Monthly Archives: October 2003

Focus on Brazil

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This week, I worked on my school’s Cultural Diversity Newsletter. The focus this month is on Brazil. I am including some excerpts from that newsletter here. Here are two recipes I found to publish:

FEIJOADA (Black beans and pork stew)

The slaves in the colonial Brazil created the feijoada. They started cooking the pork meats that farmland owners discarded such as the ears, tails, tongue, kidneys, and feet in a big pot with black beans. This dish became a traditional dish enjoyed all over the country. Since then, the dish has been augmented with pork sirloin and sausages that transform this famous entrée.

The following recipe is an easy-to-do version of feijoada made only with pork tenderloin and sausages. This recipe is preferred by busy people that don’t want to handle the salted pork ears, tails and feet found in the traditional version. It can be prepared with canned beans, or with beans made from scratch!

Ingredients:

1 lb of varied pork sausages (preferably smoked), sliced

1 lb of pork tenderloin, cubed

some slices of bacon

1 can of black beans (15.5 oz.)

2 tbsp. vegetable oil

salt, garlic, chopped onions and bay leaves (bay leaves give a special taste to feijoada)

Preparation:

1. Add black beans to a medium-sized pot with 2 tbsp. oil, salt, garlic, chopped onions, and about 6 bay leaves.

2. Cook for about 15 minutes on medium heat and then set aside.

3. In a separate pan, cook cubes of pork tenderloin and slices of bacon with salt and garlic.

4. Add all the sliced sausages and stir over medium heat until all the liquid cooks off.

5. Add the cooked meat to the pan with the black beans cook for 10 minutes to let the meat flavor soak into the black beans. You can add some pepper sauce (to your taste) at this point.

Hint: to make the feijoada creamy, liquefy 1/2 cup of black beans in the blender and add to the whole beans and meat.

Makes 6 servings.

Feijoada is a main dish frequently served with white rice, collard greens and seasoned manioc flour (farofa).

To follow the feijoada, Brazilians often serve orange segments as a dessert.

SALPICÃO SALAD (Shoestrings salad)

Salpicão is a popular salad in Brazil. You can use as a side dish for meats. Salpicão is great for parties, Brazilians fill pastry shells (barquettes) with it to make party snacks.

Ingredients:

1 lb chicken breast

4 thin slices of ham

½ cup drained green peas

1 cup heart of palms chopped

2 large raw carrots

3 cups canned shoestring potatoes

1 green apple

1 cup mayonnaise

Preparation:

1. Cook chicken breast with salt, then drain it and cut into ¼-inch cubes.

2. Coarsely grate raw carrots.

3. Cut ham slices into fine strips.

4. Peel apple, remove core and cut into ¼-inch cubes.

5. In a large bowl, combine the chicken, ham strips, drained peas, chopped hearts of palm, grated carrots and diced apple.

6. Mix all ingredients while adding the cup of mayonnaise.

7. Finally, stir in the shoestring potatoes.

Hint: To have a crispy salad, stir in the shoestring potatoes just before you will serve the salad.

Makes 6 servings.

Of course, all of this goes down better with Guarana or a caipirinha!

I also wrote about Brazilian restaurants in the Atlanta area. Here it is:

Brazilian cuisine is big in Atlanta!

While it is true that Marietta City Schools does not have a large number of Brazilian students, there is an important population moving to the Atlanta area. Brazilian food has many influences, including Italian and Western African cuisines.

The most popular new Brazilian restaurants in the area are called churrascarias. These restaurants are a meat-lover’s heaven on earth. There is usually a large salad bar, and waiters dressed in gaucho costume serve grilled meats from long swords or skewers. Generally, you pay one price, and eat all of the meat you want.

Try these restaurants for a fun dining experience: Fogo de Chão, Carro de Boi, Sal Grosso, Fire of Brazil, Sal e Brasa.

For a different taste of Brazil, head on over to Delk Road. Sabor do Brasil is a cafeteria-style café that serves dishes like Brazilian lasagna, salads composed of pasta or potatoes with mayonnaise, and other simple fare will please most people. Try a Guarana, the official soda of Brazil! Across the street is the Copacabana Grill, which serves both churrascaria and other Brazilian dishes, depending on the night’s specials.

