Spanish Tortilla, Bro!

Usually when I’m bored I go for a cooking sprint, and it gets pretty nasty. How nasty does it get? You might be wondering. Well, I go to my local supermarket and simply “go for it”. A bunch of dishes starts to appear in my head, hence, an imaginary list of ingredients types itself in my mind.

1242221.large

This is just a wee example of my cooking sprints.

Spanish Tortilla

Pick 3 to 5 good size potatoes, the yellow kind, half an onion, slice thinly these vegetables. In a medium size pot, put a lot of water to boil, add 1 spoon of salt and put the potatoes there. Let them cook until soft but still firm. Drizzle a large size non-stick pan with some extra virgin olive oil, stir-fry the onions and a garlic clove (already cut in brunoise), until soft, don’t let them caramelize, don’t add any salt, just pepper to taste. Get those tatoes out of the water, and put them in the pan, stir gently until brown.

In a metal bowl, crack four or five eggs, whisk, add salt, pepper, 2 spoons of water, 2 spoons of sour cream, a pinch of dried parsley, and keep on whisking, who told you to stop? Now, let the potatoes and onions to cool down a little, integrate to the egg mix.

o-BROWN-EGGS-VS-WHITE-EGGS-facebook

Now the fun part, use a much smaller pan, like half the size of the one you used previously, drizzle more olive oil, put the stove to medium heat, ready? Add the mix into the pan. Why are we using a much smaller pan? Simple, this will make a thicker tortilla, easier to handle while cooking, and it’ll look great when plating.

Where was I? Right! Let the mix cook in the smaller pan, you’ll notice when it’s ready to turn when the top isn’t runny anymore. I usually put a lid on to get a firmer tortilla. Now grab a plate larger than the pan, put it on top, and flip it, put the pan back on the stove and carefully return the tortilla from the plate to the pan. Let it cook for 4 to 5 five more minutes in medium-low heat.

tortilla-espanola-step-2

Now plate!

IMG_20160430_164845

You can double or triple this recipe in order to make more Spanish tortillas, this dish is a great entrée and will not disappoint.

Ps. Mexico City is currently experiencing its worst environmental crisis in 15 years. The local authorities determined that limiting the amount of cars on the streets seemed the logical first step to solve the problem. I reckon that the pollution comes from the industrial zones located in the states of Puebla, Estado de México and Hidalgo. The authorities have done nothing to regulate these zones; in the meantime, Mexico City’s administration still hasn’t presented a public transport improvement plan, just saying.

Facts-about-Air-Pollution-in-Mexico-City

This is where I “live”… 

Advertisements

5 Tips to Become a Better Person

1 – “Please” and “Thank you” 

Basically, don’t be an arse. Every time you ask for a favour don’t forget to say please. Personally, I do remember those who kindly ask for my help or assistance. If you are under a lot of stress and you ought to get something from someone and you just forgot to ask politely, after you have finished whatever you were doing, come back and nicely acknowledge his/her help.

And always, always, always, say thank you.

Thank

2 – Help people out

You don’t need to go all “Mother Teresa” about this one, just be kind. Last Saturday I went out for a long walk, I usually walk 3 kms from my place to my favourite taco stand (Hey, it’s a great 6km workout!) and out of the sudden I heard a wobbling sound, turns out a truck had a flat tire. I waved at the driver, he pulled over, as soon as I noticed that flat tired I knew I wanted to help him to change it.

Helping others is awesome, it feels good, it is rewarding, and for me, every time I do something good for somebody else I know I’m getting some extra Karma points.

"You can do it!"

“You can do it!”

3 – Call your family 

Yes, you owe them big time, they have put up with your craziness, literally, all your life, so give your parents and siblings a bloody call. Since my dad had a stroke I’ve been calling home more frequently than before, just to hear my parents’ voices, to tell them I love them, to talk about life, ask my mum how cook a certain dish (obviously) and just to tell them how proud I’m of them.

family

4 – Cook for others 

I know, that’s my passion and I love cooking, but,  without hesitation, doing something from scratch, like cooking, writing or crafting, meant for others, feels good. When I invite my mates over for dinner, I think about what they might be craving, what they like and enjoy, then I cook for them. I become extra careful with those details, I want them to have an amazing experience based on what I’ve crafted for them.

cook

5- Smile

It is a cliché, that’s fer sure, but when you smile, the world smiles with you. Give it a try, if you begin your day as an optimistic person, with a positive attitude, smiling at those who interact with you, suddenly something amazing will happen, it’s call mirroring, people will smile back at you. Smiling boosts you up, and let me tell you a secret, it confuses your enemies.

smile

There you go, give it a try, you can put all these advices to work today, tell me how it goes, or not. Just be yourself and remember, you define how your day goes.

