We are eating colorful meals to celebrate the end of summer produce. These photos highlight some of the best-of-summer from our lives this year. We were lucky to get in a trip to Guatemala where we ate tortillas in cities of colorful plaster walls & wild looking begonia vines. Long, bumpy rides through the jungle in a pickup truck to reach a river oasis. Swimming through dark caves with no lights, holding only a candle, and jumping into pristine blue pools of Neverland. Hiking up active, smoking volcanoes and toasting marshmallows over hot pockets of lava. Ahhh. Guatemala. Enough already, just go. The people are lovely, the country is beautiful, and the food is delicious.
Perhaps the most famous folklore legend of Guatemala is the story if El Sombrerón. It is a story based around the idea of a boogeyman... but one that it a bit more magical and in-a-way romantic. Although I enjoy the story itself, the lesson of the tale is one that is drenched in traditionalism. Lessons for daughters that bad things happen to them when they go off with men in the night. Reguardless, El Sombrerón is an interesting character. Below is a little information about El Sombrerón - gathered from Wiki.
This character's main characteristics are always the same: a short man with black dress a thick and brilliant belt; he wears a black, large hat and boots that make a lot of noise when he walks.
He likes to mount horses and braid their tails and manes. When he cannot find horses, he braids dogs. He also likes to court young ladies who have long hair and big eyes. When he likes one in particular, he follows her, braids her hair, serenades to her with his silver guitar; but he also puts soil in her plate and she is not able to eat or sleep.
El Sombrerón appears at dusk, dragging along a group of mules carrying coal, with whom he travels around the city and its neighborhoods. When a woman corresponds to his love, he ties the mules to the house's pole where she lives, unhooks his guitar and starts singing and dancing. Some residents from the neighborhoods of La Recolección and Parroquia Vieja say he still wanders at nights when there is a full moon.
Garlic - 4 cloves, minced
Yellow onion - 1/2 a medium onion, diced
Ginger - 2 TB finely grated or minced, fresh
Habanero chillies (or other desirable chilles), seeds removed and sliced
Plums - I used about a generous pint, about 2 cups once cut in half & pits removed.
Water - 1/3 cup
Tamari (or other soy sauce) - 1TB (generous)
Mirin - 1TB
Honey - 1TB (generous)
Anise seeds - 5 stars
Cloves - 6-8 cloves
Fennel seeds - generous 1 tsp
Cinnamon stick - 1 stick
Olive oil or coconut oil - 2TB
Prep your garlic, ginger, onion, habaneros, and plums. Place oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat and add garlic, onions, and ginger. Let cook, stirring frequently, until everything is fragrant, soft, and translucent. Cook for about 10 minutes and then add habaneros and plums and cook for another minute or two. Add water and then the spices. I put the spices into a tea bag (or tea) ball to steep. Cover & cook until everything is soft, bubbly, and very fragrant. Another 10 minutes. Remove spices & turn off the heat. Add in the liquids of soy sauce, mirin, and honey. Stir until combine & then transfer into a blender. Blend until smooth & then set aside until later.
Radicchio (or other lettuce) - 1 head. Honestly, I thought the radicchio was a bit too spicy for this dish and that it would work better with a sweeter cabbage or iceburg.
Tempeh - 1 package, crumbled
Shallots - 2, small, slivered
Garlic - 2 cloves, minced
Carrots - 1 carrots, minced
Sweet peppers - 1 generous cup, sliced
Water chestnuts - 1 small can, diced
Tamari (or other soy sauce) - 1 -2 TB
Peanuts - a few TB, crushed
Cilantro - 1 handful, minced
Green onions - slivered
Coconut oil or olive oil - 1TB, generous
Chop up all the vegetables. Place oil in a large skillet and place over medium-low heat. Add in garlic and shallots, cook for a minute. Add in the tempeh and cook for 5-6 minutes until starting to brown. Add in the water chestnuts, sweet peppers, and water chestnuts. Stir and cook for several more minutes. Add in peanuts & stir. Toss in the tamari and stir. Turn off the heat. Take the head of lettuce or radicchio that you are using and slice it off the base and gently peel it off the head, so that each peeled lettuce head makes a "bowl."
Spoon scoopfuls of tempeh mixture into the lettuce bowls and spoon over the plum sauce. Then topped with chopped cilantro and green onions slices. Wrap it up & eat. :)