Sunday, May 31, 2009

Blue sky, nothin' but blue sky...

It's starting out to be another glorious day. Yesterday afternoon clouds moved in and RAIN fell out of them. What a crazy concept... But now it is bright and sparkly, a perfect day to go to a meeting with the Mayor and the Representatives who are coming over to discuss the permits issue. If you're on Culebra, it's at 11:00 in the multi-use building, so come along and show your support to the Mayor, who is taking a stand against making it all too easy for those who want over-development on Culebra, and to support Culebra herself.

I have stolen this guy's information before, and will again, but thought the last day of May is a good day to highlight some fun things going on on the big island in June. Of course, many of us tend to get over there for sheer sight seeing about as often as lots of people over there get here, but maybe we'll be more encouraged to go knowing good food and street parties await!


June Calendar

June is a month for the saints and food in Puerto Rico. Many towns are celebrating their annual patron saint festivals, or fiestas patronales, a great way to experience a slice of true local culture for free. And other towns are all about honoring the local ingredients that go into Puerto Rico's delicious cuisine.

  • June 6: Día de las Veredas takes birders on a bird-watching tour in Maricao.
  • June 7-8: The town of Hatillo's sugarcane festival commemorates the annual planting of this saccharine crop.
  • June 7-9: The Festival del Guineo, or Banana Festival, kicks off in Lares, with foods and pastries made using the fruit of honor.
  • June 7-16: Guayama throws its patron saint its annual festival, honoring San Antonio de Padua.
  • June 12-16: The town of Dorado also pays homage to San Antonio de Padua.
  • June 13-17: The town of Barranquitas honors its patron saint. The saint? San Antonio de Padua.
  • June 14-16: Isabela gives thanks to ... you guessed it, San Antonio de Padua, with its annual festival.
  • June 15-18: Guánica throws a festival for the crab, or jueye.
  • June 20-22: Mayagüez has its own food to honor, and will do so at the Festival Nacional del Mango.
  • June 23: Isla Verde throws a party in honor of Saint John the Baptist on San Juan Bautista Day.
  • June 25-27: Dorado welcomes amateur golfers at the Honda Classic.
  • June 25-29: Toa Baja's patron saint is St. Peter, and he gets his annual festival this week.


We also have our patron saint of Culebra, St. Carmen, patron saint of mariners (and also the Virgin Mary - go ask a priest, I don't know the answer to that one), who gets her day mid-July in coastal towns around the world. Each year since I've been here, we seem to see less and less participating in this celebration, which takes the form of her statue, draped with flowers, being paraded on the water by boat, with other flower laden boats as escorts. This photo is from Tenerife, but all over Spain this festival is huge, happy and beautiful.

I'm not an organized religion type of person, but I think anything that might help boost the spirits of Culebra and send along some help from high places is something we should at least be standing on the bridge with flowers to acknowledge and encourage! Another Carmen (who doesn't have a statue in her honor - yet), usually clues me in as to the timing of this; I'll try to ask early this year - as in right now - for the info to pass it along.

Another festival not on this list (and I'm sure there are many, any excuse for a party is an unofficial Puerto Rican motto) is the Aibonito Flower Festival, or Festival de Flores de Aibonito, which comes at the tail end of June (and going into July) in the mid-island town of Aibonito and looks like a great one.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Wide world adverture update

I was going to post about bits of this and that but I got an email from my friend Chuck that I thought was a lot more interesting (you might even read names you know). As he heads for Fiji on his boat Deviant, our own Lori is in St. Martin getting ready to take off tomorrow for not quite so exotic, but very beautiful Rhode Island on a boat delivery. I'm very jealous of both of them in the best of ways, and wish them both fair winds and following seas.

But I do have these pictures from Dinghy Dock that I must post! Of course, now I'm jonesing for lobster...with asparagus...and strawberries...Yes, all fed to me by my slave who somehow manages to keep the hammock swinging and fan me at the same time. It's my fantasy; go get your own.

"They catch 'em, I cook 'em" - Chef Neil

Them's some serious lobster!

Bula Crew!

Bula is the word of greeting in Fiji. The Deev is Fiji bound in two days. 1,600 miles southeast should take 2-3 weeks depending on weather and sea conditions. I have 2 crew members onboard the Deev with me, Heather, a 43 year old professional women’s basketball player and coach and Taylor, a 23 year old World Teach teacher who spent the last year working in outer island schools. Taylor wants a ride to Fiji so she can fly to Western Samoa and visit her boyfriend who is Peace Corps there and Heather is on walkabout. Small world… Taylor’s Dad sailed the Caribbean back in the 80’s and it seems that he and I have several friends in common.

The new sails for the boat arrived 2 weeks ahead of schedule from Lee Sails in Hong Kong. They are damn near perfect. Of course I should have put them on 10,000 miles ago but I was reluctant to spend the loot. They turned out to be much less expensive than I expected and the quality is excellent.

