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Everything posted by bergerka

  1. No one guessed what the teaser photos were??? Ok, well, there was no way to guess the Xmas buffet - that was an important moment for me, as it was the first Christmas I ever spent away from Arizona and my family (I had concerts immediately before and the day after Xmas...there was no way to make it there and back without dying from jet lag), and I was feeling a little funny about it. My friends Willow (now my roommate), Judy and I all got together and cooked and drank wine and exchanged gifts and had an absolutely wonderful, warm, lovely Christmas. the other one, though, is the inside of a very famous and beautiful building. If no one guesses it by the end of the day, I'll reveal. Lunch! My computer battery is dying and I left the plug at home, so after this post I won't be on again till later, but will then answer all the pms and any questions here. C made a tortilla española, the traditional egg and potato omelet. There are two schools of thought about the tortilla: onions and no onions. C is definitely an onion man, all the way, and I tend to fall on that side of things as well. Onions and potatoes in the pan, with a lot of extremely good quality olive oil (C adds "the secret is the oil"). eggs, whipped up with a fork: tortilla cooking tortilla after flipping, nice and brown, cooking on the other side Tortilla all done and plated In the meantime, I threw together some lettuce (for some reason, lettuce other than iceberg and romaine is very difficult to find in stores here, but it's too damn hot for anything but iceberg anyway, in my opinion), colas de langosta (crayfish tails), olive oil and a little red wine vinegar, with a nice dash of salt. Later we threw in a handful of raisins (not pictured): here's the whole lunch, ready to go. That's caffeine-free diet Coke I'm drinking, but I later switched to water. Bread is ubiquitous with meals in Spain, you will not find a meal without it. For dessert we had some really sweet watermelon! Ok, I am now going to take advantage of one of the best Spanish traditions ever...the siesta. Mondays this summer are my relaxing days, as Eric and I leave on Saturdays for the concert sites, which are between 2 and 5 hours away and only reachable by car (I've rented a lot of cars this summer. Don't have one yet), perform Saturday nights, usually go afterward for something to eat and/or then drive back to Madrid, or drive back to Madrid the next day. It's lots of fun, but very tiring, and not too many restaurants are open on Mondays anyway, so I spend the time recharging the batteries. I'll be home in a couple of hours and will answer questions and show you my neighborhood and C's (I live in the middle of Madrid, he lives in a 'burb about a 35 minute drive out of the center) then! K
  2. Hello, everyone! I've foodblogged before, both here and here - and believe me, props I got from all of you during my first attempts at cooking meant a HUGE amount to me and I will never forget them. A lot has changed since then. Brief recap: about a year and a half ago, I tossed my whole life up in the air, and with a lot of help and support from family, friends (among them the incredible Eric_Malson), and some people who had never met me before (some still haven't, in person, at least), came down squarely on my feet...in Madrid. Basically, in January 2006, I went to Spain to sing Violetta in a tour of La traviata. It was my first biggish gig (which is to say the first of any size that anyone would be interested in), my first important leading role (as in, uh, the title role???? In an opera that has been sung by every great diva since the damn thing was composed???) and my first - well, technically second - time in Spain, the other one was 3 days in Bilbao back in 1999. To say that I had a huge blast is the understatement of the year. In fact, I fell passionately in love - with the country, with the people, with the whole idea of working to live, rather than living to work, and, possibly most of all, with the food. Oh my god, the food. At the end of the tour, I took the single least planned, most spontaneous step of my entire life. I was supposed to get on a plane from Alicante to Madrid, and from Madrid to NYC, to go back to "normal" life, the day job, and all that involves. Instead, I got on a bus in Valencia, went to meet Eric in Gijon, traveled with him for several days, then went to Alicante for several days to see my friend Iva, and then found a room to rent in Madrid and just...stayed. The most amazing thing happened. As most of you know, in NYC I had to make a living working a day job (legal secretary ahoy!) in addition to the very few singing gigs I could scrape up. Here, I have been working as a full-time singer since I got here. Violetta was followed almost immediately by another Violetta in Italy, followed almost immediately by my first Lucia di