Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Musicians around San Miguel de Allende

San Miguel de Allende has always been a magical place and the musicians one encounters on the street is one of those magical moments.  This was a photo taken back in the 1940's, obviously not by me!
Waiting for a taxi after we had finished comida at Casa Blanca on Calle Hidalgo, along came these musicians from a small neighboring town, Atotonilco. 
The fourth member of the group on the other side of the doorway.  They played the Caminos de Gaunajuato for me.
They are not going to top the charts but it certainly was very entertaining. 
His accordion had seen better days but boy could he work the keys.
In front of the Parroquia church, Banda Amistad was taking a break.
A few of the Estudiantinas heading up to the jardin.
In front of the Peralta Theater, this man played Sweet Lorraine for my mom (her name is Lorraine).
I had just left Leo's grocery store, near the market and here this gentleman was serenading the customers that were coming and going.
And my favorite duo around town, Juan and Lalo.  They have entertained me and my groups up on the mirador at my casa.  
Viva la Musica!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Cowboy Steak - To die for!


I stopped into Pete's Fruits and Vegetables in Denver over on Holly Street, just north of Alameda to pick something up for for Valentine's dinner.  In the meat market next door (Pete's son's are running it now), they had a special on bone-in rib eye steaks.  About 1 3/4" thick, they looked absolutely delicious!  I could not resist.
I heated up my large cast iron skillet that is a real beauty.  It was my grandmother Mullen's and it such a phenomenal skillet.  The newer ones are not made half as well (too porous) and my beauty has been seasoned for at least 90 years!
First I wrapped a sheet of tin foil around the skillet.  Much easier to throw away the sheet of tin foil once the steak was done then to have to scrub up all the slatted grease.
I let the skillet heat up on high for about ten minutes.  In the mean time, season the steak.  Sear the steak for three minutes on each side.
Place the skillet (along with its tin foil collar) into a pre-heated oven set at 350 for ten minutes.  Let it rest another ten minutes before slicing.
Talk about perfection and with the bone-in, the flavors were spectacular!  
Next time, skip the grill and prepare it this way.  
I know you will not be disappointed.
By the way, one steak is plenty of food for two.  
I hope your Valentine's dinner was just as delicious.  
Bon Appetit.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Valentine's Day!


To My Valentine

More than a catbird hates a cat,
Or a criminal hates a clue,
Or the Axis hates the United States,
That's how much I love you.

I love you more than a duck can swim,
And more than a grapefruit squirts,
I love you more than a gin rummy is a bore,
And more than a toothache hurts.

As a shipwrecked sailor hates the sea,
Or a juggler hates a shove,
As a hostess detests unexpected guests,
That's how much you I love.

I love you more than a wasp can sting,
And more than the subway jerks,
I love you as much as a beggar needs a crutch,
And more than a hangnail irks.

I swear to you by the stars above,
And below, if such there be,
As the High Court loathes perjurious oathes,
That's how you're love by me.










Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Contemporary Art Exhibit at the Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes in San Miguel de Allende


The Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes finally re-opened its doors after a year or so of being closed due to major structural repairs. 
I really enjoyed the pieces of contemporary art ranging from 1947 - 1973 that is currently on display in the main gallery.
Presencio No. 111 
1973
Fernando Garcia Ponce

Ponce was born in Merida in 1933.  He originally studied to be an architect but changed his interest to painting.  He was part of the Salon de la Plastica Mexicana (Hall of Mexican Fine Art).  This Salon, established in 1949, was dedicated to promoting Mexican contemporary art.  
I really like the colors and the movement in his painting above.  Soft Cubism.
Personaje - Agua
1947
Gunther Gerzo

Gerzo was born in 1915 in Mexico City of Hungarian and German heritage.  His parents divorced and his mother fell on hard financial times.  He was sent to live with his uncle in Lugano, Switzerland who was heavily involved in the art world.  As a teenager, he met Klee. Gerzo was seduced by his uncle's art collection with works by Rembrandt, Cezanne, Titan, Delacroix and Bonnard.  He studied under the famous set designer, Nando Tamberlani.  He returned to Mexico City and in the 1940's and 1950's, he created set designs for Mexican, French and American films.  He won various awards for his production designs.  He worked with John Houston in the 1984 film, Under The Volcano.
In 1944, he was tremendously influenced by many surrealist painters that had taken refuge in Mexico City due to the Second World War.  That was when he moved from being a casual painter to one that became a full time avocation.
Octavio Paz called him one of the greatest Latin American painters along with Carlos Merida and Rufino Tamayo.  (Tamayo once taught at the Instituto Allende in San Miguel!)
El Pez Luminoso
1956
Juan Soriano

