Monday, March 31, 2008

Off to catnip paradise

I heard from my friend Carolyn tonight that her wonderful cat Satchmo, who has been her constant companion for 15+ years has gone on to that delicious catnip meadow populated by all our favorites. This photo was taken by her son Mike when he visited her in the mountains of Mexico where she has taken up residence after tiring of the beach. RIP Satchmo!

Tiangues today, when I really should have stayed off my foot for one more day. Not too much harm done. Just thought I'd mention avocados, 6 for $3.50. A scandalously high price here. But fortunately I can afford it.

Fernando will come on Wednesday and start the paint job in the living room. We have decided that since we are leaving in 5+ weeks we will wait for the big paint job until next winter. Why paint everything now and just let it sit and fade over the summer? We will have him paint one wall and see how we like it. And how you like it, too.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

lying low for the weekend

As sometimes happens, I have developed a couple of nasty blisters on my feet. This is not a good thing for a diabetic. I haven't had problems for about three years so I guess it must be my turn. Along with antibiotic dressings and careful monitoring, I have spent the weekend with my feet up. Well, almost. But it wasn't very hard.

Saturday morning was the Metropolitan Opera, Verdi's Ernani this week. It's next week I'm waiting for ~ La Bohme. I missed the archive broadcast of Pavarotti's performance so this one will have to suffice.

Saturday afternoon I finished up Chronicle of a Death Foretold which I had read some years ago. It remains a most elegant little literary gems.

At 4 PM Patti arrived to give me a lovely massage to relieve the aches, pains and stress of living in the tropics.

This morning, with Glenn Gould snorting his way through Bach's Goldberg Variations (you really can hear him huffing and groaning) I sat at the table with my dominoes spread out in front of me practicing the art of building a playable hand. Sometimes it is simply impossible; no matches. Other times it all falls into place very easily.

Meanwhile, while noodling on the computer, the Patient found a terrific photo editing program that's free. It's called Picnik. Easy to use, has more bells and whistles than the program built into the Mac. Give it a try.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

the domino parlor

No smoke filled back rooms for the Ladies' Wednesday Night Domino Club. This was the view from my table last night. Not very conducive to concentration, I will admit, and stunningly beautiful. I did not do at all well, but if I can sit and look at such a lovely vista, who cares?

Monday, March 24, 2008

the death of disco

Gone but not forgotten. Disco has been dead in the US for what, 30 years? But alas, not here. They'll be back. But no more this year! We are all celebrating. The speakers are gone, the lights are gone, the light standards are gone, the control console is gone, the beer stand in the disco is gone. Last year they cranked up again on the Wednesday after Easter for four more days. We can only hope they lost their shirts and have decided that Cuyutlan isn't worth it.

I received these two photos from friend Shelia who took them at our
eclipse pizza party.

This is Fernando, his wife Chuy and daughter Rosie, getting the pizzas ready to bake in the big beehive oven.

I showed Chuy this photo this morning and asked her the word for "double chin". I think she said peplio but I'm not sure. I'll check again tomorrow. That word is not in my Oxford.

And here's our terrific Fernando with his pizza.

Smiling and cheerful as always. A truly good person and a pleasure to know.

If you can imagine it, one gets tired of mangoes and melons for dessert. So I took a leaf from the Pinch My Salt food blog and made the Orange Yogurt Bread for dessert. We get such wonderful oranges here, sweet and very juicy. Turned out to be quite nice. More of a pound cake than a "bread". And I'm letting Nicole and others do all the photographing.

