Thursday, October 25, 2012

Luiz on the move

The floral factory is reving up.

In preparation for Luiz hosting an artisan booth in Niteróis Central Park, Luiz has been full tilt buying flowers and making arrangements.

We took a trip to Centro Rio to buy flowers and containers. (And to enjoy a fresh Mediterrainean food lunch.)

Now Luiz's workshop is well stocked and waiting for his next inspired moment. He already has more than 30 arrangements ready to go.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Luiz at the art fair

We live one block from the main park in Niterói. Every weekend the park fills with families taking their kids to the carni-rides (merry-go-round, bumper cars, swirling tea cups, etc.), regular child play structures and balloon and ice cream vendors.

There is usually musical entertainment in the central elevated gazebo. Plus folks stroll through the park enjoying the dozens of stands selling hand crafted items, or food.

We often buy fresh gnochi from the lady who does it so well.

Luiz has just been awarded a space at the fair to sell his flowers - "permanent botanicals" to be specific (plastic/silk flowers). He competed with more than 200 artisans for a spot.

He has been pumping out designs and is ready for his debut. Luiz is in the zone!

The launch is in late October -- just in time for Xmas designs.

Pictures to come...

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Voting in the USA election from Brazil

Last time around, in 2008, we spent US$80 to have our absentee ballots from Polk County, Florida sent by DHL. OUCH! I then took them to the USA Consulate General in Rio to have them returned - not wanting to go anywhere near the DHL office!

We´re getting a little wiser as time goes by.

This time around I requested email ballots from the Polk County election board, which were dispatched within a couple of days. And again I will take them to the USA Consulate General in Rio where they will be returned via their daily mail pouch to the States -- free of charge (via the Citizen Services office).

The ballot comes with an envelope cover page that provides free postage. So once the mail pouch makes it back to Wash. DC, they just drop it into the regular postal service and it makes its way back to the Polk County election office.

This time around it will only cost me bus fare to submit both mine and Luiz´s ballots.

Since we are registered voters in Florida - our votes to re-elect President Obama are crucial.

Expats can get more information about voting from abroad at

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Perfect enchilada sauce

Do you have a deep clay pot - or a dutch oven? You will need one or the other to make the best enchilada sauce ever.

As usual, my experience comes from referencing the Moosewood Cookbook.

Here we go -

Chop one cup of onion and two cloves (or more) of garlic.

Prepare three cups of chopped, peeled tomatoes. Blanch the tomatoes to get the skins to peel off, then chop them up.

Have ready 1 cup of water, 1 tsp. salt, 1 tsp. cumin, 1/4 tsp. ground coriander, 2 tsp. dry red wine, 1/2 tsp cayanne, 1/4 tsp black pepper, 1/2 tsp chili powder, 2 Tablespoons tomato paste, and two Tablespoons olive oil.

Sauté onions and garlic in olive oil with 1/2 tsp salt until the onions are clear. Add spices. Transfer to your heavy pan and add the peeled tomatoes, water, tomato paste and wine.  Add remaining salt. Cover and simmer 1/2 hour -- longer is better.

Hot spices tend to get hotter as they cook - so pay attention. You might want to add some minced jalapenios (minus the seeds) - just to scare the horses.

This is a very versatile sauce. Take it where you will.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

A cruise on the bay

One of the advantages of your husband being a registered tour guide in Rio state is that you get to go on free trips sponsored by tour groups that want you to bring tourists to their business.

This time around we took a bay cruise.

I can see why it would be fun for tourists - lots of fantastical sights and lots of time on the bay. But I was a bit underwhelmed. Call be cynical...

But naturally - we had fun with our friends.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Seasoning our clay pot

I´m getting ready to make a seafood moqueca in our new clay pot. [First I´m gonna make a big Mexican feast for some local friends - this Friday - who do not have a lot of experience with Mexican food - but love it all the same.]

In preparation for the moqueca I needed to season our new clay pot.

Soaking in water.

So first I soaked the clay pot in water for a while. Then I put big chunks of fatty bacon into the pot and slowly simmered the meat to share its fatty deliciousnous with the clay pot - the pot drinking up all the fat.

Bacon chunks in a water bath.

Then I fed the edible bits of the bacon to my husband.

Cooked down bacon - ready to eat.

Finally I wiped out the pot and now consider it ready to cook a nice meal.  Stay tuned.

Seasoned pot - with the decorated lid on the stove just above it.