Wednesday, April 30, 2008

we found this little guy (yes, we know it's a guy; he's clearly defined as such) tossed next to our dumpster this week. the poor baby had been marked up - - probably with every pen its household of origin contained; he was a wreck. we pulled him out - - he's such a nice size and shape, and doesn't have hair (I'm strangely, strongly opinionated about hair on dolls) - - hoping that his markings would come off with a good scrubbing. I've tried a variety of cleaning solutions and, while he looks better, the majority of the markings refuse to go. I have a feeling that he will make his way into the bag that goes next week to our local second hand shop (count on a Spanish woman to know an ink-removing trick that I don't!)

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

the cheeky cheese guy

we trekked down to Pamplona's farmer's market on Sunday morning.
I asked the cheese guy if I could try some cheese. "oh yes" he told me "you can try it - - and you are going to love it!"
we did try it, and we did love it; and we came home with a pound of artisan castilian sheep cheese.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Joshua likes to throw parties. you did know that about him, right? If you didn't, it's probably important that you do - - it's an essential part of who he is. I assure you, if you haven't been invited to one of his parties yet, there is a good chance that you will be; just hang around us long enough . . .
the first Joshua party I attended was perhaps the one headed up by his roommate Bill Clifton in College - -space lounge 2o10; they lined their entire room with tin foil and make made their guests sign a guest book with their planet of origin; and then there was his 25th birthday superhero party; we had Robin, Super girl, Wonder Woman, Poison Ivy, the Hulk, Mr. Furious, Spock (Spock? Spock?! you have to admit, Frank, Spock isn't really a superhero) show up to that one. And October, 2001 - - our Invasion of the Body Snatchers party - - guests had to come dressed as someone else they knew. March 2006 - - birthday again - - this time golden tickets went out, and a special request for guests to bring a something to eat that looked like something that should not be eaten. It's possible that the the Willy-Wonka trivia went a little bit long . . . but you should have seen the food! ah yes! you should have seen the food . . . there was everything from pretzel butterflies to an entire living room made of cheese and sausage!

So tomorrow we (Joshua, really, is the mastermind behind it, of course) throw another party.
At this party, titled Beloved Ecuador (because all really good parties have titles, you know), we will celebrate the roots of our Ecuadorian friends Jaime and Miriam, and prepare and eat Ecuadorian food and then watch End of the Spear
tomorrow morning I will go for a coffee and see who I run into; Maybe Ana and Miguel might want to join us . . . we'll invite them . . .

Monday, April 21, 2008

on raising boys in Spain

So. the June Cleaver of Spain doesn't have chocolate chip cookies and a glass of ice cold milk waiting for her boy when he comes home from school;
It has come to my attention recently that the Spanish mom that's really on top of it greets her boy at the end of his school day with a fat bocadillo de chorizo (that's right - - a piece of nice crusty baguette with a few slices of our favorite cured pork sausage tucked insde).
I'm slowly figuring these things out; it's hard work learning how to be a perfect mama in two cultures.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

paella - - the way we like it

well, to break the monotony of the "gee! my kids are so terribly clever and cute and, don't they say the darndest things?" blog entries, I figured I would dish you all up some culinary inspiration with a paella recipe
Like a good gazpacho recipe, a good paella recipe is never exactly like any other Spanish woman's recipe - - you throw in bits of this and that, and you have a little secret something that you add in to make it your very own - - superb to any other paella about town. but not me; nope, uh-uuuuh. I got this Paella recipe from Janet Davis (she and her family were missionaries in Zaragoza, Spain when we first came to Spain) and I'm not changing it. it's perfect the way she gave it to me. It's not the most traditional Paella recipe you may come across, but it is our favorite (and it may very well become yours!)

in a paella pan (or a large shallow saucepan that can go stove-top as well as oven) fry the following in a bit of olive oil:
three boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into thirds, salted and peppered and browned just slightly. (take out of pan and set aside)
one diced red pepper - - sauteed until just soft (take out of pan and set aside)
1/2 link of Spanish chorizo (buy it, along with any other of your authentic Spanish food needs, here), cut into rounds and just barely browned (take out of pan and set aside)

in the same pan, add:
1/4 c. olive oil
one can of diced tomatoes
2c. fresh or frozen green beans (preferably flat) cut into 2 inch strips
a couple of sprigs of fresh rosemary
a few cloves of garlic, diced
a teaspoon or so of salt
cook this up for about five minutes and add:
1.5 c. short grain rice
the set aside peppers
the set aside chorizo
with a wooden spoon, smooth the top of the rice mixture and press the chicken pieces into it. pour 3 c. boiling chicken broth over the top. do not stir. cook on medium heat for about 15 minutes, and then place into a preheated 350 degree oven for another 15 minutes. cover with a clean dishtowel and let sit for 10 minutes. serve it up with lemon wedges, a crusty baguette, and a nice Spanish salad (it's easy - - lettuce, tomato wedges, sweet onion wedges and green olives - - dressed with extra virgin olive oil, vinegar, and salt.)