I knew I could count on my Mom to help me with my bizarre little endeavor (she’s seriously my biggest cheerleader and fan and I love her for it), but was made even happier about this whole meal when we learned my Tia (Aunt) Matilda would be dropping by for a very unexpected Thanksgiving visit. I hadn’t seen Tia since I was about 14, so I was really excited to see her. I was even more excited to listen to the banter between my mom & her sister, reliving their childhood in Colombia in that delicious accent of theirs. Nothing like getting a pair of chatty Colombian sisters together with a bunch of food to prepare and stories that make you laugh so hard you cry! Plus, I would finally get to learn a lot of the secrets behind making some of my favorite Colombian foods from women who actually know how to prepare it, something I’ve been dying to learn for a long time.
After spending the actual Thanksgiving holiday at my Mom’s place in San Jose, the three of us packed up our leftovers and specialty items and took the train back to my place here in Sacramento. Because the weather was kind of nasty over the weekend we didn’t take Auntie to do as much sightseeing as I would have liked, but I was able to show her some key spots in the Downtown area and point out the beauty & history of the Sacramento River. On Saturday morning we went shopping for some produce and other items at Safeway (stopping briefly at another store to get the queso fresco for the buñuelos; I wonder why Safeway stopped carrying this kind of cheese?), then headed back to Casa de Poor Girl to get our cook on.
On the menu for the evening:
~ Empanadas con Guiso de Pavo y Hogao (cornmeal pockets filled with shredded turkey and savory tomato-scallion sauce)
~ Yucca Fries with Pique (chunky scallion-cilantro sauce)
~ My Grandmother’s Buñelos (cheese fritters)
~ Patacones (fried green plantains)
~ Papitas de Paseo con Hogao (“Picnic Potatoes” with tomato-scallion sauce)
~ Candied Orange Yam Empanadas (cornmeal pockets filled with my Mom’s candied orange yams)
~ Platanos Maduros con Chocolate (grilled sweet plantains with chocolate drizzle)
~ Bocadillo de Guayaba y Brevas con Queso (guava paste candied green figs with cheese)
Yucca Fries with Pique - Details Recipe Information
Pique - Details Recipe Information
Empanadas con Guiso de Pavo y Hogao - Details Recipe Information
Candied Orange Yam Empanadas - Details Recipe Information
As I mentioned earlier, the Candied Orange Yam Empanadas were definitely the stars of the evening, although Mama and Tia said everything turned out delicious and beautifully presented. This was no small feat and definitely took a lot of time to put together but we all felt the end result was well worth our combined efforts. We had so much fun doing this that I want to do it again, but perhaps on a slightly less elaborate scale; my kitchen just isn’t big enough for all of my big ideas!
Seriously though, between the good food, the interesting stories of a completely different time and place, and the quality time I got to spend with my mother and my aunt, this was a fabulous experience that I will never forget. I was finally able to learn how to prepare food that is part of my heritage, and I was happy to note that I am far more creative in the kitchen that I’d originally thought. But most importantly, I was able to spend this holiday with two of my favorite women in the world, bonding with them more than I ever imagined. Thanks for the opportunity, Foodbuzz! It was a blast!