Sunday, December 14, 2014


A terrible friend came to visit me this week: Mr. Upper Respiratory Problems. I really tried being polite and hinting that I’m really busy (“Ain’t nobody got time for this!”), but he wouldn’t take a hint. Finally, after ignoring the one friend that might help boot this unwanted guest, I called up my last defense: Sleep. Since Friday afternoon at 3pm to Sunday at 12:30pm, I have slept a total of 27 hours. Needless to say, I’m starting to feel better. Not well enough to want to leave my house or do anything strenuous, but well enough to try to cook some food.

The unintentional most extreme super softest banana bread ever! 
Today, I started with Pan de Banana Madura, or Ripe Banana Bread. It was a fairly easy recipe.  I started with mashing my bananas with the coconut milk.  Then I added my room-temperature butter and made sure that everything was mixed well.  Now it comes time to add in my flour, salt, baking soda, nutmeg, and vanilla. One option was to add raisins, but I left this out since I’m not such a huge fan of them. After I mixed everything together, I poured it into a loaf pan and baked it. I really didn’t get everything mixed as well as I wanted; I should’ve pulled out my electric mixer.  I did have to leave it in the oven just a tad bit longer for it to brown up, but it was still soft even though it sat for hours. Maybe it called for too many bananas. It tasted good, though. My husband suggested that we try to salvage it and make bread pudding out of it. I’m game.

Don't let this photo fool you. This was delicioso. My husband's already planning his 4th meal.  
The main dish today was hilachas.  It was a little more complicated than the banana bread.  I started out putting my beef (it calls for a flank steak or skirt steak, but all I could find was a bottom round steak which turned out not to be the best cut for this meal) and salt into a large saucepan and bringing the water to a boil. Once it gets to a boil, I reduced my heat and let it simmer for about an hour and a half until it was tender. It was too tough of a cut to shred, so I had my husband cut it into strips, and I let it soak in the broth until I was ready for it. But while the meat was simmering, I took my onions, tomatoes, and a little bit of paprika and cayenne pepper in my mixer and made a puree out of it. I poured my tomato-onion puree (it was almost the consistency of a thick spaghetti sauce) into a pot and heated it for about 10 minutes. Then I added in the beef and a couple cups of the broth (from simmering the beef), with a bit of salt and pepper to taste and letting it simmer for 15-20 minutes or so. Now comes time to throw in my potatoes to the pot and a little more broth and let it simmer for another 15-20 minutes (I was supposed to add in carrots too, but my carrots accidently froze in my refrigerator, so I left them out.). I topped it with freshly chopped cilantro, and it was so yummy.  Clearly the best part of what I made today.

This small morsel was the best that I could come up with. Sorry, rice, I failed you. 
To go with this, I made my own Guatemalan rice by steaming rice with some diced peppers, chopped celery, and adding in some of the beef broth (from the beef earlier) and letting it simmer for 15-20 minutes until all the liquid is absorbed. I accidentally burnt part of the bottom, but it wasn’t too bad. I think the broth cooked down faster than water (maybe). Or perhaps I just wasn’t paying attention that closely (more likely). 

I was really going to make my own tortillas, but I got really tired. Luckily, I just bought some tortillas at the store and cut some into quarters. It was still good though. I’m sure if I made my own, they would’ve been tons better, but that’s how it goes sometimes. It’s a recipe for another day. 

Yet, it all comes together to make a nice photo.  It's like a typical family photo. 
There have been times when people act like because I do this blog, that the only things I make are exotic or international recipes. Now granted, I have pulled recipes from my Worldly Rise collection for things like office pitch-ins and holidays and such.  But several months ago, I found an old cookbook of Hoosier Recipes from my state. I started picking recipes and making which ones I’ve done. Although I found this particular recipe on, I made Tater Tot Casserole for my family last night, something that I grew up with as a school lunch. (For those not in my part of the US Midwest, Tater Tots are fried potatoes in the shape of a cylinder. It’s sort of a strange thing, but I love them.) My husband was born and raised in Chicago and had no idea what this was, so I made it for him. It used to be moderately popular in my neck of the woods.  So, for the record: I don’t make only exotic foods; sometimes, tasty food is just made. No matter where it comes from.

Up next: Guinea

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