the leftover mole from yesterday which had the leftover shredded chicken cooked to make the soup yesterday.
That’s a lot of accumulated leftovers. We made some enchiladas that are essentially tortillas dipped in a chile sauce. You start with some nice corn tortillas, in our case we used some JalapeÃ±o tortillas we bought Tuesday. You normally fry them in oil, but we just cooked them on the comal until nice and crisp.
When the tortillas are nice and crisp, you just dip them in the chile sauce and fold them in half. In our case we dipped them in the mole and chicken from yesterday.
Once you have placed your folded tortillas on the plate you ladle more of your sauce over them.
Traditionally like yesterday’s chalupas the enchiladas are served topped with grated cheese, and like yesterday we did not have cheese so we used a dollop of heavy cream on them.
The meal was very tasty as usual and took a grand total of 10 to 15 minutes to prepare. Now we need to really think about what we will have tomorrow as we ran out of easily accessible leftovers and we will need to actually cook something.
We had bought a nice big chicken breast yesterday and decided at the last minute not to prepare it and use it today. Normita prepared her famous chicken noodle soup again and she cooked the chicken in it. We had that as a first course. We had some mole almendrado we had used a while back and that we had frozen the leftovers. We normally buy fresh mole paste at the market and we use it in a variety of way. Normita added the freshly cooked chicken after finely shredding it with her fingers and reheated it in the mole.
We had also bought some “chalupas” literally some “rowboats” yesterday. Chalupas are made with the same dough as corn tortillas and are shaped like little rowboats thus the name. They are about as thick as 3 tortillas and are normally handmade with a little rim. The ones we bought looked machine made evenly cut from a thick sheet of dough, instead of hand-formed. They are easy to prepare, you put a few tablespoons of oil in a hot pan, or a comal and fry the chalupas in the oil until golden and crisp. You place the fried chalupa after draining the oil on a paper towel on your plate and butter them with a nice layer of refried beans. You then add to it some of the mole with chicken, and you traditionally top them with some grated cheese. Since we did not have any cheese to grate, we topped them with a dollop of heavy cream.
They turned out to be very satisfying and like many traditional Mexican dishes that you eat with your hands they were also very messy to eat, but that is part of the fun of good Mexican food.
As mentioned earlier, today we had some simple ham and cheese sandwich. To make them tasty we added to the basic ham and cheese some fresh avocados, salt, pepper, and some great cooked chipotles from Veracruz that my mother in law had prepared and sent to us today via Normita’s sister. My mother in law Juanita is in town here, but the chipotles she uses are from Veracruz. They somewhat different than the chipotles normally available around here and have a more smoky flavor. Juanita cooks them with piloncillo (raw cane sugar cones) and some carrots and the results are very tasty. We have over a pound of them so we will use them a lot in the coming weeks. They make a great addition to many dishes and we used some pieces to spice up our sandwiches and some of the tasty cooking juices as a dressing.
The meal turned out great with the leftover salad and couscous from yesterday. The French roll we bought at a new supermarket we went this morning was surprisingly crusty and tasty. We will go back there next week as it was much better stocked than the local Wal-Mart and I even found the black peppercorns I had been looking for ages and some coriander seeds…
Today was one of those where we ran around all day without accomplishing much besides some basic food shopping in the morning. Things have been very stressful for us so far this week and we both have not been able to concentrate on much. I decided that it was not worth trying to do some important work and ruin it, so I spent the rest of the day doing some research on many project and gathering data so I can process it properly on a better day.
When we went food shopping in the morning we bough some nice French rolls with sesame seeds and a nice big chicken breast and some jalapeÃ±o tortillas. We were planning to make some nice chicken soup today and with the cooked chicken make some chicken and mole almendrado sandwiches today, and some enchiladas de mole tomorrow. Since we both were not in any mood to cook, we decided to prepare some nice ham and cheese sandwiches with the French rolls with some nice fresh avocado inside, accompanied by the leftover couscous and green salad from yesterday. We plan to do the soup and enchiladas de mole tomorrow. I’ll head for the kitchen and see if I have the energy to split a roll…
As mentioned earlier I cooked some very simply prepared thinly cut pork chops today. Here are some photos of the results.