A: Huevos Rancheros, Faux Pho & Chocolate Chip Cookies

Q:  What are three things I made last week?

Ciao Readers!  After my unsuccessful attempts to do something productive, I thought I’d get back to something I know – cooking!   While we have been enjoying all of the wonderful Italian food here, I like the challenge of trying to “recreate” familiar dishes.  So, I set about making huevos rancheros, pho and chocolate chip cookies (not all in one day mind you).

In all fairness, I cheated a bit on the huevos rancheros (pictured in first row) as the New Mexican-made tortillas and green chile sauce arrived in a care package from my folks (thanks!).   The cheddar cheese came from Pegna, and of course potatoes and eggs are no problem.  They were missing the taste of freshly roasted green chiles (as opposed to jarred sauce), but they were pretty darn close!

I also made what I am calling “faux pho” – real pho being our favorite Vietnamese dish we would get back at May Cafe in Albuquerque.  I actually managed to create this dish (rows 2 into 3) entirely from ingredients sourced here (or grown on our roof terrace).  I got the pho paste and noodles (though I picked the wrong kind and these absorbed ALL the soup liquid) at Vivi Market, the small hot chili (was like a cross between a serrano and a jalapeno) and the Sriracha sauce from the lady at Sant’ Ambrogio market, and (surprisingly enough) accidentally came across the bean sprouts at Conad.  It definitely didn’t taste like the “real” thing, but was spicy and yummy nonetheless.

The most spot-on thing I made was chocolate chip cookies (balance of row 3, duh!).  Again, I cheated a bit with chips sent from home, though I have since seen a variety in the stores here.  The rest of the baking ingredients were sourced from various places (and I apologize for the atrocious photo on the vanilla extract, but this is THE only vanilla extract I could find and it took some hunting).  I wasn’t sure what kind of flour to buy and I had to play with ratios (and use walnuts as there are no pecans here, which I usually use), but they came out PERFECT.  They were yummy and delicious and warm and crispy but gooey and all the things chocolate chip cookies should be.  I was so proud I wanted to share, so Steve brought some downstairs to the guy who owns the Rosticceria (he’s always so nice and rounds down, so I wanted to say “thanks”).  When I passed by the next day he went on and on about how delicious they were; I asked him if he had ever had them or knew what they were and he hadn’t/didn’t.  Interesting to think that a regular ol’ chocolate chip cookie can be an exotic treat!

Next time we talk food….seafood and gelato in Bologna, then an Italian meal in at our neighborhood Osteria Cocotrippone (complete with photos)…  Bon Appetit!

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