Friday, May 6, 2011

Double Take: Lime Square with Pistachio Pecan Graham Cracker Crust

Lime Square with Pistachio-Pecan-Graham Cracker Crust

Yesterday was Cinco de Mayo (the 5th of May). I thought it was just a spring celebration held by Mexicans but its a bit more than that. Its actually a celebration of Mexican heritage and culture AND the date commemorates the unlikely victory Mexico had over the French on May 5, 1862. It wasn't the day they won their independence but marked the first time the well equipped French army had been beaten by a smaller force and the last time a country in the Americas was invaded by a European force. I had no idea Mexico was fighting for independence while in the U.S. a Civil War was raging. Wow. I realize I don't have an incredible amount of knowledge about the history of Canada or Mexico.

In case you were dying to know, Mexico celebrates its Independence Day on September 16th based on the day their war for independence from Spain began in 1810. They officially became independent from Spain in 1821 only to be taken over later by the French. After the U.S. Civil War ended, the U.S. military joined Mexico to help them defeat the French. Craziness. Well, that's your history nugget of the day.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Double Take: Gnocchi

Homemade pasta is a challenge that I've wanted to attempt for a while now. I've watched Lydia Bastianovich make many pastas on PBS, envisioned unique ravioli fillings, etc. but had yet to venture into the great pasta unknown. Reality, it looks time consuming. Reality, some of it is time consuming but I think as you practice you get fast at it. I can live with that.

When Mel added gnocchi to the list of want to makes, I was excited and surprised. As I read the recipe, I continued to be surprised but with less enthusiasm. In the past, I've been notorious for not reading a recipe until starting it. In the last year, I've corrected that. Since Mel tends to be more of a stickler for details than myself, I was surprised at the vagueness of the recipe. I decided to give it a whirl. I'd watched Lydia make other pastas, how tough could it be.

Three things should now be noted:

           1) Never underestimate the mad skills of a professional.
           2) Watching a professional make pasta will be a huge asset the first time you try on your own.
           3) If the recipe causes panic, remember ingredients in different countries and different regions of countries
                vary greatly. Modification may be necessary and should not be a source of panic. Go based on what
                you know a recipe or dough should look like, not strictly on what is written.