The Only Margaritas I’ve Ever Loved and Scallops with Bacon Beurre Blanc de Tocino and Cilantro

01.3.12

In 1993 I discovered margaritas. One week later my boyfriend, my gay travel-mate and I were spilling a pitcher of margaritas on a pool table in a crappy bar in the middle of a Colorado Winter. A few hours later I found out that my boyfriend was curious about kissing my gay friend and were I not retching I might have cared. That was the one and only week of the margaritas.

One tequila, two tequila, three tequila floor…. as the saying goes.

Almost twenty years later I was able to enjoy a margarita again. During my trip to Gran Velas Riviera Nayarit we sampled dozens of margaritas (sampled folks… it was like one sip of each) and learned to make a few dishes. Chef Claudio Hotter is the executive Chef at Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit, he spent a day cooking with all of us and shared these recipes.

Scallops with Bacon Beurre Blanc de Tocino and Cilantro

4 portions

Ingredients

12 pieces Scallops (vieras)
150 gr. Champignons (mushrooms) (approx 1/3 pound)
Olive oil
Salt, pepper

Beurre Blanc

200 gr. Butter (1 3/4 sticks)
60 gr. Shallot (2 oz)
200 ml. red wine vinegar (3/4 cup)
Salt, pepper
100 gr. Smoked bacon (3.5 ounces)
30 gr. Fine chopped parsley (a sprinkling)

Décor
05 gr. coriander
02 gr. chives
02 gr. Dill
Olive oil
Salt, pepper

Preparation:
Clean all ingredients
Cut the champignons into quarters sauté them in olive oil and season with salt and
pepper.
Sautee the shallot and smoked bacon then add the red wine vinegar and the butter.
Fine chopped parley in our sauce.

Grill the scallops on both sides and season with salt and pepper.
Heat up the champignon and serve it with scallops over it and lastly add the buerre blanc over the grilled scallops.

Garnish with fresh coriander and chives, drop some olive oil over it and
Bon appetite

And to accompany it try this amazing margarita.

Tamarind Mint Margarita

1.5 oz Tamarind Concentrate
4 Fresh Mint Leaves
1.5 oz Tequila
½ oz Controy (Mexican Orange Liqueur)
Dash of Lemon Juice
Dash of Simple Syrup

Preparation:
Mix all ingredients in a shaker filled with ice, shake vigorously and serve in salt-rimmed frosted glass.

I did notice that all the fine dining restaurants in Riviera Nayarit the salts were complex and the margaritas were served in martini glasses. Some of the salts were sweet, others were tart (I loved those) and still others were spicy. I’m not sure where to get all those fabulous salts here in the US, but I’m going to figure it out.

Sayulita: The hippie enclave you MUST visit in Mexico

12.13.11

While staying at Gran Velas in Riviera Nayarit we took a few trips around the region.

My favorite day was spent exploring this tiny little town called Sayulita. It was about a twenty minute scenic drive through the mountains from Riviera Nayarit to Sayulita. The roads weren’t particularly well maintained but the forest was stunning and the slow drive down the mountain where the green canopies parted to reveal azure blue seas.

The town is a typical seaside town. The homes are small and low slung, the streets are cobblestoned and crooked. Children try to sell you string bracelets for just a peso or two and pharmacies do brisk business with American housewives looking for Ritalin and Xanax.

What makes Sayulita unusual is the artisanal community that has sprung up. When we arrived there was a farmer’s market in full force with organic and gluten free offerings.

sayulita farmers market

sayulita farmers market gluten free

Captain Pablo and his wife live in a beautiful casita right on the beach (you can see it’s gate on the top left of the frame). They are from Portland, Oregon and have two sons who are professional surfers.

sayulita surf lessons

There’s a little campground there that looks like a lot of fun for young adults (but not me) as well as quite a few rental homes. When you’re there look for the tortilla factory, if your back is to the ocean it’s up the hill and to the right. Buy a bag of fresh tortilla chips, they are a treat not to be missed.

The Hotel Des Artistes is NOT TO BE MISSED. The art gallery is amazing. You could stay there and spend your days lounging in Sayulita. I haven’t seen the rooms at the Hotel Des Artistes but I’ll give you a little glimpse at our lunch. Take a look at how they serve dessert for large parties.

On our way back to Gran Velas we stopped to watch a Polo Match with the La Patrona team. The horses were beautiful and it was fascinating as I was sitting next to a journalist who happens to be associated with a thoroughbred rescue. She was explaining to me how polo can be deadly for horses and how it’s not a sport that she’d support. But while watching the horses really didn’t corner that quickly (which is how they break legs and lose their lives) and the riders seemed very cognizant of the safety of the horses.

So we sipped fruity cocktails and enjoyed it guilt free.

Polo Grounds

Store Bought Pumpkin Pie

11.22.11

pumpkin pie

Today Alexander’s class is having their Thanksgiving feast. Last week the room mom sent out an email asking everyone to volunteer to bring something and then there were eighty bazillion reply all’s and I set up a filter for the conversation so I didn’t have to be involved but I wanted to hijack the whole thread and put it into a form on Google Apps where it belonged.

I ended up being the pumpkin pie mom. I like pumpkin pie. My mom makes great pumpkin pie. Her pie is so great that I never bothered making it and instead spent my early adulthood perfecting my apple pie. If the class mom asked for apple pie I’d be taking out my mixer and chilled butter and those kids would have a kicky apple pie, but since I spent the last four days in Mexico and it’s the wrong kind of pie I sent my son to school this morning with a pumpkin pie from Trader Joes complete with all the plastic and even the price tag.

