Friday, April 22, 2011

Semana Santa in Temas!

Temascaltepec, Mexico — Just returned from the last Semana Santa activity of the day — a 1 km processional to a small church here in Temas.

If you haven't checked out my recent FB pics, Said and his cousins invited me to a play today about Jesus' last days in honor of Holy Week AKA Semana Santa. Check out the video below and don't worry, I kept it short this time. ;)

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Today I celebrate my first month living en el D.F. Some video for you!

Hey all! I've been in Mexico City a month and I'd like to welcome you to my new house and neighborhood. Yeah, it's a 14-minute video but you don't see me on a regular basis in real life anyway so take some time out, let it load, drink a cafĂ© con leche. :) Missing everyone, more soon from Temas — the small town where we're celebrating Semana Santa AKA Holy Week.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Oh, what I'll miss...

Everyone keeps asking me what I'll miss when I leave the states today for Mexico City.

First thing, it's important to know the Distrito Federal (or D.F.) is a huge metropolis with just about anything you'd expect from a fast-moving, modern, Westernized country. You have your pick of public transportation: mini-buses, buses, taxis, trains, the subway (which scares the crap out of me and I promise to post a video of my first solo adventure) and, of course, your own car should you choose to obey the rules of the road. Put simply, there are none so I won't be driving anytime soon.

Another thing about driving your own car. You can't one day out of the week as it is the city's way of cutting down on pollution. Drivers know their day based on a schedule and how it corresponds to the letters and numbers on their license plates. Oh, and don't try to drive on your designated break day or you'll get pulled over. I've heard the stories so I won't chance it.

But back to Mexico City's size. Now I've recently been asked why I'm moving to "old country" and it's kind of funny but I guess I understand how all of Mexico could be perceived as being impoverished and small. But it's not. First off, el D.F. is the largest city in the Americas with an estimated population of 8.8 million people. It's also the 12th most populated city in world, ahead of New York City and Hong Kong. And in case you're curious, Shanghai holds the title for the world's largest populated city as reported by Wiki (a site which is always what you make of it).

So Mexico City is not lacking in people as well as in big box retail stores, entertainment, food, nightlife, outdoor activities, you name it. And my new neighborhood has its own charm as well. I'll be living in one el D.F.'s eight boroughs (also known as delegaciones) called Gustavo A. Madero. The Mexican Consul of Seattle happened to visit my university (workplace) a couple months ago so I was very proud of myself when I answered his question about which borough I plan to call home. Thanks Wiki! I still love you.

So here we go, the list, in no particular order...

Maple Trees - Love, love, love these beautiful trees. Nothing quite like them. Feel free to send me photos of them in the fall. Thank you Ken for the gorgeous maple tree photo at the Bellevue park near our work.

PCC - Oh, the best store ever! I eat here almost everyday. Curry tofu, honey roasted pumpkins seeds, apricot chickpea salad...just some of my favorites. Whole Foods really can't compare.

Outings with the bros - Missing you already. Thanks for so many good times. More to come in Mexico.

Trish McEvoy = <3

The only makeup that makes me want to pay more.

Veggie Cheese - Try it. Don't hate.

Golds Gym in Redmond - Love the towel service, the cleaning lady who chats with me in the locker room and my trainer Ed who taught me to run a mile without stopping. I got up to five miles daily.

SPRAWL - Good times, ridiculous hikes and lots of hot tubbing. But you guys suck for not coming to my party. Except for Raj who is standing behind me as I write this. Just come to Mexico and I will forgive you.

Movie nights with Antonio, Luis and Mirembe

Thank you for introducing me to Fluffy! I will miss wine nights!

Walking aimlessly through Target

Enough said.

411/911 calls to Hemmy 24/7

Thanks for being a lifeline and a voice on the other end of the Batphone. Te quiero!

Random trips to the Tri

Who wouldn't try it?

Random adventures with Bose and King

Missing the Tri already. Not. But missing you!

Visiting Grandma

This is a bad photo but a funny moment. Te amo mucho Grandma.


He never sings my favorite song of his but always spends time chatting with us after his shows. I LOVE his music. Remember Cataldo, you promised to play at my wedding next year.

