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Fall is here! Clean out that fridge and freezer!

Well. Just six weeks ago my husband and I moved from one side of the country (east) to the southwest again. Now that the move is over fro...

Monday, September 28, 2009

DPI, Book Proof, Farmer's Market Produce, Cake, Basil and Pics Rant!

Well, I received the email I have been waiting for saying "my book proof was ready". I met the editing requirements. To rephrase "my pictures were at 219 DPI" the "best practice" for photos is to get them with @ 300 DPI, tried and tried to increase the DPI in my "food" photographs. While I am doing better than the original pictures count of 72 DPI, I am still not at 300 DPI. Therefore, my cookbook paperback will be at 219 DPI with black and white photos. I shall continue to strive to make the hardback book with color pictures as close to 300 DPI as I can. I hope that my picture taking skills improve, and that I have learned how to take "better pictures" or can do whatever it takes to get a "REALLY" good picture from this point forward.

That said I am awaiting proof number 2! I hope that my proof will arrive within the next few days and I can get the "marking aspect of selling this book: on the road this week and start offering my black and white paperback copy of Exploring Mexican Cuisine on my website and Amazon.com.

As for pics, I have tried to take pictures of tools I am using and have decided I will include a little more info and full color pictures in the full color hard back of my book, which will come out a few weeks later than the paperback copy of the cookbook.

I went to the local farmers market in Capitan this past weekend and got some gorgeous gigantic zucchini, fresh mountain grown huge tomatoes and some sprouted wheat bread. Today I went by my sister-in-laws place and grabbed a handful of fresh basil. To make the vegetable sauté I got out my sauté pan and I added:

1 T olive oil
1 quartered, sliced zucchini
2 roughly chopped slices of purple onion
1 large diced tomato
1 clove garlic
1/2 t each of fresh black pepper and sea salt

I let the onions wilt, added the fresh torn basil leaves, and let it all cook down until the basil had wilted. I served fresh cabbage with a CIDER VINEGAR Vinaigrette from my cookbook "Exploring Mexican Cuisine: Abuelita's Kitchen" along with smoked Cornish game hens which my husband had prepared. YUMMY. Then I made my carrot cake but substituted 1/2 of a fresh shredded zucchini to the "carrot cake" recipe and added 1 cup of pineapple cut in small chunks and made 1/2 recipe of Cream Cheese Frosting:

4 oz softened butter
4 oz softened cream cheese
2 cups of powdered sugar

Mix Cream cheese and butter well, add powdered sugar and mix well. It will cover the top of a whole cake 13" x 9". My husband loves the cake and it leaves allot for leftovers and I will freeze 1/2 the cake in individual servings so he can grab it/defrost it whenever he wants it.

Now, to start on the article pertaining to fall in the Mountains, which my NM Writers Club is writing. I still need to put up that carrot, zucchini, and pineapple cake with cream cheese frosting, which is sitting in my kitchen right now.

Um, maybe time for a VERY SMALL late night snack and a glass of milk!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Dreaded pictures for the cookbook

We have our pet peeves and I for one have more than one! Really! I do! But shhh!

Pictures, the taking of pictures and the taking of  "Food Pictures" specifically has been so tedious as of late. That is to say - well, really what I'm trying to say is these latest pictures were not happily taken and not knowing the process of "how to take pictures of food". Well it is simple to say, many have opinions however no REAL SUBSTANCE nor "HELP" could be found in some who where experts as apparently taking pictures of food is well an "ART". I have searched high and low and found some photo sites to peruse and learned more by doing and yes, listening. So, with that I will let you know that I am going to start posting pictures, ALLOT of pictures. Some pictures will NOT make it into the Mexican cookbook and I am going to throw recipes alongside of those pictures which do make into the blog. 

