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Foodblog: bergerka


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I'm so glad that you're blogging this week! Yours was the very first foodblog I read and one of the reasons I joined eG!

"Life is a combination of magic and pasta." - Frederico Fellini

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Kathleen! Great to see you blogging from Espana! How exciting. I'm very interested to see the cooking later in the week and hear more about your fabulous lifestyle. Sigh. You are truly Livin' la Vida bella!

Congrats on your successes with your singing career! That's awesome. A former roommate of mine does what you do and teaches (in Germany, but occasionally sings around Europe and in the States when the role comes up) so I know just how difficult and competitive it is. You should be very proud of yourself! The magazine cover looks gorgeous by the way...

Carry on. I can't wait to read about your week.

Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

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I'm so glad that you're blogging this week! Yours was the very first foodblog I read and one of the reasons I joined eG!

This may well be one of the nicest things anyone's ever said to me. :wub: Thank you.

Good morning, all! Ok, yeah, it's not precisely morning my time. I got up at noon. I have an excuse, though (not that I need one...I don't have a day job anymore!!!)...was up till 4:30 am translating the interview in that magazine for friends, family and some professional contacts who wanted it (so it had to be a GOOD translation) and arranging to go to the US for the first week of September to work with my teacher. So far this morning I've been doing exciting diva things like laundry.

I now have had a coffee and have Café Quijano's La Taberna del Buda playing on iTunes and am ready to show you what ELSE I've been doing!

I needed a couple of things at the store, like milk, flour and hairspray ( :laugh: ), so thought I'd show you my neighborhood.

This is my building.

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This is my street!

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If you walk to the end of my street, you'll be on Avenida General Perón. If you turn left and look all the way down, you can see the Real Madrid stadium, Santiago Bernabeu.

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When I got back from the store, it was time for coffee, made in the Bialetti Mukka. I love my mukka. My voice teacher's fiancé introduced me to it, I immediately asked for one for my birthday that year, and I've never gone back. It's painted LIKE A COW!!!

Currently, I'm drinking this coffee, from the Canary Islands. It has a ton of flavor, I love it, very smooth and tasting of pure coffee.

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First, the water goes in the bottom.

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Then the coffee goes in the filter basket.

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Then you screw the top on and milk goes in the top.

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The whole thing goes on the stove, and after much experimentation and ruined coffee (too hot, too cold, the works - the Mukka really works much better with a gas stove), I heat it to level 8 of 12.

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After a short time, there's a POP and the sound of steaming milk. I pour it into my beautiful coffee mug, into which I've put a teaspoon or so of raw sugar, and voilà! Coffee!

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I decided to make a banana bread for the blog. I love banana bread. Last week, in anticipation of blogging, I set these bananas to aging, and now they're just right. Hint: the older, more alcoholic-smelling and soft and icky and brown your bananas are, the better your banana bread.

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The recipe I use is a combination of my mother's and my friend Rebecca's in NY, with an addition of my own. It's as follows:

1.5 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon nutmeg

1 teaspoon baking soda

0.5 teaspoon baking powder

0.5 teaspoon salt

5 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon (1/3 cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature

2/3 cup sugar

2 large eggs

Mashed banana from 4-5 large bananas

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

excellent quality dark chocolate, as much as you like, broken into small chunks

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (about 177 degrees C). Lightly oil a 9 x 5 x 3-inch loaf pan

Sift the flour, nutmeg, baking soda, baking powder, and salt together on a sheet of waxed paper, and set aside.

Cream the butter in a medium-sized bowl until light. Add the sugar and beat until thoroughly mixed and light. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating thoroughly after each addition. Add the mashed banana and vanilla. Mix well. Fold in the dry ingredients until thoroughly incorporated. Fold in the chunks of dark chocolate.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan, run the blade of a knife lengthwise through the batter (to prevent the bread from cracking on top as it rises during baking), and bake until the bread is golden and springs back when lightly touched, 45 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven, unmold the bread onto a wire rack, and let it cool before serving.

Here are the bananas, mashed in the bowl:

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I still use the stupid US measuring system for baking. My mother saved my life by finding these baking cups and spoons on sale and sending 'em to me.

