Category Archives: food plants

Update: Limber de Teta, Demolition Derby, Flower Power, Rincón Film Fest, Etc


Posted by Cassie

Rincon beach road
Rincón Back Road

Wow, it always surprises me when I think of what to write about for the blog. I think, I don’t really have any good topics. Then I look through my pictures and I see that we have actually been out doing quite a few things. Here are a few of them:

Rincón International Film Festival
We enjoyed a beautiful and elegant evening at Rincón Beach Resort for the final night of the Rincón International Film Festival also known as ”Best Of Fest.”  I like to watch all the short films that have been sifted through and chosen as the top picks. As for the resort, I have never been to this one and it was really nice. I have seen it advertised on Wheel of Fortune and it definitely has that sort of all-inclusive resort vibe. It even has a swim-up pool bar that is connected directly to the beach.

Rincon Film Fest
With friends at RIFF 

Cassie Rincon Beach Resort RIFF with Markus and Daisy
Fun at Rincón Beach Resort

Limber de Teta
I saw a sign for Limber de Teta and it made me laugh. What could boob limber possibly be? So we stopped and tried it out. It was a limber (like an icee) but sold in a little baggie the shape of a boob. Pretty clever!

Britton sucking teta
Sucking on a parcha/piña boob

Limber de teta Artesan Boobs
At the Limber de Teta stand just off the 115 going towards Aguada

Demolition Derby in Moca
A friend of ours invited us to a demolition derby in Moca that was a fundraiser for his friend’s adolescent daughter who has a very aggressive form of cancer. I see a lot of fundraisers around here for various causes, but this was one of the biggest. We hadn’t been to a demo derby since the Greeley Stampede many years ago. Here it was definitely not regulation size or even in a stadium. People just sort of hung out everywhere, but it somehow worked.

F Cancer Demo car
One of the demolition cars

Demolition crowd Demolition Derby from above
Quite a crowd in the middle of a cleared out field!

As we were watching the events unfold a the derby, a young girl walked by that caught my eye. What was in her hands? Snakes! I was intrigued and began asking her about them. She could tell that I wasn’t afraid of them and said, do you want to hold them? I tentatively said yes and she put the large python on my neck and the baby in my hands. You never know what you may find in the randomest of places!

Snake Cassie edit
Cassie the Snake Charmer. Starting to get a little tight around the neck!

Flower Power: Playing Music
We played our most recent show at Willie’s to the theme of Flower Power/Hippie Night and it was a lot of fun.

Willies Hippie Night
Playing out at Willie’s

Hippies Kenny Markus Cassie Hippie Night
Good times! Peace, Love and Happiness!

On the Property
We have been focusing on property landscaping a little more lately and cleanup. While we’re not completely done with the house, it is functional. So now we are making it and the surroundings pretty! The finca has grown a lot in the last 3 nearly 4 years and we are starting to see the literal fruits of our labors!

Japanese Nispero Flowers
Nispero Japones aka Loquat first flowers!

Cassie Jungle 2 two
Amongst the flowers of our gardens

Kola cola nut flowers
Kola Nut flowers!

I hear something BK
In the jungle of our yard…Hey! What’s that sound?!

We have been clearing out some pretty nasty spiky and poisonous plants lately! Check them out:

Huge Spider Huntsman
Huge harmless spider (on a 2×6 to give you scale)…a huntsman

Cross that bridge
We’ll cross that bridge when we get there

As I was clearing some bromeliads and underbrush from behind the cabin, I found this old liquor bottle. We have determined based on the markings that it is from between 1932-1964! That’s a long time to be sitting out in the middle of the jungle! This old treasure says: Federal Law Forbids Sale or Reuse of this Bottle. John Walker and Sons Ltd Kilmarnock Scotland 4/5 Quart.

17637010_10208953235290316_7484647352082477681_o
Before it was Johnnie Walker, it was John Walker and Sons Ltd

The chickens and turkeys are all doing pretty good. We have to protect them a little more especially now that we are at the cabin and not as close to their coops. We collect quite a few eggs and enjoy their silly antics. Here’s some voodoo magic you can do with a chicken!

Out and about
And then of course there is the randomness of being out and about around the island. You just never know what you might see.

Whole lotta cans
Like a HUGE can of cans!

