March 24, 2010

Hungry for Something New

Missing my china and my own cooking!!

Yesterday my collective food consciousness hit the wall. All I could come up with for dinner was tuna melts using a loaf of Orowheat bread I found down here a month ago and froze. I am so bored and tired of all the recipes we cook at the guesthouse—and I have no one but myself to blame since I am the one who finds the recipes and prints up the menu every week. It is very demanding to teach these women new recipes, what they remember to do one time is never the same the next time and over time my recipes change completely from the one I gave them to something else. For instance, last time they made the lasagna instead of cooking the cottage cheese in it (which they forgot), they put a dollop on top of it when they served it! It was wierd. It is exhausting to watch your great recipes erode over time and saps me of much desire to keep on coming up with new stuff.

Beef Brochettes used to be good but then the meat started getting tougher and tougher. Finally it was inedible it was so tough, so we stopped making them altogether.

Although I print a monthly menu it needs constant tweeking as the number of guests can change at the drop of a hat from 1 to 10 depending on whether we have just one guest or a full house and extra guests to feed. Some of the dishes we make, like the lasagna, require a larger number of guests. And some of the dishes such as shrimp brochette, are a lot of hand work and better served to fewer guests. Once I had them make beef brochettes for eight and the next day the cook came to me and told me that it took too long to cook them for that large a group. It was then that I realized that I would have to come up with some easier meals for larger groups of people. When we have no guests but Esperando and me, then our goal is always to lose weight and so the menu focus changes to less fattening food.

Our meals always start with a soup, a very Mexican tradition. I now have a collection of the best soup recipes in the world I do believe, and I never tire of the soup. Often the soup represents the only form of vegetable matter that the meal will comprise as we have so few choices in the fresh vegetable department: broccoli, sometimes chard, squash, tomatoes, iceberg lettuce, onions, chiles and beets. I get really hungry for great lettuce and mushrooms, and especially a good selection of fresh greens like spinach and mustard. Our main course is generally fish, chicken or shrimp, now and then pork or beef. We get horrible tough cuts of meat here so I stick with ground beef or machaca (dried beef). The only form of fish they don’t overcook is a la plancha, and our chicken options aren’t so good either—I wish I had some really great chicken casserole recipes (remember no mushrooms)! If you know of any please send them to me.

I guess the problem with all these foods is that girls tend to fry them and not bake them. They cook everything ahead and then keep it hot; after all this time it no longer works for me. It all begins to taste the same. I wish we had great Italian or French food, or fresh Maine lobster, but we don't.  But I don’t know why I worry about eating since I’m supposed to be losing weight!!

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