Lammermoor...you get the picture. Almost everyone I audition for hires me...and I just appeared on the cover of a magazine, if you can believe it (if you can't, go here for the proof), as part of the festival Músicos en la Naturaleza, with whom I'm singing 8 recitals throughout Castilla y León this summer (with the utterly amazing Eric_Malson at the piano!). I am booked solid through summer of 2008 at this point, and more gigs are coming in all the time. As you might imagine, I keep thinking someone's going to wake me up and say "PSYCH!!!!" Anyway, on to blogging! I have a fun week in store for you - a few of my favorite places in and around Madrid, then will be heading up to Salamanca, possibly my favorite city in Spain, around Thursday with the man my father calls my gentleman friend and I will just call "C," or perhaps "Mr. Trouble," to visit his sister and her new baby. On Saturday we'll be joined by Eric_Malson for lunch in Zamora, I hope, if the restaurant is open (Spain. August. Entire country on vacation. You do the math), and Saturday night I have the latest of this series of recitals in Fermoselle, which should make for some great pix. Sunday we'll head back to Madrid! Before I head on to the foodblogging part of the foodblog, I would just like to give one unsolicited piece of advice: if you decide to drop everything and move to Spain, it might behoove you to speak more Spanish than "sí," "no," "gracias," and "una cerveza, por favor," although some here would say that's all you need . I did not speak any more than that. Shockingly enough (yes, for the humor-impaired, that's sarcasm), considering it's a country in which the first language is, yanno, something not English, remarkably few people SPEAK English. I do speak much, much more Spanish than that now, although the subtler subjunctive forms (or, perhaps, el puto subjuntivo) continue to elude me. On to the food! Later in the blog you'll get pix of my apartment, but right now I'm at C's. I'm cheating a bit, because I ate dinner after midnight, so technically it was Monday. Last night I drove back from Riaño, the site of Saturday's concert, which is a solid 4.5 hours from Madrid. I arrived about 11pm and drove to C's house, where he made me dinner (bless him. I was tired). A bit of background: C is a pilot for a large airline (they fly all over Europe and to Mexico, Central and South America, although not yet to the US), recently divorced, two kids ages 3 and 5 who are adorable (you won't get any pet porn in this foodblog, as neither he nor I have them, but if I can get his permission you might get some cute child pix, although I'm not sure we have any of them eating). How we met is, to me at least, amusing and an indication of the technological age. I won't post it here, but feel free to pm if you are curious. We've been dating for almost 9 months now, done a fair amount of traveling together, and share passions for great music, the beach (or the pool, or really anywhere we can swim) and really good food. We cook together a lot, we cook for each other a lot, and we go out to really good restaurants, too. Yes, he speaks fluent English. Together, we speak fluent Spanglish. We had filets of fletan (halibut), cooked with olive oil, garlic and butter, a salad (just lettuce this time, it was late) with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, and clara con limón, which is beer mixed with lemon soda (I know how it sounds. It's delicious, especially in summer in Madrid, when it's hot, hot, hot). filets in the pan, slightly blurry (these first two pix were taken with C's phone, as my camera batteries were dead). C says he forgot to put lemon on the fish for decoration. Oops. the whole thing, on the table Then we had some raspberry cheesecake ice cream, which uh, I forgot to get a pic of, and hit the sack. This morning's breakfast - coffee (unfortunately instant. There are a few reasons C drinks instant coffee, one of which is he frequently has to leave the house at 4 or 5 am to fly and doesn't want to have to think about anything at that hour more complicated than putting a cup in the microwave. Later in the week you'll get some Bialetti Mukka porn from my house) and Pastas de la Montaña, which are butter cookies from the region around León. The mayor of the town gave me a HUGE bag of regional products, including a longaniza (similar to chorizo), a salchichon (regular cured sausage, less spicy and more pink than chorizo), a goat cheese, some creamy blue cheese and these fabu cookies. The cookie box Plated Then C went off to a paddle class (like a combination of tennis and raquetball) and I went off to the store to get batteries for the camera and some groceries for later today. He has to go to work at 6, so we'll be having lunch fairly soon here. More pix and postings to come, and I hope you enjoy your virtual trip to Spain with me! K edited to add, oops, January 2006 is when I came to Spain, not 2007.
