Tuesday, May 24, 2011

"the secret"

Did I win "the secret" or what? A few years back I tried my hand at working in a corporate setting. Well, twice I suppose. After spending some time endulging in the oohs and aahs of the Wonka factory that is Google Headquarters, I opted for a shorter commute inside the gorgeous SF city limits. A 9-5 job at that! Now, it was still cooking... but on a floor with no windows. My first week I "created" some! 

Did looking at them everyday really 'inspire' me? 
For details, watch below:


**note, the above video is not meant to but overshadow the chaos that IS running a kitchen in a third world country, but, man, what a gorgeous setting!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

all my single ladies!

In casual dialect women are often referred to as “La [nombre]” .. whether it is a man or woman talking.  Never is a man referred to as “El Juan, el Carlito, etc etc.” Even in more formal circles amongst people with higher educations, referring to a woman with the 'la' in front during conversation. 
awards night with some smiling coworkers
{as i hand out the 'rayo del sol' award}
It's tradition, but it's not right. It bothers me because it puts women in the same category as objects. 
I’ve spoken with successful Nicaraguan businesswomen who agree that although it is culture, referring to women in this context it inadvertently supports a machismo attitude. I’ve also spoken with women and men in the workplace and asked that each employee to try to remember to refer to their coworkers by their proper name (not flaca, ella, muchacha) and without the “la” because each person deserves this respect.
Working with women in kitchens I teach math, reading skills and women empowerment (knowledge is power, right?).  This granola recipe is always one of the first that I teach, it involves practicing fractions, using an oven, a timer, and a delicious result. It's also a favorite of my mom, who likes a healthy breakfast after walking our gordon setter in the morning!

coconut bocce with my island kitchen team

Sweet Coconut Granola
4 cups oats
1 whole coconut, grated (or 1 1/2 cups unsweetened flaked coconut)
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
pinch salt
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup honey
1 1/2 cup cashews (or pecans), chopped
Preheat oven to 325° F. 
Mix all ingredients together. Spread out in a greased deep baking dish. 
Bake for 20 minutes, stir and return to oven. Stir and rotate pan every 15 minutes for 3-4 more intervals. When the oats are golden and just starting to firm, remove from oven and let cool. The mixture will continue to cook and firm up as it sets. 
Serve with yogurt and fresh tropical fruits!

I believe in equality for all people. Skills of respect and growth can only be passed through tradition and practice. Here's to  my mom, who is still teaching me. I remember the first year we planted flowers along Hansen Road in Darien together on Mother's Day, over 20 years ago!
 Happy Birthday and Mother's Day to you, Mom!