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The Verdad La Mexicana Comida Esta Out There….

1 Aug

So these three youthful Midwesterners are at NYC’s La Guardia airport baggage claim abuzz with anticipatory crackish then/Red Bullish ahora pre-embarking adrenaline rush exclusive to both visitors and residents of Gotham and maximum security prisons.

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What today would have been a text and/or tweet shared among friends we the public actually participated – okay eavesdropped – in their animated public discourse.

And what today would have been a Yelp! search actually turned into a lively debate with real opinions shared from real live experience instead of online strangers.

To the dulcet caterwaul – with occasional thud – of a luggage carousel – this husky body politic weighed in on Chicago vs New York pizza: ‘I can’t wait to try Domino’s. I bet it’s way better here.’ ‘No way, ‘Yes way’ ‘No way’ ‘yes way’ ‘Chicago’ ‘New York’ Chicago New York and on and on and on and maybe text might have been less Valley Girly and distracting so the rest of us could focus on our opinions and obvious superior big city sophisticated taste, grab bags, turn up noses, bolt.

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All but yo en verdad. Mi cargo fue returning con yo from Mexico. While the fuerte opinions blogged aqui suggest otrowise. I am still here to tell you the only reason Taco Bell en Mexico is better albeit more authentic than Taco Bell en Esatdos Unidos por que you get to order en Espanol.

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And even though I’ve been called a snob because I refuse to eat @Chipotle – which is to Mexico as Red Lobster is to the sea – you can’t feed a more Catholic, democratic, open and omnivorous maw than mine. Beyond therapy for my PTAzMexSD, the entire purpose of this here blogging a la Marco Pollo is to document my quest for el Cocina Mexicana ultima outside the friendly confines of mi beloved Sonoran desert. I know it exists, even if I have to make it so in mi own cocineria por ejemplo:

 

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I can’t believe you’re not Midwesternican pollo asado y chile verde y cream of chicken y corn tortillas that taste like dumplings y cheese casserolenchiladas

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The chipotle variation (the chile not the chain)

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North Carolina BBQ pork/Trader JoseNM salsa verde/avocado/refried frijoles/Trader Jose flour tort/burro

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Elotes/frijoles/pollo asado tacos con cilantro y radishes from our urban parking garage rooftop garden

Or when I have to burn $5 on some breakfast burrito from Pret-a-Porte labeled ‘Southwestern’ because maybe that’s what Mexican food is like in France?

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Egg Soufflé (Cage free) Refried Black Bean Salsa Red Peppers Cheddar Red Onions Tortilla Wrap

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*To the credit of the Midwesterners who I had no intention of having personify the acronym IOWA (idiots out wandering aimlessly) the very same week I took again to wandering yet again NYC’s sts/aves rather aimlessly, confident enough in my Espanol lengua to order for lunch – much to the delight of the entire diner – a Cubana Torta’ (trans: Cuban Prostitue) and also overheard the following exchange along the way:

Scene: 8th Ave, Times Square, NYC before the greasy window of a Chinese take-out joint tastefully appointed with garlands of Peking Duck.

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Cast: Two young men with Long Island accents sporting Yankees caps – backwards….of, course – studying the menu:

 

‘Peking Duck?’

‘Yeah.’

‘How the fuck they know that duck’s

from Peking?’
And it probably tasted just as good as Long Island duck in Chinatown Chicago.

La Babysitter Chow: New Flavor!

18 Jul

Chef Dinty Moore

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Chef Boy-ar-dee

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Chef Franco American

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Chef Campbells

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If this roll call of classic American seventies canned cooking kings jars loose more than one memory of the dozens wherein mom and dad, mom and mom, dad and dad, mom, dad, mom and the milkman, or dad and the piano teacher closed down the family cocineria for a night and/or days off to ‘play bridge’ or “talk to a man about a horse” and left dinner in the mildly capable hands of a daft teenager, then you too have beheld upon your lengua the sublime glory that be babysitter chow.

Usually pre home economics – therefore befuddled by any kitchen utensil more sophisticated than a can opener time was babysitter chow filled the tummies, hearts and arteries of my gring@ generation (Sandwich) though doubtfully that of Gens X, Y and Z. Always canned, often zesty, made with meat of an unknown origin, ever a treat big time, and offering roughly less than or equal to nutritional value of Alpo: Bow Wow!

