Monday, March 16, 2015


Cheating at CHILE VERDE

Niki Wiki in Belize 2014
Many, many years ago when Jonesy was working on Al Unser Sr.'s race car, he had the chance to try the famous Green Chili that was made by "Mom" Unser at the Indy500 race in Indianapolis. Since then, this spicy pork dish has been one of his favorites. So of course, I had to learn how to make Chili Verde for him!

As good as Homemade
Yes, I've made Chili Verde from scratch...fresh green "Anaheim" chilies, tomatillos, and all the spices, but now that I'm just feeding 2 people, I cheat a lot. I've found that I can simply start with a 16oz. jar of Herdez brand Salsa Verde (made in Mexico) that is available at most markets both in Mexico and the USA. This saves about 2 hours of roasting and peeling chilies, washing tomatillos, chopping, pureeing and then finally sauteing the basic paste/sauce and frankly, tastes the same.

Today there is a Chili Cookoff at the yacht club here at the Brunswick Landing Marina and although I know most folks think of the red stuff for these events, I'm taking my Chili Verde. So there nanny-nanny. I even cooked up some lovely dried Peruano beans to add. These pale colored beans (start out light yellow-green and cook up into a light tan color) are favorites in Mexico around Mazatlan and have a mild flavor and creamy texture. I think they go perfectly with the green sauces.

Cheating at CHILE VERDE
2 lbs lean pork cut into 1/2 to 1 inch cubes
2 TBL bacon grease or vegetable oil
1 tsp chili powder
1tsp ground cumin
1 tsp garlic powder
1 16oz. jar Herdez brand Salsa Verde
1 7oz. can diced Green Chilies aka "Ortegas"  (NOT jalapenos, NOT bell peppers)
1 tsp onion powder
salt to taste
3 cups cooked beans (canned is fine)
2 TBL chopped fresh cilantro for optional garnish
Sour cream (optional)

Heat bacon grease in a large stockpot or skillet. Add pork cubes, chili powder, cumin and garlic powder and cook stirring often over medium heat until pork is cooked through. Add entire jar of Herdez Salsa Verde, and the can of Green Chilies. Add salt to taste. Reduce heat to simmer and cook for about 1 hour or until pork is very tender. OR transfer to a slow-cooker/crockpot and cook on high for 2 hour. Add cooked beans to the pork mixture and cook until well heated. Serve in a bowl with tortillas or over rice. Garnish with chopped fresh cilantro and a dollop of sour cream if desired.

"HORNET SOCKS" KAL for Kazakhstan
Of course there has been a lot of knitting activity going on, especially because I am banned from the boat when Jonesy is working in the bilge. You see, I tend to forget when the floor hatches are open and then I fall down into the bilge (I call it the basement). That's not fun. So I take my knitting and go outside somewhere or up to the yacht club if the weather is yucky.

So why is Jonesy working down there? Because our heat-exchanger unit was finally delivered by an 18-wheeler truck, after dark, directly to our dock! Whooo hooo!

There's still a lot of work to be done to put the engine back together again. As Jonesy can only spend a few hours a day contorting his body into inhuman positions and squeezing into spaces where he can't see, it will take a few weeks before we can give the old girl a start.

Here's a pic taken just minutes after we managed to hoist the head into place. It was tricky business...I managed the chain hoist from up in the cockpit (aka Florida Room) and Jonesy lined up the head over the studs on the block. Slowly, slowly we lowered the head - and all is well! As you can see, there is still more work to be done. Jonesy also discovered a bad hose and a couple of bad hose clamps. On a boat you have to have two high quality steel hose clamps at every junction because the salt water is so corrosive. For the cost of a clamp (about $3) you could lose the whole boat. Oh, that's $3 PLUS A lot of bilge gymnastics to get at the dang things.

From the kind donations of sock yarns from other knitters I have been able to crank out a few more pairs of socks while Jonesy works. Above are a pair of Hornet Socks by Heather Walker. This year, Heather is leading a "Knit From Stash" knitalong on Facebook. Stash? Oh yes, I now have enough sock yarn to keep me busy for a long time! The yarn is a yummy donation from Wooly Wonka Fiber. Because the hand-dyeing of yarn process isn't an exact science or automated, there can be mis-dyed yarns. The kids of Kazakhstan will get socks knit in luxury yarn due to this dyer's generosity.

These small socks stuck to a tree are knit from some self-striping Regia wool. I tend to knit a lot of the smaller sizes (these have a foot length of 17cm for a child) because the orphanages have requested "thin" socks. Thin Socks are knit with fingering or sock weight yarns. We also knit "thick" socks with worsted weight yarns and even worsted weight combined with a sock yarn for extra warm socks. Anyway, a lot of the knitters in the Mittens for Akkol group prefer to knit the thick socks and I love to knit the "thin" socks so I knit the smaller sizes.
The yarns for both of these pairs of socks was NOT attractive when still in the unknit state on the ball. Both of them looked like they would turn out as jumbled and splotchy clown barf socks. But, what a surprise I had for both pairs! The yarn turned out to stripe nicely and make some great patterning. That's Berroco Sox on the dark socks and the pink, grey and orange pair is knit from Rellana Garne Flotte Socke yarn.  
Fused Glass Pieces - Buttons? Pendants? Simply pretty baubles?
Pretty bauble for a pretty friend
More glass? Yep. I had so much fun making the first batch that I went back again for a few hours to
work during open studio time. I sent my favorite (purple) piece off to a friend as a little surprise. Although I was a little aghast at the top piece with what looks like a green worm in it, a kind friend suggested that it looked like an undersea reef. Yes! It does! Not so ugly after all.  And I've started back with working with clay again. I just had to get my hands dirty. So far I don't have anything to show yet, but don't be surprised it it's all related to knitting too. Isn't everything? 

Life is good.

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