Saturday, June 23, 2012

I spoke too soon...

Just after I posted the recipe I received some new photos from Arturo. The rainy season has arrived and work has slowed down a little. Many of the parts and pieces, like the iron work and the windows are made, but they haven't been installed yet. They have been putting the final coating on the walls before the paint goes on... I'm excited about this because I do not remember the colors that were chosen. We are arriving August 20th and we need to get a few furnishings because when we come down for the month of December we will be having Carlos' sister and husband and their two kids, as well as our friend from Denmark. It's crazy thinking that we are finally at the point where I can go shopping!

They have been working on the front wall and gates

Master bath shower is coming along!

2nd bath as well as powder room is being finished

Lamb Shanks Salsa Verde!

I haven't received any new photos of the house in a couple of weeks and I miss posting something. I have scheduled our two trip to Merida, the first being August 20-28 and the second December 1-Jan 4th.  We plan on staying in the house. Let's hope it's better than camping!
So I thought I would give you another recipe. CQ loves lamb. I don't, actually I won't even eat it. But I will cook it and this is a favorite for those who love lamb. It's both spicy and savory and for the lamb lovers... well, they rave about it!

Lamb Shanks Salsa Verde

1 small can/jar salsa verde
2-4 lamb shanks
2 cups chicken broth
3-4 tablespoon chopped garlic
1 large onion, cut into quarters
Olive Oil
Balsamic Vinegar or a juicy lime
Black Pepper
Rosemary (I use fresh from my garden or in the winter what I have dried)
Adobo Seasoning
Cilantro or 2 cubes Sofrito

Night before: put lamb shanks in bag or container and cover in spices, 2 tsp olive oil, some balsamic vinegar or the squeeze the juice from the lime.  (about 3-5 tblsp) I sometimes use mojo, a Puerto Rican marinade.

When you are ready to start cooking, chop onion and add contents of bag (lamb shanks and all spices including the cilantro/sofrito) to pressure cooker. Braise until the onions and spices start to caramelize. Add chicken broth and small can of Salsa Verde. Put lid on pressure cooker and wait for steam to build up. Cook about 25 minutes. Release steam and check meat. Turn shanks over. It should be getting very tender. Add more broth if needed, as well as several whole peeled potatoes  and baby carrots. Replace top on pressure cooker and cook again for about  5-7 min or until tender.  When served, you will need to spoon some of the juice over the shank and veggies.


Wednesday, June 6, 2012

You can't cook Puerto Rican without Sofrito!

Having been married to Carlos for more than 35 years I have learned to cook mostly Puerto Rican style. The basis of almost all Puerto Rican dishes is sofrito. Sofrito is a versatile and aromatic mixture of herbs and vegetables used as the foundation for many Puerto Rican and Caribbean dishes. The commercial jarred or frozen sofrito are not very tasty so I make my own.
It’s easy to make and can be used in many recipes. It keeps well when you freeze it. I use it in beans as well as soup and stews. It makes my shredded pork, chicken or beef very tasty.

Puerto Rican Sofrito

3 bunches of cilantro
1 package of culantro (if available, also known as chaden beni)
2 large onions
2 green bell peppers
olive oil
black pepper to taste
Diced garlic

In a food processor put in 1 and ½ of the cilantro bunch and ½ of the culantro package. Add about ½ cup olive oil, 1 green pepper cut in strips and one large onion cut in pieces. Add about 3 heaping tablespoons of garlic and ½ tsp of black pepper. Turn on food processor and let mix until it is a thick liquid. If it is not blending well try adding more olive oil. This should be a rich green paste. I spoon my mixture into ice cube trays and freeze overnight. Repeat the process for the second batch. The next day I put in freezer bags, label and date it. For a typical pot of beans I use 3 cubes, for arroz con pollo I use 4-5 cubes.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Want to be bored some more?

I can't blog about being an expat, because I'm not, at least not yet. I can't blog about things in Merida. I haven't spent a lot of time in Merida for two years. All I can blog about is the construction of our house. That's all I know about and even most of that is second hand through the wonderful Arturo. I plan on spending the month of December in our new house and I will be pretty busy living with  the minimum of 'stuff'. However for those who actually look at this blog, like my sisters and a few friends... let me bore you with some more photos of all the changes of the past week!
Still installing tile!

Looking from the family room into the kitchen area 

Master shower with ticul tile and 5 shower heads

Stairs are finished

Friday, June 1, 2012

And the beat goes on.....

 I'm not sure how many catchy titles that I can think of for my posts. I just want to post a few of the photos I received late last night from Arturo. It seems like the work is really on a roll and we are making great strides in the finishing work. Carlos is now booked up for his business travel through the month of June. (going to LA, Phoenix, San Francisco and Miami) I'm still trying to find some reasonably priced air tickets to get us to Mexico, but the best I'm finding is for the end of August or the beginning of September. As we plan to spend the month of December in our "new" house, maybe I will just wait.... though it's really hard!
Here's some of the progress...

The doors for Carlos' study are in!

Other progress includes all the ceiling pot lights as well as some of the plumbing and electrical work. I see that the interrupt outlets well as some of the plumbing for the showers that I carried down are installed in the bathrooms.

And of course the tiling continues!