Dad and Denise

Thank you for being so supportive. I can't imagine this move without your love.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

More media to follow (understand)

Been trying to keep up on news in Mexico before the big move on March 20. I've subscribed and now follow D.F. newspapers called El Universal, La Reforma and La Jornada. Still, it's a lot easier (for the time being) to really grasp everything when it's written or told in English. Below is a story related to Mexico's border crisis and drug wars. Mexican President Felipe Calderon is in the U.S. today meeting with President Obama to discuss these topics.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Peruvian recipe 3: Alfahores (cookies)

Abuelita's Alfajores - Cristina Bravo de Rueda's signature recipe

1 can of sweetened condensed milk (simmered for two hours on medium heat, then chilled)
1 lb. saffola margarine (4 cubes, softened)
3 1/2 cup of flour
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/8 tsp. (pinch of salt)
2 tsp. anise seed or ground anise
3/4 cup granulated sugar
Powdered sugar to garnish

Mix margarine and sugar until creamy and fluffy. Sift dry ingredients together in separate bowl, then add to margarine mixture little by little until mixed well.

Knead mixture to form a ball. Chill in refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Roll out dough to about 1/8 inch thickness. Cut into small circles and arrange on cookie sheet. Prick each cookie twice with a fork.

Bake at 325 degrees for about 10-12 minutes. Do not let them brown.

Flip cookies at about 7 minutes. Let cool, then assemble manjar blanco between two cookies, roll in powered sugar.


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Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Peruvian recipe 2: Mom's or Grandma's Chicken

Mom's (Grandma's) Chicken

Three medium white onions
One package of chicken thighs (based on 10 lbs. recipe, amount depends on party)
One bottle of ketchup (44 oz)
Laurel (3 leaves)
Pimenta gorda (Allspice, five balls)

Step 1:
Chop 3 medium onions, cut into strips.
Take skin and fat off chicken thighs.

Step 2: In a large heated pot, add onion and two tablespoons of olive oil.

Stir around and move to medium heat. Keep lowering heat as you stir.

Add a teaspoon of salt and a palm full of dried or fresh oregano. Crush in hand if dried. Pour in 3/4 a bottle of ketchup. Add another palm full of oregano.

Singe the edges of the laurel leaves with stove top burner to release flavor. Add to pot along with five pimentas. Add tablespoon of garlic powder and stir well. Take off heat.

Step 3: Add chicken, stir and put on high heat for 10-15 minutes and cover. Monitor heat.

Put on medium low for five minutes.

Poke chicken with wooden stick or fork. Chicken is ready when juices run clear.

Vinaigrette salad dressing

1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup of red wine vinegar
Dash of salt
Dash of garlic
Palm full of oregano

Stir well and serve with mixed green salad.

Peruvian recipe 1: Arroz al Horno

Promised my cousins I would document the steps to three Peruvian dishes I learned this weekend. Here's the first...

Arroz Al Horno
(Rice from the oven)

5 cups of long grain white rice, uncooked
1.5 lbs. carne molida (ground meat)
1 medium red onion, diced
1 medium carrot
1/2 cup corn kernel
1/2 cup peas
7 oz. raisins
garlic powder
oregano (dried or fresh)
Four eggs
1/2 cup sliced kalamata olives
spaghetti sauce
sesame seeds
Six pimentas gordas (Allspice balls)

Step one: Make Grandma Delia's rice

In rice cooker, add 5 cups of long grain white rice (unwashed). Add a palm full of salt or 1/2 tablespoon. Add a tablespoon of garlic. Add six pimentas gordas. *Use rice cooker instructions to learn water rice ratio. Leave to cook.

Step two: Boil two eggs in small pot to cook while performing step three.

Step three: Add ground meat to hot, large frying pan on high heat. Add 1/2 tablespoon of salt to meat. Use large spoon (wooden if possible) and stir meat. The goal is to remove the fat so do not thoroughly cook the meat. Do not use oil!

Drain fat into container and throw it away.

Take meat off burner. Add diced onion, palm full of oregano (crush in hand if dried). Put frying pan on burner. Add one tablespoon of olive oil. Stir well for several minutes.

Take off heat. Goal is to caramelize onions.

Once caramelized, put frying plan on heat again. Add one cup of spaghetti sauce. Stir well. Add peas and carrots. Stir and lower to medium heat.

Taste for salt. Add as needed (typically half a tablespoon.

Add raisins and a tablespoon of black pepper. Stir and put on low heat. Add olives.

Step four: Coat 13 by 9 inch pan with olive oil. Add a thick layer of cooked rice to pan. With wooden spoon, add layer of meat mixture. Dice hard-boiled egg and sprinkle of top of meat layer.

Taste for salt, add if needed to meat layer.

Add final layer of rice. Sprinkle with salt.

Step five: Beat two egg whites until fluffy. Then add egg yolks and beat again until mixed.

Step six: With spatula, coat top of rice with egg
mixture. Sprinkle thin layer of sesame seeds on top.

Preheat oven to 390 degrees and cook dish for 30 minutes. Remember everything has been pre-cooked so oven doesn't need to be very hot and baking time is minimal.
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