Monday, April 28, 2008

Recipes, Margaritas and Fun in Puerto Vallarta

Hola mes amigos!

Sweet husband Tim and I are in Puerto Vallarta for two weeks and I’m on the mission to find the perfect mango margarita. We arrived Thursday afternoon to perfect blue skies, 80 degrees, sunshine and an ocean view that is breathtaking.

Spoiled brat that I am, we moved up to a top floor corner suite with a wrap-around balcony. And, there was nothing wrong with our original two bedroom suite ~ it just didn’t have as good of a view. I mean, let’s face it, if you’re going to spend two entire weeks looking at something, it should “something.”

So I’ve tried mango margaritas (ManMars) in quite a few bars so far and the winner right now is Claudio’s in Bucerias. It’s a little hole in the beach about a 25~30 minute walk from our resort but their ManMars are sweet and tart, with lots of mango and lots of tequila.

We stumbled on Claudio’s quite by accident. Sweet husband wanted to walk down the beach to the market. Spoiled brat needed to stop, rest and have a margarita. Well, more have a margarita than anything else. Viola! Claudio’s to the rescue. We enjoyed their ManMars so much that after we marketed, we went back for more! While on our second ManMars visit, we sampled what I called “Great Green Garlic Goop” more commonly known to the locals as Green Jalapeno Dip.

Amazing. Outstanding. Awesome. Wow. Yummy!

Here’s the recipe for Claudio’s Great Green Garlic Goop:

4 heads garlic
1 large jalapeno, top, ribs and seeds removed
1/4c onion, chopped
1/4c vinegar
1/2c olive oil
Cut the tops off the heads of garlic. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place garlic cloves on foil squares, top with olive oil, twist tightly closed and place on baking sheet. Roast 25~35 minutes or until garlic cloves are soft. Let cool.
Squeeze roasted garlic out of heads and into food processor. Add jalapeno and onion. Pulse until finely chopped. Add vinegar and blend until smooth. With food processor running, add olive oil in a slow, steady stream until garlic goop begins to emulsify. You may not use the entire 1/2c of oil. This should be the consistency of a runny mayonnaise. Serve with warm pita wedges.

This Spanish language thing is a breeze ~ tequila, enchilada, amigo, si, dos mango margaritas. More Spanish lessons in the days to come.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Yummy~issimo! Party for Beth

Dear Friend Beth was in town over the weekend. Do you know what that means? That means a party at Chez Spangler to celebrate!


Beth is a photographer. Not just a photographer ~ but a PHOTOGRAPHER. She's good. Damn good. So I begged, pleaded and offered to have a party if Dear Friend would take a new photo of me. The last one she took was two years ago. My hair was super, super short. If you remember that pic, realize that I added about 2" of hair in Photoshop. So imagine how short it really was!

Chef Debbie Spangler, CPC
Originally uploaded by
I'm seriously pleased with this new photo. Who cares that I'm 50 with blotchy skin, crows feet, wrinkles and all the other problems that go with being 50. That's what Photoshop was developed for, right?

Oh, I also offered to help her photograph a bat mitzvah on Saturday. No biggie, right? Snap a few shots. Nothing to it.

Right. Just like when people say they'd like to be a Personal Chef. All I do is cook, right? I'll get back to that little while.

Kristy and Beth
Originally uploaded by yummyissimo
So. Back to party at Chez Spangler. Besides the usual culprits ~ Kristy and Ryan and Tom and Vicki ~ we were blessed with the presence of Cory and Maryann. We all adore Cory but don't get to see him very much and it was a delight for all of us to see him and his darling wife, Maryann. Maryann is one of "those" women ~ you know what I mean. She's petite, perfect figure, fabulous clothes, perfectly put together and the nicest, friendliest and most gentle person you'll ever meet. If I didn't love her so much, I'd hate her.

So, anyways. Party at Chez Spanger was a success. How could it not be with amazing friends like mine, top shelf libations and a few of my favorite appy recipes. I didn't make much ~ just a few of my favorite things. Move over Julie Andrews or I just may burst into song.

Bourbon glazed beef tenderloin
Spicy crab dip
Creamy caviar dip
3~onion dip
Some of my favorite cheese selections
Lots of stuffed olives ~ garlic, provolone and feta stuffed
Black peppercorn pate

Said party ended around midnight. Not bad by Yummy! standards.


I promised to help Dear Friend photograph the bat mitzvah bright and early Saturday morning. Dear Friend came over early on Friday ~ around 2:00. She took the photos and then we opened the champagne hours before the party officially began.

Originally uploaded by yummyissimo
By the end of the evening, she'd had a couple of glasses. I drank a bottle ~ or so. And don't forget ~ I have to clean up the kitchen after everyone left so I didn't hit the sheets until after 1:00 a.m.

Dear Friend picked me up at 8:15 bright and early Saturday morning. And I schlepped the equipment for her. All of the cameras, all of the tripods, all of the umbrella shades, all of the lighting equipment. There must have been 700 pounds of equipment.

I jest. It wasn't any more than what I carry on a daily basis. It just seemed like more to my champagne~drenched brain. And then she expects me to focus one eye into a 2" digital square to take some pics.

Now I've never been to a bat mitzvah, or a bar mitzvah for that matter. So I had no idea about the after party. Held at one of Cincinnati's large hotels, there must have been 40 kids under the age of 10. And then the teenage girls. Good Bacchus, the teenage girls.

I've just never been around them. I don't know how to deal with them.

And the worst part of the entire day was that I wasn't privy to the open bar.

How unfair is that!

Now Dear Friend is back in North Carolina. I miss her. I'm ready for her to book another bat mitzvah just so I can see her again.

And I'll even help her again so we can spend more time together.

Love you and miss you Dear Friend.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

This Post Has Nothing To Do With Yummyissimo or Personal Chef Services

Today I had one of those "nice" days.  I like everyone.  I try to be nice.  

And it's very, very seldom when I have one of those days.  

You know what I'm talking about.  It's gorgeous outside.  OK ~ it's partly sunny, high 40ish degrees, with a steady wind ~ but right now that's freaking great for Cincinnati.

Anyways.  I was feeling nice.  


I pulled into the gas station and filled up the Yummy~mobile ~ $82 worth of fill.  

Still feeling nice.

A car pulled in behind me as I was finishing up.  You could barely see the head above the steering wheel.  Think traditional "little old lady" behind the wheel.  The kind that scares the hell out of you when they're driving on the same road as you are.

Gray hair, legs aren't working as well as they used to, Coke~bottle glasses, and alone.  She reminded me of my great~grandma.  Yeah, the one who taught me to cook.

I'm feeling nice today.  Don't ask why.  There is no reason.  Sometimes I'm just funny that way.

I walk back and ask LOL if I could pump her gas for her so she doesn't have to get out of the car.  

It's the middle of the afternoon.  In the middle of a crowded gas station. Her response was something that I can't write for polite eyes.  

I didn't know little old ladies knew those words!  Well, actually G~Grandma DID know those words.  But that's a different blog.

Needless to say I ducked my head and scampered back to the Yummy~mobile tail tucked behind whisk.

Not feeling so nice.

You know what my good deed will be for Friday?  

Dear friend Beth will be here tomorrow.  Yeah!  I'm having a few people over to Chez Yummy for appys and cocktails.  Well, at least I'll feel good about that dasterdly deed!

Oh, BTW, look for blog party pictures and recipes ~ if I'm feeling nice.

And look for a blog about my next "nice" day when you're strapping on your ice skates in 200 degree heat.