Monday, April 16, 2012

A Quick Update

Things are moving along at a fast pace. I only have a month left til I go home! I am super excited but I have lots to do before I leave. Sorry I have been so lax with the updates but life has been pretty busy and normal. I am cooking dinner on Monday nights for Marco and myself, living with the man I love, spinning four times a week, teaching 17 students, 4 ensamble classes and singing with my bands three nights a week. I couldn't ask for anything more! :)

For your entertainment...Pepe sliding on the floor with his favorite toy, my old socks. It's not the best quality because it was taken on my camera but it's fun nonetheless!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Relaxing Semana Santa

This week was holy week and it was quite relaxing. I worked everyday this week with the exception of today but it was never more than a few hours. Semana Santa is celebrated in various ways by Peruvians. In Cusco they celebrate El Señor de los Temblores (literally translated to the man of earthquakes) on Monday. He is the patron saint of Cusco and everyone gets out to see the procession and if not they are out in the evening and fill the main plaza with more bodies than new years. Unfortunately, this year it rained a lot and soaked everyone. One of my students parents said that she had never experienced rain on the day of El Señor de los Temblores. Poor Marco had to run back to the base from the procession in the pouring rain. I had my own water problem but it was because my water bottle was open in my bag and got EVERYTHING wet including my new Shure mic. Plopped that in rice as soon as I got home. Works every time. If you ever drop an electronic device in water, put it in a bowl of rice for a day and it will work! (Most of the time.)

There are lots of masses and many people go to church for the first and only time during the year. Marco went to multiple masses because his job required him to but we didn't go to any on our own.

I gave a make-up class for group this week because I have to give at least 16 during the semester and since I will be gone in June, that will leave me three behind when I get back. I want as little work as possible to make up when I get back. I would much rather work my butt off now. Fortunately, a friend of Suzanne's who is also a violin teacher is going to come for two months and will arrive right as I leave. If all works out, she will be able to teach my students for the month of June so they don't miss out on private lessons! There are few students who are receiving classes for June right now. They are all students who are graduating from book 1 and book 3 on May 14th. I am so excited for them!

Thursday, Friday and Saturday I played gigs with my bands. Akhtiara and friends came out on Thursday to see me sing at Frogs. (Pictured above). Saturday night was the best. The Guardians played at The Dragon's Palate and there was a group of Brazilians that had a grand old time and ended up dancing and singing in the rain with us. We weren't gonna let some rain get the best of our show! We also sold 4 CDs! That's huge for us especially in one night!

Today was great, other than Pepe waking me up at 5:30am to go out. We did some house cleaning and I ended up cleaning all of Pepe's things including his blankets and his dog house. I lined it with contact paper and brushed all the hair off his blankets. He kept looking at me like I was taking everything away. He was so confused. He kept trying to lay down under the blanket I was trying to clean. Haha! He is so adorable.
What are you doing mama?

Cleaned and lined with contact paper

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Aji de Gallina Recipe

I have never posted a recipe before but I think it's about time to put up one of a delicious Peruvian meal that I attempted on Monday night. This meal is known as aji de gallina. Literally translated it would be hot pepper of chicken. Haha. Better to stick with it's castallano name. So here is how you make it!

What you need:

For chicken and stock:
1 to 2 pounds chicken breast
2 celery stalks chopped in thirds
1 carrot peeled and chopped in chunks
1 tomato chopped up (without the seeds)
1 onion peeled and chopped
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon salt
2-3 bay leaves
2 cups rice

For the sauce:
olive oil or vegetable oil
2 cloves of garlic chopped finely or put through a mincer
1-2 onion chopped finely (depends on how much you like onions)
1/2 cup evaporated milk
2 cups soft bread crumbs (I used wheat bread but typically white bread is used)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 tablespoons aji paste more if you want it spicier. (If you don't have access to aji you can use chilli pepper as a substitute)
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
2 hard boiled eggs halved
5-6 small to medium sized potatoes boiled, peeled and halved

1. Boil 4 cups of water and put in the chicken. Add all the ingredients from the stock section of ingredients. Once it has boiled for a few minutes turn down the heat and let the chicken simmer for 40 to 45 minutes or however long it takes for the chicken to cook all the way through.

2. Once the chicken is cook take it out and cut it into small pieces.

3. Strain the ingredients from the stock so you just end up with the chicken broth. This will be put into the sauce eventually.

4. For the sauce, first soak bread crumbs in the 1/2 cup of evaporated milk. You should boil the potatoes and eggs as well as the rice at this point.

5. Heat oil in a deep skillet and saute the onion and garlic. Add cumin.

6. Once the onion and garlic are golden add the milk and bread crumb mix as well as the aji paste.

7. Slowly add stock into the skillet and mix. It will reduce and become thick. Feel free to add more salt or aji as needed during the reduction. Once it is nice and think add the chicken into the skillet and mix well so that all the chicken is covered in the sauce.

8. Peel the eggs and half them. Skin the potatoes and half them. Put the rice on the plate, put the potatoes next to the rice and then cover the rice and potatoes with the sauce. Finally, add the eggs on the side and add a little parsley on top.