Recetas Españolas, Número 1

Hey y’all.

Damn.

I’ve been a busy girl.  But, Eyeliner and Tapas has not died.  Rejoice!

So I want to start a mini-series of recipes I’ve learned here in Spain.  Recipes of meals and dishes that fill me with protein and warmth (I definitely wrote proteína the first time then had to change it), presented to me by precious people that I will never forget.

Food is important everywhere.  Eating together is the important part in Spain.  In my memory bank of happiness in España, 90% of those moments took place around a table.  Here’s to zillions more meals, cada uno con un brindis deseando más felicidad aún. 🙂 (translation: with a toast at each one, wishing for even more happiness.)

Let’s start with a dish I actually have a picture of: Savory Empanada.

Empanada de atún

Equal parts (about 1/2 cup) warm water, olive oil and white wine

Flour in abundance

Salt

3 medium onions

4 cans of tuna

Canned red bell peppers (optional)

1 egg, beaten

 

You will need: a baking sheet + parchment paper.  A blender if you’re fancy like that.

 

First, use a blender to mince the onion (or just chop them onions as fine as humanly possible).  Now we want to slowly cook the onion til its golden and soft, using a bit of olive oil and a skillet set to low heat.

Then while that’s cookin’, mix the water, olive oil and wine in a bowl with flour and a few pinches of salt to start making the dough.  Continue kneading and adding flour until the dough is no longer sticky, and feels pretty fluffy and awesome.

Next we gotta roll out the dough!  Separate the dough into two pieces, leaving one piece a little bit bigger since the bottom layer of crust needs to be bigger than the top.  Once rolled out niiiiiice and thin, carefully transfer the rolled dough square to a baking sheet.  At this point you can mix in the tuna to the cooked onion, and then add a layer of onion+tuna filling to your anxiously awaiting crust.  Slice up your canned bell peppers into strips and arrange them atop the filling just before adding the top layer of rolled out dough.

Pepps in da trap

Pepps in da trap

Now your empanada is almost ready to bake!  Three finals steps: making a “chimney,” decorating the top and an egg wash.  Simply poke a hole in the very center of the empanada’s top crust, and make a little “O” shape from extra dough to reinforce it (or something).  Now its up to you and whatever bits of dough you have left to create a cool pattern: diagonal lines, flowers, fishies, initials, whatever your empanada-craving heart desires.  Last step is spreading the egg over the crust using a kitchen paintbrush (technical term).

How ya like dat chimenea

How ya like dat chimenea

Now ya bake that sucka!  45 min to an hour at 375, until the crust looks amazing and crispy. Woop!  If you’re lucky it’ll look like this and you wont be able to stop eating it and it’ll be the only thing you ingest for the next 24 hours.

Look at me na'

Look at me na’

Thank you to Pilar for teaching me this recipe.  😀

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Boppin’ round the world

Another catch-up post!  Let’s just pretend its normal! 🙂

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(photo caption: a taste of home)

March was a good month. I stayed in Coruña this late winter season, #1 reason being that all around Spain was rainy and crappy, and #2 to save some money for sunny weather months.  There was an opportunity to travel, though, and I took it.  Baiona is a tiny coastal town a few hours south of Coruña, and its officially recognized as the first place Christopher Columbus reached on his journey back from newly-discovered America.  They have a cool fiesta every year in March to celebrate, a Festa da Arribada.  Needless to say, it was a blast!!

Easy to spot in that pink scarf, huh!  Other than that trip, my time has been spent en casa.  Here are some shots of life in Coruña.  It’s rained a lot, but the blue sky days are what makes it all worth it.  It was even warm enough one Sunday to stroll along the beach!  We’re all getting very excited for summer time!

Then, for Semana Santa I went home!!  So so so so so so so much fun, and great.  Oh, Richland, distance makes the heart grow fonder 🙂

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I got to see a bunch of pals!  Eat macaroni and cheese!  Be with my family and enjoy the company of people I’ve loved my entire life.

But, the sweetest part of being home, was realizing that I missed Spain.  I missed my place, the life I’m creating on my own, and the things I’ve discovered here (or the things that have discovered me).  The first few months away from Washington were weird;  I hadn’t decided how to handle the massive change my life had taken.  It hasn’t been all peaches and gravy, and it certainly will continue to be difficult, but goddamn do I love it here.  I’m proud of myself for the jump I took, for the confidence I ascribed to myself long before I realized that I had actually earned it.  Countless times I was asked, “but don’t you want to go home? Wouldn’t that be easier?”  Through tears I’d shake my head, ignoring the fact that the only thing I could think about was a hug from my mom, and say, “no.  This is where I need to be.”

