≡ Menu

As I said in my last post on Cape Hake and Eggplant, I was excited about the leftovers and using them in my breakfast the next morning. Well, it’s the next morning and I used the left overs along with some fried eggs.

IMG_1545

Nothing too fancy. I simply emptied about 2/3 of the leftovers in a frying pan, cracked a couple eggs in there and made me a great breakfast. Topped it off with some toasted bread and some pinapple/grape juice.

IMG_1546

One thing I really love about the eggs in Spain is how orange the yokes are.

IMG_1547

And of course, I am totally in to blending the tastes to create a harmony of flavor, so this is how I eat my eggs and leftovers.

IMG_1548

{ 0 comments }

Cape Hake with Eggplant Recipe

Wow, did I make something great for dinner tonight! I was flipping through a cookbook I bought at the street market this weekend and I saw several pictures of eggplant and others of fish, so I decided to combine the two. Here is what I decided to create.

IMG_1544

First I went to the market to see what fish they had available. I like white fish, so I ended up buying about 1 and 1/3 pounds of Merluza del Cabo. I had no idea what it was until I was able to get home and look it up online. Turns out it is Cape Hake, which I’ve never heard of, but it’s in the same category as a Cod or Haddock. This fish is a really nice, mild, white fish.

To start, I decided to bake it, so I made a quick white sauce. Of course I never measure anything, so I put the ingredients in a bowl and took a picture of it before I mixed it together. Here’s what’s in it: mayonnaise, extra virgin olive oil, melted butter, wine vinegar with raspberry juice, chopped parsley, salt, and pepper. Hopefully you can look at the picture and get an idea of the quantity of each item I used, but hey–that’s what I like, and it will probably change next time, so if you try it, be creative and add what you like.

IMG_1519

In a casserole dish, I coated the bottom with a layer of extra virgin olive oil, laid the fish out, and spread the sauce on them.

IMG_1521

As usual, I have to add my vegetables to my dishes, so here is what I added; garlic, onions, mushrooms, spinach, eggplant, and tomatoes.

IMG_1516

I sliced up the garlic, onions, and mushrooms first and spread them over the top of the fish.

IMG_1524

Then I added a layer of torn, not cut, spinach. However, after the fact, I think I would have doubled the amount of spinach that I added. I liked the taste of the spinach in the dish, there just wasn’t enough of it.

IMG_1525

I sliced the eggplant lengthwise about 1/4 inch thick and created a full layer on top of the contents. I knew this would help contain the moisture from the other ingredients and create a very moist fish and vegetables. Then I sliced the tomatoes and laid them on the eggplant to add moisture on the top to help the eggplant cook better. I topped it all off with some more extra virgin olive oil, salt, pepper, and some more parsley for garnishment.

IMG_1528

At this point I thought about adding some “good” European cheese on top, but my kids still have not delveloped a taste for “good” cheese but still like that cheap pre-grated stuff in reclosable packaging…yuck! So I opted not to waste my cheese on them and give them an excuse for not liking it. I felt like I was already pushing my limits by not dicing the mushrooms so they couldn’t see them and placing big slices of eggplant on the dish. Our oven here is not the most accurate, so I believe I cooked it somewhere between 325 and 350. I baked it for 10 minutes uncovered and then I placed a cookie sheet on top of the casserole dish for another 20 minutes. Here is what it looked like when I pulled it out.

IMG_1529

Results: well, it all disappeared except for one piece of eggplant, a few vegetables, and some sauce, just enough to add to my fried eggs tomorrow morning for breakfast. I can’t wait. Everyone loved it except for Silas, but then again, he’s still too young to like much of anything that’s good for him. He ended up eating some of my left over spaghetti from two nights ago.

Give it a try or some variation thereof and let me know what you did differently and how it turned out for you. I think a good variation would be to use zucchini instead of eggplant.

{ 0 comments }

Barcelona Sunrise Projected On Our Wall

I love the sunrises here in Barcelona Spain when the sky is clear or just a few scattered clouds in the sky. The horizon is always a beautiful array of orange to yellow to aqua to dark blue. The value of waking up early to see this array of color always outweighs the value of the added extra time in bed. Many mornings I simply wake up just to watch the changing of the colors as I do a little work on my computer.