Muscovie duck
Beautiful duck, I think a Muscovy in a lagoon

Surfrider crewHanging out with Surfrider and a high school science club doing water quality testing 

Mural
Cool new mural on a derelict building

Cassie derelict house
And nature reclaiming this one

Not even for one second
This sign made me laugh…No! You can’t park here, not even for one second

Sana
One of our favorite little food stands, Sana, moved across the street by the Post Office

Socato fruit
And at the Pulguero in San Sebastian I spotted these huge fruits. They call them Socato

Chilling cassie
Hanging out at one of our favorite bars, Olajas in Aguada

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Random Photo Update: Life in Toon Town


Posted by Cassie

Here are a few photos that don’t probably deserve a post on their own but are just a part of the slice of life living in Puerto Rico. Sometimes the scenes and places we end up just seem so surreal, like we are living in a dream or some sort of cartoon. Sometimes it’s very strange, sometimes it’s funny, sometimes it’s just strikingly beautiful. But whatever it is, we’re living it up!

Palm Tree Cassie
The beach is always right around the corner

Ardilla Mongoose crop
I finally got a photo of the mongoose! The little egg bandit!

Turkey bridgeTurkeys need to cross bridges too! This particular guy is the hope for the future of our turkeys. The last surviving male.

Corazon
We are harvesting more and more of our own fruit from the finca like this corazón, a fruit that looks like a heart

Bilimbe
And these interesting bilimbes that are juicy and so sour but leave a cool buttery taste in your mouth

More plants
And we went out and got some more plants too!

Kitty
I forgot to mention that Kitty is adapting well to the move over to the cabin too

Cassie Aquario
Out and about there is always something cool to see and do

Barrita Los cocos
Like this little Coconut Barrita

Hibiscus Flor
Or this amazing hibiscus flower right in the plaza that took my breath away

Britton and beer
Check out the view from this roadside liquor store

Mannequin house
And there is nothing like the bottom half of a naked mannequin to draw attention to your store! :-)

Britton congas
One of the conga players from the balneario came down and practiced with us in the jam space!

Sunset
There’s never a shortage of spectacular sunsets here!

Sunset
Marina Sunset

Sangria Cassie
And new spots to check out like Pal Monte

Cassie Ultimo Brinco stand
Which is just up the road from El Ultimo Brinco, Rincon’s little waterfall spot

Cassie wanted  Anthony Loops and Cassie
Or at the restaurant Cowboys which is like a little slice of Colorado in Rincón (with friend and musician, Anthony Lee). They even have rodeos here!

Cowboys Rubberneckers
And we got to see our friends play some country music – the Rubberneckers

Viking B
And if Puerto Rico is like Toon Town, we are now part of the loony fabric too! Here’s Viking man at the beach!

Cassie contemplating coco
Or the contemplation of a coconut in an abandoned house without a roof

Colorful downtown
And everything is so colorful!

Bienvenidos a rincon
Rincón even has the cartoon-like welcome signs!

Cassie rock
And did I mention the beach is around every corner?

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2nd Annual Hot Sauce Contest


Posted by Cassie

Last Monday we attended and I participated in the 2nd Annual Rincón Hot Sauce Contest. It was a pretty rainy day, but cleared up quite a bit toward the evening. I competed with a mango-jalapeño sauce that was somewhat similar to my award winning sauce, Hot Kiss, from last year. I gathered and used the mangos that continue to grow and fall from the huge tree above our cabana.

Mango Jalapeno
Some mangos and jalapeños

I also made another cute label. This time the sauce was called Mango Jalapeño Tango.

Mango Jalapeno Tango
Britton says they were ”salsa” dancing :-)

Considering the rain and cooler weather there was a pretty decent turnout. We had fun trying all the different salsas. Of course there were some that were just too hot for my taste and took a whole can of beer to wash the burning sensation away!

Rincon Balneario
Set up at the Rincón Balneario

Caution Hot
¡Cuidado!

We hung out for quite a while. We even saw our neighbor and his uncle hanging out at the Balneario bar. I had him come over to the event and I think he regretted it. His face turned bright red after eating the burning peanuts. I tried to warn him to only have one peanut but he ate about 3! Pobrecito!

