Friday, May 22, 2009

Flor de Izote, Take Two

We caught another Flor de Izote at the prime time for eating, and the ripening of the flower perfectly coincided with the appearance of a Barton Creek Mennonite in a 2-horse wagon appearing in our driveway selling dairy products. So, I ran with my original idea of making something like Fettucini Alfredo, Belizean style. I sautéed the flowers with garlic, salt, and pepper, cooked up some linguine – the Belizean pasta company I like makes linguine, but I haven’t found fettucini – and used all local products to make the sauce. The result was delicious, but I wouldn’t try to pass it off as Alfredo sauce, since the local dairy products, which are completely unprocessed, are all a little stronger than the ultrapasteurized products we were used to in the US. The cow butter is not sweet cream butter and tastes a little like it’s already been mixed with parmesan cheese. The cream, which is super thick, also has a bit of a cheesy taste; I definitely wouldn’t use it to whip for a dessert although it’s perfect for a pasta sauce. And while real parmesan cheese is sometimes available but rare and expensive, the Mennonites in Spanish Lookout make a hard cheese coated in red wax which is a very acceptable substitute. The result was an “only in Belize” dish that Tom and I thoroughly enjoyed, although my stomach, accustomed to a much lower fat diet, had a few complaints after I went to bed that night – but all was well in the morning and we’re wondering if any more of the Flor de Izotes will bloom.

And, by the way, the Mennonite delivering the dairy products said he would stop by every Saturday morning. In addition to the fresh cream, he was selling blocks of cheese, which we also tried and really enjoyed. It’s not like cheddar or any of the well aged cheeses, but more like what we used to call “squeaky cheese” curds all pressed together with a mild flavor. It doesn’t melt and get gooey, but it will cook into things, and it’s tasty just to slice and eat. He never stopped before because he said most gringos don’t like their products, although we don’t know if that’s because they don’t like them or if they’re nervous about eating dairy products which are probably made of unpasteurized milk, and which aren’t refrigerated prior to being loaded into the non-refrigerated horse wagon for delivery. It’s a little weird to buy a baggie of very thick cream out of a 5-gallon bucket off a horse-drawn wagon, but the products are very tasty and Tom and I stayed healthy while eating them this week.

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