1st day of Pasqua

If it weren't for the trash all over the place you would never know that Semana Santa had ever happened. The town is empty and quiet again. It was reported to me that between the Friday before Holy Week and Easter Sunday ~ 10 days total ~ this town played host to 65,000 visitors. Think about it: a tiny village of 2,000 residents is suddenly flooded with 65,000 hungry, thirsty revelers. They all seemed to have a good time, however. No drownings (that I've heard about), no knife fights (What? No knife fights??), not too much drunk-and-disorderly to speak of unless you count the normal behavior in the disco. And lots of security, especially the Mexican counterpart to the DEA, with snuffling dogs straining at their leashes but remarkable unfazed by the mobs on the malecón. We saw several groups of black-uniformed men and women walking up and down and on the side streets giving groups of young people the eye. I haven't heard of any busts.

This week's crowds will be thinner and there will be fewer campers. Most of these folks stay in hotels and are a bit more "sedate". The disco will stay quiet for two nights, then start again on Wednesday. There will be two dances, Friday and Saturday nights, with live music, mostly old Ranchero style, which I love. They are being sponsored by the beach-front hotels for these aforementioned "sedate" guests. They are held out on the malecón and draw people from all over the area. If the weather is nice it can be a very romantic evening, dancing out under the stars. If it is cold the whole thing will probably move into the Siete Mares restaurant that fronts on the beach. I might just possibly get the Patient to take a stroll down to watch. Dance? We'll see. (As I can remember from my childhood, "We'll see" invariably meant "no".)

Sunday, March 23, 2008

the Lord is risen!
He is risen indeed! Hallelujah!

It is five years since I have exchanged this traditional Easter greeting with my mother. One of us would phone the other on Easter morning to proclaim these words. She died in February 2004. I am reminded of this no doubt because of reading Didion's book in which she talks about memories and the anniversaries and events that trigger them. I called my sister, now visiting in Connecticut, to give the greeting, but she was not there. I'll try again later. It just doesn't seem to be Easter without saying it to someone. I might also note that we used to exchange this greeting at birthdays, as in, "Your age has risen!" "It has risen indeed! Hallelujah!" And after a certain age, it is indeed Hallelujah!

Nor does it seem to be Easter without the traditional (in our family) Easter dinner. After the greeting it would be time to prepare the leg of lamb, asparagus, tiny roasting potatoes and lemon mousse. This year it's going to be birria, rice pilaf, green salad, foccacia, and perhaps some home-made vanilla ice cream. It is impossible to get fresh lamb here. There is one carneceria in Tecoman where we can get frozen shoulder cuts but it's not very good. We'll eat local and start a new tradition.

Semana Santa is over for this year. The disco(s) shut down at 3 AM this morning. The first wave of holidaymakers has passed; people have packed up and gone, leaving their trash and debris scattered all over the street. I saw the garbage collection crew get out of their truck and actually do a cursory clean-up on the street in front of our house. There's more to be done but at least they gave it a quick once-over. Pasqua starts tomorrow. The second wave of celebrants will begin trickling into town next Wednesday for four more days of noise and fun. This means we will have at least two and maybe three quiet nights with no loud music from across the street.

With Chanticleer singing Palestrina playing in the background, the surf crashing on the beach and the sun sparkling off the water, it's time to get the foccacia started (and risen!). Happy Easter.

Friday, March 21, 2008

three Mexican gentlemen

Yesterday in the late morning I was in the bathroom brushing my teeth when the bell rang at the front door. Toothbrush in hand and mouth full of paste suds I went to the upstairs balcony and leaned over to see who it might be. Three well-dressed (for the beach) and well spoken gentlemen looked up and were slightly startled to see some señora, foaming at the mouth and waving a toothbrush at them. I indicated, "Just a minute," got myself together and went down to the door. These three gents were asking if they could rent space on our next-door lot to pitch their casas de campo (tents) for their stay. I considered the situation: how many might there be? how many screaming children? how long might they want to stay? three days? a week? They assured me it was only for one night. I was completely won over by their very polite manners and by the fact that they had even bothered to ask before squatting and tearing up the place. They said they would be here until media dia today. In the end I said yes, but please clean up the place before you leave. They were very grateful and went away to set up their little camp site. Two cars pulled up and 4 adults and 5 little kiddies got out. They did indeed pitch two small tents against the wall. Then they headed off to the beach for the day. I didn't see or hear them again until about 7:30 this morning. I think the party divided up and some went to another spot as I never saw the full contingent again until this afternoon when they again rang the bell to say they were leaving, they had cleaned everything up and muchas gracias I wished them bien viaje and we parted with smiles all around. They'll probably be back next year.

