Days 9 and 10

Posted by Lisa on March 23rd, 2006 — Posted in Activities

On Monday we traveled to the quaint little fishing village of Caleta Los Hornos for lunch, to one of my favorite restaurants that I have found in Chile. They serve fresh fish, caught by the fisherman at the dock below the restaurant. Terry, Steve and I had the menu of the day which was a piece of fish fried or plain, a side dish, and 2 empanadas for only $4. We were able to sit out on the deck and watch the ocean and the birds. Our original plan for the day was to go fishing, but unfortunately, it was cold and dreary in the morning, and the sun didn’t come out until 3. We do plan on trying to go fishing tomorrow. On Tuesday, we went downtown, went to La Recova and did some shopping. Steve and I bought some diaguita pieces for the house and also some figurines. Afterward we brought the puppy to the park to practice her frisbee catching. She’s really doing well with it and getting some good height when she jumps. The only problem is that she hasn’t mastered bringing the frisbee back yet and we have to chase her down. Day 11 (which was Wed) was wonderful, will update soon with some great pictures from it!!

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Day 8- The rodeo is in town!!!

Posted by Lisa on March 20th, 2006 — Posted in Activities

All weekend, the rodeo has been in town, we decided to go on Sunday. Steve and I have been wanting to go to a rodeo since we’ve been in Chile. At Parque Coll, which is just down the street from us, they have been busy updating it and rebuilding the stadium for the past month, so we were hoping it meant something was coming. Lucky for us they had the quarter finals this weekend. We went from noon until 530 and had a blast. There was also some shops around the stadium and we were able to buy Terry a chilean painting for his christmas gift. One really neat thing was where are seats were in the stadium, the cattle was right under us and there was a secret door right below our seats where they let the cattle out for the rodeo part, we were right in the middle of the action. Enjoy the pics….

rodeo pan

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Day 7- Steve’s awesome job

Posted by Lisa on March 20th, 2006 — Posted in Activities

On Saturday, we got a somewhat early start for the day. We were out of the house around 1030, and were off to go to the observatory. We stopped in El Molle to get Terry a painting, but unfortunately the store was closed. So we continued the drive into the valley and up to the observatory. Once we got to the top, Steve gave us a personal tour of Gemini. We walked around outside, enjoyed the views, and then headed down to Vicuna. Once in Vicuna, we went to lunch at The Hosteria- walked around their beautiful grounds- which included 2 alpacas, then walked around the square and went to the shops. We went to my favorite shop, the glass shop. We also went to the great bug museum, where you can see bugs from all around the world. We then came home, played monopoly (yours truly won), watched some TV and went to bed. It was a great day, but especially for the Margheim’s since they’ve been waiting for 20 years to see Steve’s dream come true of working at a telescope.

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Day 6: Coquimbo/St Patty’s day

Posted by Lisa on March 20th, 2006 — Posted in Activities

I know, it’s already Monday, and I’m only now posting for Friday, but we’ve been busy! On Friday morning, once we all got up, I made fabulous green waffles in celebration of St Patty’s day. After a great breakfast, we got ready and went to spend the day in Coquimbo. First, though we went downtown to the post office so Mary Jane could mail some postcards. We were able to get the stamps and get them mailed very easily. The 3 of us then walked around the plaza de armas a little while we were waiting for Steve to drive around the block, then came Coquimbo. We started out at the fish market. The fish market is STINKY!!!! I did make my first purchase here though, I bought bait so we can go surf fishing, (which we plan on doing today). We then walked around the artesian shops and bought Mary Jane a nice hooded alpaca sweater for Christmas. Then came Barrio Ingles, which is Coquimbo’s square. We walked around the square which was hosting a traveling art show of 100 picture’s of Chile. We also went to one of the artesian shops on the square which is an outdoor area that has a bunch of booths. Then we went to the cross, walked around, took the elevator to the top, and went to the museum in the cross. We had to be home by 4 so Steve could go to a meeting. While Steve was at his meeting, Terry, I and the pup went hiking. I’m proud to say that Terry did both steepies and made it to the top. A feat that Steve has yet to accomplish. We were supposed to go to dinner with a friend visiting from Australia, but unfortunately he had to stay up and observe at the telescope another night. We decided to go out for dinner and went to Coasta Inca- which is a Peruvian restaurant on the beach. Apparently on Friday nights they have a buffet, so that’s what we had. Steve and Terry got to try goat for the first time, Steve’s response was similar to lamb but not as gamey. The buffet was good, though I would like to go back and order from the menu. So, though we didn’t have corned beef and cabbage, we had a wonderful day!!!

