Ever cooked (or even eaten) a chayote before? Neither had I, until Monday night. During my week in San Diego, I was determined to prepare at least one full meal. Well, I actually expected to spend a lot more time in the kitchen than that, but instead I ended up eating several dinners out with friends and family. When I lived in the Bay Area I always overestimated the amount of "free time" I'd have on my trips back home, and relocating to Ohio has further exacerbated this tendency. I guess I had to move 2,500 miles away to start feeling like a rock star with a full social schedule... heehee, I sound kind of like my older sister. ;-) For those of you who don't know Krissy, she is the popular one. And, I should add, the self-identified beautiful one. The latter is a running joke between us and originated circa 1995, the day that she gazed at herself adoringly in our bathroom mirror and tossed her hair back like a shampoo commercial star, exclaiming "God, I'm beautiful!" Meanwhile, I looked on in my gangly, pubescent (lack of) glory and seethed.
Okay, back to my cooking excursion. On Monday afternoon I went to a local supermarket in search of exotic, fusion-y ingredients that wouldn't necessarily be as accessible to me in Columbus. And I stumbled upon a stack of chayotes. Admittedly, one of the reasons I brought two of them home with me was so that I could post a blog entry with this title. (Until I looked it up on dictionary.com I actually thought it was pronounced "coyote". For those of you who are curious and/or have a worse sense of pronunciation than I do - in other words, for an infinitesimal percentage of the population - it is "chai-OAT-ee".) The chayotes themselves weren't too ugly, but the plantains next to them were hideously brown and/or withered. Too bad, because I had hoped to make a chayote-plantain saute inspired by a purported seasonal flavor of Jeni's ice creams. (Best. Ice. Cream. EVER.) I substituted bananas instead, and neither my mom nor stepdad seemed to mind. Some of the rest of the ingredients I pulled from a Cuisine at Home recipe for banana-sweet potato mash. But mostly, this is a Kim-made creation:
1 t butter or canola oil
2 chayotes, diced into 1-inch cubes
2 bananas or plantains, sliced
1 T brown sugar
1 T orange juice
a dash of salt
Saute chayote cubes and jalapeno in butter or oil in a skillet over medium heat for 5-7 minutes, or until crisp-tender. (If using plantains, saute them with the chayote. If using bananas, add at the end just to heat through, or they will break apart.) Add brown sugar and orange juice; cook until sugar is dissolved and juice is evaporated, about 2 minutes. Finish with salt.
The taste was, in my stepdad's words, interesting. (Believe it or not, that's a compliment! Keep in mind it comes from a man who would always quip, "Does your face hurt?" when I'd complain about not feeling well.) The jalapeno added a little twist to the sweetness of the other ingredients, and the chayote tasted... well, pretty neutral. But definitely not ugly. I had hoped to post a picture with this recipe, and although I did take one on my cell phone, I only recently realized that I can't upload it to a computer. So alas, it wasn't meant to be. Once I'm back in Columbus and have BFFT's digital on hand, though, I'll be fully back on board.