Introduction, Los Molcajetes

First off, for easy reference, here's How to Cook Steak.

A molcajete and mano

The word molcajete is Spanish for the mortar and pestel, one of the most ancient cooking tools. They are used to grind foods into powders, mush, mixes, pastes, Etc. The list goes on and on; The food processor evolved from the molcajete. (The pestle that is used with the molcajete is called a mano, which means "hand", btw.) Another basic cooking tool is the recipe, so in this sense, the molcajetes referenced in the title echo the usefulness of the recipes contained on this site. And since the recipes included here are not ALL from the Southwest, we've got kind of a mixing bowl theme going here. I know, it's kind of a reach.

And anyway, truth be told I like the word molcajetes, so when it came time to refresh the website, I changed the name from Coyote's Kitchen to  Los Molcajetes. Simple as that.

This started out as a place where I simply kept my recipes. Easy to get to, but not much on design or looks; I had all the recipes stored as simple text files. Then I had the idea of putting my mom's recipes up here. I remember mom had a metal box filled with recipe cards, magazine clippings, and folded pieces of paper, all neatly categorized. So I threw a lot of time into design and revamping - "OMG! I'll do a Drupal site and put mom's recipes up! It will be a family heirloom and people will love it!"

I thought the recipe box was still in the family; I've since discovered that the box is nowhere to be found. My sister had collected some of mom's recipes, but the others are gone. The recipes that were available made it on to the site, but instead of hundreds, there were only a few. So, the site has reverted back to a place where I put recipes that interest me, and recipes that I've cooked and edited and made my own. Final cut: there are a few family recipes included, and they are duly noted. This is my own metal box full of recipes. 

The responsible party

I grew up on my dad's turkey ranch in the Antelope Valley on the Mojave Desert, north of Los Angeles. Mom was a great cook, and from early on I took an interest in cooking. She taught me a lot, not just about cooking, but shopping for and preparing food as well, but I think watching her cook turkeys for family gatherings was what really piqued my interest in cooking.

I got into watching the Frugal Gourmet on PBS in the early 1980's and watched the show regularly until 1995 or so. I still use a few of his recipes, and they make their appearance here with my changes and additions. Later on, during my first marriage, was when I really began to cook. Through trial and error, I would produce meals that either sang or fell flat. There were very few in-betweens, and initially more of the latter than the former. 

Over the ensuing years, I've continued to learn and explore in the kitchen. I enjoy cooking more than ever and find a certain spirituality and meditative quality about it. The bulk of these recipes represent about 25 years of collecting, cooking, wondering, attempting, succeeding, failing, and starting over. I hope you enjoy them and find some that interest you enough to make them your own.