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A Lazy Sunday and Royal Coronas in a Clay Pot February 02, 2015 18:40

As you may have read, I love cooking in clay pots. I also like slow cookers, pressure cookers, Le Cruset and pretty much anything technique for cooking beans. But my heart is with clay. 

This pot is from Spain and I was lucky enough to get it because now the importer has stopped because of too much breakage. The pot is very heavy and it takes a good long while to heat up, but once it does, it stays hot for a long time. 

As is my habit, I started with onion, garlic, olive oil and some Mexican oregano. I don't want to wash another pot so I start this right in the bottom of the pot I'll be cooking the beans in. 

A lot of people ask whether to cook the beans covered or open. You want to cover them to conserve heat but evaporation makes for a much more interesting bean broth. I often keep the cover ajar or use a spoon to prop it open a little. Life is full of fun decisions. 


A Potato Galette, Sort Of January 29, 2015 16:48

I came of age in the kitchen in the early 1980s. One of my favorite Saturday morning shows was Julia Child and More Company. I missed the French Chef era and this was the first time I saw food TV and thought, that's for me! Julia was serious, fun and the food looked great. I bought the book that went with the series and an immediate favorite, especially with roast chicken, was a straw potato galette. 

I'd sort of forgotten about them until I bought a spiral cutter on impulse, thinking I'd make zucchini pasta, among other things. I have and it's fun but it dawned on me potatoes would be an ideal vegetable for this new toy. 

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I "spiralized" a potato and half of a white onion and mixed them together. I placed them on a tea towel and squeezed like hell to get any excess moisture out of them. 

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In the pan I'd be cooking in, I cooked about a quarter cup of bacon parts and once cooked, removed the meat and let it rest on a paper bag. I added a little olive oil to the remaining bacon fat and then added the potato and onions to the hot oil. 

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I kept smashing the mixture down to solidify it and make it one, then placed a lid on the pan and let the potatoes cook for about six minutes. Then I flipped the whole galette in the air and it worked pretty well. You need a very well-seasoned pan or a non-stick version, and plenty of fat to keep it from sticking. A little nerve doesn't hurt. You can also invert it on to a plate but that seemed to tame for me. 

Another five minutes and the bottom was browned and all was good with the world. Crunchy on the outside and creamy within. 

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This was breakfast, so after salting, I cut up a piece of the galette, topped it with some bacon bits and then plopped a good fried egg on top and ground pepper as well. Of course the yolk makes the most perfect sauce and my only regret is that I don't have the time to do this every morning. 

As I said, this would be a perfect bed for a resting roasted chicken but even a simple salsa, Mexican or even Italian salsa verde, would be a good idea. What about a scoop of warm beans and a crumble or threee of queso fresco?

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Breakfast of Champions October 29, 2014 16:07

I was visiting my friends Maria and Isidro in their little village called Tepehuaje, right on the Lago Chapala and the first morning they asked if I wanted to join them for a pajarete. I had no idea what they were talking about but I wanted to be a good guest. We drove to a small glen where we were greeted by a lot of their friends. About 20 cows were eating and being milked. The women all had little kits with mugs and mysterious bottles. Everyone waited and gossiped but I still wasn't clear on the concept.

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At one point, the man tending the cows gestured to Isidro. Isidro grabbed the mugs from Maria and held them while she dutifully placed a spoonful of instant coffee, a spoonful of sugar and a shot of tequila in each mug. Then Isidro when over to the cow and then finally it dawned on me why everyone was so happy and why my friends start out the day this way. The drink is warm and frothy and I don't think you need much of an imagination to guess how good it was or what I did for breakfast everyday while I stayed with them.

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Aside from the drink, it was a chance for all the neighbors to get together and swap stories. It wasn't too much different than a café. Only this one smelled like cow turds and there was no attitude or tip jar.

(From a post in April, 2007)