Thursday, February 14, 2013

Chicken Consume

One of the great joys that I have discovered in our travels in Mexico has been chicken consume. It's on most menus and sounds simple, but is consistently the best "chicken soup" I have ever had. While it is consistently good, each restaura...nt has its own variant.

Some use rice, some use pasta and the vegetables can vary a bit, depending on season and locale. It is almost always served with a side of lime (as is everything), chopped jalapeno's and onion and tortilla chips are common. There has often been one ingredient that I had not previously tasted and that was a greenish, potato-like vegetable.

While shopping the other day, I noticed a bin of "chayote" which is a local vegetable that looked like it was a good candidate for the missing ingredient and so I picked it up with the intent of trying my own had at this dish. Alicia and I just had a short bout with our first cold in years and it seemed like the perfect thing to cook up.

I mainly used ingredients on hand in our small little kitchen, including some onion, lime, garlic, avocado, celery, Serrano and red bell pepper and some cilantro. Plus the Chayote and chicken of course. Salt and pepper to taste. Cumin, if you got em.

Normally, I would make my own consume (made from bones, as opposed to a stock, which tends to have meet parts and vegies), but we do not have a large stock pot and no need to make a ton of food to last the week like I often did, back in Ojai, when I was cooking for a whole week at a time or for guests. Most of the markets here have a large Knorr soup and consume section (no, not the cubes; these are big packets) and so I settled for a simple chicken and pasta base.

I think it turned out great and was just the sort of thing we needed to relax at home on this Mexican holiday. It's Constitution Day and this certainly improved mine, if you'll pardon the pun.

The chayote* is now one of my favorite vegies.


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Saturday, February 02, 2013

Chichen Itza International

That was one of my better flight stories. Don't even ask me about that time over STL where we made almost a dozen approaches or the hop from Santa Barbara to San Francisco where we dropped a few thousand feet mid-flight. You know things are out of the ordinary when the attendants start to panic.

I did enjoy the flight from Cancun to Chichen Itza International once. I had no idea that the Maya had built the airport runway, however. I think they have modernized it since I was there back in the 80's.

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Fun Flight Stories

Fun flight story/nightmare: the last time I was in Cancun, I spent a week on Cozumel Island and the night before I was supposed to have left, a huge storm blew in. I could see the ferry bobbing like a cork in the harbor from my hotel room a...nd decide to scratch the hour boat trip in favor of a 15 minute flight.

The aircraft was an old, high-wing prop job that seated about 8-10 people, plus the pilot. There were about 5 passengers and they took right off, spiraling up, looking for daylight. The rain was coming through the doors on either side of me and I ended up holding on to the two door handles, hoping to keep them from blowing open.

Up and up we went, for over a half hour, still looking for daylight. The pilot had a manual open on his leg; not a reassuring sight. Finally after 45 minutes of spiraling, we hit sunshine and the pilot dove for the coast and the Cancun airport.

We literally kissed the ground when we landed. I used to marvel at how my parents came back from vacations having made close friends; now I knew, all of the passengers felt very close to each other after our little "fifteen minute" flight.

Still not sure to this day if this was a better choice than the ferry boat.

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Doing the Unthinkable

OMG! I just did the unthinkable for me. I just booked round trip flights to Cancun to see our friend Robert Scales.

I haven't flown in years, but these are short flights between Veracruz and Cancun, so maybe it'll get me back in the swing of things. I need that because I really want to visit Uruguay and Spain, so maybe I'll get my air legs back.

I don't really mind flying so much as I hate flying in cattle cars. I have taken the stick in a single engine once, that was way cool. They probably won't let me do that on Viva Aerobus :)
— with Alicia Shay in Boca del Río, Veracruz.

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