Along the Natchez Trace

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Mostly Food...

I started cooking when I was in third grade...  started out baking cakes.  My Mom worked and while my Dad usually cooked the evening meal, we kids were pretty much on our own for breakfast and lunch.  The house we had moved in to had a gas range, which my Mom was afraid of (why, I don't know, because we had moved from a house with a coal burning kitchen stove, and outdoor well that you actually dipped the bucket into, and an outhouse that seem a hundred miles from the back door).  Anyway, she replaced that gas stove with an electric range and my love of cooking began.

One of the joys of traveling is getting to know the local cuisines...  buy the local foods at the town stores and eat at the local restaurants.  We've had the pleasure of clamming in Alaska, catching brook trout in Maine, eating Cajun in Louisiana, BBQ in Texas, collards and greens in South Carolina...  and I could go on.

Mexican cuisine usually isn't nearly as spicy as folks think...  that's either Tex/Mex or a regional preference.  Eating out is fine occasionally, but, truth is, I'd rather buy what vegetables and meats are available locally and fix them myself.

We found that a Weber Grill "came with" the house we bought.  And there is even a propane tank with some gas here....  These are jalepeno peppers stuffed with (usually 3) shrimp and wrapped with bacon...  then grilled to perfection.  I have no idea if folks locally eat this... we first encountered these in Mazatlan many years ago and have been a favorite of ours ever since.

Good thing those worked well, because a couple of neighbors stopped by today and Bill was telling them that the Weber Grill acted funky...
Well, now...  get 3 guys together (2 who seem to have a lot of grilling experience)....  Okay, I'll be honest here...  Bill and I have done very little outdoor living....  we've never built a campfire, we do have a tiny grill in Maine and a larger one in Ohio...  but this is new to us.  We may have lived in our motorhome for nearly 16 years but we're not campers.  Anyway...  the guys checked out all kinds of stuff...  we probably need a new regulator or something....  Just another trip to Home Depot...
We'll get it worked out....

Other folks stop by...
Christian stopped by with this fish he'd caught (we hope earlier that day)....  I'm still not sure what kind of fish it is, but Christian called it a "toro".  It's a dark meat...  not white and flaky like halibut... more red, like tuna.  Anyway, we bought it...  then asked if he'd show me how to clean it....

Oh Wow!  I should be able to fillet a fish like that!  Christian made some very precise cuts...  cut off any rough spots that might have bones...  quickly got me 2 fillets...  flipped it over, did the same and now we have 2 packages of fish fillets in our freezer.  I'll let you know how they come out when I make them for dinner.

But when we bought the shrimp (2 kilos...  which I had to clean...  take off the shell, the tail and remove the vein)....  we also bought a half kilo of ceviche fish.  I don't know what all kinds of fish this consists of...  it's raw but it's ground up even finer than hamburger.  To make ceviche, you start out by marinating that ground up fish in lime juice.  Having parasites isn't fun, so I let my fish marinate for 2 days.  It looks like it's cooked by then...  and actually, the texture doesn't feel like raw fish.
After it marinates, I add (basically it's Pico de Gallo) tomato, onion, various hot peppers, and cilantro.  I don't know what you'd call it, but we eat it on baked or fried corn tortillas as a main course.  A regional beer tastes wonderful with it.

I don't have any photos, but right now, I'm fixing Camerones Diablo....  (the Devil's Shrimp) for dinner.  I sauteed some onions and peppers... threw in several chunks of Roma tomatoes...  had about a half dozen garlic cloves and probably a half cup of cilantro....  kind of cooked it at bit...  put it all in a blender (YES!  this place also came with a blender)....  made a salsa of it... poured it back in the skillet to reduce it...  added the rest of the shrimp I froze a day or so ago.  I'm about to cook some rice and we'll pour the shrimp sauce over the rice and...  that's dinner.  I might add some frioles... refried beans to bulk it up a bit.

Yes...  I love to cook...  even more than I love to eat (which I DO love)...  We've made several trips to the big stores to buy some of the staple stuff, but mostly, I can buy whatever I want right here in our little town.

I might have to have George (of Awesome Travels) give me some Weber tips...  but, by gosh, we're gonna learn how to fix stuff right on our own front porch.

Too much good food and good eating' here to let it go undocumented!

That's All For Today!


  1. And now we have a whole new group to meet. What fun.

  2. Hey you gonna love that Weber Grill. Maybe a new regulator, ours was replaced under warranty 7 years ago and still works like a new grill. The secret is to preheat the grill on high 15 minutes, turn to low and cook with the lid closed, as much as possible (very important).
    Like you, I love cooking as much if not more than eating, enjoy this new lifestyle.

  3. Cool--I may have to try the jalapenos--sounds good!

  4. It looks like that fish is a Jack Crevalle, called "Toro" in Mexico. They have a reputation for tasting very fishy, so I'll be interested to hear what you think when you cook it up.

  5. I still remember those shrimp wrapped in bacon and chili pepper you gave us a sample of at Falcon Lake ..I have made them a couple times and they are THE BOMB!! You two really need to try a campfire someday..It's a great way to relax without TV or radio and actually talk...

  6. Beautiful header photo.
    WOW...that is some cooking. Christian did an awesome job with that fish. I could never do that. I love the idea of taking a jalapeno and stuffing it with shrimp. Do you put any seasoning on the shrimp or jalapeno?

  7. I don't know if I'd eat ceviche fish. I heard to kill parasites in raw fish, has to be frozen, to certain temp for a certain length of time.