As I staggered back to the house, heavily laden from the trip to the produce market, I thought, "No reason to photograph this batch -- nothing everyone hasn't seen before."
I was starving, but held off eating so I could cook the dish I'd planned while shopping: blood sausage and potatoes in a sauce of tomatillos and smoked chiles. It wasn't until I was gobbling it down that it occurred to me that tomatillos may not have entered the mainstream.
Farmer's market today. first sunny day in recent memory,everyone was out!!! I went a little crazy,bought some fresh strawberries,first of the years,some lemon/dill chevre,brioche,cauliflower,and some beautiful shrimp.
We have snow and cold weather. We drove to the Sunday market at nearby Cazals - and it wasn't there. Well, some clothes stalls, a honey stall, a cheese stall (I bought some Salers cheese). But the baker, butcher, fruit and veg stalls, Asian stall, egg sellers, wine seller, chicken roasters, paella maker - all had stayed home in bed.
Wow -- no one has used this thread since before the Winter Solstice. I hope Casimira gets to visit some markets while in Miami -- there should be tropical splendor photo-ops in that city. And Baz will be in Crete -- what market thrills will he encounter there?
Nothing super exciting from today's haul. I picked out a few things to make a not terribly attractive still life in order to feature the salted mullet I bought. I did finally get my preferred, finely ground local coffee, so order has been restored to the universe.
Oh -- forgot to mention that the reason I included that lighter green pepper in the picture is because it is SO BIG. That is the very local chile de agua. The poblanos beneath it are large/normal size, which means the chile de agua is @ three times normal size. It was a gift.
This was a small part of today's haul from the big downtown market. Tuesday is one of the major produce days there. I don't know what I'll do with all that parsley & cilantro -- it was just so insanely fresh, I couldn't resist. Next to it are radishes, and beneath are tomatoes. In front are sweet potatoes & mandarins. I did have the nicest experience there today. I saw some ladies eating something at a stand with happy looks on their faces. When I drew closer, I saw it was something not that common in the city -- cracked corn that is cooked slowly in the juices dripping from roasting goat! Oh boy -- the vendor gave me bowl of it & I served myself from the hot green chile sauce and the chopped onions & cilantro. He was really chatty & nice & treated me to a little of the meat as well. When I was almost through, he insisted that I have some of the "consomé", which is really a light vegetable soup made from the goat meat. I was full, I was happy, he & his son were delightful, and ........... he wouldn't let me pay!
I wouldn't think so, HW -- they grow so fast. If you had the space, you could even start them every three days or so in different containers. When the first ones were ready to be pulled, you could re-plant that container. It's worth a try. You could also put them around the base of a plant in a great big pot, as long as the soil was nice & loose.
We bought celery, mushrooms, avocados (12 pesos a kilo), chiles poblanos, parsley, berros (cress), carrots, purple onions, tomatoes, nopales (prickly pear pads, despined); green bell peppers, oranges... i don't recall what else.
I had time only for a couple of photos of a mountain of oranges. (Four kilos for 10 pesos.)
Then, after depositing our full shopping bags in our van, I went up the hill to the Mercado Buen Provecho. picasaweb.google.com/doncuevas/MercadoBuenProvecho# It's a once a week mercado specializing in unusual (for this area) vegetables. I'm not sure, but I think the produce is organically grown.
After its start last year by a couple of pioneering expats and Mexicans, it transitioned last autumn to a new and more attractive location, in the Posada Yolihuani, and the emphasis has shifted from the produce to prepared, ready to heat and serve, specialty foods. www.posada-yolihuani.com/yolihuani/
I've sampled a few of those prepared foods, and while they're good, the prices are way beyond my budget. I call them, only half jokingly, "Whole Foods Market prices". The other aspect of that is, since I'm a cook, I can make most of those foods myself. However, I recognize their appeal for non cooks or for those who want to try something new and different, and who can afford them. Yesterday, a very attractive paella was offered by our friend Alejandra.
The paella features large shrimp, small clams (in the shell), calamares, chorizo Español, chicken, and some pork. It's seasoned with real Spanish saffron. So, it's worth $125 MXN a half kilo or $200 MXN a kilo for a dish requiring so much work and so many expensive ingredients. But I decided to pass it up. (I'm waiting for a dinner invitation. ;D )
So in the end, I limited my purchases to some wonderful produce: Black Tuscan Kale, some kind of dark mustard greens, and gorgeous purple tipped turnips, complete with the edible greens.
