Monday, October 22, 2012

Mexican adventure and Thai food!

Mr. McGhee and I had the absolute luxurious privilege of going away last week for a few days without our minis.  The last time the two of us went on vacation over 10 years ago, so we were really looking forward to our time away in Mazatlan, which is in Mexico.  

Mazatlan is a very poor city in western Mexico.  I think a lot of times Americans equate poverty with unsafe, and we found that was not the case in Mazatlan, at all!  We were told that 80% of the population in Mazatlan makes the equivalent of $5USD per day.  Despite the extreme poverty, the people there are very proud of their city and so welcoming to visitors.  They were eager to share with us what we should do during our time there and, of course, where we should eat.  

We spent a good amount of time lounging by the pool and walking the beach.  And we ate.  And ate.  And ate some more.  (And, truth be told, we did some drinking too).  

I was perfectly content with my lounging, eating, drinking, and beach-walking time.  Unfortunately, my crazy adventure-seeking husband was not, so Mr. McGhee found a jungle expedition for us to take.  

Step one of this adventure is actually getting to the jungle.  We had a fantastic driver named Pedro.  Well, at least that's what his shirt says.  He never actually answered me when I addressed him as Pedro.  Pedro drove us for about an hour and a half out of the city and through small villages up the mountain to reach the jungle.  I am not sure what Pedro's background was, but he gave us an incredible history, cultural, and economic overview of the western part of Mexico.  And he promised me that we were safe as we drove through small villages that had military men holding machine guns standing on tanks throughout the village.  And when he pulled over in one of these villages I damn-near had a heart attack, until he told me this was his favorite view in Mexico and he wanted to take our picture for us.

We finally reached a village where Pedro pulled over, parked, and left us there with some local guides, Roberto and Miguel.  They were fantastic and I am certain they thought I was fantastic too....just guessing though, because I could barely understand a word they said.  Let's just say there was a significant language barrier between us and our jungle guides.  Oh, did I mention these guides were taking us through the jungle on zip lines?

Weeee......there I go.......(by the way, a woman shrieking in terror can be understood in any language.  No translation needed for me to communicate to Roberto and Miguel that I was scared to death and this whole thing was Mr. McGhee's bright idea.)

 And, here's Mr. McGhee taking off on his zip-line.  Now, Mr. McGhee is a very smart man that went to college for many years to get a fancy job.  So, seriously, why does he have to do these things?

And, here he is, hanging from his feet and having the time of his life.  Roberto and Miguel thought he was awesome.  Showoff.

 We did 12 zip lines and each was more amazing that the previous one!  We hiked back to the village with Roberto and Miguel.  At this point, they were my homies.

A family from the village shared their dinner with us.  I was well aware that every US food safety code had been broken in the preparation of this meal, but I knew that I would offend them if I didn't eat it.  One bite into the meal and the worries of food codes never crossed my mind.  Seriously, the best meal of the vacation!  

Mr. McGhee told me these weren't very hot, so I tried one.  I am certain you can all figure out how that ended.

 As you can tell, we had an incredible time away.  We missed our minis so much, but the city of Mazatlan will always be a place we hold special in our hearts.

When we came home, I was very eager to do some cooking.  And although the food in Mazatlan was amazing, I knew I was good on eating Mexican food for a while.  So, I was happy to whip up a dish of thai lime chicken that I have been wanting to try.

1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon fish sauce
2 tablespoons oyster sauce
1 tablespoon water
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3½ oz (100g) rice stick noodles
3 tablespoons peanut or canola oil
12 oz (360g) uncooked skinless chicken breast fillets—cut into bite size pieces
1 red pepper—deseeded and cut into strips
5 button mushrooms—quartered
12 snow peas—ends trimmed, and left whole
1 clove garlic—minced
1 teaspoon finely chopped lime zest
1 scallion (spring onion)—thinly sliced on diagonal
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh basil
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

1.  Mix together the soy sauce, fish sauce, oyster sauce, water and pepper in a small bowl until combined. 

2.  Place the rice stick noodles in a large bowl, cover with boiling water and soak for 8 minutes, then rinse under cold water, drain, and set aside. 

3.  Heat a wok or large skillet over a high heat then add 1 tablespoon of the oil. 

4.  Stir-fry the chicken for 3 minutes then remove from the wok and set aside on a plate. 

5.  Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil to the hot wok and stir-fry the pepper for 3 minutes. Add the mushrooms and snow peas and cook for 2 minutes. Add he garlic and lime zest and cook a minute. Add he cooked chicken, noodles and sauce mixture, and stir-fry for 1 minute to heat through and combine thoroughly. Stir through the scallion, basil and lime juice and serve.

(I also added some toasted peanuts to ours).

Be careful, your little helper may snag your sliced red bell peppers.

And this wanna-be helper will snatch anything not pushed back from the edge of the counter.

 Rice stick noodles.  Sorry for the weird face.  She couldn't stop singing for the photo.

Prep everything ahead of time.

Make your sauce.

I toasted some peanuts to add on top.

Cook your chicken.

Cook your veggies.

Stir-fry ti all together and top with peanuts.

This was really delish.  My minis especially loved the peppers and pea pods, so next time I will triple the amount of them!