Sunday, August 30, 2009

Justine's excellent Guatemalan party

That's my grandmother, making tortillas the old-fashioned Guatemalan way. She eschews the tortilla press, which is for inferior cooks, lazy cooks, Mexican cooks.
These are fighting words, but my grandmother, who is Guatemalan, doesn't read my blog so I am going to say it: Guatemalan food is just like a regional Mexican food. Refried beans, tamales, tacos, tortillas -- it's all the same, just different shapes and colors. Am I wrong? I am right.

For the Guatemalan-themed party my sister threw last week, I contributed chirmol made by charring tomatillos, tomatoes, and garlic, which I then pureed in a blender.

Tomatoes and tomatillos from our garden. Gold star for me. How is this not salsa? This is salsa.
I also made a sweet potato pudding which involved stewing the sweet potatoes with honey, cinnamon, butter, milk, then mashing the mixture and topping with toasted cookie crumbs.
It was tasty, creamy, and fairly healthy, for a dessert.

Then I made -- or tried to make -- huevo chimbo, which my grandmother has always talked about with such longing.  

First I beat 12 egg yolks until light and creamy and poured them into a brownie pan.

Then I baked it until it was puffed and firm

and cut into strips.

Cruel joke. They look like yummy lady fingers but are actually baked egg yolk.

At this point, you briefly dip the egg strips into a hot spiced syrup to which you have added currants, prunes, and liquor, preferably good quality liquor.


A few weeks ago in Guatemala I ate huevo chimbo that was firm, rich, moist, and unforgettably delicious. This homemade huevo chimbo was not like that. It was like French toast spiked with cheap sherry. 

My sister did most the work for the party. First of all, she hosted, which is the hardest part. She also grilled the steak, fried the chorizo, steamed the tamales, mashed the black beans, and made awesome chancletas -- a pudding of chayote served in the hollowed-out shell of the squash-- that you can see in the foreground of the picture below.

After the meal, my grandmother spent two hours looking at pictures from our Guatemala trip on Justine's computer. I sat in the corner drinking margaritas and thinking about the bobcat.

We have seen no trace of the cat since Friday. I am hoping it has been hit by a car.


  1. Re: the bobcat. You may need to make your chickens a fenced-in run area if you want to avoid eatery. We have a chain link dog kennel that works dandily to give them outside time away from skunks and ripe tomatoes.

  2. What did you do with the 12 egg whites?

    That last picture would be a great ad for Apple Computer. A computer for all ages!

  3. Just reading this post tired me out. More cooking done for this meal than I have done in the past 10 years combined. I must be a louse.

  4. hola! I would love to see how the sweet potatoes pudding like dessert looks when it's finish and if you can share the recipe, even better!


  5. Lovely grandmother! Thanks for all the pleasure you give. This is my go-to blog each morning--especially when eating a sad bowl of cereal at my desk.

  6. I agree. a PERFECT ad for apple. see if you can sell it and make a few million...
    what a sweet photo!

  7. Can you also share the recipe for the chayote squash thing? This dinner sounds great and I'm awed by the (wo)manpower that went into making it ... but why don't you and Justine appear in the photo? Are you that camera-shy?

  8. I am telling you grandma what you said about Guatemalan cuisine... I am telling her. I will also tell her you use one of my photos without putting the props. You're warned ;-)