Brazilian grocery stores in the area, such as Rosa Brasil, also have take-out specialties to sample. Take something home to try!

Carro de Boi – 8612 Roswell Rd. (770) 650-0039

Fogo de Chão – 3101 Piedmont Road (404) 266-9988

Sal e Brasa -1995 Windy Hill Rd SE (770) 333-0731

Copacabana Grill – 2555 Delk Road (770) 984-0057

Fire of Brazil -118 Perimeter Center West (770) 551-4367

Sabor do Brasil – 2800 Delk Road, Ste. E (770) 541-2625

Delicias do Brasil -1360 Powers Ferry Rd. (770) 984-1779

Pão & Companhia Bakery -2359 Windy Hill rd. SE # 340 (770) 690-9393

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My NaNoWriMo Novel

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Yes, I spent a LOT of time on Sunday evening, trying to make a cool looking template for this site! Oh, well! I was almost there!

I have managed to find two photo albums, and a bunch of letters from my year in Angers, as well as my journal and agenda. I suspect that there are other things floating around, but I think this will do. I was thinking last night of my “outline.” Here is what I have, so far:

I. The Decision to Go

II. The summer before I went (Escape Velocity)

III. September: Pre-Stage

IV. October: New roommate (also the RU – that is, restaurant universitaire!)

V. November: Toussaint and Thanksgiving

VI. December: London for Christmas, and visit from Mom and David

VII. January: Fete des Rois

VIII. February: Spain

IX. March: Les Giboulets de Mars, snowbound?

X. April: Trip to St. Raphael/Birmingham

XI. May: Jersey trip

XII. June: Leaving Angers

I know that we also visited families in a little town called LaFleche, not far from Angers, as well as Vetheuil and Paris. I just have to place those in the right months! I started out thinking that I would do one chapter per month, from September to May, with the summer before – that would have been 10 chapters: 1 per 3 days… But I found a lot of stuff I had written about the pre-screening and I think that it is important to have an Epilogue… I will work on the timeline today.

I also need to get my characters together – there are so many! There are the ones at home, at school, families visited and people encountered in travel… I think I am off to a good start!

I have told a few people at work what I will be doing. At least I haven’t forgotten about it, like I was afraid I would. Still, next week will be the real challenge!

Slow Cooking

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Last night, I visited Star Provisions with my mother and my aunt. While I was there, my mother pointed out that they had flageolets, which are small white or light green beans that are grown in France. I have has some memorable flageolet dishes in France, but was disappointed to find that the flageolets that I purchased through Williams-Sonoma turned out hard. Perhaps it was the fault of the recipe, which included the late addition of tomatoes. But, I think that I just had old or bad beans.

Last year, in the Cooking Light issue that prompted me to buy a slow cooker, there was a recipe that included flageolets. Unable to find them at the time, I used some unusual canary beans that I had found at the farmer’s market. It turned out fine, but I am looking forward to trying it with flageolets! I also purchased some home-made fennel sausage at Star Provisions, and think I will use that in the beans, instead of smoked turkey sausage…

I was lucky enough to find someone who published that recipe on their website, so I am saved the typing myself!

Tiny French Beans with Smoked Sausage

Lora Brody
Cooking Light March 2003

2 lb smoked turkey sausage, cut into 1 1/2″ pieces
1 Tb vegetable oil
1/3 c minced shallots
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 c dried flagolets or other dried white beans (about 1 lb)
2 c water
1/4 c minced fresh (or 1 Tb dried) thyme
1 tsp celery seeds
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 14.5 oz cans fat-free, low-sodium chicken broth

Heat a large, nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add Sausage and saute 5 min or
until browned. Remove from pan and place in slow cooker. Heat oil in the same
skillet over medium heat. Add shallots and garlic, cook 1 min, stirring
constantly.

Sort and wash beans. Add beans, shallot mixture, water, and remaining
ingredients to slow cooker. Cover and cook on HIGH 8 hours or until beans are
tender.

