Mexicant

So it’s true confession time.  Sunday’s dinner was a disaster.  No, that’s not true.  Sunday I made a lovely meal of vegan tacos- three fillings and homemade tortillas.  Ok, no wait.  That’s not completely true either.

Sunday I had a bit of a disaster.  (ok, yes that’s true).   I proved the proverb that “a little bit of knowledge is a dangerous thing.”

As you would have read, (or if you haven’t read yet, you can below) I did a Mexican Cooking Class over the weekend.  It was fantastic.  I loved it. The class was fantastic and I left inspired.

Those closest to me know  that for me inspiration often comes in the form of diving head first into a hobby- photography, scrapbooking, cupcake baking, clarinet playing.   So they wouldn’t be surprised that after the class I was inspired to buy a tortilla press, flat pan and masa harina flour because I just knew that making homemade tortillas was my destiny.  Well….. it’s not.

Apparently being half Belizean does not a tortilla maker make.   Or the tortilla gene may have skipped me.

It all started off well.  I came up with three delicious, healthy and vegan taco fillings- roasted purple sweet potato with pan fried kale, dry roasted tomato and garlic; roasted eggplant with sautéed Portobello mushroom; and sautéed corn and chili and garlic with zucchini (for me).  I also made guacamole with roasted garlic, tomato, and chili.  It was super yummy! 

So the fillings were all going ok.  It was time to tackle the tortillas.

I knew something was wrong right away.  I think the part of the class where he mixed the dough must have been the part that I was distracted by tasting the yummy roasted tomato salsa.

Sidenote/Salsa Disclaimer—my mother blessed me (or cursed me) with two food related passions—chips and salsa and ice cream.   If you put chips and salsa in front of us, it’s like watching a demonstration of two Dyson vacuum cleaners.  We just inhale it!  And ice cream, well, my favourite food is ice cream and I can only blame it on someone eating ice cream every day she was pregnant…. 

Anyway, obviously I was distracted by salsa when he was measuring the tortilla mix, because I wasn’t sure of the proportions.  The measurements on the masa harina pack were for 20 tortillas (way too many) and even my Mexican cookbook was to make 12 to 16.  I tried to half it but I could tell it wasn’t right.  So I added more masa and then more water and then more masa and then before I knew it I was in over my head and not quite sure of what I was doing.

Then I made things worse by involving Barbie. Barbie is my pink Kitchen Aid stand mixer that I was given for my 30th birthday- I use her for lots of things, but perhaps this shouldn’t have been one of them.  Barbie does wonders for many batters and doughs, however maybe tortillas should be done the old fashioned way with hands and moosh.

Of course it’s easy to look back and play Monday morning quarterback—just ask the Denver Broncos, but at the time when you’re down it’s hard to tell what went wrong and how to fix it.  Unlike the Broncos, I could have just thrown out the mix and started again- which would have been smarter.  But I didn’t.    I kept going.

In my defence, I did make 3 or even 4 ones that were ok.  But they took forever and it was frustrating and I let my frustrations get to me.   The worse the tortillas were, the more flustered I got.  The Runner walked into the kitchen to check on my progress—I was about 2 hours into making a 30 minute dinner—and he had his hungry face on.  And I nearly burst into tears with frustration.  I explained to him what was supposed to happen to make tortillas- ball, press, peel, cook.  And he looked at the 3 sad finished tortillas, and I couldn’t explain where I went wrong.   It seemed so simple and straightforward in Saturday’s class but in my own kitchen, making my own dinner.  It was not simple.  It was awful.  It was frustrating.  It was a disaster.

Although I’m not one to admit defeat, in this case I did.  And it wasn’t a pretty sight.  Covered in flour, dishevelled, sweaty, and defeated I left the house in a huff.  Thankfully, it’s my policy to never live more than two blocks from a Mexican Restaurant, because that’s where I wound up on Sunday afternoon.  Ordering two orders of tortillas which tasted a lot like humble pie and defeat.

I’m not defeated, as The Runner and The Mom reminded me that some things require practice.  The Runner did say that the tortillas were “tasty” and “rustic” which is a good sign—although I’m not sure if he was talking about the homemade ones or the store bought ones!!!  I’ll try again—at least until I use up the masa harina—after that, does anyone want to buy a tortilla press?

Marketer’s Dream….

Apparently that should be my real name, and not because I have a degree in marketing but because I am the living proof that marketing and advertising work.

