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Sunday, July 22, 2007

bits of this and that

wow! 3 comments. I should ask for what I need more often. I wanted to add a bit of information about the marmalade and jellies I make. This is something new to me. I made bread and Cinnamon rolls, biscuits and cookies, and sometimes pies when my children were small but bread, biscuits and cookies have been sacrificed to control of mid-life spread. Homemade jam and jellies seem to be something I can make and eat here without breaking my own rules. I use only fruits from Brazil when in season so the price per kilo is under R$2.00 (except red plums that we can get here in the January/February from Argentina cheaper than the Brazilian plums sell for.) Using Brazilian fruit limits me to grape, plum and Jabuticaba jelly, strawberry preserves and citrus fruit marmalade. I make a batch only when the last one is gone. I keep in the refrigerator so I don't have to worry about spoilage. I remember my grandmother's and mother's jams and have some memory of seeing them being made, but got my recipes from the Internet (Thank god for Internet)
our local oranges are sweet so I use about half the sugar in her recipe and I can never find jelly bags or cheese cloth so I use a new knee high nylon stockings for soaking the orange peel over night. My efforts are not (ever) perfect but I enjoy very much knowing the results are mine. They always taste better than you can buy any where. GingerV

Saturday, July 21, 2007

new words and concepts

RioRose wonders if we should invite 'lurkers' to participate in our blog. I had never heard this term before so I looked it up in Wikipedia.
In Internet culture, a lurker is a person who reads discussions on a message board, newsgroup, chatroom, file sharing or other interactive system, but rarely participates. 
One of the hardest things about writing in Rosemary's blog is never getting comments. I really am a person that needs positive feedback. I have never been able to do a job were the boss did not from time to time pat me on the shoulder and say 'good job'. But what if everyone who reads my comments thinks them useless and that's why no comments. Ouch!
I despite the risks of rejection, I think I would really enjoy hearing from everyone who visits the blog. Maybe comments will help us to talk more about what you want to talk about as women, as expats, as cooks, as grandparents living far away from the kids and grand kids. Maybe someone would find what you have to say so helpful that they will have to write a comment too. Maybe my four years in Brasil has taught me something that you are struggling to figure out and it would make me really happy that the agony of adjusting to this life could be useful to someone else.
After you read this, go down below to 'comments' and tell us what you think we will both be happy to hear from you.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

The food is different

Riorose ask me to give you my recipes for potato salad and cole slaw that I made for the churrasco last week. That request creates a big problem for me and for you. I have been cooking since the summer I was 14 - a long, long, LONG time - and I don't use recipes. But let me see if I can give you enough information that you can try. This time the cole slaw was grated cabbage - about one half a head or 4 cups (please remember my disclaimer), one large stalk finely chopped celery, one finely chopped apple (either sweat or tart work) and +- a cup of raisins. I have been known to add if I have in the refrigerator walnuts, seedless grapes, chopped sweet onion, chopped tangerine or orange - just use the grated cabbage as a base and put in whatever flavor you feel like that day. (I personally would not put more than three additional ingredients cause then you can't taste any of them and the cabbage should be dominant.) I lightly salt all of this and set aside. Then I make the sauce in a separate bowl. 1/3 cup (light) mayo, 1/4 vinegar (I prefer apple), and about 2 or 3 tablespoons of sugar. Now you have to be comfortable in the kitchen and do as I say - dip you little finger in the sauce and test it. It should have a sweet tart taste - add more vinegar or sugar to taste. Add to the cabbage mixture, cover and set in refrigerator to chill - serve soon, do not make it more that two hours in advance because the slaw will get an acid taste after 4 hours or so - best eaten when fresh and crisp. Sometimes I make the cabbage mixture without the salt in the morning and set covered in the refridg until I am ready to serve then add the salt and mayo mixture right before setting on the table.
The potato salad is well potato salad - but I don't put just mayo on it, I make a mixture of mayo, vinegar, sugar and mustard. Boil the potatoes in the skins in salted water until nice and soft, when cool, peal, dice into a large bowl, add (what you have available) chopped tomato, chopped cucumber, chopped onion and green pepper, and chopped celery, and hard boiled eggs. (six/seven medium potatoes to 9-12 eggs) I try to make the chopped and diced look about the same size but not too tiny [think about eating a fork full which should fit nicely in your mouth and the pieces are small enough to have some potato, some egg and a little celery and onion] and I feel the potatoes, egg, onion and celery are required. Enough of the mayo mixture should be added to make the potato mixture creamy and well held together and has somewhat a deviled egg taste - I love it.
Ginger V

Sunday, July 15, 2007

... thoughts from the hammock...

All the guest for this weekend's Churrasco have gone home.  And today Camillo left with them for a quick trip to Bahia (Salvador).  Normally, when the house is once again quiet, Camillo will retire to the hammock for thought, reflection and his Sunday afternoon nap.  Today I thought I should try it for a change, seize the moment, take the opportunity to see for myself just what draws him to this time of idleness and reflection. Blue sky, filtered sun, the hammock swaying in the soft breeze ... birds singing ... an occasional dive bomb from the humming birds (which I never see, just can hear their buzz saw sound) ... and I was asleep.
This weekend was so nice. Rosemary and the Comandante came up on Friday night for a promised homemade Caldo Verde.  He was right at home in my kitchen and did a very good job of feeding us this wholesome soup.
On Saturday afternoon, starting at around one, friends began arriving. They ate and drank, laughed and talked, made fun of each other with great affection, drank (more!) wines from Camillo's secret stash and ATE EVEN MORE cheese and sweets, and drank a little coffee before with much hugging and kissing, all left for their respective pousadas to make a full recovery before, in most cases, driving back to RIO today. 
What a great weekend.  The Saturday afternoon Churrasco is the greatest cultural tradition of the Brasilians. Like in all cultures - good food and a gathering of GREAT friends leaves you rested and restored. If a whole weekend isn't possible string a hammock between two trees and take a nap in the open air.    Kisses All, GingerV

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Mamute Gym

Ginger loves to take photos at the gym.

There are some very good trainers there! Call them for your appointment! 21 2274 4722 ex-444

Gustavo and André

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Exceptional weekend

Times goes by; most days, weeks, months pass without any markers, nothing that will help us remember later when things happen. So as an 'older' adult it seems as though our memory is failing, but it is just that we do not have sufficient memory markers to hold happenings in place. This weekend was one to remember, I am placing my own marker - the weekend of July 1, 2007. This weekend was exceptionally sweet; the sunrises bright, holding promise of a sky of soft pastel blue, with clear grey, non threatening clouds;
 the night sky bright with its full moon hanging over the valley,
and the homey smell of fresh made orange marmalade throughout the house. These are the sights, smells that I will tag for the memory of feeling of home
Exactly four years, three months of living in Brazil and
on this exceptional weekend. 
I finally felt at home.