In Fiji I plan to haul the boat out for bottom painting and other routine maintenance. It’s been 2 years since the last haul out. While there I hope to get a chance to fly back to the States for a visit and perhaps down to the Caribbean for a month or so. We’ll see…

Chuck's sail - 1787 miles to go....

This past year in the Marshall’s has been very satisfying and pleasant. Hanging out with my old pal Neal Skinner was a plus as was reacquainting myself with old friends that I had met here when I passed through with Pete Washburn in the 80’s onboard his boat “Buxom II”.

Fishing has been excellent here in the Marshall Islands as summer approaches. Fishing is good here year around but can get exceptional in the summer when the Yellowfin get thick. Sea conditions get more pleasant in the summer as well. Several 500+ Blue Marlin have been caught recently and quite a few smaller fish in the 300 pound range have been caught as well.

I have mentioned before that the fishing boats here are not top of the line. We have no real boats out here. Most are just small boats with outboards. Fishing techniques are not advanced either. It’s “Jungle Rules” with everyone on board helping to pull in the fish. And nobody backs down or chases the fish.

This place is hot and really should be intelligently developed as a premier fishing destination. Any takers??? Get in touch!

That’s all for now, Crew.

Cheers and Carry On!

Chuck Handy, from the edge of the world.


If you see me in the street, shout out a 'Bula!'.

With the beautiful weather, I've been going to town and back home via the water. Should have been doing this a LONG time ago (yes, Francie, I'm a slow learner).

Heading home

The end of Friday on Saturday

As we were heading toward the new digs, the sky, blue all day, got full of some dramatic clouds, thunder rolled for a good half an hour, and this beautiful dash of rainbow stayed in the sky almost as long...

No rain fell, the clouds dispersed and it was a beautiful evening (as it is a beautiful morning as well!)

By general consensus, this turned out to be delicious! Judy, you can come by the cart today and pick up your sample!

While we were enjoying the view, someone noticed a deer on a road across the valley. I took a couple of short videos but, because I have SOME ego here, I think I'll just share the photos with you instead.

Deer far away

Closer and looking at us

This is why we get cranky when it is grey for days on end...we miss the sky shows

Up on the roof & Macky too

Thursday, May 28, 2009

What's in that...Friday

There are a number of things I wanted to write about today. In fact, there are a number of things I DID write about but as they piled up, combined with foodie Friday, it just got to be too much. So trying to live in a 'chill out, being crazed won't fix anything' frame of mind, I'm sticking with my 'have a beautiful day, MJ' plan, which started with heading into town by dinghy rather than walking, on the most beautiful morning we've had in weeks.

I found out Suzanne (with Tony) is back and we are all crediting her with bringing the sunshine she managed to sneak off island with three weeks ago. Well, if it kept weather beautiful in Canada for them, ok, we'll accept that. But don't do it again!

I'm going to an open house Friday evening, which is more truthfully a "I'm inviting some good friends over to see my new place and that will make me finish painting and getting things in order, and I'll have good food and hope you bring some too" sort of thing. Along with that, I had a lovely moment walking home and having a friend call me over asking if I liked asparagus. Of course I said yes and she promised to come by the cart and hand over her excess, accepting nothing but my glee. Which she did. Perfecto! I now had something great to bring to the open house...but how should I make it special, since usually when I cop some of those spears of ambrosia I steam them, add butter and salt and dive in? I looked up a number of recipes, settling on one that I would still incorporate others into. And so now we have Lemon Marinated Asparagus and Hearts of Palm with Feta and Proscuitto...maybe.

Lemon Marinated Asparagus & Artichoke Hearts

Makes 10 to 12 servings

  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 garlic clove, minced (I used 4 cloves...hey, I like garlic! Let's see if everyone else does)
  • 1 (14-ounce) can artichoke heart quarters, drained
  • 1 (4-ounce) jar diced pimiento, drained
  • 2 pounds fresh asparagus
  • Garnish: lemon rind strips


Whisk together lemon juice and next 5 ingredients in a large bowl; add artichoke quarters and diced pimiento, and gently toss. Cover and chill 8 hours or overnight.

Snap off tough ends of asparagus; cook in boiling salted water to cover 3 minutes or until crisp-tender.

Drain asparagus, and plunge into ice water to stop cooking process. Place cooked asparagus in a large heavy-duty zip-top plastic bag, and store overnight in refrigerator, if desired.

Add asparagus to artichoke mixture, and gently toss. Cover and chill 2 hours. Garnish, if desired.

Southern Living, MAY 2003

Thanks, Judy A!