Discard the fact that my mother works in marketing and I used to– I’m not here to sell you on the value of spending money on marketing or to convince you to increase the budget of your marketing team.  I didn’t even understand what marketing was until I was in my teens.  I thought it had something to do with shopping or the supermarket or I’m not even sure what I thought, I certainly couldn’t wrap my head around the difference between marketing and advertising the first time my mom explained it.  Anyhoo, it works and I can prove it…..

So, yesterday The Runner and I bought a new car.  Well, it was mostly The Runner but because I’m sacrificing The Duchess (my car, which if it were pink, not baby blue would actually have come in a box with a Barbie logo) I suppose I can get away with saying that we bought a car.  Some background on me, The Duchess and The Runner.  I bought The Duchess (so named because of the Duke sticker on her rear window) shortly before or around the time that The Runner and I met.  Really as a 28 year old, single girl in Sydney, I thought a baby blue Peugeot hardtop convertible was the perfect car for me.  And it was, and I love her even despite her flaws (tiny backseat, slightly temperamental, growls a bit when you try to accelerate, doesn’t like going up hills, and there is the slight, minor dent which I never get fixed that sort of takes up most of the passenger side).

Anyway, fast forward a few years and The Duchess has been our main/only car for most of our relationship, it’s great, we’ve driven her up to Coffs Harbour, to the Hunter Valley, down to Jervis Bay and all points in between, there’s just one thing,  The Runner hates her and hates being seen driving her…..(refer back to the earlier comments on The Duchess being what Barbie drives when her Ferrari is in the shop- seriously, I even found this game on the internet- check it out! http://www.dressupbarbie.net/play-285-peugeot-206cc-makeover.html)  He thinks she’s too girly for him, which in fairness, unless he’s pretending to be Mardi Gras Ken, is probably true.  Plus, now that he has his super flash bike, it’s awkward when he puts the bike on the back of The Duchess because the bike is worth more than her.  So The Runner has been plotting against her for a while and has been lobbying for a new car for about 18 months.

So yesterday, it happened.  We spent all day in a car shopping and test driving marathon.  Literally, 2 Peugeots, 1 Mazda and 1 Subaru later with a Nissan still to see, we finally bit the bullet.  We liked the Peugeots (both of them)- The Runner has always had Peugeots and The Duchess wanted to see her legacy live on, but wish they had combined the two cars we liked into 1 SuperGood Perfect car.  Seriously Peugeot, why make two cars that are the same size, roughly the same price but with totally different features in both.  The Mazda was ok, but the salesman killed the deal when he started going on and on and on about how common and popular they are…..Hello, do we seem common to you buddy?  He didn’t get the hint and kept going on about it, no Thank You!  Plus, I HATED the cloth seat pattern….picky I know.  However, when we got to the Subaru, everything just clicked, I’m not saying there were harps or angels or trumpets or anything but The Runner and I were both in love.  We had found the perfect car for us, despite its smaller boot…. We were thrilled!  3 hours and lots of handshakes later, we’d agreed to ditch The Duchess and go for it.  So what’s the big deal right?  What point am I making?

Well….. Glad you asked.  There we were this morning on the couch watching highlights from the Noosa Triathlon on TV.   And what did we see over and over and over again??  Ads for Subaru, our new car, and more Subaru logos.  Subaru as it turns out is one of the official sponsors of the Noosa Triathlon.  So there were miles and miles and miles of signs along the course, almost all of the official vehicles were- wait for it, the Subaru XV, also known as our new car.  Yup, that’s right.  For 5 days in Noosa, we would have seen the Subaru logo in the background everywhere and seen our dream car all over town.  At the Expo, parked at the Roundabout during the race, in orange, in polka dot, in camo paint, you name it, it was probably there.  The cherry coke colour we chose that we both swore we had never seen it in before- yup, nearly certain it was there and that we saw it in Noosa at some point.  So there you have it, The Runner and I are living proof that sponsorship and advertising work.   After a week of subliminal and not so subliminal marketing, we took the bait and bought the car!  So now, rather than having a car that Barbie and Skipper can frolic to the beach in, we have a Triathlete car– not sure what that means exactly, but it’s definitely not girlie – and if it is, it’s a girl with Lady Muscles who is a bit badass!!

P.S.  We’re not idiots, just very open to persuasion– after all, it is a pretty good car!