The disco wailed and screamed until 3 AM this morning, but I slept pretty well despite the horrid noise (Marie calls it Monster Vomit). After the discos shut down the freelance bands start up. They are down on the malecón, having been boozing and carousing all night. Then they decide it would be fun to start playing various instruments, the louder the better. This went on for an hour or so. Then I guess complete exhaustion took over as they all fell silent at the same time. As I am writing this I can hear one of the bands tooting and drumming outside. Here's what I could snap:

The white pick-up campers from across the street have packed up and disappeared, leaving behind, besides my dead shrub, quite a pile of trash that guess who will have to clean up. This is really the worst part of these two weeks; the mountains of garbage left behind. The concept of "put it in the trash barrel at the end of the street, for God's sake" just doesn't exist.

The disco has opened up for the rest of the afternoon and night; it's now 4:30 PM here. They will probably go until at least 4:30 tomorrow morning. At least they waited until Good Friday Mass was over before starting.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

overnight sensation

These pictures were taken yesterday at about this time. This one shows the view from our front balcony looking south toward the colonia. It was calm and quiet all day. No traffic, no noise except from the disco as it "tested" its speakers to see just how loud and obnoxious it could get.

Looking north you can see Jack's casa on this nice, quiet street with no disturbances except a few barking dogs and some kids.

This is a view looking west toward the sea. By the way, that small triangular-shaped lot at the corner is for sale. Only $38,000 USD. Imagine! It's clear the owners aren't serious about selling.

When we looked outside this morning there were a few cars and a couple of campers had set up on the lot. But by noon, this is what it looked like.

Looking south. . .

Looking north. . .

Looking west. . .

The white pick-up rolled in about 2 PM and at least 10 people got out, including a rather chubby chap wielding a machete. He promptly went to work on a very pretty bush that I carefully instructed Fernandillo NOT to chop down when he cleaned up the walkway. It is now kindling. Then they proceeded to set up an elaborate camp with planks of what is probably plywood to virtually enclose the whole thing. Don't even think about the issues of cooking and sanitation. This whole lets-pile-a-mob-into-the-truck-and-go-live-in-the-dirt-at-the-beach thing is completely foreign to me. I'm like my father who always said that for him, roughing it was staying at the Hilton. I'll do Holiday Inn but I confess I'm really more of a Ritz Carlton kinda gal. So sleeping in the car, using a vacant lot as a bathroom, splashing around in an icy, treacherous sea for a few days just holds no appeal. Plus their necessity for loud noise. No entiendo. Even Fernando finds it a bit too much. Too much noise, too much basura and too many people. But he works with Dago over these two weeks and makes a tidy profit so doesn't complain. I, on the other hand . . .

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

two for the price of one

A second disco has opened up next door to the current one in front of our house. There is nothing but a thin plywood sheet between the two. They are competitors; different music. Dueling discos. What a concept. I'll let you know tomorrow how it goes. Right now it's obscenely loud. The base is migrane-inducing. The only happy note is that I won BIG TIME at dominoes tonight.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

facing the music

In fact, we face directly on the open-air disco 1/2 block away. It started it's annual Easter holiday blast last night. The gigantic speakers blare out the most repulsive noise (aka music) beginning at 7:30 or 8 o'clock and keep it up at full tilt until anywhere between 2:30 and 4:30. Last night was just a warm-up, to test the volume and grossness of the selections. We have discovered, however, that if we completely seal up the bedroom by closing all windows and the sliders, pulling the drapes shut we cut down on the sound enough to sleep. It's so cold and windy at night that this is not a problem. I started out using my Bose headphones but found it too uncomfortable to sleep with them on. I discovered all the glass muffles the racket and it's almost bearable. I think the reason they started last night is that yesterday was Benito Juarez's birthday, a national holiday. There were quite a few people here for the long weekend. However, most of them had retreated back to where they came from by last night. I didn't see a soul on the malecón or in the disco. It might just possibly be quiet tonight, then start up again on Wednesday.

