Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Chile Cheater

Yes, I cheat when I am making my Pork Green Chile Stew. I cannot resist the roasted chiles at my local Hispanic grocery store. Each Saturday morning, they roast whole chiles out in the parking lot in large rotating barrel roasters. They bag them and charge 3 dollars for 2 pounds. Weird price point. All I have to do is wash the charred skins off and remove most of the seeds. Then I just through them in the food processor and bag up portions that I can use later and freeze.

This latest batch I am processing are 2 different types. Poblano and Green Chiles.

For those of you who cook, this will be an easy recipe to follow, for those that don’t I am sorry about the short cuts.

I have made small batches for just my husband and me and I have made enough to take to church pot lucks.

1-2 pounds of pork stew meat or cut up bite size pieces off a Pork Butt shoulder roast.
Seasoned flour (salt, pepper what ever else you like)
2 or more cups of chicken broth.
2-4 cups of fresh roasted chiles whacked up small or processed to almost a puree.

Dust the stew meat in flour and brown in small batches in a large Dutch oven or stock pot. You don’t have to cook the meat through, just get the flour bonded to the meat. The stewing process will cook and tenderize the meat. If you do over cook it at this point, it has the tendency to get tough.
Once all the meat is browned, add it all back into the pot and throw in any remaining flour and work into the meat to get it to bond. Add chiles and stir until well distributed, then cover with 2 cups of chicken broth. You might need more or less broth depending how juicy your chiles are.
Cover and let simmer for a few hours or until you cannot stand it any longer. I like to cook mine the day before and just warm up the next.
We serve ours in a large bowl over a crisp tostada, beans, shredded cheese, avocado, sour cream and a fried egg on top. Don’t forget the dash of Valentina’s at the end.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Sonora, Cattle Country.

Well, this is a photo taken just outside Tubac, Arizona. It is a cheesy roadside joint, but we just could not pass up the photo opportunity. But it does bring me to the topic of this Blog. Mexican Beef.

Caborca, Sonora July 4, 2008. This is Keith with a mound of beef and tortillas. He had just finished up getting some dental work done in Nogales and we decided to spend a couple of days visiting this area. I had read about Caborca and we had seen the signs for many years, so we took off for a town that is not well known for much more than its agriculture. However, we came to learn about the newest thing in town. The Narcos. They have started building beautiful mansions near "The Conception of our Lady of Caborca" A stunning Church commissioned in 1692 by Father Francisco Kino. (Here is where Mexico Bob corrected me.) "Regarding the Church and Padre Eusebio Francisco Kino...he was a Jesuit and he founded the original chapel which was about a half mile east of the present church. The present church was actually built by Franciscan priests who replaced the Jesuits in 1767 when the Jesuits were kicked out of New Spain by the Spanish crown."

Long before the Spanish Conquistadors, a well known land baron "El Jefe Soba" united and commanded around 4000 Indians who lived in and around NW Sonora.
April 1, 1895 (Notice April fools day) The American Henry Alexander Crabb waged a 6 day invasion in Caborca. The locals executed him. In April 1948, Resolution #89 changed the name of Caborca to Heroic Caborca.
The area exports raisins,dates,olives and asparagus. It produces cattle for beef and leather works.
The area is not well known for its 75 miles of ocean shoreline along the gulf of California. I suspect it wont be long and these sleepy little places will be on the radar. Puerto Lobos, Desenborque, Estro Las Tanques, Santo Tomas, Las Salinas, San Jorge Bay and a few others.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Hi, my name is Chrissy, and I have a bolsa problem.

It all started with a innocent trip to the mercado in Zihuatanejo. I needed to pick up provisions for the next week as we were staying in a home in Troncones where at the time there was nothing to buy. The beer truck came by on Tuesdays, the Coca Cola truck on Thursdays. Other than that you had to take the 3 beer drive into Z town for everything else. By the time I realized that I had too much stuff to carry in the small bags being handed to me, it was too late. I chose the largest bolsa I could find and started packing stuff in there. It wasn't long before I could not carry the thing. Finally a nice joven came to my rescue and I paid him well. I fell more in love with Mexico that day and started my obsession with the colorful bolsas.
This is our road bolsa. It has all the necessities when we are driving to Mexico. It stays loaded and ready at all time. It has maps, a binder with helpful information, insurance binders, registrations numerous copies of everything, toilet paper, first aid, spare glasses. A cornucopia of travel related items. She is not lovely, but sturdy and practical.

Ah, where it all started. This is my 19 year old Zihuatanejo bag. She has been to many places both south and north of the border. She is a huge bag and very colorful. She has much more life in her.