Neighbors
Our neighbor José on the far right turned the color of Britton’s shirt after eating the pique.

Later that evening the psychedelic/rock punk band Blacks en Tela played live and we enjoyed hanging out and hula hooping. About half-way through they tallied all the votes and announced the winners. I won 1st place for best label art and 3rd place for best flavor overall! Not too shabby! (You can find a full list of the winners at this page.)

Three winners
Jamie, Trina and I were three of the winners and we won these great tie-died shirts

It was also the evening of the summer solstice and we saw a beautiful sunset before the full moon. Overall a fun, fantastic evening. Thanks Frances and Greg for all your hard work in putting this together!

Walking at sunset
A fiery end to a fiery hot sauce contest

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Cooking with Plantains (Or Yes, We are Adapting!)


Posted by Cassie

I remember when we were back in Greeley, Colorado. We tried to replicate what we imagined our life would be like in Puerto Rico. We were both so excited about all the cool things we could do when we lived there. We had indoor coffee plants, mini citrus trees, even a banana tree in our living room! I looked for anything with Puerto Rico in it. Read lots and lots of books, blogs, articles, etc. We even had chickens against all convention and with a big fight because we knew we could have as many animals as we wanted when we were outside of the rigidity, rules and conformity of the states.

Banana Tree in Living Room
Seems pretty funny now…our Colorado indoor banana tree

We also tried cooking some Puerto Rican food. And it was an absolute failure. Not only is Puerto Rican food extremely difficult to find in Colorado (the closest thing I found was a Cuban restaurant in Denver), but even the raw ingredients were horrible! We could do rice and beans but beyond that, it was a complete loss. There are no breadfruits or traditional viandas in Colorado grocery stores, coconuts were basically rotten and we had absolutely no idea how to cook plantains. A good reminder to eat local-wherever you are! I remember one plantain we tried cooking. We couldn’t even get the skin off it. We didn’t know how long to cook it and so when we finally tried it, we were like…how did anyone think that eating these was a good idea?!

Banana flowers
Our bananas growing now (outside)

So I suppose it’s a good sign when plantains (and breadfruit and papaya and avocados and bananas and mangos) straight from your tree become part of your daily fare. I wasn’t exactly taught how to cook with these things like a parent might to a child and I definitely would like to learn some traditional techniques, but when it is all around you, you learn quickly. Here is a video of a typical breakfast. Nearly all straight from our land.

Plantains (platanos) grow and look much like bananas (guineos), but they are considered a starch or main food group rather than a snack or dessert. Here they make all sorts of things with plantains such as tostones, amarillos, mofongo, empanadillas and many others. I stick with lightly pan fried amarillos. Amarillo means yellow and so unlike most other dishes which use the green plantains, I wait until they are yellow to cook them. They cook fast and don’t need to be double fried like some of the others.

This is still very basic cooking. For one thing, we only have one single burner. And another is I don’t know exactly how to cook some of the “fancy” things like mofongo, though I love to eat it! Con tiempo, con tiempo. It was fun preparing for our move, but there is really nothing like the real thing when you fully embrace it.

Mofongo
Mofongo relleno y Malta -something I never ate in Colorado but can enjoy any time here!

Growing, eating and cooking with plantains means we are adapting. Evolving. Becoming more Puerto Rican. And it is cool because plantains also have a cultural significance. La mancha de plátano or the stain of the plantain is considered a symbol of pride for the jíbaro, the Puerto Rican country farmer, who when cutting down bananas and plantains would invariably get banana sap on their clothing. This stain is nearly impossible to remove, like the love for the country itself.

Mancha de platano
Plantain stain on a towel that we set plantains and bananas on after harvesting them

La Mancha de Plátano
Luis Lloréns Torres
(Translated by me)

Mata de platano, a tí,
a tí te debo la mancha
que ni el jabón, ni la plancha
quitan de encima de mí
desque jíbaro nací
al aire llevo el tesoro
de tu racimo de oro
y tu hoja verde y ancha;
Llevaré siempre la mancha
por secula seculorum.

Plantain tree, to you,
To you I owe the stain
That neither soap nor the iron
Can take away from me
Since I was born a jíbaro
To the air I bring the treasure

Of your golden corm
and 
your green and wide leaf;
With me I will always carry the stain
For ever and eternity.

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