I really needed this to go well today. See, on Friday my car died on the way to work. I got it started, but we later found out that basically blah blah blah, the transmission has to be rebuilt, blah blah, $1800 bill. (Glad my husband was talking to the guy.) So, I had to rent a car for the first time (and found out my corporate “discount” cost me more in the end than if I just went without it and got a weekly rate. Go figure.). So, it’s been a fairly stressful last couple of days. I really needed this to go well today.
And it did. I started out making the bread: pan amasado. I was really happy getting back to a yeast bread after doing fry breads for the past several countries. For this bread, I cut the recipe in half, simply because I thought six cups of flour was a lot. Although, I added too much water at the beginning (because I forgot to cut that in half too), so I did really have to add a lot more flour to stop it being so sticky. It also called to add melted shortening, which I hate using shortening. I can’t wipe it off my fingers – it’s worse than baby poop. But it actually rose after the first rest! My favorite part is when I get to punch down the dough. It’s like I become a kid again for about five seconds. After my momentary lapse into childhood, I divided the bread into eight circles and let it rest again. I had the kids help me make circles and punch it down. When it came out of the oven, it was practically perfect. Slightly hard on the outside, soft on the inside. The best kind of bread.
The next dish I made was a chilled avocado soup. All of the ingredients seemed mostly like how I make my guacamole dip: avocados, shallots, lime juice, coconut water, cilantro leaves, parsley, and a generous pinch of cayenne pepper. Then I mixed it all in a blender to make it smooth. My kids were like, “Uh, what kind of smoothie is THAT?”— I only use my mini blender for making smoothies. (I can make some damn good smoothies, especially my peach pie smoothie and my cantaloupe rum smoothie). And unfortunately since I only have a mini blender, I could only mix a little at a time. It was the first time non-fruits went into it. (Well, technically, I think avocados are fruits since they have pits like peaches and apricots.) After it chills, it’s topped with crushed walnuts and cilantro. (The recipe called for chives, but I forgot to get some.) I thought it was really good, and in fact, even my finicky four-year-old liked it.
Finally, the main dish. For this, I chose pastel de choclo – a chicken and corn bake/casserole. It starts out boiling the corn in milk, then putting it in my blender again, stirring in basil, sugar and salt. In a different pot, I mixed chicken broth, shallots, red bell pepper, carrot, black pepper, garlic, and a couple bay leaves, letting it simmer for 15 minutes. Then I added in some salt and the chicken and parsley and cooked for another 10 minutes (taking out the bay leaves afterwards). Then I put this mixture in the bottom of a casserole dish (which may have been a little too large for this dish) and topped it with the pureed corn mixture and baked it. I wasn’t sure if it was supposed to set up more than mine did, but the taste was outstanding. It could’ve used more chicken, though.
Of course, it wouldn’t be complete without Chilean wine. I tend to get a lot of my groceries from Meijer stores, and they had a whole section on Chilean wines. Granted, it was kind of small, but they had some at least. I chose Long Country’s (a nickname for Chile, for obvious reasons) moscato red. I’ve been a fan of moscatos for a while now, but I’ve never had a moscato red before. It was very good. I think I’ll definitely go back and try more. Like when this bottle is empty.
Sometimes things don’t go as planned. And sometimes you get lucky and they do. And sometimes you just go to Plan B, or C, or D. As long as you have a plan, you’re never half as bad off. This meal was really good, and even though things are a little stressful with my car situation and how much it costs, life’s still good. Sometimes I think that as long as we’re eating well, life’s not as bad as it could be. And eating well doesn’t mean really expensive meals. All of the ingredients by themselves weren’t that much (except I’m still trying to figure out what happened to the price of chicken. When did the prices skyrocket on that!? And I’m sparing everyone on my rants about food subsidies.) I was very happy with this meal. Definitely on the do-again list (minus the burns to the fingers). Now I’m just patiently waiting for lunch tomorrow so I can eat the leftovers. Until then, I'll end this with some Easter Island humor:
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