Friday, February 29, 2008

Sharing & Dining~Friends & Great Company!

Constant travel & being on the road does have a silver lining. Trying new things & dining in memorable South of the Border spots is indeed a perk. This week the chicas & I went to the wonderful hot pink "Fonda del Recuerdo" restaurant near Torreon's Parque Alameda where there were not only great regional dishes from Mexico but also a little light shopping in the tienda del Recuerdo. By weeks end we dined with friends & American visitors at Garufa's Argentinian restaurant. Life does move at a slower beat in Mexico but the tempo kicks up a notch both after nightfall & in the kitchen.

No one bought the "thinking dog"...not the real name of course but Joan did strike a pose which made us chuckle! When it is an average day South of the Border we just manage to have great fun anyway!

Casa especial de cerdo guisado y flautas en la sopa!

Antiques & street eats South of the Border!

When visiting Torreon I never know what's next on the agenda. This week it was Antiques & dining in fun spots around town. A trip to the local antiques shops in Torreon scored an old book of Texas History~who would have guessed?

Who knew eating in front of a soccer stadium in Coahuila could be fun? Guess it's the company! Our tacos were never fresher & the company couldn't have been better! Coke seemed to be the drink of the day. We dined in the shadow of the Coke bottling company. Who needs a jolt of java when the Coke is so muy fresca?

Monday, February 25, 2008

Watching the Oscars in Latin America

My once a year Oscar night watching was disrupted by the lack of English language stations carrying the awards show this evening here South of the Border! In our Hotel last night SKY cable programing offered the Oscar show live on TNT only with Spanish voice over. I can understand the reason however all of the English language stations weren't offering the show either. (not tragic, just a bother!) Of course, the actual voices could be heard but the Spanish voice-over did overwhelm the presentors vocal attributes & words. Whatever! Such are the Academy Awards Show when watching from somewhere other than the US. ***My personal spin on the Academy Awards for this year: ...Mexico is "No country for Old Men", Old dogs, Old women, Old cars...... Just think of me living you know where once you cozy up with Times Warner Cable or Direct TV & enjoy something as simple as television without the writer's strike or an awards show. It's the simple things that are a joy! By the way the gowns this year were fabulous, speeches not too long & yes, John Travolta can still dance!

Fantastic fashions & wonderful red carpet interviews, 2 great reasons to watch the Oscars; even South of the Border!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Cuban Salad~Ensalada Cubana!

Guantanamera, guajira, Guantanamera! So, I'm really dating myself with that tune! I like this salad, don't care what they call it! Sending a shoutout to the Queen in South Florida (winks! Queen P.), her recipe is a South of the Border favorite right now! You can call this "Cameron Diaz' favorite"{though I'm pretty certain she cares nothing about this particular salad...}, Frijole/Elote Ensalada or just plain old Cuban Salad, it's delicious & a meal by itself. Given this date in history, we should be calling this the "Adios Fidel Salad"!!

2 cans of beans (different kinds, I use black, red beans, or garbanzos)
half of a medium onion, chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, chopped
3/4 cup cilantro, chopped
1 avocado, chopped
1 avocado for garnish
4-6 slices bacon (bake in oven so it's crispy)
1 bag frozen corn

5 tbs. extra virgin olive oil
2 limes. (juice from one lime and use second to squeeze over salad just before serving)
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. coarse sea salt
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper

Drain and rinse beans. Place in medium sized bowl. Add onion, jalapeno, cilantro, chopped avocado and bacon. Saute frozen corn in olive oil. Mix it all together and add dressing.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Roses as Double Chocolate Cakes here South of the Border

Valentine's Day baking requires a trip to the exclusive "Aladino's" import store featuring items which make baking a little easier! The up-charge at Aladino's is ridiculously high but well worth it if I want to bake a sweet item with the taste of home for my Valentine~~¡Feliz Día de San Valentín!

Double Chocolate Cakes
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup egg substitute
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup 1% low-fat buttermilk
1 1/4 ounces dark (70 percent cocoa) chocolate, finely chopped
2 tablespoons powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350°.
Lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup, and level with a knife. Combine flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt; stir with a whisk.

Place granulated sugar and butter in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until well combined (about 3 minutes). Add egg substitute and vanilla, beating well. Add flour mixture and buttermilk alternately to granulated sugar mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Fold in chocolate. Spoon batter into 12 muffin cups lined or greased & floured baking pan. Bake at 350° for 18 minutes or until cake springs back when touched lightly in center or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove from pan; cool completely on a wire rack. Sprinkle with powdered sugar just before serving.

{Cooking Light, DECEMBER 2007}

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Weekend outlook~sunny with a chance for relaxation!

Pretty low key weekend planned around here. Relaxation, easy activities planned: some photo taking, knitting, reading, sitting, & probably a glass of wine or two! We have a full week of travel ahead next week.

Love these lyrics....
It's a long way to Mexico, but I'm going there tonight.
Line the Margaritas up.
I'm doing 90 in my pick-up truck.
It's a long way to Mexico.
I know about this out-of-the-way place.
You can disappear without a trace.

