Readers, as you may or may not have noticed, my blog has been on nearly a month-long furlough. I did not intend for this to happen but when the end of the semester came I was forced to take two weeks off. Then Christmas hit and the past weeks were a blur of last minute Christmas shopping, catching up with friends before the holidays, and finally getting our home clean and decorated. A couple days before Christmas, family arrived in town and the next week was spent enjoying them and the holidays.
As usual, some of this time has also been spent enjoying good friends and family around tables of food. To help us all catch up on Adkins Domain happenings, I thought I would write a fun, lighthearted post that is a little out of the ordinary, documenting highlights from my food journey this month.
December 2- First attempt at making Horchata
We returned from California just in time for the last two week rush of the semester, and I was also eager to return to the kitchen. During our time in California, I had the opportunity to try my first Horchata at a Mexican restaurant there. It was delicious, and I resolved to make my own. Thanks to Pinterest, I quickly found a recipe and bought the ingredients.
- 2 cups uncooked white rice
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 4 cups water
- ground cinnamon to taste as needed
- 2 cups of 2% milk
- white sugar to taste
In a blender, combine uncooked white rice, cinnamon sticks, and water. Blend for a least 3 minutes. Allow mixture to sit for at least 8 hours. Use a collider to separate rice from the liquid. Throw away rice. Pour liquid into a clean sealable container ( mason jars work well) and add milk, ground cinnamon if needed, and white sugar. Seal container and shake to mix. Refrigerate and serve cold with ice if desired.
December 19- Visit to Abby Inn
I am somewhat ashamed to admit that I had never eaten at Abby Inn prior to my December visit with my in-laws. Abby Inn is located in our towns historic downtown which I often visit. Abby Inn surprised me because of its medieval atmosphere. Tapestries with coats of arms swung from the ceiling. Even the walls were textured to look the part. We began our meal with an appetizer of Buffalo Blue Balls. Biting into one of the breaded bites past the crunchy outer layer I was immediately met with the melted spicy center, it was incredible.
I ordered the Tarragon Haddock with green beans and Abby Inn’s famous white cheddar mashed potatoes for my main course. I was very impressed by the flavor of the fish and I enjoyed the presentation of my entree on the unique rectangular dish. However, the green beans had not been cooked long enough and I also found the service unprofessional.
When we left, I was somewhat startled by seeing our familiar downtown again and modern-day culture making me realize how immersed I had been in the scenery that the Inn had provided. Overall, I would recommend visiting this quaint restaurant.
December 22- The Best Breakfast: Old West Cafe
Let me just begin by saying there is nothing like Old West Cafe. Old West Cafe is a favorite in our town and everyone who has visited talks about “Old West”, as it is called by the locals. The original Old West was in a small wooden building with an even smaller parking lot. Recently, Old West moved to a new location, at least twice the size of the original one. However, this did nothing to help the lines. When you go to Old West you expect to wait. But no one minds. When they tell you it will be 30 minutes or an hour for a table, customers nod knowingly and take their seat on a bench outside.
Inside Old West Cafe, waters and waitresses bustle around, and silverware and cups click from every direction. Usually, the staff is dressed in button-down shirts and bandanas, but this time, most of them were wearing festive Christmas sweaters. Families, couples, and businessmen alike gather around wooden tables and booths drowning pancakes in syrup, scooping up large mouthfuls of hashbrowns and omelets, and sipping on hot coffee. The walls are lined with images of cowboys, horses, bulls, and commical cowboy quotes.
The hardest thing about going to Old West is deciding what to order. Although I have been there many times, the decision has never become any easier. There are many options from omelets to breakfast tacos and quesadillas, to pancakes and french toast. Typically, I end up ordering some combination of eggs, bacon, fruit, hashbrowns, and a chocolate chip pancake. Did I mention, one pancake is the size of a whole plate?
Old West also has the most incredible coffee bar, courtesy of the new location. Their coffees a unique and there are many flavors to pick from. This time, I had a hot coffee with Irish cream. You can also go to Old West and just order a coffee, as though it were a coffee shop.
This is why, whenever I am asked where to go to breakfast, I have an immediate answer.
December 26- Enchiladas salvadoreñas
When some of my family came to visit for Christmas, my brother in-law made us (my first) Enchiladas salvadoreñas: tortillas with chicken, green salsa, and hues (eggs). Honestly, I was completely unprepared for the rich flavors that greeted me. The chicken was some of the most tender I have ever taisted and the tortillas held a flavor of their own, contrary to the sticky white American tortillas. My brother in-law pared the meal with a side of plátanos fritos (fried plantains) and curtido (similar to a coleslaw) and a spicy green salsa to tie it all together. It was also my first time to try plátanos and curtido, and I found them delicious as well. This was mainly due to the way my brother in-law prepared them. I am usually not a fan of cabbage therefore coleslaw is not my favorate, but it perfectly accompanied the dish and I eagerly ate all of the curtido on my plate.
Here are two different versions of the dish my brother in-law has made at different times:
While I still know little about this dish and how it is made, it currently stands as one of the best meals I have ever eaten.
Hopefully, my food highlights from this past month helped you catch up, and as always, inspired you to try new things. In the comments below I would love to read the new things you have discovered in the past month, especially food related. I would also love to hear if you get a chance to try this Horchata recipe.
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Thanks for reading!