These are sort of fat asparagus, so I cooked them about five minutes at a boil
(after cutting off the woody end parts)

Drained, I had the ice cubes ready, put them in the pan and cool water...
then into the baggie overnight

This is the marinade and hearts of palm, which I had, instead of artichoke hearts,
which I didn't have...I didn't have the pimentos either

All bagged up, separately (lemon will toughen the asparagus, don't use it until a couple of hours before serving) and ready for the fridge overnight

Feta cut into squares and marinated with olive oil & herbs is something else I had that, while having my morning tea, suddenly seemed like it belonged in the mix

It's now Friday, and things have been modified, natch. This IS Culebra. First, there is no proscuitto to be found (where I looked anyway). So, I'm using some already cooked chicken breasts that I'd marinated in a light oil and vinegar type dressing. I got some artichoke hearts and pimentos and sliced them thinly before tossing them in the bag with the marinade and hearts of palm. And I had some green olives with lemon, so those went into the bag with the chicken strips.

Both of the bags were put back in the fridge to keep cool...the lime was for zest because I couldn't find any lemons (I did use bottled pure lemon juice in the marinade...shoot me)

Now it's time to mix them together!!! Oh boy!

I was very proud of myself for not licking the other bag...or this one, for that matter.

The final product will be put together later on (I'm taking some chives from the garden for garnish...maybe an orchid or three as well) and I'll get pictures...and better yet, comments and try to finish this tonight. Um...maybe!

Tomorrow I'll get back to the other brain churners. One involves a Dinghy Dock c'mon back. And have an excellent Friday night! I'm planning on it.

How could I be so remiss?

I only realized this morning (which by the way, had the color PINK in it, which of course, made it a good day right off, even if it only lasted five minutes) that I'd forgotten about one of my favorite British spring celebrations.

May is full of weird British Spring celebrations, really. Many of them involve morris dancing

(I was going to have a video here, but truthfully, 2 minutes of Morris dancing was more than I could take...if you're really interested, go to and put morris dancing in the search box..there are more videos than you can shake a stick at - that's a morris dance joke)

or dressing a guy in green and parading him through town for the Jack in the Green festival

and lots of other Celtic Spring influenced happenings. But my personal favorite is the cheese rolling festival. There is more than one (I'd be at the Stilton cheese rolling myself, with the prize being a wheel of Stilton and a bottle of port), but the Gloucestershire festival seems to be the big one every year. What is a cheese rolling, you might ask? And why don't we on Culebra have, say, a tostone rolling? I can only answer the former, with this visual. As to the second, frankly, I'd need a better prize than a giant tostone...I wonder if lobsters roll?

Now, why people endanger life and limb for a wheel of cheese is one of those life mysteries it is better not to spend much time pondering. But apparently it's loads of fun, as I rarely think of Brits guffawing en masse (at least they don't while not with their own kind on home turf, it seems...well, except for Karen...and Paul...and...hmm, maybe it's NOT true! I'll have to get a small wheel of cheese and toss it for them to see what happens - in fact my mental image of Karen and Blond Paul careening down Ann's hill after a wheel of cheese will keep me grinning most of the day - oh! & welcome home, Karen!).

Anyway, the event was a few days ago but we're on island time so that's close enough for me...and for you too.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009


I wrote awhile back about Richard Copaken (I wanted to make a link for him but he's just all over the place...he was a brilliant lawyer, an accomplished artist and obviously a beloved father and husband - how I wish I'd met him before cancer took him off this plane) and his book Target Culebra. I knew it would be good, but I also wondered if it might be a slog to get through. No, it is not. Instead, it is the best of the hardest; it is impossible to read quickly and impossible to stop reading. Everyone I've talked to about it who is reading it feels the same way.

Today I was so angry, with the permits law racing along - a horrible report in the news, though our mayor was mentioned as being against it, and I am glad - and the book truth racing in my mind, that I had to put the book away, realizing it was not a good book to be reading at the cart. Luckily, the two tourist visitors that listened to me rant (I at least have the excuse that they asked me how I liked the book) were smart and kind, in equal measure.

Frankly, while I somewhat arrogantly thought I knew a little bit, I realize I had NO idea of what really happened here for so many, many years. The horrors that have happened on this island, ending only in the mid-70's, seems like something that MUST have happened somewhere else, some third world Sad South Pacific Island With Primitives that are nothing like us. But no. They...were, and are, we. It was here.

And it's happening again, except this time the Navy is gone and the Developers are here and the Governor is doing exactly now what the Governor did then, catering to Special Interests rather than the People of Puerto Rico, and Culebra in particular. Culebra...this tiny little place, this speck, has interested everyone forever it seems, as a place to make their own fortunes and to hell with the people who have tried to live their lives here in peace. I am serious when I say that every few pages I have to remind myself that I LIVE here. That this is where this all happened and it wasn't 100 years ago. It wasn't 50 years ago. It was less than 40 years ago! I would love to say I've got jeans that old but I think my daughter has them.

