MEXICAN FOOD FOR CHILLY WINTER
Two food groups stand us in good stead when temps go down. FAT and STARCHES. We can double down on calories and burn them up just fine now. Starches provide the hyper activity signal to the body which prevents us from becoming hibernating BEARS! In my pantry, there are always canned beans, of all kinds. In freezer, whole grain brown flour. I buy tortillas 3 dozen at a time, so I rebag into maybe four or five bags, keep most in FREEZER, one bag in fridge.CHILE RELLENOS, ENCHILADAS, TACOS ( MEAT AND STARCHES)
The most perfect food for Winter is Mexican food. The hot chiles used in Mexican cooking warm the body and reach deep in to the soul, sending a message to the brain to not just sit there, but to do something! THINK! ACT! We are indeed activated by these YANG foods, so instead of cocooning with a clicker, we want to continue living life.
The Beans and rice usually served with hot chiles are fast burning carbs which Olympic athletes tell you will give you gitup and go!. Last, CORN TORTILLAS are the supreme WINTER FOOD, full of minerals and extremely tasty. Now, I read Dr. Sears book ENTER THE ZONE on heart health and he insists that we not be starch junkies as diabetes and heart disease come from a lack of balance. He suggests equal amounts proteins or amino acids. This doesn't have to be meat if you want to be vegan.
PUTTING TOGETHER A MEXICAN MEAL
When shopping for tortillas, read the label. If your supermarket does not have at least one variety with no cellulose and preservatives in it, go to the healthfood store, they will. I prefer yellow corn to white. La DIANA brand has 3 dozen huge Mexican Corn tortillas for $2, best, tastiest brand. I separate into four bags, FREEZE three bags, pull out more bags as I need them. The bag keeps for two weeks, then back to my corner Mex mercadito for another bag. All other brands have preservatives and the wood cellulose and we should scorn 'em.
In the sixties, we learned to food combine. Proteins with greens. Starches with greens, but not proteins with starches. I feel that EVERYTHING combines with the high protein starch in tortillas and beans. THE TORTILLA combines with protein fillings and digests, just salivate your food as you chew it. Use the tortilla for carrying protein foods to your mouth, wrapping the filling as in a taco or enchilada. THE TORTILLA is a fountain of minerals which corn sucks out of the soil. It has added lime, making calcium available, so the Mex have teeth like battleships, no decay.
COMBINE the tortilla with protein like a nut/ tofu filling or a meat filling. (Picadillo is burger, raisins and almonds) When eating dead bodies, I like to add a dark green salad to move it through the colon fast. I'm told the salad tomato is a fruit and doesn't combine with Starch and green meals, or with Protein meals. But there are plenty of other things that will go with your tortilla and protein filling. In fact, which are required! LIKE A BIG SALAD.
THE CHILE! The bland starches of Latin America require this little flavoring agent which is rumored to be addictive. Once you use it, you want HOT THINGS DAILY in WINTER. Food with no chile heat in the mouth seems blah, un-tasty. Every autumn the green chile prices go way down and you buy fifty pounds, roast and de-seed them, then freeze in bags of six. THE CHILE ROASTING GUIDE URL is below!
CHILE RELLENOS - First read the CHILE ROASTER'S GUIDE. Then, do this: BUY ALL THE big, stuffable CHILES that YOU CAN, HATCH, ANAHEIM or PUEBLA, doing so in LATE SUMMER OR AUTUMN. Usually fans buy fifty pounds, and in NEW MEXICO they come pre-roasted, still hot, are sold out of a spinning roaster in the street. You take them home, Scrape off the skin, get rid of it, Now we're down to just the meat of the chile. Then clean out the guts, the seeds and veins inside, then freeze them in bags of 6. OR make chile rellenos for a hundred people, right then and there. Which is it to be?
But you most probably will find raw, fresh green Anaheim, Hatch or Puebla chiles in the market in Autumn. You get your raw chiles home, you Roast them, according to the ABOVE GUIDE, skin them, de-seed, take out veins also, then freeze six to a bag cuz when you make CHILE RELLENOS you want a minimum of six to serve guests. Right? Or if you eat two a night, you have others.