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Happy St Patricks Day

Posted by Lisa on March 17th, 2006 — Posted in Misc

Happy St Patty’s day guys! Now, I hope you will all eat lots of corned beef and cabbage for me :)

Day 4 and 5 of the Margheims visit…

Posted by Lisa on March 17th, 2006 — Posted in Activities

Day 4 (which was Wed.), we had a nice relaxing day at home. Steve had to go up to the observatory for the night so we stayed in and hung out with him until he had to go. Day 5 was more active. Terry and I got up early and went off to the farm for the morning. To get to the farm you drive past the airport and into the valley a little ways. It was his first time seeing the valley, and he really enjoyed it. The valley is beautiful, with farms along the road. One of the farm areas that we drove through had tons of artichoke plants, which I can’t wait to eat! At the farm, Terry met Ruben (the farm worker) and we got to work. We picked cherry tomatoes, regular and heirloom tomatoes, basil, and we tried to pick some carrots that were very pathetic looking, about the size of our pinkie toes. Ruben picked swiss chard, zucchinis, shallots and parsley. Our friend Rikki came to help as well. We then separated all the produce into shares and were done. We got home, I made tomato basil and mozzarella salad, picked up Mary Jane and the pup and went for a hike. While we were at the farm, Mary Jane had a nice relaxing morning reading and cuddling with Leyna. Steve got back from the mountain around 4. For dinner, the Margheims got to experience their fist choripans (chilean sausage and bread) and papas duquesas (fried mashed potato balls). We also had awesome tandoori chicken that Steve grilled up for us.

Farm near the organic farm
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Road to the organic farm
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Us at the farm
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Cerro Grande
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Choripans, yum
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Day 3

Posted by Lisa on March 15th, 2006 — Posted in Activities

While Steve went to work this morning, the rest of us went for yet another hike. This time we hiked a little different of a trail and ended up going along the ridge to the ruins of an old house. After our hike, Steve met us at home and we went off to spend the day exploring La Serena. We went to lunch at one of my favorite little dives- El Mundial, where we had the house specialties of merluza frita and churrasco completos. Merluza is a white fish and churrasco completo is a sliced beef sandwich with palta (avocado), tomate and mayo. We then went downtown, walked around- went to the plaza de armas and the cathedral (it was closed unfortunately), went to the archaeological museum, went to the artesian shops at La Recova, then went grocery shopping yet again. We seem to be continuing my daily Deca visits. For dinner I made chicken parmesan, a salad, and had garlic bread with an alfredo dipping sauce. Afterwards, thanks to Terry, we didn’t really have any dishes to do, and watched The Sopranos and had dessert- mendocino cookies- which are vanilla cookies with manjar (dulce de leche) in the middle and the whole cookie is dipped in chocolate. A wonderful chilean specialty. Also today, Terry and Mary Jane got to try another chilean specialty- pebre (which is basically salsa made of tomatoes, garlic, onion, olive oil and cilantro) which is served at most restaurants with the rolls/bread.

Mary Jane reading before our daily hike with the little lap dog to keep her company
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more pics from Cerro Grande (may be a daily posting)
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Archaeological Museum of La Serena
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new scary picture from museum
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La Recova
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Downtown La Serena
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Day 1-2

Posted by Lisa on March 14th, 2006 — Posted in Activities

The Margheims arrived on Sunday. We were hoping to get to the airport early enough with our sign and be standing outside waiting, bur their plane got in a couple of minutes early. We then came home and they got to meet the pup. We went down to the beach, had pisco sours and cheese empanadas then went to the point off of Coquimbo, where there were pelicans, a sea lion and other birds. Then we went grocery shopping, came home and played with the dog. For dinner I made the infamous quinoa. Afterwards, we went to the hot tub. The Margheims were basically up for 40 hours, but they were troopers. While in the hot tub, Steve was able to point out some of the southern constellations.

