Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Weekend Storms, No Internet ~ Staying Busy South of the Border

We had wild weekend weather here which threw things off line & sent things helter skelter at our house for a few days. The long awaited rain finally arrived at the end of a week of heat. The combination of heat & rain storms from the north combined to make a wild night of weather. We had a direct hit of lightening to the house which blew out our Internet as well as phone. We had no water till mid day Saturday. The comforts we take for granted seem very important when we don't have them. During the heaviest of rain we hung close to the house, read, cooked, slept... (*avoided the crazy rain soaked drivers!!) & only ventured out Sunday afternoon to see an exhibit at the Marco, Museum of Modern Art. We viewed works by Diego Rivera, Maria Izquierdo, Frida Kahlo & others. There was also a concert at the Marco for Dia del Nino. Being performed was the well known Prokofiev's Peter & the Wolf. All in all a very nice diversion from the rainy stormy weekend. It goes without saying that I was thrilled when the Telmex guys replaced our fried Internet router this morning. With a phone & online capabilities we are connected to the rest of the world once again!!!

Rain, Fog & more rain...

Brunch with a French twist~
We had eggs baked in ramekins, a recipe from James Peterson's Glorious French Food.
A nice change from the norm.
Eggs are baked @ 375, in well buttered ramekins with 1-2 Tbsp. Creme drizzled over as well as the addition of 1 Tbsp. Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated. Bake for 10-`12 minutes, testing for firmness before serving.

Dia del Nino is a holiday which recognizes the children as a part of Mexican society, the holiday endorses well being, happiness & has been a national holiday since 1925.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Desert Drink~

Springtime heat cools down with a cold drink after sunset~

1 1/2 oz tequila
1/2 oz orange liqueur, cointreau
2 oz grapefruit juice, ruby red if possible
1 tsp *mascobado sugar

Mix all ingredients in cocktail shaker with ice & serve immediatly. Salute!
*Mascobado sugar is unrefined sugar & has a sticky quality to it. It is also perfect with balsamic vinegar in salad dressings.

Springtime & heat have arrived~

While Springtime in Mexico is full of vibrant color, the heat leaves a little bit to be desired. We have had no substantial rainfall & early intensive heat already & it's only April. Traveling between Monterrey & Torreon in the middle of the desert we have already had temps in the 100's several times. To quote Charlie Brown..."Argh..." We finally had a small amount of rainfall night before last & are hoping for more in the days to come. I can't complain too much though as the flora & fauna are really incredible right now. I just hope this isn't a prelude to a long & very hot summer!

La primavera en el norte de Mexico.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

No, don't go looking at this blog that way. The Blogger powers that be are watching...

Yes, I think I have corrected the problem of someone putting links in my comment section of this blog. I was told to add word confirmation & it seemed to work. The sad people who sit around trying to mess with blogs & photo pages have depraved minds finding joy in chaos!!!! So, all is well again with the Texas to Mexico blog. I will continue to yammer on about life here, there & continue posting recipes & photos. If the flipping strange links start up again someone better make mine a double. (Tech issues throw me & take some time to work out!)

This new recipe is based on a new favorite Spinach Shrimp salad. We had this in Torreon & thought the home version might be even better...

Spinach Shrimp Salad
4 Tbsp. red onion, chopped & caramalized in 2 Tbsp. olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced, add to the pan of onion & olive oil
1 dozen fresh large Gulf shrimp, cleaned: saute in same pan as onion
1/4 cup toasted, Texas pecans
1/2 medium cucumber, sliced & peeled
1 medium mango, sliced
Layer all of the above ingredients on bed of spinach while it is warm & add Asian Sesame dressing.
1 bag of spinach, washed

Asian Sesame Dressing
1/3 c. rice vinegar
1/4 c. soy sauce
2 tbsp. water
1 tsp. sesame oil
1/2 tsp. sesame seed
2/3 c. vegetable oil
1 tsp. powdered ginger

Combine first 5 ingredients in jar with tight fitting lid and shake well. Add oil and shake again. Chill until ready to serve. Makes about 1 1/2 cups.

