Chai-spiced Churros.

May 5, 2013

IMAG0535-1Good golly, these were scrumptious.

Ever since I had to make my grandmother’s very technical Tres Leches Cake twice in one day because the first attempt failed, I have been consuming an inordinate amount of microwaveables and plain quesadillas. Oh, the bachelorette life. Much to the chagrin of my palate’s better judgment, anything labor-intensive (so what if spreading peanut butter AND jelly is too many steps…) elicits only immediate balking from my mental capacities as I choose instead to wallow in a rut of laziness.

Of course, this all occurred after I volunteered to bring horchata and churros to our Cinco de Mayo fiesta. This being Paraguay, a land far from the culinary reach of Mexico, it was requisite that I make both items from scratch. The horchata was simple enough. Blended up rice, water, milk, cinnamon. Pish posh.

But the churros had me dragging my feet all week. The thought of slaving over the stove hand-frying enough dough for ten people with the weather [still–ughh] as warm as it has been held worse prospects than the Padres 2013 season. I perused recipes for other Mexican desserts daily, but encountered nothing to satisfy my need for low-maintenance output.

In the end, I dragged myself into the kitchen to make sugary use of my slothful Sunday afternoon. It was totally worth it.

Repeat after me: HOMEMADE CHURROS ARE ALWAYS WORTH IT. ALWAYS.

And it wasn’t even that much work in the end; a generally uncomplicated process so long as you set up your station efficiently and beforehand. This recipe produces spicy fried gold that brings any investment of time and resources, high returns to satisfy every last lazy bone in your body.

Happy Cinco de Mayo indeed.

Chai-spiced Churros
Adapted from allrecipes.com
Serves 4

1 cup of water
1 Tablespoon of sugar
1 Tablespoon of vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1 cup of flour
Vegetable oil for frying

1 cup of sugar
1 Tablespoon of ground cinnamon
1 Tablespoon of Trader Joe’s Salted Caramel Chai Tea Latte Mix
(I am sure any powdered chai mix would work just as well)

In a small saucepan, combine the water, sugar, 1 Tbs. of oil, and salt, and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and stir in the flour until just combined and a dough forms. Do not overmix (aka: tough, heavy churros).

In a medium saucepan, heat the frying oil on medium-low heat. Do not fry dough until the oil is hot. Nobody wants soggy poops. If your churros brown too quickly but remain undercooked inside, turn the heat down.

Originally, I used a plastic, disposable pastry bag with a Wilton 1M tip to give the churros their classic texture, but the batter proved too thick and everything just exploded. Instead, a plastic reusable pastry bag with no tip screwed in worked very well (a churro-maker or a freezer-sized Ziploc bag with the corner snipped off would also be adequate alternatives).

Pipe three to four inches of dough into the hot oil, cut the end with scissors, and fry until golden. Beware of frying too many churros at once–such are the dangers of wonky oil temperatures and/or everything clumping together. Five was a good amount for me as long as I remained vigilant in the beginning.

Remove the churros with wooden chopsticks (because I don’t know how to fry anything without them) and drain on a tray lined with paper towels. Pipe in the next batch of churros and while those cook, roll the cooked ones in the cinnamon sugar mix.

These are best served fresh, and if you are serious about celebrating life, pair with black coffee and a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Buen provecho!

Ode to a Tuesday.

April 30, 2013

IMAG0483

When I went to change out my 20L water tank as I do each Tuesday, I discovered a liquidy mass grave of dead ants floating in my supposed filtered water source along with a ring of black mold on the spigot. I am not sure what happened in there this week, but suddenly the frequent bathroom trips make so much sense. It is also the end of April and still ninety degrees outside. My pores are displeased.

But. BUT after months of feeling like a complete dunce, I finally hit my stride studying for the GRE today. I made a perfect batch of brownies and a la mode is totally happening tonight. Lil’ Miss Nugget called to remind me yet again that I am her best friend forever always and that she just ate an apple. I’m practicing a “theology of thankfulness,” and I’m feeling good.

Las chicas disfrutando.

I get really, really horrible stomachaches every time I consume a McDonald’s ice cream cone. Clearly it does not happen often enough though for me to remember the painful fact on the rare occasion I find myself in said establishment, ordering a vanilla-dulce de leche swirl. Oy.

This morning after OANSA, we packed our star students, their invitados, and a handful of my leaders into the car for an ice cream reward on an extremely hot day (summer’s back in Paraguay already? Say it ain’t so…). OANSA kids can earn points each week for attendance, bringing their Bibles, reciting memory verses, and/or inviting friends. Although no one has yet to receive all four points in a given week, T and S have been far and away the point leaders of the entire Primero de Marzo pack. It wasn’t surprising that they were the first to redeem on the promise of ice cream and playtime.

Which they never seem to outgrow. Despite even the tiny section of the play structure that indicated it being a three and under zone, our chums, even the older (and frankly, too old and too large) ones wore out every last inch of the slides, hoppers, rolly thingies, and still begged for more time as we prepared to leave. Life is so much about the little things.

The first-class pupils.

Lapping it up.

Leaderererers.

Hopefully just one small fruit of her labor.

I really think S has the markings of a future pastor.