Monday, June 20, 2011

I Think I Have Epazote....

Now playing: Bob Dylan - Blowin' In The Wind
via FoxyTunes

I had a rather large can of hominy, I think my daughter left to us after she moved. Also waiting in the cabinet was some epazote to try. I decided on making some Posole.

Epazote is an herb frequently used in South American cuisine. It is often added to beans, for the carminative properties it has. The herb is also used in soups, hence my dish choice. The flavour is said to be like anise, but much stronger. Some people have said that it tastes like kerosene, I didn't get that (probably because mine is dried). It is also served as a tea.

This herb is available at Mexican markets in fresh leaf form, or dried. I have dried at the moment. You can grow Epazote in your garden, although it can be very invasive. I think I'll pass on growing it myself, I have mint of all kinds that are fast spreading enough....The plants are annuals, they like full sun and will be ready to harvest in 45-65 days.

Epazote has been around in South American cuisine for a long time, the Aztecs also used it for medicinal purposes. Besides flatulence it can be used for such things as; amenorrhea, dysmenorrhea, malaria, chorea, hysteria, catarrh, and asthma. It is also antihelminthic, antispasmodic, and an abortifacient. Too much epazote is poisonous, but that is a pretty large quantity.

Other names for Epazote are: Mexican Tea, Wormseed, Pigweed, West Indian Goosefoot, Hedge Mustard, Jerusalem Parsley and Pazote.

Chicken Posole with Prosciutto Shards

1 whole cooked chicken, cubed, or loosely shredded
2.5 quarts chicken stock
1/2 red onion, small diced and sweated
One large can of hominy, drained and rinsed
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
3 Tbsp. dried oregano
3 tbsp. epazote
salt and pepper

Put 1/2 of the hominy and 1/2 of the stock in a blender and blend until smooth. Add a few handfuls of the chicken and blend until smooth again. Add all the ingredients into the sweated onion. Heat through and cook out the garlic. Adjust the seasoning.

Serve with all sorts of toppings. Pile it high! Above there is; cabbage, avocado, tomatoes, Queso Fresco, red onions, radishes, jalapeno, lime and cilantro (coriander leaves). I had a notion that jicama would be a nice addition, as well.

As you can probably see, mine was garnished with lovely prosciutto shards I made. This is a nod to the fact that posole is commonly a pork soup. Chicken versions are widely accepted, as well. Prosciutto shards made a wonderful addition!


“Do not move back and forth on your chair. Doing so gives the impression of constantly breaking, or trying to break, wind.”

Desiderius Erasmus (1466? - 1536)

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Forget Rain, it is Hail and Tears!

Now playing: AC/DC - Hail Caesar
via FoxyTunes

This isn't Autumn and the leaves didn't turn colour before falling....HAIL!
This isn't Winter and the piles of white, cold stuff isn't snow....HAIL!
This is June thunderstorm season and we sometimes get HAIL!

Besides worrying about cars in such conditions, worry also goes to roofs, sometimes people and PLANTS! Just like this poor tomato plant. Those aren't aliens....Hopefully they are hail protection.

Just when we thought it was over.....MORE HAIL!

This time a bit more prepared.

Here is how garden 2011 is starting to shape up:

Shiso hiding under the picnic table from, you guessed it....HAIL! Also, we see an aubergine plant here.


Physalis, pumpkin and sage:

Thyme, asparagus peas, another aubergine, one of several tomato plants:

Rosemary, one of several tomatillo plants, lettuce, one of several cantaloupe plants:


Broad beans, peas, courgettes:

Cucumbers, one of several Japanese pumpkin plants, chard, coriander leaves

The rest of the garden besides vegetables:

I need to replant parsley, dill, and tarragon....Due to HAIL! I will write about my numerous pepper plants of many kinds later, the images didn't turn out right for this blog.

Thanks for viewing my garden update June 2011.

When one of my plants dies, I die a little inside, too. ~Linda Solegato

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Pistachio Baklava Cheesecake

Now playing: The Eagles - The Greeks Don't Want No Freaks
via FoxyTunes

Recently I dined at a new Greek restaurant in town, walking distance from my house. A pretty nice place, one can tell it is a chain. I've had fresher fish, even in land locked Colorado. The smells and the looks of others food around me, just proved that I ordered the wrong thing for this particular restaurant. I will be giving them another chance. The portions seem great for the prices. The lamb chops of one of my dinner partners looked very yummy indeed.

I didn't have a cocktail to reserve room on the bill for a something I spied on the menu right away! A baklava cheesecake! I hate to be such a downer, but it was a bit disappointing as well. It sounds like I am a hater of this establishment, but I'm not. It was a nice cheesecake, but it failed to deliver baklava-ish-ness. A nice thick piece of cheesecake with a few nuts in the crust and a brulee layer of honey on top. Not good enough for me. Immediately, wheels turned in my head, I made my own.
Here it is Pistachio Baklava Cheesecake. I served it on a lemon balm gellee lightly incorporated in a layer on the plate.

I use the Frugal Gourmet's recipe for baked cheesecake. I posted this recipe in the past when I served it with a Meyer lemon curd.

The recipe is available in the first Frugal Gourmet book and easily found in an internet search.

The only difference is I added 1/2 cup of chopped pistachios to the crust ingredients.

For the baklava I used a basic recipe with a few twists. I only used pistachios for the nuts, also I only used honey thinned with a bit of water for the glaze. I formed the baklava in a jelly roll style configuration and cut slices for baking in the pan. I had some left-over after decorating the cheesecake. Not a problem!

Here is a basic recipe:

For the gelee I used my canned lemon balm syrup and added 2 small sheets of plain gelatin, form a thin layer on a plate and set.

Another linked reminder of that syrup:

Voila....Baklava cheesecake to be proud of! Beware of numerous calories, however.

God must love calories, because he made so many. -unknown

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Using My Noodle, Part Deux

Now playing: Herbert Grönemeyer - Amerika
via FoxyTunes

Maybe the title should have been "Part Zwei," anyway.....The potato noodles have made a return. Just in time for near 90 deg. weather any time now! Lucie says this is an autumn and winter dish. I'm in Colorado and the nights can still be cool, so I get a pass. I'm sure it isn't a strict rule, otherwise she wouldn't have given me more sauerkraut.

Remind yourself how to make them in a previous blog that includes plenty of pictures:

This dish is not fussy and often times uses left-over ingredients. In fact it is the same as the recipe in the previous blog linked above. This is different in that it is a casserole and Gruyere cheese is added in layers and baked. One more difference is that the noodles aren't browned first. Here you see it with a bit of Germany in America, Lucie's barrel she brought from Germany. I thought it made a nice rustic backdrop for the rustic and very delicious dish.

This will be the official opening of summer for me. Ryan is fishing again and bringing us batches of lovely fish. Guess the waders he got for his birthday are going to workout just fine.


He's like wet sauerkraut in my hands. By morning he will be my slave. -Blazing Saddles

There is sauerkraut in my lederhosen. -Top Secret