Sunrise_Wall_6090ps

As the light grows brighter, the horizon starts to wash out with the full brightness of the sun, but just as the sun peeks over the horizon, still orange, the sun shines through our glass patio doors and lights up the dinning room wall with this orange light as I sit there at my computer. Welcome to another sunny day in Barcelona Spain.

Sunrise_Wall_6100ps

{ 0 comments }

Best Meatloaf Recipe . . . So Far

I have thought of making meatloaf for some time now and I recently read a friend’s post on facebook, and that was all the nudging I needed. My friend posted his recipe, but while I referred to it, I mainly used meat, ketchup, rice, salt, and pepper, and the rest I just kind of made up as I was shopping for things to add.

IMG_6119

In order to stay with my philosophy on meat, meat being used as a flavor, not as the main ingredient, I added a lot of vegetables. To me, vegetables make a meal healthier and better. Since I am currently in Spain, I had to add some Spanish flair to it also. Here is what I added.

But let’s back up.  The first thing you will need to do is start cooking some rice, since you’ll need one cup of cooked rice to add to the mix when everything else is ready to be blended together. A half cup of uncooked rice and one cup of water will make a little more than a cup of cooked rice. I made more so could use it as a side dish. My kids love rice anytime.

Now for the vegetables:
1 diced onion
3 chopped cloves of garlic
1/2 diced red bell pepper
1 diced poblano pepper
1 grated carrot
2 medium grated potatoes
salt and pepper and some Italian seasoning if you have some in your cupboards

Sauté the above ingredients in about 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil and 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar. I didn’t really measure it.  I just kind of poured what I thought would work or taste good out of the bottle. Whether you add 2 or 4 or 1 tablespoon(s) will not change the results too much. So add what you feel is good for you.

When the bell peppers are soft, add about 1/2 cup of ketchup, stir and let it sauté for about another 5 minutes.

While the vegetables are finishing, mix together in a large bowl,
800 grams of ground beef, which is about 1-3/4 lbs.
200 grams of ground pork sausage, which is about 1/2 lb.

Now, add the vegetables and one cup of cooked rice to the meat and mix it all together and place it in a large casserole dish in two rows and bake it at 350 for about 1 hour and 15 minutes.

IMG_6122

I’ve never made meatloaf quite this way before, but I’ve been thinking about blending different meats together for some time and adding more vegetables than I normally would. The result … my kids said it was the best meatloaf they had ever had. I would have to agree. It turned out really great and tasty. One of the problems I have had with other meatloaves is that I thought they were too heavy on the meat. This combination turned out really well; the vegetables and rice turned out to be about one half of the total, which made for a very tasty and light meatloaf. I normally add ketchup to the top of my meatloaf when I eat it, but this meatloaf was tasty enough and light enough that I did not feel the need to do so.

To top the meal off, my wife made a really nice and simple spinach salad with grated carrots, grated mozzarella, croutons, and ceasar dressing. Take a little risk, modify this recipe, make some great meatloaf, and let me know how it turns out for you. Some things I would like to try next include adding bacon or chorizo to the meat and adding a layer of cheese on the top. I would also like to try adding some squash to the vegetable mixture. Good luck.

 

{ 0 comments }

We went wandering through the Gotic part of Barcelona again. I could walk through this place for days. Every time we made a turn there was something new.  As we were walking, we found a small plaza that had this abstract piece of urban art work. We were running a little late, so I only had time to snap three pictures–actually three sets of bracketed photos so I could do some HDR photography of this piece. The sun was still hot in the sky so I couldn’t have gotten a good photo were it not for HDR or a lens filter, which I didn’t have on me.

Because the artwork was so abstract, I took a little more liberty with HDR than I normally do. I usually like to use HDR only to get what’s in the shadows or make the sky a little more blue when it gets washed out. However, with these photos, I pumped up the effects of HDR and some added curves and levels in Photoshop. Here is the result.

Gotic_Abstract_Art_6023

Gotic_Abstract_Art_6026-2

Gotic_Abstract_Art_6029

After we got home that night, there was a storm brewing over the Mediterranean. I snapped these photos using HDR but only pumped them up enough to bring out the details without going overboard. A funnel cloud was forming as I took these two photos, the first one catching as much as I could with my 28-70mm lens, and another getting as close as I could with the same lens.

