Le Fin De Semana es Finito….Vuelvo al Trabajo

Today is brought to you by this angry blowfish. I made the most of my weekend, with a snorkel trip and a zipline excursion, including a leap of faith off a waterfall. Amazing. Now back to my daily schedule of Spanish instruction and rigorous yoga. It’s been an incredible week one, and even though my friends are leaving, I’m looking forward to having a little bit slower week two. Salud!

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Did you know that…

this is where cashews come from? A cashew is the only fruit with the seed outside the fruit, and each fruit just has the one. Now you know.

While you read this I am likely either snorkeling or recovering from the raging sunburn I will have undoubtedly gotten. I haven’t gotten burned yet (it’s noon Friday as I write this) but am pretty clear there’s no way to avoid it with a full day in the sun. In Spanish, “I have a sunburn” is “Tengo una quemadura del sol”. I’m ready.

Eso es mi sombrero.

I’m so heat fried and full of Spanish vocabulary that I can’t even think of a title for this post. So that’s the first line of an essay I wrote in Spanish about my hat. It is blue. Pretty much I wake up at 6:30, eat some cereal and juice, walk on the beach, do my homework, go to class, eat lunch and write a postcard, do my afternoon practicum, study on the beach or in a hammock on our balcony, go for a quick swim, go to yoga class, go to dinner, and am in bed by 9:30. The heat is incredible, and the sea is so warm I never have to get out because I’m cold. Last night’s yoga on the balcony was visited by a bat.

My thoughts are simplified to present tense, and I spend a lot of time thinking about the correct form of the verb “to be”. “That is a flower.” “Those women are from Cuba.” “I am tired”. Which I am. I’m taking it slow this morning, it’s unbelievably hot already and I’m tired of changing my shirt 4 times a day.

Here are some photos though:

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Adventures in Solo Travel

I haven’t taken a significant trip without Ellison since we’ve been together, and haven’t really ever traveled alone. But now I’m having a solo adventure at Spanish school in Costa Rica. After nearly a day and a half of travel I’m safely ensconced in my hotel and have explored the little tourist town I’m living in for the next two weeks. I’ve made a friend who will be here for the first week. And I’ve found, and gotten the nod from, the local lesbianas.

So for the next two weeks I live here:

But also I live here:
Costa Rica 005

Hoping my roommate, who hasn’t arrived yet, is awesome, or at least quiet.

You can keep track of my travel photos at Flickr, I’ll be uploading more often than blogging. Wish me luck!

No Worries

I am preparing for two weeks abroad. It’s the longest Ellison and I have been apart so we spent the weekend having a MegaDate – two days of focus on fun and each other. We took a drive to Maine, and I found a tiny sand dollar on the beach and got a new raincoat for my trip. And we pretty much ate our faces off – lobstah and blueberry cobbler. Yum.

As far as trip preparation, I’m not at all concerned about taking enough clothes, but desperately concerned that I will run out of things to read. To the point where I am prepared to ditch half my tshirts for 6 more books. At least I know I’ll have enough to knit – it’s a lot lighter to haul around…. 

The Whole Megillah

Today is Purim, one of my favorite holidays. Why do I love it? Because it’s one of few holidays celebrating a woman’s agency, it requires public service and feeding the poor, and it features a carnival where folks are encouraged to crossdress and make noise to drown out the name of the bad guy. The story of Purim is written in the Book of Esther, or the Megillah, which is read twice during the festivities. A very detailed narrative, the story is long and somewhat convoluted – hence the slang term of “the whole Megillah”, meaning a tedious or overly detailed account of something. I am particulary fond of Yiddishisms that have made their way into standard American English, and this is one of my favorites.

Also great about Purim is my favorite Jewish baked good, the hamantaschen. One of the mitzvahs of the holiday is to feed your friends with treats, so I’m providing a tasty and fairly easy recipe. I like poppyseed filling, or mohn, without raisins. Gluten free dough variation and filling recipe at the bottom.

HAMENTASCHEN DOUGH
•2/3 cup butter
•1/2 cup sugar
•1 egg
•1/4 cup no pulp orange juice
•1 cup white flour
•1 cup wheat flour (DO NOT substitute white flour! The wheat flour is necessary to achieve the right texture!)
•2 tsp. baking powder
•1 tsp. cinnamon
•Filling of your choice

Blend butter and sugar thoroughly. Add the egg and blend thoroughly. Add OJ and blend thoroughly. Add flour, 1/2 cup at a time, alternating white and wheat, blending thoroughly between each. Add the baking powder and cinnamon with the last half cup of flour. Refrigerate batter overnight or at least a few hours. Roll as thin as you can without getting holes in the batter (roll it between two sheets of wax paper lightly dusted with flour for best results). Cut out 3 or 4 inch circles.

Put a dollop of filling in the middle of each circle. Fold up the sides to make a triangle, folding the last corner under the starting point, so that each side has corner that folds over and a corner that folds under. Folding in this “pinwheel” style will reduce the likelihood that the last side will fall open while cooking, spilling out the filling. It also tends to make a better triangle shape.

Bake at 350 degrees for about 15-20 minutes, until golden brown but before the filling boils over!

The number of cookies this recipe makes depends on the size of your cutting tool and the thickness you roll.
Wheat-Free, Gluten-Free Variation
Substitute 2 cups of buckwheat flour and 1/2 cup of milled flax seed for the white and wheat flour. Reduce the baking powder to 1 tsp. The resulting hamantaschen will have an unusual pumpernickel color, but they taste great! Make sure the buckwheat flour you use is wheat-free/gluten-free! Sometimes buckwheat flour is mixed with white or wheat flour. Hodgson Mill buckwheat and flax are gluten-free and have reliable kosher certification.

POPPY SEED FILLING:

1 c. poppy seed
1/2 c. water or milk
1/4 c. honey
2 tbsp. sugar
1/8 tsp. salt
1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
1 lg. egg, slightly beaten

Combine first 5 ingredients in a saucepan. Cook over moderate heat until thick, stirring constantly, about 10 minutes. Add lemon juice. Add a little of the hot mixture to the beaten egg and then stir into the remaining poppy seed mixture. Cool thoroughly before using.
Makes sufficient filling for 2 1/2 dozen Hamantaschen.