Saturday, July 16, 2011

Churros, Chocolate y el Amor

Churros con chocolate en Toledo
¿He escrito que he ganado peso? No un poco, sino un pocazo! Nunca he tenido muchos problemas de sobrepeso, ni siquiera después de nacer mis bebés. De hecho, estaba de un esbelto 115 llbs, o 51.7 kilos cuando llegué a Madrid. Seis semanas después toda mi ropa me queda ajustada y peso casi 57 kilos o 126 lbs! ¡En seis semanas! Bueno, he querido echar la culpa a muchas cosas, como el aceite de oliva que va regando todas las comidas de carne, queso, ensaladas, etc. . . , o la cantidad de pan bueno que comemos con cada comida, o a comer siempre a unas horas fijas y sanas con mucha atención*, pero seguro que la razón más lógica es el amor. Tendré que pensar en una estrategia pronto si quiero entrar en el vestido de boda.

Have I written that I’m gaining weight? Not a little. No, no. A lot! I’ve never had too much difficulty with my weight, even after having my babies. In fact, I was down to a trim 115 lbs. or 51.7 kilos when I arrived to Madrid. Five weeks later all my clothes are snug and I’m at 56 kilos or 123 lbs! In six weeks! Now I want to blame this on a number of things, like olive oil generously ladeled onto all kinds of delicacies, or fresh baked bread eaten with every meal, or frequent meals at a very regular schedule with much attention to eating them,* but I'm sure the most logical reason is love. I must think of a strategy soon if I am going to fit into my wedding dress this August.

*Sí, hay un romance con la comida aquí. La comida es muy importante para los españoles. Este no es el sitio para “coger algo ligerito” en ruta a otro destino, o sobre la marcha. Ni es el mejor sitio para hacer dieta, especialmente mi dieta preferida de comida cruda, mayormente de vegetales y fruta. Sin embargo, me ha encantado todo.

There IS a love affair with food going on here. Food is very important to the Spaniards. This is not the place for “grab a bit” on your way to, well anywhere an American might be going. And this is not the place for my raw food, mostly veggie and fruit diet either. Still, I've loved all of it.



The Churros
Here's the ultimate recipe, just like those at the churrería stands. Then once the churros are made you can make the authentic chocolate dip to dunk them in.
Ingredients: (Makes one platefull)
Vegetable or Olive Oil
1 cup water
1/2 cup margarine or butter
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
3 eggs
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon (optional)

Prepare to fry the churros by heating oil in a pan (1 to 1&1/2 inches) to 360 degrees F.

To make churro dough, heat water, margarine and salt to rolling boil in 3-quart saucepan; stir in flour. Stir vigorously over low heat until mixture forms a ball, about 1 minute; remove from heat. Beat eggs all at once; continue beating until smooth and then add to saucepan while stirring mixture.

Spoon mixture into cake decorators' tube with large star tip (like the kind use to decorate cakes). Squeeze 4-inch strips of dough into hot oil. Fry 3 or 4 strips at a time until golden brown, turning once, about 2 minutes on each side. Drain on paper towels. (Mix Sugar and the optional cinnamon); roll churros in sugar or dump the sugar on the pile of churros, like the pros. That churro taste will take you right back to your favorite summer days walking the paseos of Spain.

Note: REAL churros in Spain are made without cinnamon mixed with the sugar, but the cinnamon adds an extra nice flavor.

Chocolate for Churro Dunking
4oz dark chocolate, chopped
2 cups milk
1 tbsp cornstarch (also known as cornflour and is the powder that causes the thickening)
4 tbsp sugar

Place the chocolate and half the milk in a pan and heat, stirring, until the chocolate has melted. Dissolve the cornstarch in the remaining milk and whisk into the chocolate with the sugar. Cook on low heat, whisking constantly, until the chocolate is thickened, about five minutes. Add extra cornstarch if it doesn't start to thicken after 5 minutes. Remove and whisk smooth. Pour and server in cups or bowls for dunking churros. Do not pour over churros, but use the mix for dunking churros after every bite. Served warm.
Dean Derhauk- Real Spanish Food Recipes - http://www.xmission.com/~dderhak/recipes.html

