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Medellin & Envigado Colombia Christmas Lights

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Christmas time in Medellin is a celebration of lights and more lights every where, the spirt is here for Christmas season in South America.  This is a short video on the city of Envigado Park with adjoining Church build in the 1800’s by the Spanish and a quick look at Medellin River light show filmed a week before Christmas, and a weekday too.  We leave the park for a short drive do downtown area of Medellin, along the Medellin River where a light show is erected with many display suspended over the river.  The other side of the light show is like a “county fair” atmosphere with every concession stand know to Colombia is there, street food paradise !!  Enjoy the few minutes of lights, the sounds & music are as recorded at time of filming, the songs are coming from inside the church @ Envigado.  This is 2011 Christmas in Colombia.
Russell Freeman on Google+!

Little French car L’Orange in Medellin Renault 4

Hello everyone, well this week I found a small little imported car originally from France.  Called a Renault 4.  This little car has won in past years the Paris to Dakar to Paris race,   in the 2011 race there were 2500+ of these older cars in the race, no joke and after driving this for a few days with the 1300 cc motor I understand why,  it is a fast little machine.  Build in France from 1960’s till production ended in 1992, same body style nothing changed.

This is a 1974 model, with a newer 85’engine and the best part is the purchase price was cheaper than getting a motorcycle here.  I wanted to share a few photos of the minor restoration & the update of some deferred maintenance of the past original owner whom is in his 80’s,  this little car needed some TLC, help for safety issues I got corrected along with a new set of tires & rims this week.

Repair in Colombia is not an easy task, finding parts availability, really in finding the right mechanic and a good guard dog all play into getting my new ride back on the street as my new mobile photography studio !!

The first photos are of the car on day of purchase, that is the “original paint” too, orange, or L’Orange in French, did I get that word right Natalie?, OK, moving on to a set of wheel adapters to accept a 4 stud rim, original rim is a 3 stud 13 inch wheel, I wanted larger wider tires in 14 inch, so I found a machine shop to cut a set of adapter disk for me.   This first attempt proved not  really successful, from the first machine shop, so.  I had a second machine shop finish the job with threaded studs from the back of the brake drum into the new plate, bolts to plate worked, as shown in the second set, as they work.

The shop I found JJ, the owner is a great guy, John knows these little cars, with no issue.  He replaced all the rubber parts in the front end, now stable no shake, a complete brake job everything taken apart.  Since they have no brake shoes for this model, I had a special brake shoe shop replace the pads on the original metal part of the shoes, cost like $7,000 peso each or $3.50 US, cheap.   John got the second machine shop to re-make the plates for me, adding the threads into the plate with a bolt from the inside of the brake drum to hold the plate, the way it should of been done in the first place, but that is life learning one more thing.

I had them replace all the bearing on the axels, as picking up one of them I can not understand how anyone could drive with these old bearing, I picked up one and when you shake it, sounded like a baby’s rattle !! with all the small ball bearing now worn so small the are loose inside, think about it, this bearing must be 20+ years old to be worn like this, o”well, here if it still runs it is OK, maintenance is zero.  A $3. 00 costs for the part too, cheap.  Then there was the goop that came out of the transmission, well the gear oil is changed now.  The list goes on, a lot more for another day.

This JJ shop is typical mechanic shop of Colombia decorated with posters from all different manufactures of auto parts along with every poster of the local Soccer team, National.  Enjoy the wall collection images, could not pass it up to take a few photos.  To make sure you are getting the repair done correctly you need to pull up a chair, pack a sandwich, the later I did not need, keep reading below, and watch everything being done, correctly no left over parts on the floor, take a look at the floor you can understand.

Now on to the “DOG” . His name, dog but what did you expect?   Note him lying down under the car, he stayed there all day, barely lifting an eye when someone passed, would lick you to death friendly nice dog.  Now when a “homeless” type person passed or stopped by the front of the shop, well he became a growling barking machine,,, WOW what a change, his master said OK, the person continued to walk, he the dog was back in his usual spot of rest, back under the car, great watch dog he protected my ride for the two days it was in the shop!!

