Palma de Mallorca Spain – A great Tapas Class and place to visit

Six of us got off the ship Mallorca and headed for the dock where Sergio picked us up and took us to the Yacht Club Cala d’Or. After the pleasant drive we arrived to find everything all setup and waiting for us. What a beautiful place this Yacht Club is. You can check out their Web Site at After introductions we were showed the menu of what we were going to make in class. Following is a the Menu with pictures of the finished dishes that were made:

One, of many, very nice things about the class was the discussions we had about the ingredients. Many times we have taken cooking classes and they used things that were not local to us or very hard to find. This was very different as we talked about substitutions and the characteristics that made them different, as you can imagine that sure makes it easier to reproduce the dishes at home.

I think these pictures speak for themselves as far as how much fun we had in class.

All in all it was a fabulous day and cooking class as well. Great people, good food, fun and entertainment – what more could you ask for? I know what we are going to be doing the next time we are in this area.

If you are curious about the recipes, I put them all up in the “Cook with Dave” part of the site.

Walking to the Back Gate

Three Sisters Garden

Walking short walk from where we live to town regularly we walk through small pastures and small fields scattered with Cows, Sheep, Chickens, Goats and other live stock from time to time. It is really nice to see how things change and what is going on so close to our little town of Cotacachi. A couple of things we noticed along the way were; how fast everything grows here, and growing other plants in the corn fields. I thought I recognized the plants growing with the corn so I started asking questions and researching it a bit to satisfy my curiosity. So what the heck are they doing?
One of the names for gardening this way is called “Three Sisters Garden”. But this was a bit larger scale from your backyard gardening and everybody is doing it. Since things grow here year round we have not seen what they do every time they plant, but this late September / early October, at least, they plant the Three Sisters.
From what I found out the Three Sisters are Corn, Pole Beans, and Squash. The Corn provides the pole for the Beans to climb and the beans add Nitrogen to the soil. The third sister Squash provides ground cover and helps keep moisture in the ground. Having never seen this way of gardening before I wondered whether were did this method come from or are these South American farmers’ just geniuses when it comes to growing things. Enter researching this method…
What I learned was that this dates back to the Native Americans and they shared it with the European settlers. So it is logical to deduce that this is the way they have done it here for centuries. They actually plant each plant at different times. First the corn is planted, next is the pole beans, and finally the squash. If you would like to see a short planning description of how to do this, this link does a good job I think Here they don’t do mounds though as you can see in the pictures but the same concept is done here.

Following are a few pictures to aid in the visual for what I am talking about, (Note – It is a half mile to town and you can click on the picture to see a larger version):

Status Mile

What is a STATUS MILE? I understand a mile is 5280 feet, or 1609 meters, or even 945 Smoot’s. But I never heard of a STATUS MILE. Perhaps this is why an unnamed Cruise Ship, (Carnival Breeze), had trouble getting to most of it’s Ports. This is the sign on the walk around deck. Click on the picture to make it big enough to read.

They say a STATUS MILE is 2.5 laps where a lap is 2,044 feet. Therefore a STATUS MILE would be 5,132. Sure seems like an odd measurement.

Espana – Spain – Well Barcelona to be exact

Although this is going to be about cooking, I thought I should put it in the main part of the Blog. The last couple days we have so been enjoying the Market and even more so; the tastes of Spain. But let me back up a bit…

We are staying in a great little apartment in the old part of Barcelona just off La Rambla, so we are in the center of a lot of action. As a side note, Ireland, Celtics, are playing Barcelona in Soccer and with all the white and green around you would think you could be in Ireland. But I digress…

We have been doing the “Hop on, Hop off” bus the last couple of days and doing a little shopping as we go to bring home to cook in the Apartment. Last night we made Carbonara using white wine, garlic, some lemon, egg yoke and the crown jewel, Serrano Ham. This isn’t the prepackaged store stuff this is the real deal. We bought a little sampler for 2.5 Euros that was the perfect size to make the dish and my the flavors…Mouth is watering just talking about it – but hey that was last night.