All I know is...if you have the slightest bit of interest in Culebra, or a passionate interest, get this book and read it. For those of us impacted by what Governor Fortuno is trying to do in this present day, write letters. Write to the San Juan Daily Sun. Write to Fortuno. Write to the New York Times. Call anyone you can about this despotic law that has nothing to do with democracy and everything to do with greed. I'd make links but you all have to plot your own course. If you mean it, do it. The internet makes it incredibly easy, but not unless you take the few minutes of your time. Or maybe, the hours of your time. Some who read this have some power to do more. I can only hope you do just that.

If you speak and/or read Spanish, this article will be a cinch for you. If not, find an online translator (google online translator) and copy and paste this text into it. This is what the Governor had to say about all of the people, mayors etc who are against this law. Basically, I get this from it. "Screw all of you whiners. I'm doing it." Of course, I may be missing some nuances happy to correct me.

Yes, I'm angry and frustrated and wishing I had a home lobotomy kit. I wish very much that I didn't care, that I could just enjoy this amazing place, these people, my friends and say Kay Sara Sara (yes, yes, I know it's Que Sera's a joke with my children, one of whom is named Sarah, be picky where it matters!).

Here's Jose's version...

as opposed to Doris Day's sort of strange, but more true version. Don't ask me why but Jose Feliciano makes it sound a lot better to just let fate take its course, regardless of the meddlesome humans...Doris just looks angry. And so am I.

And one other thing. To anyone who would bring up the fish farm or the couple from the BVI's who want to have a watersport business in Ponce. I would say, yes, it is a shame that for that sort of business, the permit process is a tangled muddled mess. Those who know me know I care a lot about the fish farm people, and figure I'd like these people from the BVI's. But there is no relation between what they want to do and their nightmare process and what someone like Victor Gonzalas or the Terruno project want to do (and I can only speak about Culebra, I know there are many other land rapists on the big island and Vieques as well - NOT the small business person). Someone wrote a comment online that the permit laws should be applicable to local law, rather than having a sweeping coverage and I think there is something there to look at. No, it's not a simple issue. Yes, it needs consideration, rather than ramrod swiftness. Because when the damage is done, it is too late.

Yes, it's time for me to watch a movie...and I can only hope I asked Netflix for something silly.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Day still not so pretty, but bananas and banana quits are!

Indeed, not only did the sun refuse to break through the clouds, the clouds themselves thickened along with the humidity as the day went along. The good news is that as of the moment, either the humidity is departing and cool air is making a comeback, or my cold shower and hour in front of the fan is accomplishing the same feeling. Either way, I'm happier!

There is news on the "push push" law, as to comments. To read Digna's and Maryann's (English is at the end of Maryann's, I'm still looking for it on Digna's), follow these links.

A bright, random act of kindness happened...a young couple was walking by the cart, the guy eating a sugar banana. He looked over at me. He stopped, reaching into the bag and pulling out another banana, he then asked if I'd like one. Well, sure! Who turns down one of those succulant treats? It was cold too, making it almost like a banana popscicle, a timely antidote to the heavy heat. He was from Columbia and told me the name they call them there, but of course I don't remember it. I do and will remember the kindness and our smiles though. And the taste of that banana, sweet coolness lingering...

photo credit: Flavio Germano

Another bright and beautiful thing was going on - I'm sure lots were but this was one for me. As I was walking home, I saw sugar/banana quits going wild at the feeder on our local Avon lady's porch. I could hear birds chirruping in the dozens and looked over to see them swarming this feeder and the bush next door. No doubt there are nests nearby, as the birds were darting around like hummingbirds from the feeder to somewhere and back (sure, I was able to tell them apart...). Very neat, more sugar/banana smiles.

The sky may be grey and it might be humid, but there are sugar bananas and sugar / banana quits in the world, so it can't be that bad. That's my story and I'm sticking (not stuck) to it.

Tuesday, yep, another one

Once again a visually sunrise-less morning. Of course I KNOW the sun is shining on us, just as much as I know the sun doesn't actually rise...we do, but give me some literary license here! Oops, I'm detecting a little 'not enough sun' crankiness. And that is why I don't live in cloudy places; 'nuff said.

I'm posting and dashing, mainly because I'm sort of hoping the day will progress into some different weather of a more beautiful sort and I'll be able to come back with the evidence! Until then....

Here is an early riser iguana, whom I ever so gently chased, like the hound from hell, away from my garden. No doubt he'll be back

Monday, May 25, 2009

An unelectric, quiet Memorial Day

The electric has been off here now going on the third day. I've heard some part of the line blew underwater somewhere around Vieques. And with our generators being what they are, the island is lit in thirds on a rolling schedule...something like six hours each from one end to the other. Of course depending on where you are and what you are doing, it can be a not so big deal or it can mean you have to close your business if you don't have your own gennie. I don't have that issue at the cart, luckily, but I do miss the fans at home when the air is still and heavy and you want to sleep but the drone of mosquitos is as loud as a plane landing and the air feels like water in your nose.