Street Food:  Everything imageable came by the shop. I now wish I had taken more photo’s of the vendors, but here is one selling mini sausages with a potato on a stick.    Start of the day,  Hot coffee in the morning, donuts, all on bikes or people pushing carts, the jello lady with white styrofoam cooler filled with cups of homemade jello, which were not bad,  then came the normal hot dog carts, sausage carts, more cold drinks, vendors selling sugar cane juice, or fresh fruit cut up in chunks, mangos & pineapple was the most common, continued all day and into the evening, cart after cart, selling something.  These mechanic’s don’t pack a lunch, lunch comes to them everyday.

They use these little cars for transport from local farms &  villages to the city, as time goes on, I will show you how they pack everything into these, pigs, wood, moving, more stuff tied on top that should be, the photo of the back open with fruit vendor driving the streets, is common back loaded with his farm produce, oranges in bags tied on top, his son in the back.

The white motorcycle photo is a China import a exact copy of a Honda, hum wonder why China has no patent right enforcement, this one can not be sold in the states, only in foreign countries.

I now have a ride, no more taxi around.  This will help me get out more with my photography gear and start taking more photos of the “life” here in Colombia, look for more to share in the weeks to come.  Cheers, Russell

 

 
Russell Freeman on Google+!

Blueberry “mini” Muffins = a patio breakfast wonderful

 

What is better than waking up smelling something wonderful cooking in the oven?   My favorite breakfast treat, Real Blueberry mini Muffins.

Breakfast is my favorite time of the day, fresh hot coffee and the smell of something cooking.

The local stores here in South America do not carry fresh “BlueBerry’s” , not a fresh or canned item at the local grocery store.   Hum?  sounds funny that a close neighbor country grows them in the mountain country with duplicate weather to Oregon’s blueberry country, where they ship fresh to USA markets in the off season, BUT locally to the stores here, nada zero none, as this is not a item the local’s eat.  So even when they have the same varity growing as grown in the USA here locally, they are not in the market, all are on an air express flight to your local WholeFoods.

So, I am left with sneaking into my baggage as a wanted item to pay the over weight baggage airline fee for, none other than BETTY CROCKER, just add water Blueberry muffin mix, yea I know, dry imitation blueberry’s artificially flavored, but better than no blueberry’s.   They still taste great !!

Two more smells to think about on your favorite list for mornings, whats in the kitchen for breakfast.   My two are fresh coffee brewing to wake up my eyes, next to Sugar Maple cured thick sliced bacon cooking, Ahhh, that smell of maple fills the house.   Now close your eyes, tell me, What’s your favorite breakfast smell?

Enjoy my images of BlueBerry Mini’s, while thinking of me…. my coffee of choice today is 100% Colombian Juan Valdez for export from the Fuerte region, a bold cafe, it is on my must buy list if you find it in the USA, better than Peets.  Look for the Fuerte logo on the package.  Great morning baking to all !!

 

 
Russell Freeman on Google+!

Rusty’s Killer Guacamole & fresh Salsa

How to make fresh Salsa & Rusty’s Guacamole

Hello to everyone !!

This post will tell you in both photos below and a YouTube video “How to Make”  my Killer Fresh Salsa plus easy instant Guacamole.   To make real great Guacamole you need many fresh ingredients, besides the obvious a ripe Avocado.    My Rusty’s method for easy Guacamole is simple to add a big spoon of my Fresh Salsa to any mashed up ripe “Hass” Avocado for instant Guacamole that will impress your friends, asking for the recipe !!   AND they will ask.

To start everything shown here on the “How to YouTube Video” is fresh, except one canned item which is necessary to help all the spices blend with the fresh items, I will not bore anyone right now with an food science class, just trust me this one item is required for this recipe to work.