I took a stroll along the beach and through town this morning to see the second city that has sprung up throughout the town. For these two weeks this place is Trinket City; lots of stalls, up one side and down the other, selling used clothing, cosmetics, jewelry, all sorts of beach toys, bathing suits and sandals, sunglasses (always a big seller), -- you name it. And everyone who has a cook pot opens up a food stall selling everything from boxed-mix pancakes and grilled bananas to steaks, ice cream and a sickly sweet rice pudding. Several stalls sell huaraches, big, flat sandwiches with meat, cheese and hot sauce that indeed look like the shoes of the same name. I tried one a couple of years ago and decided I'd rather wear the shoes than eat the sandwiches.

At the tiangues on Monday, this gentleman was selling some sort of cure-all snake oil. He had a great spiel about the myriad diseases that could be not only treated but cured by this elixir. I never did learn what were the ingredients in the bottles of red liquid he was peddling, but if you had high blood pressure, insomnia, gas (la flatulencia), head ache, cramps, sore muscles and, of particular interest to me, diabetes, this was what you needed. It's probably good for gout and dandruff, too.

As you can see he had gathered quite an audience for his show.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Ruby does cake

Sunday, March 16, 2008

it's g-r-e-a-t to be 3

The charming Ruby turned three today. My sister and brother-in-law ~ Ruby's Meme and Papa ~ were in Connecticut for the celebration. I have not yet received the photos; probably tomorrow. But what I have received is an invitation from Kaley (my niece) to play Scrabble on line. Lots of fun. And she's a worthy competitor. She currently leads this round 153-122, but I have several good letters I am waiting to play when I get her next move. This is a whole new time-waster.

Today was a perfect kite-flying day. Good winds, clear skies, open beach. Many took advantage of it. I sat on the front balcony and watched the kites bouncing around in the sea breeze. Beautiful.

Current read is Joan Didion's "A Year of Magical Thinking." Anyone who as been a parent, child, mother, father, spouse, lover, friend should read it. Sad, moving, uplifting. A road map for the future.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

hamburgers on focaccia

Natalie Cole is on the stereo singing, among other things, this wonderful song. It's a lovely evening after a nice sunny day. The Patient requested focaccia, so I rolled up my sleeves and produced a beauty of a specimen. But before I could do anything we had to tear into Tecoman so I could buy some yeast (levadura). Somehow I had managed to run out. The Mexican yeast is really good; I always bring some back to the US for my summer's use.

Tomorrow is Palm Sunday. The local church is decorated with lots of fronds gathered from all the local palm trees. There will be elaborate doings at both the church in town and the little one out in the colonia. I remember the Palm Sundays of my boarding school years. Someone would deliver sheaves of razor-sharp palm fronds which we, the boarding students (as opposed to the day students) would then turn into origami-style folded crosses to distribute to Sunday worshipers. I could probable still make them even in my sleep.

Monday signals the official beginning of Semana Santa, Holy Week. In this most Catholic of Catholic countries it has always amazed me that this is the week when, instead of it being a devoutly religious holiday, all hell breaks loose. Pasqua, the week after Easter is a bit more sedate, but not much. There will be little or no sleep at night beginning next Thursday through Sunday, then a break, then more disco until the following Saturday. But the Sunday after Easter it's all over. Until next year.