Soriano was born in Guadalajara in 1920.  An abstract painter who also painted portraits and self-portraits.  He too was strongly influenced by the Surrealist and Cubism movements.  He excelled in sculpture in such mediums as terracotta, ceramics and later bronze.  He has a large bronze sculpture of a dove, La Paloma, in the courtyard of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Monterrey.
Pulsacio Dinamica
1966
Manuel Felguerez

Felguerez was born in Zacateros in 1928.  His family had a large hacienda in which they abandoned in 1934 and fled to Mexico City during the Revolution.  He studied in Europe and was influenced by Abstract Expressionism.  He is one of the most prominent abstract artists in Mexico for his works in paintings and sculpture, especially his sculptural murals.
Senal en Azul y Negro
1966
Vicente Rojo

Rojo, born in Barcelona in 1932, was awarded Mexico's Fine Arts Medal for "his vast experience" in the visual arts and his contributions as a painter, graphic designer and sculptor.  Rojo arrived in Mexico in 1949 and began studying painting and typography.  He was a member of the group of Mexican Plastic Artists who departed from the Mexican school of painting known as the Ruptura, whose principal leaders were Diego Rivera, Jose Clemente Orozco and David Alfaro Siqueros.
"Signal in Blue and Black" (above) is painted on a curved canvas.  Again, I love the colors and the graphic design he introduced to the canvas.

POLANCO.- Vicente Rojo, foremost Mexican painter, known for his abstract paintings, sculptures and graphic designs, is currently having an exhibit called “Hall of Fame” at the Galeria Juan Martin. Rojo has included 12 people in his private hall of fame, where he pays homage to certain writers and painters. Working within a small format, mixed media /wood, he has invited writers Agatha Christie, Italo Calvino, Carlos Pellicer and Jules Verne . His chosen painters are Louise Nevelson, Jean Dubuffet, Paul Klee, Piet Mondrian, Joseph Cornell, Mark Rothko, Germán Cueto and the filmmaker, Georges Méliés. With his uncanny talent for bringing out the essence of his chosen mentors, he portrays Christie with a large keyhole, related to her mystery stories. Calvino is represented with 4 small constructions which bring to mind his “Invisible Cities” Pellicer, poet, with small constructions portraying flowers, and Verne with 4 paintings that relate to the Mysterious Island as for the painters, he brings out the mystic quality of Rothko, playful Dubuffet, well constructed Nevelson, sober Mondrian, invigorating Cornell,, poetic Klee, and Georges Méliés with his fil Voyage to the Moon. Rojo’s insights are amazing, for he can bring out elements of each artist without losing his own language, His humor and playfulness are more tan evident.. The exhibit runs thru January. Vicente Rojo was born in Barcelona, Spain in 1932. He studied Ceramics and Sculpture in Spain. In 1949 he moved to Mexico, and continued his art studies at La Esmeralda, Escuela Nacional de Pintura, Escultura y Grabado in Mexico. He was member of the group of Mexican plastic artists who departed from the Mexican School of Painting known as the Ruptura, whose principal leaders were Diego Rivera, José Clemente Orozco, and David Alfaro Siqueiros. Vicente Rojo has been recognized as the most remarkable designer for the most important cultural magazines of Mexico, such as the Bellas Artes Magazine from the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM), and Artes de México. In 1991 he was awarded the Premio BNacional de Arte and the Mexico Prize, for design. In 1993 he was entitled as Emeritus Creator by the Sistema Nacional de Creadores and was awarded the Golden Medal to the Mérito de Bellas Artes in Spain. In 1998, he was designated Member of El Colegio Nacional, and entitled as Doctor Honoris Causa by the UNAM. The paintings of Vicente Rojo are essentially abstract, but with the sensibility and the discipline of his graphic technique. Mexico bajo la lluvia is perhaps the most beautiful serie of his works. He also has painted several series of works like, Signals, Negaciones, Recuerdos, and Escenarios. Vicente Rojo was recently awarded the Bellas Artes Gold Medal

