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Shrimp Ceviche

Yes, Mex perfectly hand chops all the ingredients into perfectly uniform pieces!

This is one of our absolute favorite recipes. Most of the magic in this recipe is the fact that my husband, a cook by trade, chops everything into tiny, even pieces. A shortcut would be to purchase pre-chopped pico de gallo. Then you would only have to add chopped shrimp, squeeze some lime juice, add salt, and add jalapeño for heat.  This is a really hard recipe to recreate on paper since every time Mex makes it, the ingredients and quantities vary based on what we have on hand, how big the bag of shrimp is, etc. However, below should be a good starting point and then ingredient quantities can be adjusted to suit individual tastes.

Shrimp Ceviche

Recipe:

about 2 lbs shrimp – cooked & deveined – chopped in small pieces (we always by frozen shrimp and thaw in fridge for 2-3 days. If you just thaw it by running water on it the ceviche becomes watered down and the shrimp doesn’t seem to absorb as much lime flavor. WISH we could get fresh shrimp here in Minnesota!)

1 lime – juice only

2 jalapeños – chopped fine, remove ribs and seeds to minimize spice

5 cloves of garlic – minced (we are always heavy-handed on garlic. You may want to reduce amount.)

¼ cup yellow or white onion – chopped fine

½ cup cilantro – chopped

4 Roma tomatoes – chopped

1 tsp salt

Combine all ingredients and mix well. Add more salt or lime to taste. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to let the flavors combine.

Tostitos scoops make perfect little ceviche boats!

Serve with Saltine crackers or chips (the Tostitos scoops are my favorite). Serves around 15 people as an appetizer. You could serve on tostadas with avocado slices on top as a dinner, would serve 6 to 8.

Nutrition Information: (We used an online recipe calculator and cannot guarantee the accuracy of this information)

Serving size: 4 oz,  Calories: 78, Fat: 1 g, 0 g sat fat, 0 g trans fat,            50 mg Chol, 694 mg Sod, 4 g  Carb, 0.7 g fib, 15 g protein

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And down comes the rain

Too bad it wasn´t in Mex’s town since the rain would have been a relief from the intense heat. We are in Zacatecas City and there is a major thunderstorm going on outside. Luckily we´ve gotten to enjoy some of the city already although not the silver mine (which Mex didn´t want to see anyway so he lucked out). At some points in the 18th Century, Zacatecas mined 20% of New Spain’s silver.

Last night we went tried to go to dinner at a place listed in my Lonely Planet guidebook (which I would totally recommend over Fodor´s because I have one of those also and we never, ever use it) but it wasn´t the same place anymore. Our taxi driver had advised us of this place called Dorado de la Villa which is a tiny restaurant where you have to knock on the door to get in. The inside is dimly lit, crowded with tables and an overabundance of decorations on the wall. It had really awesome food. We tried sopes with chicken in red mole and the sauce was fabulous. Neither of us like the chocolatey mole poblano at all so we weren´t expecting to like this but we did. Mex had pozole and I had poblano enchiladas. Both dishes were excellent. We were going to walk around the town but we were so stuffed we went back to the hotel instead since we had been driving all day and were exhausted.

Teleforico

This morning I must say we were very lazy and just dozed on and off until about 9:30ish. Tomorrow we have to get up early to start our 11 hour drive to Chihuahua city and then his interview is so close we won´t really be getting much sleep. It´s like there is a giant clock going ¨tick tock, tick tock¨all around us. Hard to imagine that more than two years of waiting is almost over for us.

Anyway, we did finally get out of the hotel about 11 and went to a cafe by the cathedral for lunch. We couldn´t really go inside the cathedral since there was a service going on but I did peek. It is a beautiful pink cathedral and the inside has enormous pink stone columns. We´re going to try to see more later. After a leisurely lunch we took the cable car to the top of the hill (that’s on “the list”) and enjoyed the view. As we were up there we saw rain clouds start to roll in so we hurried and got in line to go back down. We managed to get into the last car that was going down before the rain, wind, thunder and

roof top view from the teleforico

lightning started. Thank goodness because it´s been over an hour and it´s still raining so I don´t know how those people got down. We were going to try to walk around in the rain and find a cafe but everywhere is closed for the afternoon or for the rain… I don´t know which… so we came back to our hotel to enjoy a nice siesta and some TV in English and watch the lightning.

Zacatecas cathedral

Our hotel has a very nice internet lounge so I was optimistic I could put my pictures online from here but for some reason they have the picasa web album site blocked which stinks. oh well… I did put some of them on a CD so if i find an internet cafe that will let me post them I will… Otherwise you´ll all see them when I get back and have my dumb computer fixed. ugh!

