Monday, June 25, 2007

Hungarian Goulash

This dish was a "first" in two ways ... the first time that I have ever made noodles of any kind ... and the first time that I have eaten Hungarian Goulash. I had read and printed this recipe out a couple of months ago, but everything didn't "come together" until today. It was a huge success! We both loved it ... Enrique said the noodles were even better than the goulash! I wasn't sure if I would like such a heavy paprika-based flavor, but it started out as interesting with the first bite, and grew to flashes of brilliance. It gave me the confidence to look at some more types of pasta recipes ... I'm thinking about trying a lasagna

Chicken goulash

Although potatoes play a supporting role in this dish, we think they are the stars. Goulash, the classic Hungarian dish made of beef or veal with lots of onions, paprika and potatoes, can be a wonderful culinary experience if made well.

The potatoes stew in the paprika, wine and stock until they almost burst. If you fished them out, they would make a fulfilling meal on their own. In this version, we replace the meat with our favorite boneless-skinless chicken thighs. Finish it with some cider vinegar and a touch of butter for extra flavor.

Serving Size: 6

2 tablespoon oil
6 cups 3/4-inch diced onion
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 cup cold water
3 tablespoon sweet paprika
6 boneless skinless chicken thighs ; cut into 2 inch pieces
1 cup white wine
2 cups low sodium chicken broth
4 cups 1-inch cubed peeled potatoes
3 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 tablespoon sweet butter
1/4 cup chopped chives

1. In a heavy bottomed pot or Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium low heat.

2. Add the onions, kosher salt, and water, and cook, stirring occasionally, for 7 minutes or until onions are soft and lightly caramelized. Stir in the sweet paprika, and cook for 2 to 3 minutes.

3. Toss in the chicken, and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring to coat the chicken with the onions and spice. Pour in the white wine, and reduce by half. Add the chicken broth and cubed potatoes, and simmer for 60 minutes over low heat.

4. Stir in the vinegar, butter and chives. Serve over egg noodles, or just on its own with crusty bread. Makes 6 servings.

** This recipe can be pasted into BigOven without retyping. **
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Egg Noodles

2 cups All-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1 Egg plus
2 Egg yolks
1/3 cup Water
1 teaspoon Cooking oil or olive oil

In a large mixing bowl stir together 1-3/4 cup of the flour and the salt. Make a well in the center of the mixture.
In a bowl combine eggs, water, and oil. Add to flour mixture; mix well.
Sprinkle kneading surface with the remaining flour.
Turn dough out onto floured surface. Knead till dough is smooth and elastic (8-10 mins total).
Cover and let rest for 10 mins. Divide dough into fourths.
On a lightly floured surface, roll each fourth into a 12x12" square (about 1/16 inch thick).
Let stand 20 mins.
Cut dough into 1/4 inch wide strips then cut into 2-3 inch lengths.
You can use a pasta machine if you have one.
Cook the pasta 1-1/2 to 2 mins. Make sure the water is boiling before adding the noodles or they will glump on the bottom. You can freeze the noodles, just let them dry before putting them in the freezer. Cook them a bit longer if you freeze them. (Recipe From: Darryl & Kelly Youngblood )

** This recipe can be pasted into BigOven without retyping. ID= 81710 **
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Sunday, June 24, 2007

Honey-Yogurt Pie with Fresh Mango

It's mango season again, and I have been watching for recipes containing fresh mangoes to incorporate into the menu at Gringo Perdido. This recipe originally called for peaches with sugar and cinnamon, which was easily substituted for mangoes ... without the sugar, of course ... the mangoes are super sweet and juicy! The pie has a crust of graham crackers with oatmeal, panela (a local raw dark sugar) and spices. The cold filling is made from yogurt and honey (and gelatin) blended with whipped cream. I used the local cream, which tastes great in this dish but never really whips into "peaks". The grape on top has been soaked in a spicy syrup. I will definitely be adding this to our menu during mango season ... it is delicious!

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Wing NIght

You would think that in a country that consumes as much chicken as Guatemala, you would find chicken wings on every corner ... but no. Until recently, it was impossible to even buy a chicken wing that wasn't attached to a chicken breast ... which meant that in order to prepare Buffalo Wings for two, you would have to buy about a dozen chicken breasts and cut the wings off. You can see the problem. Anyway, I recently found a new "poultry lady" who, with some prior notice, can find me a few pounds of wings (without breasts). For several days I have been adding new wing recipes to my BigOven files (now there is a program that I can heartily recommend if one likes recipes and cooking!) and studying them and imagining them ... and finally decided to begin with three of my favorites ... Buffalo Wings (left), teriyaki wings (right) and crispy parmesan wings (center). Sunday seemed like the ideal day for wings, which can be eaten in front of the televised "futbal" games, so I prepared them for a late Sunday lunch today, and served them with small baked potatoes and a yogurt-chive sauce. All three of these recipes were relatively easy to prepare, require no long marinating time, and other than the wings themselves, oh yes, and the parmesan cheese, contain ingredients that are easy to obtain. I will definitely use these three recipes again.
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Saturday, June 23, 2007

World's Best Pollo Guisado

Yes, its true. We have the world's best pollo guisado right here in Peten! We discovered it shortly after making El Remate our home (13 years ago). In those days, we would go "to town" once a month for whatever supplies we needed. We would take the early bus in, and go to the market for breakfast. The first few times we went, we tried pollo guisado in different "comedors" in the market, and in the end, Comedor Elena won hands down, and we have been going there for our "breakfast" of pollo guisado at least once a week ever since.

