It’s Not Easy Being Green

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It’s an Open-Up-Your-Taste-Buds-to-New-and-Exciting-Tastes Day at  And it’s also an Isn’t-Spring-Wonderful Day.  The fires which devastated Sonoma in October are still a part of almost every conversation around here.  It’s mind-boggling how many people we meet who lost their homes.  The massive re-building has barely begun.  But re-birth in nature is already evident, as you can see in this gorgeous green field just above our little neighborhood.

While green seems to be just right in that field, green in food can be tricky.  Or as Kermit sang, “green is the color of spring.”  Yet, “it’s not easy being green.”  Actually, Andy looked a little green recently – while we were eating grilled oysters….see Andy’s Corner.

Screen Shot 2018-03-09 at 8.30.20 AMMoss (how apropos his name is for this topic 🙂 ) and Silas, our grandsons, have always liked Odwalla’s “Original Superfood Fruit Smoothie” and I’ve always winced at its color.  But when we went to Ixtapa, Mexico, for the first time a number of years ago, I fell in love with the new and different green drink we were served on the beach.  Well…maybe it was being on that beautiful Pacific beach, but I think I’d have loved the drink no matter what.  Jugo Verde – a name so much prettier than Original Superfood – and way more delicious too.

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Our version of Jugo Verde

Moss also loves Snickerdoodles and I’ve made them frequently in his honor.  Since I already had a tin of ground green tea (Matcha), when I saw a recipe for Matcha Snickerdoodles I was intrigued.  Even more intriguing was the fact that the recipe came from a patisserie in San Francisco which is in the same building as the office for Tacolicious.  The patisserie’s name? Craftsman & Wolves.

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The cookies, after baking, looked….well, kind of weird, to put it nicely.  But I’m now wondering whether there is something slightly addictive about matcha.  I’ve been sneaking these amazing and unusual cookies all morning long – and still haven’t gotten my fill.  They’re like perfect.  Not too sweet.  Kind of delicate.  And the flavor doesn’t resemble anything you’ve had before – in a very good way.

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Craftsman & Wolves’ Matcha Snickerdoodles

Ras el hanout may not be a spice mixture that you routinely have in your cupboard but it’s what makes the Watercress, Spinach and Chickpea Soup, a riff on a Yotam Ottolenghi recipe, unique.  And if you don’t want to bother to make it (I actually did – a combination of at least 13 spices!) or buy it (Amazon, of course), you can substitute the easily-found Garam Masala spice mixture, making it more Indian than North African, but still delicious.

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Watercress, Spinach, and Chickpea Soup – before adding the yogurt

And one final green-ish new-ish thing to try: freekeh.  It’s a young, green wheat, high in protein and fiber – those things we want and need – that has been roasted.  Freekeh, which dates back to around the 13th century Middle East, is delicious…better than barley or quinoa IMHO.  I combined some cooked freekeh with slivered red and green cabbage and mango for a delicious, healthy salad, using one of Ottolenghi’s dressings.

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Cooked freekeh

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I got this from Amazon but some Whole Foods carry it

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Key Lime Pie and Hard-boiled Eggs

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Today’s BigLittleMeals’ quiz: which film are The Raggedys rooting for to win the Best Picture award at Sunday’s Academy Awards?

Hint: think about a pie made with key limes and about hard-boiled eggs.

Got it??   If not, there’s one more clue at the end.  Plus, we have d-lish and simple recipes for a Key Lime Pie and for Curried Deviled Eggs (made with those hard-boiled eggs).

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Holy Molé!


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Breakfast at Chilhuacle Rojo in Oaxaca City

Weeks before we left for Oaxaca, I chose this blog-topic – Hole Molé – knowing that I would return from our visit excited to cook the 7 famous Oaxacan types of molé.  But it’s not to be.  After a week of food-filled Oaxacan days, I realized that Oaxacan food is just too complex for BigLittleMeals…and me.  If I don’t want to track down the hoja santo,  the chilhuacle rojo (which BTW is the name of one of our favorite cafes in Oaxaca),  the avocado leaves, or the 25+ other ingredients that go into some moles, I’m guessing you won’t want to either.

