Right Off the Bat …
I’m doing a little experimentation to see if a different day makes sense for my blog. I’m going to try and send them on Tuesdays, for a while. I want to see if that makes any difference. I’m posting it on the website, this Friday (as per usual), but won’t email it until Tuesday. Then, I’m going to release a new one every Tuesday, for a while.
Also, this post is SUPER long, but it’s a lot to cover! Sorry about the length. I did try to keep it interesting!
Ahhhh … finally …
I’m starting to have the time to get back to my blog and take it seriously. This week, I was able to put time into a better collection of recipes than last week (salad dressing week!). Today’s batch of recipes includes an 8th “Bonus” recipe, too! Now that my life is starting to stabilize … the blog should get a lot better and really begin to find its groove.
For the new readers … about a month ago, I made the decision to move to Seattle, from San Jose del Cabo, Mexico … where I’d been living for about 8 years. It was a quick decision that needed made. Once made, I put the plan into action. This plan included a 10-day trip to Mexico City. Unfortunately, the blog was so new, that I didn’t have backup copy written for the trip. This forced me to just “make stuff up”. Thankfully, I do have a big archive of recipe photos (I cooked for months, prior to starting the blog), but … not so much with the written word. This course of events created a Low Carb Recipe Blog … temporarily about travel. Whoops!
Thankfully, this will be the last post about Mexico City. While it was an AMAZING trip to an AMAZING city, it has little or nothing to do with Low Carb. Ultimately, however … I do think it’s very interesting material, and … I hope you do, too.
Next week, the blog will return to its roots and be all about food, cooking techniques and things related to Low Carb. I promise!
Before I get deeper into this post …
It has come to my attention that some of the links in some of my blog posts aren’t working. It’s related to MailChimp, but I’m not certain what the issue is, exactly. I’m testing it. In the meantime …
- If you click a link, and it doesn’t work, it’s a bug. It SHOULD work. If it doesn’t, at the top and bottom of this newsletter are links to view this post in your browser. If you click either of those, they will take you to a different (better) version of this post. From there, the links should all work.
- Alternately, you can go to my website. The top-left has a big photo. Wave your mouse over the photo and a link will appear. That link also goes to this post … with functioning links.
- Finally, this link should also take you to a better version of this post (until I get the issue resolved, which … hopefully it HAS been resolved within this post, already).
I’m personally not a massive fan of desserts, nor do I bake all that often (which is odd … in that I was a professional baker for a year … Yep! I was a part of the problem … *sigh*). That said … I DO eat ice cream every day, and I also add a tiny skosh of sweetness to just about everything. I’ll write about my theoretical trio of flavor enhancers at another time, but … for now … let’s just talk about the sweet. Most all humans like a sweet sensation. Sweet is delicious. Back in the time before time, sweet meant energy and nutrients. We are drawn to the sweet stuff! Adding a little something sweet to just about anything makes it a little better. BUT! … Without sugar … how can that be done?
Coming soon will be a few not-sugar blend recipes, as well as thoughts, ideas and musings over ways to replace that sweet stuff with … other sweet stuff! (Hint: I LOVE ERYTHRITOL!)
Also, I’ve got a super great recipe for a fresh tomato sauce I call “Not Pistou“.
Finally, coming soon … BBQ Pork Tacos! YUM!
I add 7 new recipes to my website every week. It’s just a given. It’s what I do. It’s the fuel that feeds this blog. Unfortunately, due to the trip to Mexico City … I flaked and delivered only 6 recipes two weeks ago. *sigh* At that time, I promised a bonus recipe. Here it is!
Bacon Wrapped “Meat Lovers’ Pizza” Stuffed Broasted Chicken Breast Roulade!
I posted this on Facebook and it spread like wildfire! In fact, I believe it’s still spreading! It seems the key to recipe generation success is … pizza mixed with bacon. Seems like I need to really dig my heels in and … focus on Chocolate and Peanut Butter, next. Oh my!
A friend of mine saw this recipe and commented that the only way to really outdo it would be to … add a fried egg! What do y’all think?
Nah … I think that’s just silly!
Here’s the big last post that showcases the entirety of my trip to Mexico City. I’ve shared some photos and the foods I’ve eaten, but haven’t really gotten deep into the trip. It was a big trip with thousands of photos. I’m going to do my absolute best to keep this interesting, but plan to break it up into sections. For example, I went to an outdoor market. I’ll show a picture or two of the market, and that’s it. However, I’ll offer a link to more pictures of the market, for those that are interested in that aspect of the trip.
This will be a sort of “Choose your own adventure” style of blog post! I hope you like it!
