Thursday, January 19, 2006

George Harrison -- Isn't it a Pity

We've had such a mild winter so far that everyone is feeling like it's freezing, and it's in the upper 60s. Very funny.

You know what I want today? Not a $550 camera, no! Just a single piece of Mexican tamarind candy. I got some at a Mexican market I visited with my mom a couple weeks ago. It's dried tamarinds with the seeds in that are coated in chili and sugar and other stuff --it's the really good taste of sweet and sour and hot all together.

And like many other good things, terribly unhealthy, it turns out --just two days ago I learned from news articles that a new law took effect Jan 1 in CA that bans the sale of a bunch of different brands of chili-and-tamarind-based candies, including the brand I think I got, due to high levels of lead. I'm not sure how the lead is getting into the candies, but there you go. Figures. I think what I need to do is learn to use tamarind in cooking. Yeah.

One thing I got at the Mexican market that's NOT lead-filled, apparently, is dried Hibiscus( Jamaica en Espanol) flowers. I made Agua de Jamaica, which is a gorgeous drink that's kind of like Pomegranate juice in that it's a complex taste, not one-note like orange juice or lemon juice. All you do is boil the flowers with a ton of sugar until the flowers lose their purple color and turn almost white and translucent. By then you've boiled a bunch of the water away, and the remaining juice is nice and kind of thick. I managed to get mine perfect -- just enough sugar to balance out the sourness but not enough to make it sweet. It's good stuff and, as you'd figure with traditional Mexican food since before the Europeans came over, probably, it goes well with Mexican food.

Mmmm, tengo hambre... nos vemos!

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