That one time I tried to make salsa

Last week our nanny gave us a bag of tomatoes fresh from her garden.  It was a very nice gesture with only one small problem – neither of us eat tomatoes.  Well we do eat tomatoes, but only if they’re mixed in with other things.  I couldn’t tell her that, and I felt awful for being a tomato-hater.  I resolved to find a recipe and use the tomatoes over the weekend.  My friend Erika had a long list of suggestions.  Spaghetti sauce – too much work, and plus, we have Ragu.  Bloody Marys – don’t drink those.  Caprese salad – nope!   Then she suggested salsa.  Now, I don’t eat that either (yes, I have issues) but JR does and he had a fantasy football draft so he could take it there to share.  Perfect!

I looked up a few recipes and they were all pretty much tomatoes, onion, garlic, lime juice, cilantro, and some spices. I was also supposed to buy a jalapeno pepper, but I didn’t see any of those at the store and I wasn’t sure what other kind of pepper to substitute.  Once I was home, I dusted off my food processor – yes, it actually had dust on it – and got started.

Things started off well.  The food processor is AMAZING.  Why don’t I use it more often?  I was throwing in tomatoes, onions, and garlic left and right.  I didn’t exactly follow a recipe because they all seemed to generally say the same thing and I wanted to wing it.  JR chopped up some cilantro for me, and we added that and some lime juice.

Everything was chopped and blended, and it actually looked good!

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I was feeling really proud.  Look at me go!  I asked JR to taste it and with one look, I knew I had failed.

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I didn’t want to give up, so I retraced my steps and searched the internet for help. Only then did I realize that the cilantro I purchased and added to the salsa was in fact parsley.

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Oops.  Also,apparently the jalapeno (which I hadn’t been able to find) is a key ingredient.   So I walked to the little store down the street in search of a jalapeno.  This is what I found.

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The internet – and some salsa-savvy friends – advised me to try roasting the peppers before dicing and adding them, and to add more lime juice and garlic.   Let me tell you that I’ve never roasted peppers once in my life, but I felt kind of fancy doing it.  I followed all of those instructions and then put the salsa back in the fridge overnight.   The next day, when JR got home from work I begged him to try the salsa again, thinking I had surely nailed it this time!

He was less than thrilled, but I think he felt bad for me so he agreed.   I was full of hope as he took a bite.

Once again, his face said it all.

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And down the drain went the salsa.  The funny thing is that this ALL started because I felt guilty not using the tomatoes our nanny brought us, and I didn’t have the heart to tell her we don’t eat them.   Oh well, I’ll get you next time salsa recipe!

I Keep Dancing On My Own

In shocking news, I’ve been kind of busy lately. It’s been great!

We did a few fun things over the weekend. On Friday night, JR’s boss hosted a happy hour. He had a great spread of food, wine and beer (and sangria!). It was nice to catch up with people that we hadn’t seen since before our trip. On Saturday, Amy and I went for a drive without any set destination. While we were stopped for gas, Amy pointed out that a wedding party was passing us. It’s a caravan of cars, and the last car is decorated for the bride and groom. Saturday was a big day for weddings around here, because we saw at least 15 other wedding caravans that day!

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We wound up driving to Prizren. We walked around the shops and stopped in at a cafe for some ice cream.

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Note the skinny arm. Amy gets me.

So as I said, this week has actually been busy. I volunteered to be the secretary for the board of the employee’s association, and we’re currently hiring a general manager, so we’ve had interviews and work to do for that. The maintenance men came over on Monday to help me hang pictures (apparently, you aren’t supposed to hang them on your own, so let’s all pretend that we did not, in fact, hang anything up ourselves). It feels even more like home with our stuff on the walls. My favorite is this photo wall (it’s a work in progress):

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Today has been wonderful. Amy let me borrow her car, so I drove to the big grocery store. I really love driving. It just feels good – especially when it’s nice out, and the windows are down and you put your favorite Robyn song on (note the title of this post!). The most exciting part is that the grocery store had chicken at the butcher counter!! I confirmed that it was chicken, and through a bit of charades, confirmed it was boneless. Then I had this exchange.

Me: May I please have 2 pounds of that chicken?
Lady: Ma’am, we are not in Britain. This is Kosovo (said with a smile.) You want 2 Euro of chicken?

I was thinking that 2 Euro would buy me approximately one sliver of a chicken breast. I also didn’t understand why she thought I was British, until I realized that by asking about pounds, she thought I was talking about British currency, not weight. It was all resolved when I asked for 2 kilos of chicken instead.

I’m irrationally excited about this chicken. In part because it came nicely packaged like this:
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And it didn’t look like this:
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I came home and continued my productive streak. Being unemployed seems like a perfect reason to actually make the things I pin on Pinterest, instead of just sitting around pinning them. I cut up fruit and made individual servings for smoothies to freeze, and I made peanut butter banana bread.

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banana bread

All for under 10 Euro!

We had a great weekend exploring Albania, and I’ll update with a post on that soon. Today I wanted to stop at the bakery for some bread, and then I went to a small store down the street for some cleaning supplies. JR and I battled on whether or not we could have a housekeeper before I get a job, and he won, I’m sad to report (even though he had logic on his side, I still thought I had a chance!).

I’m still surprised by how affordable things seem to be here. Coming from DC, it’s a big change. Although, I’ve been told certain items are way overpriced (like avocados for $10 each. Good thing I don’t eat those.) Here’s a picture of what I got today:
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I purchased the bread and apple turnover at the bakery down the hill for .65 cents. I don’t know how you say Euro cents, but the point is, under a dollar.

The store owner was very helpful, and with his decent English, and my excellent gesturing and acting out what I wanted to clean, he helped me pick out the cleaning supplies. I also got gummy bears for JR, some strawberries and potatoes, and soap. It was 8 something Euro. Now I just need to put those cleaning supplies to use…