Thursday, February 3, 2011

Ratatouille

Chefs come in all shapes and sizes.  So far it hasn’t come in this package of a 5’ 6”, 120 pound girl. (Side note: my brothers claim I’m shorter than that but I swear the doctor told me I grew!  And the weight may or may not be accurate – I don’t weigh myself so it’s a guess – probably favoring the low side.  What girl doesn’t fudge this number a little?!)  J
On Monday I had my first cooking lesson and was so excited!  My host sister was quick to point out that I reminded her of the movie Ratatouille since I don’t know how to cook.  She asked me how I was going to get a rat on my head.  Fortunately for me I had a different guide, Maria.  (Side note: she’s taller, thinner, and prettier than a rat.  And she doesn’t have to hide under my chef hat.)
Maria cooking
Maria is our “nanny” and she comes about 3 times a week to help cook and clean.  It’s very common to have help around the house in Chile and she has worked with this family for nearly 20 years.  20 YEARS!

About to go in the oven!

My first lesson in Chilean cooking was Zappallos Italianos Rellenos (stuffed zucchini).  And yum, yum, yum!  They came out of the oven piping hot with a nice layer of cheese and I was proud of my (albeit not independent) accomplishment!  We even served it up with some nice accompaniments…

video

Also available on YouTube in higher quality video.

The beauty of cooking in Chile is the lack of recipe.  It’s like they have a feeling, a notion, a sixth sense about what’s “right” in cooking.  A dash of this, a little of that and wa-lah!  Magic!  Some delicious, aromatic wonder always appears. 
If you’re adventurous and feel like you have the “magic touch” then try out my recipe for Zappallos Italianos Rellenos.  I’ll give you the list of ingredients but leave you to taste test your way through the measurements.  My one recommendation – go with your gut!
This type of cooking is just like life – there’s no “right” or “wrong” way.  As much as I sometimes hope there is one answer, there never is.  Just like a meal without a recipe, sometimes you have to take your best shot, and hope that everything will come out okay. 
When my little brother was making the hardest decision of his life my dad told him one thing that made all the difference.  “No matter which way you choose, it will be the right decision because you will make it the right decision.”  And in hindsight, as a proud sister, I can say he definitely made it the right decision. J
I’ll leave you with this thought…no matter what decision you’re facing – whether it be monumental, or merely if you should go out for dinner tonight or stay home – make the choice, and then make it the right choice.
And to top it off…I’ll leave you with my all-time favorite quote.
“Make the choice adventurous stranger, strike the bell and bide the danger
or wonder 'till it drives you mad what would have happened if you had.”
-C.S. Lewis

5 comments:

  1. You are the cutest thing ALIVE. Ahhh loved it. xoxo, safe travels.

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  2. Another awesome post - I love the takeaways! And, just so you know, I've adopted that C.S. Lewis quote as my favorite quote, too - thanks for the ongoing inspiration.

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  3. jajajajaja increíble !!! demasiado bueno valió la pena el trasnoche...

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  4. Thank you for the kind comments. :) Mark - that was many many years ago! I can't believe we're getting so old! But I think we've both definitely "made the choice." :) Happy and safe travels to you!

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  5. Cute video, Annie...I always enjoy your enthusiasm. =)

    BTW, you might want to take a look at step #6 in your recipe...there's a bit of an awkward typo. hehe ;)

    Looking forward to more of your updates! Take care!

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