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What do you eat?

On the forum that I frequent, Yolisto, someone asked about what people ate. Whether we (the expats) had found that our cooking and eating had changed by living here. I started this big long post in response but as I wrote it I realized that I was probably NOT the sort of person who he was targeting.However I  do have some thoughts on the subject.People who move to a foreign country generally keep to their native style of cooking. Which is why when I go NOB I can go out and easily eat Vietnamese, Indian, Italian,Chinese, Japanese, Texas Barbeque, and French food. For Cuban food, I can go eat at my mother’s house. That is the point. You might start introducing foreign foods into your diet, if you are adventurous, but generally you stick with what you know. I’m very fortunate in that my mother is a very curious and intelligent woman, when she would encounter a new vegetable in ...

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Panaeng Neua (Thai Beef Balls in Peanut Sauce)

This recipe is from The Original Thai Coobook by Jennifer Brennan. 1 pound medium lean ground beef I just used carne molida de res 1/2 cup all purpose flour 2 tablespoons vegetable oil  I used coconut oil 4 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped 2 tablespoons red curry paste (Krung Gaeng Ped)  I bought it at Pacsadeli but I have a recipe if you need one 1 cup thick coconut milk coconut milk made from the first press NOT coconut cream 2 tablespoons chunky peanut butter or ground peanuts I used ground peanuts  1 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar I used one pack of granulated Stevia 2 tablespoons fish sauce I bought it at Pacsadeli  1 teaspoon fresh mint or sweet basil leaves chopped I used fresh mint, I recommend it. Unless you have Thai basil.  Shape the beef into small firm balls about 1″ in diameter. Press and roll the balls in the flour, dusting off the excess. Heat the oil in ...

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Look what turned up!

My very first homegrown turnip ever! I have never grown turnips, we rarely ate them growing up. I remember going to the grocery store with my mom as a kid. Whenever she came across an exotic new vegetable she would turn and ask a fellow shopper how to cook it, if no one was around to tell her, she’d buy it anyway. That’s how turnips made it into our diet. None of us were real enthused about them boiled and mashed.Looking them up in her cookbook she found out that they were good raw in salads like radishes. In those days it was hard to find  plantains, yucca and jicama in the supermarket and she has always been willing to try new things. I think of her when I am grocery shopping and encounter a new fruit or vegetable. The tops are going in a stir fry and the turnip itself is getting chopped up with a couple of tiny ...

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Bogracs Gulyás

 Soup by Coralie Castle is a cookbook that I have had for over almost 40 years.Browsing through it, in the chapter titled “Other Ports of Call” was this recipe for Bograc Gulyás. A Hungarian soup. It has caraway seed, who puts caraway seed in soup? Apparently, the Magyars do and now, so do I. As usual, I changed the original recipe a little bit since I didn’t have some of the ingredients on hand. I had a large New York cut steak so I used it for the beef. You can substitute something more economical of course. The original recipe also called for bacon and bacon fat, but I used olive oil because I didn’t want to go to the store for just 4 strips of bacon. I didn’t miss the bacon at all. I added the dash of cayenne since I didn’t have any hot Hungarian paprika.It’s just as good or even better the next day! Bogracs Gulyás makes 6 ...

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Green Mango Pickles

Green Mango Pickles(Mavinkai Uppinkai)from Laxmi’s Vegetarian Kitchen by Lami Hiremath 1/2 teaspoon fenugreek seeds1 1/2 tablespoons mild vegetable oil2 teaspoons mustard seed crushed1/8 teaspoon asafedtida1 medium sized (1/2 pound) green mango1/4 cup brown sugar (I use grated piñoncillo)1 teaspoon cayenne1 teaspoon salt toast the fenugreek seeds in a small dry skillet over medium heat until lightly browned, 4-5 minutes. Grind to a fine powder. Heat the oil in a small saucepan over medium heat until it ripples when the pan is tilted. Add the mustard seeds, when the seeds sizzle, stir in the asafetida. Remove from heat. Peel and dice the mangoes (discard seed!), Combine in a glass bowl with sugar, cayenne, salt and fenugreek. Mix well. Drizzle with the oil. Mix gently. Cover and set aside in a cool dry place. Let the pickles ripen for a day or until the sugar is melted and syrupy. Refrierate for longer storage, but use within 5 days. NOTE: Adjust the seasonings ...

