Saturday, April 23, 2011

The art of cooking

I have been taking a cooking class once a week with my friend Horacio, who is a stay-at-home dad while his wife works here at the hotel. Horacio grew up in Argentina and then later made his way to Europe where he lived in various places such as France, Spain, and Ireland. His first profession in life was as a psychiatrist, but he later decided to attend one of the top culinary schools in Europe because he realized he loved cooking and, in his words, it is much more rewarding to see people happy from 3 hours spent cooking a meal than from 3 months of therapy.

I have really enjoyed the class with Horacio and, like everything, once you start learning about something you realize how much you don't know. I have learned how to fillet a whole fish, how to properly prepare a mushroom, to make Jamaican banana mash, and how to make homemade Indian curry's. I am learning the difference between "sauteing" and "sweating" the onions. I am learning the difference between arborio, jasmine, basmati, and sushi rice. I have learned new words such gnocchi, fumet, and chumichurri. I have learned how to properly garnish a plate of food and about presentation, which apparently tossing slices of pizza or napkins across the table is not proper. I have learned when is the correct time to label a food as "beautiful" and "fantastic" and "nice."

It has been interesting and humorous to cook together and work through our communication barriers, as Horacio speaks Spanish as a first language and we occasionally have misunderstandings, such as "mionize" (mayo), "common sense" (cumin seeds), and "cimumum" (cinnamon). He makes me laugh when he tries to use phrases such as "you grabbed the words from inside my mouth," and "time flies away."

We will have a few more classes and he has promised that we will make sushi, but Horacio recently got a phone call inviting him to interview for a position as head chef of a new, upscale restaurant in St. Kitts, and he got the job. He is thrilled to get to use his skills, and I have enjoyed learning a few techniques and recipes from him.

Here are a few of our dishes. Horacio's wife and Adrian came for lunch one day after we had prepared the meal. This was a lobster "twice-baked" (those are my words), salad with homemade dressings, homemade bread, and a pear thingy for dessert (apparently I still need to learn some more vocabulary.)

Since we're talking about food, here are some of the fun things we had for our family Valentines dinner a few months back. Spending precious time cutting out heart-shaped pepperoni is definitely a once-a-year thing, but the kids thought it was awesome.

Lastly, here are a few shots of the English food we made last month when our friend Brandon had a birthday. His wife, Tamsin, grew up in England, and Adrian and Brandon went to the same mission (10+ years apart) in Birmingham. Horacio taught me ahead of time how to make a few of the dishes I would need in order to make this dinner, and it was a success. The food was awesome and was very photogenic also! Pictured here are the yorkshire puddings, roasties, and lamb with mint sauce. So good! if I say so myself!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Birthday boy

We had a full weekend of celebrations for Brennan's 9th birthday. We went to the movie "Rio" on Friday night and then had pool party on Saturday with about 10 boys. Our friend, Shane, came and we believe had as much fun with all the kids as they had with him. (He might even hire out as entertainment for YOUR birthday party!) The party included water guns for all, lots of rafts, hot dogs and everything that goes with them, and strawberry and mango smoothies.

Saturday night we were pampered by our friends, Brandon and Tamsin, who came over and cooked up a special meal for the kids as well as a special meal for adults. Brennan was a little taken back when he was presented with an entire squid that Brandon jokingly told him was the "special birthday meal." Instead, he used the squid for spring rolls and sushi. I didn't have to cook dinner for anyone, so it felt like my birthday!

Last but not least, me and the baby boy.

After our 1 hour of church today. Dave and Becky- you will be so envious to know that they were working on the water lines again- you know what that means!

If you know Brennan you will remember that he is quite picky and actually can't stand cake. So this year we went with the "birthday rice crispy treat."

The time goes by so fast, and we are proud of how Brennan is growing into a righteous young man. He loves sports, the outdoors, electronics, and art, and has many different talents, but the best thing about Brennan is how kind and sensitive he is toward others. He is friends with everyone in the world and tries to make everyone feel a part of things.

Sunday, April 10, 2011


Brennan decided to try his hand at business. On Friday night he built a lemonade stand out of an old box, and when he realized there would be a big "garage-sale" on Saturday for all the graduating Vet. students, he was determined to get out there and sell his lemonade. It was a great idea- it was hot and there was a lot of cash flow already going on. And it turns out people like buying things from children. In the end, he came away with $226. E.C. ($84.U.S.) and he paid Damon $5. for carrying the money bag and Payton $20. for walking around and telling people to come over. I wonder if the Branch President was laughing on Sunday when Damon paid his 10% tithing on his $5. E.C.- which came out to 18 cents in U.S. dollars. Now Payton is determined to sell cookies the next time and bring in some dough of her own. (FYI in case you are wondering- the lemonade sold for $2. E.C. which equals 75 cents U.S.)

Monday, April 4, 2011

Sunday, April 3, 2011

A wedding

I know some of you are waiting to see pictures of Jared and Vancelyn's wedding, and I finally got them together. Many are from my friend, Brigett, who did all the photography. Planning all the details for a wedding, especially on short notice and with a very limited budget, definitely proved to be a difficult task but everything came together in the end. Sis. Maynard made the wedding cake, the members were able to help out with preparing a lunch for 100 people, we were able to coordinate all the flowers for free by meeting up with the Ross Vet. School plant trimmers at 6 a.m. the day of the wedding. It was a memorable day in many ways.

These are the members of the branch who were there that day.

This is me and Nabila with Sydnee, one of our awesome young women.

The guy in the plaid is Donville, the only young man in the branch. He just turned 16 and was made a priest.