Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Blogger Friend School #105 -- M'mm M'mm Good!!!

Memory Verse: Psalms 13:6 NIV
I will sing to the Lord, for He has been good to me.

Please try to learn our memory verse this week. We will be sharing a new verse every week and hope that you will store them in your hearts and find a special joy in His words.

Intro: M’m M’m Good (Campbell’s Soup)
The fall is such a wonderful time of year. The beautiful foliage and cool, crisp morning air is such a wonderful change from the hot summer. I also love the M’m M’m good smell of fall cooking and baking. The wonderful fall veggies, fruits and Thanksgiving foods.

Assignment: Post your favorite fall recipe/recipes to share. I love trying new recipes, do you? It can be baking, main dishes, veggies, dessert or anything else you can think of. There are no limits. Mmmmmm..I can’t wait to take a look at some of those recipes.

Picture ideas: Post a picture of your finished product, or you could just post a picture of the recipe. How about a picture of you cooking? The sky is the limit.

Den gracias al Señor porque El es bueno. Para siempre es Su misericordia!!! Salmo 136:1

A lot of things we normally associated with autumn in Oregon just don't exist in our part of Mexico. Things I miss: pumpkins, frost, our woodstove, the smell of spiced apple cider, harvest parties, fall leaves, white lights. I miss the fall leaves most of all. Autumn is my season. I love this time of year -- I love the smell of burning leaves and the special "fallness" that just permeates the air in late October.

I love Thanksgiving, too. The last big get-together we had in our home in Oregon was a Thanksgiving party with all the local family. I cooked up a storm! Peanut butter cheesecake, pumpkin pie, steamed brussel sprouts, wild rice, garlic mashed potatoes and a huge turkey with a fantastic whole-cranberry jell-o dessert/sauce thingy (I'm not a big cranberry sauce fan, but this stuff was GOOD!!!). It makes me hungry just to write about it!!!

Many of the foods I consider traditional Thanksgiving foods either aren't available here in Mexico or are ridiculously expensive, so we've tweaked our "Traditional Thanksgiving Menu" a bit over the past couple of years. A Turkey, for example, costs well over $20 for a skinny, 12 pound bird. Like I said, ridiculously expensive. The traditional Thanksgiving menu contains foods that are economical, plentious and much-loved by the people enjoying the meal. Since turkey here is neither plentiful nor economical, we generally roast chickens. Y'know what? No one really minds, except we don't get the leftovers for the much-loved Thanksgiving-night-turkey-sandwich or the Sunday night turkey-noodle soup. One thing which is plentiful and economical here is shrimp. Therefore, we've added shrimp scampi to our Day of Thanks menu. Full of garlic and butter, this dish is one of my personal favorites. Sorry! No photo!

Other things I had a hard time finding were fresh cranberries, brussel sprouts, canned pumpkin, applesauce, sweet potatoes, peanut butter, coolwhip and whipping cream. Much of the problem our first year here was simply not knowing the correct names for the foods. For instance "crema" is very popular here. So popular, in fact, that at the store you'll find media crema, crema agria, crema de mesa and crema pura de vaca. I tried to explain it as "cream like you'd put on a cake" and I got "betún" which is frosting. That's what we used the first year, but it was a little too sweet and actually a little greasy. Now I know that what I was looking for was crema para batir. It helps when you know which verb to use!

Both cranberries and brussel sprouts are cold-weather produce, so basically no lo hay (I love that phrase -- sort of -- pronounced "no lo eye" it means simply "there ain't none".). We substituted cherry or strawberry jell-0 for the cranberry sauce and steamed cabbage for the brussels. Not the same, but it worked.

Last year, a friend brought down a few cans of pumpkin. [Thanks Annette!!! ;^) ] With them we were able to create Sarah's internationally-acclaimed Swirled Pumpkin Cheesecake. Here's a photo, and you can read the recipe and instructions here.
Tastes as scrumptious as it looks!!!
In the States I always bought those "el cheap-o dinner rolls" at Sherm's, but they don't have those here, so I now make cornbread. Cornbread here is nothing like cornbread in the States!!! The difference is the cornmeal. The cornmeal I always used in Oregon was a much coarser grind than what they use here. The cornmeal here, called masa, is as finely ground as white flour and makes cornbread so tasty! It's a completely different food! If you have an ethnic food store near you, look for "Maseca" -- harina de maiz.

And then try a batch of cornbread muffins using these proportions: [Reduce/increase the amounts as needed -- I bake for a small army!]

  • 3 cups white flour
  • 3 T baking powder
  • 1 T salt
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 5 cups cornmeal

  • Mix together above dry ingredients. Combine below ingredients in a separate bowl.
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 T maple flavoring (I used to use maple syrup instead of sugar, but...no lo hay!)
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 6 cups liquid (I generally use water now, but I used to use milk or a combination of the two)

  • Mix wet ingredients well and then add to dry ingredients stirring as little as possible. Stir enough to totally moisten dry ingredients, but don't over-mix! Put in well-greased muffin tins. (or 2 9x13 pans, if you'd rather)Bake in a hot oven about 15 minutes or till the tops begin to turn tan-colored and bounce back when gently poked.
    This will yield about 3 dozen good-sized muffins.

Then you can taste these -- pictured here with fresh, home-made mango preserves! Yum!

Well, all this talk about food has made me hungry, and I know that soon the troops will be marching in clamoring for vittles.

Gotta get cookin'!


Gina Marie said...

Rebecca - I can empathize with the need to improvise! Living in China five years before our time in Singapore made us quite creative. I think I'll try your corn meal recipe (we can get real corn meal here - anything for a price!). Can I have your mango preserve recipe? Those are as common as apples around here. I think my family would love it.

Cathy said...

That Pumpkin Cheesecake looks divine. That would be fun to make for the fall. I've heard about the difference in cornbread. Even though I enjoy my cornbread as it is, it would be neat to experience it a different way. I think we may try it! The sunshine must be a nice trade for the fall traditions of the Northwest I think. Today we have some, but it seems like most days "no lo hay".

Sheri said...

sounds very good, better than Jiffy muffins....copy/pasting this beauty for future use. Thanks for sharing this great recipe.