Sunday, January 17, 2010

What's In The Bag? A "Mini Adventure"

What's In The Bag???

Lynn and I have almost gotten comfortable trying to do just about anything.  We still get “goofed-up” or terribly miss-understood, but it is happening less and less often.   But it still happens.  The big difference is that now we do more laughing (along with our colleagues) about what has happened.  Following is an example of one of these events.  

Lynn and I enjoy going to the grocery store together.  Lynn often needs some help carrying back food, and we still have fun trying to figure out what some things are on the shelf.  There is also the large “Bazaar” for most of the block before the grocery store with 20-plus booths filled with vegetables, honey, wine, etc.   We both enjoy getting fresh food at these booths. 

Since the weather is colder, we are finding we are spending more time cooking up soups, stews, etc. than we did in the summer.   Lynn is still the “master Chef” in the kitchen, but there is always lots of cutting, pealing, chopping and stirring for me to do.   We enjoy working together to see what we can create in the kitchen. 

For the past couple of weeks, we have been craving some good “old-fashioned” chili.   We can’t get any beef for chili meat, but there are other meats we can substitute. In addition, there are plenty of hot spices and hot peppers here that we can work with to make a good chili.   We decided that we wanted to make the chili with a base of beans.  We wanted red kidney beans.    We had already made a simple white bean soup in December, and we have made lots of other bean soups in the past.   As we walked along the bazaar, you could see the plastic bags with the white beans next to the bags with the larger red beans.  We just had to find out how much the red beans cost, and how much the bag weighed.  The first couple of booths had bags with more than we needed.  We found a vendor with the right size bag, and bought it. 

When we got home, we got a large bowl of hot water and put all the beans into the bowl to soak overnight.  On Sunday morning, we got up and started making all parts of the chili.  Meat was cut and browned, onions, spices, tomatoes, etc. were cooked up.  The beans still seemed a little “crunchy” to us, but we put them in with everything else, and had this very large pot filled with a rather good tasting chili.  We knew the crunchy beans would soften up as they cooked for the next several hours. 

We had our chili Sunday night.  It was good, but the beans were still crunchy.  We also noticed that some of the beans seemed to have split exactly in half.  But, the chili was still good.   We had enough for two other meals.  One for Tuesday after our evening conversational English class, and the other we froze. 

Tuesday’s chili still had those crunchy beans.  This just was not making any sense to Lynn and I.  We started “poking” around more in the chili.  Many beans had split in half.  They no longer had the red color, but were white.  The red color seemed to be a thin film that cooked (or slipped) away.  And… they were still crunchy.  They never got soft.   We looked at each other – and at the chili, and asked “Are they PEANUTS?”   That did not make sense.  We had never heard of peanuts being sold in the bazaar.  They were in bags next to the white beans we had cooked before.  But they were not red beans like we were used to, and they did taste a little like peanuts. 

So… I started asking about peanuts at work.  Sure enough - - Those red bean-looking things in the plastic bags are peanuts.   A couple of my colleagues wanted to try our “peanut chili”, and kept asking if this was a special “American meal”?  It is not! 

But we still have one more meal waiting for us in the freezer, and maybe those peanuts will get soft!  I doubt it!  Actually, the peanut chili is not all that bad. However, I don’t think we will make it that way again. 

So… just when you think you are getting adjusted to life here, you buy peanuts when you thought they were beans!!  Keep laughing. 


Anonymous said...

Love it! But I don't think I'll try to make "Peanut chili"

Valerie said...

Hahah! That's awesome! That might be interesting to try out...

Brian said...

Hilarious! By the way, don't try those "little yellowish-orange beans" next to the peanuts in your chili either. That's actually popcorn.

Anonymous said...

Unbelievable!. Depending upon the spices you use, you could end up with something more Thai. And you still got your protein, just from peanuts, not beans! Kristen's going to laugh when she hears this one! Kudos to the two of you though for continuing on this adventure. I continue to be proud, and a bit in awe, of what you're doing,