8 – 1  1/4 c servings

Per serving: Calories 397 (30% from fat); fat 13.1g (sat 3.7g, mono 4.3g, poly
3.7g); protein 29.7g, carb 41.4g; fiber 8.6g; chol. 75 mg; iron 5.2mg; sodium
1,105mg; calc 143 mg

NOTE: Find flagolets – tiny French kidney beans – in specialty food stores or
online at http://www.indianharvest.com For a nice presentation, garnish with thyme sprigs.  I think I will make them on Sunday!

Here is another recipe that I did try from that article. I still have a lot of tamarind paste left over!

Tamarind Sweet Potato Bisque

Lora Brody
Cooking Light March 2003

3 1/4 c peeled cubed (1 inch) sweet potatoes
3 c vegetable broth
1 c water
1/2 c chopped onion
1/2 c orange juice
2 Tb plum vinegar
2 Tb low sodium soy sauce
1 1/2 tsp minced, peeled fresh ginger
1 1/2 tsp dark sesame oil
1 tsp tamarind paste
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 fresh lemongrass stalk, halved lengthwise

Place all ingredients in slow cooker. Cover and cook on HIGH 5 hours. Discard lemongrass. Place half potato mixture in a blender, and process until smooth.
Pour the pureed potato mixture into a large bowl. Repeat with remaining potato
mixture.

5 – 1 c servings

Per serving: calories 133 (14% from fat); Fat 2.1g (sat .3g, mono .6g, poly .7g); protein 3g; carb 27.2g; fiber 3.1g; chol 0mg; iron .8mg, sodium 627mg; calc 27mg)

NOTE: The pods of the tamarind tree yield a sweet-sour pulp that flavors many Dutch, Indonesian, and East Indian dishes. You can find tamarind paste in specialty stores or online at http://www.spicesgalore1.com and http://www.quickspice.com A little goes a
long way, so measure carefully.

Here is one more that I tried – it was very good!

Guiness-Braised Beef Brisket

Lora Brody
Cooking Light March 2003

2 c water
1 c chopped onion
1 c chopped carrot
1 c chopped celery
1 c Guiness stout
2/3 c packed brown sugar
1/4 c tomato paste
1/4 c chopped fresh dill or 1 Tb dried
1 14.5 oz can low salt beef broth
6 black peppercorns
2 whole cloves
1 3 lb cured corned beef brisket, trimmed

Combine everything but the brisket in a large slow cooker, stirring until well blended. Top with beef. Cover and cook on HIGH 8 hours or until beef is tender.  Remove beef, cut diagonally across the grain into 1/4 inch slices. Discard broth mixture.

6 – 3 oz servings

Per serving: calories 226 (39% from fat); fat 9.7g (sat 3.2g, mono 4.7g, poly .4g); protein 17.9g; carb 15.2g; fiber .9g; chol 87mg; iron 2.2 mg; sodium 1,105mg; calc 28mg)

NOTES: Tender from gentle cooking, this entree is a classic preparation made without the visual pot watching. Serve it with grainy, coarse grained mustard. Use the leftovers in a classic Ruben sandwich, sliced with thousand island dressing, swiss cheese and sauerkraut on sourdough, rye or pumpernickel bread.

And, last, but not least, here is a recipe that was in the article that I haven’t tried yet!

Stewed Dried Plums in Marsala

Lora Brody
Cooking Light March 2003

1 orange
1 lemon
3 c pitted dried plums (about 1 lb)
2 c orange juice
1 c sweet marsala wine
1 cinnamon stick about 3 inches long
Yoghurt cream (see recipe below)

Carefully peel rinds from orange and lemon with a vegetable peeler, making sure to avoid the white pith. Discard fruit or use for other purpose. Place rinds, plums, juice, wine, and cinnamon in slow cooker. Cover and cook on LOW 4 hours or until plums are very tender. Discard rinds and cinnamon stick. Cover and chill overnight. Serve at room temp with Yoghurt Cream (below).

8 Servings, each comprised of 1/2 c plum mixture and 2 Tb yoghurt cream Each serving (with yoghurt): calories 272 (5% from fat); Fat 1.4g (sat .6g, mono .5g, poly .1g); protein 5.2g;carb 60.8g; fiber 4.7g; chol 3.5mg; iron 1.9mg; sodium 48mg; calc 151mg)

NOTE: Marsala is a deep, robust fortified wine from Sicily. It comes in both dry and sweet varieties. For the best flavor, marinate the dried plums overnight in the refrigerator, then let them come to room temp before serving.