Hot Wings and Beer

Wings_Army

That’s, I reckon, the best title I’ve ever come up with for any of my posts in this blog. The reason for today’s topic is plain and simple, Hot Wings and Beer are awesome (it’s in the bible, look it up)

Beautiful

Beautiful

Here in Mexico City we tend to go for wings every other Wednesday, and when I say “we”, I mean my mates from my hometown who live here and sometimes we bring a special guest. This sort of tradition began with my friends up north in Monterrey, most of them from my hometown, Tampico, used to get together every Wednesday. The day was chosen not because we love Wednesdays, but because of the specials they have that day at this restaurant (Wings Army), you order 20 hot wings they bring you 30. This place, Wings Army, besides serving great wings, also has a wide variety of national and international beers, which is awesome. From the local brews, to artisan beer, all the way to Cuban or great German beer. The place has it all.

Literally, from everywhere, except, you know... North Korea

Literally, from everywhere, except, you know… North Korea

I must admit I don´t really know how they do it, how they cook these wings to perfection, I’ve tried at home and the result is not disappointing but just “not the same”. I’m not going to explain how to cook the perfect wings, or what to look in a hot wings joint. This is just a reminder that there are some things that other do better, and we should appreciate them and munch our way through.

What other dishes you’d love to cook at home but just don’t turn out as good as your favourite food joint cooks them?

Ps, Oh, by the way, do you know that this guy in Guadalajara registered the “Duff Beer” and branded the bottles to commercialize this brew.

presentacionduff

2015 Resolutions (or whatever)

After giving it some thought I realized I do have some expectations for this 2015. I mean, they aren´t quite impossible, they are just some things I´d like to accomplish this year.

optimism-nzc83trq1-87901-500-425

 

 

Optimism

Keep up the good work and a smile on my face; that ought to be my moto for this year, open my arms to the enjoyment of life and the small things it has to offer.

 

 

Read more

old-books-bible-candle

I know, all of you might think that because I´m a bright mind and, you know, smart and stuff, I must be one of those guys who reads a lot of books, but not really. I know, surprise surprise.

This year I want to and I need to read more of everything; books, reports, essays, news, articles, blogs; I want to know more about all sorts of stuff.

On the right, how I picture myself reading at night…

Fruits and veggies

Fruits-Veggies-Horizontal1

Right, I must admit it, I´m 33 and I´m not eating enough veggies and fruits, instead I´ve been eating a lot of street food and plenty of red meat, which might not be beneficial for me (still not scientific evidence to prove it, though), so this year this is changing, I will become healthier on this matter, you are what you eat, and I don´t want to turn into some kind of BBQ ribs (…mmm… if only).

Fitness

3c7I´m definitely going to start running again, or something like that, and I mean real workout, I´m not talking about running after the “Tamales-Man” (I know, I made that one up, I´m awesome). While I was with my family during the holidays I realized that I couldn´t do some stuff like “reaching for the top shelves” that easily anymore, or talk on the phone and walk at the same time without running out of air.

So, screw that, I´m going to become healthier and the next holidays I´ll go back to my hometown, look at those top shelves on the screws and say “See, you bastards, I´m back, and I will have no mercy on reaching for several items from your top compartments”, you will see.

New Zealand

New-Zealand

Yeps, that´s a moose in the South Island… look it up on Google.

Let´s face it folks, and I´m talking about you lads out there, away from the mainland, aye, you, my fellow kiwi mates, you guys miss me, and I understand that and I´m aware that I´m the only one that can change that; so this year I´ll do my best to see you guys again. Pinky promise.

That´s it folks, if I think of something else I might not let you know, however, let´s see how this year develops and wish you all an awesome 2015.

Ps. Oh, Mexico, if you were wondering, is really not doing well, the current administration is trying to figure out how to get out of the trench of manure it got itself into.

Ps2.  My mate, @gabrielsaldana shared the following image with me this morning… enjoy.

B61_LpxCIAA3FiT

What´s New: Ferguson, Missouri; and Kent Brantly

It is Monday and among the many things that happened last week there were some news more interesting than others, or more viral, however some things happened less known to the public but extremely relevant to all of us.

