Strawberry, Blueberry and Lime Preserves

Berry picking is much like one of the greatest moments in the Shakespeare meets modern American teenager movie, ’10 things I hate about you.’ No, really. Stay with me. I used to love strawberry picking. Crouching in the straw-covered dirt, the wide brimmed hat on my head casting a huge shadow. Searching between the drooping…

Un Antojito: Spicy Pickled Hard Cooked Egg

I am a dedicated snacker willing to forgo regular meals in place of endless snacks for days at a time. It’s rather fitting I write this as I stuff myself with popcorn doused with Cholula and lime. This is lunch. Don’t worry, it’s not all so unhealthy. There will be a large handful of berries…

Yogurt and Cajeta Paletas

I can already tell this will be the summer of the cold and refreshing paleta. Not because I myself am suffering from the horrors of relentless summer heat, but in my sympathy for those that are. It’s a funny thing to have lived in the Arizona desert for years, it absolutely kills your tolerance for…

Pickled Jalapeños, Or How to Use Many Jars

Did I mention before I have a jar hoarding problem? I have a jar hoarding problem. Fortunately, I also have a jam and pickling problem, and a giving jams and pickles away problem, so things generally even out. The jar count for the last few months has been this: Pineapple marmalade: 3 8-oz jars Pineapple…

Cajeta – Goat Milk Caramel

The first time I sold a jar of cajeta I had the kind of cultural disconnect I hadn’t experienced in some time. The customer, after sampling every one of the products I had made and had for sale at the farmers market, discussing their history within Mexican cuisine and their exact ingredients, asked a very…

Serpentinas de Tamarindo – Tamarind Leather

The wealth of tamarindo sweets in Mexico speaks volumes of the Mexican love for complicated flavors. Tart, sour, sweet, it tastes of citrus, apricots, dates and a tannins heavy wine all at once. My favorite tamarindo sweet as a kid were cachetadas de tamarindo, literally tamarind face slaps, large flat round lollypops of slightly spicy tamarindo…

Rum Glazed Fried Plantain and Coconut Bread

If you haven’t heard, the Cavendish banana, that delicious yellow supermarket treat, is in danger of becoming extinct. With so much of the world’s banana cultivation focusing on one single subspecies, the world-wide spread of a banana killing fungus, Panama disease, is unfortunately inevitable. Does this mean no more bananas? No more banana bread? Not…

When Tepache Goes Horribly Horribly Wrong…

Its not often I see one of my recipes go horribly wrong, not even something less easily controllable such as a ferment. It isn’t as if I’m some form of insanely perfect cook, but rather careful recipe testing and preparation. Yet once in a while, something does go horribly, disgustingly, putridly wrong. The beautiful result…

The Empty Jar Dilemma

I am a jar hoarding addict. Faced with an empty jar, I can never, ever abandon it to the terrifying fate of the recycling bin. It has to be saved. Which leaves me with a large box of jars in every closet, another in the spidery garage. And with far too many possibilities of what…

Tortillas de Manteca

There was a time in Mexico’s northern states when the use of rendered lamb and beef fat to make flour tortillas was as common as the use of pork lard. The fat of one animal is just as good as another, even if the taste may be slightly different. Tortillas made with tallow, manteca de…

Sebo y Manteca de Res – Suet and Tallow

While lard has enjoyed a revival in the last few years in this country (Praise the Lard t-shirt, anyone?), rendered beef fat, or tallow, remains mostly in obscurity. Unless you’re really into grass fed lip and body balms. I blame poor marketing. Suet, or sebo in Spanish, the large fat deposits near the kidneys, is…