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I mix the wet ingredients with our household immersion blender, known by all and sundry as...the Butt Butter.

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Why, you ask, is it called the Butt Butter?

Well you might ask. One night, I was sitting around with Willow and my friend Julia, sipping wine. We were all exhausted. Willow'd been teaching for ten hours. Julia and I had been moving my stuff from apartment to apartment all day. We were somewhat punchy. Willow asked me if I had an immersion blender, making the up and down gesture (you have to imagine this part) of putting an immersion blender into a bowl. I, having been at one point in my past an Emeril devotee, said, making the same gesture, "oh, you mean a Boat Motor???"

A minute later I noticed that Julia and Willow were both staring at me incredulously. I said "...what?"

I said "Boat Motor." They both - not one, but BOTH - heard "Butt Butter."

Apparently, combined with the gesture, it made quite an impression. :laugh::laugh::blink:

I'm using two kinds of dark chocolate today, one Lindt 70%, the other this INCREDIBLE 91% chocolate from Ecuador that Willow gave me. It's not bitter, but it's not really sweet, either - my friend L says it's just amazingly CHOCOLATE tasting, you try a small amount and your entire mouth is immediately filled with the sensation of chocolate. For purposes of the banana bread, though, it has to be mixed with a slightly sweeter one.

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Batter mixed, in the bowl:

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Batter in my cheapo loaf pan from the €1 store (you can buy ANYTHING there, I swear. I could probably buy a small child there if I were so inclined).

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...and here it is, cooling!

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I'm now going to go hang one more load of laundry and then scramble out of the house - I am supposed to be meeting Eric and my friend José Antonio for lunch at 2:30, and, as usual, I'm going to be late!

Today's schedule is: lunch at 2:30, then I'm supposedly having coffee with another friend at 6 if he ever gets back to me, then at 10 or so Eric and I will get together to have dinner (and it's going to be something often seen in Spain, although not Spanish) and talk about the program for our upcoming set of recitals. Around midnight, if there isn't a delay, C will arrive from Barcelona and pick me up and I'll go to his place again! That should be fun. He likes banana bread. :biggrin:

K

Basil endive parmesan shrimp live

Lobster hamster worchester muenster

Caviar radicchio snow pea scampi

Roquefort meat squirt blue beef red alert

Pork hocs side flank cantaloupe sheep shanks

Provolone flatbread goat's head soup

Gruyere cheese angelhair please

And a vichyssoise and a cabbage and a crawfish claws.

--"Johnny Saucep'n," by Moxy Früvous

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I love/hate it when a foodblog makes me homesick.

My handmade cream pitcher and sugar bowl.  I have one coffee mug that matches these, you'll see it tomorrow.  My parents bought me these in Ouray, Colorado, when we were all on vacation there.  I was about eleven, I think.  I adore them.  I had another coffee mug, too, but a roommate past broke it.  *sigh*  I hate it when people break my stuff...I know it happens, but I still hate it.

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I've never been to Spain. But my husband and I were married in Ouray, and my parents live there. (I think I know which store your mug came from, K.)

Here's a challenge that most people get wrong the first time: pronounce Ouray!

MelissaH

MelissaH

Oswego, NY

Chemist, writer, hired gun

Say this five times fast: "A big blue bucket of blue blueberries."

foodblog1 | kitchen reno | foodblog2

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I love/hate it when a foodblog makes me homesick.
My handmade cream pitcher and sugar bowl.  I have one coffee mug that matches these, you'll see it tomorrow.  My parents bought me these in Ouray, Colorado, when we were all on vacation there.  I was about eleven, I think.  I adore them.  I had another coffee mug, too, but a roommate past broke it.  *sigh*  I hate it when people break my stuff...I know it happens, but I still hate it.

gallery_8920_5009_265203.jpg

I've never been to Spain. But my husband and I were married in Ouray, and my parents live there. (I think I know which store your mug came from, K.)

Here's a challenge that most people get wrong the first time: pronounce Ouray!

MelissaH

Not to hijack this blog, but I was raised in Lake City, Co. Ouray is just over the pass from us!

It's "Your- Ray" :wink:

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Fun blog, Kathleen. I am looking forward to a little catching up from May and getting more of a sense of Madrid, a city that I haven't been to in over thirty years!