So, here I stay… cooking Spanish stuff, fighting to keep my umbrella open in the wind, joking back and forth with my students, missing my friends, going on coffee dates, struggling with the subjunctive, ordering pints of Estrella Galicia with my landlady, calling my parents from 5,000 miles away, and continuing to learn how I want to live my life.

Cheers,

Lauren

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Steppin’ Back into the Game

Woah, last time I blogged  was NOVEMBER.  Now we’re in February, basically March.  C’mon gurrrl, you got dis!

To catch up, I’m going to post some photo memories and commentaries.  Let’s go!

This is my school, Instituto Salvador de Madariaga!  Isn’t it pretty?  It’s been around for the majority of the last century, and it bears the phrase “Instituto Masculino” because back in the day it was an all boys school.

My Dad and Kayte came to visit me!  We had a wonderful Thanksgiving week in Coruña’s sunshine (read: rain) and also in Porto, Portugal.  They were thorougly impressed with this little city I currently call home, and I was so happy to have them! (ahem, everybody else I know, this is your cue to come see me.)

I went to Paris and took pictures of/with the Eiffel tower.  It was cold and I ate crepes everyday.  My pals Liz and Kim were there too, we obviously had a great time.  My favorite part of Paris: the buildings, the streets, the feel.  My biggest regret: not finding Pepe Le Pew.

On that same Paris trip we also went to Barcelona.  I finally visited la Sagrada Familia, which I had been fantasizing about ever since I read about it in a Spanish textbook.  It was AMAZING.  Breathtaking.  Please go see it, when you visit.  It’s a really unbelievable beautiful place.  And, no, I didn’t cry!  Why would you even ask that….

I learned how to make Tortilla Española aka Spanish omelette!  No shame, I definitely make it at least once a week.  Luckily I’ve got some SWEET roomies who are always willing to help me eat it all.  Family, friends: watch out.  Tortilla Española is coming to you, to America.  It’s inevitable.

Dude then I went to London for  New Year!  Spent time with my friend James in his turf – it was so awesome to have a break in a English speaking country AND be hosted by a local/great pal.  Plus I got my Asian food fix in Chinatown!  And bubble tea!  Clutch!

Then it was my birthday!  And Jamie came to visit me!  Here’s a cute pic of our FEAST: empanada, cheese and membrillo (like thick jam to eat with cheese), bread and wine!

Other new things: I got a haircut.  I listen to Radiohead everyday.  I unconsciously  talk to myself in Spanish.  I eat meat sometimes, because they treat their animals like privileged kings and queens of the land.  Things are good!

Okay homies, next post will be less scattered.  Love you miss you bye!

You Got This, Right?

OKAY! Here’s the scoop: I went to Portugal, started tutoring, got kinda sick and then got better.

Lisbon, Portugal is cool, they’ve got hella pastries available from literally every window on the street, and it rains is there more than it does here in Coruña. Super cool, yo. A few of us pals took this trip with SharinGalicia (cute name, right?) which guides a bunch of tours to nearby places. Upside: so cheap and you’ve no choice but to make hella friends. Downside: 900 million people are constantly with you, following the same dudes who know where you’re going. But, learning opportunity! I now know that I’d prefer a trip with a few homies rather than a huge amount of kids. Nice!

Here are some pics from the adventure. We had a blast 🙂

Per the advice of my wise auxiliar friends, I began the search for private lessons with youngins. After asking a few profesors to put the word out, I soon had calls coming in every day. Now I’ve got a set schedule outside of teaching at the instituto, and a little more cashola in my pocket! Mo’ money, mo’ problems. (not really). My first student EVER was little Pablo, and oh my god am I stoked for our times together. He’s five, obsessed with dinosaurs and bugs, and really likes the song “head shoulders knees and toes.” So adorable! There are a few others, including Marta and Mateo whom are both eight. They are HIGH ENERGY so my new approach is fun English time with Lauren whilst still incorporating structure. We’ll see how it goes! 🙂

To follow the Lauren-experiences-Spain previous plan, I managed to get sick within the first month of arriving here. It felt like strep, so instead of ignoring it (NOT RECOMMENDED) I went to the doctor. Healthcare is obviously different here, so after being rejected from receiving services at one hospital I looked to my professors for help. Juan, the father of Marta and Mateo (see above paragraph), and the director of studies at my instituto brought me to his doctor friend who’s office is conveniently located 2 blocks away from the school, AND hooked me up with the antibiotics needed. I feel so lucky to have people helping me here in Spain. My roommates have also been super helpful, making dinner and just overall being the cutest people ever.

