Light My Fire

Janis in the kitchenDinner on the wood stove Look at that view Me and mountainsWell, today is our last Thursday in Spain.  And for the occasion, Rayman and I planned to cook dinner for the group thereby reducing windshield time and walking time dramatically.

Menu de Day

Roast organic chicken stuffed with lemon
Bread Salad
Roasted potatoes and garlic cloves cooked in olive oil and butter
Fresh boiled asparagus
Ice cream

And what was really interesting is that we planned to do all the cooking on the wood stove in the kitchen.  So, Rayman gathered the pre-cut wood, the matches and some paper.  A fire was started.  Successfully.  You can smell it in the house.  I brought the chicken to toom temperature for even cooking.  There were two chickens as there are 6 of us and the chickens were small to our way of thinking.  The bread salad involved plumping the raisins (the recipe called for currants but we were lucky to find raisins).  Toasting the pine nuts.  Slicing a spring onion.  Washing the frisee.  Sauting the onion and garlic.

The potatoes were cut up and slathered in olive oil and a few teaspoons of butter just to guild the lily.  Oh, and unpeeled cloves of garlic were tossed in.

The owner of the house told us the fire would take about an hour’s lead time.  So we did that, lighting it about 3:30.  And then we popped the potatoes and chickens into the oven at 4:30.  I kept saying, “Rayman, I don’t smell the chicken.”  He would go to the stove and check the fire.  Yep, the fire was burning.  The top of stove was hot, hot, hot.  Well, then.  They must be cooking.  This conversation was repeated about three times.  “Rayman, I don’t smell the chicken cooking.”  Rayman replied, “Maybe we can’t smell it because it is well sealed.”  “Rayman, I still can’t smell the chicken.”  The reply was, “Well, it must be cooking.  That fire is raging.”

We didn’t want to open the door, because the temp dropped 50 degrees (at least )when we put the stuff in to the oven.  Well.  Finally, we decided we had better check.  The chicken and potatoes had been in about an hour.  They weren’t stone cold.  But they sure as heck weren’t cooked.  So, Terry, the engineer by training, came in and he and Rayman discussed possibilities.  I found the owner’s phone number and called him.  The conversation was not going well, what with his spanish and my english.  I implored Janis to speak with him.  She did.  Then we got somewhere.  The fire had been started in the right place (there were two possibilities).  So, Rayman decided to crank the heat up.  He fed the furnace 3 pine cones, and 3 more logs. Voila.  The chicken started to make sounds, crackling sounds.  We were on our way.

We let the food cook about an hour more.  When I took it out, meat was falling on the drumstick bone.  (who ever came up with the vernacular, drumstick?)

But I digress.

I baked the bread part of the bread salad while the chickens rested.  The asparagus was cooked on top of the wood stove.  We kept things warm by having them just on or near the top of the stove.  And it all came together.  A minor miracle since none of us had any experience in wood stove cooking.

No matter which way it went, this was going to be the blog material.  We had a 50-50 chance.  Oh, and we sat down to the table at 7:30 or so.  Gives new meaning to the idea of slow food.

The other thing that happened was we as a group had not been our for a meal together all week.  It was on the radar that we would do so tomorrow.  So instead of playing Parchese, scrabble, bridge or some other game, the Packers and the Bucks researched restaurants in the area on their electronic devices.  I was all wrapped up in mine too because I was trying to figure out how the post a darm video on my blog.  Without success.  So, there was much conversation about many things.  And we all concluded that it is very difficult to eat in Spain unless you eat tapas early or eat dinner late.  Not much in between.  Websites were consulted, TripAdvisor was asked.  At one point, Dorothy found that someone from Santa Maria, CA had visited and critiqued one of the restaurants right down the street.  “Can you imagine?”, she said.  Then she read the glowing comments.  Terry said, “Well, just remember, they are from Santa Maria.”  I think the way it was resolved is that calls will be made in the morning to ascertain if 1.  the restaurant is open on Fridays.  2.  Do they serve lunch at lunch time?  3.  Is lunch more than tapas?  4.  What hours do they serve lunch?  5.  What is on the menu?  This with language differences.

What could possibly go wrong?

In the event that things do go wrong, there is plenty of leftover chicken, some leftover bread salad, some leftover asparagus, two chicken carcasses, and a myriad of other things we will have to throw away since we are leaving on Saturday.  Just saying.


p.s.  The pictures at the top.  Janis at the sink.  The food before dinner.  Rayman and I in front of the mountains about 5 minutes apart.  The weather and clouds change here in a nano second.  Don’t like the weather.  Wait 5 minutes.  And that was the point of our pictures!!


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