Friday, March 14, 2008

tarting up Cuyutlán

Easter is only a week away. As usual, there is much bustle and sweeping and painting in our little village. This happens every year; complete neglect of everything ~ sidewalks, streets, the malecón, house fronts, store fronts ~ followed by 10 days of frenzied fixing. Aside from the months-long work on the malecón, starting last Monday a phalanx of workers began at the entrance to the town, right off the toll road, wielding brooms, machetes, shovels, paint brushes and rollers, ladders and wheelbarrows. Their job? Slap some lipstick on this little pig and show the governor how the taxes collected from the good citizens of Cuyutlán are being spent. And tax money has to be spent in the year it is collected; no carry-forward. So they have to get rid of it before they lose it. There are many things this little town could use (desperately) such as decent public baños to accommodate the influx of visitors. But instead we have a new walkway that nobody will ever use, a new hedge of bougainvilleas planted so close together that at least half of them will die in two weeks. The other half will be dug up and taken home by the more upstanding residents. ¡Asi es la vida loca!

The other town-wide effort has been painting. Someone got a great deal on white paint, thousands of liters of it. Everything from the entrance to the end of the street at the malecon, probably a quarter of a km, has been painted white, including curbs, tree trunks, sidewalk support beams. Now I will admit that some of those fronts needed a good cleaning-up, but our colorful little village now looks completely homogenized and boring. A perfect background for the inevitable graffiti has been graciously provided by the government. But then, after Easter it will be a free-for-all again and in a month the houses will have been repainted and once again a rainbow of bright colors will greet visitors.

Yesterday I went to a heretofore untested restaurant that I have been admiring for a couple of years. I see it every time I drive into Tecoman and finally decided it was time to give it a try. What a wonderful discovery! It is called Caminaro. It has lots of greenery out front so it is hard to see what's inside. Along with a very large main part it has a big patio area in back with a pool, probably 50 tables, a swim-up bar, a dance area ~ great party venue. The chiliquiles were the very best I've ever eaten, including those made by the Patient. In the main restaurant there is a charming altar with an "assemblage" painting of the Virgin of Guadalupe, made of paper maché and salt done by the owner, Freddy. In fact he did all the paintings throughout and laid the mosaic floor tiles in one of the little dining nooks hidden throughout the restaurant's gardens. A delightful place, well worth another visit.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

the one and only

Today is the 14th birthday of the one, the only, Emily, granddaughter extraordinaire.

This is the only picture I have of her that's reasonably recent (last summer on our ferry trip to San Francisco). If she sees it she'll undoubtedly groan with embarrassment. But I think it's sort of cute.

Happy Birthday, Emily!

Monday, March 10, 2008

an unremarkable monday

Except that every day here is a marvel, this was fairly ordinarily marvelous. Tiangues this morning with the usual fare, except the really good fruit vendor was a no-show, lunch of last night's uneaten tacitos, reading and kitchen antics this afternoon. Made some pasta sauce for dinner but the actual noodles are interesting; they are spaghetti-length macaroni with a hole in the middle, like a straw. We'll see.

But the evening brought this beautiful sunset to us.

We haven't had any really stunning nightfalls lately; no clouds, or too many. But tonight may be the herald of gorgeous evenings to come, now that the cold weather seems to be over and spring is here. This photo was taken on the 3rd floor under the palapa that we have ringed with twinkle lights. Quite magical.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

something for the garden, something for the tummy

Our friend Roger has sold his house here and is downsizing (off-loading?) many of his things, including plants from his garden. Actually, it is his spouse who is the gardener.

He brought over this cactus for the Patient. Those little spines are razor sharp. Although I am not a cactus lover, I am quite taken by the shape and color of this specimen. It looks particularly fetching next to the wall color. In our lot next door we have several other kinds of cactus, including some really big agave (think tequila) that the original owner of our house planted almost 20 years ago. An interesting bit of b-b-q lore: people cut off the lower branches of the agave and put them in with cooking coals to give a smoky flavor to grilled meats and fish. In fact, we have had people stop and ask if they could cut some for that purpose, always reminding us that in order to keep the plant healthy and productive you have to cut away the bottom "leaves" from time to time. So I get free gardening, they get free agave.