This morning the sky actually had some blue in it, pale blue, and the humid weight was lifted in a good breeze. Until it came back this afternoon. But oh joy for a few hours, it was, dare I say it, a normal day in May?

These photos are of the canal. Usually during this holiday the walls are LINED with boats, rafted together two and three deep, making a mess of trying to get through. But things are quiet this year, so I guess these folks just had to raft up across the entire canal just to celebrate the holiday. It's times like these I really miss Tuck! Climbing up the ladder to the top bridge, making quite sure that inconsiderate boaters know how he feels. It was the police this time, stopped in the middle of the bridge and putting their siren on for a brief tweet...

And not even the Little Penis guy was around this weekend! That's when you know things are slow, when there is no throaty rumble of massive engines throbbing under 2 guys and 10 bikini'd girls in a Cigarette look sort of almost alike style boat.

Happy sounds from kids playing basketball next door, people on boats laughing, someone playing congas somewhere around...and now that I've cooled down, a cool glass of white wine, a book, the hammock and a pillow are calling my name. I must answer.

Sue & Tuck's Frangipani looking good!
Hope your Memorial Day has and is being a good one.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

For the smile of it...

Since I really didn't do anything today (or tonight) that rocked my world, I'm posting this photograph because it really made me smile.

I wish I knew who to give credit to but I can't find that. If anyone knows, please comment with the info!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

I'm looking for the sunny Caribbean

Do you know where it is?

The papaya acts like the sun is out...

The bees act like the sun is out...

The flowers act like the sun is out...

And this plant that Jesse gave me a couple of years ago acts like...something alien! This is a first; none of the other stamens?pistils? have done this seed burst thing, but maybe it is the nature of the plant. Do you know?

The sun just touched the morning;
The morning, happy thing,
Supposed that he had come to dwell,
And life would be all spring.

She felt herself supremer, --
A raised, ethereal thing;
Henceforth for her what holiday!
Meanwhile, her wheeling king

Trailed slow along the orchards
His haughty, spangled hems,
Leaving a new necessity, --
The want of diadems!

The morning fluttered, staggered,
Felt feebly for her crown, --
Her unanointed forehead
Henceforth her only one.

Emily Dickinson

Friday, May 22, 2009

What's in that...Friday cont.

So. I had this whole wonderful grilled ethnic meal planned (around Korean short ribs), written about, notated, linked, etc. when suddenly it hit me that...this is Memorial Day weekend. Perhaps not the best weekend to promote Korean food.

Yes, I'd love to think that we can reach across what divides us. And in fact, Memorial Day is more than we might think.

From wikipedia

According to Professor David Blight of the Yale University History Department, the first memorial day was observed in 1865 by liberated slaves at the historic race track in Charleston. The site was a former Confederate prison camp as well as a mass grave for Union soldiers who had died while captive. The freed slaves reinterred the dead Union soldiers from the mass grave to individual graves, fenced in the graveyard & built an entry arch declaring it a Union graveyard; a very daring thing to do in the South shortly after North's victory. On May 30 1868 the freed slaves returned to the graveyard with flowers they'd picked from the countryside & decorated the individual gravesites, thereby creating the 1st Decoration Day. A parade with thousands of freed blacks and Union soldiers was followed by patriotic singing and a picnic.

and from writer Bill Quigley:

"Memorial Day is not actually a day to pray for U.S. troops who died in action but rather a day set aside by Congress to pray for peace. The 1950 Joint Resolution of Congress which created Memorial Day says: "Requesting the President to issue a proclamation designating May 30, Memorial Day, as a day for a Nation-wide prayer for peace." (64 Stat.158)"

But unlike my younger, more idealistic self, I can understand a reluctance on this important day to embrace a culture that in a particular time and place was the enemy of the United States, to acknowlege in sorrow that the lives of American soldiers were lost, and that that sacrifice and loss should be honored, along with a prayer for peace.

Remembering and being thankful and praying for peace while hanging out with your family and friends can work up an appetite on what I hope is a beautiful sunny Memorial Day where ever you are.

Which means, feeding the hunger-wise on Memorial Day, we're talking good ol' American bbq (I doubt there would be a majority of kimchi lovers out there anyway, though I happen to be one of them).

American bbq doesn't have to mean routine. Along with those hamburgers and hot dogs, why not add some grilled chicken wings, too. These are a little different and in a really good way! This is my adaptation from a recipe on homecooking .about .com , They're are easy to make, and you also end up with some awesome chicken stock to freeze and use later in soups or sauces.

Prep time: 15 minutes, cook time: 45 minutes


  • 5 pounds large chicken wings, separated at the joint (add the wing tips to the pot if you have them)
  • 1-3/4 cups chicken broth (1 can or homemade)
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • 4 large cloves garlic, cut in fourths
  • 2 teaspoons dried sage
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 1/2 bay leaf
  • Water
  • .
  • Sauce:
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 sweet onion, minced
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons (canned) chipotle chiles in adobo, chopped (fresh are great if you can get them)
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup apricot jam
  • salt
(Make sure to taste your sauce. Does it need more heat? More sweet? Check it BEFORE you toss the chicken in!)


