Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Jacksonville Jaguar

Out and about town are these jaguars, similar to the oranges of Riverside. Each is painted differently. This particular cat hangs out in Neptune Beach.
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Puerto Rican Dinner

A couple of weeks ago (way back in November), along with some friends, we decided to try the Puerto Rican menu out of a recent Gourmet magazine. These are the results, and they were quite tasty. Unfortunately, my poor food photo taking skills don't show off the results to their best advantage.

Pineapple Rum Drink
First was a pineapple, mint, and rum concoction that was very, very tasty. This would go down very nicely on a lovely summer day, particularly while sitting outside on the veranda enjoying the afternoon breeze.

Shrimp Escabeche
Then there was schrimp escabeche. I really liked this dish. The shrimp were cooked prior to mixing with the other ingredients, so it wasn't a ceviche where the fish and shellfish are cooked in an acidic liquid, but the taste was similar.

Avocado Salad with Lemon Dressing Avocado salad with a lemon dressing, with bibb and romaine lettuce. Since I'm not a big fan of avocado, I picked around it. The dressing was light and tasty.

Calabaza Calabaza (baked pumpkin). This was done with butternut squash, rather than the traditional Caribbean pumpkin.

This is the rice and peas dish that I made. I started with a sofrito made of cilantro, onions, and peppers which was pureed in the blender. Then added the rice and sauteed all of that together. Then added pigeon peas. It was a bit of work, and I thought that there wasn't enough water in the recipe, but I followed the instructions exactly and the dish came out perfect.

The main course was roasted pork. Yummy. I didn't care too much for the skin, which apparently, in some places, people fight over. Maybe because it needed to go back in the oven to crisp up a bit. The piece I had was a bit chewy. But the pork was excellent. And was cooked with garlic under the skin. And the leftover pork mixed with the rice and peas was absolutely delicious. So delicious in fact, that I plan on making the rice and peas and the pork again. I'd even go so far as to say that next time with the leftovers, I might toss them in a corn or flour tortilla and eat them that way.

Coconut Rum CakeFor dessert, there was a coconut rum cake. I'm not sure if there was coconut in the cake or just in the frosting. The cake was good. It was so good apparently, that I never even got to have any of the leftovers. Not shown in a photo is the tropical fruit that was also there. The menu called for a guanabana sherbet, but because none of us had an ice cream maker nor do the stores carry guanabana (aka soursop) sherbet, we made do with mango sherbet and vanilla ice cream. The tropical fruit was mango and papaya with pomegranate seeds sprinkled throughout.

For beverages, we had a Spanish tempranillo, a white Spanish wine, and an Argentinean malbec. Unfortunately, I have no more details of those, although I wish I did because they were very tasty and went well with the food.

For our next cooking adventure, we're heading to Vietnam. Hopefully my food photo taking skills will have improved by then so I can do the food justice.

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Advertising Manager Needed...

Unfortunately this picture is a bit blurry (I was trying to take this quickly from across the street on my way to work). This is the sign outside the local gentlemen's club, and it reads: "Hot Beer, Cold Women, Home Away from Home!"
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Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Gator Sighting

On Sunday, we saw a gator in the river. He was pretty big, and moving quite quickly upriver. Unfortunately, I didn't move fast enough to get a picture. But he was just a few feet from the side of the river, just beyond the trees.