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Alexis

Pacifico optional.

MOM

Are those enough serranos to freeze and last you through the winter? Let me know. I have more. The plants were mislabeled because I was supposed to have serranos, jalapenos, and cayenne. I just picked a tomato the size of a quart saucepan. How about a little sliced roma in that chickpea soup?

Alexis

The tomatoes are spoken for; I'm already making room in the freezer for a couple batches of salsa ranchera and all-purpose tomato sauce (garlic, onion, bell pepper). Serranos shouldn't be a problem to use. They go in aforementioned salsa ranchera and in salsa verde, which can also be frozen and easily used in the next 6 months. Expect Mexican food these coming holidays.

ranty

What a beautiful meal! I especially like the Pozole. You are the first person I've known outside of Mexico to actually make it at home.

Alexis

Not to totally dork out over here, but the garbanzo/chipotle/epazote/avocado combo makes this one specifically a tlapeño soup. I believe a pozole is specifically a soup with a lot of hominy, and I've also made quite a few of those since diving headlong a little over a year ago into the fabulous world of Mexican cooking. I've developed awesome (if I do say so myself) vegetarian versions of pozole and menudo, the latter one I especially love because of all the oregano! Luckily The Mexican really loves soup--who knew Mexico as a country was so dedicated to it, even eating certain soups on on certain days of the week?--so I can make a batch and we'll eat it for a couple of days, just keeping it in the pot in the fridge and tossing that on top of the stove when we're hungry.

For me, the soups have been the best way to explore all these different herbs and flavor combinations that I'd never had before. Moles have been fun, too, just because of their culinary ad lib nature (half a piece of bread, one cracker, a burned tortilla, etc.) Guajes/huajes/uhuajes (however you want to spell them, because apparently anything goes) have also caught my eye and my next mole with involve them. I make moles more for The Mexican, though, since I haven't yet found a satisfying vegetarian application for them, aside from adding them to soups for depth. My only gripe is that certain things are harder to find here, like Mexican limas, Oaxacan oregano and, something I've yet to find anywhere, romeritos.

Today I'm pickling the 40-odd serranos I have leftover from what my mom gave me last week, after making a few batches of salsa roja and salsa verde for freezing. I was going to throw in some nopales with them, too, but the cool air outside is making me want to boil the nopales with salt, serranos and oregano instead, and just eat a bowl of steaming hot nopales. They make a perfect tangy cold salad in the summer, but this is how I prefer them when the weather starts cooling down.

Compared to our consumerist way of grocery shopping and cooking here in the States, I'm absolutely fascinated with a lifestyle that involves plucking wild herbs and cactus paddles from road ditches and open fields, then taking it home and making a meal out of it. How blissfully simplistic! And to have trees on your land that bear citrus fruits, and a chayote vine that literally never stops sprouting those delicious, juicy little squashes? I dream about it.

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