JUMBO boy bag. Unless you need a bag to carry enough popped corn to feed everyone on a jetliner, this bag is way to large to fill and be able to carry. I have no idea where or when I got this bag, so he must have arrived with beer or what ever else I sent Keith to the store to get.

Petite mini bag. This bag is too small, but she was part of a matching set that I could not pass up. One of my girlfriends talked me into giving her the practical size matching bolsa, so I have used this little cutie to take a few small items with me if I was going to the shower or to separate stuff in the larger beach bolsa.
Below is the perfect bag. She is very beautiful in color, has a nice shaped bottom and holds most all you need to make a nice dinner for 4-6 in Mexico. She was my most expensive bolsa as well. We were in Nogales getting one of Keith's crowns and doing a bit of window shopping when it started to pour down rain. I had just purchases a nice decorative talavera piece and we had a HUGE line to wait in to walk back over the border. I didn't want to waste time bargaining and when the guy finally arrived with a bolsa that fit my description, I gladly handed him 10 bucks (US dollars) and dashed out to stand 40 minutes in the rain. Considering that I had only paid 15 pesos for my Zihuatanejo bag either the price of plastics have gone way up, or I just paid the price of convenience. Oh well. Reason 76 that I love Mexico. Cheap (mostly), colorful and practical bags.

Perfect medium sized square bottom bag.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

A few more photos of the Lion cut.

If he looks big it is because he is. 22 pounds, but that is up from his normal 20. Maybe now that I can see his body line better, I will monitor his food intake a bit. Both boys get low calorie food, but I think they just eat more of it.
Burford is our 25 pounder. He is not over weight, he is just big boy. He is ignoring Gordy in this photo. His normal behavior towards anything that is not food related. Gordy is looking over at the bunny nest. Mommy bunny moved the babies on Sunday after Gordy hauled one up for me to look at. It was alive and did not look injured. I put him back in the hole.

I took him out into the sun to get a better shot. He is so used to staying in the shade because of his long hair, he wouldn't stand still.

Monday, June 15, 2009

...the Lion sleeps tonight...

Here is Gordy in his New Lion Cut. OK, Some people might think this is cruel, but we have been doing this for several years and Gordy, being a long haired cat actually now lays still for the groomer because he must know that he will feel better in the Arizona heat. We take these photos so when we move to Mexico we can so the groomer what we want for him, lest there is a problem with our Spanish.
I will be a week away from blogging as I am going up to Grand Coulee Washington to attend the funeral of my childhood friend Barb who died unexpectedly on Saturday. Sad day for me and the world.
Oh, it should also be noted that Gordon has no desire to groom himself, so as he sleeps with me, I am most appreciative of this cut. Keith (husband) on the other hand is a good groomer.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Moving birds to Mexico

here is a link I found that appears to have a process. I will go to the Mexican Consulate next week and get more information.

Hey Tango!

Tango is our 4 year old Sun Conure. He was actually part of our plan in moving to Mexico. We had always wanted a parrot, but want for him to have a nice aviary in a court yard. So with that in mind, we got him when he was only 5 months old.
Sun Conures are one of the most beautiful birds ever, but they are the noisiest and messiest eaters. We love him regardless. He loves to kiss and cuddle, but is strictly a 2 person bird. Get near him and someone is going to bleed. He can speak a few things, like Tango, Good Boy, Night Night, step up, Good Morning and he is working on Hola! Nancy in Mazatlan has been telling me how difficult it is getting birds into Mexico. I am taking that up as a project here and hope to have some good news for all you other Bird Nerds out in Blogger Land.

Tango, getting ready to attack the camera.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Colima Dog. Good boy!

Colima Dog was adopted many years ago in, well Colima. He was given full legal immigration status and lived for 10 years in Alaska before moving to Arizona. He is a curious dog, always up to something. Mostly he just wants to get back to his country of origin. Colima Dog is especially interested in Blogging. He spends hours pouring over the excellent information about his native land and appreciates all the other doggie bloggies.
Colima Dog loves the outdoors. Here he is this morning playing in the lantana. He rather likes the color of this lantana over the purple. This color just goes better with his outfit.

