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In 2012 Ash Wednesday is on 20 February

Posted by Erin on February 20, 2013, 7:19 am

Let us not forget our ambulance fund:

Chapter Eighteen - Feast or fast for Lent

Entree, a trade publication in the food industry, tells us "what is new and with it" in the eating world. The big story this past year was that bagels and lox were out and tortillas, moles and salsa Mexicana are in. There is no doubt that Mexican cooking is currently enjoying a high vogue north of the border as one witnesses the increased number of Mexican restaurants and Mexican cookbooks. The Mexican chefs have enthusiastically accepted the challenge of the Nortenos new rage and taste for Mexican foods and have demonstrated their culinary expertise and generated a new curiosity on the international gastronomic scene.

In Mexico, simultaneously, there is a quiet culinary revolution going on; a delicious innovative uprising in the cuisines of restaurants and homes, capturing the traditional flavor of Mexican regional cooking in a new way. Recent national competitions at Food Fairs, Chile Contests and Mole Festivals in Mexico City, Acapulco, Ajijic, Taxco and Puerto Vallarta have attempted to rejuvenate traditional cooking and bring it up to date. Young cooks every¬where are being encouraged to build upon a solid base in traditional Mexican cookery, to preserve their classical regional dishes and to create new ones based on their heritage.

The current food passion is also partially due to the moderni¬zation and urbanization of the country as a whole along with the large movement of people from depressed areas to more productive ones. Improved means of transportation, wider distribution of electricity and refrigeration, together with newer techniques and mechanization of farming are bringing a greater selection of fresher ingredients of better quality to a larger number of com¬munities. Of course, life in the modern Mexican kitchen is rapidly changing too. No longer is there time or the means to sun dry mea' or grind the corn for tortillas; nor a place to spread out chiles and tomatoes for drying. With new food services and new electric aids, the labor of the cook is considerably easier. The blender, replacing the molcajete or mortar and pestle is a standard kitchen appliance in as many as 4 out of 5 homes, however modest. To¬gether with the food processor, they function as the second chef, the kitchen helper who spent the whole day peeling and chopping away in the background. In minutes, they liquefy, blend, chop, puree and grind the ingredients for the daily salsas so basic to Mexican cooking. Even in the most humble thatched or palapa hut, the propane gas range is a standard kitchen appliance; a simpler, quicker and preferable way for the daily cooking chores than the traditional open fire oven or pit.

A wave of new ideas in cooking is being felt throughout the Republic and is further stimulated by government sponsored educational programs on nutrition and health. Through the mass media, special emphasis is being placed on the importance of proteins with a spotlight on soybeans and a new textured soya product, Nutrimex, as a meat substitute high in protein, more abundant and low in cost is being promoted with tasty recipes appearing daily in the local newspapers.

Recently, the new breed of young chefs in Jalisco participated in their first Food Fair in the fall of 1984 and were especially responsive to the Nueva Cocina movement. Each participant from a different state of Mexico was eager to share the particular flavor of his own tierra as he strived to preserve his own originality. There were discernible and cherished differences among the cocking styles of those chefs from Yucatan, Vera Cruz, Oaxaca and Jalisco. The heart and soul of Nueva Cocina is in the use of fresh fruits and vegetables that are in season and indigenous to the area with a profound respect for all goods that are genuinely authentic, unadulterated and natural. It also emphasizes cooking that is lighter in character and more easily digestible with deep concerns about health and nutrition and a presentation that highlights the elements of a dish to improve its taste and eye appeal over and beyond the splash of Chile sauce; where flavors play off each other in perfect harmony.

In this spirit of rediscovering the joys of cooking Mexicana, the young women in my Mexican family prepared a late afternoon dinner or comida to greet the Lenten season. They set a sumptuous buffet of classical Lenten dishes with a new modern look to illustrate the diversity of the Mexican cuisine in Puerto Vallarta and the possibilities for individual creativity. The profusion and variety of these specialties also reflected the age old custom of sharing abundance and prosperity with all family members and friends. Even during Lent, eating a lot of food in Mexico is expected, particularly when visiting someone´s home. No one must every go away hungry. Mexicans are well known for their generosity with food as one often observes children sharing an orange or a piece of candy among themselves without being told by an adult. Lent is a Christian period of fasting and penitence, preparatory to Easter, the anniversary of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. It begins the 40th day prior to Easter on Ash Wednesday and ends at noon on Holy Saturday, the day before Easter Sunday.

