Saturday, July 04, 2015

Huevos Rancheros!

Huevos Rancheros!
Made this for my man-friend the other day for breakfast, and the entire time we were eating we kept looking up at each other in shock.  "This is really good."  "We could serve this to company."  "Mmmmm...."  "We could have this for dinner any night of the week."
Suffice to say... it was a success.  :)
And really not too hard to make!

Huevos Racheros!

Ingredients:

  • Jar of red Salsa  (we like Arriba Morita)
  • Jar of green Salsa  (we like Fronterra
  • Fresh corn tortillas
  • butter
  • refried beans (or a can of black if you prefer)
  • Pepper Jack cheese, shredded
  • Eggs
  • Avocado, sliced
  • Sour cream 
  • Cilantro, coarsely chopped
  • Red onion, finely chopped

Assemble:

  • Put a dollop of red salsa on your plate, smooth around to approximately the size of your tortillas. 
  • In a small pan, heat up some butter.  Heat up 1 or 2 corn tortillas for a few moments, turning occasionally to make sure they don't get burned.  When they seem fully heated and beginning to crisp, remove from heat and place on on the dollop of red salsa. 
  • Layer it up with:
    • Shredded Pepper Jack cheese
    • Beans (a few dabs if you are using refried)
    • Green salsa
  • Add another tortilla.
  • Layer it up again:
    • Shredded cheese
    • Beans
    • Green salsa
  • Fry 1 or 2 eggs to taste (I like mine a little over easy). 
  • Put those on top of the tortilla stack.
  • Final layer:
    • Red salsa
    • Avocado slices 
    • Dollop of sour cream
    • Sprinkle generously with  Cilantro & Red Onion


Serve!

Friday, July 03, 2015

Cocktail o'the Summer: Blackberry Basil Mojito

Blackberry Basil Mojito
Happy Fourth of July Weekend!

My man-friend and I have been enjoying (ha!) a long distance relationship for a very long time now. le sigh.  However, one nice thing about my wacky job is that I occasionally have long-ish periods of time between gigs, and I am able to spend much of that time with him.

Do not read this as "free time."
Read this as "hours and hours of angst and worry about future shows interspersed with smaller hours of actual, really productive work."

Anyway...
One thing I like to do to make our time together a little more special, a little more memorable, is make a "signature cocktail" for the duration.  Then we have a unique taste memory for that particular visit.  One winter it was Cinnamon-spiced Old Fashioneds. Last summer it was Basil-Cucumber Gin & Tonic.   And this year, we may have hit the mother lode:  Blackberry-Basil Mojitos.   

Enough talk!  Here is the recipe...incredibly precise and scientific, as always. Enjoy!

Summer 2015 Blackberry-Basil Mojito

Ingredients: 

  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • loose handful of basil  (approx)
  • 1/2 cup of blackberries (approx)
  • Limes   (approx 2 per drink?)
  • Golden Rum
  • Mineral Water


Step 1:  The Syrup 
 (This needs to be done in advance! You will have enough syrup to enjoy several rounds.)

  • Boil 2 cups of water in a medium pot. 
  • Add 1 cups of granulated sugar.   Return to boil, let that simmer a bit. 
  • When you get tired of watching it boil, add a bunch of basil, stems and all.  No need to chop it, really, unless you feel like doing some chopping.  
  • Simmer for a bit.  Enjoy the amazing aroma. 
  • After a few minutes, strain the basil from the syrup.  Return the syrup to the pot. 
  • Toss in about 1/2 cup of blackberries, fresh or frozen.  Or more, if you like. 
  • Simmer for a bit.  I usually let this go until the blackberries turn from black to a lighter magenta. 
  • Remove from heat.  Pour the gorgeous pink syrup into a large measuring cup for easy serving.  Let it cool.    

Step 2: Squeeze a bunch of limes, reserving the juice and some pulp too if you can catch it. 

Step 3: Assemble the drink!

