Cooking With Mexican and Thai Ingredients
The Call To Lunch
I call my wife the Eclectic Cook because she makes the most interesting dishes using whatever is at hand. In fact, she says that an experienced cook, many times, never follows a recipe and can never repeat a dish twice because every dish is different depending on what is at hand. She uses whatever is available and is always trying new concoctions (as I call them). She lived in Mexico City for 23 years and cooked a lot of meals while there. She then returned to the United States, became an elementary school teacher and, thanks be to God, married me, the undernourished, ignorant about good food, person that I was. I am not the same person now, she has brought about great changes in my life, particularly at the table where the meals are served.
This particular dish shown in the picture above, greeted me today when the call to lunch came. Looking at the table, I thought to myself, aha, today it is an Asian dish, hopefully Thai. I was surprised to find the interior of the spring rolls consisted of cold refritos (refried beans), chopped onions, avocados and shredded lettuce.
Now comes the eclcectic part, what she calls inventive cooking and others called fusion cooking. First, the spring roll skins are soaked in water until flexible. Then they are filled with the unintended contents which in this case starts with the spring roll skins (the recipe is for six) into which she places:
Refritos, cold refried beans, about three cups
Avocado, about one half of one
Lettuce, shredded, a handful
The red stuff in the little dipping bowl is a sweet and sour chipotle sauce that she primarily made out of chipotle chilies, garlic, chopped organic tomatoes, vinegar, piloncillo (unrefined sugar commonly used in Mexican cooking) and other ingredients. This sweet and sour chipotle sauce dish was put together with a couple of canned chipotle chilies, a splash of vinegar, a couple of cloves of garlic, a 14 oz. can of chopped organic tomatoes, piloncillo (or organic palm sugar) added to taste, and finally salted to taste. The mixture was blended and simmered down to about a pint or so of the sauce (simmer down to desired thickness and taste). The spring roll skins are not wheat, they are made of tapioca flour and are very thin and transparent; they can be found at an Asian store and after purchase, then stored indefinitely.
In my life, every meal is a new one, the ingredients change according to whatever is available and/or in the refrigerator. And delicious. And that chipotle sauce was spicy HOT, I loved it and there was some left over for future concoctions.
And, the Fuji apple was desert; so sweet and crunchy. Life is good.
A Snack After Lunch
I almost forgot. After lunch was over and I was starting my dish washing task, my wife said, "Oh, there are some avocados left over, do you want a tortilla?" Of course I said yes, so out came the to heat the corn tortillas. We then each had two very hot (two kinds of hot, temperature and spicy) tortillas each filled with part of the leftover avocado, salted, and covered with some of the comal sauce. Yummie, three Thai Spring Rolls and two Chipotle Avocado filled corn tortillas. BTW, flour tortillas, ugh. chipotle
And that brings up the chipotle chili; what is it? A chipotle, or chilpotle, is normally a smoke-dried jalapeño chili and the word comes from the Nahuatl (language of the Aztec) word chilpoctli, meaning "smoked chili". This type of chili is commonly used in Mexican cooking, but as with many other words used in Mexican cuisine, many people will use the word without really understanding what it is.