That Ecuadorean chocolate was from Cacao Sampaka, one of Barcelona's best chocolate makers. They were one of the first (and best) to make chocolates with exotic flavors, a trend that has become much more prominent everywhere chocolates are sold.

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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One more piece of what could, I suppose, be called culture shock.  In the first three weeks of my being here, I lost 15 pounds (granted, I was on tour. I have to eat like a horse on tour if I want to even maintain weight). 

In the ensuing year, I lost ten more.  Without trying, and no, I am neither anorexic nor bulimic (singing and barfing: not compatible). 

This means that I am currently holding steady at 59 kilos, or just under 130 pounds, down from my high of 155 pounds when I left NYC (I was NOT happy about that higher number). I am 5'11", or, if you prefer, 1m80.

Now, as you will see this week, I eat.  I eat a lot.  I'm in excellent health.  So...what the hell???  :blink: Granted, I get a fair amount of exercise and singing burns calories like crazy.

You are happy and relaxed. Even when you're busy you're busy in an excited and energetic way, not a stressed way. And your body reflects that.

Can you pee in the ocean?

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You can, in fact, hear me (and see me, in a little black dress) sing on the web - the sound quality isn't great, but it's a food - or at least booze - related song, so it fits here. The date was July 14, 2007, in Cervera de Pisuerga, the second of the series of concerts I'm doing this summer. This was before Eric arrived, so the pianist was a Colombian named David Barón.

The song is "Vodka," by Gershwin (I end the recital with a set of four Gershwin songs). The lyrics are as follows (and if you listen to both verses, you get a couple of high notes!):

Of all concoctions alcoholical,

I know but one that's diabolical.

I simply thrive on old champagne,

and sparkling burgundy.

Whisky, Cointreau, Moselle and Eau de Vie

are just like tea, but...

Vodka.

Don't give me Vodka.

For when I take a little drink,

I forget to think,

what a little drink can do to me!

Vodka.

DON'T give me Vodka!

For when I take a little sip,

I begin to slip,

and I start romancing

with the man that I am dancing with, for

Vodka

makes me feel...oddka.

I go and grab a six foot two,

anyone will do,

if he's only wise enough to see

I'll not scream should he kiss me!

Vodka, you ruin me!

The link is here Vodka

If you think it sucks...just don't tell me. :raz:

Basil endive parmesan shrimp live

Lobster hamster worchester muenster

Caviar radicchio snow pea scampi

Roquefort meat squirt blue beef red alert

Pork hocs side flank cantaloupe sheep shanks

Provolone flatbread goat's head soup

Gruyere cheese angelhair please

And a vichyssoise and a cabbage and a crawfish claws.

--"Johnny Saucep'n," by Moxy Früvous

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You mentioned that you're making less money than when you had a full-time job. Is the cost of living and food also lower in Madrid?

Hi, Kent. Yes. Definitely. I find cost of living here to be SIGNIFICANTLY lower than it was in NYC - especially groceries. I needed twice as much money just to barely get by in NYC. Granted, I'm also getting paid in euros, which go much farther than dollars. When I am working, my travel and housing expenses are covered, although usually not food, so that's not a problem.

I wanted to edit this post to add a couple of examples. I have no idea what prices are like in NYC right now, maybe someone there could do a comparison?

Today at the grocery store - this is a regular chain, Sabeco, not a discount store, all name brand stuff - I bought Pantene hairspray, a bar of Lindt dark chocolate, a small bag of regular white flour, nutmeg, a 1.5 liter bottle of Bezoya water (I like it, I needed a big bottle to walk around with, and also to refill with Madrid's very good water and carry around with me).

The only items that cost me MORE than €1 were the chocolate (€1,33) and the hairspray (big bottle, but expensive at €3,55). Every other item was less than €1, for example, the water was €0,45.

I used to get my hair cut and colored in a salon in NYC. Total for both ran me around $150-160. Here I get it cut by Raúl at a Marco Aldany (chain) for €18-20, and I color it myself with Garnier (colorist in NYC whispered in my ear that it was the same formula they used) for €4,50.

so those are just a couple of examples.

