Wednesday, December 31, 2008
And if you wish for abundance of riches in 2009 you might want to try a Spanish habit of eating (quickly) 12 grapes at midnight!
All sweet ones symbolize months of prosperity, the sour ones - less so. So let's have a sweet grape year - all of us!
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Saturday, December 27, 2008
First I ran around Atlanta, freezing (since I had no time to go to storage and retrieve my winter clothes), shopping for ethnic food - both Swedish and Polish... and for American Christmas Day turkey dinner, too.... since my daughter wanted to have all these traditions observed during the holidays.
Both in Poland and Sweden the biggest, most important, traditional feast is a Christmas Eve dinner:
in Poland a "fasting" (here fasting just meaning: no meat) feast of seven ... no, not seven fishes, as is the tradistion in Italy, but seven...or nine... or even twelve different dishes (most of them fish, though), which you begin to consume when a first star is spotted in the sky .
Don't worry about what to do, when the sky is overcats: someone will eventually get hungry enough and insist he spotted a star... and everybody will accept that gratefully.
Thus in both Poland and Sweden an overabundance of food, just rather different types of food.Swedish food was far easier to get, thanks to IKEA, which had all sorts of Swedish fare: herrings, crispbreads, cheeses, caviar, Swedish ham, lingonberries, Princess cake...
Polish food was nearly impossible to find in Atlanta, so I finally gave up on most traditional Polish Christmas Eve dishes, except for my daughter's favorite:
...which , however, she'll get first tomorrow, accompanying a pork roast with plums,
not a pan fried fat fish, as Polish Christmas tradition would demand, since that particular kind of fish was not available even in the World Farmers' Market :-(((
I also had to give up on a traditional Polish dessert, which I love:
a poppy seed sufflet with tropical fruit and whipped cream: trying to buy a pound of poppy seeds in Atlanta could get me suspected of attempting to make opium.... not a particularly appealing prospect.
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
They came from Spain and there are called bunuelos de bacalao and are round, looking more like donoughts ( codfish donoughts, anyone? :-)... sounds a little weird, doesn't it?), while the Puertorican ones (that I ingested!) are flatter, more like pancackes. Also, Spaniards add parsley to theirs, while Puertoricans don't.
Still, both varieties are great.
If you want to make them from scratch, here is a Spanish recipe:
500 g (or 1 lb 2 oz) of salt cod
1 large potato, unpeeled
2 tablespoons milk
oil (best to use: olive) for deep frying
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
30 g (1/4 cup) self raising flour
2 eggs, separated
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh flat-leaf (Italian) parsley
Soak the cod in water for 24 hours, changing water regularly: at least 4 times.
Cook potato for 20 minutes or until soft. Cool, peel and mash with milk and 2 tablespoons of olive oil.
Drain the cod, cut into large pieces, place in a saucepan, cover with water and bring to the boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium and cook for about 10 minutes. Drain and cool. Remove skin and bones, then mash with fork until flaky.
Meanwhile heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a frying pan, add onion and cook over medium heat for 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook for one minute. Remove from heat.
Combine the potato, cod, onion mixture, flour, egg yolk and parsley in a bowl and season.
Whisk egg whites until stiff then fold into the mixture.
Fill a large heavy-based one third full with oil and heat to 190 C (375 F).
Drop heaped tablespoons of the cod mixture into the oil and cook for 2 minutes or until puffed and golden. Drain on paper towels and serve immediately.
,in Puerto Rico you can make bacalaitos without going to all that trouble, since there are ready - or almost ready - mixes for them here and special frying pans for bacalaitos as well - see picture above.
They taste sooo good and apparently have less than 50 calories each, so you can indulge in two... or even three of them. :-)
Monday, December 15, 2008
Anyway, common sense and goodwill prevailed this time and La Casa de Junny was finally ready for its grand opening.
Friday before Thanksgiving trustees,
a representative of the future tenants cut the ribbon,
AMPI employees formed a receiving line,
and each of them escorted a tenant to her room as both tenants and guests entered La Casa de Junny.
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
She arrived in the evening and wanted to do some Christmas shopping in Old San Juan, so we stayed overnight in the city. After a year spent in Puerto Rican towns and villages full of ugly concrete bunkers enveloped in even uglier metal cages, I truly enjoyed the architectural grace of Old San Juan, without holding a grudge that it lured me to Puerto Rico under false pretenses (I first visited Puerto Rico on a cruise , and naively thought the entire island was as charming as old San Juan - a big, big mistake)
Enjoyed the gracious buildings, the pretty balconies,
But I LOVE old San Juan, no matter what!
So we spent Wednesday shopping, doing our dardenest to stimulate the economy in a typical American way: spending money.
Still, it was not easy: both old San Juan stores and the stores in the outlet mall in Barceloneta, where we shopped on our way back to the west coast were so full of bargains, almost everything seemed to cost a lot less than a year ago.
During the rest of the week we mostly enjoyed the sea and the beaches:the one in front of my condo in Punta Arenas,
with its panoramic view of Mayaguez coastline ,
and, of course, the Playuela
so quintessentially Caribbean ,
and so full of fun!
We also went to Bahia Salinas, where we enjoyed another beach,
a spa, with its sybarytic lounging beds
around the infinity pool overlooking the typical glorious, west coast sunset
and had a great dinner at their renowned Meson type restaurant Agua al Cuello,
eating ? (see top picture) FISH! Without even a slice of turkey in sight!
Saturday, November 22, 2008
It has an ample formal living room
Last but not least
There are six individual bedrooms upstairs
each of them different
to accommodate various preferences of their new inhabitants
each of them comfortable
and each lovingly arranged
by AMPI staff and volunteers, thanks to generous donations from the people of Mayaguez and surrounding communities.