Speaking of roommates (flatmates, rather), mine are awesome. Like, the coolest. On Saturday we had a housewarming party that will never be forgotten (or easily forgotten, depending on how much you drank while you were here). Our place is old, but it’s awesome! We love it, and I’m enjoying having these sweet girls as my roomies/pals. Ursula and Joha, you da bestttt. 🙂

oh and my dad and Kayte got here yesterday. THEY LOVE IT HERE DUH.

L8R SK8RZ

Post full of Photos

Hola!  What an end of a week!  Friday is my busy day at work – 5 classes in a row.  I spent those 5 hours speaking about Halloween traditions in the USA: costumes, trick-or-treating, candy, and jack-o-lanterns.  Safe to say, the kids enjoyed it a ton!  After explaining that I brought a costume to Spain from home, it was pretty clear to the students that Halloween is a big-freaking-deal! 🙂

Other than that, I don’t have much monumental news.  I went out Friday and Saturday with my lovely new roommates, Johanna from Colombia and Ursula from Peru.  Both nights we ended up at this swanky-ish place with much dancing.  Saturday night we didn’t get home until 4!  And yes, I was the one who suggested we head back… sleepy-head Lauren!  We haven’t all moved into the new place yet (oh, SWEET! they’re replacing the elevator in our building!) but I’m planning to get my things there by tomorrow. 5 flights of stairs, whattup!  Pics will come soon 🙂

To make this an actual post, I’m adding a good amount of pictures.  Love you all tons!

View from Playa Club (definitely bringing my parents to eat here)

Morning sky in Plaza Pontevedra

Johanna y yo

JuanPi, Johanna, Ursula and I

Monday clouds at the beach

Tower of Hercules in the distance

Me, Ulrike and Anne (last weekend) !

Hola, ¿que tal?

First week: accomplished.  Yes, there were some semi-severe bumps along the way – but I’m alive and well here in this lovely town of Coruña, figuring “it” out more everyday.  I’ve come to find out that my school is excellent; the students, at least half the time, are charming.  On Friday I received gifts from three classes, which were adorable hand drawn cards welcoming me to their school. Precious!  Also, the other teachers are always willing to lend a hand, to help me find the classroom I’m looking for, and the music teacher Susi has invited me to come stay the weekend with her and her family in a pueblo nearby.  Sweet!  (I’ve posted a picture of the report on Seattle here, just look how damn cute it is.)

Let’s see what’s next… first real weekend here!  Well, I participated in 9 holes of Pub Golf, wherein a group of 15 or so of us went to 9 different bars and had a drink at each, counting our total sips as golf strokes.  On this night I met a ton of other american auxiliares teaching here, saw all the cool bars in town, had an amazing mojito, and… managed to get my iPhone stolen.  Needless to say I’m a little bummed about that last part, but in the grand scheme of things I’d still say that life RULES.  I live in Spain, my job is awesome, my roommate is the coolest, and I’ve got friends all around Europe that I plan to visit.  Perspective: boom!

That last photo is me and my new pal Anne.  We are currently roommates but longterm friends. 🙂  It’s been super nice to find somebody whom I click with, especially here in a faraway country.  Anne was my compañera the first night I went out to the bars in A Coruña, and we spent the whole walk talking about Sex and the City (bottle of wine in hand).  Woohoo!  (She’s Carrie – I’m Charlotte.) Also Anne is from Germany so I’ll visit her when she finishes her semester here in February.

