Quote of the moment

"I have to tell it again and again: I have no doctrine. I only point out something. I point out reality, I point out something in reality which has not or too little been seen. I take him who listens to me at his hand and lead him to the window. I push open the window and point outside. I have no doctrine, I carry on a dialogue." Martin Buber

Monday, January 31, 2011

For USA Citizens Abroad in Chile

The Jumpstart Committee of Chile's Democrats Abroad is excited about President Barack Obama's first visit to Chile. Building upon this opportunity we are pleased to announce a call for nominations and our first election of officers to formalize the Democrats Abroad Chile Committee.

Democrats Abroad is the official Democratic Party organization for the millions of Americans living outside the United States. We work to advance the principles of our Party by spreading the Democratic message to Americans abroad and encouraging them to vote for Democratic candidates back home. Democrats Abroad has committees throughout Europe, the Americas, the Middle East, Africa and Asia.These Country Committees keep Americans abroad informed of their rights andhelp them participate in the U.S. political process.
Today nearly 200democrats have joined to Jumpstart a Democrats Abroad Committee in Chile. The Jumpstart Committee for Democrats Abroad-Chile announces the call for nominations of candidates for the following positions:

  • Chair Vice-Chair
  • Treasurer
  • Secretary
  • Counsel

Each officer is toserve a term of two years, and no officer may serve for more than twoconsecutive terms in the same office. The Chair and Vice Chair must be ofopposite sex.

The newly electedofficers assume their duties after the election, at the general meeting thatwill take place on March 15.

Please submitnominations with a biography(up to 200 words) (electronic mail accepted) nolater than 9:00 a.m., EST, February 15, 2011, to the Elections Committee at nominations@da-chile.org.
Each nominationshould contain an affirmation that the nominee is qualified to run for theoffice in question. This requires a confirmation of the following requirements:(1) the nominee must be a U.S. citizen; (2) the nominee must be living abroad;and, (3) the nominee must adhere to the principles of the Democratic Party ofthe United States.

Please note thatthe proposed Democrats Abroad Chile By Laws are available online at http://www.da-chile.org . On March 15 after theelection the Democrats Abroad Chile will become official.

If you just want to be a member of Democrats Abroad Chile sign up, it’s free!

Just register at http://www.democratsabroad.org/
For more information please contact information@da-chile.org or our Facebook Group: Democrats Abroad Chile
For any further information please contact: information@da-chile.org

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Kill Da Wabbit!

Jorge recently got an air rifle to hunt small critters here in Chile. Jorge and Juan Carlos, a friend of his from work,  hunt at a farm of a friend of Juan Carlos. This weekend Jorge invited Ian, our daughter's boyfriend and Julie, Ian's second cousin to go hunting with him. Julie has been touring Chile and is now staying with Ian in Santiago. Never having picked up a gun before, she practiced shooting at a target, hitting it on her first round.
She then took to the fields gun in hand, ready to 


Julie spotted the rabbit, took aim and shot. It fell. She shot again for the kill.

Back at the apartment Jorge started skinning and gutting the rabbits (his 4, Julie's 1). Showing her how to prep the carcus he turned to Julie asking if she'd like to just watch or do her own...to which she answered in one word- no. That was a no to both options.

But in the end she gathered up her courage, took hold of the knife to skin and gut her rabbit.
And tonight we feasted on Conejo Tarraconense (Rabbit, Tarragona Style)!!

from Cooking in Spain by Janet Mendel


1 rabbit (about 2kg), cut in pieces
100ml oil
1 onion chopped
4 tomatoes, peeled seeded and chopped
150ml red wine
bay, thyme, parsley and rosemary
salt and pepper
grated nutmeg
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
3/4 kg new potates
1/2 tsp saffron
1 dry chili pepper (or more) (we used pepper sauce not having any dried peppers on hand)
20g square chocalate
2 cloves garlic
1 tbsp toasted flour
chopped parsley

Heat the oil in a casserole or pot and slowly brown the rabbit pieces and the liver (We did not save liver in the cleaning process- next time =) Remove the liver and reserve it. When rabbit is partially browned, add the chopped onion. Continue frying, then add the prepared tomatoes, then the red wine, herbs, salt and pepper, nutmeg and fennel seed. (To peel tomatoes easily submerge them into boiling water for about 3 minutes to loosen the skin.) Cover the pan and let the rabbit cook very slowly. Meanwhile scrub the small new potatoes very well and parboil them for 5 minutes. Drain, then cut in half. (If using regular-sized potatoes, cook them until nearly tender, then cut in quarters.) In a mortar or blender crush the saffron, fried rabbit liver, seeded chili pepper, garlic, chocolate and toasted flour. (To toast flour, put it in a frying pan with no fat and no liquid and stir it over a low flame just auntil slightly colored. Do not let it scorch or it will be bitter.) Dissolve this mixture in about 100ml of boiling water and stir it into the casserole with the parboiled potatoes. cover and cook another 20 minutes, or until rabbit and potatoes are very tender, about 1 3/4 hours total. Garnish with chopped parsley. Serves 4 or 5, depending on the size of the rabbit.