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Pilgrimage

Bridge in Cantabria, arriving to Ampuero, Northern Spain, June 2011.
Santiago 1:5-6
1:5 Y si alguno de vosotros tiene falta de sabiduría, pídala a Dios, el cual da a todos abundantemente y sin reproche, y le será dada.
1:6 Pero pida con fe, no dudando nada; porque el que duda es semejante a la onda del mar, que es arrastrada por el viento y echada de una parte a otra.
The scallop shell, emblem of St. James worn by pilgrims
He recibido muchos mensajes electrónicos esta semana, algunos dando ánimos y brindándome la felicidad en el esfuerzo de rehacer mi vida, otros criticando y condenando las decisiones que he tenido que tomar. Si no fuera por Dios y su mano constante en mi vida podría sentirme igual que aquella onda del mar arrastrada por el viento y echada de un lado a otro. Santiago siempre ha sido mi libro favorito de la Biblia. Ahora, muy pronto estaré viviendo en Astorga, una ciudad que ha sido, y continua siendo, un punto clave en la ruta de peregrinación que desde el siglo IX lleva a la sepultura de Santiago; Santiago de Compostela. ¿Puede ser una coincidencia qué esté aquí donde tantos peregrinan el Camino de Santiago? No lo creo.
Cantabria, Spain, June 2011
James 1:5-6

I have received many emails this week, some encouraging and celebrating happiness with me in the remaking of my life, and a few criticizing and condemning the decisions that I have had to make. If it weren't for God and His constant hand on my life, I could feel exactly like that wave of the sea tossed and thrown about by the wind. James has always been my favorite book of the Bible. Now, very soon I will be living in Astorga, a city that has been, and continues to be, a central point on the 9th century medieval pilgrimage route in Spain to the burial site of St. James; Santiago de Compostela. Is it a coicidence that I am here where so many pilgrims walk The Way of Saint James? I don’t believe so.
Codex Calixtinus

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Reunión en Toledo


Martín came bounding into the girls’ room, grinning from ear to ear with a surprise he had at the bottom of the stairs. Last summer he, Irene and Eduardo stayed with us in Sacramento, CA and now I was on his turf in Toledo, Spain. He struggled up the stairs with an enormous box and carefully, so carefully handed it to me. We thought it was a puppy that was going to live in his new flat, but the weight was evenly distributed and didn’t move about. I set “the puppy” on the wooden floor and cautiously lifted the lid of the box to discover. . .


this wildly decorated pink cake!!!
Martín ordered it specially made to celebrate our great love affair between the US and Spain.
Martín entró en la habitación de las chicas dando saltos de emoción, con una sonrisa de oreja a oreja, por la sorpresa que tenía en una caja al pie de las escaleras. El verano pasado él, Irene y Eduardo se quedaron con nosotros en Sacramento, CA, y ahora estaba yo en su territorio en Toledo, España. Luchaba por subir con cuidado una caja enorme y cautelosamente, muy cautelosamente, me la entregó. Blanca, Edu y yo pensábamos que sería un cachorrito que iba a vivir en su nuevo piso, pero el peso se distribuía uniformemente en la caja y no se movía de un lado al otro. Puse “el cachorrito” en el suelo de madera y cuidadosamente despegué la tapa de la caja para descubrir. . .
esta tarta rosa locamente decorada!!!!
Martín la encargó especial de una pastelería para celebrar nuestro gran amor entre los Estados Unidos y España.
Risa who was talking with Blanca in Spanglish on skype got to admire it, Edu, who was napping the siesta got up to see it, I had to take pictures, off course, and we didn’t eat it for days so we could show it off, its last day being at a lunch in Madrid.
Risa, que en aquel momento hablaba con Blanca en Spanglish en skype, pudo admirarla. Edu, quien tomaba la siesta, se levantó a verla. Yo la hice varias fotos, por supuesto, y no la comimos durante unos días para mostrarla a todos, gustándola el último día después de la comida con amigos en Madrid.