We went to dinner at our favorite restaurant in Armeria, La Jacaranda. It's very much a neighborhood place, very informal and colorful. Who goes there? Families, young people on dates or in groups, and all us gringos who long for really good food. I had my usual: mulitas, a sort of grilled sandwich made with two tortillas in the middle of which are grilled strips of steak, guacamole, cheese and salsa. My mouth is watering even as I describe it.

It was delicious.

Although they have a full bar, the wine selection is terrible, so you can bring your own bottle ~ no charge ~ but no wine glasses, either. That glass was NOT for the Patient's beer. He ordered his usual, pizza with pepperoni and cheese. That's one dish he can chew up and swallow without too much trouble. He is still finding many foods difficult if not impossible to eat, and that includes most meats. He does a little better with fish, but not much. No only is it flavorless but it is too fibrous to get down. Even stewed things like chicken he finds a challenge. So I make lots of bean or veggie soups. He will eat mashed potatoes, refried beans in soft tortillas, very soft veggies, polenta, custards and puddings. Those and a few other treats are pretty much what he lives on. We're going to try pasta and sauce again tomorrow; last time wasn't very successful. Of course he is still into waffles. We got our sourdough starter going so he's now a much happier breakfast eater.

By the way, daylight savings time does not start here for another month, April 6th. No springing ahead down here, yet.

Friday, March 07, 2008

another sunny day

A bright day today. Laundry dried in a couple of hours. Sea sparkling. The weekenders began arriving about 4 PM. The hotel across the street is pretty low key but a few huespedes began arriving around 7. The music is always mellow; not too much noise.

Chuy brought us dinner tonight; fish filettes in a lovely sauce. I asked her if she made it for the puesto. She said not, just for las familias. I was so delighted that it included us. She is very attentive to the Patient's food issues. When we go to Dago's and she is cooking she makes a special salsa for him that is very mild, and she knows he can eat fish tacos on soft tortillas and has them ready. The Patient got the whole meal (fish, rice, veggie) down without a hitch. Not an easy task. I thank the gods that be every day for Chuy and Fernando. They are ever kind and watchful over us. When she leaves my house after tidying up, the whole place sparkles. Although I still wrestle with the idea that someone else cleans up the mess I make, I console myself with the knowledge that this is the way she contributes to the family's budget. She was unwilling to work outside the home until their daughter Rosie was in school and she had the free time available. She has been working for us for four years. Seems impossible it has been that long. We could not live here, keep this house safe without both of them.

Tomorrow evening it is out to dineer at the Jacaranda, a date we originally had planned for last weekend but which we put off because the Patient was not feeling well. He is much improved ~ cough and cold ~ so tomorrow night is date night!

Thursday, March 06, 2008

on the sunny side

We actually had sunshine today, all day. First time in about 3 weeks. It was clear and bright early and stayed that way until sunset. For a change.

Seeing that it was so nice I took a couple of strolls along the malecón to see how far the workers have come in their re-do of this lovely walkway. Two years ago the north end was completely refurbished; the old cement was torn up, the crumbling banquettes were demolished, big planters were erected along the middle, and new lamps were installed. The re-do stopped almost directly in front of Dago's puesto. This year the rest of is is being done, and it looks quite spiffy. They still have some work to do, and only another 10 days to do it before the mobs arrive for the Easter crazies.

The malecón was once the social hub of this little town. Mornings found lots of folks out for a constitutiona, or walking dogs. Much chatter along the way. In the evenings it would be crowded with strollers, families out to meet and greet friends and neighbors. Kids kicked around soccer balls, tots rode little tricycles, teenagers flirted, parents and grandparents visited.