News-630x330

Racial tension

Two weeks ago, in Ferguson, Missouri, a white police officer shot and killed an unarmed black young man, it has been the sixth consecutive day without any public protest or the presence of heavy armed forces. The murder of Michael Brown (18 years old) by (apparently) police officer Darren Wilson, has brought public opinion to question the use of plenty of police force to intimidate the protesters.

Analysts, media and key opinion leaders suggested that the police´s response was unusual and unnecessary, and many questioned the fact that Ferguson, Missouri looked more like a scene you´d see in Afghanistan or Iraq, because, let´s face it, the cops did look like freaking soldiers. According to this article by Reuters on the matter, “President Barack Obama has ordered a review of the distribution of military hardware to state and local police, a senior administration official said on Saturday”.

sfl-ferguson-missouri-20140819-001

What happened in Ferguson reminded the national and international community that the United States still has a lot of issues in terms of racial discrimination and, now, the implementation of a new legislation by the local police to re use military equipment given by the government to strengthen their local forces: “How Ferguson could be America’s future

An Update on the Ebola Virus in Murica

Remember that the US received a couple patients diagnosed with the Ebola virus, the were flown from Africa in order to be treated and cured in American soil. Well, Dr. Kent Brantly, one of these two infected, was finally released from the hospital where he was receiving treatment, and he seems OK. According to the doctors who treated him (and Nancy Writebol, the other American infected by Ebola) he represents no public health threat.

Well, and the lad made it

Well, and the lad made it

However, according to the World Health Organization, at least 1,350 people have died in Africa since the Ebola outbreak in March. And, according to their latest research, the Ebola virus could live up to 3 months in vaginal fluid and semen.

In other news

The viral campaign: the Ice Bucket Challenge  is known to create awareness and get donations from the general public for research on ASL. It was a huge success, at least now people around the world, no just within the US, know what Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is, often referred to as “Lou Gehrig’s Disease. If you want to know more about the disease and how to donate to fight it, go to the ALS Association website and find out.

Enjoy watching Charlie Sheen doing it the right way:

 

My Favourite Salsa

When I was learning how to cook, back in 2004, I was in France as a Mexican Exchange student, and after four months I started  craving some Mexican food. My cooking knowledge wasn´t great but I knew how to mix some ingredients and just went for it.

Because, you  know, even after a couple of hours away from the country Mexicans start to crave salsa and tamales

Because, you know, even after a couple of hours away from the country Mexicans start to crave salsa and tamales

So I bought fresh tomatoes, onions and some “Indian” Chilies, you know, France. I came back to the dorms and started cooking, suddenly I realized I´ve made something that slightly resembled Mexican food, I was so excited I literally ran down the hall with a spoon full of that salsa just to give everybody a wee try. I know, not really that hygienic, but I was thrilled I´ve made something edible.

My first salsa is super easy to make, and it will not disappoint:

 

Ingredients:choppedonions

  • 1 big ass onion
  • 3 fresh tomatoes
  • 3 chilies (serranos, or Indian chilies will do)
  • 1 garlic clove
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 spoons of canola oil

 

First, heat a medium size pot, pour the oil, and place inside the onion, sliced, let it cook. You will notice that the onion will sizzle and then start to caramelize, don´t add any salt yet. Then put in the chopped chilies and chopped garlic, let them integrate with the onions, open your windows if you are not used to this type of cooking, as the smell will make you cough and sneeze, true story.

SerranosRipe Tomatoes on White with Clipping Path

When you notice that everything is well cooked, add the tomatoes, diced; the juices of the tomatoes will put all the flavours together. Finally, add salt and pepper to taste, and half a cup of water. Let it simmer, the salsa isn´t supposed to be runny, you want it thick and with a curry-ish like texture.

I used to put this salsa on nachos or cous-cous, goes amazing with grilled fish and pork, aye, lots of pork.

