Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Xuxu, alligator pear, mirliton, chayote...

A few nights ago I made another recipe from that great September issue of Gourmet. The main ingredient was called xuxu--its Brazilian name--in the recipe, because Gourmet needed a recipe that began with X! (X is always a problem in alphabet books.) But it's more commonly called chayote, in Mexican recipes, or mirliton in recipes from Louisiana. My partner calls it the alligator pear, and he remembers eating it as a child. If you look at it head on, its "face" does sort of look like an alligator with his mouth shut.

At Kroger they call it a "squash," and it is in the cucurbita family, like melons and cucumbers. Its botanical name is Sechium edule.

This recipe from Gourmet included shrimp, so it's not vegan. I thought about replacing the shrimp with fried tempeh, but I didn't have any, and I was so disillusioned by the tofu quiche disaster that I decided to go ahead and use shrimp. VeganMoFo be damned. But I cut the quantity of shrimp back to about a third of what the recipe called for.

The recipe involved making a sauce first. I am learning to use our new food processor, and the directions said to put garlic, onion, lemon juice, and a jalapeno in the food processor and process it till it's a puree. This I did. It seemed way too spicy when I tasted it.

You let that sauce sit for a while. Then you saute the shrimp, take it out of the wok, and saute the xuxu, which you had cut into matchsticks. I didn't do a very good job of making matchsticks, so my xuxu took longer to stir fry. Then you add the shrimp back in, and the sauce, and a lot of cilantro.

It was great! You are supposed to serve it with rice, but I didn't notice that until supper was over. I had it with rice the next day. This was even better, because the rice sort of diluted the chilis.

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