Sunday, March 28, 2010
Yin and Yang
That thing pictured above is a Mamey Sapote - known in my local supermarket as a Zapote Criollo. I have had my eye on it since we arrived. It's another ugly fruit. Finally, today, I got up the nerve to try it. Evidently, it can be used for just about anything you would use fruit for - juice, salad, pudding, muffins.
I struck out. It was gross. I took one bite and threw it away. It's supposed to be bright orangish-pink inside (kinda' like Tang, I think), but the one I got was a little lighter and the fruit was a little firm. I think it wasn't ripe. It tasted how I imagine raw pumpkin would taste. It left a weird film inside my mouth. Yuck.
I'm totally blowing at this plan to make Dominican dishes. I've discovered that I mostly have to make them on the weekend because it's impossible to explain to Vilma why I have to make them and not her…and why I need to be able to do it without someone coaching me. Maybe I'm being difficult. I just want to be able to experiment and reflect and then perhaps have someone show me the right way. This is so me. I'm stubborn. My oldest is the same way - loves to do something until you start micromanaging. Anyway, I feel like I have to reserve the weekend for experimenting, but then the weekend comes and I want to experiment with things I am 100% certain we will love. And, I don't want to use meat - which requires an additional level of coordination because there is no naturally occurring vegetarian food here. As of now, I am dropping all Dominican-food related goals. We'll eat what looks good. Maybe it will be Dominican. Maybe it won't. If it is, I'll write about it. Deal?
On a more positive note - I made some fabulous red enchilada sauce today! At home I buy Hatch brand enchilada sauce . Yes, it's in a can, but I love the stuff. I also love the enchilada sauce on the Amy's brand, frozen enchiladas and Mexican bowls. I have been saying for a couple of years that I was going to figure out how to make enchilada sauce - one that perfectly mixes my two favorite pre-made sauces.
I can now say I will never buy canned enchilada sauce again. It was so easy to make my own. I minced half an onion and used about one tablespoon of prepared minced garlic. I sautéed these two things in a little olive oil and added about 1 tablespoon cumin and 1 teaspoon coriander. I also added about 1 tablespoon of chili powder. Once the onions were soft, I added one 6 oz. can of tomato paste and stirred it into the onion/garlic/spices mixture. I added water little by little - starting with about ¼ cup - until I got a thick sauce (the consistency of gravy). Then, I added a little packaged taco seasoning for spice (not sure how much, I added some here and there until it had the right heat level). I had considered adding Tabasco, but thought the taco seasoning might make for a better flavor - I think it worked well. Then I added a pinch of salt and a pinch of sugar. I let it simmer for about 5 minutes and then it was done. I'm still basking in this victory. Another kitchen success born out of the lack of staples!
But, back to the zapote. I think I'm going to try again. And yet, I am pretty sure I'm not going to like it. It has a vaguely papaya-like feel to it. I have a couple of friends back in Austin who love papaya - not me though. I realize as I type this I am making a disgusted face. What should I do? Zapote? No Zapote? I'm gonna' go for it. If any of you have zapote-related experiences, I'm game for hearing more. This fruit's got me all tangled up.