Saturday, May 22, 2010

Honduran Horchata! The real stuff!

Ok most of you know my neighbor died May 2.  His first wife whom I never had the pleasure of meeting died some 20 years ago from cancer.  Their daughter gave me an invaluable recipe of her mother´s that is famous here out of gratitude to me for the love I have demonstrated to them..and I am going to share it here for all of you...the woman´s name was Joyce so I call it Joyce´s Honduran Horchata..

1/2 pound of ayote seeds, ayote is simply a type of pumpkin seed from the cushaw pumpkin...most Hispanic stores have them in the US.

1/2 pound morro seeds which can pretty much also be found in any Hispanic supermarket..

5 mini lempira bags of cinnamon sticks

2 mini lempira bags of all spice(pimienta gorda)

1 pound of miga rice(basically broken rice)

grated lime peel, ice, 1 to 2 kilos of sugar

You can also add peanuts to the mix if you like but she didn´t

Start to toast the ayote seeds till they are slightly crunchy and add the morro seeds to the mix and continue toasting till everything is toasted medium , break up the all spice and add it to the mix, continue toasting, place the rice in water and set for two hours then rinse well, if you are in the states you can add this to a grinder and grind with a small amount of water till it is thick and creamy or if in Honduras take to one of the mill grinders in your area that grind up the nixtamal for tamales or tortillas, tell them to pass it through twice, check it to see if it is grainy or smooth if it is still grainy ask them to pass it a third time..take mix home, add to 3 gallons of bottled water(in Honduras) add sugar to taste and mix...the add lime peel and mix again, crush ice well and add to the mix...serve up this perfect creamy tropical drink on a very hot day!

Preparing for a Bad Hurricane Season

Americans aren´t very adept at floods and hurricanes unless they live in areas prone to that.  I dealt with Hurricane Mitch here in Honduras in 98, going through my first hurricane ever and of course my first earthquake last year on May 28 was also here...interesting how both things that terrify me happened to me here! I am not scared of tornadoes and know on instinct how to act because I grew up in tornado alley...but hurricanes, wind, and things that shake the ground and my house? Fahgitaboutit! At least with a tornado I could hide in our storm shelter and felt when one was coming before it happened...earthquake...well no warning except the crazy chickens around here going bananas at the wrong hours...

Our first serious rain happened a few days ago and as you know it flooded part of our neighborhood and I came out unscathed...but I am worried about a hard rain that lasts longer than 90 minutes or a hurricane..ouch! They said our drain system isn´t ready and there is no money to prepare it...so we are on our own.(Welcome to Honduras!)

Neighbors have been gathering all the rocks that were brought with the last flood and the sand in burlap bags...I was curious as to this movement till my neighbor brought me some bags and told me to get sand while I could...I asked why...she explained to me that putting them bags in front of your entry doors and the gates keeps the water out...ok that makes sense...so off I go gathering rocks and sand...rocks in a bucket to haul where we can build a fence that will direct the water away from the house..what a perfect excuse for making a small garden! and the burlap bags of sand to keep out water.

Most houses in San Pedro Sula are concrete block houses which is a good thing.  When the floods come we can simply move everything to our second story..our house floors are tile, our walls concrete...not much that water can do to either of them...or even sand and mud brought in from flooding..my husband is bringing a pressure washer to clean the house if needed after such a situation.  So now I have about 4 sand bags to place in front of the doors, not enough btw, but I suppose it will work..and rocks in a hand built wall to keep the water directed away from the house...behind that wall I took advantage that it is also planting season...and I planted three ´mar pacifica´flower bushes...they look amazing! The mar pacifica in English is known as the hibiscus rose.  One of them is yellow, then a pink one and a red single leaf tree one that I love...and I also took advantage and planted a persia lime tree, guava tree, and a pomegranate, and then also a mandarin tree...so I have been rather busy.  Now let´s keep my fingers crossed and hope I don´t kill the poor things...I have been doing pretty good with these plants in containers for about a year and decided to transfer them since this is the best month to do that...not to mention the amazing shade they will provide...oh and I planted a palm tree, but it is a slow growing ornamental one so it will never be really huge. 

When they mentioned 18 storms and the first bad rain hit I was about ready to pack and head back to good ol Georgia where all I worry about is tornadoes on occasion and sometimes there is flooding but not serious usually.  I have had time to think about it though and I am determined that I won´t let the storms run me out of my dream home...yeah my dream home in the middle of Honduras! Me and it are attached at the hip and I am determined...the first time I walked into this house it was an absolute MESS! I bought it from a bank auction as it was a foreclosure..and there were no windows, the second story was incomplete, there were no iron bars, no gate, no doors, no woodwork, no bathrooms completed, no kitchen completed, the house was an absolute horror...but when I walked in with the banker, my eyes hit the stairs and I looked at him and said this is it...he about fainted! I fell in love with the stairs..yeah no kidding! Since then we have added ceder and mahogany wood to the interiors such as doors, cabinets, etc..and we have put in ceramic tile, finished the bathrooms and tiled them and placed modern appliances in the house..the baths are still a bit small but I have been discussing that with my husband and we have plans for enlarging the baths..We have decided to do something else after the horrible electric bills we have been getting from the ENEE electric company demons..yeah demons...I am convinced there is a demon in our meter that accelerates it to charge us more! So guess what...I am cutting them off! We are going to go SOLAR in the very near future...I can´t wait to see the ENEE meter reader´s face when he shows up at my house and I have solar panels on the house and a solar air condition system...all for less than 20 k....so we will be sort of off grid...I wonder how they will try to fix that? Can we roast the meter demons and make them ultra crispy chickens? I have spent a good portion of the week also cruising the internet checking out solar packages...because we will also be adding it on the house we are going to build in the mountains of Olancho since there is no electric there and it is off grid..and I am not about to live without electricity even for a weekend..yeah I am a spoiled American! but here we have mosquitos as big as the state of Texas and it is hot, humid and you get sticky by even looking outside so I need air and I need a fan at the very least as well as having things like refrigerated coca cola! I thought I was the spoiled one..till my husband went up in the mountains thinking he was going for the weekend...the first time he went after we bought the property...things change and he is more American than Honduran now...and he didn´t make it till sundown before he was headed back to Juticalpa to a nice cozy hotel room where I was waiting! I laughed and said I thought you were a rough tough Olanchano that could handle it...he looked at me and replied, it was hot and the mosquitos kept biting me! I was amused...anyhow I have been gloating and thinking about how I will be able to hand ENEE their pink slip for the past week...maybe more people should do that and they might think about how they are treating their customers more often...or more likely since it is government ran they might make solar panels illegal!