Category Archives: Food

Pie! In Photos























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Mole Rojo Day 2

This is how I spent Wednesday.  It was a long, productive, satisfying day in the kitchen, and it only happens quite like this once a year.   Photos Ahoy! yes, I played with the photos again.

The frying starts. See the shiny fried dried chiles!
Mole frying

Chiles and seeds and nuts and raisins and tortillas and bread fried. Onions and garlic and tomatoes and tomatillos still to go.
Mole medio frito

Red, green, and white – good Mexican colors.
Mole red green white

Chiles soaked and drained, ready to grind and strain. All the rest with chicken broth ready to grind and strain.
Mole ready to grind

Grinding. I do not use the traditional molcajete to grind everything, nor do I use the current traditional blender. I need less liquid with the food processor than with our old blender. And I use the food mill instead of a mesh colander and rubber spatula to strain and press everything. The mess is very traditional. The photo does not adequately capture the mess.
Mole grinding mess

Colando chile. Looks like chocolate, doesn’t it? Just chiles guajillos and pasillas/anchos, fried, soaked, and ground.
Mole grinding chile

El chile ya colado. That was three or four batches through the food mill. Ow. Still looks like chocolate, maybe a rich dark chocolate frosting. Smells and tastes fruity and a little sharp, mostly raw.
Mole chile ready to fry

Colando everything else. Colando los chiles gets rid of the little bits of skin that stick between your teeth and are impossible to grind down to nothing, despite my husband’s hopes in the past that more soaking would do the trick. Nope, must colar. Colando the ground nuts, seeds, fruit/vegetables, spices, bread, tortillas is more like making a very flavorful peanut butter or hummus. Sort of. So I put it all through the food mill, then dumped the stuff that didn’t go through back in the food processor, and back through the food mill again to get as much as possible. I bet if I used a molcajete, it would be smooth to start with. Probably five batches through the food mill. Ow. Ow. Ow.
Mole grinding nuts

Molido y colado. Tastes raw, the flavors diluted after adding the bread, tortillas, and broth.
Mole nuts ground

More mess.
Mole mess after grinding

The ground chile fried. Now it’s an even more luscious color and texture. If a roux isn’t cooked enough, the flour tastes raw. Bleagh. If the chile isn’t fried, the flavor is raw and sharp, even a little weak. Boring, bleagh.
Mole fried ground chile

The ground nuts etc mixing into the chile.
Mole chile and nuts coming together

So happy together… Starting to simmer.
Mole together

The chocolate! Finally!
Mole chocolate cotija

It’s grainy chocolate, not like the smooth stuff we’re used to here. Full of sugar and a bit of cinnamon. I love gnawing on it, but it’s too sweet as hot chocolate for my taste. Not too sweet for the Kid’s taste.
Mole chopping chocolate

Look! Chocolate in the mole! (and I was so excited, I blurred the photo!)
Mole with chocolate

The last simmer.
Mole last simmer

Simmered, salt and sugar to taste, and we have mole rojo! Nearly 5 quarts, enough to freeze for Xmas.

Can I rest now?

No. I made a double batch of dough for dinner rolls.
Dinner roll dough


No. Twenty tiny pies.
20 tiny pies that was

I know there aren’t 20 here. I think only 17 made it to the morning.


Yes, now.

So Much Work, but worth every minute of it. That’s some good mole.

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Mole Rojo Day 1

Mole chiles

Mole to grind

ya huele a mole

Thanksgiving in my house means mole rojo.  If I spread it out over a few days, it’s not quite so overwhelming.  Chiles are seeded, ready to fry.  Pan y tortillas dried, ready to fry.  Sesame seeds and chile seeds and avocado leaves toasted and ground with bay leaves and cinnamon and cloves and peppercorns and thyme and marjoram, and avocado pit grated over it all.  Ya huele a mole, says my husband.  Also, it smells like the tortas de papa his mother makes.

(Please note the avocado tree growing in the pit.)

Tomorrow I fry.  Chiles and tortillas and bread and tomatoes and tomatillos and peanuts and almonds and pepitas and raisins and garlic and onion.  Oh My!

This week is the Kid’s birthday week – he is 9 on Sunday next.  Tomorrow (besides frying), I’m taking the Kid and his friend to Crissy Field to fly kites.  And find lunch somewhere.

