Sunday, February 28, 2010

a thought and a pastry.

once in while, i am about to say to my staff; were you raised in a barn!?!?!
but then i don't.

and now, a buñuelo!

my first time making cheesy yuca doughnuts, drenched in organic honey. what a hit! the key is to strain the cooked yuca after it's been cooked.

Saturday, February 27, 2010


first: the crew who is being paid to move volcanic rocks. the lake level is incredibly low (think, arrowhead in 2002). The rainy season hits in the summer, which will cause the lake to rise again. This crew is moving rocks so we can access our dock. Right now, there are empty plastic bottles tied to the biggest rocks so the boats don't pull a Titanic.
Wednesday I had to walk across 10 yards of rocks (scared for the safety of my laptop) to get onto the island.

Last night on our ride home from the island, the radio was playing something that made my ears perk up. Wait a tic- that's not reggaeton... slow, ballad, romance... Fabio, turn it up! Do you guys know this song? Si, Calley, it's "dama en rojo." You know it, Chris de Burgh, who the characters on Father Ted call a musical genius.
we all sang along, and then, my heart swelled with joy upon hearing the three words that I have wanted to hear;" let's do karaoke!"
(fact: I did end up at a karaoke bar a few weeks back, but did not get to sing)...
The next song came on, and Elsa rocked out in the backseat to "True Colors"
Roberto, our new waiter, said that when we all go (apparently there's a good spot that is open on Thursdays), he'll sing "Hotel California."

after a long day of training, planning, and then cooking things like
tamarind cioppino, i sometimes come home hungry, so make myself a filling pre-bedtime meal.

today I bought muriatic acid for the pool at home. although the testing levels are fine, it is kind of cloudy. This acid was recommended to me. after a trek and adventure to get it, I am experimenting with how much to actually put in the pool.

Nope. not bored down here, that's for sure.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

canal ocho. maybe you've heard of it.

we had a party of 20 for appetizers, and the channel 8 news crew came to film the resort, and at one point in the middle of service, i was told, hey- can you do an interview 5 minutes from now? yes, in spanish.

so, here is a clip of the interview. it took quite a journey to get the clip, and then to figure out how to get it onto this blog. i shake my head when i see it, for many reasons, but at least it makes me smile.
just another day in the life.

the trifecta.

i've been having some fun with traditional Nicaraguan fare for hotel guests. Gallo Pinto is easy to play with, and I offer it 3 meals a day to our guests.

breakfast: Eggs, Nica style, with tostones, crema, queso seco, traditional Gallo Pinto

lunch: spiced Gallo Pinto burger, arugula, homemade banana ketchup, ginger 'slaw

dinner; appetizer: Gallo Pinto Cabbage Roll with mint, papaya chutney

with a little variety, it makes eating gallo pinto all day everyday seem like a treat! well, here, eating gallo pinto 3 times a day is a treat, because it is sustaining food for hardworking folks. so, there's that to chew on.

no, no plans as of yet for a GP dessert.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

a post not about cooking.

fact: i do get time off. not much, so when i do, i try to fill this time with fun activities. Granada is a wonderful place to do this; I spend time at the local hipstir cafe (think Friends, if you can remember that show), go to yoga, and do incredibly silly/typically "Calley" things...

theme party: enchanted forest; homemade costume that I whipped up in about 15 minutes after work before heading out. I didn't have time to get the fabric so my kitchen assistant bought some for me the morning of the party. there were a lot of people dressed as Smurfs, and Martin was "Gargamel." Awesome.

I have transferred my abilities of creating epic charades odysseys to bilingual pictionary (after burger night):

Perrozompompo Concert in Managua
(hands down best part was the karaoke in the van ride there and back- kudos to DJ Gringo)

With Matt and Diego, I threw a "gay pool party" for Paloma's 30th birthday, with unofficial sponsor of Schmidtt's Gay Beer (Matt in pool at the end of the night)

Alright- enough of this. back to cooking! I have some Mojarra to gut.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

if this it... please let me know-

yeah, while embarking on this epiphany, I ended up with the Huey Lewis song in my head. pretty different theme, but the key chorus lyrics are applicable. bear with me.

Surprisingly enough, opening a 5 star resort requires an incredible amount of stress and energy. Throw in the fact that it's on an island in a 3rd world country... bring it on. I give the excuse of "Nicaragua," "language," "time." But, what is stressing me out? Even if I was speaking English in the middle of Manhattan, the egg vendor would still be trying to make me pay for 10 cases, not 4. The power might go out and guests would be waiting for food. hmmm, or, is it moreso the fact, that, in fact, this is what it takes to open any restaurant?

it suddenly dawned on me, when I said to myself, "The people in my kitchen are all morons!" Wait a second. That doesn't have to do with being in Nicaragua- I've heard countless bosses exclaim that in American kitchens. Then, I laughed. And not a delirious laugh, but one of acceptance and realization... I mean, my title describes it... i'm kind of a big deal. executive chef. When i take a step back and think about it,
to reference another catchy tune; Brenton Wood's "gimme some kind 'a sign, girl..."
here they are, some signs that i've really made it big, that I hadn't really paid attention to:
  • Purveyors give me free samples (coffee, fruit, fish)
  • I dumb down my menus so that my cooks can learn the recipes.
  • I think I work with a bunch of morons who can't do anything right. this goes for cooks, and even moreso, the front of house staff.
  • I eat poorly but make elegant and nutritious food.
  • I spend some time almost everyday arguing with the soap vendor about why he is trying to screw me over in sales and products.
  • my favorite people at work are the dishwashers. they work the hardest.
  • I barely have time to be jealous of people who get time to work out, eat healthy, have friends.
  • I enjoy family meal and drink too much coffee.
  • I haven't had a day off since... hmm.
  • sometimes, I just do NOT want to small talk with guests.
  • I make the same bad jokes that only suck-ups laugh at.
regarding the video link: mind you, replace "bork" with "con gusto!"... this is all being done in Spanish.

*addendum: after I wrote this post, on my morning off, the woman who helps with shopping walked into my bedroom to tell me that Pollo Rico did not have whole chickens today. So I got up and went, conveniently across the street with her, to pick up whole legs and airline cut breasts. this is one of many occurrences that reminds me, yes, I'm still in Nicaragua.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

recent stats

hmm, what am I currently doing with my life? Or, to break it down, my week?
  • Amount of live fish I have bought this week, fresh off the boat: 6
  • Pounds of Gallo Pinto I eat on a weekly basis: about 3
  • Amount of bug bites on my ankles: 7
  • Number of employees I have fired: 1
  • Current humidity percentage: 55
  • Days in a row I have worn the same shirt: 4
  • Number of hours a day I feel clean and refreshed: 0.85
  • How many times I have heard Four Non Blondes "What's Going On" this week: 2
  • Days in a row that I have handwashed that shirt to have it clean for the morning: 3
  • How many times a day I forget and talk in English instead of Spanish: 3
  • Number of Reggaeton songs that I enjoy: 0
  • Number of times I check facebook a day, at minimum: 6
  • Amount of hours in a day that I do not spend at or thinking about work: 7.5
  • Amount of those hours that I am sleeping: as many as I can
  • Hours in a day I pine over leafy greens: 2
  • Number of goats I have butchered today: 1
  • Number of times out of 10 that I wish for a cool breeze, and, like a miracle, it comes: 2
a snippet of my boat ride to work, there's always an egret or two, or ten: