Managing the menagerie with a sore back isn't fun but the dogs are tolerant if I don't "hop to" when they're ready to eat. Takes a while to get the sore muscles loosened up enough to make coffee let alone conduct meal time. The cat, however, let's me know in no uncertain terms I'm falling behind on my duties. Cat's are that way.
This week saw some progress on the Great Back Porch Project with the help of our friend Darrin and his helper. Well, mostly Darrin but the kid's earning while learning. One countertop remains before the application of necessary insecticide, a pyridine compound that will get sprayed on later this week and allowed to dry before a coat of paint. Screening to commence in the latter part of the week if all goes according to plan!
Mother's Day here in Mexico was celebrated yesterday, Saturday, May 10th unlike its northern neighbors celebrating today. Yet, it wasn't always so. Mexico didn't used to celebrate the day. It was the influence of the Mother's Day celebrations in the US that caused some of the northern Mexican states picked up the holiday. It eventually spread to the entire country after some effort by a Mexico City newspaper and the Catholic Church. You can read more about that history of Mother's Day here.
I celebrated the occasion with a trip to the waterfront. Jose, owner of "La Uva" (The Grape...named after the sea grapes that grow nearby), had visited earlier in the week and promised I'd have a good time. I showed up just after 1pm, with the help of our friend Marvin, and settled in for an afternoon of old Mexican songs and cold beer. Each of the bars along the waterfront had a paper rose for the mothers and some, like La Uva, had drawings for simple prizes. Other businesses had closed early to accommodate the family's needs to gather and celebrate. By 2:30 in the afternoon, tables were filling quickly with family members of all ages gathering along the waterfront to eat, drink, and be merry.
After a delightful lunch of whole, fried fish with all the fixings we hobbled down to Sabanita's on the other end of the boardwalk. What it seemed I was missing by leaving early (it was now after 5!) was more food! Apparently, two "pisquinte" had been cooking in the ground, the old-fashion way, at Sabanita's He had come down with a couple of cooked legs in his shoulder bag...I guess he snuck them out before the rest of the beasts were being delivered. Thanks to our friend Douglas, one was carved up by the kitchen for snacking and I was lucky enough to be presented one to take home.. It was a welcome afternoon snack and made a nice light supper. Each of the dogs each got a bite and even the cat partook as it cleaned the bones of any small bits of meat..
Pisquente is relatively common in Central and South America. Properly known as the Lowland Paca or Spotted Paca, it is a large, strict vegetarian rodent that lives near water - great swimmer and fast climber both! In Belize it's called "Gibnut" or "The Queen's Rat" after a ceremonial meal offered to Queen Elizabeth during her only trip to Belize back in the day. Yes, it's a rodent but a delicious one when served right. I've always enjoyed it grilled. Tastes like pork...sweet pork. Muy rico!
PapiSays is doing well in its first week or so on FaceBook. We're reaching many hundreds of people each day - over a thousand per week! - with breaking news, must-know information, and tips to an easier, safer, more interesting, and comfortable life experience.. If you haven't given it a go, do check it out and share with others. The website is proving a bit more complicated but I'm pressing on, encouraged by the excellent reception on FaceBook.
Obviously my culinary exercises have ground to a halt. The other day I baked a chocolate cake from a box and was woefully disappointed. So from my archives, here is a fool-proof, no-flour chocolate cake recipe, the kind my mom used to make. You can use bittersweet chocolate but since I'm able to find good chocolate with varying amounts of cacao - as much as 90% If you can find it, I recommend 75% (or so) chocolate instead of the baking chocolate. But if you use the standard bittersweet chocolate, remove a tablespoon of sugar from the 1/2 cup recommended in the recipe.
NO-FLOUR CHOCOLATE CAKE
1 lb bittersweet baking chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 TBS granulated sugar
8 eggs, separated
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and butter an 8-inch cake pan. Simmer water in a double-boiler and metl chocolate and butter, stirring until melted. Let cool 10 minutes.
Add ½ cup sugar to yolks and beat until fluffy. Stir in chocolate-butter mixture until combined. Add remaining sugar to egg whites and whip to soft peaks. Fold (don't stir!) egg whites into chocolate batter and pour into buttered cake pan. Bake until set, about 25 minutes. Let cool 10 minutes then invert to plate and let cool completely. Invert to a plate and cool to room temperature. Sift a bit of confectioners' sugar over cake before serving.