  3. Growing up, we never ate dinner till after 8pm, due to my dad's schedule (pediatric practice) and parental preference. This prepared me, although I didn't realize it at the time, for living on Spain time. Dinner here starts, at the very earliest, at 9pm, and more often not till 10pm or thereafter, especially in summer. Actually, last night we went to an opera that started at 9pm, so didn't eat dinner till midnight. I eat breakfast (well, I use the term "eat" loosely here, I mainline coffee for breakfast) around 10 or 11 am, usually, lunch anytime between 2 and 4 depending on my schedule. K
  4. Oh my goodness. I just got back from about two weeks of nonstop travel and performing with no time to breathe, much less read, and found your wonderful blog. Thank you so much, this is a pleasure and the pictures are wonderful! I've only been to Amsterdam once and only overnight, now am dying to go again and spend more time. ...and yes, stopping to think it through before you throw your entire life up in the air just to see where it lands is totally counterproductive. K
  5. er, well, actually, I did the same. not at your house though, and it was instant coffee (long story, I was at my bf's house and he is currently on instant for a variety of reasons, one of the good ones being that he's a pilot and frequently has to get up at 4 am and does not even want to THINK about anything taking any more effort than that at that hour - one of these days I'll just lug the mukka over there and make him coffee, but I'm afraid I'll never get it back), so does it even count? I flatter myself that it was a REASONABLY pretty sight, though. And I don't do it at home, I'm morally opposed to scaring my roommates.
  6. Sorry to bump an old thread, but I have just moved and am wondering if anyone has any experience using the Bialetti Mukka pot on a vitroceramic range? I seem to either get it TOO hot (so the coffee tastes slightly, and bizarrely, burned) or not quite hot enough, so it's kinda..tepid. Also having problems with the seal, but that's a separate issue. My caffeine monkey and I thank you in advance. K
  7. bergerka

    Meals for only two

    ok, not all that inspired, but in hot weather? Flank steak? Slice it, get some good lettuce and tomatoes and whatever else you like in a salad and make a steak salad with, like, a dijon vinaigrette or something! Serve with crusty bread! Yum!
  8. ...and??? So does practically everyone I know. How do you suggest we defrost it??? Holy sweet Cruise, you guys are picky. oh, and re the chef's knife with the inch of tip missing, as referenced above? Yeah, well, sometimes someone else uses YOUR good and expensive chef's knife for something not involving food, without your permission (in fact, when you're not home), and breaks it and then "forgets" to replace it - for several years. This pisses me off, to the point where I won't buy a new one as a matter of principle. I will say that my grandmother used to get practically up to her elbows in schmaltz and then pinch my cheeks. Now THAT was ewwww. K Edited to remove repetition and reference above rather than below, and to add that ok, no, the cat litter thing...not picky. that's completely disgusting. That person should be whapped with a wet dishcloth.
  9. I personally feel that you are making a mistake, that roast beef and smoked mozzarella are the golden coins with which wraps are buying your soul. My objection to wraps is not their existence, per se. There are a large number of things - cats, greek food, Yankee fans- that I don't care for but that I don't see the need to ban or destroy. If we take such a course with wraps, however, history will condem our tolerance and mercy. The problem with wraps is their use to those who see food, not as a comfort or as a joy, but as a fuel for the proletariat - like, say, my program director for example. In the hands of such men, the superficial appeal of the wrap that they "don't stink up the office," and "you guys don't make such a mess with these," has already allowed the wrap usurp the place long held by worthies such as pizza, chinese food and the revered "italian trough." ← Damn you! You've caught me! I'm part of the great Wrap Conspiracy, long may they reign!
  10. Not Barcelona/Girona specific, but I do live in Spain, and the earliest you will be able to get a reservation is most likely 9pm. Good luck! K
  11. I had a most delicious wrap for lunch today...roast beef, smoked mozzarella, and yes, lettuce and tomato, but lovely crispy lettuce and fresh sweet tomato, with a little salt and pepper... Mmmm. I think all of you who don't like wraps should eat the damned panini (which I despise) and leave more for those of us who do like them.
  12. I grew up with, enjoyed and looked forward to family dinners, but mine was and is an unusually close family (and I won't say we didn't have our share of harrowing meals! ). To this day, the brothers and sisters who live close to my parents will just stop in for dinner on a regular (weekly or more) basis, or invite them over. My boyfriend has his two kids (ages 3 and almost-5) a couple of times a week and various weekends during the month. They seem to handle dinner a little differently in Spain, or at least in this family, the small kids get fed first (but the grownups are present, participating and talking to the kids. The tale of José the Noodle is very popular), then the grownups eat, with occasional "GIVE IT BACK! MINE!! PAPA!!!!!" interruptions. I think it's more about the participation than the actual eating, myself. K
  13. Um, what about putting a piece of chocolate on his tongue and THEN kissing him? Bet that would've sent the monitors off the charts..