Another note: despite what everyone might say and think, being a vegetarian in Spain has been relatively easy for me.  Normally I eat at home, which is the biggest help for both my dietary restrictions and my budget, but when I do go out I simply ask the waiter what on the menu is vegetariana.  This is good!  I am happy!  I’ve only slipped once: on that first Friday I arrived in town I ordered a potato salad which happened to have tuna in it.  Luckily, I was so tired and desperate that I just let it slide.  But now, after a week with a kitchen, I’ve decided to try my hand at one (not necessarily beloved, but still good) Spanish dish.  I whipped up some sofrito (kinda like a Spanish marinera sauce) today, and let me just say – IT’S SUPER GOOD.  The recipe is here: Sofrito Recipe.  Also, if you are interested in making sofrito, make sure to add like 10 large cloves of garlic.  The recipe only calls for 2 but trust me on this one, more garlic = more better.

Work again tomorrow!  I almost feel comfortable standing in front of a class… maybe by the end of this week it’ll be just about natural. 🙂  If not, I always have my new pink skinny jeans to give me confidence (photos to follow!).

First Day!

Yay! It’s pretty here. And I went to work today.  First class – pretty bad, chatty, etc.  Second class – perfect angels, all speaking in English, telling me all the facts about Seattle that they had researched the week before.  Precious!  One kid even gave me a 5 page report on Seattle, with an adorable title page w/a picture of the Space Needle.  After class, the bilingual coordinator Pilar brought me to her apartment where we enjoyed a perfect lunch of pisto (vegetable sautée), couscous and huevo frito.  Excellent meal!  I was SO HUNGRY by that point, which was precisely 3:30pm, which means I definitely need to bring snacks to school.  Lesson learned; game plan acquired.

Also, I found an apartment!  Today I went out with Ivan and his gf (piso masters here in A Coruña) alongside 2 girls getting their masters at the university.  After going around town for legitimately hours, we had seen enough of the crappy apartments this town has to offer.  Then, when all hope was almost lost, Ivan brought us to the centro part of town.  ‘Perfect!’ I thought, ‘I just want to be close to the beach!’  As we ascended the stairs, I was hella nervous that this one would be grody too, BUT NO!  It was gorgeous.  3 bedrooms, 2 bath, super cute/old-ish place with tons of character.  In other words: a home. 🙂  I’ll post pictures soon!

 

 

 

And check out that panoramic shot! 🙂

 

I made it!

Remember last time when I posted a Google image of this beach? NOW IT’S REAL – I TOOK THIS.

And guess what? My flights were AWESOME. All four of them. I woke up at 3:30am, and arrived to A Coruña at about 5pm the next day. But on my last flight from Madrid, I accidentally found myself in Business Elite!  “Woo hoo” I was thinking, until the next thing I knew we were preparing for landing and I had drool on my neck pillow.  Lauren: game over sleep.

I was greeted at the airport by Andrés, a math teacher at my high school. We took a turn throughout the city, and found out yes indeed my school is mere paces away from the beach. Score!  After some food I went to my hostel (own room/bathroom, double score) and slept intermittently for 15 hours.

Today a truly lovely police car woke me up at 10:30am, which was handy since I was being picked up to go hiking at 11. Whew! Andrés brought me to meet a few of his friends and their kids, then we drove to las Fragas do Eume, a national park on the Eume river. It was seriously gorgeous. And, after 2 days of sitting on an airplane, and conversely sleeping for eternity, it was a perfect opportunity to walk outside and see la naturaleza. Plus, I was questioned, accosted, told many a story, and generally entertained by 4 boys between the ages of 7-10. Jorge, Carlos, Manuel, and Andrés menor taught me a lot. Most importantly, how to say slug: babosa! At the top of the trek was the Monasterio de Caaveiro, an old, old monastery. Here we feasted on a highly deserved meal of tortilla de patata sandwiches, mandarin oranges from Valencia, and brownies.  Delicioso!

Needless to say I’m having a beyond excellent time. On Monday, work begins! I’m ready!

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Ready, Set, WOAH.

Kisses from my Duke!  He can’t afford to lose a warm lap to cuddle up on, hope he’ll be alright :)Tomorrow!  Tomorrow!  I leave and I can’t even stand how cool that is.  I arrive into town about 5 pm, which means after my siesta-of-the-year I’ll bounce back and attempt to go out and see the world (city)!!

For the fam: facetime time is Saturday morning, your time. WOOT WOOT!

Fun Things

So far this summer, things have happened.

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hella weddings.

But now, it’s my turn to do something crazy.

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In 11 days, this will be my new town.  My turf.  Did I mention:

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… and also:

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I know. It’s loco.

Anyways, let’s see if I can keep my head on straight for the next week and a half.  Til next time, 😀