Brewing_Storm_6068

Brewing_Storm_6065

About a half hour latter this cloud appeared as we were about to step out for the night. And yes, I did pump up the effects of HDR a little more than the previous two photos, but it was worth it. Since I couldn’t capture the whole sky, I had to emphasize the part that I did catch.

Brewing_Storm_6080

{ 1 comment }

Silas, my 9-year old, was really bored. He had been cooped up all day reading and doing his home-study work and was done with it. He could not stay still or quiet, so I decided to take him out for a photography lesson. He has really started to take a liking to photos, so I decided to teach him a few things on perspective and depth of field. Silas had the Sony Alpha-100 with a Sigma 28-200mm f1:3.5-5.6 micro lens while I was shooting with my Cannon 60D with an EF 24-70mm f1:2.8 zoom lens. Here are some of the pictures we took while on our walk.

I took this while in the elevator heading out for our walk.

Silas-Walk01-4087

Silas took this one.

Silas-Walk01s-03430

From my perspective.

Silas-Walk02-4091

From Silas’ Perspective.

Silas-Walk02s-03434

From my perspective.

Silas-Walk03-4093

From Silas’ perspective.

Silas-Walk03s-03436

Silas’s camera does not have the focusing options that my camera has, so I have been teaching him to focus where he wants to by pressing the shutter button half way down and then moving the camera to the perspective that he wants and then pressing the shutter button all the way down. He has been learning really well and fast. What do you think?

I got down on my knees to take this shot.

Silas-Walk04-4096

Silas stood to get this shot. His macro lens did really well here.

Silas-Walk04s-03440

This is my shot of Mater.

Silas-Walk05-4101

This is what Silas saw.

Silas-Walk05s-03445

I don’t take a lot of pictures with a wide perspective of the scene. I tell my kids to pick something of interest in the whole scene that is in front of you and take a picture of that. I did not know what he took pictures of until we got back, and I totally enjoyed the fact that he took a shot of just the eyes and I did not. The student may yet get better than his master.

Here is a shot I took along the way that Silas did not.

Silas-Walk06-4112

Here are some shots that Silas took that I did not along the way.

Silas-Walk06s-03449

Silas-Walk06s-03452

Silas-Walk06s-03453

From my perspective.

Silas-Walk07-4119

From his perrspective.

Silas-Walk07s-03459

We were trying to get a picture that took advantage of the mirror in the grout. Here is my perspective.

Silas-Walk08-4123

I had to hold him up so he wasn’t quite so steady, but here is what he got.

Silas-Walk08s-03464

This is Silas taking his perspective of the squatter.

Silas-Walk09-4115

This is Silas when he was trying to take his picture using the mirror. He had zommed in on it well but the camera wouldn’t focus on anything; that is why I had to pick him up. He really wanted that shot.

Silas-Walk09-4122

This is Silas’ shot of the door.

Silas-Walk09s-03469

I got down really low for this shot.

Silas-Walk10-4116

This is Silas’ perspective. I really like his focus on the white shoe strings.

Silas-Walk10s-03460

From my perspective.

Silas-Walk11-4127

From Silas’s perspective.

Silas-Walk11s-03474

From my perspective.

Silas-Walk12-4131

Taking a picture of Silas taking his perspective of the next glass tile lower than the one I took a picture of.

Silas-Walk12-4134

From Silas’ perspective.

Silas-Walk12s-03484

Silas saw this wall and thought of a wall in one of the Harry Potter shows, so we took some pictures of the indentation in one of the bricks that looked like a special portal to another part of the wizard world.

Silas-Walk13-4135

Silas-Walk13-4137

From my perspective.

Silas-Walk13-4138

From Silas’ perspective.

Silas-Walk13s-03486

From my perspective.

Silas-Walk14-4147

Silas taking his perspective.

Silas-Walk14-4148

From Silas’ perspective.

Silas-Walk14s-03492

Silas has a fascination with motorcycles.

Silas-Walk15-4149

Here is the photo he was taking.

Silas-Walk15s-03494

Silas took this great photo of a lock with excellent depth of field.

Silas-Walk15s-03479

End of lesson, and Silas wanted to take one last picture.

