#146: Timor

If April showers bring May flowers what do June showers bring…??

If I were a betting woman my answer based on this weekend would be: Baby showers and bridal showers! We were even sprinkled with some rain showers to cool off from this crazy heat. While socializing can be exhausting, it was nice to get to celebrate with family and friends– and see faces I haven’t gotten to see in a long time. If you weren’t aware, this weekend was also Sand in The City here in Arvada. This festival brought about a playful family debate over what might make the best sculpture. It also found me trying some amazing beer while learning how to properly pour one. The weekend was full of mermaids, sand castles, high heels and mini rubber duckies. It was strange and awesome, as always.

THE DINNER: We have been hanging out in the Pacific the past few weeks. This Sunday funday we cooked up some Ikan Pepes from Timor (which, for those who have no idea where that is, you’re in good company. This was a google job for me too). This island nation situates itself between Indonesia and Australia. Since it’s an island nation, seafood is prevalent as is local veg. The spice profile is every similar to Indonesia and parts of coastal India with layers upon layers of depth.

Ikan Pepes is a whole fish cooked in a spicy curry and tamarind sauce, much like curry found in surrounding island nations. The Timor people have half a year of plenty followed by half a year of what they call “Hunger Season” which is marked by extreme food insecurity. The climate of the island can be so severe that it will pretty much wipe out all of their plants and crops for that period. The dichotomy of their food supply means that this dish is probably one of many dishes that can be made year around and is not effected by the Hunger Season. This is because there is little to no vegetation in this dish and the rice served with it is optional (read: when available).

Ikan Pepes Recipe: http://www.internationalcuisine.com/east-timor-ikan-pepes/

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Ease of prep and cooking: THREE and a HALF STARS out of five this meal!
Alright, we had to go to a special market this week (H Mart) but that’s not entirely why it earned a 3.5 for difficulty. In fact, the special market trip was excellent because the fish monger gutted, cleaned and descaled the fish for us– which saved A LOT of work. No, this one was just a matter of so many moving parts. You’re steaming in banana leaves, you’re doing some chopping and you’re definitely baby sitting. And then you have the rice. It was just complex but not unreasonably challenging for a Sunday. I wouldn’t call this one a weekday meal though. (NOTE: we also did not use the Macadamia nuts due to the listeria recall)

Best dish of all time scale: FOUR and a HALF STARS out of five for Meal!!
It was not as spicy as we wanted… though to be completely fair, we’re not exactly your average bears when it comes to judging that. We are aware of this fact and never mark down for things related. But we did want more depth of flavor from the peppers and the tamarind. I mean, we used 10 chilies for goodness sake! There should be some kick back, jack. The lime was really good. The fish was firm but flaky; and, while the basil rice sounds fabulous, upon execution, it just didn’t seem to offer a good pairing for our taste buds. Overall, a solid white fish dish and we were not disappointed, nor were we left hungry. Plus the culinary artistry of smoking a fish over indirect heat in banana leaves in the middle of Colorado, is pretty much too delightful for words when you’re a foodie.

We are ringing in Independence Day next weekend here in the states and while we will no doubt be doing some serious grilling-out, we also will be hopping own south to tackle Jamaica for #147! 

Three cheers for long weekends!
– L & K

 

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