I also spend less, just as a general rule. If I'm home in Madrid, I will maybe go out to eat once a week, and I never order in. I do not go to expensive restaurants (then again, I don't need to, the inexpensive ones are really terrific here). For example, there is an awesome tapería about a fifteen-minute walk from my house where for two euros you get a glass of wine and a tapa that is a pretty significant portion of food. Six euros in, you've eaten dinner. My idea of an expensive evening is €20-25 per person, and for that I can eat very large amounts of food, drink a lot of wine and have dessert. I walk or take the metro everywhere - and the metro is much less expensive than the subway in NYC.

One large expense that has all but disappeared from my life: back in NYC, I was drinking a hell of a lot of cocktails. Guess what? Hard alcohol is expensive, in more than one way. Cocktails will run you $10-12 each if you go out, which can add up pretty quickly. In addition, it messes with my voice in a big way - if I am working, hard alcohol is a no-no. It's also chock full of sugar and calories. Alcoholically speaking, I pretty much only drink beer and wine now, with the VERY occasional gin and tonic if I'm out somewhere at 4 am.

My big expenditures are my trips to NYC to work with my teacher, and those are what I reserve my money for. Fortunately, since they're working trips, they're also tax write-offs (yes, I have an accountant for that. No way do I try to do that on my own).

and OMG, Ouray!!! I LOVED that town!

big post with lunch and walk home pix coming as soon as the damn pix finish uploading.

K

Edited by bergerka (log)

Basil endive parmesan shrimp live

Lobster hamster worchester muenster

Caviar radicchio snow pea scampi

Roquefort meat squirt blue beef red alert

Pork hocs side flank cantaloupe sheep shanks

Provolone flatbread goat's head soup

Gruyere cheese angelhair please

And a vichyssoise and a cabbage and a crawfish claws.

--"Johnny Saucep'n," by Moxy Früvous

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Ok, here we go! I'm posting these now because, well, I need to iron clothes, and I don't want to iron clothes. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. :laugh:

I went to lunch with Eric and my friend José Antonio, a bass from Las Canarias who is one of the few people in Spain significantly taller than am I (he's got to be 6'7", seriously). He's also one of the nicest people on the whole planet.

We went to El Gran Jamonal, in the first neighborhood I lived in here, Arguelles. Gran Jamonal has good associations for me - Eric brought me to lunch here with an American bass who was working at the Teatro Real right after the first tour was over and I had decided to change my life and was scared out of my mind. The food is just plain Spanish, very traditional, very good. They have a €10,50 menu for lunch from Mon-Fri that includes first course, second course, wine or other drink and dessert. And bread. And their bread is actually good. Good bread is kind of hard to find in Madrid, bizarrely.

The board in front of the restaurant (sorry about the shadow on the right side. It's an actual shadow from the canopy of the building and not associated with my lame photography skills).

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Today's menu of the day. As you can see, lots of choices, and yes, one of them was guisantes con jamón. Unfortunately I wasn't hungry enough. Another time.

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First courses. I had the gazpacho (I LURVE gazpacho in summer), J-A had the paella (which is very good), and Eric the judías blancas (white beans) con chorizo (also very good, just very, very heavy for about a 90-degree day):

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Second courses. I had the ragout de ternera (basically a pot roast!), J-A had the tortilla de queso (cheese omelet. This one was a tortilla francesa, which is what we know as a regular omelet, rather than being the egg-and-potato tortilla española), and Eric the caballa (mackerel).

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Dessert. Eric and I both had cuajada (link to description is in one of the above posts) with honey, J-A had the crema catalana (which is supposed to be burnt on top like crème caramel, but this one was not):

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We also had coffee, not pictured. J-A had a café solo (basically an espresso), Eric and I both had cortados (caffe macchiato, for those more familiar with Italian coffee. An espresso with a little sploosh of milk).

I walked home (4.8 kilometers or almost 3 miles, according to google maps. Oh. That's why I can't gain weight), because I wanted to stop at one of my favorite shopping places and show you.

This is the Mercado de Maravillas (the market of marvels).

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Although I'm not buying anything today, it's one of my favorite places to buy groceries. More stalls are open and they have more products in the morning (and when it's not August), but ech, mornings...ew.

jamón ibérico, anyone?

