Thursday, April 24, 2014

Melon Marmalade

“I have a history of making decisions very quickly about men. I have always fallen in love fast and without measuring risks. I have a tendency not only to see the best in everyone, but to assume that everyone is emotionally capable of reaching his highest potential. I have fallen in love more times than I care to count with the highest potential of a man, rather than with the man himself, and I have hung on to the relationship for a long time (sometimes far too long) waiting for the man to ascend to his own greatness. Many times in romance I have been a victim of my own optimism.”

Oh, Elizabeth, this statement is so true of me and how I've entered into my own relationships. If you are someone who relates, at least make sure that your man is a jelly maker. Taking all else into consideration, life suddenly becomes sweeter, measurably more. Here are Chef Enrique's jars of "Dulce de Membrillo," a melon jam that has been my favorite since I was nineteen and living in Gran Canaria (the Canary Islands.) Chef Enrique, I'm so glad you're a Melon Marmalade making man. 

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Day of the Book

Sombra helps Enrique choose from the many selections
in today's book exchange put on by the
Mule Drivers Neighbors Association
in the Plaza Mayor.

Libros del intercambio gratuito de lectura hoy por la
Asociación de Vecinos Los Arrieros , este año  en carretillos.

Fresh baked bread from the Panadería Cuatro Caminos
and four new books in hand .

Lee Más:
and here:

Sunday, April 6, 2014

High School Prom

El baile formal incluye flores, vestido de fiesta, traje de smoking, una cena, y a veces una limosina entre el grupo. Todo a tope. Hay fotos para cada momento, el ponerle las flores a tu invitada, y el ponértelas a ella a ti. Es un momento único -

I woke up this morning dreaming that I was making pancakes and brunch for the kids that stayed over after last night's prom. I remember that I needed to hustle if I was going to get everyone fed as they sleepily came into the kitchen after their late night. Reality hit like a continent-away sized brick.  Tears, of course. Always tears.
Still, I look at the life, vitality and all the good that surrounds this son and I'm ok again. He texted me about the corsage and boutonnière and he chose my favorite color. Aren't they lovely?


Monday, March 31, 2014

The Day We Went to the Turkish Bath

It was Risa's idea, of course. She enjoyed the pampering experience of her life two summers ago in Jordan. So, it was only natural that when she discovered that there was an underground hot spring in Madrid, something that was the source of pleasure to those who frequented the resulting baths over the centuries, she insisted that the four of us go.
Now Mark says it was his favorite time in Madrid. I can't say, when weighing in so many fantastic days, the Rastro, mojitos atop the city's terraces, the Prado, the Reina Sofia (modern art) and so much more, but I might have to agree. So, what is a Turkish or Roman Bath? This is what we discovered last summer...

Fue idea de Risa, por supuesto. Ella disfrutó de la experiencia más deliciosa de su vida hace dos veranos en Jordania. Por lo tanto, era muy natural que cuando descubrió que había un balneario de aguas termales en Madrid, algo que era la fuente de placer de los que frecuentaban los baños resultantes a lo largo de los siglos, ella insistió en que los cuatro de nosotros fuéramos.
Ahora Mark dice que fue su momento favorito en Madrid. No puedo decir, cuál pesa más de tantos días fantásticos, el del Rastro, el de los mojitos encima de las terrazas de la ciudad, el del Prado, el del Reina Sofía (arte moderno) y muchos más, pero voy a tener que estar de acuerdo. Entonces, ¿qué es un baño turco o romano? Esto es lo que hemos descubierto el verano pasado...

