15 May 2016

Reserva Yali

Today is a rainy, cold winter day, but I still have many unshared photos left from this summer to warm us up. The most beautiful beach that we went to was definitely the beach of Reserva Yali. I suppose it is so beautiful because it is so hard to get to. The beach and surrounding area are protected from litter-bugs and other miscreants. In fact, you have to make an appointment to go there. We were let in for scientific purposes. We thought we might be able to dip into the water to check on piure stocks in the area, but the exposed beach and seasonal swells, made it far too dangerous to get to snorkel. Regardless, after hours of driving to get to Yali, we enjoyed time out of the car spent walking on the beach, finding treasures left by the waves. 

The only traces of past visitors were footprints left in the sand.

The ozone hole above Chile can lead to brutal burns. This plus the frigid coastal breeze made me more than happy to cover up. My nickname on the trip was German Grandma. I embraced it socks with sandals and all!

08 May 2016

Pablo had been dreading this day for awhile. Since our trip to Colombia in February, his stash of homemade arepas had been dwindling. Thursday night quick arepa dinners and our Sunday morning ritual of arepa, quesito, y huevito had quickly demolished our supply of corn cakes trafficked from paisalandia

So, today, after finishing the last remaining arepa brought from Colombia, we went crazy. It was time to start some serious arepa production right here, at home, in Valdivia. A land not known for its corn-based cuisine. We scoured strange neighborhoods known for selling grains, and the tools to process them. We assured the helpful vendors, that no, we were not buying corn for our chickens, we were buying it for ourselves. You can imagine the look that they gave us. But with two and a half kilos of feed corn and a newly purchased food mill (fabricated in Colombia), we went to town. Six hours later, our freezer is stocked with fifty arepas. 

As one of the crucial steps in making arepa de maiz sancochado is cooling the corn after it has been cooked. Lacking a vessel large enough to hold all of the cooked corn, we got the ingenious idea to cool the corn in the lid of a bin. Worked very well :)

01 May 2016

I thought I would share a few more photos from our summer field trip.

These photos were taken (by Erwan) near Trauco, a small fishing village in Chile a little ways north of Concepcion. We got lucky after stopping at several random houses whose residents pointed us in the right direction towards the fishermen hangout. We then got doubly lucky when some fishermen said that they could help us harvest some piure. However, when someone says that they can do something for you in Chile, there is no telling when said task might get done. Lo hago al tiro could mean I'll do it in five minutes, several hours, tomorrow, next week, or really whenever I feel like it. In the end, though, we camped out on the steps to the caleta and enjoyed the scenery until we were delivered some freshly collected piure. 

We stopped at so many houses just like this one to ask for directions. I think I woke this lady up, and she was certainly surprised to have a gringa on her porch asking about piure.

17 April 2016

It was a big weekend, first lattice top, first berry pie!

I will admit, it wasn't perfect, the filling didn't completely thicken and ended up a bit runny, but I must say it was quite tasty. Here in southern Chile there is a native berry called murta. This time of year, los murtazos can be plucked ripe from the murta bush. They are sweet and rich. They have a full bodied flavor, like red wine, dark chocolate, leaves decaying in a forest. The other weekend when we went to the beach we picked up a family of murta harvesters looking for a ride to town. To repay us for the ride, the gave us a kilo of berries. Two cups of murta with three cups of blueberries yielded a dark purple seasoned filling. With autumn in full swing here, my enthusiasm for pie making has resumed. There is nothing like pie to warm you up on a brisk fall day.

the lattice top was surprisingly easy!

I couldn't resist tasting a bit of the juice peaking through the crust.

You don't need a fancy set up to make a great pie. My little kitchen affords me about two feet of counter space to work on. My tool kit includes a round cookie cutter (to cut the butter into the flour), a rolling pin, a pie dish, and heaps of flour :)

16 April 2016

Fall day at the beach.

A few weekends ago we met up with some friends at the beach. Pablo tested out his kayak in the surf, we ran around with Chirimoya and enjoyed a picnic lunch. The water might be cold, but Chile's southern coastline sure is beautiful.

Chirimoya, the little stray that we all couldn't ignore. She is now the most spoiled pup in Valdivia, happily adopted by Erwan and Vale.

the university's marine station on the point has quite the view

you can hardly see the kayak out there! Pablo was visited by a troup of sea lions