In a small carafe, pour:

  • 1 part lime juice
  • 1 part pink simple syrup
  • 2 parts rum 

In your rocks glass:

  • Fill to the top with ice cubes. 
  • Pour 2/3 full with rum drink. 
  • Top off with Sparkling Mineral Water (we like Topo Chico).
  • Garnish with some of the marinated blackberries and slice of lime. 

Cheers!


Thursday, July 02, 2015

Fostering: A kitten in every pot.



Duke,  my very first foster
 
I've been volunteering as a Foster at the Houston SPCA for several years now, and it truly is a labor of love.  Basically it is this:  when the SPCA has animals that cannot be adopted, either for immaturity or illness, they need extra helping hands to care for the animal until it IS able to be adopted.  In the case of kittens, that means making it to 2 pounds and full health.  They also send out older animals for fostering... either because the animal is sick OR if they have just been hanging around the shelter for a long time and need a break.  :(   So it is my pleasure to bring these sweet animals into my life, love and feed them, and then send them off to their "forever homes." Sometimes I have them for two weeks, sometimes I have them for two months, it totally depends on my availability and the animal's need. Pretty great.

I began making a list of my foster kittens in August 2012, and at the time I already had a pretty long list.  When I started inserting photos, I realized this might need to be a multi-part series of posts.  ha! So... stay tuned, but here is a start!

  • Duke
  • Caroline
  • Black &Whites:  Wilber, Wally, Matilda & Maybelle
  • Charlie Chaplin
  • Lenny & Squiggy
  • The Dillingers:  Dozer, John, Chloe, Herbie the Face
  • Explorers:  Amelia Earhart, Sir Edmund Hillary, Ferdinand Magellan (Nando), Sir Walter Raleigh
  • Honey Girl, Cotton & Dora
  • Steve Martin, Mellow Marshall  & Sebastian



Lenny

Squiggy

Wilbur

Wally

Maybelle

Cleo  (Cleopatra)

Dozer Dillinger

The Dillingers, day one

Chloe Dillinger

Sir Edmund Hillary
Sir Walter Raleigh
Ferdinand Magellan (Nando)

Mellow Marshall 
Steve Martin
Sebastian
Cotton

Wednesday, July 01, 2015

Summer 2015

Hi friends.
It's been a while.  :)
Adorable foster kitten Harley Instagram

I've been sharing mostly on Instagram these days, so be sure to follow me there!  
My handle is, of course, Airstreamdiva.

So... to catch up.
What have you been doing?

I've been:

1. Directing a huge heap of shows, including several brand new productions.

  • Il Ritorno d'Ulisse at Rice University, which was a super fun production we set in a grand villa on the Italian coast.  Check out the fun pics on my professional webpage!  (www.tarafaircloth.com
  • Gorgeous new Eugene Onegin at Arizona Opera, with the lovely Corinne Winters.  What a blessing to work on this amazing opera, with friends old and new.  Pics HERE
  • Visited the great flat North.... North Dakota State University, where my long time designer pal Rooth Varland runs the theatre department.  She and I created a lovely Midsummer Night's Dream (opera) for the music school.  I stayed with her family for the month and had a grand time working on this gorgeous score.  Also staying up all hours painting banana leaves on massive scenic flats.  A director wears many hats....    Pics HERE
  • Not a new production, but directed my very first Nozze di Figaro.  At Atlanta Opera, my homeland.  This show has always seemed the pinnacle of opera to me... massive, deep, important, "sacred."  I did a lot of sweating in the months prior. Like so many things in life, there was a lot of dread and angst, it was hard, and it ended up being wonderful.  Pics HERE, and scattered all over the website. 
  • And a few other productions, but those are the highlights.  :) 
Munger St "River"   May 2015
2. Basically spent about 5 days at my home in Houston between Christmas Day and May 17, so it was pretty wonderful to crawl into my own bed for a bit.  Just in time to enjoy the crazy floods we have experienced this spring/summer!  Man, I was feeling pretty smug about my decision to raise the house 18inches last summer. 