Yoghurt Cream

1 16 oz carton plain low-fat yoghurt
1/3 c packed brown sugar

Place colander in a 2 qt glass measure or over a medium bowl. Line colander with
4 layers cheesecloth (Kim note – I do this for tzatziki using coffee filters when I don’t have cheesecloth), allowing cheesecloth to extend over outside edges. Spoon yoghurt into colander. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate 12 hours to drain. Spoon drained, thickened yoghurt into a bowl and discard drained out liquid. Stir in brown sugar. Cover and refrigerate.

Yield: 1 c (serving size = 2 Tb)

Yoghurt cream alone per serving: calories 58 (14% from fat); fat .9g (sat .6g, mono .2g); protein 3g; carb 9.8g; fiber 0g; chol 3mg; iron .2mg; sodium 42mg; calc 109mg)

NOTE: This is called yoghurt cheese when unsweetened

Songs from Angers

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Songs from Angers:

For Mark:  LET’S TALK DIRTY TO THE ANIMALS

A rooster says Good Morning
With a “Cock-a-doodle-doo” – Good Morning!
A horse’s neigh is just his way
Of saying “How are you”.
A lion growls “Hello”
And owls ask “Why” and “Where” and “Who”.
May I suggest you get undressed
And show them your wazoo – Oh,

The animals, the animals,
Let’s talk dirty to the animals
Fuck you, Mister Bunny
Eat Shit, Mister Bear.
If they don’t love it, they can shove it
Frankly, I don’t care – Oh,

The animals, the animals,
Let’s talk dirty to the animals
Up yours, Mister Hippo
Piss off, Mister Fox.
Go tell a chicken “Suck my dick” an’
Give him Chicken Pox – Oh,

The animals, the animals,
Let’s talk dirty to the animals
From birds in the treetops
To snakes in the grass – But,
Never tell an alligator “Bite my…” No!
Never tell an alligator “Bite my…” Yes!
Never tell an alligator “Bite my… snatch.

For Tina:  JAMBALAYA Jo Stafford 1952

Goodbye Joe, me gotta go, me oh my oh
Me gotta go pole the pirogue down the bayou
My Yvonne, the sweetest one, me oh my oh
Son of a gun we’ll have big fun on the bayou.

Jambalaya and a crawfish pie and fillet gumbo
‘Cause tonight I’m gonna see my ma cher amio
Pick guitar, fill fruit jar and be gay-o
Son of a gun we’ll have big fun on the bayou

Thibodaux, Fountaineaux, the place is buzzin’
Kinfolk come to see Yvonne by the dozen
Dress in style, they go hog wild, me oh my oh
Son of a gun we’ll have big fun on the bayou.

Settle down far from town, get my a pirogue
And I’ll catch all the fish in the bayou
Swap my mon to buy Yvonne what she need-o
Son of a gun we’ll have big fun on the bayou.

For Chris:Ghostbusters!

If there’s something strange
In your neighborhood,
Who you gonna call?
Ghostbusters!

If there’s something weird,
And it don’t look good,
Who you gonna call?
Ghostbusters!

I ain’t ‘fraid of no ghost!
I ain’t ‘fraid of no ghost!

If you’re seeing things
Running through your head,
Who can you call?
Ghostbusters!

An invisible man
Sleeping in your bed,
Aw, who you gonna call?
Ghostbusters!

I ain’t ‘fraid of no ghost!
I ain’t ‘fraid of no ghost!

Who you gonna call?
Ghostbusters!

If you’re all alone,
Pick up the phone,
And call…
Ghostbusters!

I ain’t ‘fraid of no ghost!
I hear it likes the girls.
I ain’t ‘fraid of no ghost!
Yeah! Yeah! Yeah! Yeah!

Who you gonna call?
Ghostbusters!

