31 January 2015

Cebollas Curtidas

While I was in Coba, I was able to pick up a few Seville oranges.  I'd have liked to bring more back, but I'm hoping to go to Abastos soon and get a lot to freeze because I LOVE them.  There is nothing quite like them.  Maybe someone I can live in Merida for a while and cook with them every day.

There are lots of great recipes that use bitter oranges, but I turned the ones I bought into cebollas curtidas.

Juice of three narajanas agrias
1/2 kilo red onions, sliced
1/2 tsp salt, or to taste
Other spices, if desired, like a bit of allspice, black pepper, and/or cloves

Cover the red onions with boiling water and let them sit for 1 minute, then drain.  Combine with the juice, salt, and spices and let sit for an hour.  They'll just get better and better the longer they sit and will last quite a while in the fridge.  I can't imagine them last more than a day, though.

These go on lots of different things.  I put them on mole here at home, but they should be on tacos, salbutes, panuchos, pibils, and various other meat dishes.  Or anything else you like.  They are amazing.

Sayil

Be ready to walk a lot at this site if you want to see everything and to keep walking even if you think the road isn't going anyway.  Just sayin'.

Another Late Classic site.





30 January 2015

Delicious!

This is Ruth Reichl's first novel.  This is certainly not great literature and it's rather trite, but there's good food and a mildly interesting plot element which is worthwhile in the middle even if it fizzles out at the end.  This is strictly fun with your brain turned off.

Xlapak

This is a smaller site tucked between Sayil and Labna that a lot of people skip.  I think it's worth going to, but since most of the people we saw this day were with a guide coming down from Merida, I can see why they didn't go here.  The decoration is beautiful.

This is late Classic (700-900 AD).





29 January 2015

Anywhere But Saudi Arabia

This was an interesting expat book by a women who ended up living in Saudi for decades after having no interest in going there in the first place (they never do).  It focused a lot on her though, and how she entertained herself in the country and the important people she worked with, but you can tell she loves the place and that's always good to read even if she and I wouldn't have been expat buddies.

Labna

This was our first site along the Ruta Puuc south of Santa Elena.  We did all the the sites that are officially on the route except Loltun since it's further away and involves no pyramids.  Caves are cool, but this was the pyramid adventure.

This is a late Classic site and well worth visiting.









28 January 2015

Apples of Uncommon Character

So this really is a book about apples.  There are some recipes at the end but mostly it's about a lot of the apples of the world.  Even Central Asian wild apples get a mention (and I finally have a recipe that I can use with all the little apples that people sell off their trees in Kyrgyzstan).  I didn't try any recipes because Mexico has only Red Delicious, Golden Delicious, Granny Smith, and Galas (and a few others in the big grocery stores, plus a few unidentified types from northern Mexico that I get at Abastos), but when I get back to Virginia, I'll get this one again.  It was lovely to read.

Tabasqueno

Apparently a man from Tabasco lived near this site in the late 1800s and that's why it picked up this name.

The site is 6 km north of Dzibalchen with a turnoff on the west side of the road. They're working on upgrading it to a site where you have to pay a fee, but when we went the road was still awful- by far the worst road we drove on during the whole trip.  But since they've built bathrooms there and are putting up better signs (there's a good one if you're coming from the south, but it's easy to miss the sign if you're coming from the north), I expect they'll fix the road and start charging around 39 pesos to visit before too much longer.  I'm glad the road wasn't closed while we were there.

It's a pleasant, small, and peaceful site.  No one was sitting at the desk when we arrived, but there were people raking at the site and they called the entrance guy so we could sign in when we left.  We were the only visitors.

This is also a Late Classic site, peaking around 800 AD.

Also, there are some really cool trees here.







27 January 2015

Deep Down Dark

I read this because it was recommended on NPR and I liked it a lot, especially after living in a Latin American country for a while.  Definitely worth reading and I think the author did a good job with a major task.

Hochob

This is another smallish site, but it's worth visiting.  It's Chenes style and probably from the Late Classic, around 800 AD.






26 January 2015

In the Land of Invisible Women

I've started reading books by expats in Saudi Arabia.  This was the first and it's a little different because, while the author was raised in the West, she's Muslim.  I think the combination of her perceptions about life as a woman raised in the UK and educated in the US with her Muslim identify while living in Saudi is fascinating.  And you don't find many expat books where the author is able to go on the Hajj.  I'm glad I read this one first.

Xtampak

I'd had this as a possible site to visit, but we weren't sure about going there since it was a bit of a drive off the main road.  But when we were at Tohcok, the man there said it was the place site in the area to visit and said there was a better road there than Google Maps knew about so we went there next.  I'm glad we did.

They think it was settled in 400 BC which makes this a rather old site and it was abandoned around 1000.  It's a large site with lots of places to poke around.  Almost no one was there.  It mostly has Chenes-style architecture which is mostly found south of this site around Dzibilchen, but also some Puuc influence from up closer to Uxmal.

There's a turnoff just north of Hopelchen to the site and you follow the road for about 20-30 minutes to get there.  It's a little narrow, but it didn't have much traffic and it's paved the whole way.  We did get stuck waiting for corn to be loaded.  The road was lovely with yellow flowers crowding us.












25 January 2015

Two Banh Mi Toppings

1/2 pound shallots or red onions, chopped into wedges, soaked for a bit, and drained

Put the onions in a jar, then bring the following to a boil:

2/3 cup vinegar
1/3 cup water
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup sugar

Dump that over the onions, let cool, and refrigerate.

----------

3.5 cups shredded cabbage (red or green)

Put the cabbage in a jar, then bring the following to a boil:

3/4 cup vinegar
2/3 cup water
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 1/4 tsp salt
Pour that over the cabbage,  add a strip of lemon or lime peel, cool, and refrigerate

Tacob/Tohcok

There's not a lot to see at this since since most of it hasn't been excavted, but it's right on the road just outside Hopelchen and easy to stop at.  There's also a friendly and chatty man working there who convinced us to go to Xtampak next.

The first photo is a typical Mayan house. Also, we saw lots and lots of iguanas on this trip.









24 January 2015

Campeche

After Edzna we drove into Campeche in search of a place to stay where we could watch the national championship football game on ESPN.  After trying a few places, we found a rather unique hotel a few buildings down from the cathedral.  It's not the sort of place I'd have expected to watch American football, but it worked nicely, especially since there was a very local and inexpensive restaurant a couple more buildings down.

Campeche's old city is a UNESCO site and it really is a lovely place.  I wish we'd had more time there, but at least we had a little time.  There are city walls from the days of pirate attacks.