Monday, July 07, 2014

The Starving Artist :: Mirlitons or Chayotes

:: If you're afraid of butter, 
use cream. ::
- Julia Child

For as long as I can remember, Mr. Bordelon grew mirlitons on an arbor he constructed just in front of his carport.  There was always an over abundance of these "Aligator Pears", and as Mr. Bordelon was a generous man, he provided the neighborhood with more mirlitons than most of them cared to eat.  For the entire month of November, his wife, Miss Adelaide, secretly called "That Lady" by MaMere, which is a whole other story, pickled, chopped and stuffed the heck out of them.  My sister and I can attest to Miss Adelaide's competence with this wrinkled vegetable.  Throughout our childhood, we ate at least one meal a week at any given neighbors' home and without a doubt, Miss Adelaide Bordelon would have been crowned Miss Mirliton had such a title existed.  

Miss Adelaide's Mirliton Casserole
Servings : 8

  • 3 mirlitons
  • 1/2 lbs of large shrimp, chopped (crabmeat is equally delicious)
  • 1 stick of unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup bread crumbs, unseasoned
  • 1/4 cup of Italian salad dressing
  • 1/4 cup of water
  • 1/4 cup of olive oil 
  • 1 large red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 large white onion, chopped
  • 2 tbls of minced parsley  
  • 1 garlic toe, smashed
  • 1/2 cup of shredded cheese, any type
  • 2 large eggs, beaten 
  • Cajun seasoning to taste
In a large pot, boil the mirlitons for 40 minutes, until soft.  Remove and allow to cool.  Preheat your oven to 350.

Mix the breadcrumbs and melted butter, and set aside.  Mix all other ingredients in a large bowl, allowing room for the chopped mirlitons.  Once the mirlitons have been mixed in with the other ingredients, add half of the breadcrumbs and melted butterStir everything together one last time and place in a greased casserole dish.  Sprinkle the top of the casserole with the reserved portion of breadcrumbs and melted butter.

Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 40 minutes.


Create the life you want!
The Broad 

Vegetable Soup
Gumbo Style

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Friday, May 30, 2014

Ah, the Bite of the Mosquito : Conjuring an Attraction Potion

::  The sun shines and warms and lights us and we have no curiosity to know why this is so; but we ask the reason of all evil, of pain, and hunger, and mosquitoes and silly people. ::
- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Right now, our dreaded Yucatan mosquitoes are reclaiming our heads by joining hands to make fuzzy black halos.  Yes, we have now entered the rainy season and the little tormentors have plenty of breeding spots available.  Having experienced their terrible tiny bites one too many times in my native New Orleans, my experiments in repellant potions before moving to Mérida have paid off.  I've enjoyed this one for almost three years. 

Before you Yucatan Snowbirds and First Years head down, you might consider purchasing a few glass wasp catchers!  The catchers have a concave bottom that forms a well for the Deadly Mosquito Attraction Potion.  I brought two glass wasp catchers with me when I moved to the Yucatan.  There are a few tutorials on how to make a wasp or fly catcher out of a plastic bottle, but mosquitoes require a glass container. 

Let's focus on why mosquitoes love the household products in this attraction recipe.  Hydrogen Peroxide, or Agua Oxigenada in Spanish, and Baking Soda produce Carbon Dioxide.  Shampoo contains Lactic Acid.  Both Carbon Dioxide and Lactic Acid are the stuff we humans off-gas or sweat out.  Mosquitoes also love the heat our movements generate.  Since this attractor recipe can't move of its' own accord, the glass wasp catcher conveniently holds a candle, producing heat and movement.  Ever walked out of a dense brushy patch in your garden to discover you were covered in mosquito bites?  That's because these tiny terrors, like all vampires, love the dark.  To simulate a darkened space, a colored glass container is best, but if you don't have a choice, you can add honey or molasses to your clear glass wasp catcher.  The natural sugar found in honey prevent the mosquitoes from feeling depressed once you have lured their menacing butts into the trap!

You will need a 1 liter container for mixing the liquid ingredients.  I reused a completely dry juice box. Be sure to have a funnel handy.

Mix the following liquid ingredients:
2 cups : Hydrogen Peroxide
4 tbs : Shampoo (any brand)
2 tbs : Dark Honey or Molasses

Now you are ready for some fun with chemistry!  Each of my wasp catchers holds 1/4 cup of the combined liquid and dry mixture of Baking Soda.  Combine a 3:1 mixture of liquid and dry in a measuring cup.  With the wasp catcher corked, turn it upside down and pour in the mixture.  Slowly turn the wasp catcher upright and remove the cork.  Insert the candle, place near a window or screen door.  Light the candle and watch the magic begin.  Depending on how heavy the population is, you may have to reinvigorate the mixture every 4 hours.

Congratulations!  You've saved your skin and the environment from toxins!  Remember, if you do use products with DEET, spray your clothing and not your skin.

Create the life you want and a safe planet!
The Broad

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