30 June, 2012

Excess Baggage

When you live in another Country and people come to visit you they always ask "what do you want me to bring you, what are you missing?"  All the forums are flooded with questions of "what items can I NOT find there?" Even as I was preparing to return I found myself asking the same questions.  Yes Mexico is a different Country, yes flavor preferences are different from the states, yes there are different brands... but I find it very difficult to answer these questions.  If you move to a different Country you go with the understanding that you will need to adapt, compromise and be a little bit flexible.  I have changed face lotion products, rediscovered my favorite makeup brand, found a healthier brand of dairy... I have adapted and I don't find that I really miss anything!

So...what did I "smuggle" into my bags for the return trip?  

Fritos and Zinfandel!

I like the original flavor Fritos and have not found them in Mexico.  And California wines are expensive and tend to be sucky brands.

But the real question I think should be, "What will you buy when you return home?"  When I went to California I wanted a Charbroiled Hamburger, Margarita Pizza with cracker thin crust and a Jamba Juice (not all in one sitting of course).
When I landed at home again in Mexico I headed straight for the Tiangis for a Papaya drizzled with Key Lime juice and then for Tacos al Pastor at our favorite "No Name" fonda.  I missed them so much in the week that I was away!

What do you head straight for when you visit your hometown?

29 June, 2012

June Potluck with I Heart Cooking Clubs

Cheese is Best Served Oooey Gooey

Brie Cheese in Green and Red Salsa's with Whole Roasted Cloves of Garlic

Queso Fundido from our favorite Fondita in La Marquesa, Estado de Mexico

I don't know what is wrong with us but we have been eating a lot of cheese lately.  Our cheese lady at the Tiangis is very happy about this of course; our jeans... not so much.  But with all these wonderful inspirations for fun Oooey Gooey treats who can really blame us?

Queso Charro (remembered)  from Carlos N Chalies in Mexico City, DF

Whole Roasted Garlic with Brie Cheese and Tomatillo- Cilantro Salsa from Cafe Pasqual's in Santa Fe, NM

Queso Fundido al Tequila from Rick Bayless and Food & Wine

It started with finding a whole wheel of Brie for $80 pesos at Costo. Finally I would get to try the reciepe from Cafe Pasqual's in Santa Fe, NM.  My mom and I had a lovely week long vacation in Santa Fe and one of the highlights was ordering take out (the line was so crazy and people were blocking the door like Line Backers during the Super Bowl) from Cafe Pasqual's.  Both of our favorite dish was this melty Brie served with a whole head of Roasted Garlic and two kinds of salsa to dip everything in and smear over crusty french bread.  As soon as I got home I ordered the cookbook online.  I have been DYING to try out this receipe ever since the book arrived.  We tried making individual servings here at home and tested it out with two different salsas.  We both prefered the green salsa, which the reciepe calls for.  But we also thought it would be amazing with Chimichuri!

Inspired by my melty cheese dish, Boris remembered Carlos 'N Charlies a popular restaraunt in Mexico City, that unfortunalty seems to have disapeared in the years that Boris was in the States.  One of his favorite dishes was called Queso Chavo.  It was served with a nice salad and 4oz each of breaded and fried Sharp Cheddar and Gouda.  We had Boris' rendition of it for dinner, and I could see why it was a favorite of his.  I know that I am adding it to my list of "Special Request Dinners".... I love being married to a Chef!!!

Continuing our stint of Ooey Gooey Cheesey Dinners we had to make Queso Fundido.  It is a classic Mexican dish not to be confused with Nacho Cheese or Cheese Dip.  Queso Fundido is best in Tacos, not with chips.  At our local Tiangis they sell "Gringa Tacos"  They throw some Oaxacan Cheese on the Grill and let it get all melted and just a little bit crispy around the edges then they scoop it up with a flour tortilla and slam some meat (your choice) and grilled nopales inside.  I get one nearly every week!  Keeping with that idea we shreaded some Oaxacan cheese and chopped some Chistora we tossed it all into our smallest Iron Skillet and melted it all until it was bubbling.  We ate it scalding hot with blue corn tortillas that we picked up at the Tiangis.  It is so much better than a Quesadilla even though the ingredients are basically the same.