Lunch is served-cold recipes for cool friends

On the hottest day on record at 33 °C or 91.4°F I had eight ladies from the neighborhood over for lunch.  They were troopers none the less braving the heat to spend a few hours to chat and share lunch. What made the day was the opportunity to sit down with this small group and get to know each of them just a little more personally. I've been missing that a bit and plan to do more of it.

So how to keep the friendship warm and the body cool--  Of course my apartment does NOT have air conditioning. What I did have was fans strategically placed in each of the corners of the dining room and sitting area and all the windows opened. Thankfully there was just the slightest hint of a breeze that made it through the apartment to cool us a little. 

The a cold lunch menu helped as well. Served for lunch was two types of gazpacho, Spanish tortilla and for dessert, strawberry/rhubarb sauce ladled over vanilla ice cream. Added to the menu was a wonderful savory Veggie Burger shared by Carmen, an expat from South Africa.

The recipes follow. While they have measured ingredients listed, much of it is all to taste and by eyeball. It’s best to make all these a couple of hours in advance or even a day so the flavors "marry."

Watermelon Gazpacho
Makes 6 servings (generous 1 cup each)
At first my husband was reluctant to try this one. His Spanish heritage just couldn't let him accept any other fruit than tomato as the base for a cold soup. Now he craves it as did all the ladies, some who said it was their favorite. I added a few bite sized chunks of watermelon to the soup after I pureed it as it seemed to need a little more substance/body to it. There are many versions of watermelon gazpacho  on the internet that have the nutrition information.

8 cups finely diced seedless watermelon (about 6 pounds without the rind- save half of the rind to use as a fun serving bowl- may need to cute the base to make it sit without rocking)
1 medium cucumber, peeled, seeded and finely diced
1/2 red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and finely diced
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
3 tablespoons red-wine vinegar (or to taste- I used an excellent Cabernet red wine vinegar)
2 tablespoons minced shallot or green onions
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3/4 teaspoon salt (or to taste)

Mix all ingredients in a large bowl.

Puree 3 cups of the mixture in a blender or food processor to the desired smoothness; transfer to another large bowl.

Puree another 3 cups and add to the bowl. Stir in the remaining diced mixture. Serve at room temperature or chilled.
Gazpacho Andalusia Style 
Serves 6

Spanish style Gazpacho is the perfect menu selection for a hot summer's day...in January. It's like drinking a wonderful tangy salad.  I have made this two ways one with soaked bread and one without. I enjoy both ways. For lunch on Friday I opted for the more traditional, Andalusian style. A fruity Spanish olive oil, preferably from Andalusia, is important, as is a good sherry vinegar, preferably aged. Both can be found at Jumbo, my favorite supermarket in Chile. If you can spare the time, garnish the gazpacho with home made tiny bread croutons fried in olive oil and/or veggies.


  • Four 1-inch-thick slices day-old coarse country bread from a round loaf, crusts removed, torn into small pieces
  • 3 pounds ripest, most flavorful tomatoes possible, washed and quartered (do not use Beefsteak tomatoes)
  • 4 tablespoons good-quality sherry vinegar, preferably aged
  • 3 medium garlic cloves
  • Small pinch of cumin seeds or ground cumin (I have also used pepper sauce)
  • Coarse sea salt- to taste
  • 2 firm medium-sized cucumbers, peeled
  • 1 medium green bell pepper, cored and seeded
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, cored and seeded
  • 1 medium yellow pepper, cored and seeded (optional)
  • One quarter of a medium red onion, peeled
  • 1/2 cup fragrant, fruity extra-virgin Spanish olive oil, preferably from Andalusia
  • 1/2 cup bottled spring water, or more to taste- I use V8 juice to round out quantity and punch up the flavor)


  • 2 to 3 tablespoons each finely diced cucumbers, peeled green apples, slightly
  • under-ripe tomatoes, and  bell peppers
  • Slivered young basil leaves
  • Croutons

1. Place the bread in a large bowl, and squeeze out the seeds and some of the juice from the tomatoes over it. Crumble and massage the bread with your fingers. Add 1 tablespoon of the vinegar and let it soak for 5 to 10 minutes.

2. Using a mortar and pestle, pound the garlic to a paste with the cumin and 1/2 teaspoon of salt.

3. Transfer the bread mixture to a food processor along with the garlic paste, and process until completely smooth. Leave this mixture in the food processor while preparing the next step.

4. Chop the tomatoes, cucumbers,  peppers, and onion into medium dice. Place the vegetables in a bowl, stir in three large pinches of salt, and let stand for 15 minutes so that the tomatoes throw off some liquid.

5. Working in three batches, process the vegetable mixture in a food processor until as smooth as possible, adding a third of the olive oil to each batch. (The first batch will be processed with the bread mixture.)

6. {Note: I do not sieve my gazpacho, I like my gazpacho chunky}. Transfer each finished batch to a sieve set over a large bowl. Pass the gazpacho through a sieve, pressing on it with the back of a wooden spoon . Whisk in the remaining 3 tablespoons vinegar and the water. Adjust salt to taste. Chill the gazpacho for at least 3 hours before serving. (If making the gazpacho a day ahead, add the garlic 2 to 3 hours before serving, lest it overwhelm the other flavors.) Serve in glass bowls or wine glasses, with the suggested garnishes.

