calabaza en tacha

4 Nov

calabaza en tacha I just don’t know why I made this. I hadn’t had sugar all month (Halloween included!) and now I’m WholeWhateverNumberofDaysUntilThanksgiving-ing (I started after making this, don’t you worry). Someone please remove it from my house. I didn’t even do a single thing for El Día de los Muertos, which is the holiday that made me decide to make this candied pumpkin, so I have no reason to have made it. Yeah, candied, sugary, syrupy pumpkin. Starring the world’s driest (and most absorbent?!) pumpkin that was prob sitting in some storehouse all winter and summer just waiting for some sucker like me to purchase it. I knew it felt a little light for its size… and the other one I bought feels even lighter. Fine, all the better to absorb any (clarified) butter I put on it after I roast it. Because, no I’m not going to make pumpkin pie with shortbread crust with it, like I really, really, realllllyyyyy want to. Except I’d use rice flour because it makes the shortbread all kinda grainy and I LOVE it. Okay, I’m done. No more sweets.
sugar pumpkin halved sugar pumpkin pumpkin innards Speaking of Thanksgiving, the other week, I got the new Bon Appétit and it was the Thanksgiving issue and I wanted to cry. I’m not ready. I’m just.not.ready. I know it’s all cliché to gripe about “where did the time go?!” and “whoa, can you believe it’s blah blah blah already?” Shut up, it’s different for me. It’s a strange new climate here and I don’t understand it and all my holiday weather clues are all sorts of messed up and non-existent and wrong and I feel like I’m three months behind and it’s weird and confusing and I can’t get excited about anything. WAHHHHH.
piloncillo cinnamon sticks This pumpkin dish did somehow manage to sway my feelings a little. Just a little. It fills the house with spicy, sugary, pumpkiny smells and hey, by some miracle it was colder here in morning than it was in Denver. Not that I check Denver weather obsessively. I swear. It’s just that it seemed remarkably cold here and I wanted to see how out of whack my calibration was. Really, truly it’s the truth. But yes, the factors were in place to help me out a little. I went for a long walk in the evening in omg 3/4 length gym tights and omg a long sleeved shirt and I did not get hot. Then I came home and stuffed my face for a second and FINAL time full of spiced syrupy pumpkin. I suppose I can start to consider other fall-esque foods. But I don’t know what to decorate with. Dried chile peppers, I suppose. Gourds. I dunno. Indian corn. That’s all doable, I guess. BUCK UP.
sugar and spices dissolving piloncillo I saw some Facebook post of an old high school acquaintance linking to some opinion piece by a “Chicana” about how ignorant it is when ignorant white people ignorantly appropriate el Día de los Muertos. I can’t even tell you how much that stuff irritates me, and when white people whole-heartedly back it up with this self-satisfied acknowledgment of white people’s ignorance. Except theirs, of course. Because they would never appropriate any bit of culture that wasn’t natively theirs. And you know, it’s absolutely okay for any other culture or race to appropriate any other facet of the ignorant white man’s culture because we’re the oppressors and the colonizers and we don’t count. UGH WOW this is getting me riled up. But you know what, I like other cultures and I’m going to keep trying to make their foods and I hope I piss off some Chicana who decided that it’s real freakin’ cool to be offended by everything that breathes, and is white. Ugh, I hate everyone.
cut up pumpkin calabaza en tacha boiling sugar and pumpkin calabaza en tacha If you can’t find piloncillo, which even here isn’t located in the baking aisle but in like the tortilla and jarred nopales aisle, you can substitute about cup of brown sugar plus a big spoonful of molasses for each 8oz cone. You also don’t have to use a sugar pumpkin, you could use acorn squash or another winter squash. Sweet potatoes. Ew, I just thought about someone using regular potatoes and kinda gagged. You can change up the spices, too – star anise, no allspice, more cloves, no orange juice or zest (add a little bonus water if no juice), etc. It’s your time to shine bright.
cat cream pitcherI wanted to put the syrup in that pitcher but couldn’t think of how to get it in without a real royalty of a mess. Okay, I’m gonna try writing in a somewhat olde tymey receipt style. This is an easy one to test it out on. Basically I give more details instructions instead of having the ingredients list be more instructive. We’ll see.