More Information: http://www.artdaily.com/index.asp?int_sec=11&int_new=52734&int_modo=1#.UQ2YI2cjabM[/url]
Copyright © artdaily.org
POLANCO.- Vicente Rojo, foremost Mexican painter, known for his abstract paintings, sculptures and graphic designs, is currently having an exhibit called “Hall of Fame” at the Galeria Juan Martin. Rojo has included 12 people in his private hall of fame, where he pays homage to certain writers and painters. Working within a small format, mixed media /wood, he has invited writers Agatha Christie, Italo Calvino, Carlos Pellicer and Jules Verne . His chosen painters are Louise Nevelson, Jean Dubuffet, Paul Klee, Piet Mondrian, Joseph Cornell, Mark Rothko, Germán Cueto and the filmmaker, Georges Méliés. With his uncanny talent for bringing out the essence of his chosen mentors, he portrays Christie with a large keyhole, related to her mystery stories. Calvino is represented with 4 small constructions which bring to mind his “Invisible Cities” Pellicer, poet, with small constructions portraying flowers, and Verne with 4 paintings that relate to the Mysterious Island as for the painters, he brings out the mystic quality of Rothko, playful Dubuffet, well constructed Nevelson, sober Mondrian, invigorating Cornell,, poetic Klee, and Georges Méliés with his fil Voyage to the Moon. Rojo’s insights are amazing, for he can bring out elements of each artist without losing his own language, His humor and playfulness are more tan evident.. The exhibit runs thru January. Vicente Rojo was born in Barcelona, Spain in 1932. He studied Ceramics and Sculpture in Spain. In 1949 he moved to Mexico, and continued his art studies at La Esmeralda, Escuela Nacional de Pintura, Escultura y Grabado in Mexico. He was member of the group of Mexican plastic artists who departed from the Mexican School of Painting known as the Ruptura, whose principal leaders were Diego Rivera, José Clemente Orozco, and David Alfaro Siqueiros. Vicente Rojo has been recognized as the most remarkable designer for the most important cultural magazines of Mexico, such as the Bellas Artes Magazine from the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM), and Artes de México. In 1991 he was awarded the Premio BNacional de Arte and the Mexico Prize, for design. In 1993 he was entitled as Emeritus Creator by the Sistema Nacional de Creadores and was awarded the Golden Medal to the Mérito de Bellas Artes in Spain. In 1998, he was designated Member of El Colegio Nacional, and entitled as Doctor Honoris Causa by the UNAM. The paintings of Vicente Rojo are essentially abstract, but with the sensibility and the discipline of his graphic technique. Mexico bajo la lluvia is perhaps the most beautiful serie of his works. He also has painted several series of works like, Signals, Negaciones, Recuerdos, and Escenarios. Vicente Rojo was recently awarded the Bellas Artes Gold Medal

More Information: http://www.artdaily.com/index.asp?int_sec=11&int_new=52734&int_modo=1#.UQ2YI2cjabM[/url]
Copyright © artdaily.or
Retablo
1961
Carlos Merida

Merida was born in Guatemala City in 1891.  His family was from Quetzaltenango with Mayan and Zapotec heritage.  His first love was music but he had to abandon that field for he became hearing impaired.  He worked on a few murals with Diego Rivera in 1922.  In a927 he traveled to Europe where he met Picasso. While in Paris was influenced by Klee, Miro and Kandinsky.  Cubism and surrealism changed his views and he gave up his figurative style and became one of Mexico's first non-figurative artists.  The Mayan world also influenced his works for he incorporated "papel amate" (barkwood paper) into his works. (See my post dated May 21, 2010 and read about papel amate and papel picado).  Later he introduced mosaics into his murals.

 It's a great show!  I hope when in San Miguel de Allende that you will not miss this excellent exhibition.




Saturday, February 2, 2013

Chile Relleno Bake, a real crowd pleaser!

Last night I just could not decide what to make for dinner and then it dawned on me that I had not made the Chili Relleno Bake in a long, long time.  It is a great dish to make, especially when it is chilly out.  It is a pretty easy meal to whip up and I always have left overs that I wrap up into individual servings and freeze.   This could be the perfect dish for Super Bowl Sunday!


CHILI RELLENO BAKE

1  lb. ground pork
1  lb. ground beef
1  large onion, chopped
3  cloves garlic, minced
2  lbs. poblano peppers 
          (grocery stores in the states refer to them as "pasilla" which 
           really refers to them in their dried state)
1  4 oz. can mild, chopped chiles 
3 - 4 cups of grated medium or sharp cheddar cheese
8 eggs
1 cup flour
3 cups milk
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon Sriracha sauce

Roast poblanos over the open flame on your gas range until the skin is blistered and lightly charred.  Once roasted on all sides, place in a large plastic bag and set aside to steam.  This will help loosen the skin.  Once cooled, rub off the skin.  Use a paper towel to wipe off any pieces of reluctant skin.  De-seed.  Tear into large strips.  **Make sure your exhaust fan is on.  When I roast peppers, sometimes I forget to turn the fan on and the smoke detector always goes off.

Crumble the ground pork and beef into a large pot.  Stir until brown.  Drain off any fat.  Add the onion and garlic until soft.  Stir in the chopped chilies.

Line the bottom of an 8" x 13" baking dish with half the chiles.  Top with half of the cheese, then the meat mixture.  Finish with the remaining chiles.

Beat eggs and flour together until smooth.  Add milk, salt and Sriracha.  Pour over meat mixture and sprinkle with remaining cheese.

Bake in a 350 oven for 45 minutes.  Let rest about ten minutes before serving.

Bon Provecho!

Serves eight.