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My favorite meat guy (all these guys know me and they all wanted their picture taken).

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Beautiful fruits and vegetables

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Same stand, other side

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My second-favorite meat guys, aren't they cute?

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I absolutely defy you to find better chicken and eggs in Madrid. Seriously. These guys are a bit pricier than some, but ohhhhh so worth it.

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this guy has great cured meats...but I shop him for something else.

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And here's what it is

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This picture is dedicated to ewindels.

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pretty fish

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Pretty fish guy

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Randomly adorable fruit and veggie guy who wanted his picture taken.

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and for a touch of the incongruous, the Chinese products booth.

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Now I'll hang around to see if anyone has questions so that I can put off ironing just a little bit longer!

K

Basil endive parmesan shrimp live

Lobster hamster worchester muenster

Caviar radicchio snow pea scampi

Roquefort meat squirt blue beef red alert

Pork hocs side flank cantaloupe sheep shanks

Provolone flatbread goat's head soup

Gruyere cheese angelhair please

And a vichyssoise and a cabbage and a crawfish claws.

--"Johnny Saucep'n," by Moxy Früvous

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Hateful... evil... torturous... WHERE"S MY NEXT SHIPMENT? *salivate uncontrollably* :raz:

Food, glorious food!

“Eat! Eat! May you be destroyed if you don’t eat! What sin have I committed that God should punish me with you! Eat! What will become of you if you don’t eat! Imp of darkness, may you sink 10 fathoms into the earth if you don’t eat! Eat!” (A. Kazin)

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Just catching up, but there is something naggingly familiar about this whole "quitting your job, moving to Europe" plot... :raz:

Total greatness so far, and really looking forward to seeing a snapshot of your expat experience, and Madrid, where I've never been.

And I too was made homesick by this blog, but I would never have guessed that banana bread would be the culprit....

...and here it is, cooling!

gallery_8920_5009_345363.jpg

Blog on!

Edited by markemorse (log)
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Gaspacho Andaluz is an acceptable second place to the guisantes con jamon. That was my second favorite dish of my trip. Thank you kindly!

"You dont know everything in the world! You just know how to read!" -an ah-hah! moment for 6-yr old Miss O.

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Just catching up, but there is something naggingly familiar about this whole "quitting your job, moving to Europe" plot...
I was thinking the same thing. I never mentioned it in my blog but I have a long streak in the music biz so KB is the third musician blogger in a row. I obviously have to start packing and join you lot.

The vendor pictures are outstanding, K. The guys are adorable and the products are - just what I said - mostly unavailable states-side. :angry::biggrin: Is there a secret list of eG folk to whom you are smuggling quesos e jamons that I need to pay someone to get on?

Last time I was in Madrid I had to leave in a hurry. It was Spain's fifth anniversary sans-Franco and demonstrations popped up hither and yon. Got a little too hot.

"I took the habit of asking Pierre to bring me whatever looks good today and he would bring out the most wonderful things," - bleudauvergne

foodblogs: Dining Downeast I - Dining Downeast II

Portland Food Map.com

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Oh Kathleen!!! The shops...the cheeses....oh!!!! Easy to understand why you decided to stay...and congratulations on being brave enough to follow your heart! I have always enjoyed your blogs but this one is really cool....

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For me, it is the charcuterie that makes me envious. How much did the jamón ibérico cost? For the brief month or so that the ibérico products imported by Fermin were available here, the sausages were $20/lb and the lomo $90/lb.

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Brava amiga! Have you been to any of the REAL Madrid matches? If so, what foods are served there?

What is the ratio of sparkling lemon soda to beer? Will Sprite or 7-Up work or is it more lemonaid-ish?

Blog on!

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Wow, membrillo sin azucar, now there's something I never imagined. Is it just astonishingly sour, or does Spain go in for artificial sweeteners?

That's a cute video clip, even though you're a bit drowned out by the piano. At least we get to see you stagger around!

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Hey Genny - 7-up will work fine, says C. Depends on what you prefer. If you like the taste of beer, you can put half and half or 1/3 lemon, 2/3 beer (that latter is the norm). If not, add more lemon till you do like it. Haven't yet been to a Real Madrid match yet...but I'll get there (sadly, I haven't been to the Teatro Real for an opera yet either, because, well, it's expensive and I am never home).