Colima Dog is not ashamed of his pudgy belly or lack of moving parts. He is happy just to lounge the day away counting the bird that pass overhead and contemplating his return to Mexico. Stayed tuned for more adventures of Colima Dog and his quest to move back to Mexico. Go Colima Dog. Go!!!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

The Bear and the Porcupine

I am nearly finished with this book. I checked it out of the Scottsdale Library. It is written by Jeffrey Davidow Former USA Ambassador to Mexico 1998-2002. He actually is a good writer. I had expected this read to be just Governmental statistics and junk, but he really has some great stories and insights. The only thing I don't like about the book is that it is awkward to hold. It the size of a Jr. High History text book and bound really tight.

His writing on the drug related issues, cultural differences and political expectations are very easy to follow and appreciate. He also writes this in a fashion that reads almost like a travel novel, so if you don't like the political stuff, you will be delighted with his descriptions of breakfasts at his home, travel that he and his wife took advantage of and alike.

All and all, I am enjoying the book more than I thought I would.

Monday, June 8, 2009


As misplaced Alaskans, we have never lost of appetite for seafood or our thrill of adventure. We have been eating oysters in Mexico for 20 years. A few raw, but only when we have harvested them ourselves in clean water. The cost is usually excellent and we only purchase them from road side shacks were there are several people already partaking of these tender bi valves. After copious amounts of scrubbing we just put the little gems on a hot hot grill and wait for them to pop open, then serve them with drawn butter laced with salt, garlic and a splash of Valentina's.

Here is our friend Bill checking on our dinner. This was just one of the 2 batches we cooked. The cost for 50 oysters came to around 10 USD. We should have gotten more.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Chacala, Nayarit. Bad Mojo?

OK, I know I am probably going to take some flack about this. But I don't like Chacala. Sorry, I don't and I have tried and tried for years but something about this place just creeps me out. Maybe it is the fact that there is no real town. Maybe its the huge cyclone fenced off empty area that is guarded by a guy with a gun. Maybe it is the winding road with the blind corners. Maybe it is nothing and I was dropped on my head as a baby.
I have always had a nice time at the beach and the restaurants there, so its not like I have had a bad experience that would cause this feeling. I can see that they are trying to improve the area. Bill says that his Rotary Club in La Penita is helping out with the school there and working with the local health department to clean up the raw sewage being dumped in the bay.
I will continue returning and hopefully one day the eebee jeebees will go away.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Punta Raza, Nayarit

Punta Raza is a remote beach located down a 3 mile dirt road outside the small farming village of El Monteon. El Monteon is about 3 miles South of Rincon de Guayabitos on Highway 200. This area has been targeted by FONATUR as part of the Riviera Nayarit. I am happy that we got to experience it now. I can only hope they do a good job at preserving this beautiful tropical area.
At the end of the 3 mile dirt road, you will come to the Hotel and restaurant Rincon del Cielo. This hippy like enclave is without power, but runs the kitchen and lights off of gas. There are a few lovely bungalows for rent and the food is excellent. I am not sure if the place is open if they dont have guests or expecting diners. Bill and Charlotte had gone out there a week prior and had made lunch reservations for the following week. The photo above is of the banos. Some of the cleanest I have been in, except for my little attendant below.

He sat patiently until I was done, then I helped him out. He probably was making a good living off bugs and other critters that where going in there.

Some of the fresh ingredients they used for our ceviche.

The entry. The road continues down to the beach. We probably saw 4 or 5 rigs go down and up during the 2 hours we were there. Dogs were playing on the beach and the few people that were on the beach were covering themselves in a black mud and didn't rinse it of for about 30 minutes.
The waves were very small, if any at all. There were some rocks off to the side that would provide snorkeling opportunities. This area was some of the loveliest I have ever been too.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Microwave Pork Fat. Yummy!

I cannot find these here in the USA because I am sure that the FDA thinks they are some secret weapon akin to the swine flu meant to wipe out all civilization. Regardless, they are tasty (not as tasty as fresh chicharron) fun, cheap and easy. I bet if someone made a commercial about them it would have a disclaimer 2 minutes long. Oh well, reason 66 that we are moving to Mexico. Pork Fat Rules!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Cows and Cops

La Penita is a combination beach town and farming community. It is close enough to Rincon de Guayabitos to get some tourist traffic and close enough to Las Varas to get some agricultural traffic. Mostly this is farming county, but I have noticed that cattle are starting to be more present. We spotted a few new round pens and holding chutes being constructed, so something is changing. I did find out that free range cattle are the responsibility of the Transito Police. If a roaming cow devours your new papaya tree, you just call the Transitos and give them the ear tag number and they will track down the owner. (Notice the bovine above is tag free, as are most of the cattle I see out and about) Good to know, now if we can just get the cows to leave their numbers when they check in during the night to eat the plants, we can maybe have our own papayas one day.