Vacaciones Espontáneas / Arroz con piña

File Jun 14, 12 15 10 AMEstábamos en el mercado el otro día y mientras buscaba entre las frutas y verduras frescas, noté un lote de piñas en uno de los estantes que lucían deliciosas.

 

He escogido piña fresca en el pasado, pero la verdad siempre me ha costado elegir una buena.

 

Mientras estaba allí tocando una de las espinosas frutas, mi esposo regresó del otro lado de la tienda con un galón de leche en la mano. Colocó la leche en nuestro carro y se dio cuenta de que yo estaba viendo fijamente las piñas.

 

“¡Me encanta la piña!” Dijo, como si estuviera leyendo mi mente. “Deberíamos comprar una.”

 

Se acercó al estante en donde estaban las piñas, y tomó una que se veía más amarilla, que verde o marrón, la acercó a su rostro y la olió, y luego jaló suavemente la hoja del centro de la cabeza de la fruta.

 

Explicó – y busqué más tarde en Google para verificar: Cómo elegir una piña madura.

 

Se puede determinar la madurez de una piña por su color, olor y, suavemente jalando una hoja.

 

Cuanto más madura este la piña, más fuerte es el olor. El olor de una piña inmadura es débil.

 

Además, la hoja central superior se extrae fácilmente cuando la fruta esta totalmente madura.

 

Así que trajimos a casa una buena piña madura, mi esposo emocionado la cortó tan pronto como llegamos y comenzó a comer la dulce delicia tropical.

 

Pero yo tenía más en mente que simplemente comer la piña sola. Yo estaba pensando en mi tiempo en el sudeste asiático, y en un plato que rápidamente se convirtió en un favorito – Arroz con piña.

 

El arroz con piña es básicamente arroz frito con piña y camarones.

 

Es conocido popularmente como un platillo tailandés. No obstante, algo que supe de primera mano, fue que aunque su popularidad no está en cuestión, no es realmente un platillo de Tailandia. Hecho que en su momento me confundió, porque casi cada restaurante tailandés en el que he estado sirven el platillo.

 

Durante mis viajes, pasé un tiempo en Tailandia, en donde mis amigos locales me dijeron que el famoso arroz con piña no es parte de su dieta, ni lo consideran un platillo tailandés real. De hecho, una vez teniendo esa información, observe con detenimiento y me di cuenta que sólo vi el plato en restaurantes de zonas turísticas.

 

La primera vez que probé el arroz con piña fue en Singapur, en “Golden Mile Complex” – el mercado tailandés en la ciudad. Y lo comí frecuentemente durante mi tiempo en Asia.

 

Cuando pienso en el platillo, pienso en mi querida amiga Bere.

 

Hace varios años, Bere y yo viajamos juntas a Indonesia, en unas espontaneas mini vacaciones/celebración de cumpleaños.

 

Yo acababa de volver a Singapur de un largo viaje de trabajo, y estaba en casa cuando mi amiga, Bere, me envió un mensaje de texto. Después de saludarnos, le dije que estaba en casa, y le pregunté qué estaba haciendo.

Era un lunes como cualquier otro, y me extraño que se comunicara conmigo en horas de trabajo.

 

“Me tomé esta semana de vacaciones”, me dijo. A lo que respondí:

 

“¡Deberíamos ir a algún lugar!”

 

Ella sugirió: “¡Vamos a la playa!”

 

Era mediados de diciembre, y mi cumpleaños seria sólo en un par de días, yo había trabajado exhaustivamente las semanas previas, y estaba planeando tomar el resto de la semana libre, por lo que su idea me cayo como anillo al dedo.

 

Y así, decidimos irnos a la playa; Bere sugirió la isla Bintan en Indonesia, que esta a dos horas en ferri de Singapur.

 

Una hora después de nuestra conversación nos encontramos en la terminal de ferri, compramos boletos, y nos dirigimos a Indonesia. En el camino, Bere hizo reservas de hotel, y estábamos listas.