The observ¬ance of the Cuaresma or Lenten season is an extended period of spiritual reflection and sacrificial living with the elimination of meat being the most common sacrifice. A great deal of emphasis is placed on cocking 'au maigre' with fish and vegetable stocks as contrasted to the usual 'au gras' or animal fat based cooking and thus fish, egg and vegetable dishes are characteristically served. This religious practice can be dull and burdensome to the dedicated modern homemaker who aims to provide the family with 3 square meals daily with flavor, variety and nutritional value. The following impressive menu as prepared by the Robles women for Lent may provide some clues to avoid boredom and monotony. Adhering to the basic rules of Mexican cooking, the following recipes are rich in flavors which cannot be found anywhere else and lend themselves to many interpretations. This is what makes Mexican cooking so rewarding and so much fun. Variety is the spice of life; and Mexico has infinite variety and infinite spice.

Starting with the presentation of a non alcoholic jamaica punch, served alongside several cocktail appetizers; mini sized walnut patties in a Mexican tomato sauce, a poor man's caviar of tuna fish and fried squash blossoms with an exotic epazote sauce. This magnificent smorgasboard like spread of hors d'oeuvres was a meal in itself and we all ate like there was no tomorrow. A choice of a novel vegetarian lentil soup with bananas and pineapple or a white fish soup with dumplings was offered as the wet soup or sopa aguada. Small portions of shrimp flavored rice, baked red snapper Vera Cruz style and fried halibut sticks in tamarind nut sauce were available for the second phase of the Lenten comida. The main entree or platillo fuerte, served in sequence, featured pisto scrambled eggs or a spring primavera omelet with hot buttered tortillas, nopales cactus salad and equites, an Indian corn dish. The piece de resistance was Maria Luisa's version of the traditional Lenten dessert, capirotada or bread pudding, topped with vanilla rum ice cream. Oh boy! Oh joy! Que exquisite! Qu saber! and oh so yummy. As the Mexicans would say, this put the final "seal upon the tomb of departed hunger".
The recipes of this mini feast which follow may be adapted during the Easter holiday. One idea is to plan an Easter egg coloring party or 'cascarones' party for Mardi Gras, the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday. Invite your Mexican neighbors and children to partake in this stateside custom as they share their skills of making 'cascarones' with you. This can be a fun luncheon for children of all ages, using any of the cold appetizers and soups listed above as a light menu with capirotada bread pudding and hot frothy chocolate for dessert. The business end of the party can be set up outside on the patio for the 'glorious' mess of egg coloring. For egg coloring: Prepare hard boiled eggs the night before and cool immediately with cold water. Chill in refrigerator overnight before using. Allow at least 4 eggs each for artistic efforts. On a large newspaper covered table, arrange a variety of crayons, decals, paste (pegamento) all sorts of trimmings, left over strips of lace metalic threads and colored ribbons. And go to it! Lots of homemade limonada (see Index), coconut Easter Bunny bonbons (follows) and stateside jelly beans should be on hand for inspiration and creativity.

Note: Try making cascarones too. Remove the tops of raw eggs and empty contents into a container for later use or for a luncheon egg dish. Fill with confetti and a drop of toilet water. Close the hole by pasting tissue paper over it and decorate the egg shell with crayons, etc. Have plenty of spare shells for several participants usually get very enthusiastic and start cracking them on their neighbor's head, showering them with the confetti before Mardi Gras celebration.

JAMAICA COOLER (Agua de Jamaica)
A refreshing cold drink is made by infusing or steeping natural dried Jamaica flowers of the hibiscus family, also known as rosella or sorrel. The colorful deep maroon purple liquid has a natural sweet tart flavor like cranberry juice or Hawaiian punch and is served as a non alcoholic beverage with the meal. The jamaica ade or water mixed with tequila becomes an exotic Mexican sling cocktail. Combined with tropical fruit and red wine, it is a flavorful Sangria style punch.

JAMAICA ADE (Agua de Jamaica)
This concentrate or syrup of jamaica is a base for punches, sauces, puddings or flummery desserts.

2 c. dried jamaica flowers (flores de jamaica)
1 liter water
1 c. sugar

Combine dried jamaica flowers with water and sugar and boil for 2 minutes until sugar dissolves. Allow to steep in a covered non metal container like a 2 liter plastic pitcher. Chill overnight in refrigerator before using concentrate for drinks. Pour jamaica mixture through a wire sieve into a non metalic storage container. Discard flowers. Cover. Keep refrigerated up to 2 weeks. Serve cold in a water glass filled with crushed ice.