Ps.  Non related to this culinary post, I do highly recommend this recent article posted on The Economist, titled: “The Feds Ride Out”, which talks about the Mexican government launching this new police force rather than improving the current crime-fighting forces. As said by some analysts, president Enrique Pena Nieto, seems to lack a national security strategy and keeps on denial that Mexico is under control of criminal forces.

http://www.economist.com/news/americas/21613312-mexico-gets-new-police-force-it-needs-new-policing-strategy-feds-ride-out

Credit to: Peter Schrank

 

Mussels and Leffe Blonde

I can´t believe I haven´t told you about my favourite day of the week when I was in New Zealand! It wasn´t Friday, nor Saturday, it was freaking Monday, bro. Monday was the day when my mates and I would take a break and go to De Fontein on Mission Bay. (Wednesday was recycling day and business time, obviously)

Why on Monday? Because if you had your loyalty card you´ll get 2×1 in mussel pots, that meant ordering 1 kilo and you get an extra kilo, served in any of the different sauces they had: White wine and garlic, lobster bisque and brandy, coconut cream and lemongrass curry, blue cheese and spinach, or the chef´s special. My favourite? Coconut cream and lemon grass curry, it was freaking delicious.

Beautiful

This place was/is always hectic, people waited lined up outside to get a decent table and being able to try its spectacular flavours and massive servings, you don´t only get a pot of mussels, you get the french fries and dipping sauces. But wait, no Belgium restaurant will make sense if there isn´t good Belgium beer to wash down these delicacies.

leffe-blond2My recommendation? Leffe Blonde, its taste, body, and freshness is essential to enjoy mussels and fries and the beautiful view that Mission Bay in Auckland presents you.

Remember that mussels are the cheapest source of protein in New Zealand, as you don´t need to pay more than NZ 3 to NZ 4 per kilo at the supermarkets, and that my mates is freaking nothing, even in comparison with Mexican standards.

If there is something I miss from Aotearoa has to be going to De Fontein on a Monday arvo. Trust me, if you have some spare time in Auckland, take a wee break, go to Mission Bay and dig into that bucket of mussels, just marvelous.

Auckland Eastern Bays

No Sex in the Champagne Room

Wait a second, is it March already? Where the bullocks did this year go? Anyway, so I´m on the hunt for a new place now and I´m quite excited about this. Let´s put it this way, there are many plans ahead and the rest of this year is going to be bloody awesome. Well, except for the fact that Ukraine is in a terrible political turmoil, Venezuela is experiencing an awful social revolution, the Mexican government intends to pass a law that will allow the authorities to block telecommunications in case of national security issues (aye, just like Egypt, Iran, or Syria), and somebody vomited on Lady Gaga for … let´s put it this way: art.

They say it looked a lot like this…

So, one quarter of the year gone already? And what have we learnt so far?

1.- Street food is an awesome sin

This is one my favourite “sports” since I moved to Mexico City, street food here is freaking glorious and without hesitation the best meals I ever had here were on the run.

From pambazos, to “tacos de canasta”, pork crackling quesadillas, or just corn in a cup (no girls); this city is the bomb when it comes to urban/informal gastronomy.

 

2.- It´s ok to protect human rights in other countries except yours

I´m talking to you “Murica”, don´t think we haven´t noticed the amount of people lined up for execution in your penitentiary centres. That´s right, there are several inmates that are there waiting for their lives to be “Terminated” by the American government without a proper trial. If you want to find out more, go to the Death Penalty Information Centre website, and see “who´s next”.

3.- Christmas decorations are fine on February but not March

I´m not going to go deeper on this subject, you know who you are, and no, it is not “ok” to leave them all the way until August and then say “well, Christmas is just around the corner, why bother”. Get those bloody cardboard boxes and put those obnoxious holiday annoyances away!

Neither saying “happy new year” after the second week of January.

4.- No matter what the stripper says, there´s no sex in the champagne room. 

Amazingly explained by Chris Rock on this great 90s hit:

Ps. Remember mates, learn the difference between positivism and optimism, they are not the same, and no, reading Paulo Coehlo isn´t cool either.

Ps2. Speaking of optimism, tend to hang out with happy and optimist fellas, learn from their ability to see the good things in life. Usually these people are empathetic, caring, good listeners and they share their happiness with those around them.

Mexico City: One Year After

??????????

Well, not really, I´ve been in Mexico City for over a year already and honestly I´m loving it. This city is amazing, so alive, so busy, vibrant and full of surprises. Living here was one of my goals in life, regardless of how the rest of the country sees the capital city, the Federal District (or DF as it is known in Mexico) is one of the most amazing urban centres of Latin America.

Just don´t mind this… I mean, sometimes it gets pretty casual.

I got here around the end of January last year, I didn´t know what to expect, but now I can say that this is a great city to visit, live and do pretty much whatever you want (legally, obviously, this isn´t bloody Amsterdam, you know, we are Catholics and stuff).

