Friday, April 30, 2010

Dia part 3

I pulled myself out of holiday mode because today is full, of the fun variety and the mundane...watering/chicks/cat done! Gathering laundry, check! Veggie stand, mission accomplished!

There is still something to do though, because for some reason, Chick Chick has gone broody on me, which makes no sense because Mr. Rooster has never, to my knowledge, been inside the coop to fertilize any of her eggs. I hope. So later I'll put on some leather gloves to avoid her displeasure and try moving her off the nest...

Now it is on to the rest of the day. But first, some loose end tidying up. Remember that boom and shake on Monday? Seems they are working on the East end of Vieques, detonating bombs and due to some weird acoustics, we heard and felt it over here, even though on Vieques, no one I could find heard or felt a thing. So, that question is answered.

And remember that really nice rain we had the other day? Everything in my yard has responded with growth spurts, which of course just makes me long for more rain.

I was listening to this woman on the radio out of St. Thomas this morning - she was wondering what is this haze?? She heard it was a 'wet mass' stuck over the islands...others are saying it's Sahara dust coming over early. Here's what the National Weather Service out of San Juan says...

416 AM AST FRI APR 30 2010


416 AM AST FRI APR 30 2010


I think we're all ready for some blue skies and a lifting of this humid heat. C'mon, cold front!

Speaking of cold's Free Range Friday is going to
range very a nod to some wonderful photographs Laurie
has posted on the fiddleheads of Spring in Maine. We don't get
fiddleheads here but I've had them before and they are a
wonderful seasonal treat.
So this recipe, taken from Closet Cooking, is for you, Laurie! And
the rest of you fiddleheads (which is sort of like being a chilihead,
but with a lot shorter playing time). If you can't get fiddleheads,
use your imagination! It's still a great recipe.

photo credit: Laurie Knowlton

Fiddlehead Shrimp Scampi from Closet Cooking (check out the whole post, it's good!)
(makes 2 servings)

1/2 pound fiddleheads (trimmed and well cleaned)
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoon butter
1 pinch red pepper flakes (optional)
2 wild leeks/ramps (chopped, or garlic)
1/4 preserved lemon peel (chopped)
1/2 pound shrimp (shelled and deveined)
1/4 cup white wine (optional)
1 lemon (juice and zest)
1/2 pound linguine (cooked)
1 tablespoon parsley (chopped, optional)
parmigiano reggiano to taste (grated, optional)

1. Cook the fiddleheads in boiling water for 3 minutes, drain and set aside.
2. Heat the oil and melt the butter in a pan.
3. Add the chili flakes, wild leeks and preserved lemons and saute until fragrant, about 1 minute.
4. Add the fiddleheads and shrimp and saute until the fiddle heads are bright green and the shrimp is cooked, about 1-3 minutes per side and set aside.
5. Add the wine and lemon juice and deglaze the pan.
6. Simmer until the liquid is reduced by half, about 3-5 minutes.
7. Add the fiddleheads, shrimp, pasta and parsley and toss to coat.


Last but not least, here is a photo I didn't post yesterday for a faithful reader, someone
who encourages me with the blog all the time. Thanks!!


Have the fairest of Fridays! Do something far-reaching!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

A holiday feeling

Yesterday I went out to Zoni with an old friend and some new ones who are staying at a house there this week. A house that happens to be one of my very favorite houses on Culebra, with the beach only steps away from the yard and the house high enough to give an outrageous view, while comfortable enough that sand on the floors feels right - even if it gets swept out every morning. These are three tidy guys!

I took so many photos, it was very hard to weed them out, but here are some of the ones that made the cut. Don't forget you can click on the photos to make them bigger!

Culebrita lighthouse

Hazy Horizon

Fishing on the rocks (he got one too!)

It's the little things...


And then the cooking began! Through a roundabout series of contacts, Doug finally procured 3 lobsters from a long awaited catch. One monster, one huge, one small. I brought along my hot sauce pot and the water finally went Mr. Gigantico. Susie and Ramon would be so proud of me!!

Finally he was done (okay, he needed about 10 more minutes but by then it was too late, I was once again covered in lobster juice and the guys were gaga-ing over the enormous amount of tail meat, while other sections were being opened and feasted on. Suddenly there was butter and rice and salad (these guys work fast) and I was busy with the other lobsters...and eating lobster...and drinking wine, which seemed to flow endlessly, while eating yet more lobster. I think we ate lobster for an hour before the newspapers were swept away, the dishes were done - yep, the guys did all that - and we were back on the porch watching the moon over the sea.

After a long beach walk, we all hit our respective sleep spots. I can testify, that house has a very comfortable couch! Thanks for the pillow, Paul!

This morning I woke at pre-dawn as usual, but with no roosters crowing and no CWIM asking for a head scratch and breakfast. The lads were still all abed. It was time for a walk on the beach...called out by this bird.

Singing in the dawn

And Sol came shining

An early fisherman

Obviously a turtle who took her time finding her spot last night

Rock bottom

Prehistoric turtle sleeping

Fish were going crazy in the water, at one point swirling around my feet, but I couldn't get a photo of any of them! Instead I ran on the sand as they moved fast on some feeding frenzy and suddenly poof! they were gone. There were some pretty little waves though. Here are a few that I liked...

I came back to find Doug was making tea for me, since he remembered I talk about tea a lot - very nice, and coffee for the rest of the crew. Then it was time to get home to CWIM and the chickens and re-start the day.