3.  Did MASSIVE work on the foundation and exterior of my house, fall 2014.  Another post on this to follow. 

4. Big news: my man-friend Matt moved from NYC to Austin!  Not the same city, but at least we are in the same state again.  Moving him was the normal pain in the rear x10 that anything involving NYC means.  But now he is here, and has a lovely apartment, and I have actually been able to spend some time with him before heading off on my summer gig! Huzzah! 

Ok, that feels like enough updating for the moment.  I am feeling "bloggy" this summer, so check back soon for more updates.  Thanks for stopping by! 

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Opera Tools has arrived!

My friends!

I have a new project underway, and have been focusing my blogging activity in that direction.

Meet: www.OperaTools.com!

I have big dreams for this little site, but right now I am slowly uploading the mountain of opera production information I have amassed over the years. It has always been a major source of frustration for me that, upon getting hired for a new-to-me opera, I could not access simple resource materials... scene breakdowns, standard cut lists, bow lists, a reference list of good books to read. We (production people) all use these things, why do we have to re-invent the wheel every time?!

In addition, I want to make the site singer-friendly as well, and will continually add character studies, and eventually I'd like to add a podcast section, where I interview interesting opera folk about their thoughts on character and performance, etc.

So many things! So much for me to learn!

In the meantime, do visit me there.... www.OperaTools.com.

Today's post.... "Save your Brain Space with a Tickler File!"  Because you know I cannot help but offer tips/hacks in addition to academic info.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

A Race to the End of May

I have been away from my sweet little home for far too long... and am now on a countdown to my return.... 14 days!   As delighted as I am, I really cannot believe my time in Chicago is coming to an end.   I've survived the Great White Winter, some very trying show situations, and made a heap of lovely friends.  

Here is what I am up to from now until the end of May:

  1. Epic packing (of course). How can one single gal accumulate so much STUFF in one rented room???
  2. Finishing this endless endless show at Lyric.  Saying goodbye to my lovely colleagues. 
  3. Returning to my sweet little home.  Spring cleaning and time in the garden!
  4. Production plans galore!  
    1. This week: meeting in Madison to see the town and the company I am working for in the fall.
    2. Next week: major production meeting for the show I am directing in JANUARY. 
    3. Getting serious about detailed plans for my summer show.... much of the big picture stuff is taken care of, now I just have to figure out how it all happens. hahah
    4. Spending time on slow and steady learning Nozze di Figaro, due next spring. 

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Make.Thrift.Mend.


I've been flirting with an idea, and I think I am about to take plunge:

A Make/Thrift/Mend Challenge.

Basically this: that I purchase no NEW clothing for 6 months.  I'd like to say 1 year but I don't trust myself. hahah.

Lisa Congdon is doing it.
Magpie Girl did it.
Katrina Rodabaugh is doing it
This gal did it.
This gal did it

Why?  

1.  Money.
It is not like I am some crazy shopaholic, but I do tend to buy a couple of items on a semi-regular basis. Things I don't truly need. It is a waste of money, and I don't even really love many things I am spending my money on.

2. Large-scale commercialism.
It really pains me to walk into a big box store (or really almost any dept store) and see racks and racks of horrible, cheaply-made (but still expensively priced!) factory clothing.  The materials are synthetic, usually ugly, and the conditions under which they are made are highly suspect, from a humanitarian perspective.  I know my tiny spending budget won't make a big difference to the global economy (ha!) but there is no need for me to add my monetary vote to the current system.

3.  Waste. 
Alternately, the thrift shops are full to the rim of gently used clothing just begging for a new home. Why let all that beautiful material and workmanship go to waste?

4.  Creativity. 
I am HOPING this will spur me to break out the ol' sewing machine and get to making some of my own clothes again!

So, here we go... from now until Sept 1, 2014, I shall purchase no new clothing.  I shall rely only on my current closet, and/or anything I can make, thrift or mend.