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Cooking at an Organic Farm in the Baja

April 5, 2013
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My brother Torin, the chef, taking over Enrique’s outdoor kitchen. The tomatoes are roasted in the wood fire oven with garlic and herb oil, coarse salt and pepper, then blended into a thick, creamy soup. Enrique roasts black pepper corns in the oven for 20 minutes before grinding them – they really add a smoky flavor to the soup.

As a birthday present to myself, I dragged my less than enthusiastic family to Huerta Los Tamarindos yesterday for a day of cooking. Los Tamarindos is an  organic farm, restaurant and cooking school in San Jose Del Cabo, Mexico.  We spent the day on the farm touring the fields, learning about organic farming and cooking a Mexican meal with produce picked fresh that morning. I thought it was pretty special.

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17 lovely acres of organic produce at Huerta Los Tamarindos – herbs, vegetables, chiles. The farm is a mile from the Sea of Cortez, and down a long dirt road with old looking long horned cattle grazing lazily nearby.

Los Tamarindos is run by couple Enrique and Lulu, who’ve lived and worked on the farm for over a dozen years.  Last year they were featured on the Rick Bayless cooking show on PBS, Mexico- One Plate at a Time.

Tamarindo seed

A “tamarindo” is a seed with a sweet, sticky pulp used in desserts and other recipes; the trees were laden with them at the farm. They remind me of dates.

Enrique spent the day with our group of  18, starting off the morning lecturing about the farm and how the crops are grown, fertilized and sprayed frequently with all natural  pesticides such as pepper oil.  For the number of people who spend the day tending the garden, there was a surprising amount of weeds.

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The beginning of Dulce De Calabaza – chunks of squash cooked in water with fennel seed and raw sugar.

We spent the next few hours chopping garlic and herbs, slicing vegetables, and watching Enrique cook the meal in the outdoor kitchen. I could tell by their  expressions that the kids were thrilled to be put to work.  I discovered that my husband has a hidden talent for chopping; it will be put to good use from now on.

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The boys, excited to be cooking instead of lying by the pool.

The weather was perfect, as is usual here in Los Cabos, and the food was flavored with subtle Mexican spices;  when we finally sat down to eat 5 hours after arriving, we gobbled it right up.  Our menu was simple:

  • Roasted Cherry Tomato Soup
  • Green Salad with Candy Cane Beets
  • Roasted Vegetables (zucchini, eggplant, carrots, tomatoes)
  • Rice and Chicken Mole
  • Dulce De Calabaza

I’ll post the recipes for the chicken and dessert next week. The chicken is actually very similar to Chicken Paprikash.

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Fresh mole poblano, ready to be made into sauce for the chicken. I know, it looks like a large organ from a cow, but it’s really vegetarian.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Joanne Halls permalink
    April 5, 2013 8:01 pm

    Sounds like you’re having a terrific vacation and a wonderful Birthday. Hi to all. Joanne

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