I realized the other day that I haven’t really shared any stories with you all about what it’s like to live in Oaxaca, Mexico. As I mentioned in an earlier post, I am living in Oaxaca for about ten months doing a research fellowship. I studied abroad here during my junior year of college and have been back many times since to volunteer and visit.
I love Oaxaca and it is like my second home. I know my way around, my Spanish has improved by leaps and bounds, and I have some great friends (and my boyfriend) here. This time around is the longest I’ll stay in Oaxaca, and there are some things I am learning about myself that I didn’t realize before. These are going to be really deep and profound self-discoveries, so prepare yourself. Not. For one thing, I never knew how much I loved sprinkles or greek yogurt until I couldn’t find them anywhere. I am also so glad the weather has cooled down a bit here (around 60 degrees F at night) so I can wear my boots and scarves. This weather means that the Mexicans rock full on skiing jackets, hats, gloves, scarves…the whole shebang.
There are lots of absurd things that take place every day here in Mexico and I thought I would share a few of them with you:
1. You would think that as a woman it would be nice to have lots of attention from men, but it isn’t so nice when you have guys saying “Hey, Baby!” in your face, or cat calling you on the street as if they were calling a dog. Think “ch-ch-ch” as the sound.
2. Merchants here very rarely have change with them, so you always have to carry small bills or coins with you just in case. If you don’t have the exact change, the merchant will often choose to just not sell you something instead of finding change. This is especially true of taxis in the morning. When you have a 500 peso bill, it’s as if you actually have no money.
3. There is no such thing as “the customer is right” or “pedestrian right of way” here. I had a woman at the market tell me that there was no way there were insects in my bag of nuts that she sold me, even though I very clearly saw them the day before. Cars will honk at you when you are crossing the street at a green light because they want to turn where you are walking. I’ve even had drivers make very loud “UGH” noises as they wait for me to cross.
I’m sure over the next couple of months I’ll have plenty more tidbits to share with you about life in Oaxaca, but for now, let’s get to this awesome quesadilla I whipped up the other day on a whim.
This quesadilla has a couple different components that combine really well. Spinach and basil hummus, herbed goat cheese, shredded chicken, and sweet potato on a large whole wheat tortilla.
The spinach and basil hummus is really quick to make and would be great as a snack with veggies, or spread on sandwiches or crackers. For the shredded chicken, I used white and dark meat from a rotisserie chicken, but you could use chicken prepared anyway.
I realize now that I’m looking back at these pictures that the dollop of spinach hummus on top of the quesadilla looks a lot like guacamole, which you could totally use as a garnish or dip instead. I think guacamole goes with almost everything, like ketchup.
1 cup cooked chickpeas
2 cups fresh spinach
1 cup fresh basil
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon sesame tahini
2-4 tablespoons water
salt, to taste
pepper, to taste
1 extra large whole wheat tortilla
2 tablespoons spinach hummus
1-2 oz. herbed goat cheese, softened
1 cup shredded chicken (optional)
½ cup cooked sweet potato, sliced or mashed
salt and pepper, to taste
- Place all ingredients in a food processor starting with 2 tablespoons of water. Process until completely smooth, adding a tablespoon of water at a time as needed to make the hummus smooth.
- Store in an airtight container in the fridge for about 5 days.
- Spread hummus on one half of the tortilla and goat cheese on the other half.
- Top one half with chicken and sweet potato. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Heat a large non-stick (or greased) pan on medium low heat.
- When the pan is hot, cook quesadilla for about 4 minutes on each side, or until each side is golden brown and crispy.