Place chicken wings in a large stockpot along with chicken broth, onion, celery, garlic sage, thyme and bay leaf. Add water to just cover contents. Cover with a lid and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 15 minutes. Stir and skim off any foam midway through cooking. Remove cover and let cool at least 10 minutes.

While the wings are cooking, make the sauce. Heat a heavy saucepan over medium-high heat. Add butter and onion. Reduce heat to medium and saute until onions are soft and translucent. Add garlic and chipotle chiles. Stir-fry 2 minutes. Deglaze pan with the balsamic vinegar, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom into the sauce. Add apricot jam and salt to taste. Stir until smooth. Let cool until chicken wings are done.

Strain wings (discard wing tips, if any) and keep strained stock for other purposes. Toss chicken wings with apricot chipotle sauce. This can be made the day before and marinated overnight for even better flavor.

These can be done in the oven, but hey, if the grill is going already, toss those babies on it. If they are still cold from the fridge, grill at least 35-40 minutes. If room temperature, 25 minutes should do it, turning half way through either cooking time. They should be golden brown when done and served hot.

A spring salad of mixed greens, peas (fresh if you can get them, or frozen, cooked and cooled in the fridge will work), steamed and cooled asparagus tips with a light dressing of sesame oil and vinegar is simple to make, but special for the holiday.

My favorite way of grilling potatoes is to take your baking potatoes and rub them generously with butter. Then make a mix of kosher salt and garlic powder (how much? depends how many potatoes!) in a bowl large enough to roll the potatoes in. After coating the potatoes with the mixture, wrap them in heavy duty foil. An hour on the grill should be long enough, but it is easy to check with a fork for doneness. You may want to fancify your potatoes with a grated or crumbled cheese of your choice, raw sunflower seeds, grilled veggies cut small, sour cream, etc.

Dessert? Ice cream, watermelon, fruit salad, strawberry shortcake. Any or all.

And even if you're tempted...skip the kimchi. We'll get back to it another time.

What's in that ...Friday?

Yesterday I got a great care package from my brother...a sort of What's in that Thursday. It is the perfect hurricane supply starter plus more (like furniture foot pads...any one need some of them?). Yes, you too can be jealous of my Dunkin' Donut coffee beans! My fish steaks in mustard! My anchovies! My Thai chicken broth! My Shout stains out pads! And just try to separate me from my mole...and salsa verde...
The reality is this is way too good to wait for troubled waters. Something Mexican and something Thai will be what I bring to whatever next event calls for pot luck (or I will be found lurking in my yard with guilty stains on my t shirt...but hey, I'll just Shout! 'em out). There's even Alka Selzer for after the party...Thanks, bro, you rock!

Once again we're in the sun/rain/cloudy zone of heavy humid air. This weather is very strange, but we're all knockin' on wood and glad the waters are much cooler than last year. And it continues to make the fishing very good for some, who are literally splashing down as I type.

As it's Memorial Day weekend which for many means a great time at the grill, I'll be posting some grilling recipes later today. How about some Korean grilled ribs? Think about that, and I'll be back in awhile to tell you how.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

I'm going to get Memorial recipes in, I swear it!

I've left off a number of posts *I* wanted to do, becaue of the critical nature of what is underhandedly, in slime fashion, going on here right now. So for those of you looking and hoping for Culebra Delight, hey! Me too!
But to keep that, we have to wade through (and act on! please, if you haven't sent a comment, please send one - links in previous posts) some really nasty, greedy sorts who, confronted with opposition to their plans of Culebra rape for their own purposes and being thwarted, (who'd have thought this tiny island might have a Mary Ann, a private home owner or two who would spend thousands for lawyers and the ability to present the impacts of greed? thank you thank you thank you, you individuals who are willing to spend money in large sums to hold on to what Culebra SHOULD be!!!) have actually pulled the government into this in a completely undemocratic fashion (which, please pay attention! is what is going on here), to further their personal interests - David and Goliath indeed. So, I have to post these things because the truth is, if I don't, if these greedy bastards win, I won't be able to post about the beauty of Culebra because they will have taken that, like Costa Bonita, and ruined the sancturarial beauty that is our treasure.


The Charming Paradise Of Culebra Is In Danger
Bills Could Bring On Urban Blight

Por Limarys Suárez Torres /

Coralations argues that Culebra will lose its special character with the proposed changes to building permit processes.