 

En el lugar en donde nos alojamos, no había mucho alrededor, así que la mayor parte de nuestros días, la pasamos durmiendo en la habitación, leyendo, o a la orilla de la playa.

 

La playa era preciosa, con aguas cristalinas y arenas doradas.

 

Al día de hoy, ese viaje sigue siendo uno de los momentos más relajantes de mi vida adulta.

 

Pasamos un par de días descansando y relajándonos en una de las playas más hermosas en esa área. Recuerdo haber comido mucho arroz con piña.

 

Bere es vegetariana, así que ella comió este platillo – solo quitando el camarón. Recuerdo que probamos otros platillos durante ese viaje, y no fueron nada impresionantes; Pero el arroz frito con piña fue una delicia continua.

 

Así que ahora, cuando pienso en Arroz con piña (y arroz frito), pienso en Bere, la diversión de nuestro viaje espontáneo a Indonesia, y cómo ella sigue siendo una de mis mejores amigas y compañeras de viaje favoritas.


 

ARROZ FRITO CON PIÑA

2 -3 Personas

(Todos los ingredientes son aproximaciones, añade o cambia los ingredientes a tu gusto)

 

1 Taza de arroz blanco cocido (frío de preferencia y es perfecto si es un par de días viejo)   (Checa cómo hacer un mejor arroz)

10 Camarones

1 Huevo

1/2 Cebolla amarilla finamente cortada en trozos pequeños

2 Cebollas verdes picadas (Cebollines)

1-2 Tomates medianos, sin semilla y picados en trozos de aprox. 2 centímetros.

2/3 Taza de piña fresca, cortada en trozos de 2 centímetros

(* Si no puede encontrar la piña fresca, usa piña al almíbar asegurándote de secar el almíbar lo mejor que puedas)

1/2 Taza de nueces de la india tostadas sin sal

1 Cucharada de salsa de soya

1 Cucharada de salsa de pescado

1 Cucharadita de curry en polvo

1 Cucharadita de azúcar

1 Pepino en rodajas para adornar

1 Pizca de pimienta blanca

1 Pizca de sal

2 Cucharaditas de aceite de cocina (vegetal, de oliva o lo que sea que usas regularmente en tu cocina)

 

PREPARACIÓN

 

Antes de comenzar, mezcla todos los ingredientes secos (curry, azúcar, pimienta blanca, sal) en una taza pequeña. Mezcla los ingredientes húmedos (salsa de soya y salsa de pescado) en una taza pequeña separada. Déjalos a un lado.

(Con libertad puedes saltar este paso y servir directamente mientras cocinas.)

En un sartén grande, calienta a fuego medio-alto y saltea los camarones hasta que estén rosados ​por todos lados.

Una vez que están listos, sácalos del sartén, y escurre el exceso de aceite, ponlos a un lado.

Usando el aceite restante (y agregando un poco más si es necesario), agrega el huevo y bátelo ligeramente. Cuando el huevo empiece a cambiar de color y este medio cocido, agrega el arroz y revuelve con la cuchara hasta que este bien mezclado (alrededor de 2 minutos).

Agrega los trozos de cebollas y mezcla durante aproximadamente 2 minutos. Agregue los ingredientes secos (curry, azúcar, pimienta blanca, sal) y la mitad de la mezcla de ingredientes húmedos (salsa de soya y salsa de pescado), continua removiendo hasta que los granos de arroz se separen y los condimentos cubran todo el plato (unos 3 minutos) .

Agrega la piña, camarones, las nueces de la india y la otra mitad de la mezcla de ingredientes húmedos. Revuelve aproximadamente por 3 minutos.

Una vez que la piña se oscurezca y el arroz este seco, apaga el fuego. Añade los trozos de tomates y cebollín.

Sirve el arroz en un plato colocando con los camarones completos sobre el arroz, y las rebanadas de pepino a un lado como decoración.

