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

09 April 2016

You enter and a high heeled debutante flashes you a bright smile. She let's you know that your table is ready and then you follow her, click-clacking down the dimly lit corridor. A piano is being played somewhere in the distance. Your hostess disappears and you are left to pour over the menu. It is extensive. Likewise, the wine list could confuse anyone that doesn't speak at least three languages. Luckily, there is a somewhat intimidating middle aged waiter to help make the decision for you. He convinces you to choose the second most expensive white, tonight is about seafood. Grilled scallops and braised sea bass, risotto with shellfish, lobster. You aren't sure what you want, but the ambience has led you to believe that whatever you order will be special. Your dinner was plucked just moments ago from a raging sea, perhaps by that nice young woman's uncle. The catch was placed in a whicker basket and carried to this fine dining establishment. It is fresh. 

Maybe. Go to ninety percent of the world's fish markets and you might think otherwise. There is little glamour in a fish market. Though, I like them just the same. The stench is at times unbearable, but that can't be avoided. The activity of fishermen coming and going, dumping massive quantities of squid on the cement dock. The colors. The textures. Bright red piures floating in a gooey mess. Spiky black urchins, iridescent fish, big and small. The gnarled hands of a man that has baited a hook every Sunday of his life. Ugly dogs waiting for something discarded to gnaw on. Give me a pair of rubber boots and I could hang around all day.

These photos are from Puerto San Antonio, likely this grimiest site that we sampled this past summer.  After deciding that it would be best not to get in the water- hepatitis, heavy metals, angry sea lions- we enlisted the help of some friendly fishermen to take Pablo out on their boat to cut piure from the buoy lines. Meanwhile, I had plenty of time to snap some photos.

giant wheel of algae

so many giant squid

Pablo hard at work

piure :)

27 March 2016

Guess who showed up in Valdivia last week? Pedro!!

Our very good friend certainly did not take the shortest route to visit us, but he made it in style. For the past three months, Pedro was floating around in the wild Pacific on a raft, trying to make it to Chile using only prehispanic traveling technology. You can find the full story here. I sat transfixed in our living room as Pedro recounted the adventure- six meter swells, water rushing in the sleeping bag, rationing, wounds that wouldn't heal, sharks, mental breakdowns. Needless to say, I think that he was the most low-key visitor that we have had. Apparently it all you need is a dry bed and abundant oatmeal to impress a castaway. 

Pedro was with us for just a few short days, so we decided, what better way to treat our visitor? Put him to work! Send him back in the water! We did catch up on some R&R, but we also found time to make some tiny moorings and to go kayaking.

Pedro enjoying land

making moorings = piure traps

kayaking on Llanquihue!