Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Return to Paradise

That's how it feels when we return to Galicia; more specifically, to our part of Galicia, the village of Trasulfe. We arrived in Santiago, Sunday, September 8th, around 5:30. Our friends, Terri & David picked us up at the airport and drove us to the village.

After opening the house, we went out for dinner, already on Spanish time,  at 9:00 p.m. or therabouts. (We were pretty sleepy.)  We went to Torre de Vilariño, a really charming cafe/bar/restaurant that we've been to often with our friends, and had champiñones al ajillo, mushrooms sauteed in olive oil, with garlic, salt, and red chile flakes, and truchas, small, delicious, crispy fried trout, served with Galician bread, which we really like so much. I don't have a current picture of Torre de Vilariño, but I will get one to post later.

The next morning, the first thing we did was walk down the hill  to greet all our neighbors, marveling again at the late summer/early fall scenery. You have to admit, those cows look pretty peaceful.

It wasn't long before our neighbors started giving us of their bounty. They are some of the most generous people we've ever met. The first morning Eva gave us eggs and home-made wine. Milagros gave us peppers and tomatoes. Miguel gave us potatoes and wine. A few days later, Eva gave us a huge bag of potatoes and another huge bag of peppers and tomatoes.  

You can see we are going to be cooking a lot of dishes with potatoes, tomatoes, and peppers. And we have had omelets a few times already. I do save some of the eggs to bake cakes for the neighbors in return. 

Later, we drove into Monforte, the nearest good-sized city that flanks the Parador, a former noble's castle, part of which was once a monastery. Now the castle is a hotel with restaurants and coffee shops, although its cathedral still is in regular use for worship. The building itself always grabs me. From any angle and any distance, to me it's very haunting.

We like to go to the indoor cafe/bar and have either coffee with a crescent tapa or a glass of wine with Spanish olives.

After that, we walked around the main plaza in town, happy that we had such beautiful weather. (When Rajan came in spring, while we were still taking turns with our dog, it rained every day except two.)

Over the week-end, Friday and Sunday, we were busy cooking Indian food for our British friends. Other days we worked at home and then in the evenings we went to the bench to chat with our neighbors. (They chat. We listen. We are getting better at understanding, though, until they switch to Gallego, just when we think we are getting the Castiliano. As a result, we've picked up a few Gallego words, too. )

On Saturday we went into Monforte again, this time to have lunch at our favorite cafe/bar in town, Adega do Carlos. We don't have a good picture of Carlos to share, but you can go to his Facebook page and see how warm and welcoming he is as the owner. (Like his page, too!) We ordered two of our favorite racciones to eat with bread and wine:
Grilled Champiñones. The centers are
stuffed with garlic, parsley, maybe
 chopped mushroom stems and
 all ground together in a paste
with wine.

Pimientos de Padron, simply
sautéed in olive oil with salt.
So simple. So good!
You can see how much we liked them:

Afterwards I went to have my hair trimmed in a beauty shop in Monforte, called Tempus. I don't have my hair cut often, and never short, just trimmed. But I went this day especially because the grandaughter of our super neighbors, Eva and Manolo, is apprenticing at this shop. Her name is Lucia, and we've watched her grow from an early teen-ager, who would sweetly dance with her grandfather at the fiestas, into a young lady who drives and is planning a career. 

We thought she did a very good job. (Please pardon how dark the photo is.)

Sunday afternoon we encountered hunters on the road near Antonio and María Elena's farm, using walkie talkies and dogs to track the javalís (wild boars) attacking the wine grapes and rooting for potatoes. This is kinda javalí season. Monday, we learned either 8 or 9 had been killed, five of them near the farm above, the others here and there, but still in our area. No pictures to share, but Rajan is predicting they will show up on menus in the local restaurants.

On that happy note, I leave you for now, but I'll be back with more news and photos later.

Meanwhile, have you ever seen a live boar? (I haven't yet.) What is your favorite snack food? (Racciones always seem like snack food to me.) And do any of you have a good potato recipe?


Rachna Chhabria said...

I always love to read about your Spain trip and see the pics. You look great in the picture, Elizabeth.

Barbara Watson said...

It all sounds just perfect. And I have to admit, I'm pretty jealous. :-)

Richard Hughes said...

I see why you keep going back. I would too.

Sheri L. Swift said...

Your trip sounds delightful! You are definitely making me hungry! Lol! My favorite snack is probably white corn tortilla chips with Salsa. Thank you for stopping by my blog also! ;)

Kenda Turner said...

Sounds like you're having a great time already--and the food looks delicious. The view of the castle is similar to the one we saw in Aguilas on the Mediterranean. The castles are rather haunting, aren't they? But they give a great view of the surroundings if you're fortunate enough to climb up to them. Enjoy your trip :-)

Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

Thanks, Rachna. The hair is back in the clip again, though. I never can get it to lie the way the beauty shop does. Glad you like the photos.

