mooninspain

Food, Travel , Life and more Food in Spain

Archive for the category “New Beginnings”

Food items that I thought I would never enjoy…………..

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I feel that I was raised in a fairly cultured world as far as food is concerned.  My Mother and Nana prepared excellent Italian food tracing our roots but they also made Chinese, Greek, French and many other ¨ethnic¨cuisines.  My parents would also take us out to different restaurants on a fairly regular basis so that we could taste foods from different countries. I have clear memories of tasting flaming saganaki, schnitzel, and cheese enchiladas as a very little girl. As a teenager my mother would rent films about food and far away countries; Babettes Feast, The Scent of Green Papaya, and Big Night come to mind. Many of my Friday nights were filled with popcorn and subtitles.

Regardless of my upbringing there were many foods that I still could not taste upon my arrival in Spain. Anchovies, sardines, octopus, and pig ears are a few on the list. Pig ears still remain on the list. The others, however I have learned to love along with many other different foods.

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I remember walking into a fish market many many years ago in Granada, and the kind gentleman offered me a goose barnacle to taste. Here and in Portugal they are called ¨percebes¨or ¨perceves. I could not get myself to put that in my mouth. They are truly horrific. I kindly refused and left the market.

Not long ago I watched a documentary about how goose barnacles are collected and found it incredibly interesting. It is a quite dangerous and tedious process. And so as life goes, I recently found myself in a market in Porto actually enjoying a plate of goose barnacles, cold albariño wine and great company. Call it circumstancial or a change in my palate. Nobody will ever know. But, I have the photos to prove it. Never say never.

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distracted in Northern Spain and Portugal………………

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To quote Ani Difranco, ¨ I just got kind of distracted.¨  With a new tour, with a new life, and with just about a new everything.  A good and healthy fresh start. And most of this distraction began up North on a new tour that I have been doing from Lisbon to Barcelona.  The saying is ¨what goes up, must come down¨………….well, not in my case.  I went up and never came back down.  So, since last March it has been the North for me, over and over and over again.  Happy and at home along my ever significant Path of St.James and eager to share every bit of what I love about this special part of the peninsula.  Sometimes our job on tour can feel like a bit of a roller coaster without a place to get off and rest your spinning brain.  But, I think I now have the chance to rest and to share a bit of my experience.

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 From the electrico in Lisbon to a fine port tasting in Porto, from the majestic maze of the Parador in Santiago de Compostela to the pintxos in the Basque Country.  The Guggenheim in Bilbao to my beloved chamois in the Aragonese Pyrenees.

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This year has been a great adventure in travel, love and of course great food and wine.  All of which will follow soon.

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Enjoying the Little Things in Life

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One of the most important things I have learned is to appreciate the smaller moments in life. To be present and relish the time we share with others and also alone. In Spain we have a saying that expresses this perfectly. “La vida son cuatro dias.” Life is only four days long.” Enjoy, and don’t let life pass you by without experiencing it to the fullest. In Spain much of this theory revolves around sharing food and drink. We can always find time to enjoy just a little bit of this and a little bit of that. I have many favorite places where I do this in Granada and in the cities that I pass through frequently.

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There is a beverage and a small bit of something delicious to fit any moment or feeling. A chilled glass of dry sherry served with olives and cheese filled peppers served by a gentleman in a white jacket and bowtie is a nice way to share a conversation with a friend an early evening in Barcelona. Or a bit of hard cider before lunch while peacefully looking out at the Bay of Biscay. And in Sevilla, I love to have a glass of sweet sherry accompanied by a bit of fresh cheese with quince paste and rosemary as I kick back and listen to the lively atmosphere around me. These are just some of the moments that I have treasured along this beautiful road we call life.

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Life Happened but now I’m back!!!!!!!!

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more photos………….

                     A great hair do at a wedding in Salamanca!  Wow!

 

 

And……….a sign for El Camino in Salamanca. 

 

glam meets flan dedication………… with the best intentions!

from the couch………….

Since my new friend Influenza introduced me to her friend Pneumonia about a week ago, I’ve had to spend way too much time in the house and on my comfy couch.  I’ve read at least 10 books and had time to do about three different meditations a day.  Since we haven’t been able to enjoy our usual “Thursday Tapa Til We Drop” day, my Partner in Crime has come over to spend a couple of exciting afternoons on the couch with me. The other day she brought Anthony Bourdain No Reservations in Madrid to entertain my pathetic self.  Since then I have become an addict.  I’ve watched every possible episode on Spain that he has made.  After being completely nauseated by the Spain On The Road series I had vowed to stay away from any glam meets flan food show about Spain. But Bourdain is hilarious and makes me want to get off the couch and go out to eat!!!

mmmmmm………..olive oil!!!

Tomato with garlic and liquid gold!!!  Is that too much for you Chef Ramsey???

too much oil isn’t always a nightmare………

We don’t use the television in our house unless there is an emergency of some sort.  But, my new friend, influenza, and I have become quite bored during our required resting period.  So, I took the advice of a dear friend and watched an episode of Kitchen Nightmares with Gordon Ramsey.  Just by chance, the episode that showed up first was titled Spanish Pavilion.  On Chef Ramsey’s first visit to the restaurant he ordered the garlic chicken or pollo al ajillo, a very well-known dish here in Spain.

The name of the dish first brought up a fond memory in a bar years ago when I was still a tried and true vegetarian.  My friend Cristi, also a vegetarian at the time, and I were out with a group of random people.  We ended up in a conversation with a woman who was completely dumbfounded by the mere thought of us not participating in any carnal consumption.  She went on and on for an extremely long time with every possible proposal to convince us to change our ways.  My friend and I nodded and smiled politely for as long as we could.  But when the woman, disheartened, expressed her true sadness that we would never try her “pollo al ajillo” we lost it and continued on laughing about it throughout the night and for the next five to six years.  Actually, we still laugh about it.

Back to the Nightmares. When Chef Ramsey tasted his garlic chicken at the Spanish Pavilion, he lifted up a wing and unveiled  about two cups of olive oil on his plate.  I almost spit my chamomile at the screen.  I was immediately taken to one of my favorite towns near Granada, Guejar Sierra.  The amount of olive oil on Chef Ramsey’s plate didn’t even compare to the amount of olive oil in the majority of the typical dishes in Guejar.  Pollo al ajillo being one of those.  The food is delicious in the town but my husband and I often giggle about the amount of oil used.   And one afternoon having lunch with my Mother along the river near Guejar we calculated 1 cup and a half of olive oil per dish that we ordered.  We have no shortage of olive oil here.  I need to take Ramsey to Guejar.

back again…………

wow……..how did that happen?  I guess you just never know what is going to happen in life.  I had to take a detour for almost two months for many reasons but now I’m back and with so much to share! I have many gastronomical and cultural adventures in my notebook.  Little by little they will trickle into your hearts and tummies!!!!

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