30 October 2014

Responsibility to Stop the Extremists

Let's say the KKK committed some horrible atrocity in a country (let's call it Grillo) where there aren't many Christians.  Previous to that atrocity, most people in Grillo either knew nothing about Christians or had a vague sense of distrust about Christians, partly because they only ever hear about Radical Christianists (which is what people in Grillo call the type of people who are associated with the KKK).  There are very few Christians in Grillo.  When the Radical Christianists/KKK commit that evil act, everyone in Grillo thinks there is a connection with the Christians living there.  The Christians there say they have nothing to do with the KKK/Radical Christianists (it's never even occurred to them that anyone would connect them with violent radicals like that) and condemn the violence, just like everyone else in Grillo does. But for years afterward everyone in Grillo keeps telling the Christians they have to do something about the KKK/Radical Christians because there must be something wrong with Christianity to produce radical Christianists, or that the religion is backward and it needs to make major changes so that Radical Christianists will disappear.

This is obviously hasn't really happened anywhere, but it illustrates why I get frustrated when people ask why Muslims aren't stopping violence that is committed in the name of Islam, or at least speaking out against it.  Leaving aside the fact that many Muslims do speak out against it (even if you don't see that on the news), I don't want to put the responsibility for finding a way to stop extremists on moderate Muslims any more than I feel any responsibility to stop the KKK. The KKK may say they're Christian and following Biblical principles, but their ideas are so far from my reality that I feel absolutely no connection to them.

29 October 2014

Enchiladas Master List

I'm not much of a fan of Tex-Mex enchiladas in the US, with their canned enchilada sauce or ground beef or boringness.  But I love making them here.  You just need 12 fresh corn tortillas, a filling, and a sauce.  A lot of the family likes them and they're about as close as I ever get anymore to making a casserole. Also, I skip rolling them up because certain members of my family are uncultured and cut off the ends of three enchiladas if I do.  I can't stand that.

These aren't all technically enchiladas.  In fact, I can find no agreement on what an enchilada actually is because I think there is no rule that applies to all of Mexico.  You could call these baked tacos, but that doesn't give the right impression for a USian.

I spread a little of the sauce on the bottom of a 9x13 inch baking dish, then layer 6 tortillas on the bottom.  Add your filling, a little of the sauce if you like, then top with the other 6 tortillas.  Add the rest of the sauce and top with crema, cheese, or onions, if you like.  I usually bake them at 175/350 for about 20 minutes, but some don't need to be baked.

You can mix and match sauces and fillings if you want. I have a lot more things to try, but these are what we've liked so far. Some are numbered so you can see the recommended combinations. If there's no number, they work with lots of things.


  1. 300 grams adobera or queso fresco or other cheese with lots of chopped onion (5)
  2. 1.5 cups cooked, shredded chicken with 2 large poblanos turned into rajas (3)
  3. 300 grams adobera or other cheese with 3 large poblanos turned into rajas (1) (2)
  4. 7 scrambled eggs with chopped onion (4)
  5. Chorizo and onion
  6. Squash flowers
  7. Eggs with tomatoes, or with salsa, either red or green
  8. Shredded chicken


  1. 3-4 Roma tomatoes blended with a chunk of onion and fried in a bit of oil for a couple minutes.  Return the sauce to the blender with about 1-1.5 cup of jocoque and blend again.  (3) 
  2. Tomatillo salsa  (3)
  3. Blend 1 cup cooked tomatillos, 3 roasted and cleaned poblanos, some cilantro, and 1/2 cup peanuts.  Fry in a bit of oil over medium-high heat for 5 minutes, then add some salt and 1/2 cup water.  (2)
  4. Blend 1 lb tomatoes, 1 clove garlic, and 2 toasted serranos.  Fry for 5 minutes in a little oil, cool a little, then add salt and 1/2 cup crema and heat gently. (4)
  5. Blend four soaked, stemmed, and deveined ancho chiles with two cups of milk, 2 cloves of garlic, and a little salt.  Fry it in a bit of oil, then simmer for about 10 minutes.  You can add 1 T of sugar too.  (1)

28 October 2014

Day of the Dead Market

We were able to go to the Day of the Dead Market at Morelos Park again this weekend.  This is a definite don't-miss in Guadalajara.

26 October 2014

Green Jocoque Enchiladas

This is really similar to this recipe, but it's even easier.

12 fresh corn tortillas
1-1.5 cups jocoque
300 grams cheese (adobera is best)
Rajas from 3-6 poblanos
1-1.5 cups tomatillo salsa

Heat the oven to 175/350. Smear a bit of salsa on the bottom of a 9x13 baking dish and layer on half the tortillas.  Cover those with the rajas and cheese, then add some of the jocoque and more green salsa.  Cover with the rest of the tortillas and top with the remaining jocoque and salsa.

I think the best substitute for jocoque is probably mixing equal parts crema and plain yogurt.  I need to experiment with that more, but it probably won't be till I leave Mexico.

How the Other Half Lives

I was poking around Librivox to find something to listen to and this was it.  You never quite know what you're going to get with Librivox since they have volunteer readers, and you never love all the readers if you get different people reading different chapters, but it's still a great project.

