Thursday, August 25, 2011

What's for Dinner?

What’s for Dinner?

When I was drawing a blank as to what to post for July and August, I decided to document my food for a day and share it with you. Delving into the culture a little more, I also decided to give making flour tortillas from scratch a go. I also documented that process and have pictures to show the process.

Now, what I’m going to share in pictures makes it looks a little more exciting than what I usually eat. I won’t lie – I’m lazy and cooking for one is not frequently on my list of things to do each day. Many times I just have a bowl of cereal (corn flakes, because their cheap and so am I) in the morning and make a pot of rice at lunch that lasts until dinner. (Oh, I know my carb intake is ridiculous…but I take my multivitamin to get some good stuff in me.)

I like to incorporate fruit into my breakfasts. Today I had an apple, a banana and a yogurt. Other times, like in my photo I really love a smoothie. From time to time peanut butter is available in the grocery store and a peanut butter/banana smoothie is so good. Other times peanut butter is scarce, so I’ll substitute yogurt. This is not at all a typical Honduran breakfast and very much what I have brought with my experience from home.

Some of what I put in one of my smoothies - Milk, yogurt, a banana and some ice.  Yummy!

Thanks to my dad for sending me down some Raider stadium cups, I can still rep the team I love!

Lunch and dinner tend to have many of the same components.  I try to incorporate more veggies during the later meals of the day.  Just now for lunch I had some rice, beans and a chicken breast – well most of one, I like to share with my dog and cat.  In the photo is a fairly typical Honduran lunch.  Red beans, scrambled egg, a hunk of semi-dry cheese, mantequilla (which I’ve explained before – it’s like a mixture of sour cream and butter, but with a consistency of a runny sour cream), chicken bologna (my own addition because I try to get additional protein where I can and my grocer didn’t have any decent chicken cuts that week) and tortillas.  Obviously, no meal is complete without a good dousing of hot sauce.  I put it on everything, since I don’t even bother trying to season my food.

Almost a ''plato típico''

And then I tried to make tortillas all by myself.  I had previously assisted my host mom once and she gave me the recipe.  Another time I helped form the tortillas and cook them with a friend here in site.  I figured all that was left was to put the two parts of the process together and try it myself.  My end results were not bad for my first time.  I experimented A LOT with the dough and kept adding flour and vegetable shortening until I got a consistency that seemed somewhat near correct.  The first part of the process is combining the ingredients: flour, water, baking soda, shortening and a pinch of salt.  I did it the true Honduran way and just made room on the countertop to make the dough there.  It’s a little tricky creating the crater of dry ingredients and preventing the water from making a mess once you start the mixing.  After the dough is made, it needs to set for about an hour.  I don’t really know why, but I was told to leave it be.  Once the dough has set for awhile it’s ready to make the tortillas.  Start by balling the dough and then flattening it.  Here some people are good with their hands and are able to do it just by palming the dough, not this girl.  I used the trick taught to me by my host sister.  Use two pieces of plastic and flatten the ball of dough using a plate.  After that the raw tortilla can go on the heat to cook.  Here many people use fogones (wood burning stoves) and the tortilla cooking process is quite fast.  I don’t have a fogón in my house and just used my skillet on the stove.  It took me forever to cook the tortillas, but I finally finished about two hours later.  My end result was a little thicker and bread-i-er than tortillas normally are.  I still give myself a good grade because they tasted good, just with a new texture!

The dry ingredients with the crater made, waiting for the water to be added.  And my pot of beans cooking in the background.

The dough as I mixed it all over my fancy concrete countertop.

Letting it sit for awhile.

Ready to start pulling off chunks to make each tortilla.

So, these got out of order - this is the last step of cooking the tortilla.

Putting the ball of dough between two pieces of plastic to flatten it with a plate.  The plastic prevents sticking.

Ready to cook.

And enjoy!  (I have no vanity and no shame of posting unflattering pictures of myself anymore.  Thank you Honduras!)

And that my friends was a little glimpse into the culinary side of my life here in Honduras.  Thanks for reading!

Hasta la proxima vez…

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