Growing up and living in New York afforded me the kind of freedom to choose that I never realized was unusual in other parts of the world. Sure, every country has their ethnic cuisines of preference, but is it really that difficult to find Pad Thai in Paraguay? It’s not that I particularly want Pad Thai, or Thai food in general, but I would like a few more options for what I can choose from every evening when I walk into my kitchen and think, “What’ll it be for dinner today?”
My options are limited in the restaurants, but also in my own knowledge of the kitchen and ingredients sold in Paraguay. I have been stocking up heftily on fresh fruits (papaya, apples, plums, and recently was elated to find imported figs, guava, and blackberries!) and veggies (lettuce, tomato, zucchini, eggplant, onion, carrots) and I can’t forget the cereal that I appear to have a slight addiction to… However, given the lack of key ingredients that are either available, or that I purchase – I am always stumped about what to make for dinner that is not pasta, salad or a PBJ (yes, there is Peanut Butter!)
Anyway, I happened to find some cannelloni beans in the supermarket a few weeks ago, and was so excited that I had to buy them right away. So when I was meandering through my kitchen two nights ago trying to think of a meal, I decided to experiment a bit with the ingredients I had on hand, tomatoes, garlic, onion, eggplant, and the beans.
First I cut the eggplant into cubes, coated them with olive oil and salt, and placed them in the oven on medium heat (to sit for about 20 minutes). Then I sliced and diced some garlic and onion and put them on a skillet with olive oil to let them cook through a bit. Next I chopped up 3 super red tomatoes and added them to the garlic and onion mix. I let this cook for about 15-20 minutes until it resembled a chunky sauce…not quite tomato sauce, but not fully intact either.
I mixed in the roasted eggplant cubes and cooked through another 10 minutes or so before adding in the beans (without the juice they come in.) Sprinkling some salt and black pepper from time to time, I waited until the beans looks coated enough and did a quick taste test. It was delicious!!
Oh, I also sliced up a Pita, (a new find at the supermarket this week! – Pan Arabe) sprinkeld it with some olive oil and salt, and put it into the oven to bake for about 10-15 minutes. So I got to accompany my White Bean Tomato Sauce Deliciousness with home made Pita Chips!
The best part was the leftovers for lunch the next day!
So I guess my experimentation with food continues, but any recipes or suggestions are always welcome to help me vary my diet in a healthy way!