JAMAICA FRUIT PUNCH (Refresco de Jamaica con Fruta)
A nun alcohoIic fruit punch is refreshing and cooling in the tropics any time of the day, but made with the colorful and tasty agua de jamaica, it becomes party fare. For a Sunday comida or dinner add 2 bottles of chilled rose wine instead of water to make a Sangria style jamaica.

4 c. jamaica syrup
1 Tbsp. lime juice
1 orange
1 c. orange juice
2 pineapple slices
2 fresh or canned peaches
2 liters of water
1 liter of Agua Mineral (4 bottles)
crushed ice
2 liters rose wine (optional)

In a plastic bowl, combine Jamaica syrup, lime juice, orange juice, thinly sliced orange, pineapple slices, cut into cubes and fresh peach slices. Allow to sit in refrigerator for 2 hours. Add to water in a punch bowl half filled with crushed ice. Correct sugar content, adding more to taste. Just before serving, add Agua Mineral or club soda water. Garnish with a thinly sliced orange. Serve in wine goblets with pieces of fruit floating on top. Drink up pruebalo y gocen macho enjoy yourself!

WALNUT PATTIES (Tortas de Nuez)
Next to the most popular traditional Lenten dish, shrimp fritters or tortes de camaron (see Index) fried walnut patties with a Mexican tomato sauce are a favorite main dish for cena or a light supper. Made into mini size balls, these meatless patties are also great appetizers dipped into a spicy Mexican tomato sauce.

1 recipe Mexican sauce
2 c. walnut meats
1/2 c. wheat germ (germen de trigo)
1/2 c. sesame seeds
2/3 c. shredded Chihuahua cheese
3 stalks celery
1/4 c. minced onion
2 garlic cloves
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro or parsley
2 eggs
1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. savory (optional)
oil for frying
1/8 c. milk

In a bowl, mix together finely ground walnuts, sesame seeds, wheat germ, shredded Chihuahua cheese, chopped celery stalks, minced onion, minced garlic cloves, chopped fresh cilantro, savory and salt. Beat eggs and add to milk. Add to mixture and mix well. Form mixture into patties using a heaping teaspoonful for each. Fry slowly in oil on all sides until golden brown. Drain and dry on absorbent paper. Serve with Salsa Mexicana.

FRIED SQUASH BLOSSOMS (Flor de Calabacitas Fritas)
Dishes made with fresh blossoms of squash or pumpkin are just as popular today as they were in Aztec times. Deep fried or stuffed, they may be served as an appetizer or as an accompaniment to the meal. Note: Canned squash blossoms available in the supermercado may be substituted for the fresh ones. An intriguing epazote sauce poured over these delicacies can be a new adventure for many readers. Try it and discover a new exotic taste!

1 1/2 c. flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. chile powder
3/4 c. milk
3 eggs
1/2 kilo (24) large pumpkin blossoms or 40 small squash
oil for deep frying
1 recipe epazote sauce

Remove stems and stringy sepal from fresh squash blossoms. Wash and dry well with paper towels. Combine flour, baking powder, salt and Chile powder. Beat eggs together with milk and quickly stir into dry ingredients to form a thin batter. Cover and refrigerate for an hour which allows a fermentation to break down any rubberiness of the dough. Test temperature of hot oil by dropping a small cube of bread into oil. Deep fry a few at a time for 3 minutes until golden crisp. Remove with a metal slotted spoon. Drain on paper towels. Serve hot at once with an epazote sauce.

EPAZOTE SAUCE (Salsa de Epazote)
This exotic creamy sauce for vegetables and fish dishes contains fresh epazote, a pungent herb with red stems and narrow serrated leaves native to Mexico. Also known as wormseed or lambs quarters, it has a strong odor and distinctive taste that requires getting used to; but it is a must in certain Mexican dishes such as black beans, mushrooms, tortilla soup, squash blossoms and esquites (follows). Also used as a herbal tea for curing a variety of ills, especially 'animalites' or worms.