(Today I played with photo effects.  Why not?  They’re not great photos on the iphone with poor light.  Now they’re fun photos!)

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Pan de Muerto

Pan de muerto

It’s delicious, even if the bones the Kid carefully shaped didn’t stick around through the baking. And we still have a little left, after the cousins came over yesterday and searched the house for pan.  My sister-in-law told me that when they stayed overnight housesitting for us this spring, the youngest asked her to make pan.  Because my kitchen always has pan of one sort or another, and nothing to do with the cook!  We made shortbread.  Delicious and simple and easy to write down in Spanish.  Galletas pa’ chaparros, which works because we’re all short.  Ha!

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Beautiful Things

Oh my.  This lady has some beautiful knits here.   Maybe I can take the brain power to think a little more about the inspiration/themes of the next few things I knit.  Not that I’ll get these results!

I am enamored of  tree silhouettes against the sky.  The other day, a couple large crow/ravens were sitting in the very top of a tree we drive past on the way to school.  Delicate winter branches against the grey sky, heavy black birds.  Or catching a tree against a sunset!  On 38th Ave,  a block below MacArthur, there’s a tree with clumps of big red leaves left on it.  Our grey wet skies have been lovely backdrops, and they don’t hurt the eyes! 

I made a really tasty beef stew last night.  Dad gave Mom a great cookbook for Christmas.  I had to get one of my own.  Beyond the Great Wall.  I’ve got a couple of their cookbooks, and they’re great reading.  So!  Stew!  Traditional Lhasa Beef stew.  Potatoes, carrots, beef.  Ginger, garlic, garam masala, butter (yes!).  Modifications (because I cook the way I knit):  I didn’t have celery seeds so didn’t use them at all and replaced the scallions with leeks.  So good, so warming, such comfortable and rich flavour (butter!).  Perfect with this incipient sore throat/cold/another damned virus I’ve got today.  I like these flavours better than the red-wine based beef stews.  Husband seemed happy with it.  He says it would be great with tomato/chile en escabeche/oregano salsa, and it would’ve been nice if I could learn from my past experiences and add the veggies after the meat is nearly tender.  What can I say?  Everything is Mexican food, even if it’s Tibetan.  (and I followed the recipe for cooking times, should’ve modified to start with!)  For Mom – the Napa cabbage and red onion salad is great!  And the salad with warm beef sauce is definitely good enough for a repeat.  I still want to make the twisty doughnuts soon, but probably not this weekend what with the damned virus wearing me down.   I love the description of shaping the dough for the twisty doughnuts.  They wrote how hard it was to figure out at first.  As soon as I started reading the instructions, I knew.  It’s a 4-ply (cabled) doughnut.  I must make these soon!  To eat in between spinning!


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Tuesday after Lambtown

We’re up!  We’re out!  We’re well-provisioned!  Pretty good for a Monday morning.  (And now it’s Tuesday!  We’re provisioning.)

The kiddo and I went to Lambtown on Saturday.  Lovely little show!  It was mostly a kid-directed day.  (Except when I dragged him protesting and crying and whining through the vendor building.)  Sheep dog trials!  Shearing contest!  An alpaca to pet!  Sheep to Shawl!  Jumpy House!  Teeny tiny train to ride!  We watched them unload sheep (for the shearing contest) from a trailer.  Classic clown car act.  (That must be all of them.  Nope, they didn’t unload the upper level yet!  Wow!  That’s a lot of sheep!)

Someday, I’d like to take a class or two.  Spend quiet time wandering through the vendors.  Sit with the Ravelry group for a minute.  Watch the sheep shows, the fleece shows.  But we still managed a relaxed long day, mostly happy for both of us.  I bought a Niddy Noddy.  We’re amused by the name.  Very amused!  (Heh Heh naughty knitting)  (6 year old amused)

Soccer Sunday morning.  Great cool weather, happy kids.  I didn’t knit a stitch on the kiddo’s Cleo sock.  But can’t say I watched much of the game.  It feels like Fall, right on schedule.  Cool, crisp mornings.  Less light.

