Saturday, June 13, 2020

Oh Deer!

Yesterday afternoon held a walk to the end of a road to the sea, where all the sweat and head pounding heat was instantly gone in cool, calm water. There was a family there, masked and socially distancing from me, doing exactly what I was doing, enjoying our blessing. 

While gathering up things to go, there was an unexpected bonus!


Enjoying the view

Ok, places to go
She was so calm and so close! I had time to take photos as she turned and strolled down the beach. Another gift. 

Day was done, curfew was near, it was time to head home, holding simple pleasures in hand and heart.

Have a serene Saturday. Do something saturating. 

Thursday, June 11, 2020

Spicy Mango Chicken Wings or Get Naked Cooking

We've been amazingly blessed here on Culebra in so many ways. For the most part, the community has worked really hard at the boring job of staying home and sitting tight to keep the highly contagious corona virus at bay (pun not intended). There are always rule breakers, but that's life. 

While I'm not the first to suggest this, I highly recommend peeling and eating mangoes naked (if you are just eating mangoes, I recommend being in the ocean with them, naked - thank you Michael C for this 30 year old life wisdom). They WILL send juicy bits all over you and if you think red wine stains, mango stains are pretty much bullet proof unless you dunk your clothing immediately.
And then you are naked anyway, so save yourself a step. 
One of the things we've been getting in abundance is food. Canned foods, boxed foods, frozen foods and fresh foods. The hard work of loading them up and passing them out to long lines of grateful receivers has happened a lot; I've actually lost count but no one is going hungry on Culebra who isn't willing to wait in the car line, and if there is no car, the boxes have been delivered to the homes of those people. 

Prep means gathering all the goodies. I didn't have fresh ginger, but I wanted to try to use only things I had on hand. As a condiment and spice queen, I have a lot on hand.
One of my new favorites is Japanese 7 spice. It's hot without being overwhelming, it's complex, it's delicious. I didn't have plain cinnamon so I used garam marsala. Well, there are a million kinds, but this version is on the cinnamon side. 
Oops. I forgot a couple goodies. And threw in some other stuff along the way.
That's how I cook, you can stick to the rules if it makes you happier!
(Cooking side note: One thing about having delicious ingredients is that one has to try really, really hard to make something that tastes awful. Even though this had quite a few punch up the flavor ingredients, it's a pretty simple dish and simple is usually best. Err on the side of less is more seasoning wise, you can always add, but you can't take away. 

The recipe says to use olive oil, which is my cooking oil of choice but I just happened to have bacon fat and, as everyone knows, using bacon fat adds something extra to anything cooking in it. So, the onions were sautéed in bacon fat. Moving on.

With everyone having different personal tastes, things unwanted have been shared with those who do like whatever it is. There is always someone who will be glad to have x, y or z that someone else can't or won't use. 

Once the onions were translucent, I added the mango chunks. The recipe said to lightly mash them, I obeyed. The thing here is to have a very ripe mango, it makes mashing it a lot easier. Oh, by the way? This is now going to be hot, so put your clothes back on. Or a towel, or something. Aprons count.
One of the days we were given 10 pound bags of chicken wings. For a family, that would be a lot, for a single person, it is a huge amount! Because everyone had these packages and no one needs any, I keep plowing through the bag, trying to incorporate other bounty received, which is how I started doing something I really hadn't done much of in my cooking, the use of fruits. I can't say why this was never a thing for me, but it is now! Chicken with apples and lemon and tomatoes, for instance. It works!
Lightly mashed, all the spices and garlic and lemon juice in!

We also have been getting a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables, mangoes and strawberries, pineapples and apples, broccoli and onions and potatoes. A wealth of bounty. It's not an onerous task to try to keep up before things go off, but I found myself with a mango on the verge, hence Spicy Mango Chicken Wings!

