Ingredients of a Woman » Archive for May 2010

Grand Marnier Strawberry Sauce -Spring Flavours

   
Nothing like fresh Spring flavours. Strawberries are on top of my list of vibrant and flavorful spring foods. I’m planning to grow my own, next year for sure. On the mean time, I got some of these gorgeous passion red strawberries from the market.
They are big, beautiful and juicy.
The taste of this sauce will remind you that spring is HERE.

   
The ingredients are:
About 12 large strawberries. One whole lime, the juice and zest.
A couple of medium size cinnamon sticks or just one large. Two Tbsp. of cornstarch. And 1/4 cup of Grand Marnier, maybe 1/2 cup, it’s up to you ;-)

   
Upps, I almost forget, we also need about a cup of brown sugar.


   
In a saucepan bring to a boil 3 cups of water. Add a large cinnamon stick.
Let it boil for about 5 minutes or until the water has changed its color to a light red-brown, just like if you were making cinnamon tea.

   
Then add a cup of sugar, the strawberries, the lime zest and juice. Boil for about 5 minutes.

   
Meanwhile, dissolve the cornstarch in a ¼ cup of cold water. Make sure there are not lumps.

   
Once the strawberries are softened, add the dissolved cornstarch. Stir until begins to boil again and the sauce has thickened.
Remove the sauce from the heat and add the Grand Marnier.
Let it cool down and then refrigerate.

   
Server on top of a slice of cake with some fresh strawberries.
Strawberry Sauce_On top of sweet bread 2

   
Devour immediately!
Love,

Alba H. Rodriguez

   
Ingredients
12 large fresh strawberries (rinsed and sliced)
1 whole lime (the juice and skin)
1 cup brown sugar
2 Tbsp. cornstarch
1 large cinnamon stick
3 ¼ cups water
¼ cup Grand Marnier

   
Preparation
-In a saucepan bring to a boil 3 cups of water. Add a large cinnamon stick.
-Let it boil for about 5 minutes.
-Then add a cup of sugar, the strawberries, the lime zest and juice. Boil for about 5 minutes.
-Meanwhile, dissolve the cornstarch in a ¼ cup of cold water. Make sure there are not lumps.
-Once the strawberries are softened, add the dissolved cornstarch. Stir until begins to boil again and the sauce has thickened.
-Remove the sauce from the heat and add the Grand Marnier. Let it cool down and then refrigerate.
-Server on top of a slice of cake with some fresh strawberries.

Filed under: Home Ingredients, In the Kitchen

Where will you rest when you die? -Sarcophagi at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

   

Where will you rest when you die?


Have you ever thought what your coffin will look like when you pass away?


I spent a whole afternoon starring at the gorgeous sculptures at the MET. Fascinated by the intricacies and drama of each piece, I lost myself in the surroundings of our ancient civilizations.

The collection of Greek and Roman art at the Met holds more than seventeen thousand pieces, ranging from the Neolithic period to the time of the roman emperor Constantine’s conversion to Christianity in A.D. 312.

It is one of the most comprehensive collections in North America.
I want to share with you a little bit of the ancient Roman’s funerary art, Sarcophagi, impressive monuments carved with Greek mythology.

   
Marble Sarcophagus
Roman, about A.D. 220 – 230

Dionysos on a Panther with his attendants the four seasons as winged youths.
Tellus (The Earth) and Oceanus (A River), reclining. Probably found in Rome.

Here is a close-up:

   
Marble sarcophagus with garlands
Roman, Severan period, ca. A.D. 200-225

This one is adorned at the front and sides by garlands of oak leaves, supported by two erotes and four Victories.
Do you see the Medusa heads filling the spaces above the garlands?
At the center of the front there is a blank inscription tablet.
Along the front lid, six erotes hunt wild animals. You can see the details if you click on the picture, which will take you to my flickr account, where the original size is.

   
Marble strigilated sarcophagus
Roman, Late Severan, ca. A.D. 220

The marble on this piece is Proconnesian, imported from northwestern Asia Minor.
The lions heads are very impressive, they look hungry, gggrrrrrr, and furious.
I read on the museum notes that this kind of design is very distinctive, and it’s restricted largely to sarcophagi produced in the city of Rome. I love the effect of the front panels.
This piece was missing its lid.

