I was sitting there, minding my own business, and quite suddenly and unexpectedly, I had a craving for preparing and consuming one of my favorite peasant stews.
Often finding all the ingredients isn’t easy, but I knew the markets in Highland Park wouldn’t let me down.
This stew required two, maybe three kinds of meat and a certain corn product. I also like onions and garlic. As for Mrs. O’Roscoe and the only little O'Roscoe still at home, salsas and cilantro and lemon are a must with their bowl of stew.
My first stop was . I’d seen most of the things I need there in the past. Alas, none of the meats I needed were in stock that day, but they did have a purple variety of hominy that I’d never tried before.
My next stop was , at 6600 N. Figueroa Street. Again, no luck with the meats. But they had a good selection of other meats, and a large produce section. They also have a very good selection of Latin American products and just plain groceries. Also in stock are my favorite brand of tortilla, El Dorado. These tortilla feature no preservatives or artificial texturizers. Both of those ingredients, I think, give a funny taste, and an unnatural texture. These tortillas only contain water, corn, and lime.
I figured that might have what I was looking for, but on the way I saw
Market, at 5941 York Blvd, a Salvadorian food and dry goods market. They had a good looking meat department, but not the meats I was looking for. But they did have all kinds of spices and products from El Salvador that will surely inspire a return trip some time soon.
Then I wandered over to , at the corner of Ave 56 and York. The first thing I saw was a pile of 40 lb bags of mesquite charcoal. Now, you brothers and sisters of the broiler should know that mesquite is a wonderful way of cooking outside.
Then, just inside the door, I saw a display of cherimoya! A friend tells me that they are called custard apples in Australia. Mark Twain called them, "The most delicious fruit known to men." Cherimoya offer one of the most amazing tastes and textures you will find in any food. Pick one up and see. I like to let them get very ripe and let the skin get dark, but not black. When the inside feels and tastes of custard,that tastes just right to me. Remember, don’t eat the seeds.
While Guerrero Market is on the small side, they have a wonderful produce section, all kinks of greens and veggies and lots of fruit including multiple kinds of papaya and mangos.
They have Diana Tortillas, another brand that offers simple and natural tortilla goodness.
Their meat case is smaller than my other stops, but has lots of good cuts and a variety of meats. They had a case of chicharron con carne, some call them pork cracklins or fried port belly, which is one of those foods that deeply satisfy and then overwhelm the senses. I love it.
And then, finally, there were the meats I was looking for. A couple pounds of this and a beef trotter, a couple of pounds of chicharron, a couple of cherimoyas and off to home I went for a glorious afternoon of cooking and munching.
The meal was wonderful, the hominy was purple and firm, and the leftovers the next day were exquisite.
E-mail me and I’ll send you the recipe.
Who are your favorite tamale vendors? Bakeries? Menudo purveyors?
Leave a comment below. Or, email me and you’ll find it here in the future.
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