After the marinade cooled down, it went into a plastic bag, with the chicken.
You don't have to use a plastic bag, anything that will allow the chicken to be covered with the marinade and closed shut will do. My bad. Do better!
Back in the old days, when I was making mango hot sauce, I kept gallons and gallons of mangoes in the chest freezer. I'd gather them from various trees around the island all season and then have the luxury of using them all year long. Why didn't I try this then?

This is another pretty sloppy part, clothing optional depending on how deft you are at picking up very slippery wings covered with leap off the chicken and onto you mango. Except now it's all spicy and yummy but the chicken is still raw so I do NOT recommend licking your fingers. Or shirt.
The recipe recommends using a silicone mat for this. I didn't have a silicone mat so I used olive oil to coat the pan instead. Yes, all the bacon fat was gone. Damn it.
And finally, it was done. A relatively short cooking time for a relatively long prep, but well worth it - and I like prep. Obviously I used wings but you could use any chicken parts you want. Or anything else you want, it's YOUR food!

Yes, they were really good. 
I very loosely based the above on what I read here, a recipe by Sanjeev Kapoor, an Indian chef I'd not heard of before but he's apparently very famous and has the longest running cooking show in Asia, according to the blurbs. I'll be checking out more of his food. 

Have a tangible Thursday. Do something terrifically tasteful. 

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Walk This Way on Culebra

I had decided yesterday to take a walk today to see one of my favorite trees. I decide lots of days I'm going to take a walk and end up walking about as far as the back porch. It's walking, but not exactly what I planned. But today, waking up, putting on real clothes, feeding the cat and finishing my coffee occurred before the sun was really beaming so why not roll on with it?

Today was a SEVA food giveaway day and people were lined up from the old school to the new(er) school and around the corner. I don't know what's in this week's box of goodies but I do know there is a lot of gratefulness up and down the line. Plus, I got to say hello and have mini-chats (masked/safe distancing, yes) to a whole bunch of people I've missed seeing, a one step at a time smile fest. 

The tree, as I was told, was in bloom, without, as I was also told, very many leaves, but alive and beautiful, well worth the walk (she wrote, alliteratively). 

Half-dressed works for me

I need to go back with the real camera
Since I was already that far, I thought I'd go check on another favorite tree, the rainbow eucalyptus. Sadly, it's dead, rumors of it not making it through the hurricanes turned out to be true. Vale, dear tree, I hardly knew ye. Someone needs to grow another one here. Or ten. 

It wasn't difficult to cheer myself up on the way back. This is a walk that I've taken hundreds of times with well over more than a decade living at the shack and it's always interesting to see what's new, what's changed, what's going on. Sometimes it's good, sometimes not so much but always, always interesting. 

This is the largest cashew I've ever seen! it would fill a child's palm.
I've never seen this boat before, but its Crayola colors are inspiring me! Plus, that bimini looks like a very good idea as well. Hmmm.

I think I have a project coming up!
There are a few homes on Culebra that are as special as certain trees. Some have fallen into disrepair just like some have been fixed up over the years. This is one of my favorites. I hope they just keep it fresh with paint and never change anything else. 

As my Dad used to say when I made a clumsy move,
that first step is a doozy. 
There was also something on this walk I'd never seen before. Or maybe I have but forgot, which always makes for new discoveries. When I first saw this, I thought it was a bird's nest, and how weird that it would be on a wire. That thought lasted about a nanosecond as its mossy self became apparent. It reminded me of a ball of Spanish moss; I'll leave it to more educated planty friends to name. 

The light made the blooms iridescent. A better camera would have been...better. 
The sun was turned on full bore by now, but a breeze was happening too. There was still a long line of cars waiting, though not quite so long, some with towels or papers to block the heat ball, and no one was complaining. 

Welcome home, Johnny! Your self-quarantine will end soon enough,
thank you for playing by the rules, though I'd expect no less.
Those of you who come here and DON'T self-quarantine 14 days
including not going in the shops? No thanks for you.

Have a safe walkabout Wednesday. Do something wanderble. Yes, I made that up.