 

Versión vegetariana:

Omite el camarón

(y el huevo en el caso de los veganos)

Usa aceite de coco y agrega un poco de ajo y jengibre fresco para acentuar los sabores!

 

Prueba esta receta y comparte con nosotros tu experiencia a través de #johastable

Spontaneous Vacation/Pineapple Rice

We were at the grocery store the other day and I was perusing through the fresh produce when I noticed some delicious looking pineapples.

I’ve selected fresh pineapple before, but the truth is I didn’t know how to pick out a good one. As I stood there fondling the prickly fruit, my husband returned from the other side of the store with a gallon of milk in hand. He placed the milk in our cart and realized I was staring at pineapples.

“I love pineapples!” he said, seemingly reading my mind. “We should get one.”

He reached into the pineapple display and grabbed a more-yellow-than-green-or-brown pineapple, brought it close to his face and smelled it, and then gently tugged at the leaf at the fruit’s top center.

He explained – and I later googled his facts to verify – how to pick out a ripe pineapple.

You can tell a pineapple’s ripeness by its color, scent and by gently tugging on a leaf.

The closer to ripe the pineapple gets, the more robust the scent. An unripe pineapple’s scent is faint.

Also, the top center leaf will easily pull from the fruit when fully ripened.

So we brought home a good, ripe pineapple, and my excited husband cut it open as soon as we got home and began eating the sweet tropical delight.

But I had more in mind than simply eating the pineapple alone. I was thinking of my time in Southeast Asia, and a dish that quickly became a favorite – Pineapple Rice. Pineapple Rice is basically fried rice with pineapple and shrimp.

Pineapple Rice is known as a popular Thai dish, but something I found out firsthand is the fact that, though it’s popularity is not in question, it’s not actually a Thai dish; which really confused me because nearly every Thai restaurant I’ve ever been to serves the dish.

But during my travels, I spent time in Thailand, where locals told me that Pineapple Rice is not part of their diet, nor do they consider it an actual Thai dish. In fact, I only saw the dish in restaurants in touristic areas.

I first tried Pineapple Rice in Singapore, in Golden Mile Complex – the Thai market in the city. And I ate the dish often during my time in Asia.

When I think about the dish, I think of my dear friend Bere.

Several years ago, Bere and I traveled together to Indonesia on a whim for a several days, for a relaxing miniature birthday vacation.

I had just gotten back to Singapore from a long work trip and was at home when my friend, Bere, began texting me.

After our greetings, I told her I was back at home and asked what she was doing.

It was a random Monday for her, so it was strange that she was able to communicate with me during work hours.

“I took the week off work,” she told me.

I replied, saying, “We should go somewhere!”

She upped the ante with a suggestion: “We should go to the beach!”

It was the middle of December, and my birthday was only a couple of days away and I had been gone for work, so I was planning to take the rest of the week off, so I agreed.

And just like that, we decided to leave and go to the beach; Bere suggested Bintan Island in Indonesia, which was a two-hour ferry ride from Singapore.

Within an hour after texting, we met at the ferry terminal, bought tickets and headed to Indonesia.

On the way, Bere made hotel reservations, and we were set.

At the hotel where we stayed, there wasn’t much around, so most of our days were spent napping in the room or lying on the beach.

The beach was beautiful, with crystal clear waters and golden sands.

To this day, that trip remains one of the most relaxing times of my adult life.

We spent a couple of days resting and relaxing at one of the most beautiful beaches in that area. And I ate lots of Pineapple Rice.

Bere is a vegetarian, so she was able to eat the dish as well – she just picked the shrimp out.

I remember trying other foods during that trip, and wasn’t impressed; but the Pineapple Rice was a continual delight.

So now, when I think of Pineapple Rice, I think about Bere and our spontaneous trip to Indonesia and how she remains one of my best friends and favorite travel partners.


