Thursday, January 31, 2013

Macaroni and Cheese

This is one of the most American dishes you could ever imagine, unless you consider macaroni to be an Italian dish. It's not America's fault that we have more Italians than there are in Italy.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Airbag (1997)

A classic of modern Spanish comedy. I think the movie is worth it just for the opening scene of tortilla roulette. Bon appetit!
Mommy's boy Juantxo is engaged. Dragged to the party by his friends Konradin and Paco, he loses his expensive wedding ring inside the body of a prostitute. Mafioso whorehouse owner Villambrosa finds the ring. Meanwhile Villambrosa's rival gangster Souza sends "femme fatale" Fatima to check things out. Juantxo and his friends are trying to get the ring back and in the process get involved in the war between gangs.

Monday, January 28, 2013

World Press Photo Valencia 2013

Desde hace 56 años, la Fundación World Press Photo convoca un prestigioso concurso de fotoperiodismo y fotografía documental. Una cita ineludible para profesionales y expertos del periodismo gráfico.
En la edición de este año han participado 5.247 fotógrafos de 124 países con un total de 101.254 imágenes; y 59 fotógrafos de 24 nacionalidades distintas han sido premiados en alguna de las 9 categorías del concurso.
Las fotografías premiadas se exhiben en una exposición itinerante que recorre más de 100 ciudades en 45 países de todo el mundo y es visitada por más de 1 millón de personas.
Después de muchos años sin contar con la visita de esta exposición en nuestra ciudad, tendremos la oportunidad de disfrutarla hasta el 16 de febrero en el Palau de Valeriola, sede de la fundación Chirivella Soriano en Valencia.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Brussels Sprouts

Brussels sprouts are another excellent fall/winter vegetable which are called Brussels cabbages in Spanish (col de bruselas). It's best not to boil them as this lessens some of their nutritional value so stick to steaming or frying as in the recipe below.

Brussels Sprouts Roasted with Balsamic Vinegar and Olive Oil 


  • 2- 3 cups brussels sprouts, sliced in half
  • dash salt and pepper, to taste
  • 3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 3 tbsp olive oil


Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.

Whisk together the vinegar, salt and pepper together in a small bowl. Slowly incorporate the olive oil until a dressing is formed.

Place the brussels sprouts in a single layer on a baking sheet. Drizzle the oil and vinegar over the sprouts and gently toss to coat.
Bake for 25 minutes, turning once. Sprouts are done when they are lightly browned.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

The Winter that Wasn't

It looks like we are in for another week of outstanding weather here in Valencia. If you are in town you should head to the beach for an afternoon paella either in Valencia or at one of the beach cafés to the south of the city. There is no problem getting a table this time of year and the views of the Mediterranean are as beautiful as ever.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Artichokes for Beginners

There are lots of artichokes in the markets so don't be afraid to cook with these strange vegetables. They take a bit of work but the end result is worth the effort.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Valencia CF vs Real Madrid @ 21;30

Valencia lost the first leg of the Copa del Rey competition 2-0 in Madrid. Then we took a 5-0 beating at the hands of Real Madrid in Sunday's Liga game at Mestalla. We have our work cut out for us tonight. 

Valencia CF deserved much more than they got at the Santiago Bernabeu last Tuesday night, in the Copa del Rey quarter final first leg against Real Madrid. The team had plenty of chances to at the very least reduce the disadvantage in the scoreline, but a series of refereeing mistakes allowed the home side to finish with a two-goal cushion.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

San Vicente Mártir

If you are wondering why a lot of shops are closed today it's because today is yet another holiday in Valencia.

What it is about

San Vicente Martyr is the patron saint of Valencia. He is a hero from the early days of Christianity, IV century, before it became the official religion of the Roman Empire. San Vicente was martyred by the Roman soldiers, thus dramatically changing the history of Valencia.


What happens

This is a strictly religious holiday, commemorating San Vicente's martyrdom. There won't be any fun or spectacle. A procession will leave from the Cathedral to visit all the places where the Saint suffered, finishing off with a church mass. It is the shortest procession of Valencian year.

How's the Weather?

Even for Valencia it has been unseasonably warm this month. January has been perfect for cycling, walking, and living. People have been dining on terraces during the day in shirtsleeves. It almost looks as if winter will forget about Valencia entirely this year.