calabaza en tacha

2 cups of water
2 8 oz. cones of piloncillo
2 true cinnamon sticks
4 cloves
2 allspice berries
1 medium orange
1 sugar pumpkin or other similar sized winter squash would be fine

1. In a large pot, combine water, piloncillo, cinnamon sticks, cloves, and allspice. Zest 1/2 of the orange into the pot and then squeeze its juice into the pot as well. Heat over medium low until the sugar is all dissolved, stirring occasionally.

2. Meanwhile, scrub the pumpkin and slice in half widthwise. Remove the seeds and strings (save the seeds for roasting!) and cut into 1 – 2″ chunks.

3. Arrange the pumpkin chunks in the pot. I saw lots of people agree on layering them with the first layer skin side up, then the second layer skin side down. Then I also saw the reverse. And also no mention of layering tactics. Whatever, I don’t think it really makes a difference because the sugar water is going to be bubbling all around anyway.

4. Cover the pot and let simmer for about an hour, until the pumpkin is very tender. Remove pumpkin and spices with a slotted spoon. You can discard the spices or do something fancy with them if you’re presenting this.

5. Turn the heat up to medium and boil the remaining sugar water until it’s reduced and nicely coats a spoon.

Drizzle the syrup over the pumpkin chunks. Done. Eat. Feel sick. Enjoy misappropriating a culture.


27 Oct

paleo thai larb laarb laabLarb. Doesn’t sound so great in English. I considered titling this “laab” instead, since I’ve seen it like that before and laab just sounds so delightfully ethnic. And don’t you just feel sooo worldly and good about yourself when you eat delightfully ethnic food from oh-aren’t-they-quaint Southeast Asian cultures? It’s almost like being a do-gooder. Larb, on the other hand, sounds like an off-brand lard product, dusty cans of which line the shelves of shitty Tex-Mex restaurant kitchens. It’s not. It’s just a rather wonderfully seasoned herb-y pork-y salad that you’ve probably gotten a dozen times before and it’s all old hat. Yeah yeah, but it’s just so fun to make. So easy and I still am impressed every time I make it, or whatever variation on it. I like being impressed.
grinding toasted rice powder mortar pestle measuring toasting sticky rice I have two furry fleabags in the house. I just knew they’d get fleas. One of them escapes periodically and couldn’t be out for more than like 30 minutes before he comes back crying and flinging himself at the door. Not even 30 minutes most times. And it’s like two times per week maybe. Crap! They do go outside on the second story balcony but, but that can’t be possible for them to get fleas up there, right?! I don’t want to give them medicine wahhhh. I might try flea combing every day for a week or something and see if that helps, along with vacuuming a lot. Blast. Anyone want to come visit?? Hi!!
sliced shallots Continue reading

hot sauce

15 Oct

paleo hot sauceHey. Hi. Let’s kiss and make up, okay? Great. I just got back from visiting Denver and let me tell you if I was feeling depressed before, I most certainly still do. Woe is me, I know. I don’t want to complain, but goddammit it’s true. Let me wallow and let me think only of the cons and let me dwell on the negatives and allow me to think only of short term goals. I’m real good at that stuff sometimes. Like listening to Disintegration on repeat until any semblance of a positive life force has completely oozed out of my body, leaving me the saddest sack imaginable. That’s my jam, baby.
chiles de árbolchopped red bell pepper Continue reading

sesame summer squash salad

15 Aug

paleo sesame squash summer saladTired of summer squash? Too bad, time to eat more. Can’t say I’m tired of it, because I don’t have any  in my garden (yet). But if I did, this salad would be a perfect way to plow through those ceaselessly proliferating plants. Or you could not pick them, let them get gigantic, then leave them on your patio table, hoping that they’ll turn into dried out ornamental gourds. I’ve def done that a few times.
raw and toasted sesame seeds Continue reading

