UPDATE: Well we’re back after a short trip to Málaga, a day-trip from there to Córdoba, a blown out wireless card on my laptop, also a cold and bout of intense vertigo that saw me in my first ever ambulance ride to the emergency room. Yay?
Málaga. A lovely city on the coast, not two hours by plane from Barcelona, less traffic and certainly smaller. They really have Disneyfied the Old Town—cheek-to-cheek trinket shops and tourist restaurants. The Hammam (Turkish bath) we were so looking forward to was nice but loud, large groups of 20-somethings chatting and carrying on; we missed the days back in SF at Kabuki Hot Springs and the little “No Talking” triangle they would ding when people got loud; also, no cucumber water, what the heck? Very much enjoyed Museo Picasso Málaga and Contemporary Art Center, more later.
Córdoba. The bus ride to Córdoba got off to a rocky start with a couple of Germans loudly talking and coughing right behind us; they did not like being politely asked to shush. The Mosque-Cathedral (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) was the big draw, being in constant use as both a Christian and Muslim place of worship since at least the Visigoths (5th/8th centuries,) but the guided tour was disorganized; any spiritual serenity of the building non-existent, overrun as it was by, well, us (tourists); and wouldn’t you know the one day I forget to bring a snack in case of low blood sugar, we couldn’t find a bag of M&Ms for love or money. The building is a beaut; the overtourism is horrendous. Be warned.
Wireless Card / Cold / Vertigo. A burnt out wireless card on my laptop when I got back was an easy fix with a plug-in wireless USB card, but it does mean I’m still working my way through my Substack comrades’ posts—please bear with me as I catch up on Likes & Comments. The cold I’ll blame on the Germans. The vertigo, though, packed quite a wallop. It started as I was walking up the stairs with a glass of water which I almost dropped; an hour of intense spins, sweating, weakness, and nausea. I had to keep my eyes closed, and when I needed help to walk from my office to lay down in the spare bedroom, I got confused and asked “What room am I in?” which in retrospect probably sounded more alarming and dementia-y than it really was (my eyes were closed after all.) Anyway, my husband got worried and called an ambulance, and we ended up spending 3-1/2 hours waiting at the emergency room. A siren and pills, just for me—wee! Mostly better. And now back to our irregular programming.
Because you know how much I hate really long lists… 3 Kitchen Tips and a wonderful cake recipe, based on real life experience.
ON SOUPS However much pasta or rice you imagined was a good idea to throw in with your soup, cut it in half. Then, cut it in half again, and boil it in broth first (see #2) so it doesn’t soak up all the liquid—it’s soup!—not stew, not extra-saucy pasta, not paella, risotto, nor stewp. SOUP.
ON BOUILLON Lately I’ve been very fond of adding a bouillon cube to various recipes to give a bit of savory dimension and depth to dishes, all kinds: stir fries, pasta and other appropriately applied sauces, rice, potatoes, various bean-based ragouts, etc.
You can use a dry cube—be sure it’s completely pulverized by chopping and/or crushing with the side of a knife because undissolved bits are quite strong and unpleasant—you can always dissolve it in a little hot water of course.
We have not found the lovely chicken or veggie base “Better Than Bouillon” brand you can get in the States—these pastes dissolve gorgeously into any dish.
Meanwhile, DO be sure you check the ingredients of the bouillon cubes if you use them, they can be full of sodium (there are low-sodium versions) but also sometimes *gasp* MSG, in case you are sensitive to it. You are probably already doing all of this, in which case, carry on.
ON CITRUS Do not, under any circumstances—including wishing to impart an extra zip to a dish—imagine that in the absence of the zest of two lemons, tossing a whole cut-up lime into a pot of Tortilla Soup, for example, will produce the level of freshness you were looking for. It won’t.
In fact, there is something so intensely bitter in a whole lime it will render an entire pot full of otherwise delicious ingredients inedible, no matter how much sugar you add in a mad attempt to counteract it.
I suspect it is the inner bit of the rind, but it might also be the seeds. Lemon seeds are also very bitter. If you happen to bite down on a lemon seed because someone just tossed them in with the juice thinking what the hell, no one will notice, you will see for yourself what a terrible mistake that is.
(The exception to whole-citrus-disaster is the famous Sunset Whole Orange Cake, which I’ve tested and can confirm is delicious - ***LINK*** - Protip: DOUBLE the glaze if you’re feeling super sumptuous. But even they say remove the seeds.)
There is then, of course, the question of how to dispose of that big pot of Lime Soup, which in the U.S. might be no problem with a garbage disposal, but if you live in the 13th century or modern Spain where such things have not been invented yet, other remedies must be discovered.
A pig, theoretically, would eat all that up—you may try. (Not recommended for indoor/pet pigs.)
DO NOT feed it to your dog, there are too many spices and ingredients not good for them. Besides, even a dog who swallows entire pieces of bacon whole—one may ask that dog “Do you even know what bacon tastes like?” but he will never have a good answer—would almost certainly not enjoy the extreme bitterness of Lime Soup.
The garbage is the logical option, of course, but there is the problem of all that liquid; it will run to the bottom, and even the tiniest pinhole in the plastic bag will result in a mess in your kitchen pail, a trail of drips from the kitchen to the garbage, and an episode of frantic canine floor-licking and extreme exasperation. Bad.
The last of no really good options is the most ignominious: an embarrassed flushing of it all down the toilet. Think of the chickens—what a way to go.
Just Say No to Lime Soup.
The yoga teacher in me wants to know if it was actually dehydration, but in any case I hope you’re feeling better. Orange in cake is delish, that’s for sure and I couldn’t live without Better Than Boullion!
You only need to put lime in a soup once....