As you can see from the picture, the clouds build during the day, normally out of the east with the prevailing winds but sometimes the north with a "cold" front. Quite impressive they can be!
There was, so I'm told, a tourism board-sponsored contest amongst the Calderitas waterfront restaurants recently. I was disappointed to have missed the event but even the locals tell me advertising was non-existent. Such a shame, could have been an extra special turnout. On the positive side three of my favorite places picked up the top three prizes! Sabanita's was declared the winner followed by his daughter's place "La Uva", and close behind "El Tortuga". By all accounts a special meal was prepared by the judges and the restaurant was scored on various other items including cleanliness, service, and presentation.
The fact is all of these restaurants pretty much serve the same fare - seafood - and most of it is prepared much the same way. Oh, some restaurants have better octopus than others, some have better whole fish, a few are noted for their delicious botanas (snacks)...but generally, it's same-same across the boardwalk.
We lost another gringo this weekend as Marvin moved to Puerto Morelos, a small yet thriving community tucked between the big tourist destinations of Playa Del Carmen and Cancun. Quite a large and active gringo population volunteering, organizing, putting on special events, etc. He's excited of course and I know he'll have fun up there. It also gives us a place to visit and cheap place to stay. We're looking forward to that!
PapiSays is now followed by discerning people in 7 countries around the world! I'm enjoying the effort to keep it interesting and engaging. If you haven't visited yet, now is the time! I've cut back significantly on my personal FaceBook page and limit my exercise of free speech (ha! Just joking there!), devoting my attention to PapiSays, the Chetumal Connection Group, and my...someday soon I hope...website.
Khan has been locked away for a while to accommodate some workers who will be pouring cement today. At last, one project will be complete before Wifey returns from the far north later this week. Woohoo! Amazing on a Sunday morning we can get the 10 bags of cement we need. Well, we had to wait 30 minutes. Thirty whole minutes for a delivery on a Sunday! The project will be a be a 21' x 14', hand-floated, slab special. I'll photograph the process start to finish - should be interesting.
I'm still quite restricted in my physical activities and one thing I've learned I can't do is spend a lot of time standing at the kitchen counter (or the local bar!) Sadly that means a number of recipes are out of bounds among these, puff pastry. It just takes too long and bit too much attention to detail to get right. But I have to have my puff pastry!! The trick is what's known as
"Rough Puff Pastry" and it's more a technique than a recipe but here goes...
ROUGH PUFF PASTRY
Don't use volume to measure, use weights! Use the same weight of butter as of flour, and about half that weight of water. So for 12 ounces each of flour and butter (about 2-1/2 cups flour and 24 tablespoons butter, use 6 ounces of water (3/4 cup -- the weight and volume of water are the same). Add the water a little at a time since you may need less.
Use 1 part cake flour to three parts all-purpose for a nice, tender dough.
Freeze the flour and the butter before you start! Use a grater for the butter. Using a pastry scraper or large kitchen knife, cut the butter into the flour until you have a crumbly mixture. If you use a grater, you'll have the small pieces you need. You want the small pieces of butter coated in flour just like a pie pastry.
Add ICE COLD water a little at a time.
Once the flour and butter are cut up you'll need the scraper to start making folds. It's going to be a raggedy mess at first but don't be tempted to add water. Simply shape the dough into a rough rectangle, roll it out until about 1/2" thick, then fold into thirds using the scraper. Neither overwork nor overwater! Roll this folded mess out until about 1/2" thick, roll and repeat.
Just keep folding, rolling, turning about 4 or 5 times until you have a smooth dough. Once that happens, fold it into a book fold (bring the two small ends into the middle then fold that in half, brushing off excess flour) to give it more layers. No need to roll again, just cover with plastic wrap and let the dough rest in the fridge for a half hour, no more.
After the rest, roll and book fold two more times. Another rest, fold once, roll, and shape and you'll have perfect puff pastry. You can use it now, refrigerate for 2 days or freeze for 1 month.
When you bake the dough, use a slightly damped baking sheet (or silicon baking sheet) to hold the underside of the dough down while the rest puffs up. You'll need a very hot oven (450F) for the initial puff then you can turn it down to whatever temperature you need to finish the recipe.