Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Culinary trade-offs

I’m still reluctantly adjusting to the small changes required because certain foods are not available. I brought a bunch of my favorite cookbooks but so often the ingredients are nowhere to be found, especially spices. I’m used to the very cosmopolitan supermarkets of San Francisco with whole aisles of foods targeting Asian, Mexican, African American, Organic, and other niche markets.

Here it’s all Brazilian all the time. Looking for buttermilk? Sorry. Peanut butter? What’s that? Pecans? Nope. Asian plum sauce? You’ve got to be kidding. Bok Choy or bean sprouts? LOL! Anything Thai…forget it!

Also – I miss whipping out a flawless pie crust (for which I am/was famous.) It is just too hot. The secret to a perfect pie crust is to keep everything cold and NEVER let the butter go soft on you. Well, I’ve tried putting the mixing bowl, rolling pin and all ingredients in the refrigerator. I use ICE water. I frantically zip the mixed dough into the freezer to chill down before rolling. After rolling it out at buzz speed I whip it back into the freezer before baking. But alas, along the way things just heat up a bit too much and I get a less than perfect crust (which people still love – but I know the difference.) This explains the bizarre but tasty powdery/crumbly crust used here for baked entrées and the absence of dessert pies as I know them.

1 comment:

GingerV said...

I have found that almost all the spices are here - check the street fairs, you just have to learn the names.... one problem with your pie crust may be the flour... bread here is really bad - my pie crust has always been bad but here is impossible. good luck