Hammam Al-Andalus, Madrid
Hammam is the word for a Turkish-style thermal bath. In Spanish they are also called baños arabes or Arab baths, although the original architecture or design is Roman, like those now in ruins we see in the underground tour, The Roman Route, in Astorga.
Hammam es la palabra que significa baño termal estilo turco. En español también se llaman baños árabes, aunque la arquitectura o diseño original es de origen romano, como los que ahora vemos en ruinas en el tour, la Ruta Romana, por los sótanos de Astorga.
This unique moment is a contrast, hard slate below and foamy soft bubbles above.
2- Imagine a massage with a traditional cotton fiber mitt called "kessa" and a soapy paste made of completely natural red grapes while you rest upon a warm slate stone.
Imagínate un masaje relajante con un guante tradicional de fibra de algodón, llamado "kessa" y una pasta de jabón de uvas rojas completamente natural, muy espumosa y cremosa mientras relajas sobre una piedra caliente. 
The masseuse soaps up your body and rubs while eliminating dead cells on your skin and activating your circulation. Then the soap slides off your body, together while sloughing off dead skin cells with a nice warm water rinse, 
El masajista enjabona tu cuerpo y lo frota consiguiendo eliminar las células muertas de la piel y activando la circulación sanguínea. Después, el jabón se desliza de tu cuerpo, junto con las células muertas, con un agradable enjuague de agua templada. 

2-Finally, your bath is ended with a second relaxing massage with an essential oil (Aromas of Andalusia) of your choice is massaged into your body. 
Finalmente, y al terminar, complementa con el baño con el un segundo masaje relajante, realizado con aceites esenciales (Aromas de Al Ándalus)  a tu elección y proporcionando relajación e hidratación de la piel. 

3- After this first massage you continue your rotational baths
Después de este primer masaje, continúas tu baño en las salas fría, caliente y templada hasta que el tiempo del baño se haya finalizado.

The experience, of course, is pure heaven. Unforgettable, always at the top of the list. I think it must be time for another son or daughter to fly into Madrid and we'll have a new excuse to visit the Turkish Baths.
La experience, por supuesto, es como estar en el cielo. Inolvidable, siempre estará en lo más alto de la lista. Creo que tiene que ser hora para que venga otro hijo o hija a Madrid y tendremos una nueva excusa de visitar los Baños Turkos. 

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Benito at Serrano

As you walk in you see a fabulous painting on the back wall. You've come to see it and other pieces by reknowed artist Benito Escarpizo. Celebrating 2014 as  A Year of Art, Benito's work is on display through this weekend. We made sure not to miss the exposition and I quietly moved through the dining hall to photograph and admire all I saw. 
Suddenly someone was behind me and said, "You don't want to take too many pictures!" I was startled and then delighted to personally meet the artist himself, who walked around with us commenting on what he had created and what was being displayed. 
Restaurant Serrano, which besides being a class one restaurant in every sense also became in 1995 an official Mycological Restaurant, meaning that it's the place to be to attend one of the numerous courses and lectures taught about mushrooms and cooking, integrating a panel of mycological tasters of Castile and León. In case you didn't know, Restaurante Serrano is a landmark in the province of León for mushroom tasting. 
Jesus, owner, who together with his family, are fabulous chefs, and culinary instructors of renowned cooking classes and wine and beer tasting in Astorga. He takes special delight in mushroom hunting and in the preparation of his own mushroom recipes that are always on my personal vegetarian list of "bests".
This time our vegetable (carrot, zucchini, mushroom) lasagna with bechamel cream sauce melted in our mouths as we enjoyed every bite along with amply provided fresh baked bread. In Spain you eat with both hands, always above the table, your utensil in one hand and your bread in the other, enjoying every last morsel and drop of sauce.
I had made reservations knowing that Benito, from La Cepeda was going to have his work exhibited at The Serrano. What we didn't expect was to run into him there and talk to him about his work and life and greet his family whom we were honored to meet (just to the right of us where you see the red-aproned waiter) before sitting down to our meal.
A chocolate mousse with lemon meringue, cinnamon, creme and cake bottom, together with café con leche was the perfect way to end a perfect meal.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Days like Today

There are some days when even the simple things feel hard. Spanish words don't come out of my mouth right and communication is impossible, I can't decide what to wear, think or answer mails coherently. It's the kind of day when I just want to curl up in a rocker in a sunny corner and read a book all day long. But these days usually don't afford such respite; like today's freezing cold winds, clouds threatening rain, and a funeral to go to out of town with all the social responsibilities attached. I feel like being this bit of human lichen. Ever have days like this?
My victory and honor come from God alone.  He is my refuge, a rock where no enemy can reach me. - Psalm 62:7