My Mind is Blown: More Pictures from Palma

I usually work on Thursdays, but today I didn’t have to go to school because most of my students had a field trip, conveniently enough, to Palma, where I live.  Rather than having us (the other auxiliar and me) schlepp out and back with the students, the teachers invited us to the castle tour that they were doing, as well as the rendition of Hamlet that they were seeing, and said we could meet them in Palma.  We biked up to the bottom of the mountain that the castle is on, and hiked to the top.

It was gorgeous!  The castle – Castell de Bellver – itself was kind of underwhelming as far as castles go… it wasn’t like anyone really lived there for an extended period of time, and it wasn’t completely open and set as if it was still the 14th century.   There was a museum downstairs, and the architecture was decent, but the views were amazing!  It’s set on a hilltop off to the side of the harbor, and there really were incredible views any way you looked.  I know I’m spoiled living in such a beautiful place and I already forget to take the time to look around and enjoy, but being up in the castle forced me to enjoy the views today.

I’m not going to do any more justice to Hamlet than I can describing the harbor views, but, it starred only two people – two guys who I think were British.  They started out by running down the aisles of the dark theater shining flashlights on their faces in the dark, and soon broke into singing Bohemian Rhapsody while taking off their clothing and dancing suggestively.  Especially the dude in the clingy unitard.  I was with a group of high school students – 15-17 years old.  The play ended with one of the guys dressing up like Elton John and running around the stage with a streamer a-la Ribbon Dancer (check out YouTube if you forget the glory that it was) while singing The Circle of Life.  The middle of the play featured audience participation, as well as the Muppets.  I can’t make this stuff up.  I looked it up on the Palma Auditorium website, and it’s nowhere to be found.  I do know I will never forget Hamlet now, and the students seemed to enjoy it at least.

I don’t have any pictures of Hamlet (other than what’s unfortunately burned into my retina), but I do have pictures from the castle for you to enjoy.

Hope you have a good rest of the week!  Does the Hamlet I went to sound anything like the play you studied in school?

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Castell de Bellver

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gorgeous view behind me after our hike to the castle

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a botched panorama of the inside of the castle

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the museum in the castle

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pottery display turned wishing well inside the castle

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the mountain side view

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Harbor view from the top

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More harbor views. Gorgeous turquoise water!

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Looking down into the castle.

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View on the way back down.

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Cathedral in the background of the harbor. So pretty!

Tuesday is the New Friday

Hi guys 🙂  It’s Tuesday evening here, and while I’m waiting for salt to de-bitter my eggplant so I can make dinner, I thought I’d fill you in with some pictures from the past week.  As an extra bonus, school for me is cancelled for Thursday.  I do have to go see Hamlet with the kids, but it’s in Palma, where I live, and I don’t have to spend 2 hours commuting across the island, so I’m calling it a win.  And I’m calling today Friday.  In the meantime, here’s a window into what I’ve been up to in the past few days:

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Fish at Mercat de l’Olivar

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lots of fish

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more fish

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ham at Mercat l’Olivar

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more jamón

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the vegetables at Mercat l’Olivar

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a taste of home

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the Palma beach

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no idea but it’s pretty

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Paella from Paella Sunday

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he’s everywhere 🙂

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View from my run at school today. The panorama is below.

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Santa Margalida market

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more market

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even more market

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the streets of Santa Margalida

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mountains on the way back to Palma

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The bakery finally gave me a real mug. After a month, I’m in the club!

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Halloween decorations at the bakery. They started playing Christmas music today, too.

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Simpsons cookies. I’ll have to try them and report back.

Greek Yogurt Meatballs

Last night the clocks in Spain fell back an hour.  It’s always one of my favorite days of the year because you can go to bed late and sleep in, and still get up early.  Yesterday I made meatballs, but wanted to tweak the recipe a little to save eggs, since I’m still planning on making a Spanish tortilla, and grocery stores are closed on Sundays here.  I ended up swapping out milk and an egg for Greek yogurt, and it was delicious!  They were crispy on the outside and super-moist on the inside, even though I left them on the stove for half an hour while I Skyped.  To be fair, part of that could be due to the pork/beef mixture of meat that I used, instead of 93% fat-free beef, but whatever the reason, they were better-than-usual good.  I added fresh rosemary, because I found some at a market that I couldn’t pass up.  It’s always a good addition!