Anyway, this is a good book and really interesting.  It was hard to listen to the Jacob Riis' acceptable-for-the-time attitudes about different people, especially when he was trying to raise awareness about real life in the tenements, but other than that, this was completely fascinating.  It would have been better to read it rather than listen to it, though, since Riis was a photojournalist.

25 October 2014

Quick Just-Rice Horchata

I love horchata but the traditional method requires way too much advanced planning for me so I need a quicker version. My mother has an even quicker one that uses coconut milk and rice milk that I love, but since I usually don't have coconut milk around (although I could use the coconut drinks they sell everywhere here, and maybe I will someday), here's a version that uses just rice, water, cinnamon, and sugar (no almonds because that would require more effort on my part).

1/3 cup rice
2.5 cups water
1/4 c sugar
Lots of cinnamon (powdered or sticks)

Put the rice and 1 cup water in a large dish (I used a 4-cup Pyrex thing) and microwave till the water comes to a boil.  Let it sit for a few minutes if you have time, then dump it in a blender with the rest of the water, the sugar and the cinnamon.  Blend it up till it's smooth and you're done.

You add more or less water if you like (I'd go with more water rather than less), or more or less sugar.  Some people add some milk.  You can add vanilla.  Or anything else that you think is good.


This is another zombie apocalypse book and I liked it.  I thought the bad guy was boring and trite, but other than that, this was a great book.  And the entire series is out which makes life easier.

23 October 2014

Jerusalem: The Biography

One of my favorite things is when I find a new history or (best of all) autobiography of an ancestor.  It doesn't matter if I know a lot about them or almost nothing; it's always fascinating to read a different take on their lives and also to read again about the best parts.

That is exactly what I felt like when I was listening to this book.  Bridget recommended it a while ago and I thought I ought to read it, but didn't and forgot about it, till a few weeks ago when something jogged my memory and I checked it out.  I hadn't read much about Jerusalem for the last 10 or so years at least, but reading this was like meeting an old friend again.  The stories, the history, the dates, everything, were all familiar, but also refreshing and new.

I wouldn't have told everything in the same way, of course, and the reader mispronounced a lot of Arabic words (and has picked up the unfortunate switching of "g" for "q" so Qaytbay was Gaytbay, for example), but I love listening to this.  It's long and might seem a bit rambly, but so good.

Monday Night

We went back to the Basilica on Monday night because the festivities were still going on.  There were long lines of people to go in the church, lots of danzas, and all your normal Mexican fiestaness.

22 October 2014

Street Art

21 October 2014

Majd Again

I was having a chat about the word/name Majd with Bridget and remembered that I didn't mention one more time we used it in our wedding rings.  You can see mine below and I hope you can see that it says majd if you know Arabic.  It's also engraved on his ring.  Neither of us ever wear jewelry, but we still like our rings. :)

One More Sunday

20 October 2014

19 October 2014

The Book of Life

I wanted to see this film because Mexico. The plot isn't the best, but that was good because my Spanish is only up to a simple plot.  I also wanted to watch it in Spanish with a Mexican audience even though it's aimed at an American audience. So we went last night and I really liked it.

You read and hear so much that's negative about Mexico, but this is a beautiful, colorful, and creative look at one of the many positive parts of the country and I hope lots of Americans see it.

The Pilgrimage

Sunday morning was dark (obviously) and rainy (unfortunately) before dawn, so we skipped going back to the Cathedral (also because a million people, literally) and drove to about the halfway point of the pilgrimage and watched everyone streaming by when we were a little more awake.  We happened to be near the church along the route where the car for the Virgin stops briefly.

A lot of these photos from the Romeria are of danzas. Some groups walk, some dance the entire way, some carry drums along, others roll them, some wear very elaborate clothing.  A ethnomusicologist friend of ours told us after last year's Romeria that these groups are mestizos using dancing created after the Spanish conquest that were specifically designed to be part of Catholic worship in Mexico.

Most of the route is along Camacho which is a divided road.  People walked along one side the danzas and other groups were on the other side, with the Virgin following them at the end.  When we were watching near the Basilica last year, we only saw the danzas coming in.  The walkers went in a different way.

A huge number of people participate in this.  We had people streaming by completely filling a 6-lane highway, for two hours.  Then there are all the people watching, the city employees from both Guadalajara and Zapopan, volunteers helping to make everything run smoothly, people who work for the churches, and vendors galore.  I can easily believe that 1 million people are involved in some way (I've seen crazy high estimates of 2-3 million people, but that seems unbelievable.  But one million I can believe).

I think we lucked out in how we saw this even both years.  I liked going to the Basilica and being on that end very much, and I'd probably recommend that option for people going just once, but I loved going to the Cathedral the night before when it wasn't so crowded (and you have to get there really early and hope you find parking).  Watching along the route was good too because I felt like we were part of it a little more.

Also, I liked the man handing out oranges to everyone.

18 October 2014

17 October 2014

16 October 2014

Romeria 2014

It's probably going to take me a week to get through these photos.

Our Romeria watching started on Saturday night when we went down to the Cathedral at around 9 PM.  There were lots of people but it wasn't insanely crowded.  The line to get in the Cathedral was long so we didn't try to go in, but we talked to people and took photos.  Lots of people were planning on walking in the morning, and some told us they were going to walk during the night when it wasn't so crowded.

Also, lots of food.  Including steamed vegetables.  I've never seen steamed vegetables as street food at something like this.