Mexican pastries require lard.  And occasionally they require a hammer.  How else does one break up those magical brown sugar cones known as piloncillo?  Boiled down sugar cane syrup tasting of caramel, and a slight metallic tang, this is about as pure and natural as sugar gets.  And lard?  Well, I would rather have a pure snow white block of rendered pork fat in front of me than any hydrogenated vegetable oil or even expensive French butter.  Combine flour, lard and piloncillo, make a tortilla sammich, bake.  Coyotas, the taste of my childhood and not found outside of the state of Sonora.  Why did it take me so long to make these?

There’s a new direction in my life. One of soups, stocks, braises. One where the statement “I trust your talent” was said to me, simply, honestly, and without prompting. It’s a new life of walks through a desert garden on my way in and out of my new kitchen playground. Less worry about sales numbers, ticket times, saving man hours… Getting to be creative, and being trusted in that creativity, this is slowly bringing me back to life.  

Somehow, the process of recovery has settled deeply in my chest, making it difficult to breathe, to work, to ride horses, to run. But bronchitis is a great motivator for a maker and lover of soup.

Soup is my new life.

Soup to make the best out of horrible tomatoes

Cut tomatoes into quarters. Mix with shallots, garlic and thyme. Toss with olive oil, red wine or balsamic vinegar, kosher salt and pepper. Roast at 350F until they are soft, with slightly charred bits.

Puree to desired smoothness. Mix with vegetable stock, cream, broth, your choice, to your desired thickness and consistency. Now days I prefer more of a tomato broth rather than a thick chewy soup. 

Until the next soup.