Salsa Verde

I’ve always liked a variety of salsas, from the traditional Mexican salsa made with ripe, red tomatoes, to salsa guajillo and salsa verde. Most salsas serve a special purpose to be an important part of a dish, but they can also be served as a dip with chips. I’ve made salsa verde many times, but I’ve found it to be slightly acidic. So, one day I added an avocado. It really seems to make it more well-rounded by balancing the acidity of the tomatillos. Read more

DeKeersmaker me not so crazy

The auditorium grew silent all of a sudden. I’m not sure what triggers this. How do people know to stop talking? Well, there was an older lady behind me who didn’t get the cue, and she continued her conversation for all to hear. The stage was mostly black, with an almost blinding white light filling the space. Then the four male dancers appeared. They danced in tandem, then independently, all in the presence of silence. It was the kind of silence that makes you keenly aware of your fingers making noise against the plastic glass and what seems now to be excessive movements.

The performance is Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker/Rosas’s “A Love Supreme”, an interpretive dance of John Coltrane’s A Love Supreme. The next part is very explosive when the music starts; very familiar music. I was trying to figure out if the music was driving me or if the dance was complimenting it. I believe they were complimenting each other, as if DeKeersmaker and Rosa were paying homage to one of our jazz greats. I’m not all that familiar with Rosa, but DeKeersmaker has been around the block. Her choreography puts me through so many emotions. There are quite a few of her pieces that rely on long lapses of time where the dancer doesn’t even move. There can be long pauses when nothing really happens. Her performances make me pause, make me angry, and sometimes relieved. I liken it to having to sit through a lengthy Lutheran church sermon, as if I’m glad that I got through it.

I really liked this piece. It appeared that, much like improvisational jazz, each dancer played a part. Each dancer mimicked an instrument in his movements. There was the bass, the drums, the piano, and the lead dancer played the saxophone. The modern movement was a sudden move in the opposite direction, moving with the beat. I like the fact that DeKeersmaker’s choreography is challenging. It’s not meant to entertain, but to be experienced.

How to make delicious homemade corn tortillas

I’ve always bought corn tortillas, but they were never as good as the homemade ones in Mexico. I was determined to make my own so I looked at a bunch of recipes online. How hard could it be? The only thing I thought was that it would be very labor-intensive.

Fortunately, with modern equipment like the Vitamix, I wouldn’t have to do it completely by hand. I committed to buying a 25 pound bag of organic, local yellow corn. This was indeed the smallest size available. The only other ingredient I had to buy was cal, which is dried lime, often used for pickling vegetables. Read more

Plantar Fasciitis: Don’t procrastinate with your care plan!

I’m an avid runner. I typically run about 3-5 miles four times a week. But about six months ago, I was diagnosed with plantar fasciitis. I saw a podiatrist and she prescribed a number of exercises, combined with wearing a boot at night. I did all the exercises and wore the boot, had lots of starts and stops, trying to get back into running. I was still experiencing pain in my foot and I decided, after hearing from other runners who had the same plight, to throw in the towel and have that dreaded cortisone shot. Read more

Yes, it’s vegan cheese!

I’ve made sauerkraut a couple times. It was pretty easy. Basically you mix diced green cabbage with sea salt, weigh it down with a rot iron pan and lots of books for a few days and, voilà, you’ve got sauerkraut! It’s been several years since I last tasted cheese. My favorites were double cream mushroom brie, Gouda and any stinky French cheese. I gave it up, along with all things dairy, to rid myself of asthma. And it worked. For the last few years there has been a fake meat trend, partnered with lots of varieties of fake cheeses. I’m not so thrilled about the fake meats, but there’s actually something very healthy about vegan cheese varieties. They are made with real ingredients, like nuts and herbs, and they are indeed fermented much like cheese has always been made. Probiotic foods that help digestion, like KimChee and sauerkraut, are right up there with fermented, aged vegan cheese! Read more

We all belong here

I’ve always been around immigrants. My Swedish mother couldn’t be any more Swedish, but she’s lived in the United States ever since she was 23. My paternal, great grandparents were from Holland and Norway. In high school, I was fortunate to meet exchange students from Germany, Sweden, Norway and Japan since my mother worked for a foreign exchange student organization. I’ve worked with people in nursing homes and hospitals who were from Nigeria, Liberia and Kenya. I took a French class last winter and met my two French teachers, both here on work visas, hoping to meet next year’s students. I also work in a hospital where not only patients, but staff, are from faraway lands. My husband is an immigrant from Mexico, with deep roots in Spain.
These “immigrants” have shaped my life. I wouldn’t have it any other way. I thrive on meeting people from other countries to learn about their language and their cultures. I can’t imagine living in a country where everyone was of the same race and background. It’s easy for me because I’ve been a part of it all along. But now they are Americans, just like me. They came here for a reason and chose to stay.

Amazing Iceland: Land of mystery and wonder

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Keflavik to Bláa Lónið, a.k.a. the Blue Lagoon, to Reykjavik
It’s about 1AM Minneapolis time, but now we’re in Reykjavik and it’s 6AM. After deplaning, we made a beeline to the Hertz Rent-a-Car to pick up our car. The lights were bright, which seemed appropriate for “last call”, given the hour, at the makeshift Hertz desk made out of particle board. The Icelandic Hertz rep simply said to exit through that door and our car would be in the adjacent lot. We scanned all four lots, pulling our suitcases all the way and finally found the correct license plate, and car. Read more

A Second Taste: Trying Nico’s Taco and Tequila Bar Again

nicos-alpha-invertOkay, so it’s been 2 1/2 years since I first tried Nico’s Taco and Tequila Bar on their “soft” opening. Wow. Has it been that long? Every time I passed it, I swore I wouldn’t go back. As we were standing in line behind all the bachelors at Chipotle, my favorite and only “fast” food place, my partner and I looked at each other and pondered giving Nico’s another chance. Heck, they’ve had plenty of time to work out the bugs, so the food must be better. I’ll have to say that I was very impressed by the changes.

We started out with a Tecate, which is not a very common beer to find in local Mexican restaurants. The Mexican beer list was quite extensive. I’ll have to come back to try one of the many tequilas. Next, the trio of salsas took some deciding, among the available six, including: Pico de Gallo, Roasted Tomatillo, Chile de Arbol, Chile Serrano, Ancho Narranja and salsa Verde. I opted for the Roasted Tomatillo, Chile de Arbol and the deliciously spicy and “creamy” salsa verde. And here I thought that cream had been added, but it’s all on account of the whipped avocado.

tacosTwo orders of tacos came next; two vegetable and one camaron. Arroz and frijoles came with the tacos. I was happy to discover the soft corn tortillas, instead of the typical hard-shelled gringo tacos, accompanied by sauteed squash, red bell peppers and charred corn. The shrimp taco had sauteed garlic, chile de arbol, black pepper and lime served on a flour tortilla. The tacos were very good. The only thing I would change would be to have corn tortillas instead of flour for the camaron tacos.

It did take me a while to get back to Nico’s Taco and Tequila bar, but I’m glad I gave it another chance. The “soft” opening is all but a faded memory. I look forward to stopping next time and not just walking by.