After all of that Ooey Gooeyness we needed some crunch, but still not finished with cheese we went for the crunchiest cheese of all: Cheese Chicharon!  We love Chicharon on our Carnitas tacos, and in our Tacos Placeros so we thought we would try Cheese Chicharon on our tacos this week.  That reminded me of another drool-worthy episode of One Plate at a time... you can check out the video clip by following the link below.

  • Servings: Makes 8, serving 4 to 8 as a snack
  • Provided by: 

8 ounces finely shredded cheese (Monterey Jack works well)
Set a medium non-stick skillet (or a well-seasoned cast iron one) over medium-high heat. When hot, remove from the heat and sprinkle an even, light, slightly lacy-looking coating of cheese over the bottom of the pan. (Getting the exact quantity that's right for your pan takes a little practice -- my 10-inch All-Clad non-stick pan needs about 1/4 cup of finely-shredded cheese to cover the pan appropriately.) When the cheese has fully melted swirl the skillet to coat the bottom completely. As the cheese browns, the oil will have separated and the cheese will have adhered to the pan's surface. Tip off the excess oil into a heatproof bowl. As the cheese turns an even deep golden (not all the white will have disappeared), use a small spatula or table knife to loosen the "chicharron" from the pan. Lift it up as you would a crepe and very carefully roll it into a big hollow 2-inch cylinder (or drape it over the side of a 2-inch diameter bottle). It will cool immediately and become crisp.Continue making chicharrones de queso until all the cheese is used. Storing them in a closed container away from humidity.

Home again, home again Jiggidy Jig

Home at last!  I apologize for the long hiatus, unfortunately I did not have access to the internet.  I am teaming with lots of post ideas!  I want to share some pictures from my trip and I am really looking forward to this months Potluck with I Heart Cooking Clubs.  I raided my families book shelves for recipes and cookbooks and brought back a whole arsenal of recipes that I want to share with you!  I found my first every cookbook and had a good chuckle flipping through the pages and seeing the splattered and stained favorite recipes... expect some cookies very soon!

I missed the Summer Salads post from I Heart Cooking Clubs but wanted to share with you my favorite "Potluck Salad"  This is the perfect salad in a pinch and it tastes fantastic!  It is good served cold or at room temperature.  You o not need all of the ingredients, but just a few basics as the base.  You can add to and take away ingredients based on the season or party theme.

Black Bean Salad
2 cups black beans, cooked and rinsed
2 limes
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
salt for seasoning (add after all the ingredients)

To this zesty mix toss in any of the following ingredients for additional flavor and color...color is key in this dish.

Red Bell Pepper or Serrano Chilies
Feta, Panela, or Mozzarella cubes
Red Onion, chopped fine
Avocado (ripe but still a little firm)
Cherry and Pear Tomatoes

17 June, 2012

Away from my Desk

I will be away for the next 10 days.  I will do my best to keep on bloggin' but I do not know what sort of internet access I will have available.  I will be in California for the week, so expect some different posts and recipes.

Back soon!


15 June, 2012

Flying the Coop like a Super Chicken

I am so inspired by our new friend Eva.  We just met her by chance here in San Miguel the other day and now she is off to travel Europe with her daughter.  Eva is one of those incredibly inspiring women.  I would love it if you checked her out on Facebook or on her webpage.

"We are ALL chickens we are all full of fears. When you go past the fear you become a super chicken, feeling the fear and doing it anyway. You never stop being a chicken." 

Wishing Eva and Zelina fantastic travels with this super cool poem that I just read recently.