Monday, January 21, 2013

The Man Who Cycled the World

There are a lot of videos about people biking around the world and I chose this one just because it had the best production values. I think his idea of turning this into some sort of stupid race was unfortunate and he misses the whole point of cycling around the world. I would prefer to watch a video of the person who takes the longest amount of time to ride around the world.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Tomato Butter Sauce with Gnocchi

You may have noticed that I put the sauce before the gnocchi in the title. This may be because I still have a lot to learn about making potato gnocchi but I really wanted to emphasize the sauce in this recipe. This is one of my favorite food discoveries in quite some time.I could tell before I made it that I was going to like it.

Whether or not you want to make gnocchi this video is well worth watching for the tomato butter sauce she prepares to serve with the gnocchi. The recipe is as easy as it is delicious. I made a few changes and additions. This is a perfect sauce for gnocchi and would go well with raviolis or tortellinis.

Tomato Butter Sauce

2 cans whole tomatoes, crushed
1 can tomato concentrate
100 grams butter
1 whole onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, chopped
2 bay leaves
salt & pepper

Put all of these ingredients into a pot and simmer for about 30 minutes. Remove the bay leaves and mix with a hand blender. That's it.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Corporate Winners in a Hard Place

from El País

It's not all bad news in Spain. There are entrepreneurs who, assisted by highly qualified professionals, are meeting with success in their business ventures. In the middle of a crisis that is already five years old, a group of companies finds itself far ahead of the market thanks to measures that ensured growth and expansion when the economy was doing well, and even now that it is doing poorly.

These firms have increased turnover and either maintained or expanded their workforce. The secrets of their success have been an international outlook, a management style that is willing to take risks in under-exploited market niches, financial prudence to avoid being crushed by debt, investment in technology and the promotion of talent.

The Spanish businesses that have grown at sustainable rates over the last decade, notes ESADE Business School professor Xavier Mendoza, are those that based their activity on innovation and foreign markets.

They are companies like Mercadona, the distribution and supermarket chain, which succeeded through financial brawn, good management and talent. In other cases, internationalization allowed fashion retailers Inditex and Mango and the services and construction group OHL to become mostly independent from domestic consumption. Meanwhile, innovation has enabled the healthcare company Grifols to gain a foothold in a sector ruled by large pharmaceutical companies.

Mendoza explains that innovation ensures the creation of well-paid, highly specialized jobs. "Winning companies incorporate more knowledge and pay their employees above-average salaries."

Other winners include firms that took advantage of the crisis to gain market share, such as the discount supermarket chain Día or the telecoms company Jazztel. Acquisitions helped Banco Sabadell, the private security firm Prosegur, and Agroalimen, a producer of food and consumer goods.

"Spanish companies that are doing well, crisis or no crisis, are those that continue to invest even though the environment is not favorable to it," says Sebastián Giménez, a partner at McKinsey & Company.

- MERCADONA. The secret to the success of the Mediterranean-based supermarket chain, which saw profits increase fivefold over the last decade, is that customers appreciate its focus on value. This is the way it has gained market share, says Sebastián Giménez of McKinsey. "And it didn't need a crisis to achieve it."

ESADE's Mendoza adds that Mercadona listened to the market and lowered its prices, making customers even more loyal. Since the onset of the crisis in 2007, turnover grew by nearly four billion euros to nearly 18 billion euros and its workforce grew by 10,000. Meanwhile, its network of supermarkets has ballooned from fewer than 700 a decade ago to 1,400. Last year, Mercadona invested 600 million euros.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Real Madrid vs Valencia CF @ 21:00

Valencia will have to play Real Madrid three times in the next week: twice in this Copa del Rey competition and again this weekend in La Liga.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Attention Students of Spanish!

I don’t really do New Year’s resolutions; I simply try—at least for a while—to continue on my path but with a bit more vigor. To this end I have been looking diligently for audio files in Spanish to listen to as I wander about my day. I came upon a veritable gold mine of podcasts in Spanish from Onda Cero called La Rosa de los Vientos. There are dozens and dozens of topics to choose from and the Spanish is clear and easy to understand. This is quite simply one of the best learning tools I have come across in my time here in Spain.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Close to 50,000 Spaniards Find Work in Germany

from el País Mostly young, qualified people escape crisis at home
Over 49,400 Spaniards found jobs in Germany last year, an increase of 15.8 percent over 2011, at a time when Spain is destroying over 2,000 jobs a day because of the economic crisis and spending cuts.