Kent, I'm so sorry, I didn't even LOOK at the jamón prices!!! Normally, for the good stuff, it will run you in the area of €50 a kilogram, for a whole piece. Sliced costs much more.

Hey Abra, yeah, apparently that didn't happen in the church...it was the teeny recorder that was used. I may get my brother to edit the sound. Neither C nor I have ever tasted membrillo sin azúcar, but you should have seen the face he made when I mentioned it.

C has asked me also to mention that the guy in the Mercado de Maravillas SHOULD NOT have been cutting that jamón by machine. Really great jamón should only be cut by hand, and the use of a machine is a sin.

Dinner!

I wandered back over to the Moncloa neighborhood, to Eric's apartment, to have dinner with him. His roommate Ruben (a very nice physics doctoral student from León) was there, with two GORGEOUS girls, friends of his from Poland. They were cooking pasta and invited us to try it. How could we say no???

It was made with bowtie pasta (tricolor), garlic, cream, zucchini, chicken and parmeggiano. It was delicious.

Here it is. Blurry.

gallery_8920_5009_373496.jpg

Now, I still had to forge ahead with my original dinner plan, which was to eat something commonly found in Spain...but not Spanish (no, not McDonald's).

The answer is: Döner Kebap!

Eric just happens to live upstairs from the best. döner. ever. His neighborhood is right down the street from my first one, and after we discovered this place, my old roomie Angela and I would wake up about 2pm on Sundays, with enormous hangovers, and look at each other and say "ok...who makes the coffee and who goes for döner???"

this is it.

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Near wheel is lamb, far wheel is chicken

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The condiments

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Artistically plated, with fries (and sauce. Have to have the sauce, as the fries kind of suck and are really only convenient vehicles for sauce, much as snails are convenient little sponges for garlic butter)

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Yummmm

After the kebap orgy, we shared a bottle of Bach wine with Ruben and the lovely Polish girls.

C picked me up after he was done with work and I'm now at his house, drinking white wine and about to go to bed. See you all tomorrow! :biggrin:

K

Basil endive parmesan shrimp live

Lobster hamster worchester muenster

Caviar radicchio snow pea scampi

Roquefort meat squirt blue beef red alert

Pork hocs side flank cantaloupe sheep shanks

Provolone flatbread goat's head soup

Gruyere cheese angelhair please

And a vichyssoise and a cabbage and a crawfish claws.

--"Johnny Saucep'n," by Moxy Früvous

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Hey Genny - 7-up will work fine, says C.  Depends on what you prefer.  If you like the taste of beer, you can put half and half or 1/3 lemon, 2/3 beer (that latter is the norm).  If not, add more lemon till you do like it. 

gallery_8920_5009_551234.jpg

Yummmm

K

Dooood, that sandwich made my mouth **water** like crazy! It is a tsazaki sauce?

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    • By Duvel
      The first week of November are „autumn holidays“ in the area where I live. We wanted to use that time to go to Paris, but when my parents-in-law somewhat surprisingly announced they‘d be coming over from Spain for the whole of November, we scrapped that idea and looked for something more German …
       
      So … Berlin. Not the best time to travel (cold & rainy), but with a couple of museums for the little one and the slightly older ones to enjoy together, plus some food options I was looking forward it was a destination we could all agree on. The Covid19 warnings in the Berlin subway support that notion …
       

       
    • By liuzhou
      Note: This follows on from the Munching with the Miao topic.
       
      The three-hour journey north from Miao territory ended up taking four, as the driver missed a turning and we had to drive on to the next exit and go back. But our hosts waited for us at the expressway exit and led us up a winding road to our destination - Buyang 10,000 mu tea plantation (布央万亩茶园 bù yāng wàn mǔ chá yuán) The 'mu' is  a Chinese measurement of area equal to 0.07 of a hectare, but the 10,000 figure is just another Chinese way of saying "very large".
       
      We were in Sanjiang Dong Autonomous County, where 57% of the inhabitants are Dong.
       
