Friday, May 12, 2017


I never, ever thought I would keep doing this. I figured I'd take advantage of the free week they offered me, and that would be it. They'd never sucker me in -- an experienced cook who had no need for their step-by-step instructions and little video tutorials. And yet here I am, months later, ordering a box filled with the ingredients for three meals almost every week, unless we are going to be out of town or have too many evening functions going on. Why? Because the food is so damn good, that's why! And because I don't have to think about what to cook, or drive over to stores in Austin to round up a bunch of obscure ingredients that I may not ever use again and will end up languishing in my frig or pantry until they are way past their expiration date. Here is what we ate this week.

Spicy Pepper and Ricotta Calzones with a Cucumber, Romaine and Feta Salad

Sautéed mini sweet peppers plus tomato sauce, olives, peperoncini and ricotta made up the filling.
The dough comes pre-mixed, so all I have to do is roll it out.
Sugar Snap Pea Risotto with Mascarpone Cheese and Mint

I'd always heard that making risotto was super tedious, but their method allowed you to add all the rice and liquid at once.
The epitome of spring goodness, sweet sugar snap peas and fresh mint.
And for a rich, creamy counterpoint to that spring green, mascarpone cheese, butter, and a sprinkling of parmesan.

Last, but not least...

Roasted Pork Tacos with Spicy Pinto Beans & Lime Sour Cream

All this for maybe an hour to one and a half hours of my time, three nights per week. If you have a sous chef who helps with the chopping, it goes even faster. When you consider that we usually have enough leftovers for a fourth meal, and that there were no trips to the grocery store, no time spent pouring through recipes and making grocery lists, and no time trying to figure out how to do what and when, to get it all to come out ready at once, I'd say that's a pretty fair trade off. Most important of all, less time wandering the aisles trying to think what to cook means less chance of ending up with a cart full of really unhealthy impulse buys. Just sayin'.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017


By the fourth day of our San Miguel adventure, it was time to split up and do our own thing. I could walk all day, and often do. What I don't like is climbing. My short legs just aren't built for it. So when three of the gals decided to go off on a pyramid climbing adventure, I opted to go explore the outer regions of San Miguel on my own -- areas I never made it to the last time.  Of course, now that I think about it, of the three adventurers who did go to the pyramids, one has legs even shorter than mine, one was already scheduled for a consult with a knee-replacement specialist even before this trip, and the third still wears an ankle brace from a horrific tennis injury years ago. So I guess I have no real excuse. I just hate climbing.

If you are ever in San Miguel de Allende, and want to do some pyramid climbing yourself, the group to go with is Albert Coffee Tours, and be sure to include the optional lunch afterwards. Apparently Coffee, a university professor who actually worked on the excavation, really knows his stuff.

I think our gals enjoyed the lunch afterwards -- all local and traditional and served in a cafe owned by Rossana Quiroz Ennis -- even more than the climb. Especially those custom-printed tortillas! Rossana has a PhD in Cultural Astronomy, and was able to tell them all about the sun, moon and stars, as seen and understood by the pyramid builders themselves.

When we all met up at our courtyard table back at the hotel, the adventure gals passed out tiny twigs for us to chew on, which they were given at the end of their meal as a breath refresher and digestive. It was kind of like chewing both grass and pop rocks at the same time. All I have to say is...

it must be an acquired taste.

Monday, May 8, 2017


The next couple of days in San Miguel were devoted to scouting out the local artisans, both at Fábrica La Aurora (a converted cotton mill housing many galleries and studios where you can actually see the artists at work and, if you have time and plan ahead, take a workshop yourself) and at the Mercado de Artesanias ( a couple of pedestrian streets filled with booths selling all sorts of local handicrafts), and on all the streets in between.

Setting off for Fábrica La Aurora with Patty and Outdoor Woman

Fiber Woman, of course, was entranced by one of a kind ensembles featuring hand-painted fabrics.
Pottery by husband and wife duo DaNisha
So much eye-candy, so little time.