After almost 2 years, I confess to finally burning out on traditional N. Michoacan cuisine. I’ve now had that dozen or fifteen regional dishes many times over. And I’ve now reached the point where I need to rethink food. So while I still love Mexican food there are far too many other tastes that I crave to not want to do a little exploring.

The good news is that I am blessed with having a bountiful larder by way of the old-school Mercado that is just an 8 minute walk away. The Mercado (3 buildings) covers an entire city block and is full, top to bottom with some of the best and freshest food under the sun. My mission is to rethink the application of all those marvelous things into dishes that are easy (or fun anyway) to make, nutritious, and satisfying.

So to slightly paraphrase, I’ve got all these great fruits and vegetables and access to the entire spectrum of freshly butchered animal parts, now I need to think about assembling them in non-Mexican ways.

Think about it. There are fruits from every corner of tropical Mexico. Vegetables from near and far including those indigenous big knobby multi-colored ears of corn. You say that you want fresh spleen, or eyeballs, whole heads, guts, fresh hearts, testicles, or tails? In the Mercado it’s all there and more.

Okay, so rethinking the food thing. For example I like Italian food. Well, fogetaboutit. The closest Italian restaurant is 3 hours north of here in Guadalajara. And the small city that I live in doesn’t have an Italian specialty store. In Sahuayo you have two choices: excellent Mexican food or the ubiquitous cheap Chinese.

So maybe it is better to just generally think in terms of making a pasta dish and then build from there. For that you need to improvise. And this I am discovering isn’t a bad thing.

I have found experientially that it is sometimes far better to take a fresh look at ingredients and re-imagine them into something different than it is to take a more provincial approach and force what you have into something it shouldn’t be.

Example, you don’t even want to know that they do with pizza down here. On my first business trip to Guadalajara in the early ’90s the office staff ordered in lunch from the best pizzeria in the city and I was promised a big treat.

So get this, one of the pies came topped with tuna. And oh no, not fresh Ahi or anything like that. No, picture canned tuna. Chunk light packed in oil. Yup, not even albacore in water but the stinky bait smelly kind. The fishy oil permeated everything. It was positively ghastly. It was one of the worst things I have ever put into my mouth in my entire life.

Preamble aside, here is my recipe for Pasta w/ Caper Butter Sauce and Avocado

Add to a stainless steel skillet – a big chunk of good butter. Then add some diced hot chilies. After it warms up, throw in some precooked pasta. Add capers, shredded fresh basil, a pinch or two of salt, and stir as needed but keep covered until the pasta gets hot. Dump into a bowl and top with one chopped avocado and some fresh farmer’s cheese. Munge it all together and enjoy.

 

 

 

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