Tonight it will be a pasta dish with Fresh Porchini’s. This is a picture of what we are going to use…

That pile cost us 3 Euros too, so you know we will spared no expense in making this dish. It will be a simple dish but I don’t get a chance to use fresh Porchini’s often as they are so bloody expensive if you can find fresh ones. These were bits and pieces is why they were so inexpensive, but why spend more for whole perfect Porchini’s when these are perfect for what we are going to make.

While at the market we decided to have a quick lunch and ordered Shrimp and Calimari – look and see what we ate…

Both dishes were cooked perfect and were tender, juicy, and mouth watering good. It was just what we needed to head over to the wine store and then pick up our Porchini’s

Well time to get to work in the kitchen and see what this Porchini Pasta dish is going to be like…

Name Mac’s new friend

Ok, we held a bit of a contest and didn’t put it here on the blog – well when you think about it… you would give us so many creative answers we wouldn’t have time to answer them all while figuring out what was the best one now would we….

Now for full disclosure… Mac is in storage waiting to be shipped and we need a travel friend. Now what better way to get a friend for Mac than to get one of his old buddies and then then break him into traveling to help out Mac – seems perfectly reasonable to us.

Now I must tell you up front that there is a controversial background with this new friend of Mac’s. Yes he is a veteran, and yes he, according to a song, he shot down the Red Baron ( ). But I can tell you he is so humble that he hasn’t accepted a medal for it even though we all know he did it. I know that is hard to believe with this age of “look at me” and “wow am so amazing” but it is true – you got to trust me on this one…

To this day however there exist controversy as to his background, I know you think it would die down but noooo. There is a guy, he claims he is a historian, (ya right), and he debunks Snoopy and the Red Baron as a Myth – can you believe it? Although I shouldn’t perpetuate scams or falsehoods, I just had to pass this pitiful piece of writing on. Now remember I am just your faithful messenger I am not backing up what he says or anything else. Just passing it on so you realize just some of what he has to put up with constantly.

You have probably heard of our new traveling buddy by the name of Snoopy, but that just isn’t personal enough. You knew Mac as Schroeder but we call him Mac for MacGyver Schroeder and you have to read the post to read how his name came about, if you already don’t know Now here we are with Snoopy and he had to have a good whole name.

So we took possible names from the best and brightest that we could gather, along with doing an Internet search and a multi-language search too. Yes there were late nights and long hours but our search team stuck to the task with absolutely brilliant results. But it was our friend Al that came up with what was a unanimous decision on the name one late night working in our Top Secret, Multinational Laboratories.

Without further ado, let me introduce to you “Ace Snoopy”, or as we call him Ace.

Now when you see Ace he will be with us on our humble adventures. He should be well seasoned by the time Mac and Ace get together don’t you think?

A Weekend in Cotacachi

I know I keep talking about parades and the like going on but let me take you through this weekend. It is Sunday right now so more could actually happen than what I will write about but you will get the idea of what it is like on the weekends here. Now remember, this is a town of about 8,500…

Friday they put up a big band stand in the parking lot about a block from the apartment we stay in. When I walked around town I found a couple blocks the other direction in the square by the Church, there was yet another band stand set up too. Then they started installing bleachers and sitting area in the parking lot. Well I was walking around because there was suppose to be a Parade at 3pm and the blocked all the streets off at 2 so I figured they were getting ready. I should have known better because the 3pm start actually started just before 4pm, in typical Ecuadorian fashion.

And through it all most of the crowd was absolutely amazed by it all.

Now this was just the Parade on Friday afternoon. After the 3 hour Parade, there was the bands playing. Saturday and all was fairly quiet. That is until about 5pm when the bands started up again. It was a rockin’ good time for sure.

So now it is Sunday and the only real sounds I have heard today are the Church bells. Perhaps this evening will be quiet.

UPDATE: It was not a quiet Sunday. The bands started playing about 4pm and it was music and speeches until about 8:30pm. So much for a quiet Sunday:)