Wednesday, October 10, 2012

faces, food, landscapes

The first week of October was a vacation-week for me. (The school district I work for tried something new this year: after the first quarter, a week off--a welcome break for students AND teachers.) Good timing, as we had an out-of-town friend and family reunion at our home in Tucson...which led to walks in the desert and eating out...

So, a few local highlights for this posting.

First, some Mexican folk-art faces, on the walls and floating above the tables in Elvira's, down in Tubac, about an hour south of Tucson.
And, from what is truly one of the best restaurants in southern Arizona, 
downtown Tucson's Café Poca Cosa:

Close to home--a bloom on a cactus in the backyard:

--and now, from the kitchen. My mother, who is Korean, has been showing us some things.
Here's "goh-sah-ree" (also spelled 'gosari')--technically 'bracken fern' but also called 'fiddleheads'--'têtes de violon' in French. (I've seen them in the frozen section of grocery stores in Québec.)
Soaked, then steamed and sautéed with garlic, sesame, and green onion--
gosari is one of my favorite things to eat--
one of those Proustian childhood-memory-inducing tastes...
If you've never had it--
it's simultaneously redolent of asparagus, mushroom, and beef...

...and, speaking of beef:
"Kalbi!!!" Korean-style beef short-ribs. Mmm mmm.
I almost never order them in a restaurant, because
Mom's recipe is always better. 
The link above is to a simplified recipe, but you'll get the idea.
Get the ribs cut 'flanken style'...
For the soy/sesame-based marinade, add a purée of garlic, ginger, onion
Asian pear (for tenderizing) and--a modern touch for tenderness and tang--some kiwi.
Let the beef marinate up to overnight before grilling or broiling. 

...out of the kitchen, into the desert...

The other night, on the way to some friends' for dinner, I just had to pull over to get this phone-shot--check out the 'double-helix' cloud on the right:
...and then as the sunset continued to 'ripen,' the strands got taller and pinker:

--from down in Tumacácori, the Santa Cruz Chili Co., across from the old Spanish mission.

One of my new favorite apps on my iPhone is ColorSplash; I used it on the above cactus flower and chili sign are a couple more photos edited with it--fun with selective desaturation:
--seeing the landscape through my wife's eyes, 
Horseshoe Bend on the Colorado River, just south of Page, AZ 

...and back in Tucson; reflection of autumn color (which peaks in December) 
along the creek in Sabino Canyon

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