Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Guatemala

Ugh, losing everything you wrote is awesome.  Let's try this again...

Guatemala is a Central American nation slightly smaller than the size of Pennsylvania.  There are over 14.5 million people living there, and the capital city is Guatemala City.  Learn more on the CIA World Factbook.

I didn't have anything in mind when looking for a recipe to make for Guatemala.  When I saw Guatemalan Tacos (second on the page), however, I figured it was a match made in heaven.  We do Taco Tuesdays almost every week, but these were definitely different than the heavily seasoned meat + flour tortillas we were used to.  Plus there were ingredients I wasn't used to using.  Perfect!

This was also the first around the world cooking after the twins were born.  In fact, they were four months old by this time.  Wasn't going to get anything done before that.
Amelia left, Emily right
Around the time of this dinner
So anyway, back to cooking.  Boil some potatoes and cook some beef and onions.  So far, nothing new or exciting.  Except that my tacos don't usually have potatoes in them.
The tomatillos, garlic, jalapeno, and cilantro all get blended together, then the avocados.  The tomatillos are something I know about but have never really used at home.  This combination of stuff makes a kinda glowy-green glob.
 
The meat and potatoes mixture goes inside the corn tortillas, while the goo goes on top.  Tacos!

Brendan was on the all-dressing diet at the time.
These were disappointingly bland, at least for our taste.  The filling was meh.  Wrapping potatoes in a corn tortilla isn't exactly my idea of a good time.  And while the sauce had a kick from the jalapeno, it was kinda boring.  Spice but no flavor.  Not complex at all.

So that was our adventure with Guatemala.  It will not be going on our Taco Tuesday rotation, but it was more than edible.  I still like flour tortillas better, though.

Next time: Guinea

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Grenada

You know what?  I could write out a bunch of facts about Grenada for you, or I could just link to the source.  The CIA Factbook is full of info.  And it is doing stuff like this that gets me so far behind.  So instead, let me summarize.

Grenada is in the Caribbean.  It is small, like most islands.  Twice the size of DC, it was "discovered" by Columbus himself.  Oh, and we went there on our honeymoon cruise.

It was a Sunday and my brother's birthday, so we took a taxi to a Church and also found a restaurant with WiFi so we could send him a birthday message.  Grenada is known as the "Isle of Spice" because of all of the spices grown and sold there, so we decided to order some stuff at the restaurant.  Kevin wanted to try a "Cheeseburger in Paradise."
It was awful.

So instead we went and explored and looked for some spice shops and stands.  We know we must have been getting into local flair because people kept asking if we were lost.
Parliament building, destroyed by a hurricane.
Church, also destroyed.  They were trying to get the funds to restore it.

We eventually found spice shops and some more authentic food for Kevin.  Crab spiced and cooked back in its own shell.  He said it was delicious.
Goodbye, Grenada!






Anyway, Grenada = spices and good food.  So I knew that I wanted a recipe that would really bring that to the forefront.  Jerk chicken wings with plenty of spices? Score!

I actually started this the night before for once.  Yay for planning.  Not yay for separating the wing tips from the rest of the wings.

The rest of the prep was a lot less painful than cutting up the chicken.  Throw a bunch of stuff in a food processor and whirrrrrrr.

Pickled jalapenos!

And then there is the worst part of wings...taking all of the tips off.  So much chopping just to get rid of a little bit of bone and skin.  Does anyone know what happens if you leave them on?  Just waste some marinade?
Allowing this to marinate overnight helped the flavor and my stress level.  I used the extra time the next day to make some Coconut Rice, which is listed in the Mark Bittman cookbook as being "Caribbean" although it is also very popular in Southeast Asia.  There was a variation for Coconut Rice and Beans, which I took advantage of.  You cook the rice in coconut milk and then add some beans a little bit before it is done.  Ta-da!

The wings continued to be fairly easy and just needed to be cooked.  I'm not sure I followed the instructions correctly, but I tried.  Oiled rack over a foil-lined pan.  This seems right, right?

Grenada lived up to our memory of spices and smells and warmth.  The wings had a bit of a kick and plenty of flavor.  And other than having to chop off the wing tips, they weren't that difficult.  Maybe I should make my own wings more often?

The rice, however...not-so-much.  It was thick and just too much.  I don't think we ate any of the leftovers.

I'm going to try really hard to catch up here soon.  I promise.

Next time: Guatemala