The very first day, I was taken to a restaurant called “Restaurante Arroyo” for breakfast (I didn’t know it at the time, but apparently, it’s the world’s largest Mexican Restaurant).
I covered the foods and pictures of the place in my last blog, but here’s a shot of one of the little dining rooms. One interesting aspect of the restaurant was that it had a bull fighting arena, just outside the door!
Right as we finished our breakfast, a bull fight broke out! As curious as I was to see a real bull fight, once it started … the whole thing seems too close and small and intimate. It felt really wrong to watch. I have no idea what happened to that bull after we left, but … I have a feeling that I’m glad I left early.
We then went to an area of Mexico City called Tlalpan (I think … Paulina, you can kill me later, if I’ve got that wrong!).
Here are two shots that showcase what Tlalpan looked like to me …
There was a big market that day, in the central courtyard (a concept that seems important to every neighborhood in Mexico City. The central parks in every neighborhood were always well visited and beautiful. I loved them!)
Exotic Mexican Donuts! (I didn’t eat any)
From Tlalpan, we drove to an area called Xochimilco and got on a Mexican Gondola called a “trajinera”. Colorful things! The “driver” uses a big long stick to push the boat around the canals. The canals are about all that’s left of what was once a massive lake and water system, about 500 years ago. It’s both fascinating and sad.
If you click the picture above, I’ve set up a page that shows the sites seen from this 2 hour boat ride. It’s excellent at showing the blends of classes and cultures that co-exist and co-mingle, all at the same time, in the same place. It also shows floating food vendors, mariachi bands, parties, family outings and more!
It should also be said that there are many nurseries and gardens set up on the canals (which consist of about 110 miles worth of canals), all built around artificial islands called “Chinampas”. Yep, the land you think you see is actually a floating island made of mud and decaying vegetation!
After Xochimilco, we went to see an Orchestra at the National Autonomous University of Mexico. After being in Cabo, where something like this never happens … seeing something like this was beyond impressive!
Photos aren’t allowed. This one photo could’ve gotten me kicked out. I like life on the edge.
After the orchestra, we went to Garibaldi Square, which housed about 1000 Mariachi Bands … all at once.
Click the image to see a brief video of the action!
The next morning, Paulina and I met to go wander through some outdoor markets, known as Tianguis. These are all over the place. We even had them in San Jose del Cabo. This one is near the World Trade Center (seen in the background).
It’s VERY mazelike. You walk under those pink tarps and enter a narrow series of tangled paths where you can buy anything. And … I … mean … anything. I’m a lover of food, so … most of the shots are of food, but there were clothes, shoes, watches, every electrical doo-dad in existence, kitchen equipment, cleaning supplies, construction materials, etc. I suspect some of this merchandise might be illegal, but … I didn’t ask. If you click the picture above, you can see a variety of rose tinted images showing parts of this particular market. I left A LOT on the cutting room floor. It’s a big market!
Later this day, we went to Condessa and made lunch for a portion of the extended Deschamps family. Condessa was AMAZING. This was probably my personal favorite neighborhood, with old buildings, parks and a very nice and cohesive small neighborhood vibe. Unfortunately, ZERO of the photos I took of this area really show it properly, I’m sad to say. Great area, though!
The next day, I took a bus tour. I’m not sure what happened, but … about half way through the tour, the battery in my camera died and … it ended the day’s photos.
If you click the picture, however, you’ll see most of the architecture found in the old historic center of Mexico City (as seen from the top of a big double-decker bus. I was in FULL tourist mode, this day!)
The next day, I went with Paulina’s Aunt and Uncle to the ancient Pyramids outside of Mexico City. On the way, we stopped at the monastery of San Agustin in Acolman.
It was big … and old!
Entry was free, because it was being repaired. Everywhere we looked, they were cleaning, fixing, retouching, etc. The place was massive and there were upwards of 100 people, all working with all sorts of equipment to keep the place sharp, protected and historic.
Here’s an incredibly sparse room that shows what life was like back in the time before time (about 1550 AD, to be exact).
There was a sign showing the contents of the room. It was basically a Franciscan, a bed, a chest, a table, a chair and a lifetime’s worth of thought. I’d go insane without the constant barrage of horns, beeps and flashing lights that exist in my world. The simple silence of the times would be too loud for me. I need my MTV.
NEXT came Teotihuacan. OH MY!!!
I am not a historian. In fact, while I have a strong aptitude in some subjects, history was never one of them. For whatever reason, my mind simply doesn’t seem to embrace that category of information. Interestingly, Teotihuacan really seemed to open that part of my mind. I found myself completely and totally fascinated by it, and then the history of whomever built it, the Aztecs, the Mayans, the Spanish of 500 years ago, the Olmec, etc.