I cooked all evening Sunday.  (and cleaned the bathroom – small victories!  Don’t look at the rest of the house.)  Made Roasted Squash, Pear, Ginger Soup from the cookbook Vegetable Soups by Deborah Madison.  Sounded good.  Smelled pretty good.  Lordy!  It’s great!  Surpassed my expectations!  It’s dessert, without being sweet.  And the house filled with the smells of roasting, well, see above.  And braised chicken legs.  And pumpkin muffins.  The brocolli salad was less successful.  Harsh raw garlic.  Not so good for lunch at work.  And roasted tomatoes.   I can cook a nice pile of food, not necessarily a meal to eat all at once, about once a week.  So I don’t feel so bad later in the week when I’m buyin lunch en la calle.

Time to Change Your Clothes!  Put on Your Shoes!  Grab a Jacket!  Really – grab a jacket!  It’s cold out there and your mother’s cold!  You need a jacket!


Filed under Excursions, Food, Uncategorized

Snapshot of a good day

Time to take down the Easter eggs hanging around the house.  We celebrate Spring, and spring means painted eggs brought by fertile rabbits.  Very confusing thing, Spring.  But it was more like Summer early this week, and nobody could move or think.  Now we’re back to normal weather, of a sort.  Much more pleasant.  We have no heat tolerance.  I don’t want to go to the beach in hot weather and walk on hot sand and get burned by the hot sun.  I like foggy mornings.

Today we have a tower of empty berry baskets on the dining room table.  I made biscuits this morning to eat with strawberries and goat milk crema from the farmers market.  Only half a batch, because my unnatural child doesn’t like biscuits.  Truth be told, I made half a batch, except when I added the milk.  Then I had biscuit batter.  Cooked up just fine as little flat cakes, but not the fluffy biscuits I meant.  It’s all my brother’s fault.  Somehow.

Very low energy for a couple of days, even with cooler weather.  I’m aimlessly swatching for a sweater (for me!) with beautiful eggplant (almost black) Malabrigo sock yarn.  A little knit purl texture.  Nah.  Stockinette.  Okay.  How about a cable edge?  That’s nice, but can I figure out a decent button band with it?  Lace.  This one’s too open.  About three rows of another lace.  Can’t keep my mind on it.  A couple rows of garter.  But I’d rather have stockinette.  And so on.

I have a few things around to mend for my brother’s girlfriend.  I fixed the hat already.  I’m taking apart the mitten.  I’m not ready for the scarf yet.  I pulled out a lovely yarn from Black Mountain Artisans in Pt Reyes Station.  Autumn red orange all together.  Worked nicely to fix the hat, but I don’t want to use it all up on the other stuff.  So I started another set of easy mitts.  Now this is what I feel like working on!  Very little thinking and practically no decision making.  Fast.  I’ll probably finish the first one tonight – the 2 day mitt.  And shows off the yarn beautifully.  Instead of having everything else mended, I’ll get these done for her maybe even before they leave.  Is it still snowing in Telluride?  (Yes, so I should get going on the mending!)  She’s one of those supposedly rare people – the perfect recipient of handknits.  If we make something for my brother, she claims it.  I have no doubt that if I ever finish my brother’s mittens, she will be the one to wear them.  She wears things out, and wants to keep using them.  So we mend for her.  And make her more.  It’s so satisfying.

The chicken is out, scratching for bugs.  The dog-in-law is curled up downstairs, healing his injured pad.  My boys are watching NASCAR and Mexican soccer (in empty stadiums).  My brother and girlfriend are off to Tomales Bay with friends.  Maybe they’ll bring  back oysters.  I hung up laundry.  The bathroom is clean, even the wastebasket.  I watered the plants.  Dishes to do.  Chile for enchiladas to make.  Self to bathe.  Groceries to buy, but I don’t want to leave the house.  Hard to settle back into doing things once I leave.  But I need chiles and avocados and probably tortillas too.  Definitely some chicken.  I haven’t cooked dinner in several weeks, and we ate prawn curry last night.  Made with the family curry powder brought back from South Africa.  (See why they get handknits?)
Dishes next.  I wish you could hear the birds outside.  And eat enchiladas with us.  (I don’t mind if you offer to help clean up the kitchen afterwards.)  I’m storing up good day for the workweek ahead.


Filed under Family Stories, Farm in the Backyard, Food, Knitting and more knitting