Sunday, 23 October 2011

Columbian Cuisine and Home Cooking à la Ayalas

Just as I thought I had finished blogging today, another wonderful opportunity found its way to me that (unsurprisingly and fittingly) needed to be added to the blog. After Mass this evening, those who could attend were invited to the home of the Ayala family. As it turned out, a small group of us joined the Ayala family at their home for dinner and were treated to a beautifully home cooked meal by Mónica's mom who is here in the States visiting from Columbia.

As we entered the Ayalas' home and onto the screened-in porch, I passed by the kitchen where white circles were being fried up as you would plantains. A close relative to taro root, we found out that this tuber is known as malanga. In preparing this post, I learned that malanga is especially popular in Cuban cooking and that in its root form, it resembles that of a sweet potato and in the Caribbean translates to "thick" (I suppose because of its shape). In any case, fried until browned and with a slight chip crunch, softer interior, and sprinkled with a mix of (perhaps) garlic, onion, and salt, they could very well be billed as a health potato chip alternative.

And speaking of plantains, yes, there were some fried ones, too.

Amidst conversations of greetings, introductions, and getting to know more about one another, we also enjoyed two types of salad. The one pictured above left had sliced tomatoes, strawberries, and walnuts, while the one above right had apples, figs, and toasted almonds.

For our main dish, we were served rollos de pollo, yellow rice with chicken. For a sweeter flavour, there were also yellow and orange bell peppers, green peas, and raisins.

And to end a very warming evening of conversation and company, the familial comfort food presented this evening was marked by a homemade apple pie. More reflections to be updated, but in the meantime, click here for the complete album.

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