The Double Life by Don Blanding
How very simple life would be
If only there were two of me
A Restless Me to drift and roam
A Quiet Me to stay at home.
A Searching One to find his fill
Of varied skies and newfound thrill
While sane and homely things are done
By the domestic Other One. 
And that's just where the trouble lies;
There is a Restless Me that cries
For chancy risks and changing scene,
For arctic blue and tropic green,
For deserts with their mystic spell,
For lusty fun and raising Hell, 

But shackled to that Restless Me
My Other Self rebelliously
Resists the frantic urge to move.
It seeks the old familiar groove
That habits make. It finds content
With hearth and home — dear prisonment,
With candlelight and well-loved books
And treasured loot in dusty nooks, 

With puttering and garden things
And dreaming while a cricket sings
And all the while the Restless One
Insists on more exciting fun,
It wants to go with every tide,
No matter where…just for the ride.
Like yowling cats the two selves brawl
Until I have no peace at all. 

One eye turns to the forward track,
The other eye looks sadly back.
I'm getting wall-eyed from the strain,
(It's tough to have an idle brain)
But One says "Stay" and One says "Go"
And One says "Yes," and One says "No,"
And One Self wants a home and wife
And One Self craves the drifter's life. 

The Restless Fellow always wins
I wish my folks had made me twins.

14 June, 2012

Manicure of Success

Now THAT is a Manicure of Success!
Manicure of success... you know the one; dirt under the nails, chips and scratches, broken cuticles and maybe even some paint or stain splatters across the back of your hands.  Maybe you got your Manicure of Success in the garden, or the garage, or from canning in the kitchen.  Any way you get your manicure IT FEELS SO GOOD!

We love visiting all of the sales here in town: garage sales, yard sales, estate sales and flea markets as we try to piece our home together like a large gig saw puzzle.  We find a pair of coffee cups here, the matching saucer there, a desk chair that needs to be re-woven...and a couple weeks ago we found a desk.  Well, I say we, only because I helped carry it out but the find was all Boris.  He was so excited when he called me over, "I WANT THIS DESK!"  So we brought it home and I finally got to look at it.  It was a small writing desk a dirty bluish- grey color that only comes from lots of time wasting away, the stain was peeling up, the wood completely dried out and there was something sticky all over it.  WHY?!?!?  Why is there always some mysterious sticky substance on garage sale finds?  I forgot to take a before picture of our little desk because...well as you can tell I was not all that impressed with it.  But Boris was in love with it, so I knew there had to be something good about the desk.  He can always find the beauty in everything.

We found these little gems at a Garage Sale,
then a matching creamer  at an Estate Sale the following week.

I thought to just paint the whole thing a bright blue, but Boris was a little disappointed with that idea.  So I dug in.  First step; conquer the mysterious sticky!  I scrubbed and scrubbed with warm water, Dawn and an old toothbrush.  Sticky substance gone as well as a few layers of dirt and suddenly I saw the beauty of the desk that Boris saw.  I also found the manufacturer sticker on the back of the desk.  Turns out our little desk we bought it Mexico was built in Fort Smith, Virginia.  Unfortunately there is not a lot legible on the sticker...too much sticky and the sticker is too delicate to clean.  We estimate we have a 1920 Writing Desk.  I am still unsure of the manufactures name though.

Next step was to restore the wood.  I spent a good part of a day sanding the desk from all angles, evening the wood and removing any more dirt or sticky that remained.  With the wood even and the desk perfectly clean it was time to paint it...but I did not want to paint it anymore.  We had a quality piece of furniture and I was beginning to agree with Boris, to paint it would be a crime.  Boris found a gorgeous oil based stain that would bring new life to the wood.  The wood was so dry that it sucked up a whole container of stain!  I had to stain it very carefully because the second I set the brush to the desk the wood would drink in the stain.  I had to add a little bit at a time too keep it even.  I stained it inside and out, even the bottom of the desk in hopes of reviving the wood.

Once I finished and stepped back I was amazed!  I had the most gorgeous desk sitting in front of me that I had ever seen.  Now I lovingly bathe the desk regularly with Red Oil and the wood is almost as good as new.  But the little cracks that remain just remind me of the years this little desk has survived and the fun that I had bringing it back to life.  Most of all it reminds me of the broken and chipped nails, the bloody cuticles and the stains on my hands that still have not come off.  They remind me of my Manicure of Success and I smile with pride.