2 Tbsp. fresh epazote
2 Tbsp. chopped onion
1 garlic clove
1 canned jalapeno Chile
1 c. sour cream
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. lime juice

Discard stems from sprigs of fresh epazote. Wash and dry leaves. Coarsely puree with chopped onion, garlic clove and prerinsed and deseeded canned jalapeno Chile. Mix with sour cream, salt and lime juice. Blend well and serve with fried squash blossoms.

POOR MAN'S CAVIAR (Caviar de Pobre)
This favorite cocktail delicacy for lent is a delicious concoction from the Mediterranean region where olives and capers grow profusely. It is known as the poor man's caviar because of the way it looks and its rich taste and is served as a dip for fresh vegetables and crackers or as a filling for hot fresh tortillas.

1/4 c. chopped black olives (aceitunas)
2 cans anchovy fillets (anchoas)
3 garlic cloves
1/4 c. capers (alcaparra)
2 Tbsp. lime juice
1/2 c. oil
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 can tuna fish (atun)
totopo tortilla chips
vegetable sticks: carrot, celery and jicama

Mash by hand with a wooden spoon or in a blender puree olives, anchovy fillets, capers' garlic cloves and drained canned tuna until mixture has a paste like consistency. Slowly beat in oil and lime juice. Add pepper to taste. Serve in a bowl surrounded by crisp vegetable sticks of raw carrots, celery and jicama and totopo tortilla chips

LENTIL SOUP WITH BANANA (Sopa de Lentil y Platano)
A common Lenten soup served everywhere in the world is a meatless lentil soup with old country goodness. In Mexico, slices of sweet ripe bananas and crushed pineapple are added and it is really no penance to eat it. With less liquid, serve it as a dry soup or sopa seca at the main meal or at a light supper or cena with lots of fresh hot buttered tortillas. At another time of the year, garnish the soup with slices of spicy langaniza sausage or crisp fried Mexican chorizo - it is irresistable!

1/4 kilo or 1 c. dried lentils
1 liter water or vegetable stock
2 Tbsp. oil
1 onion
2 garlic cloves
1 carrot
2 celery stalks
2 tomatoes
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cumin
2 Tbsp. sherry
2 bananas
2 Tbsp. fresh cilantro
1 c. canned crushed pineapple (optional)
Yerba de olor:
2 whole cloves
3 parsley sprigs
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp. crushed thyme leaves
1/4 tsp. red crushed pepper

Wash and cover lentils with water. Simmer slowly in a covered pot. Meanwhile, saute' chopped onions and minced garlic in oil for 10 minutes. Add diced carrot, diced celery stalks and mashed tomatoes and cook for 10 minutes longer until liquid is somewhat reduced. Add to simmering lentils together with yerbas de olor: A spice bag or square of cheesecloth filled with whole cloves, parsley sprigs, bay leaf, crushed thyme leaves and crushed red pepper. Cover and cook for 1 1/2 hours until lentils are tender. Check periodically to see that water covers lentils, adding more water if necessary. Add salt, cumin and sherry. Discard spice bag of yerbas de olor. Adjust seasoning. Peel bananas and slice thickly on a slant. Add to soup and heat 5 minutes longer. Sprinkle with a generous amount of chopped fresh cilantro and/or drained canned crushed pineapple just before serving. Serve out of soup tureen with hot buttered tortillas.

CATFISH SOUP (Caldo Miche)
A famous regional fish soup from Guadalajara is served during Lent as a wet soup or aguada. As a customary first course in a comida (midday meal) it is meant to take the edge off the diner´s hunger at a meatless meal. Caldo miche is a light broth based primarily on a local white fish from Lake Chapala where fresh water fish abound. It is uniquely flavored with coriander and local green gage plums (ciruelas verdes) and fortified with soft moist dumplings.

Fish Soup or Caldo de Pescado:
3 Chile poblanos
4 tomatoes
1 1/2 liters water or vegetable stock
1 carrot
1 onion
2 celery stalks
2 bay leaves
3 garlic cloves
1 tsp. salt or herb salt (see
2 Tbsp. chopped cilantro
1 kilo catfish (bagre) or white fish fillets
3 green gage plums (fresh or canned)
Dumplings or Bola de Pasta:
2 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro or parsley
1 egg + milk to make 3/4 c. liquid
1/4 c. vegetable lard (manteca de vegetal)

Roast, peel and remove seeds and veins from chile poblanos as directed in Chapter II. Mince prepared chiles. Add to boiling water together with chopped tomatoes, minced onions, grated carrots, diced celery, minced garlic, chopped cilantro, whole bay leaves and herb salt (see Index). Maintain liquid at a boil until onion is tender. Cut white fleshed fish fillets into bite size and slice green plums. Lower both fish and plums into boiling broth. Reduce heat and cook for 5 minutes. Cool and strain fish and vegetables. Set aside. Reserve broth for dumplings.