Click the image above to see the sights seen at Teotihuacan. Photos just simply cannot do it justice. It really opened my eyes to history and the roots of a people. I’m not going to go into the history, simply because there’s too much of it, I’m not qualified and this post is already miles too long. I can’t stress enough how amazing of a place this was, however. If you’re ever in a position to visit Mexico City and/or Teotihuacan … go. That’s all there is to say. Go.
Some quick facts, though … it isn’t really clear who built these pyramids. They call them the Teotihuacans. They’re about 2000 years old and were abandoned about 1200 years ago. They were never fully lost in time, and the Aztecs knew of them 600 years ago. They were rediscovered about 90 years ago and about 80% of the total scope of this city … still lies under ground. One of the most amazing aspects of this place is … standing … looking at a big mountain, hill or mound and knowing that in all probability, it contains some massive ancient structure, just waiting to be uncovered. The 20% I saw was huge. I couldn’t even fathom the 80% that I COULDN’T see!
There are 16 boroughs (Colonias) within Mexico City. Within each colonia are little neighborhoods. One of them is called Coyoacan, and it’s where Paulina lives. There are probably 10 different neighborhoods that I walked around that all has a life and aesthetic similar to Coyoacan, with varying degrees of charm, parks, foliage, business and people. Some had businesses a little further apart from one another. Some were a little more modern, some were older, some were less well maintained, etc. However, the images I took of Coyoacan show a good example of a great area in Mexico City. Condessa has a feeling that is similar, but not quite like Coyoacan. Condessa is a bit more bohemian. La Roma is like Condessa, but more spread out. Polanco is in the mix, but is more expensive, less charming and has lots of high end restaurants. Etc.
Ultimately, my point with these photos is to showcase a great neighborhood stroll through one of the many enchanting neighborhoods held within the boundaries of Mexico City.
Another day, I went to the Museum of Anthropology.
I have MANY photos from within the museum, but they won’t make a lot of sense without the guide attached to my hip. She explained everything to me, in great detail. She explained stories about the birth of the sun and the death of the world. Blendings of peoples of time. Huge stories, rich with symbolism. Ultimately, it’s a museum filled with amazing findings and even more incredible facts. I spent about 4 hours there and was told I saw about 5% of the total museum. I’d go back to Mexico City just to hang out in the museum and learn more about the history of Mexico … and mankind. (Note to self: Skip the restaurant at the museum, though … it was lousy).
One of the most impressive aspects to Mexico City is the sheer variety it holds. There’s history, enormous culture, and even geographical and climate changes … just within a 30 minute drive.
One day, we drove out into the mountains … where there was a forest. Not like a little small growth forest, either. In the middle of the Desierto de los Leones National Park … is another one of these monastery things. You can’t go far in Mexico City without being reminded of the past.
Later that day, we’re just casually cruising through the Reforma District (one of the business districts) and we see these weird sculpture things, all over the place. Literally … hundreds of them! Paulina stopped and parked and we walked around.
These things are giant “Alebrijes“. I’ve seen hundreds of them in San Jose del Cabo, but they’re always tiny and I’ve never paid much attention to them. They’ve always felt like one of those tourist trinkets that I suspect are junk from China. THESE were massive Alebrijes, though. … For a parade! Each was built by a team to celebrate creativity. Every single of these paper mache fantasies was a brilliant and colorful work of art. When I saw these, and thought about how I came about them, I was in awe of all the wonder and surprise held within Mexico City. Click the image above to see a small percentage of the Alebrijes on display. My battery died, again … or else there would be even more!
This is probably 50% of all the places I visited and activities I participated in. I went to six flags, saw some jazz bands, visited UNAM, saw more churches, walked or drove around more neighborhoods, etc. My goal was really just to give a solid overview of the trip, without getting too bogged down in anything.
That said … I’ve saved the best for last. There was a market that we visited that was incredible. I remember a friend of mine telling me a story about Whole Foods. I don’t know if it’s true, or even whether it was EVER true, but I like to believe that it was true, at one time. It has to do with cheese and sneeze guards. As I understand it, Whole Foods has allowed and sold unpasteurized cheeses and also does not (or did not) allow sneeze guards on many of their displays. The idea was to provide the best of the best and not limit people’s sense of display. Sure, unpasteurized cheeses might be somewhat kind of/sort of dangerous, but … they’re also fresh and funky. Sneeze guards are those big clunky glass obstructions that get in your way when you’re trying to shop. If someone wants to sneeze on your food, a silly glass guard isn’t going to stop them. It’s my understanding that Whole Foods, at one time, was willing to pay the ongoing penalties for the right to sell and display their products … in their own way.
