Welcome to El Sin Fin #1: Tropical Storms, Tequila and Tapatios

Hello Dear readers and welcome to the first official post of El Sin Fin (That without end; infinity)). This  is  your blog for recipes, field recording and dispatches from the far side of the border.

It has been a thrilling and enchanting first week of travel.   We survived a howling tropical storm in Bucerias, swapped recipes and songs in Sayulita, visited the town of Tequila from which the magical beverage emanates, and are now holed up in the beautiful city of  Guadalajara  ( for those who don´t know, the residents of Mexico´s second biggest city are nicknamed ´Tapatios´).   We have played music with strangers and turned them into friends, we have tasted of the late night taco cart.  We have laughed. We have cried (just because of chopping the onions though).  Although there is no audio sample up yet, there will be soon.  I am still working on mastering the technology.

It is a sincere pleasure to be in a place that I love, doing what I love.  This blog is intended to show my sincere love of the world and its people through the lens of those things which unite us all.  For me, they are the international media of music and food.    Even if you don´t speak the same language as someone, you can surely recognize the simple, intimate pleasure of sharing a good meal or song with them.

Special thanks to Su and Mario, our first couchsurfing hosts.  It speaks to the theme of this blog that both are musicians, and that we had time to share good meals, music and conversation with both.  In fact, I just tested this week´s first recipe on Mario and Robert, and the results were excellent!  This is a nice, simple and savory sauce.

This recipe was given to me by my friend Roberto Cardenas Escudero, chef at El Duende restaurant in Sayulita. Although the recipe calls for shrimp, it can easily be used on grilled fish or spiced up with a habanero pepper and brushed on barbecued chicken.  I have altered the total recipe to make the yield for four instead of eight.    The recipe calls for ´Manila´ magoes, which are the little, yellow ones.  These are better than the larger, green or red mangos because they are a little less fibrous.  Though if the big ones are all you can get, they´ll work fine!  Just reduce the amount by half because they´re bigger.

Shrimp with Ginger-Mango Sauce

Yield 4 persons.

4 mangoes ´de manila´, peeled and roughly chopped

2 lbs. Shrimp, cleaned and de-shelled

1 bunch spearmint

4 cloves garlic

2 T butter

2T oil

Thumb sized chunk of Ginger, peeled and cut into very thin slices, against the fiber

4 cups white wine

1 avocado

2 limes

Sugar (to season)

Salt and Pepper

Put the chopped mangoes, ginger and white wine in a medium saucepan.  Boil until the wine reduces and the liquid is slightly syrupy.   Add the spearmint leaves and blend only slightly so the mango retains its color.  Season with salt and sugar (if necessary).   Put a large sautee pan over high heat with 1T butter and1T oil. Wait until heated and add 2 cloves chopped garlic. When garlic browns slightly, add just enough shrimp to cover  the bottom of the pan.  If needed, do the shrimp in two batches so they don´t steam.  Season with salt and pepper, and turn until the shrimp puff out like popcorn.   Serve with white rice, the sauce along the bottom of the plate and garnish with sliced avocado and lime wedges.  Roberto also recommended garnishing with black sesame seeds for a dazzling presentation.  Presto!

We had the distinct advantage of enjoying this recipe in Mexico, so were privvy to a fat batch of prepared Aguas Frescas de Guanabana.  For those not in the know, Aguas Frescas are ubiquitous in Mexico, and they basically consist of a flavor (usually fruit, herbs 0r rice) blended with piloncillo (cane sugar) and water, and served ice-cold.  The closest we have in the states would be lemonade or limeade, and unforunately they only come around in summer, but you get the idea.  They are really refreshing in the heat.  Here is a recipe for a basic Agua Fresca.  The fruit is basically interchangable, I have put the recipe for pineapple, but strawberry, mango, papaya, cantalope, orange or cucumber are also good.  Horchata is also a variation of this concept, but made with rice that has been soaked overnight and seasoned with cinnamon.   Also very popular is Agua de Jamaica, which is a tea made with hibiscus flowers and sweetened, then served cold.  Use whatever sugar you want.  Agave nectar is also good.

Aguas Frescas

1 Pineapple, skinned and pulped

1 1/2 Gallons water

1/2 cup sugar

Mix pulp and sugar well.  Strain out solids and mix with water.  Serve  over ice.  If too sweet, add water.  If not enough, add sugar.

Those who know me well know that I love food purchased from street vendors.  Being as Mexico has a particularly rich street food culture, I thought I´d include one of my favorites.  Note: This recipe blog is not, nor has every purported to be for the health conscious, and this recipe is proof.  Oh so delicious!

Bacon-Wrapped Streetcart Hot-Dogs

Hot- Dogs

Bacon

Mayo

Sour cream

Grilled Onions

Grilled Jalapeños (or other peppers)

Salsa

Ketchup

Wrap Hot dogs in bacon like a nitrate-packed barber´s pole.  Cook on a pan, grill or griddle until bacon is to your desired doneness, and every dog in the the neighborhood is barking down your door.  Be creative with the rest.  Avocados also make a good addition.

From the deep-green sunny pacific coast of Nayarit, to the rolling high desert and lush valleys of Jalisco I hope you enjoy the first entry of El Sin Fin, the travelogue extraordinaire for people who like good food and music.

Hasta El Proximo,

Mike

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Published in: on February 13, 2010 at 5:31 pm  Comments (5)  

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5 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Mike, I am so jealous it makes me want to puke!! I’m so happy for you! Raul and I traveled around the west coast also! Try to hit Michoacan, it is beautiful! Also try to explore St. Lois Potosi, I think that’s the name. There are a ton of hidden waterfalls!! Unbelievable. Zacatecas is a cool state also! Can’t wait to hear more! -lesley

  2. Mikey you are awesome. Wishing you more amazing travel stories!

  3. yo homiez. my jealousy increases as well as the saliva in my mouth upon reading this. LOVE YOU

  4. Mas! Quiero leer mas de los adventuras de Miquelito y Beto.

  5. I heard a new exprescion the otro day, “thirst for life” it really seems like you have that mi amigo.


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