Our free rock-hard chips, pickled veges and salsa

Enchiladas poblanos

NEWLY UPDATED AT 8:30 PM
Once the rain stopped this evening Mex and I hopped back in a taxi to go out to dinner. The place we wanted to go to was closed however, so we went to the same place as last night. We had to huff uphill to get there this time though since we got dropped off at the cathedral to go to the other restaurant. I say huff because at 8200 feet it doesn´t take much for us to huff. It is quite chilly here (although no snow) but we refused to wear jackets and decided to revel in our chance at being chilled since my parents informed me that the temperature in the El Paso area has been in the 90´s.
 A quick sidenote about food… don´t get sucked into ordering chips (totopos) and guacamole as an appetizer here. The chips are NOT the same as the US. They are usually oil soaked, rock hard or even slightly burnt. Sometimes you´ll get them free anyway… more so in the north than in the south in our experience. Also, malteados are NOT malts! They are slightly cool milk (I stress the slightly) with malt powder mixed in. Get corn when you see it (if you like corn that is) on the street and DO get the mayo even though your instincts may say not too (or I prefer crema- which is a thin sour cream- if available). I recommend the not-so-spicy chile or squeeze of lime, however, over the light-your-pants-on-fire chile. 

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Filed under Food, Mexico, Restaurant reviews, Travel Tips, Zacatecas State

Patzcuaro

We drove from Aguascalientes to Pátzcuaro yesterday which took about five hours, almost an hour of which was navigating through the capital Morelia (we are in the state of Michoacán). As we drove through the state of Guanajuato there were at least a hundred roadside stands selling strawberries and strawberry products. Keep that in mind if you ever drive in Mexico! We didn’t stop because I’m nervous about stomach bugs at the moment and produce does not appeal to me.

Buildings around Plaza Chica in Patzcuaro

Pátzcuaro is a medium-sized town near Lake Pátzcuaro and is one of the most famous cities in the world for the Day of the Dead celebration, November 1 -2. Apparently some hotels are full up to a year in advance. It also has a huge Holy Week celebration which starts on Sunday. They are already putting tents up in the plaza and the whole town seems busy. This town dates to pre-hispanic times and the thing that makes it stand out for us is the trees. The street in to town and all the plazas are lined with 200-year-old oak and elm trees making it absolutely picturesque. Then the plazas are surrounded by 400-year-old haciendas that are now shops, restaurants

Mision San Manuel hallway

hotels (one of which we are staying in). Our hotel is called the Misión San Manuel and is on Plaza Grande. It is a converted monastery and the rooms are what used to be the monk’s cells. The credit card machine

Outside of our room - Mision San Manuel

was broken which put our cash situation in to a tail spin. We have learned already that cash is definitely the best way to do business in Mexico. Our hotel has no off street parking which, for safety reasons, is a huge down-side anywhere in Mexico. It costs $400 pesos ($35 US) a night and the interior walking spaces are lovely with rich terracotta orange and hanging iron chandeliers. The central courtyard is a little restaurant that serves breakfast and in the evening the sidewalk in front of the hotel sets up in to a little bar which on the weekends is probably pretty noisy but we were here during the week. The rooms have private bathrooms with occasional hot water (ours had a slow drain which is a HUGE turn off of mine). The room was sparse but pretty clean with a double bed and a lot of space, much larger than a typical chain hotel room.O

It is a town of about only 50,000 compared to the 400,000 in Aguascalientes and has a totally different feel to it. We are really high in elevation again, about 8000 feet. We got here about 3 yesterday and walked around, took a nap, walked around some more… I really love Mexico! As we were walking around at night we finally found some crafts that we really want to buy. There are absolutely gorgeous handmade wood carvings and woven baskets. And lots of the skull masks and skeletal figurines but those are not my style. We ate at El Companario restaurant on Plaza Grande last

Guacamole in La Campanaria

night and had the best guacamole! Mex had lake trout that was fabulous and I had great enchilada suizas. We tried to share a pitcher of red Sangria but only made it half way thru. It was sweet and strong with lots of

A little much for two light drinkers

tiny pieces of fruit mixed in. The atmosphere was very nice although the other customers seemed to be from a tour group and were all English speakers.

Delicious trout at El Companario restaurant off of Plaza Grande in Patzcuaro

This morning we took a little bus over to Lake Pátzcuaro and looked across at Isla Janitizio where the famous Day of the Dead celebrations take place. We decided not to actually go over there though. I tried to take a picture but it was pretty hazy and I cannot zoom in or my camera gets spots on it. We did take the camera to a repair shop but they said it can’t be fixed. In two weeks our friend Maren is coming to visit and my mother generously offered to send her camera with so we don’t have to buy another one for the time being. I have to strategically position the items in the picture to cover up the spots.

Templo del Sagrario in Patzcuaro

We walked through an outdoor market today and the amount of vegetable, fruits, herbs, clothes and sandals and just about everything you want to buy is amazing. Just blocks of stalls selling all you can think of. We did buy some mangoes and oranges to try. Now after an hour of typing my hand is cramping so we are going to walk around and look in some more stalls and find some souvenirs, have a little lunch, probably get more cash since we are running out and then walk around some more and people watch in the plaza. Tomorrow we are going to drive to Mex’s town. We were going to stay here another day and take the bus to Morelia because that is supposed to be a nice city but he is getting excited to see his family so we are going to leave a day early instead. We still have five weeks left and plan on seeing quite a few more places.