Ingredients:

  • 500 grams/1 lb pasta
  • 500 grams/1 lb pork/beef ground meat
  • about 1/2 cup full-fat Greek yogurt
  • about 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1 large egg
  • olive oil, to coat the pan
  • 1 large can pureed tomatoes
  • 1 red pepper
  • half a head of garlic
  • 2 Tbsp fresh rosemary
  • Parmesan cheese

Directions:

  • Heat a large pot of salted water over medium-high to high heat.
  • Meanwhile, mix meat, yogurt, breadcrumbs, and egg until well combined, but don’t over-mix.  Add more breadcrumbs or yogurt as needed until you get the consistency that you want.
  • Form into balls.
  • Heat oil in a frying pan (that has a lid) over medium heat.
  • Chop garlic and red peppers.  Be careful not to include the white part inside of the red pepper or the seeds.
  • When the oil is hot, add the meatballs.
  • Don’t touch them until they’re browned on the bottom, otherwise they’ll fall apart.
  • Turn the meatballs over once they are browned on the bottom and add pureed tomatoes, garlic, red pepper, and rosemary.
  • Cover and simmer over low heat until cooked through, about 30 minutes.
  • Cook the pasta according to package directions.
  • Drain, do not rinse, and toss with sauce.
  • Serve and top with Parmesan cheese.
  • Enjoy 🙂

How was your weekend?  Is this a recipe you would try?

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Super Easy Farfalle and Cheese

Hey you guys!  I made it to Friday!  Since I don’t work Fridays, Thursday night is my Friday, and I can relax.  I’ve been able to find a lot of things in Spain that I didn’t think I would {Pepperidge Farm, anyone?}, but I haven’t found macaroni and cheese in any form.  Except for the weirder than normal stuff in a box that they were selling at the American store.  It was not any recognizable brand.  And sometimes I just want a box of Annie’s, or even Kraft.  Or even to make it from scratch.  I’ve done that a bunch, and it takes a while but it’s easy and delicious. Except I haven’t seen block cheddar cheese here.  Only fancy hard cheeses.  Or fancy soft cheeses.  But what I did have in my fridge was a kilogram of Greek Yogurt and some Parmesan cheese.

I know how it sounds, but don’t change your channel!  You’ve got to believe me here.  The yogurt was all melty, and the cheese was cheesy, and I even toasted some breadcrumbs and garlic.  It’s not the mac and cheese that you would normally make, but it was mac and cheese, or in my case, farfalle, and it was good.  Was past tense, because it’s all gone now 🙂  It’s not difficult enough to be a proper recipe, and my lack of pictures proves it, but it was so good I wanted to share it anyway.

Ingredients {for one}:

  • 1/3 box farfalle {or other pasta.  My farfalle was already open.}
  • 1 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 head of garlic {feel free to adjust this}
  • 3 Tbsp breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup full fat Greek yogurt {It’s delicious and I don’t know how people eat fat-free yogurt}
  • 3 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese

Directions:

  • Heat a pot of salted water over medium-high to high heat.
  • Take your yogurt out of the fridge so it’s not super cold and brings down your pasta temperature when you mix it together.
  • In the mean time, heat a frying pan with oil and butter.
  • Chop your garlic.
  • Sautee the garlic and breadcrumbs over medium heat, watching them carefully and stirring frequently, otherwise they will burn and you will have to repeat this step.  Like I did.  Whoops!
  • Cook your pasta according to the directions and drain when done.
  • Don’t rinse your pasta, because you want it starchy.
  • Plate your pasta in the bowl you want to eat it from, and mix with yogurt and Parmesan.
  • Top with the breadcrumbs, and enjoy 🙂

This recipe definitely is a little out there, but I think it shows what a little ingenuity can do.  I will definitely make this again in the near future.  It’s not proper mac and cheese, but it’s close enough.  And the cleanup is so much easier!  No oven or baking dishes to clean, and nothing is sticky with baked-on cheese.

