Friday, January 2, 2009

Just a random food post...

So, there are quite a few fruits and vegetables floating around here in Mexico (okay, not literally) that I'm not familiar with. One day I noticed an odd-shaped fruit located in the same pile as the normal watermelons at Walmart (not where I usually do my product shopping...because it is so much cheaper at the markets!). Instead of being an oblong watermelon, this melon was basketball shaped. I! A small watermelon! Jared, Ella & Maiya aren't big fans of fresh fruit, so I thought I'd have a better chance at eating a smaller watermelon all by myself. Imagine my surprise when I cut it open and found this:
Not quite as yummy as the red kind, but fairly comparable. I could only make it through about 1/4, and took the rest to the church party. According to Wikipedia, there are just about a billion varities of watermelon. Who knew?

For Jared's birthday the other day, we went to a Chinese buffet down the cobblestone street from us. We got a full buffet for $60 pesos each, about $4.50 USD. Wohoo! That even included several meat and shrimp dishes, for those of you who love that (YUCK!).

I was fairly surprised by some of the items in the buffet. For example, they had breaded and fried onions, mushrooms, and bananas (separate, of course)! They also had cooked onions soaked with jalepenos (yummy, but HOT!), and both of their choices of rice looked like Mexican rice to me (no steamed or fried rice). So, they really should call the place a Mexican Chinese Buffet, but I guess that's what's to be expected down here!
A few weeks ago I drove to Jocotepec (about 20 minutes away) with my friend, Michelle. She took me on a raspberry run to get a bucketful of berries to make fresh jam. I got a bucket full for $40 pesos ($3 USD). It was enough to fill 2 loaf bakers and a plate (I froze them, and am hoping to get some Pectin to make jam when I'm in the states next week)! These same berries are directly imported to the US (the company will remain unnamed...since they're not supposed to sell them to people like me), and cost $4-$5 for a tiny little plastic container. I got a WHOLE BUCKET for $3.00 !!! Okay, now I'm bragging again...
AND...I finally made my own bread for the first time in my life. My sister gave me a wonderful, easy recipe, and I managed to find some yeast, at long last. I made another 3 loaves today...and I didn't botch a single one!! A culinary FEAT!!! YUMMY!!
And as I was making some apple crisp this afternoon, I decided I didn't have any cinnamon (of course, I later learned it was just another moment of madness...because I did, in fact, have cinnamon). So, I sent Jared down to the tienda/store on the corner with a sheet of paper that said "Canela" (cinnamon). He came back with a stick that looked just like this:
I thought...what the heck do I do with that? So...we did our best. Jared tried to grind the bark-like material into the smallest bits that he could. And then I mixed it in, chunks and all. And you wouldn't was INCREDIBLE! Wow, REAL cinnamon (which is what the Mexicans insist on using) is AMAZING!! Life altering, in fact ;-)

And that's the end of my randomness tonight...

Happy New Year!


Lisa said...

Wow! the bread looks delicious! And I bet it's especially good smothered in your homemade jam...

Happy New Year!

Joni said...

You guys have been BUSY! I love all the stories and the pictures of your adventures. The gingerbread costumes were adorable!

Is that Lea's Famous Easy Bread Recipe you used? We LOVE it! Now that you have plenty of cinnamon you can use it to make cinnamon rolls plus, pizza crust, french bread and SCONES!

Have you seen this page on cinnamon?

I just did a google search for cinnamon sticks because I am a nerd and love doing research and learning new things! Anyway, it mentions making a fragrant pilaf using rice, cinnamon, dried fruit and nuts. I found what I was looking for as well, what to grind the sticks with!

Maybe while you are in the U.S. you can find the Pectin for the jam and a good coffee grinder for the cinnamon sticks.

Okay, off to do more reading! :)

Joni said...

I forgot to add that if you do get a grinder it can also be used for grinding dried chili peppers! Todd does that with peppers he has grown and really likes the fresh flavor.