Food, Arts & Travel

This dish is perfect for a BBQ with family and friends

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8 pieces of chicken

6 fresh red chiles

6 dried chiles

8 cloves garlic, separated with skin on

2 cloves

½ stick cinnamon

½ teaspoon cumin seed

½ teaspoon coriander

1 teaspoon oregano

1 teaspoon thyme

1/3 cup cider vinegar



Roast garlic and fresh red chiles in a heavy skillet over medium heat for 15 min or until blackened on parts

The chiles will blacken first, the garlic takes a little longer

Meanwhile, quickly toast dried chiles by pressing down with spatula for a few seconds until it makes a subtle hiss

Careful as they will burn very quickly and you will have to discard blackened section

Soak, Skin & Pulverize

While fresh chile garlic roasts, remove stems from dried chiles, tear into pieces, and soak in bowl of boiling water for 30 min

While they roast and soak, pulverize herbs and spices in spice grinder, blender, or with mortar.


When roasting is complete, skin the fresh chiles along the blackened bits and remove garlic peels.  When soaking is complete, combine all ingredients in blender or food processor.

Combine marinade with chicken, and splash of olive oil in bowl or freezer bag, let sit in fridge for 2hrs or up to 3 days

This chicken can be cooked in the oven or sautéed whole or in slices, but it is most deliciously BBQ’d

Optional Afterlife

To create a spicy Bloody Mary mix or the base for a tomato soup, reserve 2-3 tbs of marinade and blend with two tomatoes roasted until brown and wilted on all sides and then peeled


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This Margarita recipe substitutes water for watermelon and spices it up with hot chile.


Juice of 1 lime

1 slice watermelon

1 hot chile, chopped into rounds, Thai or Serrano works best

Dash of Cointreau or Triple Sec

1-2 shots tequila, depending on cojones and taste

Squirt of agave nectar or simple syrup



Using a fork or wooden muddler, muddle watermelon with lime juice, hot chiles and agave or simple syrup.


Fill cocktail shaker with glassful of ice; add Tequila, then Cointreau or Triple sec, finishing with muddled mixture; shake it.


Pour mixture into glass filled with ice.  For a spicier variation, pour all contents of shaker into a glass with no ice, including chile rounds and shaken ice.

Enjoy thoroughly on a summer day or night.  Garnish with a side of political corruption below.

Warning: quashing Plantains may cause spatula to bend

This dish complements every dish


2 Plantains, chopped into ½ inch thick rounds

Garlic, minced

Oil for frying

Plantains for Newbies

In taste and texture, a plantain is a hybrid between a banana and potato.  The greener the plantain is, the more it will resemble a potato. Ripe yellow and black plantains will be sweeter and more resemble a banana.  Both green and yellow-black plantains can be used for this dish, but it depends upon your taste.  If you want something that tastes kind of like garlic French-fries, use green.  If you enjoy tangy sweet garlic flavor, use yellow-black.  Or take the middle path and use yellow-green to greenish-yellow.

Remember, green plantains are often a bit dry and fickle.  To remedy, soak sliced rounds in salt water for 20-30 min prior to frying.

The Main Event

Plantains in the Ring

1. In a medium skillet, heat oil over medium high heat; add plantains and make sure to jostle them around a bit while cooking to avoid sticking

Just a Bit of Brown

2. Sauté plantains on one side until just a bit of brown appears on sizzling side; flip the rounds and check to see when the other side is about to brown

Love with an Iron Spatula

3. Quash browned plantains with spatula, keep butter knife in other hand to scrape flattened rounds off spatula

Garlic Time

4. Once flattened rounds have sizzled for a 3-5 minutes, reduce heat to medium low, add garlic and sauté 2-3 min or until garlic is fully cooked.

Serve hot with pretty much everything.  Some people put mayonnaise on plantains, but I rarely engage with this condiment.  I prefer my plantains dressed or dipped lightly with onions and chiles soaked in lime and vinegar.  See extremely easy recipe below

Chop one quarter onion and two fresh chiles (red, green or whatever), mix with juice of two limes and enough vinegar to allow all solid ingredients to float, but also just barely touch the bottom of the container.  Add a pinch of salt and let ingredients sit for at least one hour.

What happens in the container is symbiosis. The lime vinegar will disarm the harsh taste of raw onion and chile, as the onion and chile add flavor to the lime vinegar.  This sauce will keep in the fridge for pretty much ever, but I’d say one month is enough.

Return yesterday’s cryogenically stored chicken broth to life.  Though Julia Child recommends brewing only plain chicken broth, so that the chicken can speak for itself, a zombie needs its spices. We will employ a combination of ginger, garlic, and fresh chiles to wake up the bird.  A touch of lemongrass will help soothe its bubbling ascent from the grave.

The purpose of this recipe is to preserve deliciousness and maximize efficiency.  What’s the point in buying fancy ingredients for one recipe if the extras end up rotting away in the fridge after first use.  It’s much more practical and equally tasty to kill two meals with one bird.

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3-5 pieces chicken, preserved sub-cryogenically since yesterday (or go back to market)

4 carrots, julienned (cut thin diagonal strips, but watch fingers)

2 stalks celery, chopped

1 small onion (optional – throw in 1 shallot and 2 spring onions)

2 cloves garlic, minced, extruded, or processed into a paste

1 ½ inch ginger, minced, extruded, or processed into a paste

1 teaspoon Sambal Oelek

1 stalk lemon grass, mince white part only (can be optional)

Reserved Cack-Ik broth, separate oil from mixture with spoon or fat separator


Onions in Action

1. In a medium pot, heat oil over medium high heat and sauté onion until soft.

The Necromancers Toolkit

2. Reduce heat to medium-low; add lemon grass, then garlic, ginger and Sambal, sauté for 3-4 min.

Veggie Tales

3. Add celery and carrots, sauté for 5-8 min to give veggies a head start over chicken.

Reanimating the Dead Chicken

4. Add whole chicken pieces to pot, lightly brown by exposing to bottom of pot; add Cack-Ik broth and 2-3 cups water (enough to give chicken some room to bobble).

