March 20, 2009

The Elusive Pupusa

(Came across this old post sitting in the drafts pile and thought I'd go ahead and publish it.)

One good thing about living in Lubbock is that it's so warm you don't have to worry about getting a winter boyfriend, you know, someone to keep you warm during the cold winter months, when it’s too miserable to go outside. It's been in the mid 80°s this week.

I don't mind venturing out alone for food and dining alone. I don't even bother to take along a book anymore. The only time I felt particularly conspicuous was when I ate at the Korean place and dropped my metal chopsticks onto the tile floor. Switched to a fork after that. Since graduating, I have more free time in the evenings after piano lessons, so I think it's kind of fun to go explore local eateries. I have such specific tastes and cravings, it's definitely easier to agree with myself that I picked a lovely place to go to rather than negotiate with another party. But there are the drawbacks of not having another person there to share and trade entrées with or with whom to discuss the food.

I recently got it into my mind to get some Salvadorean food. The only Salvadorean restaurant around, El Salvador Pupusería Y Restaurant, is west of town. I started mapping the drive out and found that not only was the place a good long drive away from work and home, it was out in the sticks. I have some experience with narrow, unmarked country roads, having grown up in the boonies myself. I knew the major roads to get out there, no problem.

But there was a problem. Google Maps let me down, despite all my love for it. I drove and drove down the dark road, without spotting the restaurant. I finally turned around and headed for home, which took some doing, as I traveled at a crawl and made some wrong turns that slowed me down. I had to admit that I'd turned into one of those city slickers I made fun of that acted like they couldn't find my house in the country or drove 35 mph down the roads I maxed out the speedometer on. I got home and ate Reese's cups for dinner.

Determined to try again the next day, I Google mapped the route again trying to figure out where I went wrong. (My instincts tell me that "Google map" is not a verb. Neither is "text," for that matter. "Tweet" is okay, though I keep seeing "Twit this" which isn't right, but whatever. I'm starting a group protesting the noun-->verb creep and the constant use of emoticons. It's an outrage, I say! I need more nerdy friends. Or should that be nerdier friends?) Lo and behold, our restaurant was magically on a different spot on the map this time. I decided I needed to go farther west, and I tried again that night to find the place.

I drove down the dark road again, this time coming from the west. Again, my map was off, this time by three miles. I happened to spot the restaurant despite the darkness and whipped the car into the dirt driveway. The building was dark and vacant. I got out and checked the hours posted on the door, only to find I'd missed closing time by a few minutes. They certainly cleared out quickly.

So the next day, attempt number three, and this time I was successful.

Comida Salvadoreña Comida Salvadoreña

PupusaIf you need a primer on pupusas

When I was in New York, I tried a pupusa at the Brooklyn Flea (winter indoors edition). Lubbockites would be proud to know that the El Salvador Pupusería Y Restaurant pupusa kicked that one to the curb. Small victories.

March 14, 2009

Pi (Pie) Day

Pi Day is a special day in the lives of many a nerd. Just like normal people celebrate Valentine's Day or National Pancake Day, nerds around the world will gather and join hands in the shape whose ratio of its circumference to its diameter is the most revered mathematical constant in the known universe. - How to Celebrate Pi Day

Happy Pi Day! 3.1415926535...

Here are some of the pies I saw at the Pi Day celebration I attended:

Pi (Pie) Day

I took the Key Lime Pie. My recipe is like this one except I put a couple of teaspoons of lime zest in the filling as well.

March 10, 2009

Get Your Goat

My mom got a couple of Pygmy goats, a mama and a baby.


And I made a goat cheese and chicken pizza with some leftover stuff in my fridge. I should have rolled the crust out thinner and drizzled olive oil on top so the basil didn't dry out and taste like a dead leaf.

Goat Cheese Chicken Pizza Goat Cheese Chicken Pizza

March 8, 2009

Comfort Food

Your maid just quit and you're going to have to scrub the toilet yourself. You lost your wallet and someone stole your identity. Your dreams of being an NFL quarterback are hampered by your trick knee and lack of arms. Your plastic surgeon tells you that your case is hopeless. Your good old-fashioned morals and domestic skills fail to win you a worthy suitor. You get passed over for that promotion despite all your efforts at bribing the boss. While you're on the treadmill, your pants fall down, then you fall down, and the people at the gym get a free show while your face gets burned by the treadmill belt. Your dreams of dating a comedian will never come true. The Google Doc with personal financial information and net worth calculations is inadvertently shared with all your Gmail contacts.

Only half of those things have happened to me.

Trying times such as these justify a little stress eating - a meat and potatoes menu like Mom used to make to remind you of your charmed childhood that you can never go back to, and if you were deprived of that charmed childhood and homemade dinners then that's all the more reason to seek comfort in food now.

Today's Sunday dinner menu included a green salad with chopped apples and vinaigrette, roast pork loin and vegetables, and for dessert, a chocolate cake with peanut butter frosting.

Roast Pork Loin with Root Vegetables

Pork loin seasoned with salt, pepper, cumin, and ancho chile powder, skillet-seared and then roasted at 375° for ~40 minutes. A mix of red potatoes, carrots, and parsnips, tossed with olive oil and the same spice mixture, roasted under the pork loin.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake - a cake wreck Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake

The cake wasn't as simple. Sour Cream-Chocolate Cake with Cream Cheese Peanut Butter Frosting and Chocolate Peanut Butter Glaze. I've wanted to make this recipe since I saw it on Smitten Kitchen. This one wasn't a winner for me. The soft cake crumbled under the weight of the frostings. Each component needs improvement. I usually get annoyed when people say of a dessert, "Ooh, that's too rich." Isn't that a good thing? But it's true with this cake. A couple of bites are enough!

The best part of my day was when Katie said, "Kimberly, this is great comfort food. It made me feel better."

Your favorite comfort foods?