Pollo guisado (pronounced "poyo ge-sado") is a local version of chicken stew. It is usually made (and always tastes better) with chicken legs and thighs, and you can, of course, add various vegetables. This version is made with potatoes and tomatoes, and the sauce is red from the "achiote" (annatto in English) and is served with fluffy white rice with grated carrot. The meal comes complete with steaming tortillas, home made chile (you can see the corner of the bottle of it here ... I don't actually eat the chile peppers, but I love the onions that have been pickled with them, and it really "makes" this meal) and fresco, a kool-aid type beverage (I always order a glass of purified water with lemon on the side). And to top it all off, there is no waiting (comedors are like cafeterias, except they serve you) and the price is an incredible bargain by anybody's standards at Q10.00 or about U.S. $1.35!! I also love taking my meals with the "real" people of the country ... they have this wonderful custom of thanking everybody in the restaurant when they finish a meal, and all of us answer "buen provecho" like we are all one big happy family!!
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Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Potato and Egg Gratin

I wanted to try a new dish today, but I haven't been to town for supplies in a while so I was limited to things I could pick up in the local tienda. I had tried this dish once before, but I had used large muffin cups to bake it, and they overflowed. This time I baked it as one casserole, and it turned out great!! It is made from a combination of sausage, sauteed with chopped onion and red pepper, then diced cooked potatoes, chopped tomato and chopped cilantro are added. I always use about twice as much chopped cilantro ... I love the flavor! Also, we can get two types of sausage here ... a red sausage called chorizo, that is based on achiote, and a light sausage called longaniza, which is flavored with cilantro. For this dish, I prefer the chorizo. The whole sausage potato mixture is spread into a buttered baking dish and topped with eggs. Just before it is fully cooked, you add grated cheddar to the top. Unfortunately, the only cheddar I can get here is similar to orange rubber in both taste and texture, so even though I added it, it is more of a visually appealing feature than a taste addition. I served it with whole wheat toast, but I think it would be better with hot biscuits. And its very filling ... if I serve it as part of a Gringo breakfast, one egg section would probably be sufficient after the fruit, yogurt, granola, muffins etc.
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Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Enchiladas Giselita

This enchilada plate is also at the top of the "favorites" list amongst the Gringo Perdido clientelle. We call it "Enchiladas Giselita" ... since Giselle taught us this recipe on one of her recent visits to the hotel. The enchiladas, which have been stuffed with shredded chicken breast and herbs, are placed on a bed of pureed red beans, covered with a delicious green tomatillo sauce and shredded mozzarella and garnished with avocado quarters.
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The Gringo Perdido Favorite

Gringo Perdido is this beautiful little ecological hostel in the middle of the jungle that I have the great good fortune to manage. You can check it out at This dinner is one of the house favorites and is so popular amongst our guests that we usually serve it for their first night's dinner. It includes a traditional cole slaw with apples and raisins, a cream of brocoli soup, teriyaki chicken strips with garlic baked potatoes, vegetable rice and steamed carrots/guisquil. This feast is accompanied by Reina's home-made hot whole wheat bread and one of a variety of icy cold fruit drinks. Your desert is a fresh tangy tasty lemon meringue pie, served with strong Guatemalan coffee or Te de Santa Maria - a local jungle tea that is reminicent of anise.
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Pizza Muffins

The other day I planned a menu of Chicken Chili and Pizza Muffins. I reached for the bottle of white beans on the top shelf, and as I began to open the jar, I realized that the beans were full of holes. One thing I have learned in the jungle is that, where there are holes, there is a creature making the holes. I know the people who live here have a way of dealing with them when they are full of whatever bug eats beans, but I can't. So I threw them out. The nearest store that carries white beans is 30 kilometers away. I decided to make the muffins anyway. To begin with, the recipe was in grams. How many cups of flour are in 250 grams? I went to my computer and pulled up a conversion chart. No such conversion as grams to cups. Using a double formula of grams to pounds and pounds to cups, I eventually figured I was ready to begin. I keep the mozzarella frozen to prevent it from becoming blue cheese before I can use it. Fortunately, the other ingredients were straightforward. I decided to add a half green olive to the top of each for decoration, and I like the way it turned out. They tasted great hot from the oven ... with a pat of my butter/olive oil blend ... and would probably be best with a hot creamy thick soup like Lentil with Lemon grass.
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An Introduction

Living in the jungles of Guatemala brings its own set of challenges to the realm of cooking and eating. Since there are so few restaurants, or stores that carry "foreign" ingredients, the successful chef / gourmet food lover must learn to substitute or to create the missing ingredients. This blog will follow my adventures in creating delicious recipes from various cultures with limited ingredients.


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