 

PINEAPPLE FRIED RICE

2 -3 People

(All the ingredients are approximation, add or change ingredients to taste)

 

1 Cup of cooked white rice (cold, or day old if possible) – Check how to make a better rice

10 Shrimp

1 egg

1/2 Yellow onion finely cut in small pieces

2 Green Onions chopped

1-2 Medium-sized Tomatoes, seeded and chopped in 1/2 inches pieces.

2/3 Cup Fresh Pineapple, cut into 1/2 inches pieces. (*If you can’t find fresh pineapple, use canned pineapple drying with a napkin as much juice as you can.)

1/2 Cup of roasted unsalted cashews

1 tsp Soy sauce

1 tsp Fish sauce

1 tsp Curry powder

1 tsp Sugar

1 Sliced Cucumber for garnish

1 dash of White Pepper

1 dash of Salt

2 tsp Cooking oil (vegetable, olive or whatever you regularly use in your kitchen)

 

PREPARATION

Before starting, mix all the dry ingredients (curry, sugar, white pepper, salt) in a small cup. Mix wet ingredients (Soy sauce and Fish sauce) in a separate small cup. Set aside.

(You are free to skip this step and serve direct while cooking.)

In a big frying pan, heat on medium-high and sear the shrimp until pink and on all sides. Once it is ready, take it out of the pan, and drain the excess oil and set a side.

Using the remaining oil (and adding a little more if necessary), add the egg and scramble. When the egg starts changing color (half way cooked) add the rice and stir until it is mixed (around 2 minutes).

Add onions and mix for approximately 2 minutes.

Add dry ingredients (curry, sugar, white pepper, salt) and half of the wet ingredient mix (soy sauce and fish sauce), keep stirring until the rice grains are separated, and the seasoning has covered all the dish (about 3 minutes).

Add pineapple, shrimp, cashews and the other half of the wet ingredient mix. Stir approximately 3 minutes.

Once the pineapple is darkened and the rice is dry, turn off heat. Add tomatoes and the green onions.

Serve the rice garnishing with the whole shrimp on top and cucumber on the side as garnish.

 

Vegetarian version:

Omit the shrimp and egg (vegan)

Use coconut oil and add spice it up with some garlic and fresh ginger.

 

Try this recipe and share with us through #johastable

Skipping School / Elote Cocido

A couple of weeks ago we bought some fresh corn from a local market. My husband intended on cooking something with it – either his great-grandmother’s cornbread, or corn grits, or something else. Honestly, I don’t remember what he was planning to cook; but as the week progressed and life ensued, the corn remained on the countertop, uncooked.

So, the other day I was looking at that corn and decided to make a snack that speaks to my Mexican roots – Elote cocido

Elote cocido (cooked corn) is a Mexican street snack often consumed during national celebrations. It is boiled corn covered in a creamy, cheesy, spicy mix, eaten on a stick.

As my decision to make this snack recurred in my mind, one particular memory flooded into my thoughts: I remembered the only time I ever skipped school – back in my eighth grade year.

I was never really a bad student throughout prep school – I didn’t make bad grades; never failed a course. I was social; well-liked by classmates and teachers; participated in extracurricular activities; I even had a music group (I played the quatro, a stringed instrument like the ukelele).

I was an above-average student that made average grades – up until my ninth grade year when my grades began showing marked improvements.

One day, my friend, Paty, and I decided to plan a day of deceit. We were going to play hooky.

But it had to be perfect.

So we took a week to plan and prepare.

“Why skip school?” you may be asking. I was a church girl who got along with everyone and always played nice … but I loved adventures and challenges, and this, I knew, would get my adrenaline pumping.

So after our week of preparation, the Friday came when we would make our escape into freedom. It was just a few weeks before finals, so the school year was winding down. The week of the science fair – so there were many faces missing from classrooms. It would be hard for administrators to know that why we were not in class.