13 June, 2012

Wordless Wednesday - Sunsets in San Miguel

Oh the suffering that we must endure to see these beautiful sights every single night! Disgusting!!!
X Marks the Spot = Paradise Found

12 June, 2012

Tiangis Treats - Figs

Figs with Blue Cheese and Truffle Honey

Figs have been in season since we arrived in San Miguel back in May.  Now the season is in full swing and they are selling piles of figs even on the side of the road.  One of our favorite ways to eat figs is with blue cheese and pecans.  I also enjoy a little drizzle of my prized Truffle Honey that I purchased at Dean and Deluca and "smuggled" with me in our move to Mexico.  Prosciutto is also a delicious pair with figs.  Jamon Serrano wrapped around with wedges of Manchego.  Roasted on top of a Salad with a balsamic vinaigrette... Boris does this amazing thing with figs and red wine that I could just eat by the bucket!

What is your favorite way to eat figs?

Fresh Figs from the Market
I carefully carried this little bottle of Truffle Honey all the way from Napa, CA

11 June, 2012

When Life Gives You Lemons...


What sort of music do you listen to while you clean the house?  Our neighbors listen to love songs and Reggaeton.  When I was a teenager my mom would wake up early on Saturdays and play Mariah Carey and I would wake up to wild Indians whomping their drums as the sub woofer would vibrate up the wall beneath my bed.  Boris loves his country music!  Especially Alan Jackson.  (Yes!  We appreciate the irony of a Mexican named Boris who loves American Country music!)  When I lived alone I used to blare Meatloaf while cleaning my apartment.  I found that the furniture sparkled more with a touch of "Life is a Lemon..."

My taste in music has changed greatly and I typically only listen to upbeat music now.  I still listen to lots of Rock and Roll but much less Metal.  And every now and then when no one is around to witness I still blast a little Meatloaf when the dishes have piled a little too high.

With all the protesting around Mexico and Sniveling on the "List" this past week I found my old song humming in my head. I hope that you do not mind me sharing.

What are YOU listening to today?

Holy Frijoles! with I Heart Cooking Clubs

The market in Chiapas was full of beans and grains
We saw more beans in one day that either of us had in a lifetime
We discovered many new varieties of beans that day
Do you ever go to a restaurant and order your meal based on the side dishes that come with the main course?  I do!  I love creamy potatoes and sauteed vegetables.  If the side dish is something I do not like, like Eggplant-ick! then I move on and select a new course because why order something when you will not enjoy all of it.  Beans to me are the perfect side dish.  They are a catalyst for sauces and are tasty enough to stand on their own, can anyone say Chili?  Oh yah!  

Pink and Purple- oh my!  These beans were painted for artistic purposes
My love for beans has only been expanded by people like Steve Sando of Rancho Gordo and Rick Bayless who both help bring not just good beans and recipes but share the ultimate tool for beans with the whole United States; the Olla!  You see if you have never made beans in an Olla than you have never truly tasted beans.  Both Rick and Steve sell Olla's via their websites and ship throughout the states...get thee a clay pot my friends!!!

A simple Olla makes all the difference
As soon as we got settled into our home in San Miguel de Allende, GTO we started stocking the home and kitchen with dire necessities.  A clay Olla was on the top of the list, after a dining table of course!  We headed to an artisan market in Dolores Hidalgo, GTO and discovered Olla's of all shapes and sizes.  I bought a medium sized Olla for just $15 Pesos!  We took it home and seasoned it that evening.  Just like cast iron, clay needs to be seasoned before use.  To season your brand new Olla fill it with water and salt it heavily.  Place on the stove over medium to low heat and let it simmer away possibly even over night.  The salt will seal any small cracks and the water will help with the dusty flavor you get from an unseasoned pot.  Let your Olla cool, rinse it out and you are ready to make your first pot of beans.

