During this time my father was in a labor camp, for the crime of wanting to leave the country. Alone, and with few provisions, as my mother struggled to care for us, she was struck with inspiration. One day she went out to the back patio to do the wash and saw a cute little frog sitting by the door to the kitchen. My mother has always liked frogs, and this little frog by the kitchen door gave her an idea...
My father and I were very close, but I did not always get along with my mother, so even though she was a marvelous cook, I had never been interested in learning her cooking secrets. However, after my father’s death, I witnessed my mother’s severe deterioration and overwhelming sadness. Looking for a way to engage her, I had the idea to ask her to teach me how to cook like her...
I guess that is why I cringe as I notice the erosion of liberty going on in our society. Many well meaning entities wanting to tell us even something so basic as what we should eat and drink. Let us learn, even educate one another and then make our own choices!
But getting the information we need is not always easy, for example some of us might not want to eat genetically modified food. Fifty other countries label it as such, but not yet the US. California is trying to remedy that with Proposition 37, the California Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act
which will require that genetically engineered food be labeled, so that we have the freedom to choose wether we want to buy it or not. I think the companies fighting this are afraid of what the consumers will choose. If it passes in California, it will benefit the rest of the country. You can learn more about it HERE
This recipe will have you making some choices, since it is not very exact...but it is delicious! I will give you the recipe for a normal size cucumber (I used a giant one this last time), but it's all very much to taste. This is the way my mother always cooked, and I do take after her in that respect.
Pour the apple cider vinegar over the cucumbers and tomatoes, these measurements are estimates because and I never measure it, I just pour some good quality vinegar over it till it looks like enough, and then I taste it.
Then I pour a little less olive oil then the amount of vinegar over the vegetables. Again, the quality of oil will make a difference, use the best you can afford.
Sprinkle with sea salt or Real Salt and grind some fresh pepper over it. Stir and taste. Add more of what ever as needed. You want it to be kind of vinegary and salty.
|Two types of tomatoes and a very large cucumber my niece Michelle gave me|
When my parents came to live with us in Utah, summer became my father's favorite time of the year and not just because he hated cold weather. He loved to grow food and I loved gardening with him. Papillo did the hard work and I helped. It has not been the same gardening on my own, and I'm not as dedicated to daily watering, etc, so I don't get quite the same results, but I feel him close anytime I'm out in the garden.
|Mamina among her beloved roses|
Her rose garden turned out to be the best spot in the yard, and after a while Papillo and I began to covet her prime garden spot, and tried to convince her to let us have it for growing vegetables. She was immune to our persuasive efforts, so I made do in a shady spot and he planted other gardens in our neighbors' yards. One year Papillo planted garlic among Mamina's roses. She was not happy but the roses loved it, and the garlic continued to come up for several years.
I have now planted raspberries that I got from Nina right among the roses and installed a small grow box right in the middle of the roses. It's crowded, random and a bit crazy, but quite effective.
|My garden now|
Here is a recipe I still look forward to making and eating each year. The only thing Cuban about it is that my father made it often, with herbs from our garden. He learned to make it from a Chilean friend of Italian ancestry. He usually left out the nuts, since he “didn’t think they agreed with him” and it was still delicious.
1 lb fresh parsley leaves (not stalks)
5-6 cloves garlic
2 cups nuts (pine nuts, walnuts or almonds)-OPTIONAL
2-3 teaspoons sea salt (to taste)
3 Tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
1 cup olive oil
This is great on pasta or even crackers. Pine nuts are traditionally used, but I actually like it better with walnuts or even almonds.
Store in a glass jar, and pour a thin layer of olive oil on the top, to keep from drying or oxidizing. It will keep in the refrigerator for several weeks or frozen for several months.
|Ready for School|
Here is a simple recipe that reminds me of the sweetness of life.
HELADO DE CARAMELO- Caramel ice cream