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Day 2, we got up and went on a family hike in the morning. It was a beautiful morning, sunny a little hazy probably in the upper 60s. Once we got home, Steve made us wonderful pancakes and eggs. We then got changed, and off for a relaxing day on the beach. We went to one of my favorites, Totorolillo, which is about a 30 min drive from here along the coast. The water was pretty cold, but I still braved it and went in, everyone else walked along the edge. We hung out at the beach for a couple of hours, and we all started working on our tans. We basically had the beach to ourselves! For dinner, Steve made us some terrific filets!

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Posted by Lisa on March 5th, 2006 — Posted in Misc

Steve is currently up on the mountain with my camera, so I have no new pictures to post. Instead, I’ve decided to tell you about my new find. Everyone always asks me about the food here in Chile. Until now, I’ve always raved about the fresh fish, veggies and fruit. I now have something new to talk about, quinoa. Maybe you already know about it, and I am just late to find it, but it is a wonderful grain that I am now addicted to. I have eaten it for every meal these past 2 days. Yesterday I made a green curry and coconut chicken and served it over a bed of quinoa, and tonight I made quinoa and black beans (recipe to follow). They were both great dishes that I can’t wait to share with Steve’s parents. Here’s some info on quinoa that I found on, if you already know all about, you should just skip down and try the recipe at the end!!!

Quinoa from the Andes

by Karen Railey

Quinoa (pronounced Keen-wah) is an ancient food that is not yet well known in North America. It has been cultivated in South American Andes since at least 3,000 B.C. and has been a staple food of millions of native inhabitants. The ancient Incas called quinoa the “mother grain” and revered it as sacred. Each year at planting time it was traditional for the Inca leader to plant the first quinoa seed using a solid gold shovel! Quinoa was used to sustain Incan armies, which frequently marched for many days eating a mixture of quinoa and fat, known as “war balls.” Beginning with the Spanish conquest in the 1500s, there was a 400-year decline in the production of quinoa. It became a minor crop at that time and was grown only by peasants in remote areas for local consumption.

In Peru, Chile and Bolivia, quinoa is now widely cultivated for its nutritious seeds, and they are referred to as “little rice.” The seeds are used in creating various soups and bread, and also fermented with millet to make a beer-like beverage. A sweetened decoction of the fruit is used medicinally, as an application for sores and bruises. Quinoa has been grown outside of South America for a relatively short time. It is grown in Canada and has been grown in the U.S., in Colorado since the 1980’s by two entrepreneurs who learned of the food from a Bolivian. They developed test plots in high arid fields in the central Rockies and began test marketing in 1985. Quinoa can be found in most natural food stores in the U.S.

Technically quinoa is not a true grain, but is the seed of the Chenopodium or Goosefoot plant. It is used as a grain and substituted for grains because of it’s cooking characteristics. The name comes from the Greek words, chen (a goose) and pous (a foot). This is due to a resemblance of the leaves of the plant to the webbed foot of a goose. The leaves are lobed or toothed and often triangular in shape. The succulent like plant grows from 4 to 6 feet high and has many angular branches. The flower heads are branched and when in seed looks much like millet, with large clusters of seeds at the end of a stalk. The plant will grow in a variety of conditions but favors a cool, arid climate and higher elevations. Beets, spinach, Swiss chard, and lamb’s quarters are all relatives of quinoa.

