Saturday, January 29, 2011

Happiness is domesticity!

29/01/11
Kristen says...

I am feeling slightly domestic today...I spent the morning at the bank getting my Internet banking set up (thank you translator Maricarmen!!) and this afternoon making (the most perfect chocolate chip) cookies and enjoying having CURTAINS IN MY APARTMENT!!!

Yes, you read the caps correctly, thanks to the ladies at the Mi Esperanza maquilla, Chris and I, after 7 months, have total privacy (if we want it) in our apartment.

Let's compare: before and after!
Sala:
















Guest bedroom:














Master bedroom:
















Here are some close-ups of the fabric in the living/dining room:












All-in-all, I am really, really happy with them! The great people at Mi Esperanza came to the house to get a feel for the color scheme/size of the place, went with me to pick out my fabric, gently gave advice when I thought I wanted something not suitable to the space, created the curtains, delivered them, and fixed them when they needed a bit of tweaking. And, they did all this for a VERY reasonable price/window, much less than I would have paid for the same thing in the States or by buying pre-made curtains down here. I highly recommend them for any fabric-based project you might have, or if you're looking for a one-of-a kind gift. They have a lot of Lenca pottery and other things custom made for them, and you can see it all on their web store at http://thewomenofmyhope.org/shop/. Go there and buy something awesome! (The best part is, you're buying great stuff and helping out Honduran women at the same time!!)

So now I am sitting here at my dining table eating delicious cookies and enjoying looking out curtained windows. Now, I hate to brag, but I've been told that I make a pretty mean chocolate chip cookie...in fact, the children of these two women:














(the children of course being my parents--on the left is my mom's mom and on the right is my dad's mom, both chocolate chip cookie aficionados) have told me that my cookies are on-par with their mom's...which I consider high praise indeed! SO, I don't want to brag but, today I made grandma quality chocolate chip cookies:
Which, frankly, has been a long time coming. I feel like I've been in a bit of a cooking rut lately, things just haven't been going my way...I tried out a few new recipes this week, Dinner in a Packet and Rice with Black Beans, and neither was totally spectacular. Nothing was wrong with them, exactly, but they lacked a little bit of wow...then I cooked dinner for poker night on Thursday (for something like 8 or 10 guys).

I used a tried and true Fink family recipe, Cheesy Chicken, and I was SO disappointed, they took forever to cook! I used a different type of chicken than usual, because they didn't have Pollo Rey at Pais (our grocery store), and I can tell you, I will NEVER do that again. I will go to a different grocery store before I buy any other type of chicken, that is how much better Pollo Rey is. I was cooking in bulk, something I had never done before (having only cooked for Chris and I) and ended up having to move the chicken to two smaller cooking vessels and hiking the baking temperature up 50° or so just to get the chicken to cook.

Then, when they were finally cooked, I ended up just piling the chicken on a plate which looked SO unappetizing I didn't even take a picture because I didn't want you to see my sad failure. The guys all said it was good, and the thing that saved the evening for me was that I remembered one of the guys was lactose-intolerant and made him cheese-free chicken, but still. Fail.

Also, I had made cookies for the dinner. In general, I am finding that many Hondurans don't have the sweet tooth that we US-ians have, so I tried to make molasses cookies, which are more spicy and less sweet...trouble was, I ended up having to substitute brown sugar-flavored Karo syrup for molasses because I couldn't find any, and the cookies stuck to our cookie sheets and our crap-tastic spatula wouldn't get them off cleanly, so I was embarrassed to serve those, too...

So today's cookies are a much-needed boost. I'm not sure why they turned out so perfectly, but I have some theories:
1) I use the most perfect recipe ever, the Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe, with a Kristen Fink tweak. (and, may I add, I think my cookies look better than the ones in their picture)
2) I bought new cookie sheets at Stock today, while I bought my 7lb bags of brown sugar and chocolate chips (LOVE!)
3) I was due for something to go right in the kitchen.

Whether or not any of these are true, the cookies are delicious and I'm feeling like I can get back in the kitchen and cook with confidence again...I may even keep trying out new recipes...Chris got me a Masala Dabba (Indian spice holder) for Christmas, and brought back all kinds of spices, so I know we are both anxious to get a little more Indian food back into our lives...I will take pictures and post them as soon as we make something worth sharing.
(Starting from 9:00--green cardamom, whole red chilli peppers, cumin,
brown mustard seeds, mace, black cardamom, and in the center is coriander--YUM!)

No tatting lately...but the day is still young... :)

KF

2 comments:

  1. I was just in Tegus for two weeks (got home yesterday). The only place I've found molasses is at Mas por Menos (which really should be called Menos por Mas in my opinion). I did a lot of grocery shopping because we were cooking for 170 women for a three day conference in La Esperanza. I knew there were a few things we needed to bring with us because we (probably) wouldn't be able to find them in Honduras (like angel food cake mix) or they would be extremely expensive (like real bacon bits because we needed a lot of them). We found everything else we needed by going to about five stores.

    In the 17 years I've been traveling to Honduras I'm amazed at how much more "gringo food" is available each year. On one trip I searched for chocolate chips at about 10 stores and never found them. Now it seems like almost everyone has them. Your chocolate chip cookies looked wonderful!!!

    Don't get discouraged when things don't turn out perfectly. Cooking & baking is challenging in Honduras when you consider the different brands/types of ingredients, higher altitude (for me at least), power outages, etc.

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  2. Thank you again for using Mi Esperanza and thanks for the mention above! Any time you want to drop off a few of those cookies, please do so. I am sure we would all love them!

    As always, if you need anything at all, don't hesitate to call!

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