Making Mexican

I’ve been meaning to write a food post for a while. After the delicious sucess of the Mexican food the five of us made in Rory’s kitchen in Budapest, I figure now is as good a time as any.

Living in Albania I have learned to make many things from scratch without conventional kitchen utensils. Turn off all that food network/ stuff – here we DO NOT HAVE things like baking powder, dried fruit, brown sugar, self-rising flour, pam, pyrex, ethnic food and spices, etc. etc. etc. The list goes on and on.

Most of what forces me out of my normal routine of stir-fried vegetables and rice or potatoes (and sometimes chicken) is a craving. And most of those cravings are for things not available in Albania – usually ethnic foods of some kind. I’ve been able to make passable chicken tikka masala and lemon chicken (Chinese style) from scratch, but what my PC friends and I make most often, and I find I’ve come to have a new appreciation for is the tortilla.

By now, I’ve had enough practice making Mexican food from scratch (usually burritos) with PC friends that it’s like we can set up an assembly line when we’re together and just git’er done – homemade tortillas, pico de gallo, beans and rice, fried peppers and onions, sometimes chicken, sometimes guacamole when we’ve managed to find an avacado in Tirana. It’s not Chipotle, but it’s delicious and makes us all think of home.

Somehow in the midst of months of making food from scratch, I’ve ended up becoming the tortilla maker. It’s a good upper arm workout, especially if you use a glass bottle when you don’t have a rolling pin. I just experimented with flour and water the first time I made them, and they kindof turned out okay so now that’s all I do – I’ve never looked at a recipe. Just one of those auxilary skills I never thought I’d have but now do thanks to Peace Corps.




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