What you’re about to see may be a bit unsettling, but it is very very real. It’s my understanding, in fact, that this was the “tame” market, catering to a higher clientele. There’s another market, called the “Merced” market, which we didn’t have time to visit. THAT market is where the weird stuff was at.
Here you’ll see all kinds of insects, bugs, exotic ingredients (from all over the planet), amazing cheeses and fresh (AND I MEAN FRESH!!) meats and seafood. While I was there, a man slaughtered a small collection of rabbits, in broad daylight, in the middle of the market, over a bucket. The photo is there. I was oddly interested, actually. Unlike the bull fighter, where I had no interest in watching … this felt like it was bringing me closer to my foods. As an American, I often feel so far away from my foods and their origins. I walk into a sparkly clean butcher shop, with perfectly portioned and weighed cuts of tinted meats, pristinely resting in Styrofoam trays and wrapped in airtight plastic wrap. My mind never thinks about meat as … having walked around, at one time.
There was no hiding where my meat was coming from, at this market. It was amazing. Baby pigs and little goatlings, all stacked ontop of one another. Fresh deer and turkey carcasses hanging all around the market. Blood sausages and strange dried and cured Spanish meats … all proudly displayed. Fish right from the ocean (in the middle of a landlocked part of Mexico, to boot!).
The place looked like a horror show, in many respects, but there was no odor or anything that felt wrong to me. It was all fresh, properly handled and in all probability … delicious.
If you are still reading and are curious … click the following image to take a look!
Ok, that’s it! Mexico City was amazing. Thanks to Paulina and the rest of the Deschamp family for their guidance and hospitality. The experience was amazing.
This Week’s Recipes …
I was able to put a little more time into this week’s recipes. I’ve got two awesome chicken appetizers. A Blackened Chicken Tenders with Cool Creamy Ranch, as well as Chinese Chicken “Tacos”. Yum! I’ve also got two simple desserts (fat vehicles). One goes into my secret for making caramel flavored goodies … naturally! YUM!
There’s also a killer Maple Brined Pork Chop that I made back when I was following a zero carb diet. That was fantastic. Also, what would my blog be without a soup recipe? Check out my Black Bean Soup. It’s spicy!
Finally, there’s a phenomenally cheesy Broccoli, Ham and Dijon “Au Gratin”. Tell your friends!
Ok, that’s all I’ve got this week. Next week should return us to a more proper low carb blog. Thanks for reading!
ALL NEW Weekly Recipes!
|Chinese Chicken “Tacos”
This is a nice and simple little gingery chicken appetizer. It’s usually made with hoisin sauce, but that’s a toughy on low carb. Hoisin (Plum) Sauce is a sweetened fruit sauce (Dana Carpender has a good LC recipe for it, though).
|Salted Brown Butter Cheesecake Refrigerator Candy Stuff
Caramel is made out of sugar. I love caramel, but I don’t eat sugar. Unfortunately this quick logic would tell the sad sad story of the man who lost his caramel. I sought a solution. I thought and thought and looked and poked and peeked. Finally, one evening an epiphany smacked me upside the head. BUTTER!
|Blackened Chicken Tenders
I remember when I was young and learned about blackened food, for the first time. Something about intentionally burning the surface of the food, in a really really searing hot pan … to enhance the flavor … really stuck with me. I think this is one of those foundational concepts that made me think about ‘flavor’ as a something bigger than …
|Broccoli, Ham and Dijon “Au Gratin”
These “au gratin” recipes worried me a little bit. These are often made with a béchamel (a sauce thickened with flour), and … between you and I … flour is bad. Oh what to do?!
Essentially, you would slightly cook the broccoli, then cool it in ice water. This will help it stay green, but …
|Black Bean Soup
Beans are one of those ingredients that falls somewhere within allowed and … probably not a good idea. They’re not super low carb, but they tend to be lower on the glycemic index and are slow to absorb into the blood. Because I tend to try and go … as low … as I can go …
|Maple Brined Pork Chop
I love maple syrup. It’s like liquid sugar, but … better! (Un)fortunately, a low carb way of eating doesn’t really support the idea of liquid sugar. However, (un)fortunately, there are alternatives with varying degrees of synthesis. I keep adding the “(un)”, because I can see both sides of these particular coins. Pure natural maple syrup is natural, but …
|Vanilla Fat Bomb
There are many who feel that a diet high in fat and low in pretty much everything else is the way to go. I’ve seen ratios like 90% fat, 9% protein and 1% carbs … to maintain and sustain a healthy life. I don’t know about all of that, but … I DO know that this is quick, delicious, easy to make and holds well in the fridge for a few days. …
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