Prepare dumplings: Mix all purpose flour, salt, baking powder and chopped fresh cilantro. Add vegetable lard and rub mixture with fingers to a coarse gritty texture. Make a well in dough and add beaten egg mixed with milk to make 3/4 cup of liquid. Mix well to blend all ingredients, but do not overwork dough. Bring fish broth to a boil in a wide mouth soup kettle. Scoop up a small amount of dough with a tablespoon dipped into the hot broth. Push dough off spoon into the gently boiling soup; it will rise quickly to the top of soup kettle. Repeat until all dumplings are made. Quickly cover kettle and cook for a few minutes, until the dumplings are soft but not dough inside. Add cooked vegetables and fish bites to broth and dumplings (discard bay leaves) and gently heat through. Serve immediately in soup bowls garnished with chopped fresh cilantro.

A classic Lenten dish of shrimp flavored rice is studded with tasty morsels of mariscos or seafood, like lobster, crawfish, crab or fish fillets in combinations with shrimp. Achiote seeds and dried shrimp give it as rich a color and flavor as can be found in any Spanish paella.

1 c. oil
2 Tbsp. achiote seeds
2 c. rice
2 onions
2 garlic cloves
3 fresh chile poblanos or canned green chiles
4 tomatoes
2 Tbsp. fresh cilantro
4 c. shrimp stock (2 Tbsp. shrimp bouillon in 1 liter water)
1 c. dried shrimp or l/2 kilo uncooked shrimp
1 c. chopped green onion
1 small can green peas

Prepare fresh chile poblanos: Roast, peel and remove seeds as directed in Chapter II. Mince and set aside. Soak dried shrimp in hot water for 20 minutes. Drain and set aside. Soak crushed achiote seeds. Fry presoaked achiote seeds in oil until oil is deep orange and discard seeds. Fry rice in colored oil until puffy and all oil is absorbed. Add chopped onion and minced garlic cloves and cook until tender and limp. Add prepared minced chile poblanos with peeled mashed tomatoes and chopped fresh cilantro. Cook briskly for 5 minutes.
Add boiling shrimp stock (2 tablespoons powdered shrimp bouillon dissolved in 1 liter hot water). Stir in presoaked and drained dried shrimp. Note: At this point, uncooked shelled and deveined shrimp and other raw seafood may be added. Cover and reduce heat to simmer. Cook for 30 minutes until rice is tender and liquid is absorbed. Serve hot with chopped green onions and drained canned peas as garnishes.
FRIED HALIBUT STICKS WITH TAMARIND SAUCE (Palo de Merluza Frita con Salsa de Tamarinda)
Fried halibut sticks can be used with advantage to vary the daily menu during the Lenten season, either as a meat substitute for the hot dinner entree with a sweet sour tamarind nut sauce or as a cold appetizer or snack the next day with a spicy Mexican sauce. It can also be served separately as the first fish course. Although the non fishy flavor of halibut is most popular in Vallarta, almost any kind of white fish adapts itself easily to frying, like trout or trucha and sea bass or robalo.

oil for frying
1 1/2 c. flour + 1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper, 1 tsp. salt and 1/8 tsp. nutmeg
1 kilo halibut fillets
1 c. fine bread crumbs
4 onions
1 egg with 2 Tbsp. water added
l/2 kilo (4 c.) shelled walnuts
3 garlic cloves
l tsp. lime juice
1 tsp. tamarind paste - or - lime juice plus piloncillo papaya
pomegranate seeds or pickled

Wash halibut fillets in cold water. Cut into sticks about 2 fingers thick. Thoroughly blot dry with paper towels. Mix flour, salt, cayenne pepper and ground nutmeg. Place in a plastic bag. Vigorously shake a few pieces of fish in bagged flour to coat evenly on all sides. Dip into a bowl with slightly beaten egg and 2 table spoons water to moisten all surfaces. Allow excess to drip off. Then dip into a bowl with bread crumbs, gently patting on to adhere evenly on all surfaces. Place on a rack to dry for 15 minutes at room temperature. Fry in l/4 inch deep hot oil for 10 minutes until fish is opaque throughout and flaky. Turn once to brown other side. Drain on paper towel. Remove to serving dish and keep warm in oven at 75°C. Saute' sliced onion and minced garlic cloves in same all for 10 minutes adding more oil if necessary to prevent sticking. Finely grind shelled walnuts and add to cooked onions along with tamarind paste.