RECIPE: FIRST, make a big pan of tomato sauce. Like oil, onion, tomatoes, or canned tomatoes. Set aside, hot. NEXT, Make YOUR CHILE STUFFING; either a burger/ raisin/ almond mixture or VEGAN cheese/ millet, quinoa, almond, raisin, or plain cheese in finger sized lengths. STUFF THE cleaned CHILES FIRST then DREDGE outsides of your roasted peeled chiles in flour. Let them sit all in a line while you beat A TON OF EGG WHITES.....generally two egg whites for each chile. WHIP them real stiff. When you're ready to create the dish, HEAT GOOD OIL (no canola,) in big skillet. When it's fairly hot, throw the yolks into the big bowl of whites, a pinch salt, and INCORPORATE the YOLKS carefully. Stirring lLeast you can, as fatty yolks flatten whites. Drop the dredged chiles into the big bowl of yellow meringue. Lift out; Now you can't see the chile, it's surrounded by yellow meringue batter which stuck to the floured chile. Drop immediately into 1/4 inch of hot oil at bottom of frying pan or one of those chinese woks. Fry lightly on both sides, drain on paper towels, then set hot chiles into the big pot of tomato sauce, covering with sauce. Keep layering them in there, covering with red sauce. Grate some good melting cheese on top, decorate with cilantro, onions, pomegranate seeds. Serve on white rice. Mexican rice or potatoes, recipe below.
ENCHILADA SAUCE INGREDIENTS. It's no wonder red and green are the colors of the Mexican flag! There are two colors of chiles! Guess what they are? RED and GREEN! These high anti-oxidant spices can be in the form of fresh green or red chiles or dried ruby red chile pods of all sorts including brown and dark purple. Dried ones are de seeded (plant next spring,) soaked for an hour. Plumped up, their meaty round shapes get ground to paste in a food processor, or blender, or simply sieved as they are. Skin flakes in sieve are tossed on compost heap.
NOW there are also Red or green tomatoes. Is this fun or what? Last, Herbs and spices like cumin, chocolate, cilantro.
NOTE: The tomatillo is not a tomato. It's a husk tomato, different. It wears a papery jacket you peel off before cooking. Here's a recipe for tomatillo sauce called SALSA VERDE.
CLASSIC MEXICAN GREEN SAUCE or salsa verde. SIMMER your quartered Tomatillos, 2 min with a cleaned out deseeded jalapeno or two, using a sml amt. salted water. As it simmers and softens, which takes 2 min, in another pan, in some oil, fry chopped onions, garlic, litely. Go back to first pan; Mash the tomatillos and jalapenos with a plain masher, don't throw away the little bit of water in pan...no, throw this soupy green stuff into the sauteeing onions mixture. Chopped cilantro goes on top, sautee one min more, then turn off fire. If it's not saucy enough blend it on more time.
PORK IN SALSA VERDE: Pan fry a few trimmed pork chops. At serving, douse in salsa verde. Like one cup salsa over the meat. You can even paper towel the fat out of cooking pan, add the salsa and scrape up the browned meat bits but salsa loses its vibrant chartreuse color if you do that.
CHEESE or MEAT ENCHILADAS. RED OR GREEN SAUCE. VEGAN OR MEAT. SO MANY CHOICES.
FOR ALL TYPES OF ENCHILADAS, the BASIC SAUCE is made with ANOTHER KIND OF CHILE POD. Not the raw green one. ENCHILADA SAUCE is made of dry chiles. Pods. You clean their insides, get all seeds out, all stems off, rinse them and with dried pods you will be able to make a few cups of enchilada sauce, red or green. (above.)
Experiment with the different kinds of dried chile pods available, there are red, brownish-red, wrinkled and smooth. METHOD: Soak the dry chile pods which you deseeded, rinsed to get rid of dust. (NOTE: Bag up seed for pals with gardens who have hot summers. ) You soaked pod so when the moist chile swells up and is plump, ten minutes, grind in the blender. Strain skin out and toss. Throw mushy sauce into hot oil in saute pan with garlic, onions, salt stirring for a minute. That's all. You have sauce! You can grind it again when it's cooled off, to get onions incorporated.