Roger Creager~Long way to Mexico

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Game day with the kids. Do you remember how to play Candyland?

Sharing time & being out at Casa Hogar Douglas with the kids is always a heartwarming experience, this week no exception. The kids loved the Milton Bradley games & really had an unbelievable time with colors & remembering left & right when they played Twister. The classic games are universal, have no language barriers & are truly timeless in the fun department. The kids had me on my toes as they kept changing the color of the game piece the Senoras were playing with....(doesn't take much to fool me at times!) If you're going to play Candyland & you haven't played the game in 40 years it's wise to read instructions!

There were plenty of smiles on game day at Casa Hogar Douglas.

For more information on Casa Hogar Douglas check out this site,

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Daybreak to Sunset, it's always something...

Where are you when we need a weather forcast Fred Cantu?

Dawn's early light led me to believe it would be an uneventful day~

The sunrise this morning over the mountains was really spectacular. I was somehow expecting perfection the rest of the day. The morning was uneventful, I went into town & then had a call from a friend who had to fire someone her family trusted. Never a good feeling to have when you are living in a foreign country. I went to her home for a while, dropped by the store & then headed back to the house to catch up & get some things done. By late afternoon the wind had shifted from the north & started to smell sort of smoky. It seems like someone is always setting fire to something around here, so I paid no attention. When John arrived home & he & I noticed it was extremely smoky. By about 5:30 or 6pm the late day sun is generally making an appearance beside the mountains, putting on quite a show. This evening however; the sun was completely obscured by smoke that seemed to fill the air the stronger the northern winds blew. We ran around closing windows & turned on the local news in Monterrey for some information. We found out that while the fire is REALLY IMMENSE, it is north of Monterrey some distance & the winds are just fanning the fires causing concern here in Monterrey. The smoke reduced visibility & caused traffic problems on the Careterra Nacional which is the main North South highway here in Mexico. I can't imagine that people will let 0% visibility slow down highway speed much~
Watching the news this evening we were incrediblly surprised by what passes as the weather gal here in Mexico's 3rd largest Metropolitan. I can't really figure out what this lady had to say about the 5 day forecast but we were really entertained for a while. (surely she is reaching for the MTV crowd & male 40 somethings!) Seriously....who dresses like this in the states if they aren't going out to a club or 18 years old? Of course this is South of the Border~Viva la Mexico!!!!

I am sure there is more than news & weather going on here!!! She looks like a 2008 version of the coochie coochie girl! Gosh, where is my KEYE news when I need it? Yes, a plug for our Austin Texas accurate weather!

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Join me in the tap, Tapioca?

Tapioca? Yes, this old time standard apparently never went away South of the Border. It is often on dessert menus in Mexico & is mucho popular all throughout Latin America. It could have much to do with the origin of Tapioca which is made from root of the cassava plant (aka: Manioc). In the 19th Century this was used as a medicinal product. This pudding either has people liking it or hating it. There seems to be no gray areas on Tapioca preference. *I can hear my sister & my daughter gagging about now...In a time when more people are paying attention to food allergies this is a Gluten-Free product. If you haven't tried it in a while don't go buy those little prepacked cups of the stuff, try making it. Buen Provencho!

Classic Tapioca Pudding~like your mother used to make!
1/3 c. lg. size pearl tapioca (not instant)
2 1/4 c. milk
1/4 tsp. salt
2 eggs
1/2 c. sugar
1/4 tsp. vanilla
Soak tapioca in water for 4 to 12 hours. Add milk and salt. Heat and stir until barely boiling. Simmer at low heat, uncovered, for 30 minutes, stirring frequently. Add sugar gradually. Beat eggs. Mix with some of hot tapioca. Return slowly to rest of mixture. Bring to boil, stirring constantly for 3 minutes to achieve pudding consistency. Cook 15 minutes. Add vanilla.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Global Photos & One more Recipe!

Blogging & Photos may pass the time but they do get this Texas gal some notice every now & again. I have had several photos utilized of late around the globe. My photos have been used in news articles, hunger posters & pod casts. Who knew? I have recieved copies of 2 colorful posters from a Food Action coalition in the United Kingdom. The posters use two of my photos. From Texas to Mexico & apparently the UK!! Just doing my part! Taking in the world around me & posting those shots~

Still blogging those daily tidbits of life & recipes here South of the Border~

The "New" Mexican Green Chili Posole ~Recipe
3 pounds Chicken breast
1 (30-ounce) can hominy (or fresh if available)
1 (4-ounce) can diced green chili peppers*add more if you want more heat!
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 garlic clove, chopped
1/2 c. diced yellow onion
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
2 Tbsp. Cilantro chopped & additional for garnish.
Dice chicken and brown in a large skillet. Add hominy, chilies, chili powder, chopped garlic clove,onion, cilantro, salt, oregano. Cover and simmer for about 2 hours, or until the meat is tender. Add water or vegetable stock if necessary.
*I put mine into the crock pot & leave simmer for about 3-4 hr. on high. If you use fresh hominy as I do in Mexico, soak it over night & rinse well before using.
Serve this garnished with Cilantro & shredded Mexican cheese.
Makes 6 servings.