Oh, that can wait...I think it's time to take a nap. Thanks, Doug and buds for having me over - it was a wonderful mini holiday!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010


On my way to town to check and see if work had actually started on the bridge, I came across these gulls, podded on the water. My loud engine didn't seem to alarm them much.

The pilings at Cayo Pirata were also considered party central.

Ashore, the mango trees around the island are getting loaded up with fruit. There are over 1000 varieties of mangoes in the world, and I'm not sure how many are represented on Culebra, but this is one of my very favorites (in case you wonder where I get my mangoes for Manaya Heat, now you know - thanks, people with mango trees who share them with me!)

And YES!!! The bridge work was actually started on the day that I was told, Monday! They've cleared out all the weed trees, trash and brush, and were pressure washing when I got there yesterday. Quite a bit to get done in two days and I have to say, I'm impressed.

Pressure washing
Pressure watching


Clearing bush Culebra style

Cart space *sniff*

I'm still working on finding out what that boom was. Well, I'm still asking people who might know and they are reaching out to their contacts. I know it may seem a bit obsessive, but if you'd felt and heard it, you'd want to know too!

Today looks to be hazy and hot. Not warm; hot. A potential 3 shower day. I'm just really glad we don't sweat like dogs, or the front of my shirts would be a mess.

Have a wonderful Wednesday! Do something that makes you say "Woohoo!!"

p.s. Gail's party has been moved to the 15th of May, rather than May 1st! More news as I get it.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Rain and booms and sunshine, oh my

Yesterday gave us a few moments of intensity. First we got some rain, hard rain that didn't last long enough but at least enough to perk up the plants. Then, mid afternoon, I was busy doing nothing very important on the computer when there was a booming and the whole shack shook. I went onto facebook (which quite a few of us on Culebra use as a coconut telegraph) and asked if anyone else heard/felt that - about the same time others were asking the same thing.

Amphibious exercises Culebra, PR 1936
It was felt and heard island wide. One person said it was a found bomb exploded in the water between Culebra and Vieques...and until I head to town, I'll just have to leave it at that for now. I'm sure that sound and shaking brought back a lot of very bad memories of those days when bombs were not exploded as a precaution against something terrible happening to an unsuspecting person, but were intentionally dropped on this populated island, disregarding anything dangerous resulting from such a barbaric practice.

The rain brought out some flowers. This is one of my favorite weeds!

Bombs and odd theme of sorts in my life!

Onward! New ferreterias to discover! Garden hoses to fix from overpressurized breakage! PRTC guy to track down to see if six weeks with no phone can be reversed! Oh, the busy life of the unemployed...

Monday, April 26, 2010

Weekend Roundup

Yesterday was full from early to late...hence no post. I was reminded of that when someone asked me about the cart move (I did post photos on Facebook though!), so here are a few shots. My heart was beating hard but needlessly, as between Jacinto and Susie, everything went as planned and very easily. Well, there was the moment of Jacinto laying in the road making that clip thing on the hitch work properly, but he got it right and away we went!

Jacinto hooking up the cart...Susie at the wheel (she was GOOD!)

Hooked up, getting secure (I love careful people!)

At this point people going by were yelling out "Hey Island Woman! Where are you going?"

Sure looks empty...


Last night was the 2nd End of Season party at Susie's. This year I was on the other side of the door, but managed to get a few shots...ond finally kitchen time was done and I got a few more! It's been a great season, working with wonderful people. Hard work, good times. Thanks to Susie, Ramon, Rosalyn, Kate, Karen, Cynthia, Mario and Vilma for welcoming me into the Familia Susie! Ramon saw proof that an old dog can learn a few new tricks...thanks, Ramon, for being patient with me - god knows I tested it a few times!

The reason we're all here!

While at the bar...(eating some wonderful apps Susie gave out)

Canal side fans

Steadfast customers, Taz & Ann


David (hair styled by Gretchen...with beer - looks good!)

Getting to enjoy her own party

Kate, still working, still smiling (she's a rock of joy...I'd be dragging
and she'd always do something to bring a grin to my face...thanks, Kate!)

Rosalyn and her guy...she's an inspired plate artist!
She can also say "Asshole" in her whispery, tiny voice in a way
that makes me laugh every time, as intended glad her English is coming along!

Neil, done in his own kitchen, arrives for the party!

...and has some fine dancing feet on him!
And no Neil, I'll NEVER learn to dance like that!
But thanks for trying...

Sweet Mario - always willing to help and DJ without peer.
He reads the moment and has the music (and my shift drink)...every time!

Susie's A team!

And a couple more of us
Karen, Rosalyn and Vilma had already left

And that's what it's all about
(ok you two, go take a well deserved holiday for a minute, would you?)

Susie drove me home for the last time (and thanks for all the rides, everyone! you know I mean that, I really really mean that!) It's been a great experience. lots of firsts (like...the first time I ever got drunk on Cointreau, thanks Jacinto!, first time I made tamarindo sorbet, first time I cleaned 8375 lobsters, first time I washed 5 million dishes - on the same night, first time I learned how to say shit and a few other things in Spanish, thanks, Rosalyn and Ramon) and I wouldn't trade it. I would give over my position as Kitchen Den Mother to someone else if things pick up next season at the cart, but you never know...

Thanks for everything, Susie...including that pastelon you made for the staff to take home while making free apps and dinners for actual customers (the dinners weren't free!). I think I ate it about 3 a.m. and it was GOOD!!! As good as the bits I got in the kitchen fresh out of the oven...

Video to come (after 3 hours, I'm trying another way!)