In this very low of low seasons, with rentals almost non-existent and not enough income to cover expenses, we are eating at home. Which is not a bad thing at all, in fact, it would be fine if we did it all the time - except some days I'm just too beat to cook. If I lived alone it would be fine to open a can of beans or slap together some peanut butter and jam, but Miguel needs something with a little more nutrition than that. So to prevent boredom with eating the same old things, I have been preparing some different meals - mostly successful, but still the odd dud.
Good meals: roasted chicken w/fixings, lasagna (ground my own beef), submarine sandwiches, chicken/vegetable soup, chicken parmesan w/spaghetti (homemade sauce). I've made several loaves of bread, and a couple of batches of bruschetta bread with the day-old bread. Yesterday our neighbor brought us a container of arroz con leche (a great cool-weather drink). For breakfast we've made chilaquilles, Mexican style eggs w/tortillas and bacon, and enjoyed some things bought from Juan - tamales and chili rellenos. For a snack Miguel fried leftover corn tortillas and made some red and green chili sauces, which we ate with the fried tortillas. Yum!
To prepare the delicious meals, I can buy almost everything at various stores here. One tiny pasta we love in the soups I make cannot be found here, so for that I look forward to the Chedraui they are quickly building over on Devil's Curve (by the ball park). I also look forward to buying monterey jack jalapeno cheese, cheddar cheese, sweet pickles, and other things I can't remember right now. But as nice as it will be to have a store here that carries the things I use in cooking, I'm afraid of what it will do to so many of the small stores that people run out of the front of their homes. Not my call, I can only watch the fall-out. I know I'll still be running around the corner at least once a day for the little things we need. And the local market will probably always be a daily stop for fruit and veggies, and fresh chicken.
Now for the duds I've prepared in the last few weeks...
Egg bread - dry as can be with little flavor. Not sure what happened as usually the breads I make taste great. The only thing I did that I've never done is I tried to help the machine pull in all the flour rather than let it work on its own. Used that bread tonight to make salami sandwiches - bleh, good thing the soup was yummy.
Moroccan chicken - too much lime! It called for lemon juice, so I put the same amount of lime juice. It was edible, so I used the leftover pieces in the soup I made a couple of days later. Ewww...we ate it just because we were hungry, but I finally threw the rest out - overwhelming lime taste. Much prefer the soup I usually make.
Plain breaded chicken fingers - no flavor, I should have stuck with my breading for chicken parm.
Potato and macaroni salads - usually something I do well. They were just horrible - maybe it was the mayonnaise. I missed the sweet pickle taste in the potato salad, but I'm not sure that would have helped anyway - the potatoes just didn't have a good taste.
We have been invited to share several meals with friends lately - Bastos, Ballyhoo, and one meal in the home of our friends which was best of all (baked ziti, garlic bread, salad - yum yum). On the recommendation of one of our friends, we tried the crispy chicken up on the boulevard in La Gloria - wow, just like KFC crispy battered chicken, served with very generous helpings of fries and Chinese fried rice. For 35 pesos? Don't know how they do it.
So many meals we have at home are made with very little cost. If we spend more than 200 pesos for both of us on a meal out, we almost always wish we'd just stayed home and cooked. We both grew up learning from great cooks in the family so it's hard to really impress us - but there are a few things we don't prepare at home that we love to order when we eat out: crepes, omelettes, pollo asado, ke-bobs, fish (Miguel), chicken a la Veracruzana, flautas, pizza. But until we hit high season again, we'll be eating most meals at home, and not complaining - it's nutrition at its finest (don't pay attention to the fact it's fried - it tastes great!).