For Claire D:

Come to my door
meet me at midnight.
I can’t wait anymore and affer midnight
We must head for the town

Keep under cover till dawn with a bagful of wine.
The night is alive
look in the shadows
Because now is the time out in the shadows.
To be somebody else
complete transformation
From the someone we are in the day.
I hear a noise – there is something going on.
I hear a voice – there is something going on.
I see the boys – there is something going on.
And something is happening to me

yeah.
I love the night
I love the night

I love the element of danger and the ecstasy of flight.
I love the night
I love the night

I love to dance with a stranger and to feel her delight

And when the dancing is through
I kick off my shoes
And I listen to the beating of my heart.
After the fall
then came the hunger
In the hearts of us all
ooh
such a hunger
That begins after dark
hides in the heart
Like a wolf that is waiting inside.

I see a light – there is something going on

It’s getting bright – there is something going on.

I look outside – there is something going on
And someone is calling to me.

I love the night
I love the night

I love the element of danger and the ecstasy of flight.
I love the night
I love the’ night

I love to be with a stranger and to feel her delight.

And when the morning begins
I have to get in
Before sunlight can fall upon my face.
I love the night
I love the night

I love the element of danger and the ecstasy of flight

I love the night
I love the night
I love the night

For all of us:  Long is the Road by Jean Jacques Goldman

Au-delà de nos vents, passée notre frontière
Dans ces pays soleil de sable et de pierre
Là où malgré les croix et malgré les prières
Les dieux ont oublié ces maudites terres.

Dans sa pauvre valise, ses maigres affaires
Une histoire banale d’homme et de misère
Il tient dans sa chemise ses ultimes richesses
Ses deux bras courageux, sa rude jeunesse

Et tout contre sa peau comme un trésor inca
Son nom sur un visa pour les U.S.A.

But long is the road
Hard is the way
Heavy my load
But deep is my faith
Long is the road.

Sur des highways sixty one l’ombre d’un Zimmermann
Dix trains de losers pour un Rockfeller
Brûler sa peau pour être un Battling Joe
Quand chaque espoir se décline en dollars

Jusqu’aux bannières où les stars s’affichent
Sous les lumières tout est blanc, propre et riche
Du jeudi noir jusqu’aux bleus de John Ford.
Dans chaque histoire se cache un chercheur d’or.

I spoke to my best friend this evening, and she’s thinking of taking the plunge, too! Go check out her blog!

Prepare for NaNoWriMo

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How do I make sure that I:

Don’t run out of enthusiasm before Nov. 1? I know that it sounds silly, but my life is so wacky at times that something could come up before that – or I could be off on another great creative idea (that also won’t get finished…)

Don’t become daunted by the task ahead of me? I really enjoyed visiting the NaNoWriMo site and reading the suggestions of others. I am aiming for 1,700 words per day – that was the suggestion of another participant. That way, I would be ahead of the game: 30 x 1,700 = 51,000.

Don’t get distracted with other work while I am supposed to be writing? This year, I am head of the Cultural Diversity committee, for which I have published one newsletter, and need to publish one for this month. I will try and do that this week. I am also supposed to help a colleague with a video we are planning for the newcomers to our school who don’t speak English. That is also something that can be done before – maybe.

I am trying to make my lesson plans “teacher friendly” – easy planning, easy grading. Computer Lab on Fridays.

I went on the Internet to find some links to Angers – to remind me of what it looks like! I also made some mental notes about things that I did while I was there. One thing that really came back to me was my Walkman. I had lots of tapes made and would walk around town, listening to music from home. I definitely have a recollection of playing “All Right With the Boys” by Joan Jett, as I descended the stairs of the cathedral to walk home by the ramparts of the castle.

There are lots of music memories. I had the soundtrack to “The Big Chill” – my friend, Chris, said he never wanted to hear that again! I remember Chris DeBurgh’s “I Love the Night” – my British roommate would blast that and sing along. I think her boyfriend gave her the tape. Boy George, “99 Luftballoons” – and, of course, all sorts of French music. I hope I can find that tape!

I may change this template – I don’t see links along the side for quick reference. I might want to add links to relevant city websites. I also visited La Fleche, Vetheuil, Saumur, Paris, La Rochelle, St. Malo, the chateaux of the Loire, St. Rafael, La Foux d’Allos, Jersey, Birmingham, the Cotswolds, Bath, Barcelona, Madrid, and Toledo!

What makes a novel, anyway?

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Well, yesterday, when I told my husband about my participation in the NaNoWriMo 2003, he said a few things that sounded a little negative. When he heard that the goal was 50,000 words, he said, “That’s not a novel, that’s a novella!