Then came TV and video games. Everyone stays home in the evenings. Now the malecón relegated to a path between here and there. It is almost completely deserted in the evenings, except for people grabbing a late snack at one of the puestos, if it's still open. When we first began coming down here we took an evening's stroll after dinner every evening; it was a ritual, the way to get caught up on all the village's gossip and to see whose son was dancing around whose daughter. Now we don't go at all except occasionally to sit at Dago's for a meal or a drink.

The south end where we live is, right now, so pristine and clean that I want you to see it before all the Easter vandalism takes place, which it will.

They have even dyed the concrete blue on one edge and sand on the other to make it look like the beach. I'll try to remember to take another picture after the Easter revelers have left.

Raul came this afternoon and put in the last of the 29 windows. It took awhile to get it all done but they all look stunning.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

winter in Cuyutlán

It's cold down here on the sunny Mexican riviera. I have been wearing long pants and long sleeves. The Patient has dug out turtleneck shirts, jeans, shoes and sox. This evening I put on a sweater with my long pants, Tivos and sox.

This was last night's sky, looking northwest toward Jack's.

Here's what it looked like this morning, same view.

The sun came out just long enough to dry a line of laundry. Then it went away again. Tonight's sky is about the same as last night's; too much cloud cover for a colorful sunset.

I am now recovering from my 5 PM massage. Yes, she knows her stuff. I'll see how my back feels tomorrow morning after its thorough work-over.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

what color are your walls?

Nows that the tiling is all done it's time to paint. I have been putting little swatches in the kitchen and living room, trying to find THE perfect combination that will go with wall tiles, floor tiles, other furnishings (sparse) plus take advantage of both the light and the view. I narrowed it down to these five choices.

I thought that swatches one and two were too mustard-y, too orange. Swatch three was too pinik. I finally decided on these two.

The top one is called Chihuahueño, the bottom Bronceado. No translation in my dictionary for the first; "bronze" for the second. I am planning to paint the walls the lighter colors; the built-in sofa, the built-in bookcase, and the stove hood the darker color. I think they go quite nicely together.

More progress on the window front today. Raul showed up about noon with the new sliders for downstairs, the sala screen door, the three high windows in the living room, the bathroom window, and the screen in the kitchen. What's left? The two new windows in the kitchen. Mañana.

In the morning, Jaime is sending over one of his crew to sand down the raw cememt sides of the new kitchen corner table, the area around the new electrical outlet, the new kitchen windows' openings and one spot on the living room wall. Then we will be able to paint. This won't happen until after Easter since Fernando is working at Dago's puesto for the next 2 1/2 weeks.

Tomorrow at 5 PM I will get a long-anticipated massage from the local masseuse, Paty. One and a half hours for 200 pesos, or about $18. At that rate I can have her come every week. I'll report tomorrow evening, or perhaps Thursday morning?

Weather continues cold, windy and foggy. Sun finally peeked through about 4 PM. Not our usual beach.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

pass the chimi churri

I decided to whip up chimi churri this morning to use up some flat-leaf parsley and the rest of my cilantro. This Argentinian sauce is akin to pesto sauce, but a bit more snappy. Great smeared on pizza, grilled meat, chicken or fish, or just scooped up on a tostada, as you can see below.

1 cup flat-leaf parsley
1/4 cup cilantro
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 cloves garlic
1 piece onion (about 1/4 cup)
3/4 t crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 t salt
Squeeze of lime juice

In a blender, whirl the garlic, onion, some of the olive oil into a paste. Dump in the parsley and blend. Add the red pepper flakes, salt and the oil and vinegar to reach a nice, runny consistency. You don't want it too thick OR too thin. It's a sauce, not a paste. Our favorite restaurant in Armeria serves it with almost everything they prepare, from steaks to bean tacos! When I order guacamole I like to add a bit of it to give the dip a bit of zip.

You can alter these ingredients to your taste; not so much garlic, more cilantro, less parsley, lighten up on the red pepper flakes. Remember to use the flatp-leaf parsley; the curly leaf kind is too strong and tough. But what ever you do to it, enjoy!