You will see many other recipe’s where they boil the tomatoes, peel them first, or my favorite is removing the “seeds”  how silly, as this is where the juice and flavor is, so wash them ripe tomotoes up, cut in to big chucks and toss em into the food processor , pulse them into a mush, seeds, skin and all, except the little green thing on the end, the stem cut this off, but you all ready knew that, right?

Follow the video first, then come back an see all the individual photos for more details, this is easy Fresh Salsa is wonderful just by it’s self with chips and when mixed with a ripe Avocado will make you the hit of any party, with Rusty’s Killer Guacamole.   Pass this blog on to your friends, enjoy a tail gate party as you can make this on the spot instantly in the parking lot of any game, now enjoy the Tail Gate’s best Killer Guacamole & Fresh Salsa on the planet.

To make the Guacamole you only need to cut peel mash avocado in a bowl and add a big tablespoon of fresh salsa, mix and serve, really that easy, as all the spices are in the salsa. RTU.

 

RUSTY’S KILLER FRESH SALSA RECIPE

Start with a big bowl, as you use the food processor for each individual ingredients pulsed to small bits, remove from food processor each item and put each into the big bowl.   Remember to use latex gloves for handling the hot peppers, this juice on your hands is not an experience you wish to know about, eyes, face etc.  This is a fresh salsa and with that it will require refrigeration, this is not a cooked product.  The only canned item in this recipe is tomato “Paste” you can use two of the small cans you will find in the supermarket, this one item is necessary for the spices to set with the other fresh ingredients, a food science  thing, not in this lesson for telling about acids how they interact with spices, another lesson maybe in the future with Alton Brown,  to get the “taste” your looking for, with a little tom paste with the spices combined with fresh vegetables will deliver that experience all your friends will ask, “how did you make this” ?? !!

OK, Once you have all the fresh items cut, diced. chopped, food processed, & squeezed into a big bowl add the canned tomato paste and MIX.  Remember to reserve the hot peppers on the side, as now is the time to add them, start with “half” of the minced peppers, mix, mix, mix, then taste test.  Hot?  Not hot enough?  Add more is OK, this will get a bit hotter when “set” overnight.  We are looking for about a 75% mix of tomatoes to 20% onions 5% cilantro + hot peppers  keep this in mind when processing the tomatoes, onions & cilantro.  I use two cut types of tomatoes, one pulse small in food processor mixed with a few fresh tomatoes hand cut into thumb size bits, adds texture to salsa.

Remember to wash up all your store purchased vegetable before processing, just a good idea.

The SPICES, are added now.  Ground Cumin, Garlic Powder [not garlic SALT !! ], fresh ground pepper corns & Kosher or Sea Salt to taste.  The big bowl just sprinkle the spices on top, then mix mix & mix more.  It is all most ready, taste test now is a good thing see how close in heat, salt to your taste buds, hum?  Great, now put into mason jars that are clean & ready, I like the small Pint one’s so you can give away a few to your friends, handy size too for one plate Fresh Salsa with chips.  Jar up !  [glass jars only]  AND now refrigerate overnight for all the spices to set.  This will last for two plus months refrigerated in a lockable air tight glass jar,  but I don’t think it will last that long !!   Enjoy

Wear latex food gloves when handling the peppers no bare hands, trust me, the juice in the eyes stings ! 

 

INGREDIENTS  TO MAKE FRESH SALSA

6 big red ripe  tomatoes , put into food processor & pulsed till puree see photos

3 big red ripe tomatoes, diced cut into small thumb size chunks [not in the food processor, cut by hand with a sharp knife] put in bowl

2 white onions peeled and pulsed in food processor

1 small red onion peeled and pulsed in food processor [optional ]

3 to 4 cloves of garlic peeled and pulsed in food processor

2 green Jalapenos seeds removed if you wish not too hot  and pulsed in food processor

1 red Serrano hot pepper [Thai red pepper will work too]  do not remove seeds pulsed with Jalapenos together

1 cup + diced cilantro [coriander] pulse in food processor lite small bits or use scissors to cut up works too

