Friday, October 30, 2015

Hometown Food Weekend

Being a transplant is an amazing life. You leave your hometown and you can go literally wherever life takes you.  There are things you miss though like family, friends, and favorite haunts.

What I also really miss from Springfield, MO is the food--the trashy, faux ethnic food that I grew up eating.  That's why I decided that one weekend in September, I would recreate my three most favorite dishes, the ones I miss the most, here in CA.

1.  The Mexican Villa Burrito Enchilada Style (including the complimentary MV chips and dip):

Mexican Villa is a Springfield chain, not authentic by any stretch of the imagination (which I completely came to terms with when I looked over the copy cat recipes I found online) but hearty and yummy all the same.

Now, the burrito enchilada style is a mammoth burrito stuffed with refried beans, seasoned ground beef, and cheese served drowning in MV signature enchilada sauce and topped with shredded iceberg lettuce, diced tomatoes, and (you guessed it) more cheese.  Here's the recipe I started from (though I never use low-fat cheese and I adjusted the seasoning until I felt I had it just right.)  Here's what we served on the first evening of SGF Food Weekend!



It's much more appealing than it might look in this picture, though the original would be served with approximately 8 zillion more cups of sauce.

For the chips, we used the sauces that you can buy online (eep!) and basically turned a blind eye to the alarming amounts of sugar and preservatives in them.


You basically create your own mix from Sweet, Mild, and Hot.  Sweet and Mild are both Sweet and even Eddy agrees that Hot is freaking hot.  Then insert chips.

2.  Springfield Style Cashew Chicken:

Night two was Springfield style cashew chicken, which was invented at Leong's Asian Diner, and which is beginning to have a national reputation (odd as that may seem.)  It's arguably the most Americanized Chinese food available and it's a total phenomenon.  This is the recipe we worked from, though there really isn't much variation among the recipes you can find online.  Eddy helped this time.


And here it is all plated up.


As you can see, one of the advantages of making your own cashew chicken at home is that you can have as many green onions and cashews as you please (we prefer LOTS!)

3.  Andy's Frozen Custard Pretzel Caramel Crunch:

We saved one of my favorites for the finale of our weekend of Springfield eats--the pretzel caramel crunch from Andy's Frozen Custard.

Now, I'm going to be real about frozen custard that is not from Andy's.  I've never found one that is quite as thick or flavorful.  Even though I will always have a soft spot for my beloved Ted Drewe's in St. Louis, there's just nothing like Andy's.

The pretzel caramel crunch is simple, but ingenious.  It's just vanilla custard, caramel, and pretzels.  That's it.  But it's salty and sweet and cold and crunchy and it's basically heaven.

The good news is that we do have a favorite custard place here in CA called Campbell's Creamery.  Now, of course they have caramel, but no custard joint I've ever experienced has pretzels, so we just brought our own.


Rumor has it that a just a couple of days after this photo was taken we returned to the scene of the crime to polish off the second half of the bag of pretzels we bought along with some more caramel and vanilla custard.  Allegedly.


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