   
Marble sarcophagus lid with reclining couple
Roman, Severan period, ca. A.D. 220

The couple represents water and earth. The woman is holding a garland and two sheaves of wheat, characteristics of Tellus, goddess of the earth. The man is holding a long reed, and there is some sort of lizard creature next to his left arm.
The wife’s head is unfinished. Apparently this means that her husband died before her, and no one added her portrait after she passed out of existence. Poor woman!
On the other hand, the details on the man’s head are amazing.

   
Marble sarcophagus with flying erotes holding a clipeus portrait
Roman, Severan period, ca. A.D. 190-200

The portrait center-high up, is of a soldier. He is wearing a military cloak. Tellus and Oceanus, the Earth and Ocean, are reclined below him.
There are figures of Eros and Psyche, personifications of the human soul, at each end of the sarcophagus.

   
Marble sarcophagus with the myth of Endymion
Roman, Antonine period, mid-2nd century A.D.

Selene, the moon goddess, who crazily loved Endymion, gave him eternal youth with eternal sleep.
Would you want to be asleep if someone grant you eternal youth? I know, I wouldn’t.

   
The myth says that Selene visited Endymion every night, where he slept. Althought there are many stories to this myth. I read some time ago that Selene and Endymion had fifty daughters called Menae. Fifty! And the guy was asleep, huh?

   
The relief on this piece is shallow in comparison with the other sarcophagus dated early third century, their carving is deeper.

   
Marble sarcophagus with the myth of Selene and Endymion
Roman, Severan period, early 3rd century A.D.

The lovers myth of Selene and Endymion became a popular funerary theme in Roman art.
If you notice on the lid, there is an inscription at the center, dedicated to a woman named Arria, by her daughter Anina Hilaria. The portrait of the deceased is carved to the right of the inscription. She looks very sad! I already asked my husband to have my portrait with a smile. I don’t want visitors looking at my sarcophagus getting all melancholic because of my weepy face.
Notice the carving on this piece, very deep, so beautiful.
There is Selene on the center, visiting her loverrr, Endymion. He is reclining at the right. Very dramatic pose, he holds!
The female figure over him is pouring out the magic potion of immortality.

   
Marble sarcophagus with garlands and the myth of Theseus and Ariadne
Roman, Hadrianic or Early Antonine period, ca. A.D. 130-150

The four seasons of the year are carved on the lid of this piece. Erotes driving taxis,
ok, maybe chariots, pulled by animals. Bears with spring, lions with summer, bulls with fall, and boars with winter.
On the front there are four erotes carrying seasonal garlands.
The garlands are formed by flowers, grapes, pomegranates, laurel and wheat.
If you blow out the picture, you’ll notice the three episodes between the bundles are from the myth of the Greek hero Theseus.

From left to right: “Adriadne giving a thread to Theseus at the entrance to the labyrinth, Theseus slaying the Minotaur, and the sleeping Ariadne abandoned on the island of Naxos, where she will be awakened by the god Dionysos to become his immortal bride.”

   
Limestone Jewish ossuary with lid
Roman, Jewish, 1st-3rd century A.D.

Ossuaries were used for the burial of bones after the departed’s body had disintegrated.
You could notice the chest was decorated with non-figural design.

Photography copyright of Alba H. Rodriguez

Filed under: ARTS, Museums

The Metropolitan Museum of Art

   
I recently spent a few days in The Metropolitan Museum of Art.


   
I was camping at the Great Hall when one of the security guards asked me to leave, they had to kick me out of it. Ok, it didn’t happened that way. But it actually took me 3 days to see the entire museum.

   
It’s so inspiring to be surrounded by an immense collection of art.
I finally got the motivation I needed to pick up my brushes, dust my easel and start painting again.

   
There’s something for everyone at The Met, with a collection of more than two million works of art.
Thousands years of world culture, from prehistory to present days and from every part of the globe. You could immerse yourself in whatever interest you.

   
The Met is located in New York City’s Central Park along Fifth Avenue (from 80th to 84th Streets).
It’s very easy to find it. I walked from 59th street, the first day, to get there, just to warm up my calves and take some pictures of Central Park.

   
The visitors desk offers maps, tours, brochures, and assistance in many languages, Chinese, Russian, Portuguese, German, French, Italian, Japanese, Korean and Spanish.