Quinoa grains range in color from ivory to pinks, brown to reds, or almost black depending on the variety. There are over 120 species of Chenopodium, but only three main varieties are cultivated; one producing very pale seeds, called the white or sweet variety; a dark red fruited variety called red quinoa; and a black quinoa. The seeds are similar in size to millet but are flat with a pointed oval shape and look like a cross between a sesame seed and millet. Quinoa has a delightful characteristic that is all it’s own: as it cooks, the outer germ around each grain twists outward forming a little white, spiral tail, which is attached to the kernel. The grain itself is soft and delicate and the tail is crunchy which creates and interesting texture combination and pleasant “crunch” when eating the grain. Quinoa has a fluffy consistency and a mild, delicate, slightly nutty flavor that borders on bland. The leaves of the Goosefoot (quinoa) plant are also edible and make a pleasant vegetable, like spinach. A quinoa leaf salad is generally more nutritious that most green salads.

Before cooking, the seeds must be rinsed to remove their bitter resin-like coating, which is called saponin. Quinoa is rinsed before it is packaged and sold, but it is best to rinse again at home before use to remove any of the powdery residue that may remain on the seeds. The presence of saponin is obvious by the production of a soapy looking “suds” when the seeds are swished in water. Placing quinoa in a strainer and rinsing thoroughly with water easily washes the saponin from the seeds. In South America the saponin which is removed from the quinoa is used as detergent for washing clothes and as an antiseptic to promote healing of skin injuries.

The quinoa seed is high in protein, calcium and iron, a relatively good source of vitamin E and several of the B vitamins. It contains an almost perfect balance of all eight essential amino acids needed for tissue development in humans. It is exceptionally high in lysine, cystine and methionine-amino acids typically low in other grains. It is a good complement for legumes, which are often low in methionine and cystine. The protein in quinoa is considered to be a complete protein due to the presence of all 8 essential amino acids. Some types of wheat come close to matching quinoa’s protein content, but grains such as barley, corn, and rice generally have less than half the protein of quinoa. Quinoa is 12% to 18% protein and four ounces a day, about 1/2-cup, will provide a childs protein needs for one day. The 6-7% fat of quinoa is relatively high when compared to other grains, but it boasts a low sodium content and also provides valuable starch and fiber. Quinoa also contains albumen, a protein that is found in egg whites, blood serum, and many plant and animal tissues. The seeds are gluten-free which makes this a nutritious and flavorful alternative grain for those with gluten sensitivity. Quinoa would be a worthy addition to anyone’s diet, supplying variety as well as good nutrition. The seed is also excellent feed for birds and poultry and the plant itself is good forage for cattle.

Cooked quinoa is excellent in hot casseroles and soups, stews, in stir-fries, or cold in salads. The seeds cook very quickly, in only 15 minutes. Uncooked seeds may be added to soups and stews as you would barley or rice and quinoa is often substituted for rice in rice dishes. Dry roasting quinoa in a pan or in the oven, before cooking will give a toasted flavor, and it can be cooked in fruit juice to add character to the flavor for use as a breakfast cereal or in desserts. Cold salads consisting of quinoa and chopped vegetables or cooked beans make a quick, easy, and nutritious dish. Quinoa flour is used in making pasta and a variety of baked goods such as pancakes, bread, muffins, and crackers. Quinoa seeds can be sprouted and eaten as raw, live food for snacks or in salads and sandwiches. To sprout the seeds, soak about 1/3 cup seeds in a jar for 2 to 4 hours, then drain and rinse the seeds twice a day for 2 to 4 days. When the sprouts are about 1 inch long, place them near a window for chlorophyll to develop, which will give them a vibrant green color. Another fascinating way of using quinoa is to “pop” the seeds in a dry skillet and eat them as a dry cereal.

I found this recipe on I used only 1 can of black beans, added some extra spices- chili powder, extra cayenne and cumin, and I added curry powder and parsley instead of cilantro. It was awesome, I can’t wait to eat more tomorrow!

Quinoa and Black Beans

1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, peeled and
3/4 cup uncooked quinoa
1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup frozen corn kernels
2 (15 ounce) cans black beans,
rinsed and drained
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1. Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the onion and garlic, and saute until lightly browned.
2. Mix quinoa into the saucepan and cover with vegetable broth. Season with cumin, cayenne pepper, salt, and pepper. Bring the mixture to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes,
3. Stir frozen corn into the saucepan, and continue to simmer about 5 minutes until heated through. Mix in the black beans and cilantro.