07 October 2015

Leave The Gun, Take The Cannoli

About our move to Costa Rica, my darling friend Maggie recently stated that I hope it is all you expected. That simple statement made me wonder . . . I really don’t know what I expected.

I certainly expected to run far and fast from U.S. politics . . . and pharmaceutical commercials . . . and reality TV (except for American Ninja Warrior – I love that). I guess I expected that Rusty and I would wake-up every morning and say to each other, What do you want to do today? In fact, I know I expected that . . . I articulated that sentiment to many friends and family. Well what was I thinking?

First of all, Rusty works Monday through Friday. Secondly, I did the ol’ what-am-I-gonna-do-today-thing for two years in Burkina Faso. It’s far from a wonderful opportunity, the possession of leisure. Or is it? By golly it leaves a great deal of time to bake cupcakes.

So, Maggie, what is life like in Costa Rica? It’s very much like Peace Corps life in Burkina Faso, with better plumbing and less guilt. Fewer guilty moments pondering whether I’m doing enough for my community. Oh, yeah . . . and there’s a lot more baking. 

I communicated recently with a young woman who wants to move to Costa Rica but has no idea how to cook anything; so I'm on a mission to post some very simple recipes that can be accomplished if one can do no more than stir and/or boil water. Nevermind that these recipes, thus far, are solely sweets. Man may not live by bread alone, but I'm confident that woman can live solely on pie . . . and vodka.

We have a neighbor who has stated (I hope I get this correct) that if only one thing a day can be accomplished, it’s a successful day. Well I can do a dozen things before noon, but they seem so very trivial; though as stated, maintaining a well-kept home and 1.65 acres in the jungle really isn’t easy. 

In the past 24 hours I’ve clipped and bathed an uncooperative terrier, trimmed palms and shrubberies and flowers, begun a new rock border around the triangle flower bed, made chicken Alfredo from scratch, baked chocolate chunk coconut cookies, made strawberry cupcakes with chocolate-cream-cheese frosting, did errands in town, and read another 300 pages of War And Peace. Oh yeah . . .  and I colored pictures of a parrot and a squirrel. This what do you want to do today? may not be as attractive as I’d imagined. Almost, but not quite. I need structure. 

I’m not wholly without structure . . . there's happy hour daily. Plus, I have periodic Spanish classes, fused glass classes, and I have lunch with Roy & Peter on a fairly regular schedule. It’s the baking that comes willy-nilly . . . primarily due to the solicited-but-very-much-unwanted (and hopefully very incorrect) information from my bathroom scale. 

My shorts are shrinking in the dryer. They are, right? I wash and dry the same pair of shorts so frequently during a one-week period that they’re shrinking. Someone tell me this is not my imagination and is a known phenomenon from repeatedly wearing-then-washing that favorite pair of shorts and failing to rotate my wardrobe. Certainly this issue with the shorts couldn't be attributed to the amount of grapefruit juice I consume with my vodka. Nah, belay that concern . . . especially since I'm already late for happy hour.
In all candor, I do love the possession of leisure. I love being able to fall asleep in the afternoon with Jill in the A/C. I love drinking coffee for two hours each morning and watching the Medicine Man wall to see what new birds and monkeys will visit. Most of all, I love the baking. Today is key lime pie with a whipped cream topping. I don’t dare try meringue in this humid climate . . . not until dry season arrives next month. 

This evening it's cannoli. Yes, I am determined to make cannoli. Yes, I’ll get ‘round to posting the recipes, obviously adjusted for Tico-available products . . . and yes, I’ll do a Throwdown with Bobby Flay and my tiramisu any day. True, there was an incident with the chocolate-cream-cheese frosting of the cupcakes. The damned frosting failed to pipe and hold firmly in place atop the cupcakes. It’s that blasted not-exactly-cream-cheese from Dos PiƱos. Still, the cupcakes were Javier tested, Javier approved.

With all that coffee, you’d think that I’d be unable to nap. How am I going to make cannoli without a cannoli tube? Well I’ve got an all-stainless balloon whisk and I know how to use it . . . picture using its handle as the cannoli tube while fryin' up those little tubes. Peace Corps did pay off in so many ways, not the least of which is improvisation in baking and in cooking utensils. Ah, and the lovely parrot and the squirrel colorings? Clearly, my life certainly has meaning and value. Right? Anyone? Lo que hay.