Monday, July 18, 2011

Snail Enema Done

Today is day 4 of letting the cargols  finish their “snail enema,” as phrased by a very good friend of mine. Now that they have purged their one footed bodies of snail stool, it is time to wash them in water, salt, and vinegar (latter to disinfect) them. This is done about 2 times with salt and vinegar, 3 times with just salt, and then washed about 9 more times with just water. The salt releases snail saliva, a viscous texture you do not want in the tomato  sauce. 

You must keeping rinsing the snails with water until it runs clear and snail caquetes have drained away. This process takes about a good twenty minutes of filling the sink with water, washing, rinsing, draining, and starting over.

I'm a pollastre, I just couldn't wash these snails. Eusebio kindly offered to wash the cargols for me.

The water must run clear.
Notice the transparent strings of saliva on Eusebio's fingers and the foam the saliva creates?
Remove broken shells, you don't want a crunch crunch of broken shell bits  in your sauce. These I set back in the grassy lot.

It’s on to ofegar them, now they must drown in a pot of aigua, filling the pot with a good amount of water to ensure drowning. I didn't even know snails could drown. Yes, it sounds horrible, but Eusebio says it's like eating any other animal product that at some point had to die. He's so matter-of-fact when he answers you, that he leaves you without paraules

The cargols are left in the pot with water and salt around the top edges in case they try to make a run for it. The idea is that they drown and slowly die with the rising water temperature from the sun. 
I had to keep watch and poke the run away snails back into the water. 

Sad news or good news--I guess it depends on who is in the pot. The day was kind of cloudy and prevented the water temperature in the pot from rising, I had to transport the pot to the stove and MAKE the water temperature rise--you know what I'm getting at right?!? I wasn't pleasant turning up the + sign on my ceramic top stove to make the water boil. For Eusebio, letting them die outside in the sun is more considerate then boiling them to death. I guess it's like when you have to boil a lobster live. Once that process was over, I drained the water and  put them in a sieve and prepared the rest of the ingredients for the tomato sauce.

Chopped some onion.
Used half of this chorizo and cut it in cubes.
Cubed panceta and pernil.

Panceta, pernil, chorizo, and ceba.
Fry the onion first on low heat, then add the rest of the ingredients, then add 1 can of crushed tomato sauce. Let simmer for about 15 minutes or until sauce thickens and add about half a cup of water, and simmer for about 2 minutes. 
Add snails and cook for half an hour.
Done and ready to eat with a tooth pick. I will refrain from eating this tonight, I can see the tentacles sticking out on some snails, don't care for snail eyes pointed my way. A veure que trobo per menjar aquesta nit.

Nutritional facts: cargols are 15% protien, 2.4% fat, and 80% water. This is an excellent meal for anyone following a high protein low fat diet.  

Friday, July 15, 2011

Cargols and Their Poo Poo

The funniest thing happened this morning. Eusebio and Marcos decided to search for cargols while waiting for me to return from my errand. I was off early this morning, and upon my return I saw the famous Eusebio with a yellow mesh bag in his hand and Marcos straggling behind him. Behold all cargol lovers, snails picked straight from the wild.

Nicely bunched together
They went to an empty and overgrown grassy lot and hand picked cargols de mongetes. "The best" he claims because they are found in the wild and not farmed. Eusebio says he is going to teach me how to wash and cook them, yeah!

Step 1 : Purgar-- purge their poo  poo by feeding them flour to cleanse their digestive system or just let them poop for three days without feeding.

They must be left hanging for three days so they can get rid of their "caquetes," in other words they eliminate their stools.

p.s. They call me Patri, Catalan for Patty.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Vi Dress

A friend of mine gave me this vestit for the vi to keep it nice and chilled. I was in doubt if it really kept a wine bottle at a crisp temperature and it did, as well as making the bottle of wine look charming.

Dress up your bottle of and keep it chilled.