  14. Just found this thread and all I really have to add is that both the company AND the food were more than worth the 9 hour drive from Asturias (where I'd been visiting a friend and, well, eating a ton of amazing food, I swear I gain three kilos when I cross the border into Asturias) to Alicante. I'm a HUGE fan of more "traditional" food/recipes done, well, perfectly, and this was one of the best examples of that style of food I've ever experienced. The croqueta, simple and traditional though it was (and I've now eaten croquetas in approximately ummm 50 cities in Spain), was so incredibly perfectly delicious it nearly brought tears to my eyes. It was also my first experience with trotters and the next one is going to have to go a long way to beat them...the thought of this dinner, several weeks later, makes me rub my hands together in anticipation of my next visit to Alicante, which will be in early July. K
  15. Oh yes, such a sacrifice to spend three days with one of my favorite people...EATING. It was a blast. Come back soon!! I've got some restaurants in Logroño and Salamanca to introduce to you... K
  16. Congratulations! In one fell swoop, you managed to: 1. Make yourself feel superior about your food tastes 2. Make your in-laws feel INFERIOR about theirs 3. Place your husband in the uncomfortable position of having to choose between defending your, yes, rudeness, or your mother-in-law's (which doesn't make yours ok, by the way). My, that's a damned good day's work for about 30 seconds. Don't you feel better now? Yes, you were rude. People are more important than food, in this lifetime or any other, and given the choice of being remembered as "gosh, she was a nice person" or "gosh, she only ate the very best of the best," I'll take the nice person moniker any day of the week. But maybe that's just me? Now imagine this scenario: you go to the restaurant with your in-laws, nothing looks inviting, but there's a Cobb salad you might eat half of. You say "gosh...I'm just not terribly hungry...tell you what, honey (to husband), if I get the Cobb salad and can't finish it, will you help me out? Or maybe we can take it home?" Problem solved, no one's feelings ruffled, you proceed to enjoy a nice lunch with your in-laws. Sorry, but I cannot understand or sympathize with someone who would rather be rude (and, I'm guessing, knowingly pick a fight, but that's just a guess) than make nice during what, one weekend? with the in-laws, fachrissake. K P.S. I agree with Genny. WWBD? Even though now I have to go wipe Coke Zero off my keyboard, thanks.
  17. Ok, having just gone there tonight for the first time, do not, DO NOT miss this place. It's amazing. http://www.sweetolounge.com/ Get them to recommend a pour for you. And GET the CHOCOLATE. ANYTHING chocolate. Just do it. Whoa. K
  18. Oh...my...god. That looks... amazing. The desserts are making me drool while I sit, and if you knew how much I ate for lunch today you'd know how improbable I'd have thought that five minutes ago. Holy crap, Daniel and Alicia, my hat's off to you! If I had a hat, that is. K
  19. My question is this: if you know the fish and the pad Thai at Sripraphai are always below standard, why continue to order them? I go there when I'm in NYC for the green papaya salad, the catfish salad, the chicken soup with coconut milk and kaffir lime leaves, and a couple of other things that can't make their way around my hangover and onto the page right now. Those dishes are always fantastic. Why would I go there to order something I knew they didn't do well? Very few restaurants do EVERYTHING on their menu perfectly. K, who will find out for herself in a couple of weeks whether or not Sripraphai has declined. To my mind, it hadn't in October, but that was the last time I was there.
  20. This is terribly sad news and I'm so sorry to hear it. I met Bux in person twice - he was charming, articulate, delightful company and a pleasure to be around. I always enjoyed his posts and looked forward to reading any thread in which he participated. My thoughts are with his wife and family. K
  21. Tried oreja for the first time back in May. Won't be doing that again. Cartilage-riffic. *gag* K
  22. browned but soft and chewy, duh. what other way is there to make chocolate chip cookies? (yes, I know there's another way. I don't want to hear about it, you crispy-cookie heathens). K
  23. You're on. I'll be in the States in October and early November. PM me. K, on her third moka cup for the morning (hey. I had a late night. Again).
  24. bergerka

    Cooking Club Ideas

    Do eclairs count as stuffed? I like eclairs. You could stuff them with dulce de leche. Yes, I'm obsessed.
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