Silas-Walk16s-03497

Silas did such a great job; I can’t wait till the next lesson. He’s learning so fast that I am going to have to learn more so that I will always know more than he will!

Click here to see what Silas had to say about each of his pictures on his blog, Goose and Gadgets.

{ 1 comment }

As a continuation of my graffiti series, here is my next installation of photos from our walk around the Raval District of Barcelona Spain. Below are 16 photos of my series from Raval.  Click on any one of them to go to my flickr account to see them in a larger format and to see all 34 of the photos that I added.

Raval-Graffiti_3956

Raval-Graffiti_3732

Raval-Graffiti_3733

Raval-Graffiti_3915

Raval-Graffiti_3920

Raval-Graffiti_3922

Raval-Graffiti_3938

Raval-Graffiti_3947

Raval-Graffiti_3954

Raval-Graffiti_3955

Raval-Graffiti_3959

Raval-Graffiti_3969

Raval-Graffiti_3974

Raval-Graffiti_3975

Raval-Graffiti_3976

Raval-Graffiti_3980

{ 0 comments }

My daughter, Tessa, is totally into vintage clothing, so this weekend we went to a very popular street for vintage items in Barcelona’s Raval District, Carrer de Reira Baixa, but more on that in a later post. This post is about doors in the Raval area, where Reira Baixa is located. (We covered only a small area of the neighborhood, so I may post more later on this area as well.) Now:  some of the doors were hard to separate between my posts on “Doors of…” and “Graffiti of…” sections. For distinction purposes, if the door is on a hinge, opens sideways, and is painted with graffiti, it is a door.  If the door is a roller door and rolls up rather than sideways and is painted with graffiti, it is classified as “graffiti” and will be on my next post. With that understanding, here are some photographs of doors in the Raval district of Barcelona Spain.

Raval-Doors_4060

Raval-Doors_3973

Raval-Doors_3961

Raval-Doors_3960

Raval-Doors_3958

Raval-Doors_3953

Raval-Doors_3952

Raval-Doors_3951

Raval-Doors_3950

Raval-Doors_3944

Raval-Doors_3921

Raval-Doors_3908

Raval-Doors_3705

Raval-Doors_3555

Raval-Doors_3554

Raval-Doors_3553

Let me know if there is one you particularly like.

{ 0 comments }

I love breakfasts and I miss the great breakfasts that I could make in the U.S.with our waffle maker and griddle and ready access to Mexican food products like corn tortillas. However, Spain also has a lot to offer. This morning I had one of my favorite meats, readily available here at any of the corner markets:  chorizo. Chorizo is a slightly spicy pork sausage. I like to cut it open and fry it so that the fats cook out a little to add something to cook my fried eggs in. I guess it’s kind of like cooking the bacon first for the pork fat, only it’s a little orange-ish/brown in color.

Breakfast_3523

We don’t have a toaster here so I always butter up a piece of my baguette with butter and a little olive oil and place it on the skillet to toast it. The eggs here in Spain are a little different also; the color is a little more orange and they cook up a lot faster. If I leave them on as long as I do the eggs from the U.S., the yokes cook up too hard, but I like the flavor a little more.  Add a little salt and pepper and WOW!!! I had a wonderful breakfast this morning.

{ 0 comments }

Barcelona is made up of several different areas, and each area has it’s own personality. We recently walked around teh Gothic area of Barcelona and had a really enjoyable time. Of course for me, it was enjoyable because I had my camera in hand and took a lot of pictures. I finally went through them and picked out some of the best ones. On this post I have placed 16 of them, but if you click on any one of them, it will take you to my flickr account where you will find a total of 58 of them. I hope you find at least one of them to be inspiring to you. If you do, please let me know which one. Thanks.

Gothic-Area_1692

Gothic-Area_1694

Gothic-Area_1702

Here is a quick video of Silas in a church doing the wave.

Gothic-Area_1709

Gothic-Area_1716

Gothic-Area_1718

Gothic-Area_1728

Gothic-Area_1733

Gothic-Area_1736

Gothic-Area_1857

Gothic-Area_1891

Gothic-Area_1878

Gothic-Area_1942

Gothic-Area_1872

Gothic-Area_1928

Gothic-Area_1954

Gothic-Area_1958

Gothic-Area_1960

{ 1 comment }