When I was poking around in my photos looking for one to load into my Jigsaw app. I noticed that I hadn’t written about the food I enjoyed in the first week of the new year.
On New Year Day I had to walk down to the Mega market and restock my food supplies. I really didn’t need much, so I was not carrying too much on the way home, and was able to stop and buy some street food. This was the first time I bought street food in Guanajuato. I had been watching the street vendors and making note of which ones had long lines of locals waiting and and what their hygienic standards seemed to be.
I was on the lookout for long lines because, long lines indicated two things: first anyone who gets people sick are not going to have the locals lining up for their food; and second, with long lines, their food will be turned over before anything has a chance to go bad.
There was one man, whom I passed on my way home most days, who had a rolling cart selling some sort of green vegetable that looked really good. I saw many mothers buying bags of it for their small children, so I assumed that it must be wholesome. I asked him for 10 pesos worth. I was glad to see that he did not touch the pods with his hands, since he was also handling all the money. He used a large spoon to fill the bag, and asked me if I wanted condiments. I told him, “todo algo.” He covered the pods with a spice mix and then squeezed fresh lime juice all over (using a squeezer, not his hand). He took my coin and placed a small bag of the pods in my hand on a nest of napkins.
Though I had a free hand to take the bag of pods home with me, with only one free hand, I couldn’t eat as I walked. When I got home and put away my groceries, I found that there was a second small plastic bag under the bag holding the pods. It didn’t take me long to understand the the second bag was for the empty shells. I found that you chew on the pods to get the bean out and to enjoy all the flavor before spitting out the shell; sort of like sunflower seeds, though much bigger.
Once I had consumed them all, I did an internet search on “green pods, street vendors, mexico.” I found out that they are green chickpeas, or garbanzo beans. I don’t think I am going to be making a habit of eating them, but I can see myself becoming nostalgic about them one day when I begin to miss Mexico.
When my neighbor upstairs left, she gave me some cooked new potatoes, olives, cheese, onions, and eggs. I made a spanish tortilla from them, but since the ratio of potatoes to egg was too high, it didn’t turn out from the pan neatly. In spite of its looks it tasted quite good.
When I went to the Mega market on New Year’s Day, the street vendor, whom I normally buy my bread from wasn’t on her corner. At the market the bakery was closed, so I had to buy a bag of hot dog rolls to have at least some bread in the house. The rolls turned out to be a little too sweet and soft. The roils tasted okay warmed without any filling or toppings, but they didn’t stand up to butter or cheese. I thought about tossing them, but stopped myself when I remembered what mother always did with bread that was too old or not quite right.
This gave me another chance to get rid of some of the things the girl from upstairs had given me. I melted the stick of butter from her in the bottom of a baking pan. (I did toss out the margarine she gave me. Neither stick looked very fresh, anyway I never eat that stuff.) I filled the pan with all the remaining rolls, torn into to good sized chunks. I added the small amounts of dried cranberries, raisins, and chopped prunes she had also given me.
Among my own supplies was an open bag of lime and salt flavored peanuts. There was about a half a cup left. I scattered them over the bread, making sure to add the lime and salt dust from the bottom of the bag as well.
There was no milk in the fridge, but the girl from upstairs had given me a can of coconut milk and a partial carton of almond milk. I placed these into a bowl with five beaten eggs and cinnamon. I was baking some chicken at this time, so I had to wait for the chicken timer to go off before adding the wet part of the recipe to the pan.
After taking the chicken out of the stove, I turned up the heat a little more, and poured the wet mixture over the bread, and pressed the bread down with the back of a large spoon, to make sure it was all soaked before popping it into the oven.
The finished bread pudding was wonderful. The coconut milk was not overpowering, and the combination of the coconut milk with the lime flavored peanuts gave it a flavor reminiscent of southeast asian food. I think I am going to make it again with some cardamom, if I can find some. Ooh, ras el hanout, would be a great spice too!
The photo below, of cicerone gorditas, was taken 01/10/2018, but I thought that I would add it in here since it added to the story of what I am eating these days. Anyway it lets me end with street food after having started the post with street food.