As I am finally getting my acts together and actually write that short paper that I have been talking about for months, the one little thing left between me and my bachelor's degree, I thought it might be appropriate to tell you about my summer plans.
Between now and September, when I'll head back to university for another two years (for a Master's degree) Michael and I have planned a little adventure. Until now I have barely left the continent, Turkey almost still belongs to Europe in my opinion, but now, we have a plane ticket to Santa Cruz de la Sierra, in Bolivia that is going to take us from Frankfurt in Germany to Bolivia in 30 hours (crazy) with a stopover in Santo Domingo and a 6 hour stay in Panama.
From Santa Cruz we are going to make our way through Bolivia (and I think I am most excited to see the Salar de Uyuni, the salt lakes) and through Peru until we reach Lima sometime at the end of July.
And from there, we'll head to La Habana, to Travel Cuba for a few weeks (and unlike Beyonce and Jay-Z, we can easily enter Cuba. 42 Swiss Francs, a half an hour wait and a little paper that notes my name and passport number was all it took to get a tourist card that will allow us to enter Cuba and stay for a month)
I just one short month we'll already have rented out our apartment and be living at our parent's homes for a few days before we head out and start this adventure. And I am excited and super happy and super nervous about this all. (and I just bought crazy expensive merino leggings that I hope are going to warm my legs throughout Bolivia and Peru and cold busrides in Cuba).
Until I am off, I plan to continue blogging, but between June 6th and August 20th, I won't be around too much.
Right now, since we'll leave our apartment in the hands of a lovely lady who is going to live here while we are away, I am trying to clean out the kitchen a bit. I had this salsa verde around for a while now. I'd bought it on a whim, not quite knowing what I was going to do with it.
You see, Mexican food is not really something Swiss people know a lot about. One part of it is the Mexican restaurants we have here are quite bad, and once you don't eat meat, things get even worse. And then actually finding even Jalapenos is difficult, so it should not be a surprise to you that I have never ever seen a tomatillo in my life. And this salsa verde does not count, really, it being all mashed up in a sauce already. But for now, it has to suffice.
And with the store bought salsa verde, I made enchiladas verdes, something else I never had before. And you have to excuse me if I commited some cardinal sin with these, because I really don't know any better. But authentic or not, I really loved them. The lentils in the red velvet mole are one of the best things I made in quite a while. And since you use lentils instead of beans, they come together really quickly. I bet they would be great served over rice, too. (I actually feel I need to make them again, like tomorrow.)
Maybe our next long trip should be to Mexico, and maybe then I'll actually know my Mexican Food 101. And while I am at it, I probably should read up on Cinco de Mayo? Because other than seeing post all over the web for Cinco de Mayo themed recipes, I don't know a thing about it (And by now it is Nueve de Mayo which really does not has the same ring as Cinco de Mayo)
Note: My salsa verde was relativly picante, so the filling itsself is mild, but if you do like it spicy or have a not so spicy salsa verde, feel free to add some heat to the lentils, or jalapeno slices in on top of the mushroom slices)
1 1/2 cup salsa verde
lentils in red velvet mole (recipe below)
3 big mushrooms
salt and smoked paprika
1/2 cup cashew sour cream or real sour cream
1/4 cup grated cheese
Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F. Prepare a baking dish that fits the tortillas you are using. Spread a cup of the salsa verde in the bottom of the baking dish.
Cut the mushrooms into thick slices, heat a little oil in a skillet and sear the mushroom slices for a minute or two on both sides. Sprinkle with a little salt and smoked paprika while in the skillet, then set aside.
On each tortilla, spread a little sour cream (off center, so you can roll them up better). Spoon some of the lentils over the sour cream, then lay two or three mushroom slices on top. Roll the tortillas up, nestle them close together on the salsa verde, then spread the rest of the salsa over the top, sprinkle with the cheese and bake for 15-20 minutes until heated through and the cheese is slightly browned and bubbling.
Lentils in Red Velvet Mole
adapted from the Black Beans in Red Velvet Mole from Appetite for Reduction by Isa Chandra Moskovitz
1 onion, chopped
1 clove of garlic, slivered
1 tbsp oil
1/2 tsp marjoram
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp chili powder
1 tsp smoked paprika
1/4 tsp ground cumin
3 tbsp tomato paste
1,5 tbsp cocoa powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup lentils
1/4 cup raisins
In a large skillet, heat the oil. Saute the onion until translucent, a few minutes. Turn down the heat and stir in the spices, herbs and the garlic. Saute for another minute or two. Then add the lentils, the tomato paste and a cup of water (You probably need to add more water later, but the amount of water the lentils need until cooked through can vary greatly). Turn the heat up to medium, stir in the cocoa powder, the salt and the raisins and cook until the lentils are soft, about 20 minutes.
Serve the Lentils in the enchiladas above, or over rice.