1 whole lime, a Key Lime or Tahitian Lime will have no “seeds” squeeze away

2 small cans of Tomato Paste [ I used one small pak of paste see photo]

Kosher or Sea Salt to taste

Fresh ground Black Pepper or mixed red-white-black Pepper corns ground fine [see photo]

1 teaspoon of Ground Cumin

1 teaspoon of Garlic Powder [not garlic salt !]

variation:  add a green or red bell pepper to the mix, chopped fine like the onions.

variation: add celery powder and a little less Cumin

 

TOOLS

small  knife very sharp

cutting board

medium to big bowl to mix ingredients

food processor with a pulse mode, I used a small one cup food processor, any big one will work too

measuring spoon or use your best guess to taste on the spices

spoon for scooping mix into jars

glass canning food pint jars with wire snap lids, looking for air tight glass jars, not plastic due to acid from tomatoes !!  food science lesson another day

latex food gloves, when finished peel off backwards off your hand inside-out, toss, these are used one time

pen & label for date Killer Salsa made “date”, keep refrigerated  for two months plus, if it last that long.

 

 

TIPS

1. Save the avocado seed when making guacamole ahead of time, put the seed back into the mixed guacamole when storing ahead of  your party in the refrigerator, the seed will keep the guacamole from turning brown, push it down into the mixture, then squeeze a little lime juice on top too helps, cover with plastic wrap can store for two hours or so prior to your guest arriving.   Preventing oxidation is what we wish to accomplish.

SEED also makes a nice window garden addition, stick tooth picks on four sides, suspend seed  in glass of water point end down into glass of water, let it grow.

2. Carefully cut the avocado with knife going all the way around, start at the small neck in a circle,  after all the way around cut, then just “twist” to make two haves.  Cute thing you see people popping the seed with a knife blade into the seed, don’t do it, save your Emergency room visit for another dumb mistake, do not use knife blade to remove seed !!  OK, use your hands it will pop out easy.

3. The end of the avocado is a stem where it was once attached to a tree, remove this little stem by hand and toss, to prevent it accidentally ending up in the guacamole, besides it does not taste good anyway.  Remove stem and toss prior to cutting avocados.

4. You can ripen up green avocados overnight by placing them in a closed brown paper bag with a banana or apple as to trap the ethylene gas which occurs naturally will speed up the ripe process overnight in a warm place 70-75 [18-24c] is fine. Solid hard green may take two days !

ripe is black soft to touch, green avocados are hard,  green is not ripe that easy.

5. To get avocado meat out of shell, hold a half of the cut avocado in the palm of one hand, take a tablespoon and scoop out the soft avocado, place in bowl, toss empty shell, it is not eatable.

6. Fresh Salsa is great all by itself !!   Use if on tacos, nachos & burritos and omelettes too.

 

 

Photography always helps tell the story of “how to”.  Look at all the images below for a visual on the fresh ingredients to make your ‘Killer Salsa”.

THE LAST PHOTO SHOWS THE SPICES 

More heat “kick it up” try adding one or two Thai Red Peppers

Thai RED Pepper shown is about 3 inches long, small and very hot spicy, most Asian markets will have them fresh.  Toss into food processor whole seeds and all, mix with other peppers for added heat. Warning do not add a habanero or fresno pepper as they are “way” too hot, no one will eat your salsa !!  Photo taken in Thailand home garden of a friend, Bangkok. 

How to make EASY CHIPS

 

 

Corn tortilla one dozen package, white or yellow corn does not matter. Cut about six at one time, cut first small corn tortilla in half, then each half two more times, making small triangle, set aside in stacks, repeat as necessary till your package of a dozen is all cut up.

Flour tortilla can be stacked two to three one time on cutting board. With sharp knife cut the round tortilla into one inch wide strips. Then cut the long strips in half, making them about five to six inches long.

Large pan, tongs, basket lined with paper towel ready, salt shaker close.