UPDATE at 8:30 pm. We had a mini crisis this afternoon when we tried to buy our souvenirs and realized

Templo de la Compania

we didn’t have enough cash and the cash machine wasn’t taking either of our cards. Luckily my mom was able to talk to the credit card company while I was on the phone from Mexico on the other line. Unfortunately, it costs about $1 a minute for me to call (at least I hope that’s all it is!) but it was worth the $10 so we could get some money since hardly anywhere takes credit cards. We would literally be stranded since you need cash for the toll roads too. This afternoon we sat in a cafe on the patio overlooking the plaza having cappuccino and cheesecake… Where are we again?

This city has such a huge holy week celebration that it started today. So we got to

Buildings in Patzcuaro

see a procession of young girls in traditional dress with paper flowers in their hair and painted plates and a little band. We ate at the same restaurant again because we aren’t very adventurous because my stomach is “off” since the Auto Hotel. Of course it was the most beautiful plate of food and I forgot to take a picture. We are trying to keep taking pictures of food as research for our future restaurant. =) It was a sampler platter and we highly recommend it! Completely delicious with enough for two people to share and get a good sampling of different dishes including cheese flautas, bean sopes, chicken tacos, guacamole with chips, served over a bed of lettuce and topped with shredded cabbage, sour cream and cheese. Great flavors and everything is cut in half (except sopes) so it is easy to share and enjoy.

Garden of the Chocolate Lady

Parade in Patzcuaro, preparing for the start of Semana Santa - Holy Week

There are sooooo many wonderful things to buy! If you want Mexican crafts I would definitely come to Pátzcuaro. There are wood carvings, straw sculptures, copper, pottery, lacquer, everything under the sun. It was very nice. I wish we had more room in the car (and more money!). One out of the way find was the family-run Chocolate Casero Joaquinita. Since 1898, the family has been making home-made cinnamon-spiced hot chocolate tablets. You can purchase the chocolate from the family’s home, across from the Templo de la Compañia at Enseñanza Arciga 38. When we knocked though, the woman inside was very cautious to open the door. She told us that there had been a number of cars stolen and broken in to right off the street in front of her house in the past few months. Good thing it is our last night parking on the street!

And, in case you were wondering, Pátzcuaro is mentioned in “1000 Places.” Check!

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Filed under Mexico, Michoacan State

Where’s the Beef? Right out back!

We left Minnesota on Sunday the 24th at about 7:30 pm, after we went to my niece’s Minnesota Youth Symphony concert and saw her perform. Odometer: 52,500 on Mom and Dad’s car…. We drove until 1:30 in the morning and ended up 80 miles north of Kansas City.

The only non-steak eater in our group happily eating at one of the most famous steakhouses in the country

Nothing much to tell today (Monday) except driving. Weather and roads were good for the end of February. Our one stop in 14 hours of travel time (yes, ONE stop – besides bathroom and gas breaks, even lunch was a drive thru) was in Oklahoma City at Stockyard City where we ate at the “famous” Cattlemen’s Steakhouse. Check! (It is in the “1000 Places” book for my dear competitive readers… you know who you are!) Initially, I was not impressed because, unfortunately, I got my steak medium well. It was a little tough. Then mom gave me some of her Filet and holy cow (pun intended)! If red meat and butter got married this would be their love child. It was incredible!!! The restaurant is littered with Western decor; pencil sketches of famous cowboys – like Tex Ritter, Hop Along Cassidy and John Wayne, red leather booths, cattle-branding irons, and a wall length painting of a herd of Black Angus cattle. Though I am eagerly following suggestions in the “1000 Places” book, I did wimp out on the lamb fries- little fried lamb balls (literally… their balls). I’ll avoid the official physiological word to try to ward off inappropriate ads from springing up on my blog. Though they are sliced and supposedly resemble a clam strip, I couldn’t bring myself – or my meal companions – to be that brave with our taste buds.

Oklahoma City Stockyards – and no that isnt a new hairdo! The wind was ridiculous!

The entire area around the restaurant is called Stockyard City and is full of shops selling gorgeous hand-stitched saddles, colorful cowboy boots, and all types of Western shirts. It isn’t hard to imagine cowboys riding up on their horses to check out the local duds in 1910 when the area was opened. The Oklahoma National Stock Yards, the largest cattle stocker and feeder market in the world, are in the back of the parking lot of the restaurant and the cows did not have a pleasant odor what-so-ever! It was hard to ignore and a little stifling (even for a farm girl) while walking around window shopping. The Stock Yards are definitely active though since we saw a number of trucks hauling cattle pull out, just in the fifteen minutes we were walking around stretching our legs.

Now we are in a hotel in Hereford, TX, almost all they way across the panhandle of Texas (which I did not realize is 230 miles wide – that’s one large handle) and we did get to jaunt on Old Route 66 for about 150 miles, bringing back memories of high school choir. We should only have about seven hours of driving left tomorrow to get to El Paso. Even though we’re driving through Roswell, New Mexico, I doubt we will stop. That’s all the excitement for today! Goodnight, everyone!

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Filed under Food, Restaurant reviews, Travel outside MN and Mexico