First, I intend to play catch up. I have finished my content for the Mexican cookbook - yet again! I think this is the 7th revision this year and yes it takes 1 - 2 years to get a book completed. I'm awaiting the editor comments back which generally will take 2 - 3 weeks. I will be shooting the dreaded "Food" pictures again as the last ones were so disappointing . Seriously I need 300 DPI or close to that to make into the cookbook. SERIOUSLY!!!

Here is a great site which has great stuff for food writers, food bloggers and of course food pictures!!!


That said. Now on to pictures, waiting for editor comments before I submit for my final proofs and on to writing more stories and getting more stuff published! Polish, polish, polish!

Preparing the vegetables for a fritata in a frying pan photo:

An onion in the process of being diced and then vegetables on a cutting board -- testing cropping and blocking:

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Carne Guisada and Mexican Coleslaw

Tonight I substituted ground turkey meat for the ground beef in my "CARNE GUISADA" recipe. Like the addition of fresh diced poblano peppers and sauteed onions which add flavor but also to make the recipe go a little further.

Apple Cider Vinegar in the "Mexican Coleslaw" allowed the coleslaw to have a bright taste. Refreshing and a welcome change to the regular milky looking coleslaw dressing we are all so used to seeing.

The Whole Wheat Flour Tortillas were to die for! No butter, they did not need it! Instead of the plain "All Purpose" tortillas I replaced 1/4 of the weight of the flour with WHOLE WHEAT flour. Bought a scale to measure out flour by weight and began using it!

Note:  Big change!!! Noticed that my weight has dropped a couple of pounds in the last two weeks by tweaking the ingredients and walking 30 minutes a day x 4 times a week, doing Hatha Yoga most days of the week for at least 15 minutes. Drinking more water, using olive oil, fresh garlic, sea salt, and using complex carbs and lots of fresh vegetables. Only one WW tortilla at a meal twice a day.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Pumpkin Empanadas

I love PUMPKIN Empanadas. However, I especially love the PUMPKIN EMPANADAS! So, while I was looking through my recipes I decided that I needed to look high and low for the recipe. Here it is:

1 - 16 oz can of Libby's Pumpkin
3/4 cup sugar
1 t anise
1 t allspice
2 cups all purpose flour
2 t baking powder
1/2 t sea salt
2/3 cup vegetable shortening
2/3 cup milk
1 egg, beaten

Coating: 3 T sugar w/2 t cinnamon

Tear a  sheet of parchment paper to fit a large baking sheet. In a small bowl combine pumpkin, 1/2 cup sugar, 1/2 t anise, and allspice. Taste and add 1/2 cup more of sugar if desired.

Sift the flour, 1/4 cup sugar, baking powder and salt in a med bowl. Cut in shortening until it resembles coarse meal. Add the milk and the remaining anise, stir until mixed. Turn onto a floured board and knead it a few times. Roll out in circles about 3 - 4 inches in diameter. Repeat the process. Place 1 T pumpkin on each half of dough. brush edges with cold water and fold, seal with tines of a fork. Brush w/ beaten egg.

Heat oven to 450 degrees. Bake for 12 minutes. Sprinkle with sugar/cinnamon mixture during the last 2 minutes of baking.

Sunday, September 6, 2009


OK, I do admit that I've been experimenting with different kinds of Guacamole. Mango, Pineapple, and so on. Here is a really good recipe I came up with recently when I came across some Mexican Regional specialty cooking.

Salsa de Aguacate

1 Jalapeno, minced
4 springs Cilantro, minced
1 ripe Avocado, cubed
1/2 t sea salt
2 T Vinegar

Mash Avocado in a bowl, add rest of ingredients. Mix in salt to taste and add a little fresh cracked black pepper if you wish.

This recipe won't be in the cookbook but I think it tastes pretty good!

Try it.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009


I'm working on the content for Carne Asada recipe. I have been editing the content and filling in the missing recipes.
Would you believe I just had to have some Beef with vegetables ASIAN STYLE today. So , no pictures of mexican food today.