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Tuesday, December 13, 2011

12/13/2011 - This one's for Raoul

Since no one came to my defense after Raoul hassled me about being a little tiny bit behind in blogging, maybe it's time to write something. You've got to remember that, when we aren't going anywhere, life just sort of moves on day by day with very little to write about. Just like your lives at home. But, I'll give it a shot anyway.

It's been cool down here lately. No so cool that I have to wear socks but, when the wind is blowing, long pants and a sweatshirt can feel pretty good. It's probably in the high 60s to low 70s during the day and down to the low 60s with an occasional dip into the 50s at night. Yeah, yeah, I know. You really feel sorry for us. During the day, once you get away from the waterfront where you can't feel the wind, it's still pretty darn warm most of the time.

The social whirl has eased up some since our friends Aimee, Frank, and Rudi flew off to explore the mainland for a couple of weeks. However, our new friend John, an Australian bloke aboard m/v Storm Bay, had a little gathering Friday night. He's getting ready to put the boat in storage and fly home for the winter (well, it'll be summer for him once he gets there) so he had a bunch of folks over to his made-for-entertaining boat. Finger food, beer, margaritas, etc. We had a good time. However, we didn't eat before we went and, unless you really make a pig of yourself, finger food doesn't really fill you up, so we stopped at Bandido's for a couple burgers on the way home. Eating dinner at 10 PM, just like real Mexicans.

Tonight we're going back over to Casa Buena. We're having a pre-Christmas dinner sort of like the pre-Thanksgiving one we had there when Cody & Scott visited. Our friends Zac &
Susi (s/v Wendy Ellen) are hosting. Zac's folks are visiting from the Reno area. We're taking a Chinese tofu salad with spicy peanut dressing. It was supposed to be Chinese chicken salad but Susi's a vegetarian.

You might think that finding tofu in Mexico would be impossible. And it probably would be in Loreto or someplace else smaller than La Paz. But, here we only had to look in 2 stores. Found it in a display of "exotic" stuff (Italian salami, American all-beef weiners, etc.) at the new Mega store. Things that seemed to us to be considerably less exotic than tofu proved almost, almost impossible to find. We haven't seen ricotta cheese in the stores. However, I happened across a recipe online for making your own. Looked pretty easy so Lulu jumped at the chance to try it out. She mainly needed it for some bruschetta she was making for a going away get-together on s/v Island Seeker last week. Anyway, there was a lot of it left and what do you do with ricotta? Well, you make lasagna of course. Okay, off to the store to get lasagna noodles as well as some ingredients for the salad.

We managed to get almost everything we needed either at Mega or Chedraui. However, a few key things were missing: dried basil, lasagna noodles, fresh ginger, and beef base. Oh and we were also looking for a large (1 liter) bottle of Microdyne. In the produce section of most of the stores they sell these little bottles of a bactericide called Microdyne. A few drops in a gallon of water makes a disinfecting solution to wash vegetables with. We also use a little in our water tank when taking on dock water, just in case. It's either iodine or bromine based. Chlorine isn't good for aluminum water tanks. Anyway, we wanted to find a larger bottle than the little bitty ones. We'd been told they sell it at City Club but that's way the hell and gone the other side of town. Oh, we've walked there and probably will again, but, it'd be nice to find it a bit closer.

Anyway, couldn't find lasagna noodles, beef base or basil. They had every other kind of pasta you can imagine, but no lasagna. We got some egg noodles and figured we'd make a lasagna-like casserole. However, once we got back to the boat, we discovered that we still had just enough lasagna noodles left for one batch. But beef base? Forget it. If I wanted chicken base I could have my pick of about a thousand different packages made by about 3 different manufacturers. But beef? No dice. Fortunately, Lulu had just opened our last jar so we're not in dire need yet. Basil, however, we couldn't find. But you want oregano? You can find bags and bags and bags of oregano. Pretty easy to find thyme. Rosemary is a little more elusive. We even found fennel. But basil just wasn't to be found. Lulu found something called "Pesto Seasoning" which was mostly basil so she used that and her meat sauce suffered not one bit as a result.

Yesterday, we were downtown and stopped in at the Aramburo market. This is a much smaller grocery store but is reasonably well-stocked. Guess what we found. That's right, lasagna noodles, fresh ginger root, beef bullion, and big bottles of Microdyne. You just never know. Simple shopping is always an adventure down here. We finally found basil at a little organic shop downtown (El Sabor de Baja).

Finally, here's a shot of my new favorite taco stand:

So far all I've had are the cerdo de chile morita tacos but I've felt no need to branch out. These are tacos filled with pork cooked in a spicy sauce, a lot like chile colorado. Dress them up with a little cilantro and you're good to go. Sunday, I introduced Lulu to these gems. In the little condiment bins there was something that looked like very finely chopped onion mixed with extremely finely chopped carrots or not-quite-ripe tomatoes. Lulu piled some on her taco and I followed suit. As I was adding a second small scoop, the proprietor looked alarmed and told me that was "Habanera!" Ohhhh. Well, not one to back down from a chile challenge, I resisted the urge to scrape any of the habaneras off. They were plenty hot but the only time I was uncomfortable was once when I inhaled through my nose while I had a mouthful of taco. The habanera fumes almost melted my sinuses! But, within a few seconds, the toxic fumes had passed and I was back to enjoying a nice mellow burn. These are excellent tacos with or without the habaneras.

Okay, that's going to have to be it for today. Happy now, Raoul?


Anonymous said...

Well good for Raoul, I wasn't going to nag about writing as I know that unless a person is doing something one day is just like the next but it sure is good to hear from you. Amazing what LuAnn can cook on that little bitty stove and oven. One recipe that I found was making lasagna was making it in bundles instead of layers. Much easier to serve and eat. I noticed that Olive Garden also serves it that way too. Anyway good to hear from you and Dad and I wish you both a very Merry Christmas and do not complain about your "cold" we are nineteen degrees here. Love, Mom

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the update. And it looks like I end up being the "good" guy as I have your mom on me side. Fun to go to Mexico even if it is here in the chilly oregon. Raoul

Anonymous said...

Good evening, Steve & Lulu: I watch patiently for your blog everyday, so the next time you miss I think I will start complaining. It is great to hear from you and about your adventures with the food. Take care and my love to both of you always - Nancy

Anonymous said...

Feed the Beast!!! Raoul

Anonymous said...

Just a note- you can always get fresh basil at the organic market (Revolucion and Constitucion) Tues/Sat mornings or at the Bravo market (quiosco towards the back fish area).

BTW- I have lasagna noodles just lingering in my galley. Trade for anything Thai, Indian or from Trader Joe's. I'll even supply the ricotta for if you let me taste test the lasagna ;)

S/V Gypsy

Steve and Lulu said...

Thanks for the tip re: basil. BTW, we got some at Sabor de Mexico, not Sabor de Baja (if there even is such a place) like I said in the blog. Sounds to me like you better get busy making some lasagna before those noodles go bad.