Wednesday, March 22, 2017

What We're Eating, Part II

Today we woke up to our first snowfall here in Kalmykia. It wasn't a lot, but we're staying inside today nonetheless. Even when the temperatures here don't seem that cold (low 40s), the windchill is FREEZING. Yesterday and today were the coldest I've felt since we arrived, and I am so glad I brought my down parka!

Even though we're staying in, we're still eating well. It was a little tricky at first, figuring out what to cook here. Some of our favorite meals back home are things like kale salad paired with bean and cheese quesadillas, but there are no tortillas, pinto beans, or kale to be found! Additionally, I don't have access to a lot of the ingredients and kitchen tools I'm used to.

Even just boiling potatoes takes some planning and some time because I have to wash and scrub the thick, black mud off the potatoes, peel them with a kitchen knife, and then boil them in water that I have previously filtered. The potatoes here are delicious, though. They have a creamy yellow flesh and cook up quickly.

We store our potatoes on the porch, which is just as cold as the fridge right now!
Add a little plov seasoning, and we've got ourselves some home-style potatoes.

The first few dinners at home were things like pasta with pre-made tomato sauce and canned peas. Not bad, but after several nights of this, it gets to be pretty unsatisfying. We've since improved upon this simple and easy dinner by adding things like cooked onions, carrots, and cut-up hot dogs and supplementing with prepared side dishes from the market and beer. :)

Available side dishes include: Korean-style carrots (a little
spicy, a little sweet), pickled cabbage, and cucumber salad.
These cost less than 50 cents each and feed us for days.

I also recently went on a mission to create some kind of quesadilla-like meal, which I (sort-of) achieved with lavash, smashed white beans, and "gouda" (we're finding that many different kinds of cheese here are labeled gouda, though none of them has tasted like gouda yet). 

That can opener took some trial and error (and a YouTube video) to figure out...
The easiest and best dinners so far have been when we've gotten a rotisserie chicken from the large grocery store called Magnit [mag-NEET]. I cook up some rice with frozen vegetables mixed in, and we add either bread or a potato side-dish. One chicken feeds us for two dinners, then I use the leftover carcass to make chicken soup, which feeds us for another 2-3 meals. There's something calming and deeply satisfying about sitting at the table in the evening, picking whatever chicken we can from the boiled chicken carcass.

Homemade chicken soup - Mmmm mmm mmm!

Another favorite and easy dinner is cheese omelettes. Also, we eat Uncle Vanya's pickles with just about every meal. I may turn into a pickle by the end of our trip, but they're just so good!

There have been a couple of missteps along the way, like when we bought this jar of what looked like pickled asparagus or string beans.

We ate them as a side dish one night, and they just weren't tasting that great on their own - definitely not like asparagus or string beans. Ted looked up the word with my Google Translate app, and we discovered that these are pickled scapes

The only reason I know what a scape is is because one particular farmer at the Oxford, OH farmers market sold me some scapes once. They're like the trendy food of the moment, basically garlic stalks. It has a very subtle garlic flavor, but I don't care for the stem-like texture. 

We've managed to use these up little by little. I cut them up like a scallion for garnish, and then they're pretty decent with omelettes or pasta, which is like 2/3 of the dinners we eat at home.

Breakfasts have pretty consistently been yogurt, toast (toasted in a pan for lack of a toaster, which takes about 5-10 minutes), and tea. If we're going to lose any weight on this trip, it'll be because we're eating a small breakfast rather than breakfast burritos or bagel sandwiches (which I miss terribly)!

Moloko (milk), yogurt, and black tea

So that's our home life right now! I haven't used the oven yet because it kept tripping the circuit breaker the first couple times I tried it. I think I've figured it out, though, so I may try to bake some corn bread soon. 

Coming soon.... Ted's post on Chess City!

No comments:

Post a Comment