      The Dong people (also known as the Kam) are noted for their tea, love of glutinous rice and their carpentry and architecture. And their hospitality. They tend to live at the foot of mountains, unlike the Miao who live in the mid-levels.
       
      By the time we arrived, it was lunch time, but first we had to have a sip of the local tea. This lady did the preparation duty.
       

       

       
      This was what we call black tea, but the Chinese more sensibly call 'red tea'. There is something special about drinking tea when you can see the bush it grew on just outside the window!
       
      Then into lunch:
       

       

      Chicken Soup
       

      The ubiquitous Egg and Tomato
       

      Dried fish with soy beans and chilli peppers. Delicious.
       

      Stir fried lotus root
       

      Daikon Radish
       

      Rice Paddy Fish Deep Fried in Camellia Oil - wonderful with a smoky flavour, but they are not smoked.
       

      Out of Focus Corn and mixed vegetable
       

      Fried Beans
       

      Steamed Pumpkin
       

      Chicken
       

      Beef with Bitter Melon
       

      Glutinous (Sticky) Rice
       

      Oranges
       

      The juiciest pomelo ever. The area is known for the quality of its pomelos.
       
      After lunch we headed out to explore the tea plantation.
       

       

       

       

       
      Interspersed with the tea plants are these camellia trees, the seeds of which are used to make the Dong people's preferred cooking oil.
       

       
      As we climbed the terraces we could hear singing and then came across this group of women. They are the tea pickers. It isn't tea picking time, but they came out in their traditional costumes to welcome us with their call and response music. They do often sing when picking. They were clearly enjoying themselves.
       

       
      And here they are:
       
       
      After our serenade we headed off again, this time to the east and the most memorable meal of the trip. Coming soon.
       
       
    • By FoodMuse
      Hello everyone,
      eGullet was nice enough to invite me to write a food blog chronicling what I've made or eaten out for one week. I'm so excited about it! Thanks guys.
      About me:
      I dream about food, I wake thinking what's for dinner and I'm so excited to share it with you. I'm part of the food world in New York. By that, I just mean that I'm so fortunate enough to be invited to great events where I get to eat great food. I'm also a nerd and a part of the technology world. I produce, edit and sometimes host food related web videos and I'm also a part of the tech world.
      I'm launching a website called Please, Pass the Gravy. www.pleasepassthegravy.com We let you create a menu, invite friends and then collaborate on that menu. Never host another potluck with 8 pasta salads. You could use it now, but we're alpha launch, it works but it's ugly. It's my ugly baby. So, if you use it be kind and message me if you have improvement ideas. I thought it would be ok to write about it here because it is food related.
      I live in Brooklyn with a lovely guy who likes to eat and a small corgi mix dog. I cook pretty much every night and do a nice brunch on the weekend. I am not a crazy dog lady, but I do admit to cooking food for the dog. I have an excuse, beyond doting, he had seizures that have stopped since not feeding him dog food.
      Foods I cook:
      Spicy foods! If you look at my blog I have a simple papaya ketchup with habanero that is pretty darn good.
      I love great cheese. This may be the week for Beer Cheese Soup.
      I try to limit carbs, though I do cheat.
      In any given week C. and I probably eat cauliflower, broccoli and green beans as a side.
      Tonight's dinner will be Vietnamese inspired. We'll see how it goes. I'll post about it as soon as I can.
      Any requests? Questions? I'd love to hear from you.
      -Grace
    • By Duvel
      In these challenging times, a full summer vacation is not an easy task. For the last 1.5 years we have been mostly at home with the clear plan to visit Catalonia (or more precise my wife’s family) latest this summer. And it looked good for a while. Unfortunately, the recent rise in case numbers in Spain have resulted in …
       
      OK, let’s skip this part. Long story short - my wife and me are fully vaccinated, as are >90% of the people we care about in Catalonia. After some discussion (after all, Germans tend to prefer to be on the safe side of things) we simply fueled up the car, got each a test (for the transit through France) and started to drive …
       
      After a leisurely 11h drive we arrived at a small fishing town somewhat north of Barcelona around 3.00am. We unloaded the car and my wife an the little one went straight to bed. 
       

