24 April 2010

Where have all the Hippies gone?

They're all hanging out together, down at Eeyore's Birthday Party!

No, it's not cool if you call it Frolf

My friend Paul and my two new friends Albert and Bird teeing off a couple times at the amazing frisbee golf course in South Austin.

22 April 2010

Swimming Rama

Thanks to a new friend in Tucson, I've been experimenting with variations on old recipes.  In this case, I wanted to make Swimming Rama for someone not eating peanuts.  I made this dish as a trial in Tucson, then documented it with my friend Mary in Abilene.

Swimming Rama is a delicious Thai dish of rice, spinach leaves, meat or tofu, and drowned in peanut sauce  (Thus "swimming").  It is a combination of light and fresh from the bed of spinach and rice, with the dense calories and flavors of the peanut sauce and protein.

However, since I wasn't using peanuts, I decided to go with almond butter instead.  If you haven't had it, almond butter has the same texture and nutty saltiness as peanut butter, but a lighter sweeter taste.  Buuut, it'll cost you an arm and a leg in the store, and we had time to kill, so I bought raw almonds and roasted them.

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If you've never roasted nuts before, welcome. I'm quite new to it myself. In this case all I did was put the almonds in a big skillet with a tablespoon of oil, and swirled them around with a spoon on medium high. They'll gradually turn golden brown, take them off before they crisp and burn. I set them to the side to cool off for a bit before throwing them in the food processor.

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This is what it looks like when they're chopped nice and fine. You'll want to add just a little bit of oil to smooth it into butter. You don't need very much at all, the almonds have their own oil that will come out and make the butter.

From 1 pound of almonds we yielded about 2 cups of almond butter, but we only need one for the swimming rama, so leftovers for AB&J sandwiches!

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With the sauce simmering in the skillet I breaded and fried tofu. The main trick I've learned in frying on the stove with a skillet is to turn up the heat once i put the food in the oil. Proper cooking in oil shouldn't leave the food soggy, but if the oil is too cold it can't cook fast enough.

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Once both the sauce and tofu are done, it's time to enjoy! It was a little spicy for Mary. :-) If in doubt about the crushed red pepper it can be added at the table to taste.

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10 April 2010

La Canchita

The hockey version of futbol, indoor games are really exciting to watch. There's less dribbling and passing, and more maneuvering and scoring.

08 April 2010

Tres Leches

If you've never had the opportunity to eat tres leches cake, seek it out at a pasteleria (cake bakery) wherever Mexicans congregate.  It's a traditional dessert for big celebrations like quinceaƱeras or weddings.  I have a strong preference for pie, but tres leches is a close second in the cake department.  It can be made in a number of different ways but it's generally very spongy, sometimes with a layer of strawberry jam and fruit in the middle, and then drenched in a combination of whole milk/cream, evaporated milk, and condensed milk, thus tres leches (three milks). 

My lovely host mother here in El Grullo runs a pasteleria, and bakes all of the cakes out of her house.  When I first arrived I was overwhelmed by the smell of cake, but I don't even notice it anymore.  One night was especially busy, as you can see by the mountain of cakes cooling on the table.

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03 April 2010

Let's go shopping!

First of all, let me apologize for referring to myself with the royal we.  I'd like to think that I was imagining you the viewer coming along with me...  Also, I totally understand the magic of a gyroscopic camera balance now, the shakiness just adds to the Mexican market chaos.