Smashing little back bow.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Spain Is Different

That’s the retort I hear from my husband when I complain about the pace of some Spanish workers to get things done, “Spain is different,” he says to calm my annoyance. The Spanish are known for their laid back style of enjoying meals and life in general, and that’s one thing many an American can learn from. But the Spanish have also to learn from Americans when things need to move forward. I’m used to service ara mateix, right now, when you are paying for a service. I cannot get used to the constant pause and restart of some sectors to finish or begin a job. Here’s my story.

When we bought our piso we were proud of the raised terrace and the amount of uncultivated garden we could later landscape. With time we saw we would have to pave part of the garden because growing herba was out of the question in our north facing apartment. We have hired paletas (Spanish word for construction worker) or treballadors de la construcció to lay cement and pave a section of our garden. Here’s their schedule.

Arrive between    9:00-9:30 a.m.
Break                 10:30-11:00 a.m.
Lunch                 2:00-2:45? p.m.
Leave                 5:00-5:30 p.m.

The treballadors  arrived yesterday with their bosses past noon because they were out purchasing material. OK, fine.So they didn’t start at 9:00 a.m. as they said they would. They then left at 1:15 to eat and returned at 2:00 without their bosses. One worker is named Eusebio and the other Marco. Eusebio is in his mid 50s and Marco in his early 30s. I see that they begin to remove some of the wooden steps from the terrace and at about 2:30 they stopped and stood looking about the yard while smoking. Then they moved to a different area of the yard and continued to talk and smoke. I poke my head out at around 3:00 because I cannot understand why they are still standing around doing nothing and ask them how it’s going. They tell me that they can’t begin removing the rajoles on the terrace because they would have to use a regular hammer and pry bar. To remove the unwanted tiles they prefer to use a chipping hammer that does iten un plis,” which is the English equivalent of saying, "in a blink of an eye."   They explain that removing the tiles manually will take a lot longer and they might as well wait until tomorrow when they have their super hammer, so for the moment, they will stand around. Stand around? Are they being facetious?!  

Yesterday's work. Partial removal of wooden steps.

No, they were not joking and they were absolutely serious about standing around. I ask them again why can’t they use a regular hammer and they both resolutely answer that the electrical chipping hammer is much better, it will remove the tiles very super fast. Then I ask where is their super hammer, and I can tell they notice the tension in my question. To that they reply that, “Oh, we left it at another site because we were working and today it’s really about getting an idea of the amount of work we have to do. Really, we are not prepared to work today.”

Me: So what are you going to do then until 5:00 p.m.?
Them: Nothing really.
Me: You’re not going to do anything else?
Them: No, because we don’t have the mechanical hammer.
Me: So what do you plan on doing?
Them: Nothing. Just stand around mainly.
Me: I can't remove the tiles, huh?
Them: No, it's too much work to do it manually.
Me: It’s three o'clock. If you are not going to do anything ara then you might as well leave. Today I need to get my car to the repair shop before 5:30 p.m., so if  you are not going to work you might as well leave early.
Eusebio: Yes. We can’t work today. If you don’t tell the boss we left early, then we’ll leave so you can take your car to the mechanic.

Something about the mischievousness twinkle in Eusebio’s eye and his sly smile make me not get super American and explain to them that they should be earning their euros by chipping away at the tile in light of the fact that jobs are scarce and they should have a better work ethic, a work schedule is a work schedule, and they should have had all of their tools with them. I keep all my drivel inside and turn my attention on this fortuitous moment of getting ahead with a boring automobile repair chore.

In the evening when I protest to my spouse about the treballadors  preferring  to mill around for two hours because they don’t have an alternate tool to do the same work that a regular hammer and pry bar would do, he answers “You already know honey... Spain is different.”

I was very tempted to ask them why they didn't have the chipping hammer.

p.s. the next morning Eusebio and Marco showed up at 8:00 a.m. and began chipping away at the existing tile with a hammer and pry bar!