For Limarys Suárez Torres /

The voice of the residents of Culebra could be turned off forever, and the island municipality would be in danger of losing its charming paradise if two bills that seek to restructure the process of evaluation and granting of building permits, are approved, neighborhood leaders and environmentalists argue .
The 1649 Bill of the House and Senate 880 Bill to eliminate of the Regulations and Permits Administration (ARPE) and creating in its place the Office of Management and Permit Endorsements places the virgin lands and natural splendor of Culebra on a path to extinction. on a road to extinction and leads to urban blight, they added.
"The concern of our residents is that these bills will eliminate the current power of the Authority of Culebra Conservation and Development (ACDEC), which was created by Act 66 of 1975 which now endorse construction projects. “Culebra should not be over developed because then you lose the Puerto Rican heritage," said Jim Galasso, American residing there for 16 years.
Galasso explained that ACDEC consists of seven members including the mayor of Culebra, Abraham Peña, and specialists in environment, natural resources and beaches.

"The developers know that Culebra is beautiful and they want to build here, but the problem is that we do not have the infrastructure for water and electrical system to have more people," said Galasso.
For his part, Rafael Espasa, legal representative of Coralations, a Culebra environmental organization, said that the bills will eliminate the special character of the island municipality and match it with the rest of Puerto Rico regarding the use and management of lands.
"Culebra will be a victim urban blight and the permit law now proposed to remove ACDEC’s veto power will turn it into another agency with concerns, but like the rest of the agencies that can give opinions and comments, they will have no power to approve or deny permits, "said Espasa.

The legal representative of Coralations stated that the Luis Fortuño’s government is focused on the view that building is synonymous with saving the economy, but then people do not have money to buy these properties.
"In Culebra there still is a surplus of unsold properties in Costa Bonita Beach Resort, under the Bankruptcy Law, it has over 50 units still unsold," said Espasa.

May 21 2009 01:36 PM | fanduca (Rosarito)
This bill goes against the democracy of our country, forcing citizens to pay bail to exercise their right to challenge building permits for builders. It also threatens our right to free access to our beaches. Besides, gentlemen, how could he try to commit the same mistakes that ended the beautiful coast of San Juan? As for Culebra, this island is the only thing left for the public to enjoy vacations and feel that we still live on an island in the Caribbean with beautiful beaches. This bill is an embarrassment for the government of Mr. Fortuño

Update from yesterday

**please scroll down for english

Comunicado de Prensa
20 mayo 2009

Residentes de la Isla de Culebra indignados con legislación de potencial destructivo rápidamente moviéndose por la legislatura de Puerto Rico

Residentes de la isla caribeña de Culebra están expresando indignación con proyectos propuestos simultáneamente en la Cámara de Representantes y el Senado de Puerto Rico, los cuales resultarían en cambios radicales a las regulaciones y proceso de obtener permisos para la Isla de Culebra y todo Puerto Rico. Los proyectos han sido representados como una medida para revivir la economía de Puerto Rico pero en Culebra los culebrenses, residentes, ambientalistas y dueños de pequeños negocios están unidos en el punto de vista que dichos proyectos proponen cambios que parecen sólo favorecer los intereses de proyectistas frustrados por las leyes ambientales especiales que hoy protegen la isla.

El proyecto "P. de la C. 1649" fue introducido a la Cámara de Representantes el pasado miércoles, 13 de mayo, con vistas públicas - no anunciadas - a comenzar el siguiente domingo, 17 de mayo. El Senado comenzaría sus vistas el miércoles 20 de mayo para su proyecto "S 0880", de lenguaje similar al de la Cámara. El Presidente del Senado Rivera Schatz mencionó a la prensa que esperaba pasar su resolución el lunes 25 de mayo, día feriado "Día de la Recordación". Inicialmente, la Cámara de Representantes ofrecía solo el domingo y lunes para declaraciones públicas, pero dadas las protestas del pueblo, se extendieron varios días más. Una persona que trabaja con el Representante José Chico Vega, Presidente de la Comisión que introdujo el proyecto, expresó inquietud con la declaración del Senador Rivera Schatz, y sugirió que la comunidad pidiera más tiempo en el senado también.

Carlos Geigel Esq., representante del Alcalde Abraham Peña Nieves: 787-475-0418
"Un hombre sabio dijo: Si no está roto, no lo arregle. La economía de Culebra está en mucha mejor condición que la del resto de Puerto Rico, con desempleo y crimen casi no existentes en Culebra, la cual cuenta con un turismo más estable."

Digna Feliciano, Líder Comunitaria: 787-509-7441

"Si uno respeta la historia de Culebra y su sacrificio y contribución a la seguridad nacional, la lucha de su gente, entenderá por qué estamos tan profundamente ofendidos con estos cambios introducidos sin consultar a la comunidad."

Hon. Don Ramón Feliciano, Ex-Alcalde y Vice-Presidente de la Asociación de Pescadores de Culebra: 787-742-3551
"Este proyecto le quita poderes a nuestra isla. Debemos mantener la Ley 66, pertinente específicamente a Culebra, como fue pasada originalmente. Esta refleja la voluntad del pueblo, la conservación y crecimiento normal de la isla."

