Retrospective hilarity never seems far once the perplexities clear. This was a recent conversation I had with a large, hairy Spanish man about his beautiful black German Shepard:
Adria: Your dog is very pretty.
Spanish man: Tuna fish.
Adria (pausing but smiling): Ah, very good.
Spanish man: My dog is pretty because of the mountains and water.
Adria (still smiling): Okay...mountains and water. Very good. Bye!
Upon departure and Amy's clarification, the man was actually giving me a Spanish grammatical lesson; masculine words ending with "o" like pero (dog) use masculine adjectives ending in "o" like bonito which, confusingly, is the word for both handsome and tuna fish. Feminine words ending in "a" like montaña (mountain) and agua (water) are described by feminine adjectives like bonita. Needless to say, I never saw the man again which was good -- he looked like a horrifying snorer and his masculinely pretty dog looked slightly unstable.
As if reaching Santiago de Compestela by foot wasn't enough, we have continued another 87km to Finisterre (known as the end of the world), on the western coast of Galacia. It's a gorgeous and quiet trail but the towns rest far from each other; yesterday we walked twenty two miles and staggered at 8pm into the tiny village of Olveiroa. By this point, I was beginning to make myself feel crazed; I had exhausted my song repertoire and had been singing Chelsea Hotel for 45 minutes because the waltzing lilt made my rioting joints calm down. The epic day wrapped up serendipitously with a free private room in a restored stone stable and a two-shelf market that carried all that was needed for a very restorative meal.
inspired by Alice Toklas (thanks, KC)
Curry blends generally contain cinnamon, which along with the turmeric, possess anti-inflammatory properties. While an ever-advocate for brown rice, the mild-tasting white rice carries the complexities of the curry and butter very well. If using a different rice, adjust liquid ratios and cook time with your own discretion.
4 T unsalted butter (yes, tablespoons)
1 1/2 t sea salt
1 T mild curry powder
6 cloves garlic, diced
2 c white rice, rinsed
3 1/2 c water
1 1/2c green peas (fresh, if possible)
2 tins (1 cup) oil packed tuna, trout or herring -- sprinkled with salt if necessary)
Over a medium flame, melt the butter in a heavy bottomed pot, deep enough to cook the rice. Once melted, add the salt and curry powder, stirring constantly for one minute. Add the garlic and stir for a minute more. Finally, add the rinsed rice and stir to coat the grain in the butter for an additional two minutes.
Add the water, raise the heat to bring to a boil and taste the broth for salt content -- carefully adding more if the flavor falls flat. Once simmering, reduce the flame to low and cover tightly. Let cook, undisturbed, for twenty minutes.
After twenty minutes, peek into the pot. The rice should be done (little air holes will appear atop the rice) -- test to see if tender, if at all unsure.
Remove from heat and gently fold in the green peas. Traditionally, the fish is mixed in with the rice but I prefer it on the side. Grind fresh pepper on top and serve hot (a side salad of lettuce and slivered onions with vinaigrette makes for a nice temperature and texture contrast).
Yields: 4 servings
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time 35 minutes (20 minutes unattended)