It has been a few days since my last post because… I was busy moving to Mexico! I will be living in Oaxaca, Mexico for about ten months completing a research fellowship.
My first two days here were spent doing a lot of shopping for groceries and things for the apartment where I am staying. I was able to find almost all my favorite cooking ingredients at GNC, Wal-Mart, a large food market, and an organic food store. This is a huge relief because I was worried I wouldn’t have my kitchen staples. Some things that I found include: quinoa, coconut oil, unsweetened shredded coconut, nuts and seeds (pecans, almonds, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds), buckwheat soba noodles, puffed amaranth, agave, protein powder, maca powder, unsweetened cocoa powder, soy sauce, olive oil and balsamic vinegar, tahini, and dates. I really hit the jackpot at this one market stand that sells all kinds of nuts, dried beans, dried fruit, and of course, lots of dried chiles.
Two items at this stand that I thought were particularly cool were the green coffee beans and panela. Green coffee beans have become very popular with the introduction of Starbucks Refreshers Beverages. Before coffee beans are roasted, they are green like in the picture below. Starbucks has extracted the natural caffeine from the green beans so you get the energy without the coffee taste. Pretty cool, right!?
Panela is unrefined whole cane sugar. The sugarcane juice is evaporated and what’s left is the sugar that comes in large blocks or pieces shown below. It is similar in taste to muscovado cane sugar.
I wanted to a make a Mexican snack for today’s recipe, since this snack is one of my favorites. It is so quick to make, and you can keep it on hand for when hunger strikes. You can use the lime juice and chili/salt mixture on other vegetables too, like carrots and celery. In Mexico, they also put lime and chili salt on fruits like mango and pineapple. Who am I kidding, in Mexico they put chili on everything!
Mexican Cucumber and Jicama
Makes 2 cups as shown in photo.
1 medium jicama
1 large cucumber
Juice of 4 large limes
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon chili powder
- Peel and slice jicama into 1-inch French fry shapes. Slice cucumber the same.
- Pour juice over jicama and cucumber slices.
- Mix salt and chili pepper and sprinkle on top of jicama and cucumber. A little goes a long way. Serve immediately.
Note: If you want to make ahead, cover cucumber and jicama generously with lime juice and store in an airtight container in the fridge. Sprinkle salt and chili pepper mixture right before serving.