Helen was a lovely and loving soul. She always had a Christmas present for every single child at the party. She loved her garden, and had beautiful baby roses and geraniums. In her living room was a big, soft purple sofa that complimented the red carpet.
Every New Year's Eve she held a grand party. All of the guests had to wear hats from the box of hats that had been collected over the years.
She marked all of our birthdays and anniversaries and baby showers and first communions with either a book cake or a lamb cake, decorated with colored icing and flowers and candies.
She was tall and thin and proud of her fine legs. She had a file of old DMV written exams that anyone could look at if they needed to study for a driver's test.
Joe's Special is an old-time San Francisco dish, and, wow, it sure is good comfort food. Since we've had a lot of spinach to go through lately, and I remembered eating this as a kid, and comfort food is always a good idea, we whipped this up and served it up in some old-fashioned diner bowls.
Joe's Special for 4
4 large eggs, beaten
2 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1-2 garlic cloves, whole, with skins on
1/2 pound lean ground beef
1 pound fresh spinach, roughly chopped
Saute the onion and garlic in the olive oil. Add the ground beef and brown. When the ground beef is cooked, addd the spinach and saute until wilted. When the spinach is done, pour in the beaten eggs and stir until eggs are done.
Serve with salt and pepper to taste, and several good shakes of Tabasco sauce.
Little Rafa doesn't have to have any more radiology or nuclear medicine scans. From now on, the doctors will follow him with physical exams every 6 months. This is such a great relief to us. His right ear seems to be healing very well also.
There is a bar in Seville that is 300 years old, and their specialty is spinach.
That's right, spinach.
Can you imagine running a successful establishment for 300 years based on a good spinach recipe?
It's our favorite way to eat spinach--even the kids will eat it.
Spinach "El Rinconcillo" (or my version of it, anyway)
Saute 1 chopped medium yellow onion with 2 garlic cloves (with their skins still on)in 1/4 good olive oil.
Add 1/4 teaspoon of cumin, and then spill a whole lot of turmeric from the spice jar into the pan. A whole lot, all in one place. Then scoop the turmeric back out again (with a wooden spoon so that you don't scratch the bottom of your pan) leaving about 1 teaspoon of turmeric in the saute.
Add 1 14-oz can of garbanzo beans, lightly mashed.
Let the sauteing continue for about 5 more minutes.
Add 2 large bunches of washed, not-too-drained, chopped spinach, and cook until they are nicely wilted.
You want a this to make a nice sauce, a mixture of the spinach juice from the wilting, and the olive oil flavored with the onion, garlic and spices. If it looks dry, add a few spoonfuls of water.
Serve as a tapa with some nice fresh bread and a good red wine. Or alongside a good steak for those of us who are iron-deficient from just having had a baby. (Michelle, that's you! Tell Sean to get the grill going!)
In these days of frugality, we can't throw things away just because they aren't perfect. So with some fruit that wasn't so pretty I made preserves. Or conserves. Or fruit sauce. Call it what you like. My-orphaned-as-a-child-and-left-with-her-younger-siblings, depression-era, slow-cooking, bourbon-drinking, piano-playing grandmother would be proud of me.
This is what I did:
Roughly chop 1/2 pint of strawberries, and 4 medium-sized plums.
Add to a small sauce pan with 1/2 brown sugar and 2 good splashes of good red wine. Let sit for a while until the sugar melts down, about 10 minutes or so. Add 3/4 cup of water and set over medium heat. After 20 minutes or so (with frequent checking that it doesn't boil over or boil down too far), a lovely, ruby, syrup-y strawberry-plum sauce was ready to spoon over yogurt, ice cream, cake, pancakes!
One day a screw fell on the floor under the kitchen table. Rafa called me over to tell me about it, and I crawled down under the table to inspect the situation. I looked up at the underside of the table to see where the screw had fallen from and I noticed that the whole underside of the table was covered with drawings.
"Wow," I said. "How did this get here?"
Rafa and I laid on our backs for a few minutes under the table, and then I called Pa over.
"Pa, ven a mirar esto."
So the three of us laid on our backs on the floor under the kitchen table, looking up. Luisito was taking a nap.
"I colored under the table when I was little," Rafa said. "When I was 3 years old. I'm not going to do it anymore."
"Huh," I said. "Hmmmm," Pa said.
Every once in a while we add to the composition on the underside of the kitchen table. Because now that it's started, it would be a shame to leave it unfinished.
A zaguán is the entryway into a house. In typical Andalusian houses, the zaguán is a smallish, dark passage inside the doorway that leads in turn to the larger, light-filled interior patio. In Seville, in the heat of summer, zaguán doors are left open so that passersby can take refuge from the sun and heat for a moment before continuing on their way.
We live in the Sunset district of San Francisco, where the fog wins out over the sun most days, and the search for refuge from the heat is a distant memory. Even so, we would like to share our home with you and our stories of growing up in Seville and growing up in San Francisco.