Restaurant in sisters’ plans
By Betty Street
“I did not know what happiness was until we came to Mobridge … peacefulness,” said Adriana Gaspar, who has lived in Mobridge with her husband, Jason Eilert, and their three sons for about a month. They moved here from Palm Springs, Calif. They have since been joined by Adriana’s sister, Lisa Gaspar, and her daughter.
Another special thing about living in Mobridge, both women said, is the ease of finding employment, especially compared to Palm Springs, where Adriana described long lines of people looking for work. Here in the Bridge City, Adriana and Jason obtained jobs the day after they applied for them. Adriana works at Pets n Stuff and Jason is employed at Slumberland. Lisa is engaged in childcare for the families.
The sisters also are thankful for Mobridge’s low crime rate, South Dakota friendliness, and especially how they sold out of their tamales at the recent Garden Club Craft Fair held at Scherr-Howe Event Center.
That last one blew Adriana and Lisa away. They had spent many hours preparing tamales — they’d finished making them at 3 a.m. the day of the craft fair — and yet the tamales were sold out in less than three hours.
Adriana and Lisa learned cooking from their father, who started at the bottom and became a professional chef. The sisters are both at home in the kitchen. Lisa said, “My favorite place is the kitchen and I want to be the taster!”
Adriana said, “I unwind by cooking,” and she taste-tests as she cooks. She asks her children to help by taste-testing also. Adriana likes to make cooking fun, for example, by making pancakes in shapes.
She likes to cook what people want to eat, which is how she came to invent “octopuses.” Once when Adriana cooked something her children did not like, she then took pieces of raw hotdogs and lengths of uncooked spaghetti. She pierced each piece of hotdog with four strands of uncooked spaghetti and then boiled the hotdog chunks until the spaghetti was done: voila, octopuses! Now when she asks if the kids want octopuses, they are eager and very glad to help make and eat them.
Adriana said she “sees a tortilla as a clean slate.” She asked Lisa, “How many dishes can we make out of a tortilla?” They began a list, then were sidetracked by the fact that they know how to prepare 12 or 13 different salsas, depending on the ingredients.
The best, and the worst, ingredient is the chili, said Adriana. Some chiles from the same plant may be hot-hot-hot and some may be for wussies. This is one of the strongest reasons why tasting is necessary at all stages in the cooking process.
However, not all cooking has been flawless. Adriana’s mother taught her to make a kind of milk Jell-O with grenetine, but she was only supposed to use 100 grams of the substance in the recipe. She used way too much; and when her father tried to eat a bite of it, he bent his fork. (Adriana was seven years old at the time and Lisa was not yet born.) Later that day she and her brother tried to pull the grenetine substance apart and could not even make it stretch. That day she learned the importance of measuring ingredients.
One excellent piece of advice Adriana and Lisa received from their parents was to “find something you love, and find a way to make money doing it.” The women are working towards their dream of opening a Mexican restaurant here in Mobridge. Expect to see the grand opening right after the first of the year when many of those salsas will be available to the public to taste-test.
LISA AND ADRIANA’S RECIPES
Mexican Taco Lasagna
1 lb. ground beef
1 small onion, chopped
1 pinch cumin
1 pinch oregano
1 pinch garlic salt
3/4 cup water
1 cup diced jalapeno chiles with no seeds
10 broken up taco shells
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
Sour cream to taste, optional
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Grease baking dish. Cook beef and onion until beef is browned; drain. Stir in cumin, oregano and garlic salt. Cook over low heat for 3 to 5 minutes. Layer half of broken shells on bottom of prepared baking dish. Cover with half of meat mixture; sprinkle with 1 cup cheese. Repeat with remaining ingredients. Bake 20-28 minutes or until bubbly and cheese is melted. Serves 6-8. Garnish suggestions: chopped tomatoes, sliced green onions, sour cream and salsa, preferably one of ours.
1-2 garlic cloves chopped finely
1 lg. tomato chopped into small squares
1 med. onion chopped finely
1-2 fresh jalapeno chiles with or without seeds
4-5 thick bacon strips
1 can pinto beans
1/4 bunch cilantro, chopped, garnish
1 Tbsp. sour cream, optional, garnish
In a 12-inch skillet, cook the bacon until browned. Add onion and garlic and sauté until the three sweat up. Incorporate tomato, chiles and beans and simmer on low heat for about 10 minutes. Serve garnished with cilantro and sour cream and you, too, will go cuckoo over my awesome beans.
Mexican Red Rice
1 cup uncooked white rice (long grain is what I use)
2 1/2 cups chicken bouillon or stock
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 onion, minced
1/4 cup corn oil
1 sm. can tomato sauce
Heat oil in med. stock pot on med. heat. Add rice, onion, garlic and sauté until golden brown. Add tomato sauce and bouillon and bring to a rapid boil, then cover and simmer 15-20 minutes. Feeds 2-4 depending on how hungry they are. For larger families, double the ingredients. I usually make 3 cups and can make burritos with leftovers.
Hope you make these fun recipes with your kids or someone close to you, because when a family cooks together, they become closer and stay together! Disfuten (enjoy)!