I still have that crazy bird in my head telling me to do other stuff and fly away, but for now, this place is pretty awesome.

Last weekend I noticed how lucky I am, I went to Reforma Avenue on Sunday. This is perhaps the most important avenue in the country, which on Sundays becomes a pedestrian-only road. On this day you can find people riding their bicycles, practicing yoga or just hanging out around freaking old monuments. 

Pretty awesome day, right?

Pretty awesome day, right?

After wandering around for a while I went for some churros with hot chocolate close to the main square (known as Zocalo) of the city. This place is pretty famous and old, it is called “El Moro” and it is just delicious, for USD$4 you get hot chocolate and 4 large churros, fantastic.

These are the bomb!

These are the bomb!

As well, every Sunday, but in the my neighborhood, the Colonia Napoles, a street market makes this “hood” a literal food parade, where fresh veggies and fruits can be found. Also, taco places and Mexican food stands sell their products to the general public.

These are deep fried quesadillas filled with cheese and pork crackling - Pure love

These are deep fried quesadillas filled with cheese and pork crackling – Pure love

My favourite stand, and I reckon they might know who I am by now is a “carnitas” stand, where they offer amazing pork crackling, pork meat and pork… and more pork, it is just heaven (I love pork).

The heart of Mexico: El Zocalo

The heart of Mexico: El Zocalo

Anyway, the point here is, Mexico City is freaking awesome, give it a chance, and if you are ever around do not hesitate to give me a call, I might even take you to my favourite “carnitas” stand and share a taco or two with you. 

The Soumaya Museum, for example, has one of the largest Rodin´s collection in the world.

The Soumaya Museum, for example, has one of the largest Rodin´s collection in the world.

Ps1. Honestly, that #100HappyDays thingy is really working, I do feel more optimistic and enjoying the simple things in life.

Ps2. Did I mention last time that I found this ubber delicious coffee place just around the corner from my flat? It´s an original concept and the way they prepare coffee is very traditional, not more Starbucks for me on the weekends. The place? El Guapo Café 

Ps3. Wanna see more pics of how is life in Mexico, go for a wee visit to the following link. 

#100HappyDays

I know what you are thinking, “Really? Are you honestly going to follow one of these obnoxious trends on the internet? Are you willing to keep track of 100 happy moments in your life for 100 days?”…

Seriously, I know this is weird, but when a friend told me she was doing this I got sort of excited about it; not because she is doing it, but the fact that she presents herself to others as a bitter-grinchy-realistic person. Although we all know she is a freaking cotton ball, nice and with a kind heart, however, the fact that she was into it, looking for that happy moment of her day for a 100 days, got my attention.

As explained on the website: http://100happydays.com/ this activity is simple, you just go looking for that happy moment every day, post it online, either using Facebook, Twitter or Instagram (these are the ones I´ve chosen), with the hashtag #100HappyDays and the day you are posting from the challenge. It isn´t that hard really, and is fun! 

I´ve always considered my self an optimistic person, and I reckon that the reason others are pessimistic or always feeling blue is because they look at life from the wrong angle. Happiness is all around us, and if you are reading this you have a lot to be grateful (Unless you are a gay person living in Uganda, an unhappy Venezuelan in Venezuela, or a revolutionary chap in Ukraine… Hey, at least you have wifi).

The website starts with this great sentence: “Can you be happy for a 100 days in a row?” It later says that 71% of people didn´t complete the challenge arguing that they didn´t have enough time and they were “super” busy.

The website says it all if you are smart enough to notice what it implies. What they are really saying is: “Happiness depends on you, and in order to be happy you ought to give yourself some time to… well, to make yourself happy”.

Why would I do that? People successfully completing the challenge claimed to:

  •  Start noticing what makes them happy every day;
  •  Be in a better mood every day;
  •  Start receiving more compliments from other people;
  •  Realize how lucky they are to have the life they have;
  •  Become more optimistic;
  •  Fall in love during the challenge.

Now, what are you waiting for? Go for it, you have nothing to lose, unless you don´t have a smartphone or a digital camera or… well you know, “some time”.

Every time I need to put a smile on my face, I just look at this picture for a couple of minutes 🙂

Ps. My boss recently lent me a cooking book, like a really Mexican traditional dishes cooking book, she said “There you go, have it for a couple of weeks and cook something from the book”. So, I´ll be posting one of its recipes this weekend, wait for it.