I read Theresa’s blog post about missing her reference books, and it made me think about how many adjustments I’ve needed to make in my cooking since moving to Mexico.
I guess I should clarify. I am a vegetarian, and I brought my favorite five or six cookbooks with me when we moved. But it is challenging to make anything out of them without substitutions since so many things are hard to find or unavailable.
I was looking through my cookbooks for inspiration the other day and here are a few examples:
- Green onions – I have never seen them here – there are some kind of larger type green onions but the greens are always ratty and not too appealing. They grill them and put them on the side of the plate in restaurants here.
- Cheese – Some cheeses substitute for the ones called for in my recipes, sometimes they don’t. I can find Gruyere and Feta cheese here and once in a while nice Cheddar and Parmesan.
- Herbs – Cilantro and parsley are easy to find. Last week I found nice mint. I want to make some dilled cucumbers, hopefully I can find dried dill. I’ve never seen chives. Last Thanksgiving I offered to bring stuffing to a potluck and I chased all over everywhere trying to find sage! I finally found a dried “Hierbas finas” blend that had enough sage to do the job.
- Milk/Cream – I haven’t figured these out yet. I found media crema which I believe is like half and half but the rest is a puzzle. For the explanation I should go to the Mercado and talk to the Cremeria ladies.
- Vegetable Broth – WalMart was the only place in town that had boxed vegetable broth. I bought it there for months, but today I made a special trip there and now there’s only chicken broth, darn it. I did buy some boullion cubes but I will need to make my own vegetable broth and freeze it I guess.
- Basmati rice – I saw it somewhere once, but didn’t buy it and haven’t seen it in ages now.
- Yeast – I have looked all over for it, and finally asked a friend where to find it. She had bought a big container and is going to share some with me so I should be fine soon for that.
- Vanilla Yoghurt – Yoghurt is big business here in Mexico, every flavor and style – twenty feet of cold case in some stores….but no vanilla.