Archive for July, 2010

Posted in ¡que comida! on July 24, 2010 by gabrea

We have been having lots of lovely gray and rainy days lately (sorry, vacationers), which of course call for yummy soups!  My boy loves him some soup, and often replies to any query such as “do you want some lunch?” with an answer of “sopa??” (spanish for soup)  Here are two of our recent favorites:

Carrot Ginger Soup

This was inspired by a delicious carrot soup that Ashley brought to a Christmas Posada potluck.  Riding home from Pilates class on a recent rainy morning, I was inspired to give it a try.  Here’s my take on it, which turned out quite yummy and yielded enough to keep us eating carrot soup for a few days.

Ingredients (mas o menos)

1 tbsp olive oil + 1 tbsp butter

1 sliced shallot

1-2 cloves minced garlic

1 tbsp fresh grated ginger

1/2 tsp dried ginger powder

1/2 tsp turmeric

2 cups chopped, peeled carrots

1 cup white wine

2 cups chicken (or veggie) stock

1 can coconut milk

1 cup milk

350 ml silken tofu, roughly chopped/cubed

2 tbsp honey, or more/less to taste

pinch salt (alaea volcanic red salt)

Saute shallots, garlic, and ginger in butter and oil for a few minutes.  Add carrots and other spices, saute a few more minutes, then add liquids and tofu.  Cover and cook over medium/low heat until carrots are soft (hmmm… 15 minutes?).  Blend to a smooth puree (an immersion blender works best, right in the pan, or you can allow to cool a bit before blending in batches in a blender).  Add honey before serving after soup has cooled slightly.  Serve with your favorite finishing salt, a drizzle of olive oil, and a dollop of creme fraiche or crema if you have it.

Mushroom Tofu Soup

Mushroom Soup has always been a favorite of mine since childhood, but I never made it until recently.  This one was so easy, fast, and tasty, from ingredients on-hand in the fridge.  This made a perfect 3 bowls (2 adult and 1 kiddie) for one lunch, so double it if you want leftovers.

Ingredients

1 tsp olive oil + 1 tsp butter

1 sliced shallot

~2 cups chopped/sliced mushrooms

4 oz. cubed tofu

1/2 cup chicken (or veggie) stock

1 tbsp cornstarch

1/2 cup light milk

herbs to taste (I used dried dill)

salt + pepper to taste

Saute shallots in butter & oil.  Add mushrooms and saute until cooked through.  Add remaining ingredients and simmer for 5 minutes or so.  Serve with whole grain crackers and tahini for a yummy, hearty lunch.

Mmm, mmm, mmm!  Good to the last drop!

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Decade-adence

Posted in Gabbi, love on July 23, 2010 by gabrea

Ten years ago today Gabbi and I went on our first date. It was a date I had anticipated and imagined for so long, as I had fallen for him hard over the course of our almost-year-long friendship to date. It was the start of a rare and magical love affair that defines and shapes and guides both of us through this life. From that day we have been inseparable, a steel fortress of a unit, entwined, enamored, enmeshed, enveloped in each other. A decade. It feels like yesterday and it feels like a lifetime, as all that truly matters in life has happened since that day. Then, we were children, but mere shadows of our unfulfilled selves, and we were drawn to each other through the most unlikely of circumstances. Such is true love, and I am so lucky in love to have found mine in Gabbi. My man who adores and worships me, entertains me, supports me, romances me, loves me, and always reminds me what is most important at the beginning of the day: us, our love, and the family we have created and hope to grow.

To share a bit of the awesome-ness that is my husband…  A few weeks ago I walked into our bedroom while Gabbi was out on a run, and found this card on my pillow.

Inside were pasted the re-written lyrics to a song we’ve always loved:

“Andee (You’re A Fine Girl)”

(As re-written by El Fantasti Fantasma)

There’s a town on a western bay
And it serves a hundred shots a day
Lonely surfers pass the time away
And talk about their lives

And there’s a girl, in this small beach town
And she works, rocking wedding gowns
They say “Andee, you’re the best in town”
She marries them 2 at a time

The young man says “Andee, you’re a fine girl
What a good wife you’re to me
Yeah your eyes could steal a surfer
From the sea.”

Andee, wears a silver six
Made of finest silver from the river Styx
A locket, to which the memory sticks
Of a man that Andee loves

He loves her every summer’s day
Bringing gifts, from near and far away
And he made it clear, he’d always stay
This beach-town was their home

The surfer said “Andee, you’re a fine girl
What a good wife you’re to me
My life, my lover, my lady
Is Andee.”

Yeah Andee used to watch his eyes when he told his drugged out story,
She could feel the syringe break the skin,
she saw it’s raging glory,
But he had always told the truth, Lord he was an honest man,
And Andee does her best to understand…

At night, when the bars close down
Andee sleeps in a silent town
And loves a man who’s always ‘round
She still can hear him say, she hears him say

“Andee, you’re a fine girl
What a good wife you’re to me ,You’re my life, my lover, my lady, Always be…”

How amazing is my man? I am blown away by his devotion; his every-day-tell-me-how-much-he-adores-me-and-can’t-live-without-me; his ability to catch me off guard and surprise me with some new way of expressing his undying love.