I didn’t even have enough shame to transfer the not very impressive pie into a piece of Tupperware like a good mom would.

Instead I’m busy getting the last pieces of paper together to refinance the house and I’m going on a crazy search to find the hibiscus liqueur that I brought back from Riviera Nayarit as a gift for my father, but it exploded all over our luggage instead. If I ever find that same brand I’ll be sure to give y’all the details as it’s a lovely shade of pink but still doesn’t stain clothes.

Alexander is totally obsessed with card tricks. He comes home from school, locks himself in his room and watches YouTube tutorials. After about an hour he’ll emerge to show us a trick. Sometimes it will be good, other times we have to pretend we didn’t see the first mistake and use our best judgment about the second time around.

Jane has her first final exams next week and I’m anxious for her. Today is a full day of school followed by soccer practice, tomorrow is a half day of school followed by more soccer practice and then a fright night sleepover. Fright Night sleepovers are a trio of girls who spend the night at each other’s houses watching scary movies. Thursday is Thanksgiving and then on Friday they play soccer at 8am, 2pm and 5pm. I’m not sure if there are games on Saturday but final exams begin Monday. Jane has an A in every elective and a B+ in every core subject, my hope is that the exams can bring up some of those B’s.

The real overload comes from the fact that Alexander is applying to a different school for 6th grade. It’s incredibly sad in every way because the kids go to a school that’s K-8 and I wanted both kids to have the experience of being in one school for an extended period of time but the fact of the matter is that Alexander had three bad years in a row. His teachers in second, third and fourth grades were let go at the end of each year with him. Jane had those same teachers but she had them in good years. I just can’t risk another year of teacher meltdowns.

There are a million great schools in our part of town but there is only one that appeals to us as a family that has a natural entry in the 6th grade. Alexander has an interview there next week and, being ten, he has a brand new dental appliance that acts as a permanent retainer so the boy now talks like he’s three years old. Totally unintelligible. When I first started exploring new schools I wasn’t firmly committed to making a change, but something happened when I went to this new school. In addition to finding the kids utterly charming, the campus itself is beautiful and there was no religion. I know it doesn’t matter for my kids, but I’m sick and tired of sending them to chapel three days a week. It’s not a real complaint, but it’s something I’m looking forward to closing the door on.

I never thought that this would be a chapter in my life. I never thought a handful of B+’s and a retainer would give me this much anxiety, but it does.

Open Enrollment, Life Insurance and My Will

11.16.11

It’s time for open enrollment at Mr. G’s workplace. I spent an hour trying to figure out how much we might spend on healthcare and childcare next year so that we could contribute the appropriate amount to the Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA’s). Life insurance is a no brainer, we get the maximum for him and the maximum for me. It’s less than $10 a month and it’s not a whole lot of insurance, but it’s something.

This year I noticed something different on the life insurance options. Take a look for yourself.

life_and_accident_insurance

The options are as follows:

  • Employee only
  • Employee + Spouse with the spouse at 50% coverage
  • Employee + Spouse with the spouse at 100% coverage
  • Employee + Children
  • Employee + Family with the spouse at 50% coverage
  • Employee + Family with the spouse at 100% coverage

So I had a little freak out. Because who buys life insurance for children? How would $25,000 help me if something happened to one of my kids? I’d be too busy launching myself off a cliff. I know there are those whole life policies that provide a little savings account… but the thought of it was gruesome. If something happens to Mr. G the kids and will need a shit ton of cash because he does everything here. Everything. If something happened to me Mr. G would have to work very differently and hire someone to replace me. That all makes sense and for a few dollars a month I’ll buy some insurance.

When I thought about possibly clicking the column that would insure the kids I became physically ill. It’s just not something I could insure. Crazy?

Also, I’m off to Mexico tomorrow, specifically Puerto Vallarta. I wasn’t able to get K&R insurance, but I’ve promised my mother I won’t die. I also didn’t update my will. But Mom I’m pretty sure blogs are legal documents so if the plane drops out of the sky please make sure everyone knows that we want my brother to raise the kids. There’s plenty of life insurance and he can have my house. Just make sure no one wears their shoes upstairs, because I’d spin like a rotisserie chicken if my kids were being raised like that.

Is it 2012 Yet?

11.14.11

I woke up at 4.45 am with Mr G so that he could shower before running to the airport. He’s back to New York City for some sort of meeting or conference or maybe he’s just doing some stealth work for the New York Giants… it appears that his screaming from the sofa here in Los Angeles is oftentimes helpful. Perhaps they could use his coaching expertise in person?

On Thursday he’ll leave New York and meet me in Mexico for a quick little trip without the kids. I am so excited I can hardly contain myself. I love the idea of three adult days. I’m not so sure Mr G is happy about it though. He really likes being home, and he was already mumbling about how he hates coming home late on a Sunday.

I tried to buy Kidnap and Ransom insurance but it’s no longer sold for short trips. You have to buy a full year’s worth, and I’m not up for spending that. If we get kidnapped just know that no one will pay the ransom and you can hang out on twitter and look for a new favorite mommy blogger (I am your favorite right?).

I’m stunned that 2011 has sailed by so quickly. I’m not ready for winter, I’m not ready for holidays, I’m not ready for much.

 

Check out this trailer. Dying to see the Hunger Games, I loved the book.