Tuesday, March 30, 2010

and when you smile for the camera,

...I know I'll love you better.

It's a sad day. My camera has a "lens error." The manual suggests that I need to go to a Nikon retailer (aka the US), so I am currently camera-less.

this week is Semana Santa! There are Jesus parades everywhere and I can't document them. I tried looking online to find a picture of a similar Jesus parade, but they are all too grandiose. Even the Honduran one. And the crowd gathered around the Granadino Jesus is small and somewhat lackadaisical. And I couldn't find a statue of Jesus that has as much blood or tears as ours here in Granada. it is glorious.

at least now I know why the brass bands have been practicing at 3am for months. I wish I could say that the practice has paid off. A for effort.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

mules.

Thank you so much! Nicaragua has a lot of products, but sometimes, I just need something familiar, healthy, in English, and it is even better when delivered to my door via a friend. My initial bags were packed with bare essential and kitchen supplies. A big thanks to everyone who's trekked through layovers and brought treats!
Now when I am not cooking, I can envelope my senses in the comfort of American English language books and activities to help me unwind.

highlights:
American Snacks! comfort food and snacks- the most being Tasty Bites from Trader Joes- for an easy dinner or lunch, thank you!
Skin Care. This wonderful warm climate is wreaking havoc on my skin.
Books! I got some great reading material and a NYT crossword book!

decent reading materials in English. Thank you!
snacks! and swiss chard seeds! i am going to recruit some help to build a planter.
candy and needles for drawing blood. Each syringe is sealed in plastic- i really understand the importance and rarity of that here. the story is not blog-ppropriate, but, creepy story short, i am in good health. phew. Mego's gift ensures future good health for Nica Kitchen Health Certification Tests (there's a lot of irony in that).

from my parents: tax forms, costco run (tampons are always a welcome gift-not easy to come by here), random clothes. Special Treat- REL's family Christmas card and goat milk soap from Harley Farms!


note for anyone traveling to visit: feel free to bring items to donate to my community! please do not raid my stored clothes for said items. signed, mgmt.

aaaaanyway: a big thanks to: Laura (my first mule), Shanks, Erin! Erin! Mateo, and for the gifts from Megan and Laurel & Mom and Dad, of course!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

farm to table.

It is very rare for a local restaurant here to showcase local product, for a variety of reasons. I am learning about unique items that Nicaragua has to offer, and feeding them to our guests.
today is: Pelliway! Here he is! Nice sweater vest, buddy. Free range, unofficially organic, but treated well. For us, one animal lasts about 2 weeks- between the bones, loin, ribs, legs and miscellaneous leftovers, I make a large variety of dishes featuring this special Nicaraguan mammal. We get ours from a farm on Zapatera.



chile glazed rib appetizer with coconut curry sauce







braised shank in a classic borscht
organic dill on top.

Monday, March 15, 2010

those feral dogs are beginning to look attractive

today, i spent 30 minutes in line at the bank, only to find out that I couldn't cash my check because I was at the wrong bank. I headed down the street, only to find out, once at the teller, that I didn't have my passport on me. A trip home and back, and the check was cashed. Time spent: 1 hour 25 minutes. And I didn't even get frustrated.


a few more signs that I am growing accustomed to my surroundings:
  • i eat food that has been sitting out in the heat for unhealthy amounts of time
  • i don't notice bugs and spiders crawling on my keyboard or monitor
  • my english is getting just as bad as my spanish
  • i do 'normal life' chores, like paying bills (in person) and buying groceries (from a street vendor) with patience
  • i don't giggle at 'bimbo' brand bread or weird yet grave misspellings in english
  • mosquitos leave me alone, somewhat
  • the street lady i buy fruit from knows i don't like using plastic bag (she loads it into the basket on my bike, yeeah)
Now, I still get hassled on the street daily, and push my coworkers to eat vegetables (potatoes and fried plantains don't count)... but generally, i can take the lemons (well, limes, there are no lemons in this country) that Nicaragua tosses my way.

pictured: the usual, a 4 inch butterfly caught in the dish rack at work

Monday, March 8, 2010

island treats

Every day a little bit more falls into place. I've been able to run errands for myself, and figured out my way around 2 health centers to get the necessary tests for working in a kitchen here. Today's test was a swab to determine that I do not have fecal matter on my hands. I would never think this to be necessary, but, if it is, I am sure glad that they check this. Spending time in the health centers, I am reminded that yes, I am in a 3rd world country. The contrast of what we offer at Jicaro is astounding. I feel grateful to be apart of something that brings such a new experience to employees and visitors of Nicaragua.

In addition to the odds and ends of getting the resort's kitchen together, I am having some fun offering local items that are normally served as street food here. I've shown repocheta, which is a pan fried tortilla with cheese, coleslaw and garlic bean puree. We wash all the ingredients before cooking them- dig in, fearlessly!










Also, we have this cool floating deck for offshore yoga or candlelit sunset dinners! ooh la la!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

peanut butter jelly time!


today, i had to teach the kitchen staff how to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. flashbacks to grade school team building, where the teacher has her hands covered in peanut butter, smearing it all over a loaf of bread that is still in the plastic bag.

this adventure was almost as memorable. Literally, I was asked how to get the condiments onto the bread. I had to explain the fact that one goes on one piece and the second on the second piece of bread. And, then what? honestly: put the two piece together. sandwich!

this is a long video with a little bit of silly, as Elsa successfully creates her first peanut butter and jelly sandwich.
she's always a little hesitant to eat my food, but in the end, usually enjoys it somewhat.
video
why is my voice so high?

it was almost a debate: which peanut butter and jelly song should i reference!? the kids song, or the awesome amazing banana suit song? (hands clapping in finality) easy choice.