Chaparral Lavender Lotion

I’ve been pretty absent from this blog due to months of frantic travel, but now I am back home in West Texas to recharge for a month or two and hope to get back in the swing of things. We have a full house: there are three senior citizens, one nearing senior citizenhood, three teenage girls, a doofy dog and me! It can be challenging at times, but you are definitely never lonely or bored and there are lots of people to try herbal recipes on. Continue reading

Mesquite Flour, A Manifesto of Sorts

We interrupt this broadcast of angst-ridden quarter life crisis rants to bring you…a recipe! Finally. I told you I’d get around to it and this one is a real treat.

I have deep roots in Texas. Aside from a few stints abroad it is the only place I’ve ever lived. I love this damn state even though it infuriates me with all it’s crazy talk about pro-life this and pro-gun that. My mama’s family has been in South Texas for nearly 500 years, since the time it was known as New Spain. On my dad’s side, according to family legend, one of the oldest corpses in the El Paso cemetery is my great-great-great (great?) grandmother who was a Tigua Indian. Back then the border was more of a suggestion than an actuality. On both sides of my family tree borders have shifted, names have changed, but the people remain. Sometimes I wonder if I’d still remember my name if I couldn’t go back to revel in the exploding sunsets and barren rocky mountains of West Texas.  Continue reading

Fun with Fermentation: Part Tepache

Spring turns me into a bee. I find myself buzzing around this warm, beautiful city looking for wildflowers and sweet things to enjoy. This has made work a little difficult because I just want cook and go on nature walks, but I can’t…I have two jobs and bills so here I am hunched over a screen in an air-conditioned room. Though, I honestly enjoy both jobs and the room I am in is pretty nice so I can’t complain much. I also started the day with a nice glass of home-made tepache which is thick and delicious and makes this bee very happy.

Tepache is a fermented drink made out of pineapple rind, water, spices and sugar and it is so ridiculously easy to make that I am kicking myself for not doing it sooner. The thing is I rarely buy pineapples…I grew up in the desert, it just isn’t part of my diet and it tends to be expensive so I never feel compelled to have it. Continue reading

Enchiladas a la Abuela (sort of)

Along with dairy and gluten I have slowly been trying to get corn out of my diet. Culturally, this is very difficult as Mexico and corn have deep ties to one another, but the sacred grain we used to worship has little to do with the genetically modified crap that has finagled its way into just about everything we eat today.  Whatever your view on the health impacts of GMOs there is no denying that Monsanto is a soul sucking colonizing business that is destroying lives and livelihoods. My ultimate goal is to get them out of my kitchen, but who knows how feasible that actually is.

But I digress…sometimes SXSW happens and you end up with a bag of 200 tortillas in your fridge that sits there for a really long time. Also, sometimes, your roomie give you an old(ish) big head of purple cabbage and being you (me) you don’t want to throw it out. Continue reading

On Bathing

I come from two cultures that are a little obsessed with cleanliness and bathing. The Jewish people were some of the first to document the ritual bath or mikvah and I’ve met few Mexicans who don’t shower every day. I think it comes from the Native Americans who took great pride in keeping clean only to be wiped out by the mugre (filth) of Europeans.

As a kid I took a bath every night before bed without fail. I remember whining and trying to get out of it, but my mother was adamant. “But so-and-so doesn’t have to” I’d wail, “Cochinos!” (pigs) she’d exclaim scandalized and turn on the faucet. Of course once I was in I loved it and would sit in the tub until my fingers were white and wrinkled. I don’t think I even took my first shower until I was ten and even then bathing was the norm until college. I’m guessing this isn’t that common which is too bad because a hot bath really does make everything better. Continue reading

It isn’t Lunch Without Soup

I realize that all of my recipes so far have been liquid-based. I do chew dear readers, but since I have some stomach issues I’m a sucker for anything that can be slurped. Which brings me to today’s post: bone broth! Broth made of bones is essential in traditional food preparation for much of the world and is loaded with vitamins and minerals.  It also happens to be incredibly easy to make and affordable. In our house it is definately becoming a staple! Continue reading

12 Grapes

Excuse my silence I’ve been…indisposed. If you are anything like me you are probably feeling pretty rough this morning. Perhaps, it was all the holiday food and booze or the fact that the season is over and you now find yourself more out of shape and broke. I accidently ate gluten on several occassions because it is hidden in everything and sometimes I don’t think to ask until later. Whatever, it was worth it and I’m learning. I’m lucky to work primarily with Mexicans which means that I get to ease back into work until Monday because Sunday is El día de los reyes magos  (Magical King’s Day), which marks the official end of the season. This is an interesting holiday where three kings come and leave presents in or by your shoes and you eat a cake with little plastic baby Jesuses (is that the plural of Jesus?) hidden inside,  whoever finds the Jesus(es) gets to throw a party…or chokes to death. I never really celebrated this holiday, but usually somebody in my family had the Jesus cake so we would go over to their house to partake, but by that point it did not matter who found the baby Jesus because there would be no more parties for awhile as everyone was exhausted and sick of each other. Continue reading

Canelazo de Sotol

What is Sotol you ask? My mother thinks it tastes like fermented rope, but it is actually a liquor distilled from the Dasylirion wheeleri (also called Desert Spoon) plant common to the Chihuahuan desert. I have heard it referred to as “Tequila’s Northern Cousin” and it is beginning to gain a following in trendy Texan bars. Due to the holidays I find myself back in my childhood home which is just one mile north of the state of Chihuahua where the stuff is most widely produced. I personally don’t mind the taste which I would describe as grassy and a little smoky, but it is definately not for everyone.  My parents were given a bottle and it has been sitting in the kitchen collecting dust as no one seems to know what to do with it. Continue reading