tomato and onion salad with curried okra chips

2 Aug

paleo tomato onion salad okra chips Things are starting to fall into place here, I suppose. After I found out our landlord doesn’t want me planting anything in the front of the house, which is the south side, I looked at a few community gardens nearby. I picked one that seems decent, though there’s always worry that neighborhood brats will steal or ruin veggies from the garden. It’s the best option I have, since the landlord seems to prefer to keep the front yard devoid of anything other than weedy ground crawl and unartfully curved metal edging that edges out the weedy ground crawl in favor of debris strewn dirt. So I’m going to start planting for the fall this week, which is exciting! I’ve already got fall (yes fall) tomatoes planted in pots in a patch of sunlight in the back yard. I guess other than that I don’t have much else in my life in place, actually. I signed up for a month at Joe’s Gym. I just don’t know what to do about a stupid Crossfit gym. So in the meantime I’m just going to meathead body building gym, getting major weird stares while I try do my old gym’s workouts. Even my cats are in a funk. They kind of just sleep all day, which is what I want to do. I have to snap out! Have to be productive! My funk is sucking at my productivity and my will to be productive. What a terrible cycle.
local texas okra paleo sliced okra Continue reading

walnut pork butter

29 Jul

paleo walnut pork butter I’m in a new-location-malaise. I know, poor pitiful me, what a hard life I have, but it’s true. I feel like a lump, a real sad sack. I think a need a routine and some friends. Thinking about my friends reminded me of this draft I had saved and not yet published, which was inspired by a fun dinner out I had back in Denver. One friend got a vegetarian 3-course meal, and two of the courses had butters of sorts accompanying. A delicious, slightly sweet pecan butter, an onion butter that I didn’t get enough of a taste of to figure out what they did, and…some other butter. Give me a break, I had gone out with other friends before, so I don’t remember too well all the butter details. But what I do know is, is that I had a bunch of walnuts in the freezer and a lot of confit pork bits leftover from making lard. Those little bits are great added to pan-fried potatoes and great, it turns out, puréed with walnuts, onion, and salt.
walnuts paleo confit pork Continue reading

fermented carrot pickles

7 Jul

paleo fermented carrot picklesHey. I’m here in Texas. And really all I’ve done is unpack, organize, and hand wash every freaking piece of wool clothing for indeterminately long storage. But I have this kind of brain blockage that prevents me from completing large, important tasks in favor of nagging smaller tasks. Then, the longer I don’t do whatever important task in question, the more I don’t want to think about how long it’s been and I try to not think about it. Take for example, not working on this blog and instead figuring out the best way to organize and store all of my holiday decorations. Or how I didn’t post this here recipe for a month and half because I was too busy getting ready to go to Texas and too busy seeing every friend possible. I had already taken the pictures, I was already completely checked out at my job, you’d think I would have been able to do it, but I just kept pretending like it wasn’t as long as it really had been. Brain blockage. So here’s a recap of my life.
bag of organic carrotsMy landlords in Denver were being real pains in the ass about wanting to show the house as soon as I told them we were moving. First, they wanted to show it all day. They were just going to be there 8 – 6. And they said they were going to do the showings on the weekend “so as to accommodate [my] usage during the month.” What does that mean??? How is it nice to have them there on the weekends? So, I said well it’d be pretty great if you could do the showings when I’m not there, thanks. Then they asked if I could lock my cats in a fucking closet for “10 or so hours” while they would be there showing the place. I didn’t reply to the email for a day because I needed to calm down. I’m so excited I never have to hear from Kathy and Randy Fischer ever again! Did I mention that Randy is a state representative here in Colorado? Rated worst for business by The Denver Business Journal. Thanks, bud. Also, his wife is on drugs, pretty sure. Teamocil probably. But yeah, they liked my garden and my compost pile, so that’s good. Didn’t have to haul off two truck loads of soil and months worth of rotting vegetable and yard matter.
cutting carrots for pickles weighing salt for pickle brine Continue reading


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