Barbara, thanks for stopping by.

Richard, yes, I don't think we will ever get tired of it. I just hope we can keep coming for a long, long time.

Sheri, I love corn chips, too! I especially like the blue corn.

Kenda, haunting is the word for these castles. Just knowing how old the stones are, for one thing. And I can imagine that, when on a hill (like the Parador), before the present age, seen from a distance, it must have been so imposing.

Rosi said...

Carlos looks like a friendly sort. Sounds like you are having a lovely trip. I like roasted potatoes best. I cut my potatoes into small cubes with skin on, toss them in olive oil, chopped onions, and some Italian spice. You could chop up some peppers to add. Wrap the whole thing in foil on a cookie sheet and bake for an hour. Yum! Enjoy your time across the pond.

Julia Hones said...

Elizabeth, my mind is swirling in the spirit of these places and revelling in these landscapes and places.
Gorgeous post! Thank you.

Julia Hones said...

Congratulations on your poem being included on the Vines Literary Anthology. I'd love to read it!
(I had some poems shortlisted for that journal but then they were not selected. I will submit again. I love their journal!).

Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

Rosi, he is! Meanwhile, thanks for the great way to cook potatoes. I'll bet you can grill them outdoors that way, too.

Julia, glad you like the pictures and landscapes. It's the tranquil landscape that we love so much. There are more pictures coming up in the next post that will really amaze you.

Thanks for the congratulations re: Vine Leaves Journal. I was pleaed and surprised to be included.

Christine Harding said...

They are gorgeous photos, and the landscape looks so beautiful.

Peggy Ann said...

such a lovely place to live! Yes I have seen wild boars, my friends son catches them in Florida. He keeps them in pens and fattens them up and then sells them. He uses dogs to catch them. Kinda dangerous:(

Tanya Lynne Reimer said...

Sounds like a happy, perfect time. And no, no wild boards here.

Creations by Laurel-Rain Snow said...

Thanks for sharing your lovely journey...I feel as though I was there.


Elizabeth said...

Nice photos.

Silver's Reviews
My Saturday Snapshot

Ginx Craft said...

I have always wanted to travel to that part of Spain, and now I want to go even more.

Vicki said...

What a great place to visit. It's not only beautiful, but the people sound so friendly.

Anne Bennett said...

Lovely. I especially like the photo of the castle.

Anne's Snapshot Saturday

Susan Lindquist said...

Oh, Spain is such a wonderful country ... lucky you to have a spot to return to year after year!

Anonymous said...

Beautiful--both the location and the food!

Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

Christine, thanks for stopping by. I visited your blog and you have some great photos, too. Especially the castle.

Hi, Peggy Ann. Actually, we don't live here. We visit twice a year (we have a house here). But you are right, it's a lovely place. It's amazing that your son catches boars and sells them. Who buys them?

Tanya, as far as wild boar go, I'm content to just hear about them. I have no desire to encounter one. :-)

Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

Hi, Laurel, thanks for stopping by. I enjoyed your pictures as well.

Elizabeth, I'm glad you liked the photos.

Hi, Ginx, I'm glad the post affects you that way. This is not the touristy part of Spain, so a lot of people don't know about it.

Vicki, you are so right about the people. In shops, cafes, on the street (if you ask for directions), they are so warm and friendly.

Anne, that castle knocks me out everytime I see it, and from any angle. The town has grown up around it over the centuries, but I often wonder how commanding it must have appeared at a distance in olden days.

Susan, it sounds like you have been to Spain. We love this area, but we would also like to visit some of the other parts of Spain. The regions are all so different, from what we hear.

Cheryl, (marveloustales), thanks for stopping by. I visited your blog and enjoyed your pictures of Paris in your post about Quasimodo.

Victoria Lindstrom said...

Amazing post and photos, Elizabeth. You are bringing a bit of the world my way! Thanks, dear friend.

S.P. Bowers said...

MMmmmm, potatoes are one of my favorite foods. There are so many things you can do with them. You can shred them and make breakfast skillets or burritos with eggs, sausage, peppers and tomatoes. You can chop them and drizzle them with olive oil, Italian seasoning, onion, garlic and some Parmesan or Assagio cheese, spread them on a cookie sheet and bake in the oven.

Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

Hi Victoria, glad you like the "excursion" to Galicia. More is coming.

S. P., your comment made me soooo hungry! And we have more potatoes from our neighbors, too, which will be in my next post.

Anonymous said...

I so enjoy traveling with you :)!

Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

Hi, Catherine, what a fun comment to read! Glad you enjoy the trips. More to come!

Teresa Cypher said...

What a beautiful post., Elizabeth. Sweet of you to have your friend's granddaughter trim your hair. She did a good job. :-) The food looks so good. The mushrooms, especially good. I do like stuffed mushrooms. :-) I've never had them stuffed with anything I didn't like. :-)

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