Third world baking

I baked cookies… In my toaster oven! I found a simple oatmeal cake recipe via Soulemama and just had to give it a try. It was whipped together and baked in less than a half hour. I’m extremely pleased with the result and am so excited to have the ability (and really the courage) to bake again.

It’s really baffling how long it takes, as an expat living abroad, to make your home feel like home. Baking cookies is one of the many little steps I’ve had to take to normalize our every day life.

Now keep in mind baking here has required me to be extremely creative. I don’t have an oven, rolling pin, measuring cups or really any fancy cooking utensils at all. The “baking mix” that I bought has, what I think, a mix of baking power and baking soda. Obviously that’s not ideal, but has seemed to work so far. I measure my “wheat flour” with a mug and mix everything with a fork. There’s no rolling out the dough or using cookie cutters here… just good old fashion rolling the dough into a ball with my hands and flattening it out on the tiny tray for my toaster oven. Makes me question why I had all that fancy crap in the first place…

The end product is in my opinion a very healthy, hippie version of an oatmal cookie*. Thass right, bringing Portland to the Indo kitchen.

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*T-rex approves this cookie.

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This post may seem a bit random, but think of it as my way of pretending you’ve come over to my house for a glass of wine. We’re having a great time and I suddenly remember how hilarious that video was of the goats who yell like people. What, you haven’t seen that video? Oh man, let me share it with you. Because sharing is caring and I miss you.

#1 Michelle Obama Dancing (Girl Crush Alert!)

# 2 Thrift Store Shopping Video (Hello, does this scream Portland, or what? NSFW or in otherwords, there is a ton of swearing, which I find hilarious, because I’m immature.)

#3 Beautiful Video on Bullying

#4 Goats Yelling Like Humans (Just TRY to not laugh.)

#5 Google Glass (Like a smart phone you wear as glasses. So crazy!)

Have any hilarious or inspiring videos? Share in the comments!

Rice cooker

So purchasing a rice cooker upon our arrival in Bogor was a first for us. We had heard wonderful things about rice cookers, but really only knew about its ability to cook perfect rice.

Lo and behold its true magic. This baby not only can steam vegetables and reheat lasagna… But it bakes bread!!

I was eyeing some overripe bananas on the table this evening and got the urge to make bread with them. But how? I don’t have an oven. However I did remember once seeing a recipe for baking bread in a rice cooker. I did a little research and found this specific banana bread recipe and thought sure, what the hell, let’s give it a try.

My rice cooker isn’t as sophisticated as hers and I had to keep trying to reset it to keep it from switching to the warm setting. My cook time was also about half the time, only 45 minutes. I also produced half the bread?

Regardless, our experiment worked! And it is delicious!

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You know you’ve lived in Indonesia for 8 months when…

• You have to eat a serving of rice with a meal in order to feel full, regardless of how much other food you have already eaten.
• You learn to read Bahasa text speak such as “Ia bu ga apa2” meaning “yeah miss, it’s not anything.”
• The call to prayer at 4:00 am no longer wakes you up. Rather it becomes a nice reminder throughout the day to eat, break or quit work.
• You begin to start thinking in Bahasa, and certain terms like “sudah” meaning “already” come naturally.
• Your rescued street cat gets knocked up.
• You instinctively know when you need to get more pulsa.
• You can estimate how long, in hours, it will take to go 5 km in Jakarta traffic.
• You can tell how much rain you will be flooded with by the wind speed.
• You can accurately gauge the reliability of an ojek and his machine in less than one second.
• You order a quarter of your groceries (at a quarter of the price) from the market down the street, who will deliver them in less than 5 minutes.
• Having a maid (pembantu) in the house no longer feels strange, but comfortable.
• You know how to evaluate pembantus on a 4 dimensional scale: reliability, level of care, skills and salary and can adequately do so in 15 minutes.
• You have paid over $100 for good Mexican food and would do it again.
• You finally get used to paying bills in person or at the ATM.
• You are no longer surprised someone wants to take your picture. And sometimes, if you’re in a good mood, you’ll pose to make them laugh.
• You wear long sleeves in 80-90 degree heat.
• Your 4 year old makes her barbies speak with a heavy Indonesian accent and sing in Bahasa.
• If there’s not a price tag, you assume the price is negotiable.
• You have a chance to return home to visit and question if you’re ready to do so.
• You miss your friends to a degree you never could have imagined and stare at pictures of their babies, daydreaming of when you’ll get to meet them.
• You begin to love Islamic holidays because there are not only always fireworks, but no work, and thus an adventure always ensues.
• Ants are everywhere and you no longer care.

Mangosteen

I’ve mentioned exotic fruits here before, such as how to cut mangos and where to buy rambutan. But today I’d like to introduce you to the mangosteen.

The shell is usually dark purple, almost black, and is very hard. Once you cut it open, a white soft fleshy ball can be found inside. The flesh is extremely soft and juicy and tastes so unique. I honestly can’t think of another similar taste, but it is wonderful.

The only real drawbacks is the inconvenience of having to cut it open and the difficulty of getting a ripe one (my luck usually finds me overripe fruit here). But today my friends, behold the perfectly ripe mangosteen. I highly recommend you try one!

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