I’ve come a long way when it comes to culinary technique, but I’ve got OH SO FAR to go. Christian, on the other hand, seems to have the natural instinct to cook, with his meats coming out just right, his breads rising, his sauces incorporating and not lumping, his spices subtle and his pastas al dente. Heck, even his Mexican food is better than mine, and he grew up in Bavarian farmland, whereas I grew up right here in El Paso, the heart and soul of Mexican food.
Take, for instance, Christian’s latest kitchen adventure. Yesterday he decided to make two salsas. One, a fairly typical tomato, garlic, cilantro, habanero and onion variety, like a pico de gallo; and two, a pineapple, oregano, garlic and habanero variety, to be used for chicken or fish. Both were outstanding, killer hot, and each and every component was easily tasted. I wish I could offer samples of his outstanding salsas to everyone, it’s that good. I wanted to cry it’s so good. Maybe that’s hormones, though.
I dabbled a bit in the kitchen yesterday, after preparing a very simple lunch for both of us. Lunch was basically just leftovers from the previous evening’s dinner at the Riviera Restaurant. Easy enough.
But last night I went “all out,” for me, anyway. I prepared grilled gordita rounds melted with Muenster cheese and topped with a fried egg, served “divorced” style, meaning each gordita was topped with a different salsa (Christian’s two salsas). My version of juevos divorciados. With that, a cabbage salad and… my piece de resistance… calabacitas con arroz. Ladies and gentlemen, this was the first dish my husband has ever “wow-ed.” And I don’t mean, “wow,” like, “Wow, what the hell is this?” or “Wow, I didn’t know you could DO that with rice,” or “Wow, I should have offered to take you out to dinner.” It was a bona fide “WOW!” as in GOOD. Christian kept on digging his fork into the sauce pan of calabacitas long after he ate the portion on his plate, and during our dinner conversation, his eyes consistently wandered over to those calabacitas. SCORE!
Here’s my simple but scrumptious recipe for what I call “Calabacitas Mamacita:”
Two cups fresh or frozen yellow squash, sliced or diced
One packet of Success instant rice, or one cup instant rice
Four ounces Muenster cheese
One-and-a-half cups whole milk
Half a bunch cilantro
1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
One dash nutmeg
One dash cumin
Heat up squash, cheese and cilantro in a saucepan until squash is tender and cheese begins to melt. Add cooked rice and milk and incorporate until cheese is thoroughly melted and milk begins to bubble. Add spices. Cook to reduce milk to make a porridge consistency. Serve at once.
Yesterday I had my 24-week exam with my perinatologist, and everything is looking great with our little baby Hannah! As always, I had an ultrasound, but this time Hannah decided to be coy and hide her body, so we were only able to see her face and one of her hands. She was dancing, dancing, dancing yesterday, and the kicks are becoming more frequent. I absolutely LOVE to feel the kicks, even when they’re “uncomfortable.” It’s our way of communicating at this point, and so comforting.
Christian and I had discussed the possibility of me joining him on his family visit to Bavaria in November/early December and, although I was about 99.3 percent sure it was a “no way,” I did ask my doctor if I could go with Christian. He said, “Sure, you can go.” I said, “NO WAY!!! Really? Even though I’m due Jan. 6?” It was then he realized and said, in fact, “Oh, no way. No way you can go that late.” Guess he thought I was due later or was a little preoccupied. Anyway, gave us a big buzz kill but it wasn’t a surprise, either. SOOOO, we’re shooting for late March. And this way Hannah can go, but riding on my lap, not IN my lap.