TO ASSEMBLE ENCHILADA- Mexicans fry tortilla one second on both sides in lard, in the frying pan, to soften the tortilla and make it water proof, otherwise tortilla disintegrates in a sauce. If you're on a heart diet, heat tortilla on gas flame on both sides before you drag it through a pan of salsa, red chile or green. Stuff filling in, roll them. Line them up in a pyrex glass dish, buttered so they won't stick. Throw a lot of Salsa and grated cheese on top. Put in oven.
VEGAN FILLING- Soak 1/2 cup to a cup of almonds, boiling water, 1 min, then peel. Toast lightly, chop.
Saute onions, celery, mushrooms, eggplant, add tofu, crumbled, firm or soft, nuts, can creamed corn, l egg, some cheese. Other possibilities some chopped water chestnuts, a little corn bread mix or breadcrumbs to stiffen it. Reserve.
MEAT FILLING- Chopped beef, sauteed with onions, garlic, mushrooms, tomato sauce, a dollop of the enchilada sauce, made of chile and I like raisins.
ENCHILADAS SUIZAS BASICALLY GREEN TOMATILLOS AND SOUR CREAM Add sour cream to salsa verde, roll chicken with white cheese, bake 5 min in hot oven, then a dollop of cold sour cream on top.
The Mex do that lard bath thing before they roll tortillas. They FRY THE TORTILLA in oil just a second until it's litely pliable, then they fill. THAT tortilla will not break apart when it hits moist sauces. I've sought ways around this for years. You can't just dump the tortilla in the salsa verde as the heat and liquid MELT the tortilla. It turns to oatmeal.
You can gas flame heat the tortilla, then dunk in salsa. You can oil tortilla by hand, then set in hot skillet until pliable, then with burnt fingers, roll the cheese, dunk it at every stage w. green salsa. Look at Mexicans. They're all l00 lbs overweight. One cannot dunk tortillas wholesale in hot oil and then roll them full of cheese and add beans and rice and sugared coffee. Did Dr. Atkins and Tarnower and Sears live for nothing?
OH YES, bringing me to subject of beans. REFRIED BEANS work great with a number of items added to frying pan, done in the saute oil, before you add the beans. Those lumps are going to be quite pleasureable in the beans later! Make your beans unique in fact. ONIONS, fresh mild anaheim CHILES, olives, eggplant, garlic, bell peppers, par boiled potato chunks and crispy bacon come to mind.
TO BEAN OR NOT TO BEAN? GET all kinds, dry or in cans. Big red beans, small black beans, pinto beans. Keep dozens on the shelf so you don't have to drive those winter roads! Think of it this way, some hungry cold, icy night, a bean can could save your life!
MODE: First oil goes in pan, then sausages chorizo or turkey spiced ones, chopped onions, eggplant, red bell peppers, jalapenos, tomatillos, garlic. These are lightly sauteed, then you throw in the beans, mash til thick. Add the broth from can, small amts, only, mashing til you get the right consistency, cheese pieces also, then deck with festive chopped cilantro and white dry cheese of any kind before serving. The crispy bacon would be better at end, not added to the cooking mash.
MEXICAN RICE- Fry raw rice a few minutes in oil until beige, Add water salt and ground up tomato, cover and steam.
POTATOES: In the old days we could buy 10 lbs of potatoes at a time. Houses had a California cooler cupboard where air came in from underneath. There was a hanging basket or "breathing" colander filled with potatoes. Or a slotted rack shelf. Never plastic bags. You need something that breathes and a place that is always in the dark with fresh, cold air coming in, not MOIST as under-sink air. You still have to inspect potatoes reg cuz one bad one can spoil a dozen! Simmer til soft, add chopped cilantro, butter, fried garlic. Can accompany your chile rellenos.
Then with my starches in a row, Father WINTER can chill, blow and storm, I don't have to get in the car and go to the market. No running around in wet streets or wading thru parking lots filled with lakes.
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