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Abrazos! xox Penny

Thursday, May 5, 2011

They called my name... is Friday, not Thursday!! One of the fun things about Mexico is that I actually got called my real name "Penelope". "Penny" is very difficult for Mexicans to pronounce and so my real name it was. Heaven. As a child of the 50's...along with Betty Crocker and TV dinners, some of us got stuck with "nicknames" and mine stuck like molasses or more appropriate for today's post...sticky caramel.

Anyway, take a look at this gal calling to me. Isn't she divine?!

Much more on Skeletonista La Catrina later! One of the guests staying where I did was from Canada via Romania. She and her husband had won a "lottery" allowing them to emigrate to Canada and they have been travelling ever since. They had also just come from San Miguel and were a little unhappy with Guanajuato. Unlike San Miguel which she described as a "fiesta at every corner", she said Guanajuato was a city obsessed with death. Had to admit that in part she was right...they are kinda stuck on it...

Welcoming "mummy". Guanajuato is famous for its mummies.

Mural by the funicular, an artistic renditon of the Guanajuato cityscape!

Mural of sliver mines where 1,000's died

Descent into the deadly mine

One of the many battles

However, sticking with something isn't all bad. My absolute obsession with Halloween began when we lived in Mexico 30 years ago. That is when I not only started uber-decorating the house, but outfitted the kids and me in costumes. We were ghosts for years. Merrily macabre. So...all this being said...neighbors...beware...I brought home lots of fun twists and twisted fun for Halloween this year. Already working on my costume...

Here is another sticky, sweet twist, one of my favorite desserts, Crepes de Cajeta. The picture is not great but the dessert called my name, especially when the server asked, "Y Sra. Penelope, que quiere?"

Now, given that I am trying to weave in all these wonderful tidbits from Mexico around tons of other things happening, here is also nod to tomorrow, Derby Day. Don a bonnet (La Catrina has on a fab one!) and top these crepes with some spring berries and mint and you will be off and running into a real taste trip!

Crepes de Cajeta

True confession...I have never actually made these, just eaten them. However, this recipe looks muy authentico. You can also find jarred cajeta in Mexican grocery stores. Do not be tempted to use flour tortillas instead of the crepes. They are way too tough and dry. This recipe is from The Food Network...

1 (14ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1 cup milk
1 large egg
2 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla (real Mexican vanilla would be fab here!)
Pinch ground cloves
Pinch ground cinnamon
1 cup coarsely chopped pecans, toasted (see Note)
2 tablespoons confectioners sugar
1 pint fresh raspberries (or strawberries...not sprayed, please!!)

To make the cajeta: place the unopened can of milk in a heavy saucepan and cover completely with water. Over very low heat, cook at a bare quiver for 3 hours, adding more water as necessary as it evaporates. With an oven glove, turn the can over and cook for 2 1/2 hours more. Cool to room temperature and refrigerate overnight.

In a blender, combine the milk, eggs, sugar, flour, butter, salt, vanilla, cloves, and cinnamon and blend until completely smooth. Let the batter sit in the refrigerator for 1 hour.

Heat a small nonstick skillet and pour in about 2 tablespoons of the crepe batter, swirling the pan immediately to make sure the batter covers the pan evenly. Cook until small bubbles form on the surface, then flip to the other side. Slide onto a plate and make the remaining crepes in the same way, stacking them on the plate until you are finished.

To assemble the crepes: open the can of cooked condensed milk and stir it up from the bottom with a fork, blending to an evenly thick consistency. Spread about 1 tablespoon of the "cajeta evenly over the surface of one crepe. Scatter some of the toasted pecans over the top and roll up into a tube. Repeat with the remaining crepes and reheat in a low oven for a few minutes before serving. Serve 4 crepes per person, sprinkled with a little confectioners sugar and scattered with raspberries or strawberries.

Note: To toast nuts, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spread the nuts on a cookie sheet and toast in the oven until golden, about 15 minutes. Set aside to cool.

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