Heat about one inch oil to medium high, no too high, drop one cut chip in oil see if bubbles or lays flat. Bubbles, your ready, now carefully add enough cut tortilla to cover the area of the pan, they need to cook. Remove when looks like chips and most of the bubbles have stopped, toss in basket, sprinkle with a bit of salt, the chips have to be hot for the salt to stick, apply as soon as out of pan n basket.

Wait…. Count to twenty, as the temp of your oil needs to recover, ok, now test a chip into the oil, ready, add more cut tortilla repeat as above.

Flour tortilla need to be cooked separate from corn tortilla, do not mix em in cooking.

You can try lime salt or hot pepper salt to add variety. See my other video on how to make your own flavored salts, yummy !

Restaurant have a special very ultra thin corn tortilla made for them to make chips. This makes the very thin chips you get at most Mexican restaurants. Every once in a while I see them at Walmart, shown on the package it says ultra thin, you may find them too at speciality Mexican grocery markets, you only need to ask, sure the have them. The normal corn tortilla work just fine too, cook em up, add a little salt serve warm with Rusty’s Salsa or my Killer Guacamole, enjoy!!

NEXT VIDEO:   Fresh Mango Salsa subscribe to my YouTube channel 
Russell Freeman on Google+!

Here is the TWO MINUTE VERSION OF MY YOUTUE VIDEO.. showing a short how to.

Sliced Jalapeno Peppers home made recipe & red peppers pickled how to

How to make “home made” Pickled Sliced Jalapeno Peppers & Red Peppers Pickled, recipe below images.

How to make “home made” Pickled Sliced Jalapeno Peppers & Red Peppers Pickled. Great for your Nacho’s your own sliced Jalapeno Peppers and with my easy recipe you can do at home in less than an hour, you will never purchase “store bough” again.   My visit to the farmers market today I got 2 kilos of green Jalapeno Peppers, that is like 5 pounds for about two dollars, plus another kilo of “red” peppers too.

My mother told me to pick a peck of pickled peppers… say that more than once !!   Here is the Rusty’s method.

It is the easy to make your own Sliced Jalapeno Peppers.   The RED Peppers once place whole in a big glass jar [see photo] look real cool too on your kitchen counter too !!

1.  Put on a pair of disposable latex gloves !!   Do not cut Jalapenos without wearing gloves.

2.  Wash your peppers in cool water, get any field dirt or little odd’s n ends off of them, clean peppers

3.  Begin to slice off the end with the stem, cut off part of the pepper to remove the stem end, toss away, do not  use.

4.  Slice the pepper into thin 1/4 inch +/- slices [see photos].   Once you reach the other end, tip, cut it off too, toss.

5.  Put your neat sliced peppers in a pan, cool water, bring to a boil for a short time, like 5 minutes, easy easy, just to turn the color bright green to a lighter shade.  Red pepper till then turn from bright red to a little orange.

6.  Drain in colander.  let set for a minute

7.  Get your glass jars ready, rinsed & clean

8.  Take a pair of tongs, put the warm peppers into the jars, fill to top, press down a bit, fill jar again.

9.  Mix 50/50 cool water & white vinegar, bring to the start of a boil, take off flame.

10.  Pour over your packed jars, fill to overflow… let the air escape, fill a bit more, cap !! You done.

11.  RED Peppers, you will need to cut a “slit” down one side, see photo, then place into sauce pan, bring to a boil, again 5 minutes max.

12.  Drain in colander, then blanch with COOL water, to retain the RED color.

13.  Put into jar, pour over your ready 50/50 mixture water vinegar

14.  Take a wooden spoon to press on the RED peppers to get the air out, takes a minute, re-fill with mix, and add your cap !  Finished

Display your peppers on the counter, give to your friends, will last a year.  Check the photos here for more details on the how to do it,  and NO the bowl of strawberry’s have nothing to do with this recipe, they are for my ice cream.   Next video coming, “how to make your own premium ice cream” stay tuned.
Russell Freeman on Google+!