Monthly Archives: July 2020

Another new (for us) favourite: Ajvar

summary: Ajvar, a Macedonian staple; staying at home – still; making homemade Ajvar is easy; Ajvar goes with just about everything; Bullhorn peppers?? Canadian substitute for ajvar peppers; where are the shepherd peppers when we need them?

[Ajvar is] so old in fact, it was a favorite of Alexander the Great
– | Ajvar

Fino fine foods Ajvar: hot Back in the days (was that just 4 months ago?) when we were maskless, still travelling freely, and I was driving about 140 km east every Wednesday for evening PSO rehearsals, the concert master frequently got a ride with me. Because the traffic was generally pretty horrible gridlock – I sure don’t miss that! – we had to leave at 4pm to get there for our 7:30pm rehearsal.

Sometimes though, traffic would be clear and we would arrive at 6:30pm instead of 7:00pm…. On one of those occasions, I hesitantly asked V if she would mind if we stopped at the Freshco so I could stock up on flour because we were going to run out. Here’s how the conversation went:

She: Mind?? No! I LOVE grocery shopping! [getting her iPhone out and pressing buttons] Let me just see if there are any special deals…
Me: Thank you!! When we go in, do we have to be efficient? Or can we sort of wander through?
She: Wander through?! No! Let’s be efficient and go systematically through each aisle….

When we reached the condiments aisle, V (who is of Macedonian descent) started bouncing up and down. “They have more than one kind of ajvar!!” Then she proceeded to examine each kind – ingredients lists and looks – and decreed that the Fino brand looked correct. (continue reading )

Miracles in the Garden

go directly to the recipe

summary: mid-summer garden report; Swiss chard is great, especially when stir-fried with other vegetables; miracles do happen; red okra;

Look!! It’s a miracle!

Garden Miracles 2020

This cayenne chili plant is from last year. I thought I had murdered it in the basement this past winter; when I brought it out to the balcony, there were zero leaves on it. (I only brought it out to plant other things in the pot.) Just before I was about to uproot it, I noticed tiny leaf buds on the bare stems. And look at it now! Not only is it covered in leaves, it’s fruiting!!

Chilli (Hot Hot Hot)

Secondary miracle: the zillions of Swiss chard seeds (thank you for sending them, P and J!!) that I planted at the end of June in various spots on the balcony, behind the garage, and in the back garden, this is the lone seedling that came up! (I think it might be one that dropped out of the package by mistake….) (continue reading )

Lost in Translation: Not-Quite Tortas Ahogadas

summary: Northern take on Ersatz Tortas Ahogadas; opened-faced sandwiches; we’re gonna need a sharper knife….

It’s a hangover dish. Or at least it seems like the dish was invented by a drunk. – Aaron Garcia, owner of Pialeadero de Guadalajara, Mexico City, June 2017

Open-Faced Torta Ahogada (Drowned Sandwich)

One of the reasons that Karen (Karen’s Kitchen Stories) decided we BBBabes should make Birotes Saladas this month was so we could make tortas ahogadas (drowned sandwiches).

Here is what David Norman and Bryan Ford have to say about the sandwiches:

They say the torta ahogada was invented by accident when a sandwich vendor dropped a carnitas-filled roll into a vat of tomato salsa. It is now ubiquitous in the market stalls, street cars, and restaurants of Mexico’s second largest city.
      There are two sauces, one a flavorful but not spicy tomato sauce for “drowning” the sandwich, and a second made from arbol chiles, potent and fiery, used to cusomize the heat level. […] I read that a true Tapatio (a native of Guadalajar) supposedly can eat this sandwich by hand with only one napkin […] One important element in a torta ahogada is the refried beans used to coat the inside of the cut rolls. In Guadalajara, Mayocoba beans are treaditionally used […] [but, you] can use any variety except black beans.
– David Norman, Bread on the Table | Torta Ahogado – Sandwich from Gadalajara, p235
I find nothing more satisfying than recreating the unique breads of Latin America in my very own kitchen. I especially love when the bread is meant to be stuffed with savory fillings and drowned in spicy salsa—in Mexico, the torta ahogada is just that.
– Bryan Ford, New World Sourdough: Artisan Techniques for Creative Homemade Fremented Breads | Birote, p60

Hmmm. I find it difficult to believe that drowning the sandwich in tomato salsa wasn’t entirely by design. (continue reading )

So THAT’S what it is!

summary: mystery object revealed; useless kitchen gadget; the internet is amazing; vegetable candleholder??

:!: :!: :!:

mystery object

Eons ago, we asked here if anyone knew what this implement is. I came across it again the other day when I was rummaging through the wooden spoon/biscuit cutter/spatula/ladle drawer. We tried to identify it with Google Lens with no luck. Then, today, T asked on Reddit | Identify Unknown Objects and got a reply about half an hour later! FINALLY we know what it is!

It’s a Twisty Twirl tool! Or, rather, half a Twisty Twirl tool.

This fun tool is great for making fun corkscrew french fries, candy cane striped vegetable garnishes and edible vegetable candles. If works well with root vegetables like potatoes, turnips, jicama, fat carrots, beets, sweet potatoes, yams and daikon.
– Nita, How to Carve Like a Pro | Twisty Twirl Tool

Now that we finally know what this implement is for, I thought I’d try it out with a zucchini. (There’s no way the implement would easily cut through a carrot or beet!) We don’t have both parts of the gizmo (or at least, neither of us remember seeing anything like it), so I had to improvise. (I tried first with pliers and then switched to using a can opener.)

Look, how lovely!! {cough} And delicious too…. :whee: :whee:

Please sir, may I have some more vegetables?

Twisty Tool and Zucchini
Nita claims that the spiral can be used as a vegetable candle holder!
A carrot candle would be fun to top a carrot cake to celebrate a birthday.” – Nita

(continue reading )