Tuesday, July 27, 2010

"Good Things Come to Those Who Wait"


These days, patience is rare.  Unless, of course, if you have kids.

A hard trait to find these days when our immediate whims are at our disposal. 

My sister gave me a 12-inch portion of an Orchid Cactus about 6 or 7 years ago.  I was told the fifth year it would bloom.  I waited.  It grew.  I waited some more.  It grew a lot.  I waited not so patiently. I forgot.  I wondered why I had this huge plant that was taking over my dining room.  I thought about getting rid of it.  Was it really going to bloom?

And then one day it did this.
 Isn't it lovely.

What can I say about this plant?  It takes minimal care.  It grows despite me.  It is scrappy, in an interesting, flowing kind of way.  Don't you agree?
It grew into the carpet and tried to set roots.  Is it trying to tell me something?

I did neglect it this year.  I will do better.

It completely redeems itself yearly when it flowers and it flowers in spite of me.  
I guess that is just like an orchid.  Orchids are not the greatest looking houseplants until they bloom, then they are stunning.  I have some orchids that bloom for 6+ months and some for a month.  The orchid cactus holds its bloom for about a week to two weeks.  I was neglectful this year so I only had about three blooms instead of the past 10+ blooms.  I vow to be a better cactus orchid keeper next year.

The last bloom just dried up.

This is my homage to the old proverb "Good things come to those who wait".  To remember to be patient and caring in the process of "waiting" and the process, in many cases, is more important than the goal.

Until next year . . .

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Tinga de Pollo or Chicken Tinga

Tinga de Pollo or Chicken Tinga is a recipe for stewed chicken that is primarily used for chalupas, but is also delicious in tacos, salads, enchiladas or stuffing chiles.  All I can say is that however you choose to use it, it makes for a wonderfully tasty dish.  Like I have said before, I like versatility and this simple recipe has it - especially if you like Mexican food and I do.  Don't be deterred by the chipotle chiles because after cooking the heat is milder than you would think and the flavor is amazing.  I love some heat so I tend toward spicy and have added extra chipotle or cayenne to take it up a notch.

The literal translation for Tinga de Pollo is "scolding of the chicken" or the "quarrel of the chicken".  Of course, that explains everything doesn't it.  Literal translations are a very interesting part of understanding another language, that is, how a culture words something and their intended meaning. It does make sense though when you look up the culinary meaning of Tinga.  Tinga is a Mexican culinary term that implies torn or pieces of meat.  In the case of Tinga de Pollo, it is shredded chicken stewed in a tomato based, somewhat spicy sauce.  This is a very common technique for preparing meats for chalupas, tacos, enchiladas and other Mexican dishes.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Tomatillo Avocado Salsa

What's not to love about salsa?  This time of the year it is fresh, cool and spicy.  My favorite salsa is a green salsa or salsa made from tomatillos.  I really love this classic Mexican salsa made from raw tomatillas.  This salsa works well as a dip, a sauce for simple grilled chicken or fish and is especially perfect on tacos or chalupas. I really, really love it in my chanchito bowl from Chile.
Everytime I go to the grocery store in my neck of the woods, the check out person holds one of the tomatillas up and asks me "what is this?" And I do mean every time. It amazes me that the tomatillo is so unfamiliar to many.  Just in case, this is what a tomatilla looks like.
It is the tomate verde or green tomato common in Mexico and is considered a staple in the Mexican kitchen.  They make delicious tangy salsas and sauces, cooked or uncooked.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Chanchito, A Lucky Chilean Three Legged Pig

Isn't he cute?  In an ugly baby, cute sort of way, but still quite adorable.  I think he is charming.
This little three legged pig or chanchito originated in a village in Chile called Pomaire.  Pomaire is know for their pottery.  They have a custom in this Latin American country to offer a chanchito as a gift to family or friends and it will bring good luck and good will to them.  The little lucky pig has caught on and you might see them anywhere.  I found this one in Napa Valley on a recent trip (I wish I could say I got it in Chile, but it was the lovely California's famous sipping valley).  This is the type of item that comes and goes and is not likely to stay in stock. Since it wasn't given to me, I am concerned about lucky it will be.  I feel lucky just to have one!  I keep mine in the kitchen.  My little kitchen pig!  Some people have a kitchen witch to bring them luck, but I am going with this little chanchito for good luck and good will in my home.  I also found this chanchito bowl that I think will be perfect for salsa.
Next stop - Fresh salsa!
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