So I’ll focus on three simple Oaxacan specialties: cheese, chocolate, and mezcal.  Meanwhile, Andy – in Andy’s Corner – is busy trying to find out what gets lost in translation.

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Molletes using ciabatta bread and served with salsas and sour cream at Boulenc in Oaxaca City

If you want Oaxacan – yet simple – go for a mollete.  Toast bread (Mexican bolillos is traditional), add a thin layer of refried black beans and a little Oaxacan melting cheese, stick it under the broiler, and serve with a store-bought salsa and some sour cream or crema.  At a fabulous bakery in Oaxaca City, Boulenc,  molletes are made with ciabatta bread.  I highly recommend that.

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Chocolate ground for hot drinks  at the Mercado 20 de Noviembre in Oaxaca City

Every market we visited in Oaxaca had a stand selling Mayordomo Chocolate, which is made in Oaxaca.  And every market had bins of ground chocolate – to be used in drinks.  So we’re offering up a recipe for a simple “snacking cake” with Mexican chocolate.  It’s a cake which even I, as a certified non-chocolate-eater, could over-eat.  If you can’t find Mexican chocolate, other bar chocolate can be substituted.

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Taza Chocolate – Oaxacan-style chocolate made in Maine and available on Amazon

As for mezcal, I love this quote from the article “Mezcal Sunrise” in The New Yorker’s April 2016 issue:  The first sip is mouthwash—harsh, disinfecting, functional. The second reveals the flavors. By the third, people are saying the word “magic,” and it’s not that embarrassing.  How true – if you’re drinking mezcal straight (the purists’ preferred way).  The first sip about blows you away – but it’s all good from then on out!

We’re partial to mezcal cocktails such as this pineapple-y margarita or Joe’s Mezcal Margarita or the Mezcal Negroni, which we blogged about earlier.

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Oaxacan Gold Margarita

Click on “Continue Reading” to get the recipes.

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Who Would Want To Be Bugged on Valentine’s Day? Probably Lots of Folks

cochineal bug

Cochineal feasting on a cactus.

Early this morning the Daily Beast published an article that was too timely and relevant to pass by, and because of my Bouverie docent credentials Ann has given me permission to take the lead on this quickie lagniappe blog.  It turns out that one of our favorite (and most attractive) aperitifs, Campari, owes (or owed) much of its beauty to a lowly bug (to be entomologically correct, insect) mentioned in yesterday’s blog – the cochineal.  And although Campari no longer contains cochineal-based dye, it still makes some gorgeous cocktails.  Here are a couple of Valentine’s Day suggestions using Campari: the bourbon-based Boulevardier, which we blogged about earlier, or the Mezcal Negroni which we are presenting here. Continue reading

I ♥

“How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.” 


Or maybe better yet:

♪ I love you truly, truly, dear.  Life with its sorrows, life with its tears.  Fades into dreams when I feel you are near.  For I love you truly, truly, dear.”♪  (I’ll be curious what you think of this/their/his performance.  Be sure to listen! 🙂 )

And here via YouTube is the scene with Edith from All in the Family, loving Archie truly with the same song.  Lord, they were funny….but wouldn’t make it in today’s world.

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Which brings me to my Colorado College days – and singing that same song in a circle in our sorority.  We would be alerted by our president before a chapter meeting that a candle would be passed, meaning someone amongst us had just gotten pinned or engaged.  The excitement would be palpable.   We would sing – and harmonize – as The Candle was passed around once – and then on the second pass-around the lucky girl would announce her pinning by blowing out the candle – to everyone’s screams of joy.  A third go-around (better yet!) meant an engagement.

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All I wanted in my college life was to get to blow out a candle before I graduated.

It didn’t happen.

And yet now – so many years later – I have lots of loves.  Here for Valentine’s Day are 10 of them:

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