Gabbi, you are so cool. Thanks for asking me out all those years ago. Thanks for being the best boyfriend and friend and husband and partner and father and baby-daddy a girl could dream of. Here’s to the next 10 decades.

Yours, Andrea

posing with our insanely over-the-top date-iversary dessert “plate”, circa 1985 Miami, in 2010 Punta de Mita

Ten years ago today Gabbi and I went on our first date.  It was a date I had anticipated and imagined for so long, as I had fallen for him hard over the course of our almost-year-long friendship to date.  And it was the start of a rare and magical love affair that defines and shapes and guides both us through this life.  From that day we have been inseparable, a steel fortress of a unit, entwined, enamored, enmeshed, enveloped in each other.  A decade.  It feels like yesterday and it feels like a lifetime, as all that truly matters in life has happened since that day.  Then, we were children, but mere shadows of our unfulfilled selves, and we were drawn to each other through the most unlikely of circumstances.  Such is true love, and I am so lucky in love to have found mine in Gabbi.  My man who adores and worships me, entertains me, supports me, romances me, loves me, and always reminds me what is most important at the beginning of the day: us, our love, and the family we have created and hope to grow.

A few weeks ago I walked into our bedroom while Gabbi was out on a run, and found this card on my pillow.

Inside were pasted the re-written lyrics to a song we’ve always loved:

"Andee (You're A Fine Girl)"
(As re-written by El Fantasti Fantasma)

There's a town on a western bay
And it serves a hundred shots a day
Lonely surfers pass the time away
And talk about their lives

And there's a girl, in this small beach town
And she works, rocking wedding gowns
They say "Andee, you’re the best in town"
She marries them 2 at a time

The young man says "Andee, you're a fine girl
What a good wife you're to me
Yeah your eyes could steal a surfer
From the sea."

Andee, wears a silver six
Made of finest silver from the river Styx
A locket, to which the memory sticks
Of a man that Andee loves

He loves her every summer's day
Bringing gifts, from near and far away
And he made it clear, he'd always stay
This beach-town was their home

The surfer said "Andee, you're a fine girl
What a good wife you're to me
My life, my lover, my lady
Is Andee."

Yeah Andee used to watch his eyes when he told his drugged out story, 
She could feel the syringe break the skin, 
she saw it's raging glory, 
But he had always told the truth, Lord he was an honest man,

And Andee does her best to understand…

At night, when the bars close down
Andee sleeps in a silent town
And loves a man who’s always round
She still can hear him say, she hears him say

“Andee, you’re a fine girl
What a good wife you’re to me ,You’re my life, my lover, my lady, Always be…”

How amazing is my man?  I am blown away by his devotion; his every day tell me how much he adores me and can’t live without me; his ability to catch me off guard and surprise me with some new way of expressing his undying love.

Gabbi, you are so cool.  Thanks for asking me out all those years ago. Thanks for being the best boyfriend and friend and husband and partner and father and baby-daddy a girl could dream of.  Here’s to the next 10 decades.  Yours, Andrea

ABC, baby!

Posted in feeding, Maximo, milestones, words on July 5, 2010 by gabrea

Gabbi & I both come from a long line of speed-eaters.  We eat fast, our parents eat fast, their parents probably ate fast, and our kid eats fast.  So, as part of my “slow down the eating machine” initiative to teach Maxxi a more relaxed attitude when it comes to wolfing down his chow, we take breaks between bites to drop the spork, count to ten, and sing the alphabet song.  Maxxi’s gotten pretty good at counting over the past few weeks, and has counted to 4 (in English and Spanish) on his own more than a few times.  But today he floored me when, after hearing the song for about a week, he jumped in right on cue with his ABCs.  22 months.  My kid amazes me every day.

QM

Independence (Every) Day

Posted in Uncategorized on July 5, 2010 by gabrea

Never having been a flag-waver, I much prefer the label of Expatriate to that of Patriot – but I do love an excuse to get together and eat and drink with my friends, so we had ourselves a good ol’ fashioned American Cook-Out (that’s a BBQ, for all y’all non-southernahs) in honor of Independence Day. Aside from celebrating our good friends and good food, I also found myself reflecting on and celebrating my own Independence – from the machine, the man, the rat race, the bosses, the meetings, the commuting, the 60 hour (on a good week) work weeks, the day care my son would have been growing up in, the debt, the mortgage, the compulsion to consume, achieve, keep up with everyone around. We moved away from all of that 4+ years ago, in search of freedom, in search of time, in search of ourselves, in search of LIFE. And now here we are, living in our beautiful home that we designed and built, raising our amazing son that we created from our love, and following our dreams every day. Happy Independence, every day.

QM

In Honor of America (F-Yeah!)