I just love all the colors and textures, beans are so photogenic!
Now why go through all the trouble of seeking out a clay pot for cooking your beans?  What makes the beans so much better?  The beans cooked in an Olla are creamier in texture and they actually cook faster!  It is a perfect win-win.

This simple dish of Guacamole, Fresh Cheese and Beans was served with tiny Tostadas  in Chiapas

Perfect Black Beans

2 cups Black Beans, cleaned and soaked over night
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 small Onion, chopped
1 Red Bell Pepper, seeds and veins removed and chopped
1 Jalapeno or a dried chili, cleaned and chopped
Spices; I like a pinch of Epazote and an Avocado leaf but you can add things like 1/2 tsp cummin, 1 clove of garlic, 1 bay leaf... spice lightly, you want to taste your beans!
Salt or Bullion Cube

Cover the beans with water and let them soak for a few hours.  Rinse the beans and cover with water a second time, let them sit over night.  I find that soaking the beans twice, even if it is for the same amount of time, helps eliminate...er...side effects ;)  I have noticed that the beans bubble when I add water for the second time.

When you are ready to make the beans chop your onions and peppers.
IN A SEPARATE PAN*** saute the chopped vegetables in the olive oil until they begin to caramelize.  They do not need to be cooked perfectly tender, just long enough to really extract some flavor.
Drain the soaking beans and pour the beans into your Olla (heat off***) add the caramelized vegetables, your spices and a hefty pinch of salt or a bullion cube. 
Cover the beans with cool water.
Place your Olla over low heat and let simmer away for 2 to 2 1/2 hours.  Do Not Stir!

***Helpful Hints*** When working with an Olla it is important to remember that it is delicate and made of clay.  Rapid changes in temperature can easily destroy your pot.  For that reason I do not like to saute the vegetables in the Olla and then add the cold damp beans to the pot.  Or if the water boils down I never add cold water from the tap, I always use the hot water, although I usually do not need to add any since the beans were so well soaked. Maybe I am just over cautious but after a few exploded glass jars during canning... you get a little jumpy with your prized possessions.

10 June, 2012

Flaky Pie Crust from 1939 with Cookbook Sundays

How about this Cookbook Ma?  Hmm...Nah!
You are taking too long to decide...Yawn!
I give up, you figure it out on your own.
It is a lazy Sunday today.  There is a heat wave crashing over Mexico this week, and it is hard to get motivated to do much of anything today.  But alas, the peaches that I purchased on Tuesday and the jar of Blackberry Filling that has been sitting in the fridge for a few weeks are demanding to be used up.  Grumble, grumble, groan...Light Bulb!  My aunts gifted me with a box full of cookbooks and magazines from the 1920's to 1940's.  The magazines are hilarious to this liberal minded feminist but the recipes are killer!  

As you may have noticed in some of my other blog posts I leave the interpretation for a recipe wide open.  I rarely follow them myself.  So when I purchase a cookbook I am looking for something basic so that I can adapt and develop the recipe to be my own.  These cookbooks from the 20's, 30's and 40's are exactly that (minus the Jello mold section - hee hee).  They give detailed instructions, tips, tricks and how to for things like baking cakes, or how to make your pie crust extra flaky.  Things we are always looking for but for some reason are not in the cookbooks of today.   My favorite is the recipe for Pie Crust.  It is perfect every time, never fails and renders the flakiest crust I have ever made, and I am pretty good at making pies!

For a fun blast to the past Flaky Pie Crust.

The America Woman's Cookbook 
Edited by Ruth Berolzheimer 
Copyright 1939!!!

