Thursday, November 26

Abundance Day

Thanksgiving Day – Early AM: Had a total meltdown about missing Tim and his family. (Crying + more crying.) Katie drug me outside, pushed me into the sun, told me we are re-naming Thanksgiving, "Abundance Day," and that we only have one together, so let's make it good. I sniffled and agreed reluctantly to the idea.

We walk back into the kitchen, she immediately knocks over a brand-new bottle of Tabasco sauce on the ground, it busts and spills all over the floor. Two-seconds later, the hose to the washer shoots out, showering our kitchen with water. We were joking about abundance when I smashed into the garbage can, spilling the entire contents onto the floor. Snorting and tears to follow.Used Shelly's amazing recipe to make cookies, but had to substitute nearly everything on the list. Instead of chocolate chips I chopped up three random candy bars. The first batch I accidentally used bread crumbs instead of oats. Second try, instead of three cups of oats, I'm used the granola I bought for my cereal. Instead of brown sugar, I found cane sugar. Oh god I hope these turn out okay.

Look at me Shelly — I'm baking!
For the deviled eggs, I forgot to buy pickles (pepinillos). Luckily Katie and I could make a dance song about them. "Pep-e-nillos! Pep Pep eh-nillos!" Moving on.

Instead of pickles, I used cucumber, green onion, green peppers, dill, cumin and paprika. Mmm.
The dogs were going crazy with all the cooking going on. Ethel found the stick of butter I was using to butter the cookie sheet: Devoured. We have so little room in the kitchen, we were using the outside washer for counter space. Closest row of cookies to the ground: Gone.The lone survivors:

Katie made a gorgeous assortment of slow-roasted veggies and garbanzo beans.And put together this killer tray.We drank the Rogue chocolate stout that my very good friend sent in the mail. (Thank you Todd!) We had a cheers to delicious dark beer and Abundance Day.Fanny-May hoping for one of those deviled-eggs to fall off the table.Grabbed a cab, packed the backseat with food, and got to the party two-hours late with no money to pay the driver. Camelo took care of us. Kent's place is insanely gorgeous. It's a big open remodeled warehouse with what Camelo says is the nicest hot tub in Guanajuato. This is their "white" poodle. There it was: A massive table of traditional Thanksgiving Food: Two turkeys, duck, lamb, pork, stuffing, three different gravies, potatoes cooked every way imaginable; mashed, baked, covered in cheese you name it; pasta bread, veggies, dips casseroles and SWEET POTATOS GALORE! (All my dreams.) The deviled-eggs were a huge hit for the gringos, por supuesto.I devoured the first plate in sort of dreamlike state, then an entire second plate before Katie even finished her first. She said the abundance of food was making her anxious. I couldn't have agreed less.Drinking began, and I met lots of new people including one guy who lives in near Shelby Park in Louisville, and a woman named Mindi who racked up many credit cards to buy a house in Guanajuato, and was now working 80+ hours a week to pay them all off. I admired her effort and the fact that she pulled it off, but saw that all-to-familiar fatigue in her eyes. She was a total zombie. I didn't mention the fact that I had spent the last month reading, writing and relaxing. At one point this older man tried to pull out some Chinese poetry and read it to everyone. He was relentless, amongst the drunken and rude comments Ilan and everyone else were making.Camelo and Kent's girlfriend, Brea.Brea and Ilan.The lovely Monica.At some point Camelo started reading quotes that Kent (a writer and poet) had written as a sort of forced-endorsement from his publisher.My Mexican friend Josue showed up with his German girl friend whose name I can't remember. She got drunk real quick and they both expressed interest in me by the end of the night, joking about how I was "la chica más bonita a la fiesta." Three times later and I was totally uncomfortable, especially when the German told me that I could never know how good being with a woman was until I tried. I said I appreciated her honesty, then split like a bat out of hell to find Katie and tell her what had happened.She responded with her best mom voice, "Okay. Let's just sit down and have a beer, you and me." So we sat down, and somehow (because it's Guanajuato) a professional hula hoop dancer started showing us her moves. (All the drunk people to follow.)The debauchery continued. Ilan and the incredibly adorable, Saul. Abundance Day Round 2 — 2 am. After way too many beers and cold leftovers, we cabbed it home.

(Listening to Atlas Sound, Logos; and random selection of the Black Keys.)

Wednesday, November 25

la experiencia

"I picture experience as this tide that washes over everything, like the plane of water flowing across flatland you see in those Discovery channel documentaries about the formation of the earth’s topography. We move with the front edge of that tide, where everything we come across is more or less on the same level. But over time, little grooves start forming where the water’s been. Gradually those crevices deepen, their emptiness burrowing ever downward, until you look back one day and you see canyons with odd little rock formations still jutting out. “Why these?” You wonder. “Why are these particular ones still standing?” They have to mean something, right?"

– Jack Cheng

"At the same time, for each, there was a disjunction between what he loved and what most people loved him for."


Monday, November 23

Irene's Famous Salsa

Irene (pronounced, eer-RAIN-ay) is the spunky Mexican woman who I lived with in GTO last summer. She made a salsa I still find myself daydreaming about. One day as an apprentice, I watched the magic unfold, and this is my first attempt at re-creating it. See my blog, "viviendo en un cuevo," for more of that story. Now, to spread the love and share the recipe of a salsa that will knock your socks off.

Ingredient List:
• 20-25 tomatillos
• 40 dried chiles (any kind of of chile will do – I used chiles guajillos)
• one white onion, diced
• 3-4 cloves of garlic
• 2-3 cups cilantro
• 2 tablespoons of salt
• 1/2 teaspoon pepper
• 1-2 cups of water
• Lime (optional)

(The ingredient list is kinda vague, because you can change/add/take-away according to taste. This recipe promises a spicy version, Irene style.)

First start with about 20-25 tomatillos. Peel skins, tear away stem and rinse.

Cut the stems off of approx. 40 dried chiles.
Turn skillet on medium-high, lightly-blacken the chiles on both sides. Only do 5 or 6 at a time—it will burn your throat and eyes! Open the windows and try to get a lot of ventilation.
Place the tomatillos on the skillet, if you have room you can do them both at the same time. Let them cook on one side for a couple minutes until they start to soften, then flip.You know the tomatillos are ready when the outer layer takes on an element of transparency, like the one in the corner.
Tomatillos will cook differently according to size, you can throw everything in a blender as it's ready.
Add onion, garlic, water, salt, pepper and cilantro with all of the blackened chiles and tomatillos. Add lime juice (optional).
Keep the lid on in order to avoid this:
Blend thoroughly, and have a sip of Bohemia while you wait.
Touch ups! I prefer to make mine extra spicy. In the words of Irene, "Mas chiles! Mas chiles!" Add more water to make it a little thinner if you like, additional salt to taste.

Smother it on your favorite sandwich, or save yourself the hassle and just eat it with a spoon. (A straw would work too.) Buen provecho!