Posted in ¡que comida!, Uncategorized on July 5, 2010 by gabrea

Part of my Independent Summer (read: less work, more time, YAY!) has been loving getting re-connected with the kitchen, and entertaining. For our Independence Day fête, Issac, Annmarie, and Milo brought the main event – the cheeseburgers; Treva, Nick, and Astrid brought the best bean salad with garbanzos, black beans, cabbage, and fresh mint; and I made the rest. We drank ice cold (Mexican) beer, Sangria from Annmarie, and Tequila, of course. And Agua de Sandía for the kids.

Independence Day Menu

Benedictine and crudité

Red-Cabbage Coleslaw

Bean Salad with Fresh Mint

Grilled Corn on the Cob with Cilantro Lime Butter

Cheeseburgers

Mango-upside-down Cornmeal Cake

Benedictine (Cucumber Cream Cheese Dip)

A Kentucky dish, through and through. My Grandmother always made this for any family gathering. I never ate it as a kid because of the weird green color (courtesy of yummy green food dye).  These days it is fresh and delicious. So easy and a big hit as our pre-dinner snack. Skip the food coloring and leave the peel on the cucumbers to add natural flecks of green.

  • 3 small cucumbers, seeded and grated, peel on
  • 2 8-oz. packages cream cheese, softened
  • Smoked paprika to taste
  • Salt* & pepper to taste (*I used The Meadow’s Alaea Volcanic Finishing Salt)

Mix all ingredients together until combined and delicious. Arrange in a dish with cucumber slices, cover and refrigerate for 1-2 hours before serving to allow flavors to meld). Serve with fresh raw veggies (jicama, carrots, green peppers, cherry tomatoes) and your favorite cracker (bonus points if your favorite cracker is also from Kentucky).

Red-Cabbage Coleslaw

I have been making one variation or another of this coleslaw since my dad made it for Maxxi’s first birthday party. Simple, cheap, and delicious, and we always have yummy leftovers to munch on for the next few days.

slaw:

  • ½ head red cabbage, sliced
  • 3 carrots, peeled & grated
  • 1 granny smith apple, cored & grated
  • optional: grated or julienned beets or zucchini
  • toasted chopped almonds
  • chopped fresh cilantro

dressing:

  • Juice of 1 lime
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • Salt* & pepper to taste (*I used The Meadow’s Maldon Crystal Sea Salt for the dressing, and the Alaea Volcanic for finishing the slaw)
  • Drizzle of olive oil
  • 1/3 cup good quality mayo (Louit Olive Oil mayo is way better and lighter tasting than Hellman’s/Best Foods)

Toss all veggies with the dressing and add salt/pepper to taste. Top with toasted almonds and fresh cilantro.

Grilled Corn with Cilantro Lime Butter

I was craving corn on the cob after Maria’s article in El Sayulero this week. I never cook whole corn, so I had to call up my dad for advice. He suggested I shuck it, boil it for a few minutes, then throw it on the grill to finish it off. The shucking was a bit of work (suddenly the $80 peso pack of ready-to-cook fresh corn at Costco doesn’t seem quite so overpriced), but the rest went alright. Except Mexican corn is of the very chewy variety, so I didn’t quite get the delicious American corn on the cob experience I was looking for. But the yummy butter made the chewy corn more than edible.

cilantro lime butter:

  • grated zest of 2 limes
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 stick softened butter

Mix all ingredients together. Add other spices to taste (smoked paprika, chili powder, pepper). Roll in wax paper to form a log, refrigerate until time to serve with corn.

Mango-upside-down Cornmeal Cake

I had wanted to make fried chicken and cornbread, but that seemed like too much with burgers and a relatively small group, so I looked around for a corn-bread inspired dessert and found Alton Brown’s recipe for Pineapple Upside Down Cornmeal Cake. Having a bowl of fresh mangoes from Kerry & Ian’s tree, I had to swap out the canned pineapple for fresh mangoes (duh).  This is the 3rd mango-upside-down cake I have made in the past 2 weeks, and I think this one got it right. The cornmeal cake was amazing – like cornbread but sweeter and cake-ier, and the mangoes and brown sugar were divine.

I followed Alton’s recipe with a few substitutions…

  • Mangoes instead of canned pineapple
  • added 2 tbsp dry buttermilk powder to dry ingredients
  • added 2 tsp baking soda (because my cakes never rise here in Mexico, but this one did!)
  • reduced the butter to ~3 oz.
  • reduced the brown sugar to ~3/4 cup (probably could reduce more)
  • forgot to add the canola oil to the cake batter, so only stirred about 1 tbsp into the batter after it was in the pan. I did f-up my beautiful mango arrangement doing this (thus, I wasn’t inclined to photograph the finished product), but I didn’t miss the canola oil in the recipe, so next time I will only add 1 tbsp instead of the 1/2 cup.

I was also thinking about Strawberry Shortcake, so I served the cake with fresh sliced strawberries and whipped cream. The whipping cream at the local tienda was expired, so I sprung for the pre-gassed version, which we all had quite a lot of fun with.

The kids had a blast, we had a blast. Who needs fireworks, anyway? Independence rules, and I’m pretty sure it tastes like this.  F-yeah.

QM