Note: Tamarind paste or pulpo de tamarinda is available in dulcerias or sweet shops. (To make your own paste, remove outer coating of tamarind pods, tightly pack fleshy seeds into a glass jar and alternate layers with grated piloncillo and seeds. Cover and store on bottom shelf of refrigerator for 1 week.) Mix onion and tamarind paste well. To dissolve the paste, add lime juice and correct seasoning for a rich sweet sour flavor. Remove from heat. Top fried fish sticks with tamarind sauce. Sprinkle with pomegranate seeds or pickled papaya . Serve as a finger food with wooden cocktail picks.

RED SNAPPER VERA CRUZ STYLE (Huachinango a la Vera Cruzana)
Red snapper, large red scaled fish fresh from the Bay of Flags, is bound to turn any fish hater into a fish fanatic, especially when prepared with a flamboyant tomato sauce generously seasoned with spices, chiles, olives and capers. It is the best known and most classic of all fish dishes in Mexico and there are as many versions as there are cooks. Usually served hot as a main course with white rice, it is equally delicious served cold the next day as an appetizer or entrada.

1 1/2 kilos red snapper fillets (4)
1/4 c. lime juice 1 1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 c. oil (aceite)
1 onion (cebolla)
2 garlic cloves (dientes de ajo)
6 tomatoes (jitomates)
1 c. fish stock or water (caldo de pescado)
2 bay leaves (hojas de laurel)
1/4 tsp. cloves (clavo de especia)
1 tsp. ground cilantro seeds
3 celery stalks (apio)
4 carrots (zanahorrias)
1/4 tsp. cinnamon (canela)
3 Tbsp. capers (alpacarras)
3 potatoes (papas)
3 Tbsp. oil
1 jar (20) pitted green olives (aceitunas)
1 (7 oz.) can pickled jalapenos (6)
1/4 c. fresh chopped parsley or cilantro

Wash red snapper in cold water. Wipe dry. Rub with salt and lime juice on both sides. Arrange in a single layer in a greased shallow baking dish, large enough to hold fillets without crowding. Cover and set aside to season for 2 hours. Meanwhile, prepare sauce: Saute' chopped onion and minced garlic in oil for 10 minutes until onions are soft. Add peeled and chopped tomatoes, fish broth or water, bay leaves, crushed cilantro seeds, ground cloves, cinnamon powder, diced celery, thinly sliced peeled potatoes and diced peeled carrots. Cover and cook for 20 minutes until vegetables are crisp tender.

Remove and discard bay leaves. Add sliced pitted green olives, chopped capers and chopped pickled jalapeno chiles (rinsed and seeded). Simmer for 5 minutes longer. Drain seasoned fish fillets on paper towels. Pour 1/2 of tomato vegetable sauce into greased shallow baking dish. Arrange fish fillets on top. Cover with remaining sauce and sprinkle top with 3 tablespoons oil. Bake uncovered in oven at 190° C for 45 minutes or until fish can be flaked easily with a fork. Garnish with lime slices and chopped parsley.

Pisto is a dry vegetable stew or hash like a French ratatouille or an Italian caponata with scrambled eggs. This way of serving scrambled eggs results in a unique colorful zestful springtime dish like a Basque piperade. It is most appropriate for a meatless Lenten main dish or for a luncheon special any time of the year using many other combinations of vegetables like squash blossoms, purslane and Swiss chard.

1/3 c. oil
2 onions
2 green bell poppers
3 tomatoes
4 cocked diced potatoes
2 raw zucchini (calabacita)
1 canned pimento (pimienton)
1 c. cooked diced nopales (or canned)
4 Tbsp. fresh cilantro
1 tap. salt
1 tsp. dried Chile pequin
8 eggs with 2 Tbsp. cold water

In a large frying pan, saute' chopped onion and chopped green bell peppers in oil for 10 minutes until onions are soft. Add peeled and mashed tomatoes and cook for 5 minutes more to blend flavors. Mix in cooked diced potatoes, raw zucchini, drained canned piment


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