He also asked how the word count would be done. Today, I went to the General FAQ’s, and read this:

Why 50,000 words? Isn’t that more of a novella?

Our experiences over the past three years show that 50,000 is a difficult but doable goal, even for people with full-time jobs. The length makes it a short novel. We don’t use the word “novella” because it doesn’t seem to impress people the way “novel” does.

I like that!

When I told him my topic, which is largely autobiographical, he said, “Well, that’s not fiction – that’s an autobiography!” So, I will quote again from the website:

How do you define “novel”? Does fan fiction count? What if I want to write interconnected short stories rather than a novel? What if my story is largely autobiographical, or is based on a real person? Can I still write it in November?

We define a novel as “a lengthy work of fiction.” Beyond that, we let you decide whether what you’re writing falls under the heading of “novel.” In short: If you believe you’re writing a novel, we believe you’re writing a novel, too.

I may work on changing the names of my characters, but I am basically going to set it up on the academic year. Actually, a little bit before. I already have a tentative title for my first chapter. It will be called “Escape Velocity.” Escape velocity, according to Julia Cameron, is basically The Test. For instance, you are about to marry Mr. Right, and Mr. Poison hears about it and calls you up. “The whole trick is to evade the Test. We all draw to us the one test that’s our total nemesis.”

When I made the decision to study abroad, all sorts of things happened. I broke up with my long-time boyfriend, but was still sort of seeing him, but I was also dating a guy from work. Just before I left, the guy I really liked from work finally showed interest. The truth is that I spent a lot of my first glorious year in France wishing I was at home.

The same is true with this project here. I don’t really know if I’m going to do it. Two weeks is a long time away, and I often move on to other ideas after two weeks! Also, I am not sure of whom to tell: I told my Mom, and she has been very supportive and enthusiastic about the idea. As Julia Cameron also says, when talking about escape velocity, “In order to achieve escape velocity, we must learn to keep our own counsel, to move silently among doubters, to voice our plans only among our allies, and to name our allies accurately.”

Good advice! If you don’t know about The Artist’s Way and Julia Cameron, read up! Also influential in my recent interest is Stephen King. His book, On Writing, was very helpful!

Intro to Blogger

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Welcome to my FOURTH blog on the Internet!!! I just saved all of the entries from my first blog ever on Diary-X, and currently keep a blog at Diaryland, with a recipe blog here at Blogger – there’s a link from my journal mentioned above.

I was websurfing, looking at journals, yesterday, when I came across the icon for National Novel Writing Month – or NaNoWriMo. I was (am) intrigued. Here is the explanation, in case you are too lazy to go there:

What: Writing one 50,000-word novel from scratch in a month’s time.

Who: You! We can’t do this unless we have some other people trying it as well. Let’s write laughably awful yet lengthy prose together.

Why: The reasons are endless! To actively participate in one of our era’s most enchanting art forms! To write without having to obsess over quality. To be able to make obscure references to passages from your novel at parties. To be able to mock real novelists who dawdle on and on, taking far longer than 30 days to produce their work.

When: Sign ups begin around October 1, 2003. Writing begins November 1. To be added to the official list of winners, the 50,000-word mark must be reached by November 30 at midnight. Once your novel has been verified by our web-based team of robotic word counters, the partying begins.

Sounds pretty scary! I spend a lot of time on the internet, maintaining the blogs I have already, but will have to neglect those for a while in order to do this. I have two weeks to prepare! There’s a great Tips and Strategies link, so I have some ideas for how to prepare:

1. Dig out all of my souvenirs from that year. It’s a lot, too. I think that there is a journal, letters from home, letters to my grandparents that I recuperated after their death, pictures, a scrapbook? It’s all somewhere!

2. I may still have the tattered little cassette that I made from the 45’s I brought back. I have to check. If not, I may attempt to find some of those songs online… There are American hits, too – a friend used to send me tapes of the top 40 that she got from the radio. Oh, and Chris de Burgh – my roommate’s fave!

3. I have one friend left that I am in touch with from that time. He lives in Japan. I will be writing about him, so I don’t know if I will tell him about it or not… On the other hand, he might tweak my memory about stuff.