Yum si, and yet as El Papa Grande of dos los ninos, speaking for my own family and on behalf of our babysitters, not a single product by these great chefs of yore shall ever pass through the lips and onto the palates of mi children. Not por que yo o mi esposa could ever be accused of not banning such delights from our home, no. We are neither food puritans nor paranoias. Tis por que the kids simply don’t care for it. (Okay, that and for now at least, my love for cooking for and feeding our lot simply won’t allow me to let anyone outside of the family or our local donut shop to make food for the table (and floor).) This of no duh doesn’t mean I won’t continue to feast on the Great Chefs of North America’s finest fixings.

 

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I felt somewhat restricted to exposing my babysitter food fetish on a blog bound to comida Mexicana tipica with so few being of the Mexican persuasion, limiting myself ot a mere espousing  at some length on the glories of Chef Dinty Moore’s tamales, even then within the context of tamales rather than babysitters. (Scroll back if yer so inclined.)  So if you care to, imagine el jig I improvised in aisle 7B at the local Jewel when abracadabra these Beefy TacOs reached out and grabbed mi los ojos:

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Quicker than you can say “Honey, have you been using more glue and brown paper bags than usual? I’ve noticed since babysitter XXXX started we’ve been running out of that and Scotch Guard a lot lately?” I beelined to the cocineria to heat up a saucepan, rock a can opener, grab a tort and sink mi dentes into a spoonful of Chef Campbells appeal to the latin@ vote.

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Esta Good, you betcha. As great as the myriad memories of running wild and free in the house with the parents at the dog track and the babysitter huffed out on Testors and is that Beefaroni I smell burning on the stove top? Hellifiknow, check back with me in about 30 years.

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Not Totally Orignial* El Sangre de Vida Picante Sauce (Kojack var.**)

31 Jan

What makes Mexican food Mexican?

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Mexicans?

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Kojak?

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Where that that it estar, cuz Mexican food is all we eat when we eat out. From Mickey D’s on up the foodie chain. As much as The Food Networks try and present otherwise (oh do I so pray for the premiere of Meso-America’s top chef: ‘Tonight’s ingredient: the human heart.”) the novicest CSI gets that what’s plated before them eating out hecho by Mexciano bro/bra. And if you pensar about it, most your produce and meat and packaged goods pass though brown manos. Ergo mi amigos….

The point estando? My guess is that top five answers to our query might prove to be considerably more short-sighted than the previous paragraph’s pontification proposition.

For the love of Richard Dawson, we aqui @ IFAG posed this question of ‘What makes Mexican food Mexican?’ to the #Joneses.

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‘What makes Mexican food Mexican?’

Survey sez:

  1. Chips & Salsa
  2. Taco Bell
  3. Rick Bayless
  4. Tortillas (pronounced : Tor till uhz)
  5. Margaritas

In all fairness to the googles, survey monkeys and Family Feud who contributed to the findings presented aqui, I’ll agree to disagree. As always yo estoy aqui to inform, confirm and condemn, confuse. Mira, this ain’t no trick question, this ain’t no disco, this ain’t no foolin’ around. At the corazon of all listed foods Mexican – except Rick Bayless –  runs a common stream – mi número uno answer-deep, red and vital: blood.

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Call me a broken record, a scratched CDDDDDDDDDDD, a glitched MP3, a dementia patient a dementia patient, a dementia patient for repeating mi self but this bares (or is it bears? – chingada!) repeating: Sangre es El Santa del comida Mexicana perfecto. El proof esta en the blood pudding.

Y yo estoy here to blog you brothers and sisters I inexplicably avoided opening myself up to risk death by epic coconeria failure – and knife blade – for nigh nearly a half century until only last week when at first try yo long last divined a batch of this sacred, holy, and profane comida Mexicana lifeforce.

Of course I’m a chief rocking a mad metaphor here but you try and travel through Mexico without either A.) Bleeding  or B.) Noticing much of Mexico’s history esta escribir en Sangre (the bloody revolutions, the bloody conquistadors, Los Indios blood sacrifices, Narco blood sacrifices, the bloody bullfights, bloody Christo (of the cross, not Central Park).

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You no snap a selfie with any of this? Try leaving Club Med next time.

