Monday, July 30, 2012

Cena de Panama (Panamanian Dinner)

I woke up in the morning and headed to the grocery store with my list in hand. Since I was fortunate to be kid free for this trip, it was  a quick in and out. When I got home, I jumped right in making the food for our dinner. The first thing I did was slice up a steak and marinate it in salsa for Carne en Palito

After doing some other prep work for the rest of the dishes I had planned, I was hungry. I mean REALLY hungry. The only reason that I am telling you this is because I sat down with a bowl of Thai noodles, which I made the day before. Yes, I cannot stop eating Thai food. I felt like I was cheating on Panama to be snacking on Thai food only hours before I was to be enjoying a Panamanian meal. I actually asked myself, "Is this being fair to Panama?" At any rate, I hope that Panama won't mind, but I simply cannot get enough of Thailand. With that said, I have thoroughly enjoyed Panama and it has made it's way to the list of places that I want to visit in reality, not just in fantasy.   

After spending a couple of hours in the kitchen, the table was set. I had placed our art work, the flag that we made and the books that we borrowed on the buffet so that we could enjoy them during dinner. 

I posted this next photo on my Facebook page yesterday and asked if anyone knew what they were. We did have someone guess the right answer, chayote. Then, I said that I would give my reviews. We made corn with chayote and I will admit, I was worried, it's hard for me to go out on a limb sometimes and try something new, but it was SO yummy! I went back for more (and am eager to eat the leftovers). If you are fortunate to be able to get these at your local grocery, I highly recommend trying this dish.

We also made arroz con pina. This is a drink, similar to the raspados that we made, in that it has a rice base. Instead of strawberry, the arroz con pina, uses rice and pineapple, cooking the rice right in pineapple juice. The flavor was delicious, but the texture was bit grainy for us. We also served up ice water with lime slices to drink with our meal. 

The main dish (for the non meat eaters) was a black bean pie. This is a layered dish, with beans, onions, salsa, cheese and tortillas. As you may have guessed, it was full of yummy. Aiden even had some of the leftovers for breakfast, it's *that* good. 

When I was searching for meal options, I kept stumbling across empanadas. We made empandas for our Cuban dinner and they were SO good, that we wanted to have them again. I know that it seems strange to have a pie for the meal along with mini "pies" for a side, but when given the option of eating empanadas, we just couldn't say no. For the meat eaters, there were empanadas filled with ground beef, onion, cheese and spices. For the non meat eaters, there were empanadas filled with potato, onion, broccoli and spices (chili, cumin, coriander, oregano, paprika, salt and just a pinch of sugar).  

The little frogs that we made were scattered around the table to watch us eat. 
After eating the delicious meal, we followed it with a dessert of pineapple wedges. One thing that I love about summer is that fruit is in abundance and it is a fantastic dessert option. 

We listened to some Panamanian radio, streaming free online. I asked the Panama trivia and we reflected on our Panamanian tour, and discussed what was next for our little globe spinning family. 

Did you try any new foods over the weekend? How about sampling food from another culture? Or did you harvest some fresh food from your backyard garden? Come on people, I wanna know what YOU ate :) 

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