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Carrying coals to Newcastle

I had a real struggle with my luggage on the way home. Food Max which used to be Food 4 Less when I lived in California has an International Foods Section. In true FM style the bags are large, I enthusiastically purchased chana dal, gram dal, urad dal and black cardamon seeds, all except the cardamon, in what I thought were one kilo bags but turned out to be 4 pounds! When I went with the kids to Costco, I saw that they still carried the large bags of Basmati rice, I was able to resist, instead I bought organic Basmati at Trader Joe’s in a more reasonable 2 pound size. As my son loaded my suitcase into his car, he couldn’t resist making a comment about my taking rice and beans to Mexico. My son-in-law joined in to rib me, they thought it was hilarious that I traveling with 16 pounds of legumes and grains. They started calling it ...

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Spring rolls

Fresh Spring rolls 12 Vietnamese Spring roll wrappers 9 inch (if you use 6 inch makes then you will need more rolls) quarter of a cabbage shredded (I used all red, but you can use a mix of both or just green cabbage) 5 green onions, chopped 1 cup thin noodles, pre-cooked bean thread noodles* 1 cup fresh herbs (I used Italian parsley and Thai basil you can use cilantro,basil or mint too) 2 small carrots, grated 1 tbsp lime juice 1 tbsp soy sauce 1/2 tsp fresh ginger, grated Toss together all ingredients together except wrappers in large bowl. Submerge wrappers in hot water until pliable, about 15 seconds. Place about 1/4 of mix on wrapper and wrap like a burrito or egg roll. Refrigerate until cold. Serve with your favorite dipping sauce *to precook rice noodles (also called rice vermicelli),Bring a medium saucepan of water to boil. Boil rice vermicelli 3 to 5 minutes, or until al dente, ...

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jocote de marañón

If you want to know what fruit is in season, check out the guys who sell fruit on the street. I don’t mean the roadside stands, I am talking about the brave souls who hang out at the stoplights on the major intersections, passing between cars like matadors slipping aside from the charging bull. Like matadors they entice, waving clear plastic produce bags bulging with colourful fruits.We stopped, the vendor gestured with his bags, bored I started to look away, then, I spotted what looked like apples, no they looked like chiles, hmmm, what was that fruit? It didn’t take long for him to notice my interest. Husband asked “¿Que tipo de fruta es?The answer was” mamey”.I leaned across Husband “No, no el mamey, el otro. ¿Que es y como lo usas?”.“Marañón, haces licuado” time was getting short so he added “treinta pesos”.I fumbled for the money, Husband passed me the fruit and off we went.When he could take his ...

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Habanero Jelly

Ingredients 2 lbs of tart apples (e.g. Granny Smith), unpeeled, chopped into big pieces, including the cores 2 bright orange peppers, sliced in half lengthwise, the seeds and ribs removed from 3 of them (for mildly hot jelly. If you want a hotter jelly leave the seeds and ribs in all of them.) 1 orange bell pepper , seeds and ribs removed, chopped 1 cup dried cranberries 2 1/2 cups water 1 1/2 cups white vinegar 3 1/2 cups sugar (7/8 cup for each cup of juice) Combine habaneros, bell pepper, and vinegar in food processor or blender process until well mixed, pour mix into large pot. Add the apple pieces, apple cores (needed for their pectin content), cranberries , and water in a large pot. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to medium-low, simmering for about 20 minutes, or until the apples, cranberries, and peppers are soft. Stir occasionally to make sure nothing is sticking to the ...

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Stir fried Tofu and Eggplant

I think I found this in Sunset Magazine. I wrote it down on a scrap of paper so I am relying on my faulty memory for the source. Stir Fried Tofu and EggplantIngredients: 3 tablespoons vegetable oil1 package firm tofu, cut into 2 inch chunks1 eggplant cut into 1″ x 3″ strips1 bell pepper cut into strips2 diced garlic cloves ( I used a tablespoon of diced garlic)SAUCEcombine:1/3 cup soy sauce2 tablespoons oyster sauce2 tablespoons sugarGARNISH1/4 cup fresh basil leaves (I forgot to add these, it was still good!) Heat the pan. When the pan is hot, add the oil. When the oil is hot, add the tofu. Brown the tofu. The secret to browning soft things like tofu is to leave it alone. I know you want to stir it around, but don’t, just wait. Brown the tofu on all sides. Remove the tofu from the pan. If you need to, add more oil. Cook the garlic, eggplant and ...

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