On the literal tip, para me, que gives comida Mexico its vida, its cojones, its ability to resurrect the sorriest slab o carne, the stalest nacho, make Taco Bell not suck? Sangre aka el sauce picante. Not salsa, gracias very mucho. Yo hablando hot sauce. No fucking cumin, no tomatoes, no cute labels or names or commercials. El deal real.

Sure, you’ve got your Chollas y Valentinas y Buffalos y Pico Paca y others I forget even the closest spelling of, all  welcome additions to comidas tipica and especially hot dogs. (I blog not of the obnoxious “Hotter than _________” and/or “Hot Coal Colonic” variety favored by diners more concerned with the grade of their toilet paper than the quality of their meals aqui.)  But, and this is a big but – but not one en fuego por que picante – once you divine a batch of your own making, starting with this here recipe of course, you too shall uncover several picante milagros of your own making.  En mi cocina por ejemplo, a soggy, salty batch of black beans were transmutated by this blood  into the “Best thing you’ve ever cooked for me” – Mi Esposa. (Sangre + NM red enchilada sauce + dried/cooked frjoes negros con Goya adobo seasoning = Amor).

‘nuff of this blogging…onto the bloody manna

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Not Totally Orignial* El Sangre de Vida Picante Sauce (Kojack var.**)


The Batch Size

1 ¼ cup = avg hot sauce bottle (dump whatever’s been clotting in the fridge, on the counter, etc and wash out bottle and scrape off gluey label; FYI most old hot sauces serve as an excellent de-gluer; viva repurposing!)

The Contents

The dry/smoked whole chile peppers (usually on a rack in produce or ethnic foods in clear plastic bags. I grabbed one of each not knowing what to expect. Siri no hablo espanol so no checking with that fickle gringa puta.)

 

1 – Mulato

2 – Pulla

2 – Japones

1 – Arbol

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1 clove of minced/smushed garlic

tsp vinegar

pinch of Mexican oregano

No fucking cumin

1 ¼ cups water

salt to taste

The Directions

  1. Seed and stem peppers (I did this under running cold water. sorta works)
  2. Skillet roast at medio heat 5 minutes or so

(you’ll smell when they’re ready – more on this later)

  1. Transfer bowl, cover with water. Cover bowl
  2. Soak peppers for an episode of your favorite cop show (60 minutes)

(*Not totally original. Google served as sous chef. Searched her for: “Mexican” “Taco” “Sauce” “Hot” “Salsa” “No fucking cumin”.)

(**Kojack, Hunter, Rockford, just no fucking CSI)


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One episode of Kojack later:

  1. Chop up but do not skin or scrape the Molado pepper (the skin serves as a mighty thickener)
  2. Filet open other peppers and scrape out the meat (takes some practice and getting the angle of the blade right. What’s nice about hot sauce is that because you really should not take all the heat these peppers bring en todo, by just “scraping by” what you can measures out perfecto – at least for me it did first time out – more on that lado.)
  3. Toss in food processor*** with garlic, oregano, and pepper water
  4. Process to fluidity (escuchando en mas importante)
  5. Gradually salt to taste; taste vehicles include but are not limited to fingers, spoons, tortilla chips, tortillas heated on pepper griddle or open gas stove flame.

(***Mas Importante Note: use either a spare mini food processer you don’t mind staining or once stained, don’t mind reminding your esposa (regularly) pepper heat does not transfer from the blade stem to your 6 month old’s applesauce, you hope, and even if it does, “the ancient Aztecs applied chili pepper paste to newborns whilst teething provinding both a soothing numbness and arousing a warrior-like spiritedness in the form of a blood-curdling wail [it all comes back to blood, verdad]. Seriously, see for yourself honey, it’s the Internet, right here on my blog = true!”)

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How flipping milagrolous did this turn out? I polished off a bottle in 5 days**** – with the help of my wife and some creative additions to our regularly scheduled menu.

(****Any keeper of picante sauce will recognize how rare this use in excess. The average shelf-life of hot sauces is 7 years.)

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..and shot for a miracle, nesting the bottle in our dying Xmas Cactus (llama Frida) to see if we might get her to bloom.

Results: La Milagra, baby….


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What’s my secret? No fucking cumin, no fucking CSI, y mucho mucho mucho Kojack.