Sunday, November 30, 2014
practicing my salsa steps
We are sleeping into our best weather here on Mexico's Happy Coast.
I always think the weather is going to change in imperceptible steps. Gradually.
But just like aging, it happens in sudden drops or spikes. The drops this time are in temperature and humidity. It almost feels as if Barra de Navidad turned into San Diego overnight. Our nights are cool enough that I have turned off my ceiling fan.
Even though it was nearly a perfect day, I stayed home yesterday. Both the pool guy (Lupe) and the woman who helps clean my house (Dora) have requested to be paid once a month. And yesterday was the day.
I could have stuck cash into an envelope and left it in a conspicuous place, but I enjoy talking to both of them. Neither of them speak English. As a result, I have forced myself to learn more Spanish. I always learn a lot about the neighborhood. Well, "a bit." My Spanish is still stuck at minimum.
What is not stuck at minimum is my cooking.
On the last few trips home from Oregon, I have brought along a couple of jars of Newman's Own black bean and corn salsa. I know. I know. Salsa to Mexico. Coals to Newscastle. But I really like the stuff.
When I was in Bend last month, Darrel and I found a recipe that purported to duplicate the great taste of Newman's Own. And, now that I am the proud owner of a food processor, salsas were waiting to be made. All I needed was a pile of fresh ingredients and a couple of hours of time to invest.
That is how I spent my afternoon. Roasting peppers and garlic. Cooking up some black beans. Chopping tomatoes, garlic, onion, and jalapeños.
Whenever I make salsas, I usually face two problems. The first is that I make far too much for one guy to eat -- even a guy with a high capacity for eating anything spicy. The second is that I almost always put in far too many hot peppers.
I didn't remedy the first problem. I have enough salsa to keep me happy for a couple of weeks.
But I overshot my capsaicin limitation. At best, the heat is medium. I would have preferred a slight burn -- just enough to peel off one layer of skin on the roof of my mouth. I have a couple extra jalapeños that I may add to zest it up.
This is another of those times I wish Darrel had been here. He loves his salsa hot. He would never have let me stop with the number of peppers I originally added.
Some people asked me when I bought the house whether I would be happy trading off my frequent travels for a more sedentary life. I know it has only been just over a month, but I am enjoying my house hobbies as much as hob-knobbing with those European elitists.
I am feeling a little lilt in my step these days. Salsa-two-three-four. Pause. Pause. Salsa-two-three-four.