General Directions for Making Flaky Pie Crust
To make a flaky pie crust more pains must be taken than in making the crumbly crust.  Very soft fats and oils do not make as nice a flaky crust as the firmer shortenings.  Bread flour may be used very satisfactorily.
In mixing the Ingredients be sure that they are cold, particularly the shortening and water.  Do not use the finger-tips for mixing.  The heat of the fingers softens the fat.  Cut the shortening into the flour with two knives, rather quickly, and do not mix it very thoroughly; leave it in lumps or thin slices which will roll out to maker layers or flakes.
There are three methods of making flaky crust.  The third one is particularly good when you want to cut down the amount of shortening used.  It is harder to mix and of course the crust will not be as rich as one in which a larger amount of shortening is used, but it is not tough.
A hot oven is especially important in baking a flaky crust.  Layers of cold air have been incorporated into the crust and the heat of the oven expands this air quickly, making the crust light.
It is important to prick flaky crust before baking it.  Otherwise it may puff too much in one place.

Flaky Pie Crust
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup shortening
3 to 4 tablespoons cold water

No. 1. Sift flour and salt.  Cut in the shortening with two knives.  Do not mix as  thoroughly as for crumbly pic crust, but leave shortening in small lumps or slices.  Roll lightly and bake quickly in a hot to very hot oven.
No. 2.  Use proportions given in No. 1.  Mix as in that recipe, reserving one and one- half tablespoons of the shortening.  Roll the paste out, spread with half the reserved shortening, roll up like a jelly roll and roll out with the pin.  Spread with the remaining shortening, roll up and roll out again.  If necessary sprinkle the board with flour to keep the paste from sticking.
No. 3.  Use same proportions of flour and salt as in preceding recipes.  Reduce the amount of shortening as much as one- half, if desired.  Mix flour, salt and shortening as directed above.  Take out one- half of the dry mixture.  Add water to the remainder.  Roll out in circular form.  Place one-third of dry part in a row across the center of the dough and fold over from each side to make three layers.  Turn half way round and roll out.  Repeat twice more, until all of the dry mixture is used.  Bake as usual.

Cooking Periods and Temperatures
Pie crust, shells, large pies:      400 - 450 Fahrenheit for 15 - 20 minutes
Pies, double crust with fruit filling:      450 to 425 F for 40 minutes
Single Crust (custard, pumpkin, ect):      450 to 325 F for 40 minutes
Turnovers, ect:      450F for 15 minutes


I know that the recipe seems to be a lot more complicated than we are used to reading but the tips are very useful and it really works better than any modern recipe that I have come across.  Sometimes it is good just to slow down and do it the old fashioned way.  I find that I am never disappointed when I do!

09 June, 2012

Tiangis Treats - Canastas

New Tiangis find a Grass Reed basket 
for keeping Tortillas warm during dinner = $5 Pesos
Even though we have our favorite vendors for specific items we always enjoy wandering the market to see what there is to find.  As we are still getting settled into our home we find one or two pieces each week at the Tiangis or at a Garage Sale.  It has turned into a homey form of treasure hunting, each day is an adventure.  This week we found a really nice lady who sells Canastas or Baskets of all shapes and sizes.  She has baskets for everything and all  you  need to do is ask her and she has the perfect fit just for you.  I loved the way the reeds are woven in this little basket, perfect for keeping the Tortillas warm.

What did you buy at the market this week?

08 June, 2012

Salsa Inspired by my Favorite Taco Stand

Every week we have breakfast at the Tuesday Tiangis.  We choose from Tacos, Gorditas and Birria, most of the time Taco's wins.  One of the reasons that Tacos pulls out ahead is the perfect salsas that are prepared by the wife of the owner.  She has the exact hand for how much chilies to put to make the flavor of each individual stand up and sing! I have tried begging, bribing and even tried to ask her daughter in law how to make the red salsa that they serve...even the daughter in law had no idea.  Finally after many weeks of groveling I at least got her to tell me the chilies that were in her salsa.  We ran around the market gathering the ingredients we needed and scurried home.  Boris and I put our heads together and did our best to come up with the recipe to our favorite salsa.  It is pretty close, but not exact.  Which means that I will spend many more weeks begging and pleading until she agrees to teach this Guerra how to prepare the salsa.  The salsa that we made however turned out DELICIOUS so it is with great pride that I share this recipe with you.

