My friend Derrin is doing some clearing of his yard and I've come into possession of a fair quantity of bamboo poles that I will put to good use. Of course, Wifey wants me to use it to screen in the back porch; a rustic but not practical option. I think it will be better used as fencing around the various gardens. Rock walls don't keep dogs, who like the soft dirt for digging themselves a cool spot , from killing off young plants.
The rainy season is wreaking havoc with grass cutting. The grass is so thick now it never really dries from the last rain making mowing a real chore. The empty lot next door is going to need a bush hog if I don't get to it soon. One section has grown so much it looks like a small Maya mound! The sun is peaking through the clouds now as I write this from the back porch and I can plainly see just how much fun I have to look forward to when I finish. We've had so much rain lately the oranges are engorged and splitting wide open whilst still on the branch!
Two very successful crockpot dishes this week: Bolognese Spaghetti Sauce and Braised Beef Ribs. Classics that do take a bit of preparation beforehand to ensure success but worth every effort. Plus the chef gets to drink some red wine so that's always pleasant. I haven't returned to baking bread since our move to Mexico but I feel it coming. I was reminded by an email from friends in Alaska explaining they were having trouble with their French Bread recipe. Hopefully I gave them the info they needed to get it right. For me the the trick to French Bread is in the rising...three rises before going into the oven and lots of humidity during baking. Of course, the only real secret to perfect French Bread is in the flour. The best bakeries in the US (and probably elsewhere) import their flour from France. I've never seen the French flour in the stores so it's truly a specialty item. But making and baking it right gives a very close and most acceptable substitute.
There's a sudden abundance of bananas here and we're going to be going through a few recipes to be able to use them all. I like these:
1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup milk
3 bananas, mashed and sprinkled with 1 teaspoon
lemon juice to keep from discoloring
oil for deep frying
confectioners' sugar or cinnamon sugar for dusting
Measure, sift, and mix all dry ingredients. Whisk together the milk and egg; add to dry ingredients. Fold in the mashed bananas. Batter should have consistency to mound up in a spoon (add flour or milk as necessary to adjust). Heat deep fryer to about 375° or 1" of oil to a deep skillet and use a deep fryer thermometer to check temperature. Drop by spoonfuls in small batches. As fritters brown on one side, turn. Should take about 5 minutes total time. Drain on paper towels. Keep warm and just before serving sprinkle with cinnamon sugar or powdered sugar.