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myMEGusta

Named for things that please me (“me gusta” in Spanish) and rhymes with balabusta (Yiddish for “good homemaker”).

Archive for the month “September, 2013”

Crying for the Blues!

Blue Corn Tortilla Chips!

Blue Corn Tortilla Chips!

One of the first foods to be banished from my home, and it stays in perdition, was blue corn tortilla chips.

Because they are funny looking? Or taste bad?

Au contraire, because they are one of the most irresistible foods in the universe, and the bag would be gone within hours, even if it were intended for guests.

But, other forms of this wonderful crop are more than welcome, and  myMEGusta loves to indulge in blue corn delicacies and seeks them out wherever she finds them.  (Is it true that a blue corn chip eaten in someone else’s house has no calories or fat?)

Touted as being healthier than regular corn, with wise dissenters pointing out that there are much more efficient ways than carb loading to get an insignificantly higher level of vitamins and protein, blue corn is just plain delicious.

Blue Corn Tortillas

Blue Corn Tortillas

Blue Cornmeal

Blue Cornmeal

Blue corn meal can be substituted for regular masa in Latino/Southwestern preparations, but handles differently and can be challenging (but not impossible) when making tortillas (mixing in some regular flour or cornmeal helps).

Blue Cornmeal Pancakes with Pinola Nuts

Blue Cornmeal Pancakes with Pinola Nuts

A visit to Santa Fe is not complete without a breakfast or two of blue corn pancakes, most recently tracked down at the coffee shop on the main square (there’s only one, you cannot miss it).

Fresh blue corn is available in farmers markets in Peru, as evidenced on a recent visit to Cuzco, Peru.

Fresh Blue Corn

Fresh Blue Corn

It showed up as a sorbet, both at an otherwise non-descript airport hotel and as a garnish to a passion fruit tart at one of Lima’s top restaurants.

Passion Fruit Tart with Blue Corn Sorbet

Passion Fruit Tart with Blue Corn Sorbet

Blue Corn Sorbet

Blue Corn Sorbet

Want a taste of something sweet made from blue corn?

Blue Maize Soda

Blue Maize Soda

Don’t hop a plane, simply locate the Peruvian section in your local Latino market and look for a can of Blue Maize soda!

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A Succulent Succulent

prickly pear

The tour guide in Sardinia was so proud of the beautiful landscape, pointing out the numerous Italian cacti with their little pink bumps, clearly believing them to be natives (like herself) and a part of the terrain from time immemorial.

When myMEGusta looked at these plants, yes, she saw how pretty. But her thoughts immediately went to delicious prickly pears. And, nopales, the subtly flavored vegetable which emerges from the painstakingly peeled and processed cactus itself.

Native to the Americas, cactus plants of all shapes and sizes grow prolifically in the western and southwestern United States, and throughout Central and South America, where they are enjoyed as a source of food as well as beauty. Like many other plants, they were carried to Europe and all points beyond, and, when in a favorable climate, grow like weeds, to the point of being considered invasive in some areas.

Prickly Pear Margarita

Prickly Pear Margarita

Nopale Salad

Nopale Salad

But today we’re talking about the fun part of one particular type  of cactus, the part that appears  at lunch! And dinner! Depending on where you live, prickly pears may be relatively easy to find.

Don't try this at home!

Don’t try this at home!

Less so is the cactus leaf, the source of the nopales, either as a hunk of cactus or already prepped, perhaps at the supermarket, and certainly at Latino supermercados, either in the produce section or in a jar.

Prepared Nopales

Prepared Nopales

But I would not suggest either with liver, thank you.

Cactus Nite at the Mess Hall

Cactus Nite at the Mess Hall

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