Tuesday, July 17, 2012

basquing in tomatoes and peppers

This is not a cooking blog.  It is a blog about my life in Mexico.

But I do enjoy cooking.  Probably, because I enjoy eating good food.

Before my little intestinal disorder hit me last Saturday (and, yes, I am aware of the seeming irony of juxtaposing that phrase with the last paragraph), I created a dinner based on a recipe I received on the internet, spiced up with a bit of local Mexican creativity.  Let me share it with you.

For about five years or so, I have subscribed to Lynne Rossetto Kasper's Weeknight Kitchen -- a weekly recipe to assist busy cooks with creating delicious, but simple, suppers.  Some of the recipes require ingredients that are difficult to obtain in Mexico. 

But about two weeks ago, the weekly recipe was Peppers and Tomatoes with Eggs.  That I could do.  Anything with a vegetable base is a natural for my local market.

The recipe is basically a Basque dish -- piperade -- with some modern deconstruction.  And a few Cotton flourishes.  Here is what I did.

The recipe calls for quite a few sautéed
vegetables.  I could have used the large sauté pan I lugged down from Oregon, but I chose my wok instead.

I sautéed a sliced onion in olive oil until the onions were soft.  Next came three sliced cloves of garlic and two diced jalapeño peppers stirred for about a minute. I then added four diced tomatoes.

The recipe called for peeled tomatoes.  For good reason.  The tomatoes are to be cooked down into a liquid.  But I like to retain most vegetable skins for texture.  If I were to try this recipe again, I would peel the tomatoes.

Collapsing the tomatoes took about ten minutes of cooking.

I am not very fond of green bell peppers.  The recipe listed a green bell pepper and a red bell pepper --both roasted.  I substituted a yellow pepper for the green.  And skipped the roasting.  The roasting would have added a different flavor.  I didn't.  Next time.

While the tomato-pepper mixture simmered, I fried up several strips of bacon.  My friend Roy Miller says bacon improves everything.  It certainly was true with this dish.

I added a bit of butter to the tiny amount of bacon grease (Mexican bacon is so lean it does not leave behind much grease) and scrambled four eggs, adding the torn up bacon just as the eggs were finishing up.

The topping is incredibly versatile.  It could be stuffed in a tortilla or be poured over garlic toast.

I chose the most un-Mexican option of all.  Fettucine.  And it was a perfect match.  I suspect it would have worked well with any pasta.

I ended up with about eight servings.  And a week's worth of lunches and dinners.


Andean said...

That must have smelled so good as it was cooking. And the presentation isn't bad either, good breakfast on a nice crusty bread, and a cafecito, of course.

Steve Cotton said...

A much better lunch.  Pizza is for breakfast.

Andean said...

I did not have pizza once for breakfast while in Melaque, maybe other unusual breakfasts, now that I think about it.

Tancho said...

Why not a food blog? Some of that exotic Oregonian-Mexican fusion might be interesting to some.....

John Calypso said...

Looks good! And food is difficult to photograph. Hold the bacon though.

DonCuevas said...

My breakfast was aporreado* at Restaurante Lupita's in Pátzcuaro. (It was at the weekly Retired Old Men Eating Out gathering.)

I think that you would like Lupita's. It's on the street near the Basilica. Previously it was Cha Cha Cha.

*Shredded dried beef cooked with onions and chiles plus scrambled eggs.

Lunch/comida was Crema de Berros and sweet, Golden corn on the cob. The latter is not something I ever expected to see for sale in the Pátzcuaro Mercado.


 Don Cuevas 

Steve Cotton said...

I ate there several times during my stay last August.  I never had a bad meal.

Steve Cotton said...

For me, bacon is a basic food group.  I used what I had left (plus a ham steak from Costco) to cook up a batch of vegetable bean soup yesterday.  It is delightful.  Even if it is a bit challenging for my recovering digestive track.

Steve Cotton said...

I may toss in a few experiences now and then.

Andean said...

Basic food group...hmmm

sparks said...

I assume this was a rare event as I remember Steve eats out 90% of the time unless it's leftovers

Steve Cotton said...

I am reverting to form.  When I moved down, I would have one meal out and the rest at home.  I started developing some very good cooking habits.  With all of my recent travels, I went almost nine months without cooking a meal for myself.  That is going to change.

PVColin said...

You should check your satellite/cable TV provider for old Julia Child shows. Now there was America's original gastro-entertainment plus the recipes for an entire classic French meal! Your flexibility with the ingredients isn't exactly how Julia might have gone about things, but the results look just as delicious.

Steve Cotton said...

No television in the house.  I haven't had once since the early 90s.  I rely on the internet - a lot -- for cooking ideas.

But I am a Julia Child fan.  Have been since the 70s.  One of her mottoes was that improvisation is what makes a good cook.  It is a virtue I exercise often down here.

PVColin said...

Maybe she improvised more than I realized. I remember that "happy hour" often started about half way through her shows. BTW, she was a resident of Santa Barbara, CA, and was a fan of a local Mexican restaurant called La Superia Taqueria—a very simple place with molded plastic chairs and a dirt floor. If the food was good she didn't turn her nose up at less than 5-star ambience. Do you know if she ever visited Mexico to experience molé (or some other specialty) at the source?

Steve Cotton said...

I don't know if she ever came down this way.  But I would not have been surprised if she had.  She loved all types of food.

Mentioning "happy hour" has  Dan Aykroyd's classic skit stuck in my mind now.