Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Throwback Thursday: Poemas

Throwback in the sense that I wrote these almost seventeen years ago. Copyright of the poemas (poems), of course, belongs to me. Do not reproduce in *any* fashion without my express, written approval.


The Mariachi

Ay, ay, ay,
I sing every night.
"Mr. Mary-achee," says a little voice.
Señor Mariachi, I respond, fixing her español.
"Seenyor Maree-achee," (trying to sound like me--her papí)
"Can you play me a song?"
Sí, senorita. ¿What canción?
"America the Beautiful."
Chiquita, that's not a song for me. Tell me one that a mariachi sings.
"But I don't know any, Mr. Mary-achee."
Sí, yo sé hija. . . . I turned away, tears in my eyes, I know daughter. Yo sé.



The Mariachi, También: Hija
My papí--he's the mary-achee
He plays guitar and sings

He wears a big sombrero and pants--both black with pretty red and yellow
"Play me a song," everyone says.
So I did, too.
¿What canción?

A song--I thought and thought. Then I remembered the one from school, "America the Beautiful."
He cried and told me it's not a 
canción for him--a mary-achee.
I don't know why he cries. . . . I don't know a song for a mary-achee.


The Mariachi, Tercero
He plays me every night
Strumming his fingers over my strings
Plucking and picking, making the right sounds.
He sings, too.
A mariachi always does.
The beautiful music we make together, his hija does not know.
She sits and listens to the canciones, but still she does not know.
"America the Beautiful!"--he's never played that on my strings
Canciones--Celito Lindo, Alla en el Rancho Grande y El Rey . . . these are the songs of a mariachi
These canciones his hija does not know 

And with her proper English and poor español, she never will.




¡Hasta la proxíma vez! 


Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Wordless Wednesday: Abuelita or Schoolmarm?



I just can't stop myself on wordless Wednesday. 

I'm not sure who's abuelita this is, but she looks nothing like my grandmother. And as a matter of fact, she looks more like an old English schoolmarm than anything else. I mean look at that teacup . . . a teacup for hot chocolate . . . c'mon!

Maybe that's what happens when Nestlé conjures up the image of a grandma--silly Swiss (LoL)! You'll also note that this is a bar form. The kind we had as kids were in a hexagon shape and they were thick stacked bars. You can still find it in those bars, which I think are easier to use than this long bar because for starters they're individually wrapped. This is one whole bar and much harder to break apart.

Nonetheless Abuelita still makes some good hot chocolate, and now that it's getting colder, I'll have to whip some up and share the recipe soon!

¡Hasta la proxíma vez! 


Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Receta: Frijoles charros

Today's recipe is one of my favorite to make because it is so easy. It can be served as a side dish to accompany enchiladas or mole or can just be eaten by itself as a soup, which is one of my favorites, especially on a cool day.

To start with you need pinto beans. For this I used a one-pound bag of beans. Some stores have beans in a crate that you can measure and bag yourself, but those didn't look so good when I checked.

One-pound bag of pinto beans
Next you take the beans out of the bag, put them in a colander and rinse them well. You are removing traces of dirt and also looking for "bad" beans or other debris that may have found its way into the beans.

Rinsing the beans
Finding bad beans and debris (i.e., rock)
 Once you have thoroughly rinsed your beans and fished out all the bad beans, which look very wrinkled, are darker, or the skin comes off, you place the beans in a large pot or olla (sometimes called a jaro) and cover them with water. You put about twice as much water as there are beans. Then you put it on the stove, cover, and cook on low for about two hours, checking to see how your beans are progressing.

Beans in the pot, with twice as much water as beans.
Beans on the stove, covered, on low heat
Cooking beans

When the beans start to lose their markings and are still a little hard, it is time to add the rest of the ingredients.These include bacon, garlic, onion, tomato, and cilantro. Some people also add jalapenos to their beans, I don't care for them that way. But if you like your beans with a little kick, the beans can definitely be made that way.
Other add-ins

I suggest a good thick cut bacon for beans because it adds a good amount of flavor to the beans. You take about four slices, cut them up, and then cook them on the stove in a frying pan.

Cut up bacon
Frying up bacon
 While the bacon is frying, it is a good time to chop up the vegetables, about a 1/2 cup of onion, 3 or 4 cloves of garlic, and about two tomatoes.

Chopped up veggies
 When the bacon is about cooked, add both the onion and garlic to cook them up as well. 

Adding garlic and onion to the bacon to cook.
Then it's time to finish cutting up the tomatoes and cilantro.
Tomatoes and cilantro
 Add the bacon, garlic, onion, tomato, and cilantro to your beans, add salt--but be careful because the bacon does add some salt--to your beans. You may have to add a little more water to your beans, depending on how soupy you like them. Cover the pot and continue to cook for another hour or so on low heat until the beans are completely soft.

