Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Mi Despedida

Its so haaaard to say goodbyyyyyeeee......

Besides volunteering, I have spent the last 3 months cooking, discussing Spanish grammar, exchanging cultural experiences, goofing off, watching tv, traveling, growing, and living with three amazing roommates in our cozy little Xela apartment. It all started when Erika and I decided we couldn't stay in with host families anymore (although families are great curfews, lack of control of food, inability to cook, and the lack of a common area to relax became very difficult after 4 months). After a week or two of searching we came upon Casa Latina, a tranquilo little apartment above small Spanish language school. It was clean, had wifi, comfortable enough beds, a kitchen, television, an amazing balcony with a view, hot water (in the sinks too!!), and-get this- you could flush the toilet paper. It was amazing and were were so excited.

One of the owners is from Holland so Saskia, a friend of hers, had also moved in when I returned from Atlanta. Soon after, Paula, another Dutch chica arrived to make our group a foursome. We all got along swimmingly. When it came time to say goodbye, there was no better way to do so than with food. The night before Saskia left to travel and a week before I left the country we had our goodbye dinner. Paula made the salad: cucumber with her delicious honey mustard dressing made from scratch. Erika made the refried beans and Saskia made the dessert. I prepared the main dish: enchiladas (from Mexico-very different from enchiladas from Guatemala which are tostadas with a mayo covered vegetable salad or meat).

I started with a roasted tomatillo salsa:

1 pound of tomatillos roasted
5 cloves garlic-roasted
salt to taste
lime juice (about 1.5 medium size limes)
enough water to make the correct texture
1 small white onion
either 1 jalapeno with seeds or 3 small serrano chiles-mine ended up being medium heat

As you can see, I husked, rinsed, and roasted the tomatillos in a pan along with garlic for about 7 minutes. It took a few rounds to roast all of the tomatillos. I threw in the rest of the ingredients in the blender and added water slowly until I achieved the desired thickness. The cilantro ended up giving it a tangy flavor because it was a bit old or a bit too new....not sure.

Next, I cooked up some güicoy ,which are like small green pumpkins and taste a lot like zucchini, with onion and garlic. Then I put two pans on the stove over low-medium heat and added a cup of the salsa to one and a cup of salsa with vegetable broth to the other. I used the pan with only salsa to dip in the corn tortilla (I bough some that were made by machine in a local store rather than the thicker hand made tortillas). I followed this recipe below and heated the oaxcan cheese in the salsa, then put it into the tortilla with some of the vegetable mixture and topped it with queso fresco.


Here you see the enchiladas accompanied by refried beans topped with queso fresco. Also some wine (thanks to Erika
and MeMe), mini floral arrangements, and cucumber salad.

Saskia spent a lot of time and effort to make delicious cookies. I especially enjoyed the preparation because I got to lick all the bowls and spoons!

As I sit in my hostel on my last night in Guatemala I realize it was not only my love for the country, but the amazing people I shared it with that made this experience so meaningful. I love you ladies and will never forget the times we spent together. Ya les extraño.

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