   
There are also restaurants, a bookshop, gift shops and even bars.
I tried the cafeteria’s food, it was very good and affordable.

   
If you ever have the opportunity to visit New York City, stop by The Metropolitan Museum.
Just make sure to check the museum hours before showing up.

   
Also, wear comfy shoes.

   
Get ready for hours of history.


   
Beauty.
And even good food.

   
Love,
Alba H. Rodriguez

Filed under: ARTS, Museums, Travel

Baked Spanish Tortilla with Mushrooms and Peppers

   
This is a little variation to “Tortilla Española”, since Spanish don’t use the oven. They only use a fry pan.
You could play with the veggies, adding all sort of peppers. Sometimes I even use broccoli.

   

   
Here are the ingredients:

   
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
First let’s start by chopping all the vegetables.

   
In a skillet, heat the olive oil. Add the potatoes, bell pepper, and mushrooms. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper. Cook until potatoes are tender, about 8 to 10 minutes. Stir occasionally.

   
Then, in a baking dish arrange the cooked veggies.

   
Make sure to distribute them evenly.

   
Now, in a mixing bowl, add the eggs, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper and the parsley.

   
Whisk all together.

   
Pour the egg mixture over the veggies.

   
Press down on the veggies making sure they get submerged.
I love the colors!

   
And bake for 15 to 20 minutes.

   
Serve on fresh bread.


   
Buen provecho!

   Alba H. Rodriguez

   
Ingredients
1 tablespoon olive oil
5 oz peeled and sliced potatoes
1 red bell pepper thinly sliced
3 mushrooms thinly sliced
Salt and ground pepper
4 large eggs
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

   
Preparation
-Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
-In a skillet, heat the olive oil. Add potatoes, bell pepper, and mushrooms; season with salt and freshly ground pepper. Cook until potatoes are tender, about 8 to 10 minutes. Stir occasionally.
-In a baking dish arrange the veggies.
-Now, in a mixing bowl, whisk the eggs, parsley, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.
-Pour the egg mixture over the veggies, make sure to distribute evenly.
-Press down on the veggies making sure they get submerged.
-Bake for 15 to 20 minutes.
-Serve on fresh bread.

Buen provecho!

Alba

Filed under: Breakfast, Home Ingredients, In the Kitchen

Crazy HOT Salsa

   
I love spicy-hot salsas, green, red, orange, brown, yellow…I don’t care what color they are, as long as they are HOT.

   
Since today is Cinco de Mayo and it’s all about eating spicy food. Ok, maybe it’s not.
It’s actually about the Mexican army’s victory over the French forces at the Battle of Puebla, back in 1862. It’s about celebrating with your friends and family.
Cinco de MayoIt’s the perfect excuse to make salsa.

   
Just to clarify it has never been the celebration of Mexico’s Independence Day as many people believe.

   
If you are looking to spice up your food try this salsa version. It’s very simple, easy, and absolutely HOT. You could use it with many of the Mexican snacks and dishes made to celebrate Cinco de Mayo. Just be aware that it’s crazy HOT.

   
Here are the ingredients:
You also need 2 tablespoons of olive oil.

   
Boil the chiles, I used six red jalapeños, four cloves of garlic and one bell pepper to intensify the color of the salsa. Just a note, I didn’t remove the seeds. If you want to control the heat, then remove the seeds.

   
Once the jalapeños are soft, throw everything in the blender.
My preference is to have chunks of chiles, lots of texture. If you like yours smooth then make sure to blend some more.

   
Next, in a sauce pan, heat the two tablespoons of olive oil. Add the salsa and let if boil for a few minutes.

   
Then sprinkle the juice of one lime. We are done.

   
Serve on top of your favorite breakfast.

   
On your favorite tacos.

   
Buen provecho!

   
Alba H. Rodriguez

   
Ingredients
6 Jalapeños peppers
1 Bell pepper
4 garlic cloves
Salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 lime

   
Preparation
Boil all the ingredients except the oil.
Once the jalapeños are soft, throw everything in the blender and blend.
Next, in a sauce pan, heat the two tablespoons of olive oil. Add the salsa and let if boil for a few minutes. Then sprinkle the juice of one lime.

Enjoy it.

Filed under: Home Ingredients, In the Kitchen