When you're done and served up, your frijoles charros should look something like this:

Ready to eat!

Let me know if you try this recipe or how you like to make your frijoles.


¡Hasta la proxíma vez! 


Thursday, October 31, 2013

Throwback Thursday: Wind Chimes

I feel like I hit the ground running this morning and have just now been able to sit down for a minute and put thoughts to paper (well Web paper).

It's Halloween and although it's not one of my favorite holidays it is on the eve of Día de los Muertos, which is a time that I do look forward to. I spent my morning cleaning house and finding things to put the finishing touches on the altar.

I was thinking of something to write about, which is hard to do when you're cleaning and putting things together--my mind raced in all kinds of directions trying to not forget anything. And because it was a cool morning, I decided to open the house up and let some of the fresh air in. I've said before I just love fall days for this very reason--wind, cool, but still warm enough in the day to wear shorts and flip-flops.

After I opened the house up, the wind rustled the leaves on the trees and for some reason that sound always reminds me of my grandmother's house. Maybe it's because unless it was bitterly cold, she usually had her whole house opened up all the time--no air conditioning. So when I heard the leaves rustle, I just stopped for a minute and waited.

What I was waiting for, I wasn't entirely sure. And then there was silence after the leaves stopped rustling and it came to me, there were no wind chimes. My grandmother LOVED wind chimes and always had them around--in the front, in the back . . .  EVERY WHERE.

So I went looking for wind chime sounds because I don't have one, and this came as close as anything to the sound I remember. We'd take naps with the windows open and the leaves would rustle and if it was windy enough, the wind chimes would sound.

Such a weird thing I'm finding that so many of my senses--smell, sound, and taste--have memories of their own. It's a magical thing on some levels.



¡Hasta la proxíma vez! 


Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Receta: Salsa Roja

I know, I didn't think I'd get to this either, but it's time for another receta (recipe). This is one of my favorite red salsas to make, especially during football season. There's just something about chips and freshly made salsa that satisfies that need to munch while you watch your favorite team squirrel away their hopes of winning a game or pounding the other team into oblivion. . . .

Ingredients for Mild Salsa
4 Roma tomatoes
1/4 cup onion
1/4 cup cilantro
2 cloves garlic
La Costeña canned jalapeno slices
salt to taste

I have used a mini chopper in the past, but prefer a blender because it holds more. So I start off with two Roma tomatoes (tops and bottoms cut off) and then I roughly cut them up into smaller pieces.

Two Roma tomatoes
Two Romas, cut into pieces

 Then I cut up onion, cilantro, and garlic.
Onion, rough chop.
Cilantro, rough chop
Garlic, two cloves, rough chop

At this point, I put everything in the blender and decide that I need to add two more Roma tomatoes.

Two more tomatoes; rough cut these too.
This is what it all looks like in the blender:

Salsa ingredients in the blender.
At this point, I add salt. It really is to taste. So I start off with maybe 1/4 teaspoon. But now, it's time to add the jalapenos. I like my salsa mild where I can enjoy the flavors with a little amount of heat, so I use a toddler spoon (no joke) to add the jalapenos and most importantly, some of the juice to my salsa ingredients.

My preferred brand of jalapenos for salsa
jalapeno slices
Salsa, ready to blend.
I know you may be asking why I would choose to use canned jalapenos slices as opposed to fresh jalapenos. Well, for starters, they're already cut up, so I don't run the risk of burning my hands or stinging my eyes while I chop. Additionally the "pickled juice" also helps keep the salsa when it's the refrigerator. (Also, if you want hotter to start with, use Herdez brand. They are hotter.)

Now it's time to blend:
Whirr, whirr in the blender.
Also, I suggest tasting after your first blend to make sure your salt content is OK and also to check for "hot" level. I prefer to use Tostitos Round bite-size chips. These chips are not too salty and provide a nice base for tasting the flavors in the salsa. After a taste test, I decided I need a few more jalapenos.

Adding more jalapenos
Blend in new jalapenos and taste again. That last little bit completes this batch of mild salsa. It is also mild enough for my children to eat it.
Look at all that yummy goodness!

I also have to make a batch for the hubby because he likes his much hotter than I do. So this is what the blender looks like when I make his salsa (more garlic, more onion, and the rest of the can of jalapenos and all the juice was used).

DH's salsa, ready to blend.
Whirr, whirr in the blender
DH's salsa . . . notice more green
He prefers Julio's Mexican Tortilla chips with his salsa. Let me know if you try this recipe or if you have any tips for when you make your own salsa.

¡Hasta la proxíma vez!