4. I don’t want to “overplan” but I could make a character web, to remind myself of everyone in France and at home. I also may make a timeline of events, so that I don’t forget any of the places we visited.

5. I plan on breaking this down into pieces. I was there for 10 months, so 3 days per month seems reasonable. Of course, some things will need more time than others.

If you plan on following my progress on this, please pray for me to be consistent and to follow through. I am notorious for losing interest halfway through a project. I don’t know how this will go!

Much fun with the crockpot!

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Much fun with the crockpot! I have a Rival 6 Quart Smart Pot – in white, and I hadn’t used it in a while. I took it down last week, and my husband is now saying that I can’t cook anything new for a while… It is true that the 6 quart does make a lot of food! That’s what the freezer is for!

I had originally wanted to make some sort of Indian curry with lamb. I have all sorts of spice packets that I have collected at foreign markets (here in Atlanta!) and haven’t used them lately – except for my Indonesian gizzard adventure (not my best effort!

I made a stew with vegetables and chickpeas with spice packets from Parampara. The only mistake I made was not to have everything start at the same level of cookedness. I took red bell peppers, onions, potatoes, carrots, cauliflower, peas, and broccoli. I added a can of chick peas. What I’m talking about as far as cookedness is concerned, is that the bell peppers, onions, and potatoes were not cooked. The other ingredients were. I also mixed two spice packets – something I am sure that the Indian makers of the spice mixes would raise their eyebrows at! – Pav Bhaji and I think, Veg Jaipuri. After all, I had a lot of veggies, and I didn’t think one packet would do it. After starting out on the stove, I ran out of patience and moved the mess to the slow cooker. I think it cooked in about 3-4 hours, but the frozen veggies were a bit soft! I also thickened the sauce with a couple of Tbsp. of corn starch.

Then, I had a hankering for – you guessed it – BEEF TONGUE! I got a nice 3 pound tongue, and cooked it for my new recipe:

Burritos de Lengua in Salsa Verde

Stage One – Preparing the beef tongue.

3 1/2 pounds beef tongue

2 quarts water

20 whole coriander

5 crushed garlic cloves

1/3 cup cilantro, chopped

20 whole black peppercorns

1 tsp. cumin

a pinch of salt

4 bay leaves

Combine all ingredients in slow-cooking pot. Cover and cook on low for 8 to 10 hours or until tender. Remove from pot; drain. Cool slightly; remove skin with sharp knife.

Stage Two – Stewing the beef in Salsa Verde

1 Tbsp. olive oil

2 medium-sized sweet white onions, chopped

1 – 15 oz. jar of Dona Maria Nopalitos

1 cooked beef tongue, chopped in 1/2 inch cubes (approximately)

1 – 7 oz. can of Herdez Salsa Verde

1 – 10 oz. can of Green Enchilada Sauce

1 cup chopped cilantro

2 cloves garlic, chopped or 2 tsp. dried garlic

Sautee onions in olive oil on high until soft, then add the nopalitos. Then, add the chopped beef tongue. Stir fry for a couple of minutes, then turn the heat to medium-high. Add the salsa verde and the enchilada sauce and stir to evenly coat tongue and onions. Add cilantro and garlic and stir again. Cook until heated through, then simmer on low heat for 5 minutes.

That’s all I’ve done so far. I stored the tongue in the fridge, for consumption tomorrow. I patterned this recipe after my favorite tongue burritos at El Taco Veloz. They usually prepare them with chopped cilantro, raw white onions and a spicy green sauce. I thought that I would tame it a bit. Tomorrow, I will probably serve it in a burrito wrapper, with some chihuahua cheese. After heating, I will put some sour cream and chopped cilantro on top. Lime might be a good addition. Should be good.

I also made a bread pudding in my slow cooker. It’s a recipe from another Lora Brody cookbook I have called Plugged In. To save typing, I was able to find the recipe on the internet:

RUM-CROISSANT BREAD PUDDING

2 Tablespoons Butter

2 cups whole milk

2 cups heavy cream

4 large eggs

1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar

1/3 cup dark or light rum

1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1/2 cup pecan halves

5 large stale croissants cut into thirds — horizontally

Grease the cookery insert of a slow cooker generously with the butter. Combine the milk, cream, eggs, sugar, rum, vanilla and pecans in a large bowl and stir well to combine. Divide the croissant slices evenly into four piles. Place one pile in an overlapping fashion in the bottom of the slow cooker. Pour in one third of the milk mixture. Add another layer of croissants, then another third of the liquid. Repeat one more time, finishing with a layer of croissants. Cover, set on high, and cook for 1 hour, then reduce the heat to low and cook until the custard is set and an instant read thermometer inserted in the center registers 190 degrees F. Serve hot or at room temperature.