Simmering the Soup

5. Simmer soup for 30-40 min or until chicken is fully cooked; remove chicken from pot and slice into bite sized pieces; return chopped chicken to soup, reheat and serve with garlic plantains.


Do not attempt to reanimate undead chicken soup.  What’s been raised once, cannot be raised again.

Welcome to the Pan American Table, a weekly series profiling two meals from throughout the Americas.

This recipe modifies a Central America favorite with South Asian style.  Serve with Cack-Ik recipe below.

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2 cups cooked white rice

2 cups cooked black beans, drained and rinsed

1 medium onion, finely chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced, extruded, or processed into a paste

1 ½ inch fresh ginger root, minced, extruded, or processed into a paste

1 teaspoon Sambal Oelek (pureed red chilies, Sriracha sells a great version of this Indonesian staple)

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon ground coriander

2 -3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

Before Beginning

Open 2 cups canned black beans

Cook 2 cups rice – (2 cups water : 1 cup dry rice – use rice cooker or cook for 25-30 min in covered pot or saucepan over medium heat)  Optional: add 1tbs olive oil or butter, substitute water for chicken broth or coconut milk, add grated lime peel (zest)

The Main Event

Onions in Action

1. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat and sauté onions until soft

Sizzle the Paste

2.Add garlic-ginger paste, and Sambal Oelek and sauté for 5 min or until the onion is golden

Spice, Rice, and Beans

3. Add Cumin, Coriander, Worcestershire + Rice, then Beans

Finishing Touches

4. Cook until heated thoroughly, add salt and pepper to taste, garnish with chopped cilantro and green onions.

Recipe adapted from:

Welcome to the Pan American Table, a weekly series profiling two meals from throughout the Americas

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Mysterious Guatemalan chicken, feeds a family of four.  To complete this meal use Gallo Pinto – recipe above.


One Whole Chicken Cut into Pieces, use half chicken, save rest for tomorrow

Miltomates (Tomatillo)

6 tomatoes

2/3 Head of Garlic, cloves skinned

3 Chiles guaques or other Chile (I used Serrano)

2 cinnamon sticks

1 teaspoon dried herbs (oregano, mint, thyme)

Handful of Cilantro

Handful of Scallions


Simmering Chicken in Garlic and Spice

1. In a medium pot, place chicken, garlic and cinnamon, fill with water to cover chicken, bring to a boil and simmer

Roasting for the Sauce

2. Meanwhile, roast tomatoes, tomatillos, chilies, and cilantro on a roasting pan in the oven at 400 for about 20-30 min.  Make sure cilantro does not burn and the tomato and chili skin has begun to blister.

Saucing the Roast

3. Once thoroughly roasted, liquefy ingredients in food processor

Simmering with the Roasted Sauced

4. Add liquid roast to simmering chicken, bring to boil and simmer until the chicken is fully cooked, should take around 10-20 min.  Remove Chicken from broth and serve with Gallo Pinto, shredded carrots, and tortillas


Conserve broth in fridge for the next episode

Recipe adapted from:

One leftist leader courts mining investment, while another backs off.

Last march, Ecuador negotiated $1.4 billion in investment with the Chinese owned Ecuacorriente, as part of the Mirador copper project.  The government also agreed to set a maximum on royalties, which under existing law only bare a minimum of 5 percent.  President Rafael Correa hopes the reform will create more certainty for investors.  However, the country’s Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities (CONAIE) continues to resist the mining projects for the sake of their land, the environment and resource sovereignty.

Meanwhile, Evo Morales of Bolivia has been quite fickle.  He has botched copper and gold mining deals with India’s Jindal and nationalized tin mines owned by Swiss Glencore.  Most recently, Morales cancelled operations at a silver mine owned by a subsidiary of the Canadian South American Silver Corp.  The mine, with silver and indium reserves worth an estimated $2 billion, will be turned over to the state-owned firm Comibol.  His move comes after clashes that killed one indigenous protester.

President Evo Morales

Both countries have a history of foreign resource exploitation, but Bolivia’s had been by far the most destructive.  During the era of colonialism, its silver mines helped fund the exploits of the Spanish empire – most notably the Spanish Armada.  Galleons were berthed and then decimated, on the backs of Quechua and Aymara slaves.   Additionally, the influx of silver throughout Europe caused massive inflation.  By trading with the Spanish, French currency reserves lost 80 percent of their value.

Around the late 19th century, tin replaced silver as Bolivia mining staple.  Tin barons ran amuck in the landlocked Andean country, dominating national politics at the turn of the century.  The 1952 Bolivian revolution nationalized the country’s mines to create the state-owned Comibol.  However, in 1986, facing debt, inflation and inefficiency, the government privatized parts of company.  The move caused massive layoffs and closed many mines, as private companies sought to close huge efficiency gaps due to overemployment and the operation of unprofitable mines.  Since 2006, President Morales has renationalized many projects where he hopes to boost production and employment.

Click here, for an analysis of national v. private mining practices and their effects on social responsibility in Bolivia.

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