Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Bolivia

Name: Named after Simon Bolivar
Location: Central South America, southwest of Brazil
Area: Over 1,000,000 sq km, 28th in the world
         Slightly less than three times the size of Montana (what a horrible comparison...)
Coast: One of only two landlocked countries in South America (thanks, Social Studies!)
Population: Over 10 million, 83rd in the world
Capital: La Paz, highest capital in the world
Religion: 95% Roman Catholic
Conventional Long Form of Name: Plurinational State of Bolivia
Diplomacy: In 2008, both the US and Bolivia expelled the ambassador to the other country.  These positions remain vacant.
Airports: 881, 8th in the world
Drugs: World's third-largest cultivator of coca; 3rd largest producer of cocaine
Source: CIA World Factbook

From the beginning, Bolivia was a country I was looking forward to.  And no, not because of a Jeopardy question this time.  Now, we're back to grade school and a certain Marianna.

The first time I remember meeting Marianna, we were riding the bus together to first grade.  And, somehow, we knocked foreheads.  So that became what we did from then on.  Knocked foreheads.  On the bus.  We were really smart.

This ended up developing into friendship (it's the next logical step).  Sledding in her backyard, and falling into the 5 foot hole her brother dug.  Calling her every day over the summer to jump on her trampoline.  We had some good times.

Marianna's dad is from Bolivia, and she has visited many times.  Because of this, it was a country I paid attention to from a young age.  How else would I remember the two land-locked South American countries?

So I went to her for recipes.  Something authentic and delicious.  I have to say, it was quite an amusing experience.

She said that I should look for Saice and gave this site as an example.  Her father makes it with fried rice, though, and her mother had the Spanish recipe, so there was still more to wait for.

Her sister translated what her mother had, and this is what I got:
Prepare a drowning of a dish of onions with red pepper, to taste, then cook the
peas separately drowned or tender.
Shortly before serving time, put the meat to boiling drowned, move with a spoon until it separates the meat, put one quarter teaspoon of oregano and serve before it dries with white potatoes and dehydrated with scrambled egg shaped and above meat sauce, chopped onion pen.
Awesome.  I love chopped onion pens and dehydrated.  She also included this, what I believe is her interpretation through multiple versions.
Ingredients for SAICE Tarija:
1 kilo of meat
3 medium onions
red pepper 1 / 2 cup
1 kilo of potatoes
2 garlic cloves
a cup pea
2 cups beef broth
Measurement converter (weights, volumes, temperatures ...)
About Saico Tarija recipe:
How do Saico Tarija step by step:
• Stir-Fry the onion and garlic, then add the red pepper cooked with a splash of
oil.
• Add meat and cook for a period of 5 minutes. Add all other vegetables and
simmer for 10 minutes more, add the beef broth before serving served with white
rice. 
My coworker suggested that I asked our designer from Mexico if she could come up with anything else from the Spanish.  Maybe she knew the nuances of cooking language?  Here is the original text:
Muela en los tres dientes de la máquina o el fregadero de pasta una cantidad suficiente para la familia.
Preparar un ahogamiento de un plato de cebolla con pimiento rojo, al gusto, luego cocinar los guisantes ahogados por separado o de licitación.
Poco antes de la hora de servir, poner la carne a hervir se ahogó, mover con una cuchara hasta que se separe la carne, poner un cuarto de cucharadita de orégano y servir antes de que se seca con papas blancas y deshidratados, huevos revueltos con salsa de carne en forma de y sobre, pluma de cebolla picada.
I was told that it really didn't make any sense.  It sounds like they took notes to help them remember, but didn't actually write out all of the steps.  So that path wasn't going to work.

I was able to get the fried rice recipe through Marianna from her dad, though, who is currently in Brazil.
Fry the rice using vegetable oil one cup with two spoons of oil. Once the rice looks brown it is done boil it two cups of water with one can of diced tomatoes.  Add garlic one teaspoon and a bit of salt
She doesn't remember it ever having tomatoes, but that is what I got.  I went with that and Melissa's interpretation, so now I was ready(ish) to cook!

It didn't specify what type of beef to get, so I just guessed.  I also wasn't sure whether the red pepper was a sweet pepper or spicy, but I went with sweet.  The directions slightly confused me as to whether I should cook the peppers or not first.  Raw is easier.  I didn't peel the potatoes.  Sometimes, I am a rebel.
It's what's for dinner.
Not-so-great lighting!
Frying the rice was definitely interesting.  And no, it is not Chinese-style fried rice.  This you do while it is still uncooked.  I have some progression pictures to document the journey.
Beginning.  The Alpha.


The Omega.  Turning them often was key.
I did add the tomatoes, despite Marianna's trepidation.
We were having people over for Easter the next day, which meant two things.  (1) Cleaning.  (2) Trying Kevin's first batch of home brew before we had other people eat it.
The cats helped with laundry.
Pouring the first glass.
Awww, doesn't he look all proud?
This looks super un-comfy to me, but she liked to survey our cleaning from here.
There's more room for leftovers back here!  AKA i can haz bacin?
 With everything stri-fried, I added the beef...then the potatoes...then the broth.  It got a little crowded in the pot.

Over the top.  Literally.
Mixing it together was difficult in this size pot.  I felt like the same pieces were always sitting on top.  I also had to cook it for much longer than the directions said in order to get the meat fully cooked and the potatoes a little mushy.  It took some finagling to make sure it was even, but it really wasn't took hard overall.

I don't know how to rotate this one it is in here...oops.
It was delicious.  It was very similar to a beef stew, which made me feel like I did something wrong.  Is that what it is supposed to be like?  That's not how the picture looks...  The beef was tender.  Kevin really liked the rice a lot.  The only thing I did after the fact was add a little salt.  Both Kevin and I brought some of the leftovers for lunch yesterday.  In fact, I think my only complaint is that it made a ridiculous amount of food and that combined with Easter ham has pretty much filled my fridge.  There are worse things.

Marianna and family, feel free to let me know what I did wrong or how it could be more authentic.  I already recommend people try this, and if it could get any better then I say go for it.

I also enjoy that this is helping tie some things together for me.  Argentina also used beef, because it is a major product in South America.  Not only do I get to try new foods, but I can see how things relate.

And that concludes my first recipe debut.  :-)

Next time: Bosnia and Herzegovina

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