Category Archives: Flops

Piña Colada No Churn Ice Cream, A Baja Flop

I can’t seem to find ice cream (helado, en español) that I like at any of our local grocery stores. I don’t eat ice cream very often but when I do it has to be delicious. My choices in town either have artificial sweeteners snuck in or high fructose corn syrup, ugh. I don’t eat either of those sweeteners. Frankly the HFCC surprised me because you don’t see it in many Mexican foods, unlike the U.S. I find sucralose in many of the Mexican processed foods like sodas and bakery junk food. You have to read the label because it’s hidden there without any mention about reduced sugar anywhere in the title.

La gringa’s struggle is real: I can’t find ice cream and I don’t have an ice cream churner/freezer. In true Baja kitchen hacks form, an Internet search ensued and a recipe was created.

I tried a simple vanilla recipe that uses whipped cream, sweetened condensed milk and vanilla. It was like eating frozen whipping cream which should have been delicious but frankly it’s so rich and fatty as to be unpleasant. In my experiments I found that the Mexican brand of whipping cream aka crema de batir doesn’t whip into firm peaks which it turns out doesn’t really matter much.

Back to the drawing room where I searched my cupboards and found coconut cream purchased at the liquor store, limes and pineapple juice and the  piña colada, no churn ice cream was born.
The taste was very good and reminescent of a piña colada and the lime cut through the richness of the creams but the sweetened coconut cream and pineapple juice have more water content so my ice cream was too solid and wouldn’t scoop. The experiment wasn’t a complete disaster because mi gringo cut it into squares and never complained once.
I’m taking my square ice cream to Fiesta Friday with co-hosts Mollie https://frugalhausfrau.com/ and Ginger http://www.gingerandbread.com/

Piña Colada No Churn Ice Cream

Ingredients:
2 cups whipping cream (crema para batir)
1 cup sweetened coconut cream (crema de coco)
1/2 cup pineapple juice (jugo de piña)
2 tablespoons key lime juice (jugo de limon)

Recipe:
Chill all ingredients. Whip cream into firm peaks. Whip coconut cream until soft peaks form. Stir pineapple and lime juices into coconut and then fold whipping cream into the coconut cream mixture. Spoon into a shallow glass dish and cover. Freezer until semi-solid or longer. Cut into squares to serve or leave out of the freezer until soft enough to scoop.

I’m tempted to blend a square with some rum for a tasty adult beverage.

Enjoy. I’m taking my ice cream flop to Fiesta Friday.

Whipping the cream. After 20 minutes, I gave up on trying to whip it into peaks. It might have been too warm in the house or the preservatives interfered. I have given up trying to understand kitchen flops in Mexico.

Surprise, the chilled coconut cream whipped better than the whipping cream.

Frozen piña colada squares!

La Gringa Cooks: Flips & Flops, Grilled Sweet Potatoes and Peppers

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FLIPS & FLOPS

I’m sure you noticed the new header on What’s for dinner, Doc? Who can resist a pelican? My new series La Grinda Cooks became La Gringa Cooks: Flips & Flops from Baja, Mexico. The title speaks for itself but the idea for the flips & flops came while standing in my kitchen dressed in my kitchen uniform, shorts and you guessed it, flip-flops. Dreaming and waiting for my fresh pepper cheese to form lovely curds and whey, I caught a glimpse of the Sea of Cortez. Ok, to be fair it’s a sliver of blue ocean, if I stand on tip toes and tilt my head at a 45 degree angle south 😎. Anyway I waited and waited and waited. No beautiful curds, no clear whey, just a mess of salted acidic milk.

A Major FLOP. I have had other flops while trying to adapt my culinary skills to the climate, ingredients and flair of Mexican cuisine. So travel with me, summer attire optional, as I explore the best of the flips (hits) and flops (mishaps) in my Baja kitchen.

Now that I’ve peaked your interest and whet your appetite for acidic, salted milky cheese here’s the flop.

When milk does not becomes cheese:

Making quéso fresco is easy and I’ve succeeded many times in the U.S. You can find the recipe here. I purchased readily available pasteurized whole cow’s milk (leche de vaca entera) and white vinegar (vinagre blanco). I finely chopped jalapeño and red bell pepper in anticipation of making Quéso Fresco con Pimientos. The local goat ranchers make a fresh fabulous quéso and I was sure that I could recreate one with cow milk. I followed the directions exactly. The milk partially separated but the curds were minuscule and there was never a clear whey layer. The problem it seems was the milk. Mexican milk has less protein than U.S. milk and that can affect curd yield. The lower protein content makes it difficult to froth the milk for a cappuccino also. The most likely reason for cheese to fail is old milk which is too acidic or the milk has been ultra-pasteurized. The milk didn’t say ultra-pasteurized but who knows, it could have been. When in doubt, blame the milk. Next time I will use fresh goat milk from a local rancher. Stay tuned. I salvaged the thickened milky cheese layer from the sack cloth, added diced jalapeño pepper and red bell pepper and a sauce was born. I turned that flop into a flip with a slight of hand.

 
Finally the Recipe

Grilled Sweet Potatoes with Poblano and Red Bell Pepper

Ingredients:
2 medium to large sweet potatoes (yams)
1 red onion
1 sweet red pepper
1 poblano pepper
olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Preparation:
Scrub vegetables and sweet potatoes, I leave the peel for more fiber and nutrition. Dice into 1 inch pieces, mix with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. Microwave for 5 minutes to soft the potatoes. Grill in a grill basket over medium heat, 350-375F, until soft and slightly charred. Serve plain or drizzle with plain yogurt, la crema, or failed quéso fresco. Eat as a side dish with grilled meat or as a vegetarian entrée by adding legumes, nuts or more dairy to increase the protein content.

Savor every bite and enjoy the journey.
I’m taking this easy side dish to Fiesta Friday where you can find delicious recipes from around the globe.

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