Thursday, August 27, 2009

Made in Spain

Okay, so I wasn't exactly made in Spain. More like... made in America with Spanish (and Salvadorian) parts. While my brother takes directly after my mom's side (tall, long nose), and my sister takes directly after my dad's (sturdy build, round features), I went right down the middle. People usually do a double-take when they see my parents; my mom is really blonde with green eyes, and my dad is "chocolate skinned", as he used to say. My skin color is right down the middle, I have my dad's round face and my mom's long nose, with my dad's hair and my mom's small bone structure. All right down the middle. (I'm the one in the wedding gown!)Problem with coming right down the middle is, I didn't understand at a young age the evils of common American eating, and of course, neither did my parents. My brother and sister grew up thin (especially my brother), and my dad, believe it or not, used to run around in the shorty-shorts of the 80's with six-pack abs. Even my mom wore a petit size at my age. Yet as they grew older, and I just... grew, we all became overweight. I know my mom and dad don't like it, but I don't know if it affected them as much as it did me. Of course, that could just be me being selfish. I know my mom would like to lose weight, but I don't think she'd trade in the traditional food of our families to do it. That's one of the things I've had to do.

The title of this blog post is "Made in Spain", which is a show on PBS I've fallen in love with. The show follows the adventures of José Andrés, a chef from Spain who travels to and from different parts of Spain to show you recipes, and the origin of those recipes. I have a love/hate relationship with this show, because every time I watch it, I want to try the recipe. Or, I know the recipe, and it makes me sad because I can't make it on my diet. I definitely inherited my mom's taste for food, but one other thing I got from my dad is the aboriginal American's metabolism.

I've blogged in the past about how aboriginal Americans are a huge demographic in the obese and diabetes numbers of the US, and how unfortunate this is, because it's caused by them not have access to traditional food. See, we didn't exactly have Little Debbie and Checkers back in the day. In fact, aboriginal Americans didn't eat a lot of excess carbs at all! Want to know what they ate an abundance of? FAT. Animal fat, specifically. American "Indians" would try to hunt for the fattest animals that they could find, because eating that fat would sustain them longer than anything else. Yes, they ate veggies and root vegetables like potatoes and carrots, but, considering how long they worked in the day, those carbs were used. Nowadays, there's very little hunting going on. Many Latinos (if not most), have aboriginal American blood. Many of them, like me, can't handle excess carbs as well as our European cousins.

Now that kind of sucks when I'm half European, and I absolutely love Spanish cooking. If I were a marathon runner, or if I could even work out (which I can't, due to not having medicine for asthma), I might be able to indulge in a few things. Unfortunately, due to my mostly sedentary lifestyle, sprinkled here and there with lifting a few enormous pots and watering LOTS AND LOTS of plants, I just don't have the energy output to enjoy classic Spanish cuisine. And it makes me sad. So I watch Made in Spain, and I remember the awesome food, and the awesome locations he shoots at, and I wish that I could be there.

Yes, there's plenty of other things that I could enjoy from Spain, but I'll admit that food is my favorite. Well, no... the location is my favorite. Eating Spanish food is nothing if I can't be there. And I can't right now, so food is the second best thing. So, damn you José Andrés!! Damn you for making me remember paella and turron and other carb-laden Spanish foods which would be ruin me.

..but thanks for this (fairly) low carb recipe!

Pollo al chilindrón
Chicken with peppers, tomatoes, onions and Spanish ham.

Chilindron is a wonderful vegetable stew that comes from Aragon, where they grow astonishing vegetables in the fertile land near the Ebro River.

Serves 4

* ¼ cup Spanish extra-virgin olive oil, plus 3 tablespoons
* 4 chicken legs, thighs and drumsticks separated
* Salt to taste
* 4 cups diced Spanish onions
* 1 cup diced green bell peppers
* 1 cup diced red bell peppers
* 2 tablespoons minced garlic
* 1 cup dry white wine
* 1 cup thinly sliced and diced jamón Serrano (Spanish cured ham)
* ½ teaspoon sweet pimentón (Spanish smoked paprika)
* 2 cups plain canned tomato sauce
* 1 fresh rosemary sprig
* 1 bay leaf
* 2 cups flat mineral or filtered water

Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a 12-quart pot over medium-high heat. Season the chicken pieces with salt then, working in batches, brown them on all sides. Transfer the chicken to a platter and set aside.

Add the ¼ cup of olive oil to the same pot, and when the oil is hot, add the onions and peppers. Reduce the heat to low and cook slowly until the vegetables are dark golden brown, about 30 minutes. Add 1 tablespoon of water if the onions start to burn. Add the garlic and cook for 5 more minutes. Then add the white wine and cook until it evaporates, 4 to 5 minutes.

Add the jamón and browned chicken pieces, as well as any juices that have collected, and cook for 5 more minutes. Stir in the pimentón, tomato sauce, rosemary, bay leaf and the water and simmer over low heat for 1 hour or until the meat starts to fall off the bone. Season to taste with salt before serving.


Amy said...

That sounds pretty reasonable for low carb....I say go for it!

Fat Daddy said...

Sounds wonderful. We'll have to try that one and give you a report. Oh and you were quite the hot bride!

screwdestiny said...

Wait, you're not saying you were overweight in that picture, are you? You look great!

Gaelforce (Aph) said...

The single worst thing in the First Nations ~ Native American diet, bar none, is frybread. Might as well just call it diabetes on a plate. But just try prying it out of an "Indian" person's hands. Dey keel joo, mon, because (a) it's really cheap and there's not a lot of money on the average reserve, (b) it's kinda become part of their traditional food, and (c) IT'S SO FREAKING GOOD! *sigh*

Nina said...

Fry bread is just another example of the crap that was handed to Native Americans. They were given the ingredients as rations after being put on reservations. UGH.

Here's an article on it from MSNBC

Anonymous said...

Hey are you a professional journalist? This article is very well written, as compared to most other blogs i saw today….
anyhow thanks for the good read!