They were just some of the Europeans to benefit from the lowest jobless rate Germany has seen in 20 years, according to figures released Thursday by the Federal Employment Agency. Over 253,000 Italians, more than 123,000 Greeks and nearly 57,000 Portuguese also found jobs in the continent's top economy last year.

Unemployment in Spain grew 9.26 percent last year from 2011, to reach over 4.8 million.

The biggest demand in Germany was for qualified professionals to work in the industrial sector, leading to a significant increase in the number of engineers from southern Europe who moved there over the past year. Nevertheless, many emigrants ended up in some of the country’s seven million low-paying jobs known popularly as minijobs, and which partly explain the German economic miracle.

Although official forecasts point to a stalled labor market in 2013, a survey by Manpower among 1,000 businesspeople shows that nine percent are planning to hire more people in the first quarter of the year. Munich, the Bavarian capital, is the city that created the most jobs in all of Germany last year.

The Federal Employment Agency reported a 6.5 percent unemployment rate in November, for an average 2.89 million jobless people, around 79,000 fewer than in 2011.

“According to the information in our power, for 2013 we can count on a stable situation,” said the president of the Federal Employment Agency, Frank-Jürgen Weise, at a presentation of the report.

Monday, January 7, 2013

How to Boil and Egg

"I can't cook; I can't even boil an egg." Making perfect boiled eggs every time is no easy feat. If you look around on YouTube there are thousands of different ways to make a hard-boiled egg (huevo duro). I like this recipe because it's easy and takes the least amount of monitoring.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

The Public Trough

This is what passes for a public drinking fountain in Valencia. From the looks of it you'd think it was what Ponce de Leon was looking for all those years. Most of the public drinking fountains in Valencia are incredibly ornate although few are this downright gorgeous. You notice the same eye towards fine craftsmanship with most of the street lights. This sort of public spending is what drives the Teabag retards crazy (and yes, they are all retards). Fuck it, let's just live in tents and not build anything for the public good. It worked for Attila. It looked like fun with no government in The Road Warrior.O r we could build beautiful cities that dare us all to be better citizens and inspire awe in visitors.  Or America could go the way of Detroit as is chronicled in these haunting photographs. American conservatives always insist that we need to get the government off our backs. These beautiful sculptures are the government. We are the government, at least we were when we were more of a democracy.  The whole conservative argument is just so silly but sad at the same time because so many people have bought into it.

Sic transit gloria mundi.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

New Year's Resolutions

Here is a list of the top resolutions and probably the same list can be used for the resolutions most ignored two weeks into the new year.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year!

Hangover Remedies

Don’t Get Drunk

This one works 100% of the time to prevent hangovers. If this isn’t an option then keep reading.


H2O is a must. As you likely know from the frequent trips to the bathroom during a night of debauchery, alcohol is a diuretic and can cause dehydration. Before falling into bed, down 16 to 20 ounces of water, says Daniel K. Hall-Flavin, M.D., a consultant in addiction psychiatry at the Mayo Clinic. And the next time you go out, he recommends ordering a glass of water with every beer—and alternate between the two to replace lost fluids as you go.

Pain Medication

Ease a pounding head with a pill (or two, depending on the recommended dosage), but stick to nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (or NSAIDs, such as aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen), not acetaminophen (Tylenol): "While it's OK for a headache, when combined with a liver that's working overtime to metabolize alcohol, it can cause liver damage or be deadly," says Dena Davidson, Ph.D., former associate professor of psychiatry at Indiana University School of Medicine.

One drink—a 12-ounce beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of hard liquor—is metabolized by your body in about an hour, so the whole "sweat it out" theory is myth. At the same time, the endorphin release could boost your mood. And burning off a few calories may ease your guilt about how much you drank. Just be sure you keep your water bottle handy so you don't become even more dehydrated.


Don’t Do This:

Drink More Alcohol ("Hair of the Dog")

"Bad idea," Dr. Hall-Flavin says. "It will provide a numbing effect, but all you're doing is prolonging the inevitable, and it will likely make your headache worse."

VIDEO: how does Globexs work?