Once, home, I cooked the greens with a little olive oil and a small piece of smokey bacon ends, and some Knorr-Suiza Chicken Soup Powder dissolved in a little hot water. Meawhile in a skillet, I cooked a couple of peeled turnips, cut into domino pieces in butter, some coarsely chopped onion, then added a K-S beef cube with a cup of water and let it all simmer until done. A pinch of sugar finished the process. So for dinner (afternoon meal) I had leftover penne pasta with mixed greens and braised turnips. It was a real pleasure to eat fresh greens different and more flavorful than the usual steamed green chard we like.
Last Edit: Jan 30, 2010 12:01:38 GMT by Don Cuevas
Don Cuevas, I believe you & Mrs. C went to the Pochote market when you were in Oaxaca, didn't you? It's the same sort of thing -- out of the ordinary (for here) produce, prepared foods, organic honey, etc.
I'm of course eyeballing the wonderful casserole dish from Capula. *sigh* Love the pottery from that town.
I see citrus is in abundance at the Michoacán markets, as well as here. That leads me to a question:
Please look at my photo in #160 above. What is the correct name in English for that fruit? Anything in the tangerine family, i.e., orange-like citrus that's easy to peel & separate into segments, is called "mandarina" around here. The ones in the picture are large (compare to conventional colander on one side & habaneros on the other), with a very tight thin skin and are very sweet. Are they clementines, simply a type of tangerine, or in fact, mandarin oranges? I would really like to knonw.
Don Cuevas, can you reduce your photos when posting them here, please? The forum is set to adjust them, but they load slowly and stretch the screen for people with slower internet connections.
Indeed, what a beautiful dish (I mean the pottery, not the paella or the lady with such a pretty smile). I love the little dark-green handles.
There is no point in my borrowing a camera and begging a friend to help me upload photos of our Marché Jean-Talon this time of year. All the greens except winter cabbages etc are imported (mostly from the southern and southwestern US and Mexico, but also farther afield) or grown in greenhouses, hydroponic etc.
I'm not setting foot out today as it is about -15c and I have plenty of food for woman and beastie. Funny, I've been working about stuff on subsaharan Africa and on Haiti. Although I loathe winter, I do have many reasons to prefer living where I am.
All the greens except winter cabbages etc are imported
I used to live in the northernmost part of coastal North Carolina, out in the country. A friend of mine, also from Louisiana, came to visit. There was a frost, and we couldn't stop marveling at the glorious picture made by the fields of purple cabbage under a full moon. Finally one of the neighbors said something a little dismissive about people who'd never seen cabbage growing. My friend quickly asked the neighbor if she'd seen much sugar cane growing.
Sorry, I don't know the name of the tangerine-like fruit. We did go to Mercado Pochote, which was much more ambitious in scope than the Buen Provecho. I loved it. I have read that it is no longer with us.
About the pictures: they are set to a certain size in Picasa when I upload them. They are not the biggest, but the next smallest size. I'd hate to have to modify my Picasa pictures just so they could be better accomodated on APIAS. Maybe I could just post links to the pictures. I don't mind doing that.
Lagatta wrote: "Indeed, what a beautiful dish (I mean the pottery, not the paella or the lady with such a pretty smile). I love the little dark-green handles."
You would be surprised, I think, at how cheap that pottery is.
We are just cleaning up from another epic pizza party. Details later...
Here's what I bought today at the big downtown produce market. I feel I'm getting a little better at controlling myself about buying less so that it will either get quickly eaten up or cooked and frozen.
The less common things in the picture are: moronga (blood sausage)
This bread, called "carazón". It is exactly what it looks like -- fresh, yet dry bread. I like it because it's crunchy, but it is odd. Don Cuevas -- have you encountered this stuff?
But this ~~ this is the real find of the day. These flowers are called huachepil and come from a tree. I cannot find the botanical name for them. I'm thinking perhaps the tree is some kind of mesquite. The very enthusiastic vendor gave me bunches of ways to use them -- in scrambed eggs, or simply sauteed, or boiled, or boiled and left to steep, then used as a tea for the kidneys. I used some of them tonight in one of her suggestions -- cooked for five minutes in soupy black beans. It was wonderful! They're quite nice raw, as well, with a sweet, floral note.
I know your heart's in your excellent blog, but it would be a great kindness and of immense interest if you'd share some of your knowledge of that fascinating city here.
Thanks. I haven't posted to my blog for almost two weeks, but I hope to remedy that soon. I hope to be blogging extensively, although, for security reasons, I'm not carrying a laptop this time. I'll miss it, but I'll have an iPod Touch for light email and web browsing.
We'll be staying near the southwest corner of the Barrio San Juan, which is centered on the Mercado San Juan, a specialty food market. Some parts of that area are what our British friends call "dodgey".