Buen Provencho!

Monday, April 7, 2008

Kitty's dangerous night!

Pet's & Scorpions can be a deadly mix south of the border.

Over the weekend a frightening drama played out when our kitty, Katerina was bitten by a scorpion. She swatted at a 1 inch "Escorpión" she saw on the floor & had a rapid fire sting from the venomous tail as a result. Frankly we didn't notice the insect till it had already stung the cat. Mexico has a scorpion species which can be particularly dangerous to both pets & humans. Severe illness or death is caused by a complex neurotoxin which can cause paralysis, severe convulsions & affect heart function. Armed with information, after several phone calls to the veterinarian, late night car trips & rather large pills being shoved down her furry little throat; Katerina is back to normal.
*Of the 1500 or so species of scorpions known to mankind, only about 25 are capable of causing human death, the sting of most scorpions is more or less similar to that of a wasp or bee. Of note: Mexico, as many as 1000 people die from Scorpion sting every year!! Frankly, I've always hated the insects after several dealings with them as a teenager. My respect for the scorpion: large, my dislike of the species: larger than ever!!!

Katerina seems to be back to her normal routines at this point but we seriously watch out for any creepy crawlers which seems to attract her attention in the future!

Friday, April 4, 2008

Farewell Friend ~ Adios, Amiga

A man should choose a friend who is better than himself. There are plenty of acquaintances in the world; but very few real friends.

My friend Carolyn taught me to make everyday in Mexico count & seize each moment, don't be afraid to jump into conversation where I have the obvious linguistic handicap & to explore new things. She & husband Larry are moving back to the states & leaving us all richer for their stay in Mexico. Her Ex Patriot stay south of the border made my life fuller & gave me memories I'll treasure for a lifetime. Every time I have to ask someone "Donde esta", "Que Pasa" or "Sólo estoy buscando"...I'll think of her wisdom & our experiences as well as laughter.

With true friends... even water drunk together is sweet enough.

South of the Border Pizza Night!

Here's one for you Caroline!

Chicken, Broccoli, Sundried Tomato Pizza
1 (16-ounce) package pizza dough, brought to room temperature
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
1/3 pound broccoli from trimmed broccoli bin in produce section, 1/3 head
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, 1 turn of the pan
3 cloves cracked garlic
1/2 pound chicken breast cut for stir fry or chicken tenders
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup part skim ricotta cheese
10 sun dried tomatoes in oil, drained and sliced
4 canned artichoke hearts, drained & quartered
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
12 to 15 leaves fresh basil, torn or stacked and thinly sliced

Preheat oven to 500 degrees F.
On a 12-inch nonstick pizza pan, stretch out your dough and form the pizza crust. Drizzle 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil on crust and spread it with a pastry brush over the dough to the edges. Sprinkle crust with 2 tablespoons grated Parmigiano-Reggiano.
In a small covered saucepan, bring 2 inches water to a boil. Separate broccoli tops into florets, discarding lower stalks or reserving for soup. Salt water and add broccoli florets. Cook covered 3 to 5 minutes. Drain broccoli and set on cutting board. Chop broccoli florets into small pieces.
Heat a small nonstick pan over medium high to high heat. Add oil, cracked garlic and chicken. Season with salt and pepper. Brown chicken breast cut for stir-fry or tenders until lightly golden all over, 3 to 5 minutes. Chop sauteed chicken and garlic on a cutting board into small pieces.
To assemble pizza, dot crust with chopped broccoli bits and cooked chopped chicken. Dot crust with spoonfuls of ricotta and spread ricotta gently with the back of your spoon. Add sliced sun-dried tomatoes, scattering them around the pizza to the edges. Complete the assembly with a thin layer of shredded mozzarella, about 1 cup. Place pizza in oven on middle rack and lower heat to 450 degrees F. Bake 12 minutes, until cheese is deep golden in color and crust is brown and crisp at the edges. Remove pizza from the oven and let stand 5 minutes. Top with lots of torn or shredded basil. Cut pizza into 8 slices using pizza wheel and serve.
**I also add 4 canned Artichoke hearts, drained & quartered!