Wednesday, December 5, 2007


We're back in Cochise County in far southeastern Arizona, visiting at Paws and Hooves Ranch - home to my cousin Rosanna and my aunt Carol, and their multitude of animal companions.

This is Chili, their macaw, in her beautiful and gigantic cage which sits next to the dining room table. She talks, and barks, and laughs. Probably meows, too, as she shares the house with many (6? 7? 8?) cats, a miniature dobie, a large mutt... oh, and a caged snake. Four more big dogs outdoors, along with 3 miniature horses, 2 big horses, 3 sheep and 5 goats... and a couple of barn cats. All the animals get along, and accept Luna as part of the pack, so she roams at will when we are here.

At the ranch, we slow down. The nearest shopping, movies, or restaurants are FAR. We visit, hike, relax, lend a few more hands for the ranch chores... and EAT WELL. Which reminded me that I am behind on posting recipes! So, this afternoon, I added two recipes to the "Favorite Recipes" sidebar on the left side of the blog.

You saw a photo of Salsa Veracruzana featured on the blog recently, when we had the big rain in Tucson. This is a warm tomato-based sauce that is typical of Veracruz, Mexico.

The very easy recipe makes a bit more than 3 cups. I add about half of it to a pan of sauteed white fish or shrimp during the last couple minutes of cooking, just long enough to get the sauce simmering before serving. This sauce will last about a week in the refrigerator (well, hmmmm, come to think of it - I'm not sure I have ever kept it that long - we eat it quickly).

The other recipe, Spiced Butternut Squash and Lentil Soup, is now officially Odel's Favorite Soup. I got the recipe out of my girlfriend Becky's crock pot cookbook when we were in Sacramento - I'm always on the lookout for good crockpot recipes, especially vegetarian ones.

I travel with a LOT of spices... REALLY a lot. This recipe, however, called for Garam Masala, an Indian spice blend that I did not have on hand. I thought of using curry powder, a blend in the same family, but then remembered that I had a bottle of Trader Joe's Thai Yellow Curry Sauce in the cupboard and decided to use it for seasoning, instead.

I'm not sure why I felt that an 11 oz. bottle of curry sauce was the proper equivalent replacement for one teaspoon of garam masala, but I did... and the soup was DELICIOUS, though on the spicy side for those who like milder flavors. For guests, I'll be using just half the amount of curry sauce. You can try it either way... or follow the original recipe by using 1 t. of garam masala in place of the curry sauce I wrote into the recipe.

That's it for recipes for now. Time for a nap before we have the second half of the Salsa Veracruzana on snapper for dinner tonight.

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