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toasted breadcrumbs and garlic Round 2

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close-up of the melty-cheesy goodness

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artistic side-shot

Virgins, Sandwiches, and Stovetop Roasted Veggies with Eggs and Pancetta

Hi you guys!  We made it halfway through the workweek again!  I hope yours is going well!  The weather in Palma is still unseasonably warm, which I’m enjoying.  Last night I got to go for a much needed run along the water, in a futile attempt to burn off some of the 9 donuts I ate on Monday.  Monday was the Feast of the Virgins, which still makes me think of the Golden Girls episode where Sophia enlists Rose to make the traditional sauce and she adds Frosted Flakes.  From what I’ve gathered, the boys are supposed to serenade the girls, and the girls invite the boys to eat donuts.  My school was selling tickets for the traditional bunyols last week – 5 for one euro – to eat on Monday.  I got two tickets last week, but luckily there wasn’t enough time for them to make everyone’s donuts when they planned to, so I only got 5.  10 donuts would have been a lot.  But then that afternoon I passed a hole in the wall where two old women were making the donuts fresh, and I couldn’t resist.  I asked for 2, because 7 donuts in one day is clearly a normal amount, and they gave me 4.  The ones I had at school were kind of underwhelming compared to all the hype they’d been given, but the ones I had from the old ladies were delicious!  I definitely prefer the ones in Palma that are more like chocolate-filled cream-puffs, but a mediocre fried donut is still pretty good!

Last night I tried to make something a bit lighter and still a bit more sweater-weathery.  I was in the mood for butternut squash, and originally thought I’d make eggs-in-a-basket, but ended up skipping the bread when I realized how many veggies I had.  I had some leftover potatoes from my Spanish omelette disaster, and also picked up some red pepper, garlic, and frozen chopped spinach along with the butternut squash.  It was a lot of food, but it felt so good to eat something with actual nutrition!  This recipe is probably perfect for 2 people, although it worked just fine for me, and I had lots of leftovers to play with.  I already made an epic sandwich to take to lunch tomorrow… pancetta, avocado, brie, and red pepper on a baguette!

Stovetop Roasted Veggies with Eggs and Pancetta:

  • 2 large eggs
  • 250 grams (1/2 lb) pancetta
  • 3 small potatoes
  • 1 large red bell pepper
  • 1/2 head of garlic (I was in the mood for garlic.  Feel free to use less.)
  • 1 package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained.
  • 250 grams (1/2 lb) butternut squash
  • 1/2 cup milk for the eggs
  • Olive oil or butter, as needed

Directions:

  • Fry the pancetta in a frying pan over medium heat, until nicely brown and cooked.
  • Remove from heat to a plate lined with paper towels.
  • Reserve the leftover grease to cook your veggies in.
  • While pancetta is cooking, cut your squash, potatoes, garlic, and red pepper.
  • Toss into pan after taking out the pancetta.
  • Brown the vegetables.
  • Add the spinach.  It may add a bit of liquid, which is why you add it last.  I forgot to defrost mine and it took ages to cook off all the liquid.
  • When everything is cooked, remove from the heat.
  • Scramble eggs and milk in a medium bowl.
  • Add more grease to the pan if you need to keep the eggs from sticking.
  • Cook the scrambled eggs, stirring as needed to keep them from being an omelette.  Be careful not to overcook.
  • Take the eggs off of the heat when they’re done, add to vegetables and pancetta, and enjoy!
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making bunyols at school

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fresh bunyols

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close-up

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My lovely pancetta. It’s so much thicker than bacon!

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cooking up

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this is why you defrost your spinach first

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all together, waiting for the spinach water to evaporate

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gorgeous Spanish eggs

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finally dinnertime

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sandwich envy

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view from my run yesterday. Enjoy 🙂