Monday, September 16, 2013

Slices of Life from Belize: September 16, 2013

Don't Know Why, There's No Sun Up In The Sky -- Stormy Weather

Well, it seems my Open Letter to Invest 93L produced results, just not the ones I was hoping for. The storm made a name for herself, now known as Tropical Storm Ingrid, and it has been pounding Mexico, along with her brother, Tropical Storm Manual. And here in Corozal? It's still been raining. Matter of fact, as I write this there is a rather large cell hovering over us, and we're just waiting for the skies to open up...again. And unfortunately, the forecast doesn't look too promising for the next couple of days either. Rumblings of ark building are starting to take over many a Facebook chat. A number of people who have lived here far longer than we have say they can't remember it being this rainy for so many consecutive days. 

And if you recall from my note to Invest 93L, I posted some pictures of the road in front of Dave and Dianna Rider's house. If you want to find out more about what it's been like having a quagmire at your doorstep, then pop on over to their blog and read the latest entry, "Stuck in the Muck Again." 

Photo courtesy of Lynn Nichiporowich 

All I know is that this weather has gotten really old and my laundry pile is almost out of control.

Art In The Park

On Saturday night David and I decided that no matter what kind of weather we might have, we were going to check out the Art In The Park Festival in downtown Corozal. Specifically, we wanted to see the latest paintings from Ashani and see what other vendors might have to offer.

Unfortunately, it was a bit of a bust. The rains put more than a damper on the turnout, and it wasn't the best weather to display water-based paintings. 

But I thought I would share a painting I bought from Ashani last month:

David made the frame and we have it hanging out in our porch. Of course, he had some help with the installation.

Miss Bronte (a.k.a. KitKat, a.k.a. #$%&^&% when she is really bad, which is frequently) found out that ladders can be great playthings. However, it does make it a bit more of a challenge to do anything while she's on it.

Temporary Guests

As a result of the rain we've been having, we had an unexpected visitor on the outside of our screen door:

And yes, it is a tarantula. I named her Clarice, and she hung out with us, shielded from most of the rain, for the entire day and part of the evening. Bronte showed some initial interest in her, but quickly tired of that game and left Clarice in peace.

The other visitor we had was...

...this incredible moth. With no exaggeration, its wingspan was at least six or seven inches and it's coloring was exactly like tree bark. 

Thanks to my fellow blogger and Facebook friend, Papi Thomas, he enlightened me on what it was: "We've been visited as well. I think it's called the Black Witch Moth. "Mariposa de la muerte" Mexican folklore, a harbinger of death. But in Yucatek Maya it is X-mahan-nah which means "borrow house". Ours just borrowed the bathroom for a few hours before we released him."

And hey, speaking of Facebook, feel free to send me a friend request so you can find out some of the whacky and not-so-whacky stuff that goes in our lives here in Belize between blog posts.

Quick Bites

I had fun in the kitchen last week making some old favorites and trying a couple of new recipes. Here are some of the things that appeared on our dinner table:

Asian Chicken Burgers with Cabbage Slaw - the burger is a riff on a recipe from Sara Moulton. It's nice change of pace from a beef burger, and the soy sauce, ginger, and sesame oil add amazing flavor. For the slaw, I used the leftover cabbage from the burger, julienned some carrots, and made a cooked dressing that included eggs, apple cider vinegar, sugar, mustard, salt, pepper, and a bit of crema.

Black beans, Tomatoes, Italian sausage with white rice - One of the things I love about this dish is that it is incredibly versatile. Have leftover chicken bits or ground beef? Substitute it for the sausage. Want a veggie version? Skip the protein altogether. If I'm feeling ambitious, I'll soak and cook dried black beans. But if you're looking for a quicker method, canned beans work just fine. Saute some onions, stir in some cumin, a touch of cayenne pepper, the beans with a bit of their juice, tomatoes, and browned sausage, and you've got dinner! If David had his way, we would have this once a week, every week.

BLT with Fried Egg served on Homemade Cuban Bread and Pan Fried Potatoes - These are all my favorite foods right on one plate. Swoon! This is the dish I would eat at least once a week, every week. I want to send a shout-out to Mardi and Mike Rathbun for sharing this sandwich recipe with me on Facebook.

Garlic Roasted Shrimp with Sherry-Tomato Sauce served over Homemade Pasta - I often make garlic roasted shrimp. Super simple to do, too. Just smash up about four cloves of garlic, throw them into about 2/3 cup of olive oil, and saute until the garlic starts to brown. Discard the garlic, then pour the garlic olive oil over the shrimp and pop into a pre-heated 425-degree oven for 8 minutes. But this time, I wanted to try a different direction. I made the shrimp as noted above, but also put together a sherry vinegar and tomato sauce that we had in another fish recipe not too long ago. For that, I put some chopped tomatoes, onions,  sherry vinegar, salt, and pepper into the food processor. Whizzed it around for a bit, then added about 1/2 cup of the garlic olive oil the shrimp cooked in. After cooking the homemade pasta, I piled on the garlic shrimp and drizzled the sherry-tomato sauce over everything. Very tasty! Next time, I'll try to remember to sprinkle some chopped parsley over the top to add some color contrast to the plate and be able to say in all honesty that there are greens in the meal.

 Pan Grilled Fish Fillet Sandwiches with Onion Strings - That sherry tomato sauce I used in the pasta dish? Well the leftovers got used on this fish sandwich. And please don't ask me what kind of fish it is. None of it is labeled in the stores, and when I've asked the most common reply after, "I don't know" is "It's seafish." But whatever it is, it tastes great and only takes about seven minutes of cooking per side on medium(ish) heat. However, the real star on the plate, in my humble opinion, are these onion strings. They are so seriously good that you can't stop eating them and may not want regular ole' onion rings again.


  1. I can almost smell those shrimp, Mmmmmm

  2. Looks like you have been staying entertained by cooking while it rains! Seriously - some great looking food. Most of our rain down here in the Monkey River area has been at night. But yesterday and today were VERY HOT, the hottest I have been yet. Used 2 fans all night long just to keep it tolerable. Am looking forward to trying some of your recipes. May start with the onion strings. Thanks for the link to the recipe! Cheers.

  3. Hi Wilma,
    How about this: I'll trade you one day of heat for one day of rain here? Watcha' think? We have another system hovering over us as of this morning, so we're in for a continued wet ride for at least the next day or two.

    Glad you like the recipes and I would definitely do those onion strings.