Ingredients assembled 

Tiangis Inspired Salsa
1 small Pasilla
2 Cascabel
3-5 Chile de Arbol
1 large Onion
1 clove Garlic
2 Tomatoes
5 Tomatillos
Olive Oil
1 cup Water

Deep fry chilies.  Just enough to release the flavors.
Roast Garlic, then peel.
Caramelize the tomatoes and then the onions.
As each item is finished cooking place in blender, when all ingredients are in the blender add water and blend until smooth.
Season with salt to taste. 

***If you have a Molcajete you can grind each ingredient as it is finished cooking and get a lot better flavor...my Molcajete is on my Santa Wishlist.

Prep work complete
Frying the chilies
It is easy to pan roast a single clove of garlic by leaving it in the paper husk and tossing it in a pan
Perfectly pan roasted Garlic
Everything ready to go!

07 June, 2012

Chicken Soup with Full Plate Thursday

What do you call the last day of the week before you go grocery shopping?  When the cupboards are near bare and there are random wilted vegetables left in the bottom of the fridge?  We call it Russian Monday's because, "Everything Must Go"...get it? "Everything Moscow"....yah- nerdy joke, but true all the same.  We go to the market every Tuesday and so come Monday we either have next to nothing left or lots of random leftovers.  Either way, the last remaining stranded fruits and veggies need to get gone for the new supply coming in.
Do you ever open the fridge or the cupboard and feel like her?

Today I grabbed all the remaining vegetables hacked them into pieces and threw them into a pot with some chicken.  I learned this general idea from a friend of mine who was not a huge fan of prep time in the kitchen.  They would just snap the vegetables into pieces with their hands and toss them into the pot.  And the flavor was ridiculous!  My Grandpa calls it Stone Soup... whatever you call it; it's dinner tonight!

Here is the real recipe and if you have the extra time we would encourage you to practice your knife skills. Cut diamond shapes in the carrots, Brunoise the potatoes... It is always good to practice when you can.

Rugged Chicken Vegetable Soup
Serves 4 hearty bowls
4 pieces Chicken legs or thighs
1 Zucchini
1 Chayote Squash
1 Corn
2 Carrots
1 Potatoe
Handful of Rice
1 Onion
1 Clove of Garlic
Small Handful of Cilantro Tops
1 cube or 1 Tbsp Chicken Bullion

For Service:
Chopped Cilantro
Warm Tortillas

Slice the Zucchini and set it aside.
Chop the remaining vegetables and break the corn into half or quarters.  Toss everything into the pot with lots of water.  Simmer away for 30-45min. 
Toss the zucchini into the pot and simmer for another 10-15min.
Serve with chopped cilantro, lime, avocado and tortillas.

***Other fun things to add:  Mushrooms, Chilies, Bell pepper, spices...whatever is left in the fridge ;)


06 June, 2012

Sun and Venus on a Date at El Charco

Yesterday afternoon we went to El Charco to watch Venus pass in front of the sun.  There was about 20 other locals there and two scientist narrating what we were seeing.  They brought dark glass, a telescope and binoculars so that we could all take turns looking directly at the sun.  It was an incredible event, one that will not happen for another 100 years.  There was such an awesome sense of community even though we did not all speak the same language.  That is what I love about living in San Miguel.  Everyone is so friendly regardless of language, status...people are so approachable and they wave at you even if you are a complete stranger.  I am so glad that we were able to share this miraculous event with the community of San Miguel.

The clouds parted just in time for us to see Venus cross over the sun
Our gracious hosts
Viewing the sun through binoculars 

View of the old water pipes from the Aurrora Dam
The reservoir is nearly dried up.  We really need some rain!
The reverse view from the telescope on paper.  Venus is the small spec on the top left.
Rain clouds nearly blocking the view
Everyone turned out to see this event, I liked watching the kids and their families
San Miguel Community
Mom teaching her daughter to look at the sun through the dark glass

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