We left our homes dressed in our school uniforms and met outside of the school. We boarded a bus, and headed to the traditional hang out spot when kids would skip school at that time, Chapultepec.

Chapultepec is in the middle of Mexico City, and hosts a forest, parks, a zoo, a castle sitting atop a hill, a lake, a museum – plenty of fun things for us to do while not in class. It’s sometimes referred to as the “lungs of the city,” due to its vast green areas.

When we arrived, we looked around and realized a lot of other school kids had the same idea as us. There were tons of kids, clad in uniforms from schools on every end of the city.

Mexico City is the largest city in the world, with 30 million people living there, so the likelihood that there would be other kids deciding to skip school on that day was pretty high.

It was a cool place to simply go hide away for a day.

We walked around excitedly. We sat and had a picnic, eating what was supposed to be our lunches for breakfast.

We went to the zoo for a couple hours, and spent hours simply walking around the park.

Then we came upon the lake and decided to rent a canoe. It seemed like it would be a lot of fun. But renting one canoe proved to be expensive for us.

Luckily for us, while in line we had made friends with a group of girls from the southern part of Mexico City who were also skipping school that day.

They told us they could fit two more people in the two canoes they were renting, so we happily jumped in!

As we canoed around the lake with our new friends, a group of canoeing boys our age took notice of us and started talking to us. Our banter was innocent and friendly, and the boys asked if we wanted to switch boats – some of us go into their canoe, and some of them come into ours.

The idea was that the group of guys and the group of girls would hang out together the rest of the day.

I didn’t like that idea. I was skeptical. They were friendly, but I didn’t know them.

So I, along with a few of the other girls stayed in our canoe while the girls that wanted to mingle with the boys were in the other. They passed us their backpacks and other belongings to make room for the extra people that would be in the canoe. Pati was one of them.

As the boys and girls started intermingling in the canoes, a couple of the guys stood up and began rocking the boat.

I watched from a safe distance as the boat tipped over and everyone fell into the lake.

Including my friend, Paty.

Mind you, the lake was disgusting. It had a terrible smell and a thick layer of green algae.

After they fell in, we had to rescue them, which we did. The looks on some of the girls’ faces were filled with devastation.

I was less than devastated. Actually, I was laughing really hard!

They finally got out of the water. Very stinky. And we found some sprinklers around the park where all the girls, including Paty, were able to spray themselves clean.

Luckily, Paty brought an extra shirt that day, and she was able to change, so we walked around a little bit more before finding our way to get some food.

We were very hungry, so we stopped at a street vendor to have elote cocido. That was the perfect snack to end our day at Chapultepec, and we headed home.

Of course, on the way home, we made our way over the science fair. We made sure that we were seen so we’d have an alibi.

It was such a fun, memorable day for me. And what made it all the better is that we didn’t get caught! Our plan had worked, and we had a day of freedom, new friends, lots of laughs and a great snack.

Unfortunately, Paty had a bad allergic reaction on her skin from the disgusting lake water she had fallen in, so she was unable to leave her house for several days, but the memory of the day we skipped school will forever be forged into our memories.


 

ELOTE COCIDO

This one is really easy to make, but the flavors are the base of many Mexican foods, and there’s many different variations. So try it, and be creative!

 

Corn on the cob

Water

Salt

Pepper

Butter

Mayonnaise

Shredded Queso Fresco (If you can’t find queso fresco, use Parmesan cheese)

Chile Powder

Lime

Skewers to stick through the corn – I didn’t have skewers, so I used chopsticks

 

Shuck, clean and boil corn for about 15 minutes, or until corn is tender.

In separate shallow bowl or cookie sheet, place cheese

Remove corn from water and with a towel (so you don’t burn your hand) insert skewer into the cob. Holding with the skewer, spread butter on the corn then coat corn with a thin layer of mayonnaise.

Place corn in cheese and roll to coat.

Season with salt, pepper and chile powder, to taste.

Squirt fresh lime onto the elote cocido and enjoy!