I used almonds instead of pecans, 4 cups of half and half instead of 2 cups whole milk and 2 cups heavy cream, and kirsch instead of rum. I made a sauce of canned cherries, frozen peaches, 1/4 cup brown sugar, 1/3 cup kirsch, and 1 Tbsp. corn starch, heated on the stove. It was pretty good – we’ll see if it has more flavor the second day.

More Burrito Fillings – I really enjoyed the burri…

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More Burrito Fillings – I really enjoyed the burritos I made a couple of weeks ago, and am thinking of making more! I did a little web search for filling ideas, and here are some to try:

From 360 Degrees Signature Burritos:

Cajun Chicken Burrito РFlame broiled breast of chicken saut̩ed with red onion, bell peppers, and Cajun sauce wrapped with Spanish rice, black beans, fresh salsa, romaine lettuce in your choice of tortilla.

Chicken & Artichoke РFlame broiled marinated breast of chicken saut̩ed with artichoke heart, red onions, bell pepper and wrapped with Spanish rice, black beans, fresh salsa, romaine lettuce in your choice of tortilla.

Thai Chicken РFlame broiled marinated breast of chicken saut̩ed with bell peppers, red onions, sprouts, carrots, and Thai peanut sauce, wrapped with jasmine rice, fresh salsa, romaine lettuce in your choice of tortilla.

Curry Chicken РFlame broiled breast of chicken saut̩ed with raisins, red onions, bell pepper, carrots, and curry sauce wrapped with jasmine rice, fresh salsa, romaine lettuce in your choice of tortilla.

Roasted Leg of Lamb – Roasted with garlic & rosemary wrapped with Spanish rice, black beans, fresh salsa, romaine lettuce in your choice of tortilla.

Blacken Filet Of Fish РFillet of Snapper blackened saut̩ed with bell pepper, red onion, and lemon garlic sauce wrapped with Spanish rice, black beans, fresh salsa, romaine lettuce in your choice of tortilla.

Prawns, Scallops & Salmon РPrawns, Scallops, ans Salmon saut̩ed with red onion, bell peppers and lemon garlic sauce wrapped with Spanish rice, black beans, fresh salsa, romaine lettuce in your choice of tortilla.

Mixed Vegetables and Goat Cheese РSpanish rice, black beans, goat cheese, saut̩ed vegetables in herbs and spices (zucchini, yellow squash, chayote, bell peppers, eggplants, tomatoes, onions), fresh salsa, romaine lettuce wrapped in your choice of tortilla.

I also have ideas about meats such as lengua (tongue!), chorizo (Mexican sausage) and picadillo (spicy ground beef or pork). Ideas for veggie stuffings have included a Thai or Indian theme. I was really happy to see the suggestions for veggie fillings above, but would possibly add nopales (cactus paddles) and corn. I would have to go easy on the squash, as my husband is not a fan of squash. Mediterranean and Indian burritos could include chick peas or hummus, and there are many legumes to choose from. I don’t think I will do tofu, as I plan on freezing the burritos. I also do not plan on putting tomatoes, fresh salsa, sour cream, guacamole, or lettuce in for the same reason. I have no problem heating up my burrito and piling things on top!

I really prefer the idea of taking meats and/or veggies and cooking them in ethnic sauces, like the mole poblano sauce I used in my last burrito adventure (see Sept. 23 entry). I also will experiment with a variety of flavored wraps, although plain white flour tortillas are very nice. Mission Foods makes three flavors right now: Zesty Garlic Herb, Sundried Tomato Basil, and Garden Spinach Herb. I think that our local Publix carries a different brand.

And finally, I just found a site on How to Wrap a Burrito. Just to be all encompassing! Have fun! I’ll share recipes as I come up with them!