Saturday, February 26, 2011

Skype Saturday: Cooking Edition

I'm on a very healthy bent at the moment. I am frequently using my Bar Method DVD (which I adore, by the way), doing some combination of walking/jogging a 5km almost every day, and swimming twice a week. Moreover, I'm eating well. Part damage control from my utter whim-indulgence in Chicago, part summery weather, part just getting older I guess; I feel like taking care of myself.

The last three Saturday mornings I've walked to the Vila Madalena fruit and vegetable market. It's the same one I brought Flat Lizzie to.

Saturday's Score:
  • 2 bunches of arugula
  • 1 bunch cilantro
  • 1 bunch parsley
  • 1 head of garlic
  • 6 farm fresh eggs
  • 1 kg black beans
  • 1 red onion
  • 2 zucchinis
  • 3 eggplants
  • 3 cucumbers
  • 1 bunch of carrots
  • 4 mangos
  • 8 oranges
  • 8 plums
Total: R$40 (about $25)

My take prompted two questions.
What am I going to do with the eggplant (which I've never purchased in my life)?
What can I make with lots of mmmmm coentro (cilantro)?

I started glancing through my Betty Crocker cookbook and found a recipe for Ratatouille. Feito.

I called cousin Beth on Skype to share the new Aventura na Cozinha with her. As she had to bake a coffee cake for Sunday Brunch, our video chat turned into a virtual cooking show (with the entertaining twist of being hosted by at least one inept chef)!

The second item on my menu was the feijoada in the slow cooker. I was delighted to find a recipe online: throw black beans, garlic, bay leaves, a few smoked ribs on the bone in, and, much later, a sauté mixture of spicy sausage, parsley and onion. It took way longer to cook than the recipe indicated, but it was tasty.

One nice thing about cooking is that the "rules" are malleable. Of course, as in life itself, when you fudge a little, sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. The third dish was Uncle Greg's Salsa--for which I had to improvise a bit. I subbed a can of italian cherry tomatoes and a teaspoon of crushed red pepper paste for the Rotel tomato and green chilies but it left much to be desired.

I have an extremely adverse eye reaction to onion-chopping. After the tearful salsa prep, I decided to grate the onion for the ratatouille. Much easier, much less tearful, and my ratatouille was divine.

I have accumulated a nice little selection of spices from the street market too. I need some spice jars. I almost bought this set...

...because...well, I like the kinda-crooked text "beau tiful home" at the top. But what really got me was the jar for "gheen pepper." Ha! Unfortunately I don't keep many of these, particularly powdered ginger or gheen pepper, around the house. I resisted temptation, as my practical side overruled my entertainment side.

Enfim. Bom apetit!