Mary Ann Lucking, Directora de CORALations: 787-556-6234
"Los cambios propuestos remueven los controles locales que se pusieron cuidadosamente para asegurar la protección de esta isla espectacular. En Culebra se encuentran especies en peligro de extinción y especies endémicas compartidas por el Caribe."

Press Release
May 19, 2009
Culebra Island Residents Outraged at Destructive Legislation
Fast-Tracking Through Government of Puerto Rico

Residents of the Caribbean island of Culebra, Puerto Rico, are expressing outrage at bills simultaneously introduced in the Puerto Rico House and Senate proposing radical changes to the regulations and permitting process for the island of Culebra, as well as Puerto Rico. The bills are being framed as an immediate measure to resuscitate the failing economy of Puerto Rico, but in Culebra, local Culebrenses, residents, environmentalists and small business owners are united in their view that the bills propose changes that appear to have been drafted to suit the interests of developers frustrated by special environmental laws currently protecting the island.

The bill (P. de la C. 1649) was introduced to the Puerto Rico House of Representatives last Wednesday, May 13, with unannounced public hearings to begin the following Sunday, May 17. The Senate begins hearings on Wednesday, May 20th, on the same language found in the House Bill (S 0880), with Senate President Rivera Schatz stating to press that the Senate Resolution would be passed on Monday, Memorial Day, May 25th. Initially the House of Representatives was offering only Sunday and Monday for public statements, but due to public outcry has extended a few more days. A staffer from Representative Jose Chico Vega, President of the Commission introducing the bill, expressed concerns at Senator Rivera Schatz's statement and instructed the community to extend appeals for more time in the Senate as well.

Digna Feliciano, Community Leader: 787-509-7441
"If you respect the history of Culebra and its sacrifice and contribution to National Security, the struggle by its people, you will understand how we are deeply offended that these changes were introduced without community consultation."

Hon Don Ramon Feliciano, Former decadonal Mayor and Vice-President of the Culebra Fishermens' Association: 787-742-3551
"This bill will take powers away from the island. We should maintain Law 66, which pertains specifically to Culebra, as originally passed. This reflected the will of the people, the conservation and normal growth of the island."

Carlos Geigel Esq., Representative of Mayor Abraham Peña Nieves,Municipal Government of Culebra: 787-475-0418
"A wise man once said: if it's not broken, don't fix it. The economy of Culebra is in a much better state than the rest of Puerto Rico, with unemployment and crime almost non-existent, and tourism more stable than throughout Puerto Rico."

Mary Ann Lucking, Director of CORALations: 787-556-6234
"The proposed legislative changes remove all local legislative safeguards painstakingly put in place to insure the protection of this spectacular island, home to multiple threatened, endangered and endemic shared Caribbean species."



CAMARA: Domingo(?) 17 de mayo a Miercoles, 20 de mayo...y ahora proximo Viernes, Sabado y Martes

**HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES: Public Hearings are being heard Sunday(?) May 17 through Wednesday May 20th .....with now Friday, Saturday and Tuesday.

VISTAS SENADO: AHORA ..con la promesa del Presidente a ratificar el Memorial Day

**SENATE HEARINGS: NOW.... with promise from president to ratify on Memorial DAY

CAMARA ...............
House of Representatives:

RE: P. de la C. 1649 (enlace abajo/ link below)

José Chico Vega,

Comisión de Desarrollo Económico, Planificación, Comercio, Industria y Telecomunicacio
Cámara de Representantes - Estado Libre Asociado de Puerto Rico,
PO Box 9022228 - San Juan, Puerto Rico - 00902-2228.

FAX: 787-977-2496

Capitolio Tel: 787-977-2456 , Tel 2: 787-977-2494

SENADO .....................

RE: P. de la S. 880 (enlace abajo/ link below)

Comision de Desarrollo Economico y Planificacion del Senado
PO Box 9023431
San Juan, PR 00902-3431
Teléfonos: 787-724-1086 EXT: 2365, 2955

Su ayudante:
**Senator's Assistant:

Lcda. Jessica Morales email:
coralations logo
Medida P C1649

Medida P S0880

CAMERA:Comisión de Desarrollo Económico, Planificación, Comercio, Industria y Telecomunicacio

(Gracias para Luis Jorge Rivera-Herrera para enviar ponencias de CIAPR, DDEC, y ACH)

P.O. Box 750 Culebra, Puerto Rico 00775
(c )787-556-6234 (o)1-877-772CORAL
(f) 1-530-618-4605

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

A rest from the front lines

Today will be take a break day. Take a deep breath and let things go for a minute. Take yourself back to the beach. Close your eyes and listen to the water. Feel the sun on your skin. Take another deep breath and let the rest go, just for now. C'mon, it's good for you (even if you live here).

Okay. Onward.