       


      I found an expired beer in the elsewise pretty empty fridge and enjoyed the cool breeze on the terrace. Holidays, here we come …
       

    • By liuzhou
      Last week, Liuzhou government invited a number of diplomats from Laos, Malaysia, Indonesia, Myanmar/Burma, Poland, and Germany to visit the city and prefecture. They also invited me along. We spent Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday introducing the diplomats to the culture of the local ethnic groups and especially to their food culture.
       
      First off, we headed two hours north into the mountains of Rongshui Miao Autonomous County. The Miao people (苗族 miáo zú), who include the the Hmong, live in the mid-levels of mountains and are predominantly subsistence farmers. Our first port of call was the county town, also Rongshui (融水 róng shuǐ, literal meaning: Melt Water) where we were to have lunch. But before lunch we had to go meet some people and see their local crafts. These are people I know well from my frequent work trips to the area, but for the diplomats, it was all new.
       
      So, I had to wait for lunch, and I see no reason why you shouldn't either. Here are some of the people I live and work with.


       
      This lovely young woman is wearing the traditional costume of an unmarried girl. Many young women, including her, wear this every day, but most only on festive occasions.
       
      Her hat is made from silver (and is very heavy). Here is a closer look.
       

       
      Married women dispense with those gladrags and go for this look:
       

       
      As you can see she is weaving bamboo into a lantern cover.
       
      The men tend to go for this look, although I'm not sure that the Bluetooth earpiece for his cellphone is strictly traditional.
       

       
      The children don't get spared either
       

       
      This little girl is posing with the Malaysian Consul-General.
       
      After meeting these people we went on to visit a 芦笙 (lú shēng) workshop. The lusheng is a reed wind instrument and an important element in the Miao, Dong and Yao peoples' cultures.
       

       

       
      Then at last we headed to the restaurant, but as is their custom, in homes and restaurants, guests are barred from entering until they go through the ritual of the welcoming cup of home-brewed rice wine.
       


      The consular staff from Myanmar/Burma and Malaysia "unlock" the door.
       
      Then you have the ritual hand washing part.
       

       
      Having attended to your personal hygiene, but before  entering the dining room, there is one more ritual to go through. You arrive here and sit around this fire and wok full of some mysterious liquid on the boil.
       

       
      On a nearby table is this
       

       
      Puffed rice, soy beans, peanuts and scallion. These are ladled into bowls.
       

       
      with a little salt, and then drowned in the "tea" brewing in the wok.
       
      This is  油茶 (yóu chá) or Oil Tea. The tea is made from Tea Seed Oil which is made from the seeds of the camellia bush. This dish is used as a welcoming offering to guests in homes and restaurants. Proper etiquette suggests that three cups is a minimum, but they will keep refilling your cup until you stop drinking. First time I had it I really didn't like it, but I persevered and now look forward to it.
       

      L-R: Director of the Foreign Affairs Dept of Liuzhou government, consuls-general of Malaysia, Myanmar, Laos.
       
      Having partaken of the oil tea, finally we are allowed to enter the dining room, where two tables have been laid out for our use.
       

       
      Let the eating, finally, begin.
       
      In no particular order:
       

      Steamed corn, taro and sweet potato
       

      Bamboo Shoots
       

      Duck
       

      Banana leaf stuffed with sticky rice and mixed vegetables and steamed.
       

      Egg pancake with unidentified greenery
       

      Stir fried pork and beans
       

      Stir fried Chinese banana (Ensete lasiocarpum)
       

      Pig Ears
       

       
      This may not look like much, but was the star of the trip. Rice paddy fish, deep fried in camellia tree seed oil with wild mountain herbs. We ate this at every meal, cooked with slight variations, but never tired of it.
       

      Stir fried Greens
       
      Our meal was accompanied by the wait staff singing to us and serving home-made rice wine (sweetish and made from the local sticky rice).
       
       
       
       
      Everything we ate was grown or reared within half a kilometre of the restaurant and was all free-range, organic. And utterly delicious.
       
      Roll on dinner time.
       
      On the trip I was designated the unofficial official photographer and ended up taking 1227 photographs. I just got back last night and was busy today, so I will try to post the rest of the first day (and dinner) as soon as I can.
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