Sunday, August 02, 2009

A midsummer's day cookout

We got the grill out today and put it through its paces. It had been neglected for a long time. It performed admirably.
Our starter consisted of large, Grilled Bacon Wrapped Fresh Figs Stuffed with Goat Cheese, made by our Geni and Larry. There was a reduced balsamic vinegar sauce for them, infused (very mildly) with chile ancho. These are truly lush.
One of our guests brought excellent tostadas of potato salad (big chunks), on which we drizzled chimichurrí rojo. There was also classic chimichurrí (green). Most of us preferred the red.
They were meant for the arrachera, but there was plenty, and they were tasty.
Also some fresh, crunchy, garlicky Health Salad, something like cole slaw.
Then, came the grilled vegs; sweet red peppers, cebolletas (knob onions), nopales (prickly pear catus pads, small zucchini cut lengthwise, and chiles largos* (pale, semi-picante long chiles. These were grilled by La Dama de La Parrilla, Doña Cuevas. Rather than re-marinate them, we simply gave them the lightest coating of vegetable oil.
*At least, I think that's what they were.
The meat was suposedly "arrachera", something like the meat used in fajitas, but our skilled butcher (at Carnicería La Sin Rival) skillfull cut an eye of round into arrachera-like form. After two days of marinating in garlic, lime juice, beer, orégano, olive oil, Maggi Jugo, Worcestershire Sauce (just a little) etc, it was near butter-tender.
We had warmed slices of sesame seeded baguettes, Mexican style, from the Bodega Aurrerá. Butter from Costco.
A huge salad of mixed greens of every description, including arugula, broccoletti, with white flowers. Many of the salad ingredients came from the Mercado Buen Provecho, Pátzcuaro's new specialty market. The dressing was a vinaigrette with fresh basil.
We drank Agua de Jamaica (cold hibiscus flower tea) with the meal. Sodas and beers were available.
Some of us started with Absolut Mandrin and Centenario Tequila. (Separately.)
Later, after a short walk, we had dessert, a warm deep dish peach cobbler, made with peaches from the tree of two of Geni and Larry. Some of us had mugs of Nescafé Decaf Sabor Intenso with dessert.
NEW! A few recipes!! Don't count on seeing many of these; this was a special occasion.)

Health Salad New Jersey Deli Style
Doctor the seasonings and proportions to your taste.
1 med head cabbage -- Coarsely shredded
3 carrots -- sliced thin
1 green pepper -- sliced thin.
2 cucumbers -- peeled and cubed. Seed them if the seeds are large and coarse.
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup oil
1 lg onion -- sliced thin
3/4 cups vinegar
1/4 teaspoon salt
Half sour dill pickles, cut into thick slices.
Some of the pickle brine.
a garlic clove or two, finely sliced.
dry mustard to taste
ground black pepper
dillweed (opt)
Mix liquids. Add vegetables and let stand in fridge overnight.
1/2 cup Spanish sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar (I used a combination of Pepper Sherry and red wine vinegar.)
1/4 cup virgin olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons hot paprika
2 teaspoons cayenne pepper (that, IMO, is too much cayenne. I subbed Pimentón de La Vera Agridulce, and a small piece of chile Manzano rojo, carefully seeded.)
4 cloves garlic, minced (A LOT of garlic. Pongalo como te gusta.)
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon toasted and ground cumin seeds
1 bay leaf, broken in half
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
(Note: I overlooked the garlic in the recipe, a terrible error or omission. So I added a TBSP of Vietnamese Crushed Chiles With Garlic Sauce. That did the trick.
(The sauce is somewhat thin, so I added about two TBSPS tomato paste.)
Combine in blender all of the ingredients and blend well, refrigerate. Keeps for 1 month. Use on chicken
to be grilled or barbequed.
Peach Cobbler
(From The Fannie Farmer Baking Book, by Marian Cunningham)
Peach Filling
7 cups of fresh peeled and stoned peaches, cut into sixths.
3/4 cup of sugar.
2 TBSPS lemon juice.
4 TBSPS butter, held back to dot on top.
(I also add 2 TBSPS cornstarch to restrain the juiciness.)
Biscuit Topping
1 cup of flour
2 TBSPS sugar
1/4 ts salt
2 tsps baking powder
4 TBSPS chilled butter
6 TBSPS milk
Glaze, optional:
2 TBSPS butter, melted
1 or 2 TBSPS sugar
(That is too much butter overall for me, so I apply a few TBSPS of milk to the top crust, then sugar it lightly, just before putting it into the oven)
Mix the peach slices with the sugar, lemon juice and cornstarch, if used. I also put a few drops of almond extract. Place mixture into a buttered 8"x8" or 9x9 baking dish.
Meanwhile, whisk or sift the dry biscuit ingredients in a separate bowl. Cut in the chilled butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add the cold milk and lightly combine with a fork.
Roll out this dough on a lightly floured surface, and place over the peach mixture in the baking dish. Trim excess dough edges. These may be cut into decorative shapes if desired.
Meanwhile, brush the top of the raw crust with melted butter or milk. Stick on the decorative cut outs.
Cut a few slots into the crust. Place on a sheet of heavy aluminum foil large enough to catch any boilovers, (already on upper oven shelf.)
Bake approximately 35-45 minutes, or until golden brown on top.
Allow to cool 15 minutes before serving. Vanilla or peach ice cream, or half-and half, optional, for those who must have it.

Slideshow photos by Geni Certain. ¡Gracias!