Friday, April 30, 2010

Nanna and Daddin

A painting for my grandparents, Ardith Valentine and Frank Edie Curran, Jr., celebrating their 60 years of love.

en la mañana

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Dr. Curran

We're not gonna lie, the job search has been more difficult than we imagined. But the great thing about living in Mexico City is that there are certain shortcuts...

I went on a secret mission the other day to Plaza Santo Domingo in the chaotic Centro Historico. Essentially, it's the print-making district and the place to go for wedding invitations and business cards. The antique presses alone are worth the trip, but I had ulterior motives. Rumor has it that this is also where people go to get counterfeit official documents made.

I passed through one of the shops from the street and continued down a dimly lit hallway. It led to a smokey, windowless den with the thick smell of incense and one bare light-bulb hanging from the ceiling. (I couldn't believe it, it was just like the movies.) I waited for the guys behind the desk to notice that a terrified gringo had entered the building. One of them eventually looked up, so I began right away with my prepared script,
"I was wondering... if I could get a... dentist's license... for a friend."
His face lit up, "Oh, of course! What's the name? What do you want it to say?"
He had obviously done this before and had the whole system worked out. He also got a real kick out of the fact that it was for a joke. We designed it together and he had it ready in just a few hours. And now, for better or for worse, Kenny is a certified dentist.

As I stepped outside the highly illegal looking illegal print-shop with my fake diploma, I noticed that I was standing across the street from Mexico's Ministry of Education!


Tortilla Española

How to make two eggs serve four people.

Slice 2 potatoes as thin as possible and fry them in oil with salt. Meanwhile, wisk two eggs together in a bowl with salt and pepper. I sometimes add onions or jalepenos to the potatoes at this time as well. When cooked through, add the potatoes to the eggs, stir, and return to the pan which should now be on low heat. Pat down and shake till they seem settled. When you sense the bottom is browning, flip the tortilla (probably with the help of a plate) and cook the other side. Salsa, crema, or avocado are excellent toppings.


Saturday, April 17, 2010

food lately

These lentils were heavily spiced with chipotle and jalepeno, but a cooling drizzle of crema smoothed them out. The salad is avocado and purslane dressed with olive oil. Purslane is called verdolagas in Mexico and is extremely common here and often the freshest green in the market, however Mexicans rarely eat it raw. In the states purslane is sold at farmers' markets, but at the same time grows between cracks in the sidewalk and weeded out of gardens. It has a tart citrus flavor that is also very cooling.

I bought some filets of "cazon" which I later found out is like dogfish (a small shark). I marinated it in miso, lime juice, and coriander before pan-searing it. The noodles below are buckwheat soba noodles from a Japanese store near our school. They are dressed in olive oil with parsley, mint, and cucumber ribbons. The red sauce is a puree of roasted red pepper with only a touch of balsamic, salt, and cayenne. More mint, parsley, and olive oil top the fish.

Mangos are in season! They are SO good and cheaper than potatoes. We've been buying the small yellow kind, but the mercados have a variety of colors and sizes. In this dessert, crisp cold cucumber tempers the mango's sweetness and the whole thing is flecked with mint.


Friday, April 9, 2010

Mexico in Black and White

The photography of Lazaro Blanco

Lazaro Blanco (b. 1938) is a Mexico City based photographer and has a retrospective exhibition up at the Centro de la Imagen. His compositions are pensive studies of geometry, light/shadow, and individuals he encounters in daily life. The people in his photos tend to be unaware of the camera and concentrating on a specific task. I feel a real kinship with his style of working. He's an unobtrusive observer who can capture a concise, visual idea through the lens. The power of his work comes from a lifetime of accumulating these little thoughts.


Sunday, April 4, 2010

Three Breakfasts

Easter brunch: Poached egg with avocado and potatoes. The potatoes were strewn with a generous amount of poblano and bell peppers that had been roasted on the stove top.

Oven-caramalized tomatoes sweetened with balsamic vinegar were leftover from a soup PJ made the night before. The eggs were cracked directly into the stewed tomatoes and covered until perfectly cooked. Thats fresh basil on top. If we could just shell out the bucks for some olive oil...

These savory whole wheat pancakes were loaded with golden squash blossoms and grated squash. Crisp purple cabbage turns electric pink with the acidity of lime juice. And of course, eggs and avocado!