You can also leave the bread out to make it a little less thick. 
 Tortilla Española/ Spanish Omelet 

 The first time I experienced a tortilla española or egg and potato omelet I was dating my husband, Jorge. We were at his mom's house and she had prepared a simple little lunch of tortilla española for us. It was the most exquisite and exciting dish I had ever had. I couldn't believe it was just eggs and potatoes and of course lots of olive oil and garlic. The excitement came as I watched her flip the semi-cooked egg and potato mixture using a special plate from Spain called a gira or vuele de tortillas. Gira or vuele de tortillas are plates fashioned with a handle in the back for ease of turning over the omelet. Once the tortilla is nearly cooked through on the bottom the plate is placed on top of the pan held firmly by the handle. A quick twist of the wrist and the tortilla is popped onto the plate and then  easily slid back into the pan to finish off the topside. These plates of mine were purchased in Spain.

 Everyone has their own style or technique in preparing a tortilla española. Here´s a video to show you how to make the tortilla and you can practice your Spanish too =)


Eggs- enough to fill your pan and cover the potatoes
Potatoes- sliced then, enough to fill your pan 
Onion- small chopped 
Garlic 1-2 cloves to taste
Salt & pepper to taste
You may want to check out other videos to see how they make their tortillas. The one I made for Friday's lunch with the ladies had onions, garlic cloves and chorizo to add a little punch of flavor. I actually cook the potato just to a golden color.

Pick a pan that you can easily lift and turn over with one hand-- and one that you have a plate that fits over it. The number of eggs and potatoes you use are based on the size of your pan. Just make sure you have enough eggs to act as glue for the potatoes.

Tortilla española is super as picnic fare. While living in northern California we'd always bring one with us on our dive trips to the cold foggy coast. We would always have a toasty warm tortilla snuggled inside a round of sour dough bread. To make this variation take a round of fresh San Francisco sour dough bread, slice the top off, save it then hollow out the round (save the bread to be used for croutons later). After the tortilla is made and still warm place it in the hollowed out bread then add on top cheese and ham (manchego and serrano was always our preference but cheddar and a slice of picnic ham works well too). Place the top of the bread back on and it's ready to go. We'd always wrap the bread and tortilla in aluminum foil and toss it into a warming oven while finished getting our car packed and ready for the trip. Last item to go into the car was always the tortilla and bread combo. Adding another layer of aluminum foil on the package kept it warm and ready for lunch when we arrived on the foggy cold coast.

Veggie Burger Recipe
One of the ladies added this terrific savory dish to our menu. It's texture resembled that of a nutty hamburger. The taste was fabulous!

12oz Cheese
6oz nuts
9oz Wholemeal bread crumbs
3 large onions (fried )
4 eggs
1 tin chopped tomato
1t salt
1t sage

Mix all ingredients together.  Drop spoons full on baking tray.  Bake on both side for 10min each at 200 deg C.

I made a braised onion and tomato sauce to serve.

Hide all

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Working Towards Inclusive Education in Chile

Friday, January 7, 2011 I was invite to participate in a round table discussion about inclusive education as experienced by Tara Flood, director of  the UK's Alliance for Inclusive Education (ALLFIE).Tara  continues to advocate for inclusive education noting that it remains elusive for some even in 2011. Other participants included Barbara Asenjo, Executive Director of the Foundation Mírame; ?? Special Education Professor from University Santo Tomás;  ?? the past director of FONADIS under the Bachelett administration and Karin Schröder, a parent of an adolescent with an intellectual disability. Our discussion included a comparison of Tara's personal experiences and her current advocacy efforts with my experiences as an advocate, educator and parent of a young man with Down syndrome included in American schools now living in Chile. Ximena was very excited to learn more about inclusion and adamant that students in Chile had the right and the need to be educated with their peers in not only public school but also private schools. She strongly pointed out that the new Chilean law assuring access for students with disabilities in the general education curriculum needed to be made perfectly clear to private schools' administrators- an area that apparently requires much effort on the part of the administration.

The following is a translation of the report published by SENADIS (I am first at the left in black sweater with M. Ximena Rivas standing next to me in the white dress) : 
SENADIS National Director met with inclusive education expert

Santiago, Friday, January 7, 2011. The National Director of the National Disability Service, María Ximena Rivas, along with the Executive Director of the Foundation at Mírame (Look at Me), Barbara Asenjo, participated in a breakfast with English in school inclusion specialist Tara Flood, to meet and share experiences on this theme.

In the event organized by the Foundation Mirame, Tara Flood recounted her experience of life and the work she does in her country's educational inclusion for people with disabilities.

The National Director SENADIS, Maria Ximena Rivas acknowledged the work done by Flood. "It is very important to share successful experiences in the field of inclusive education. SENADIS will work hard for the right to education of persons with disabilities, "she concluded.

For its part, the Executive Director of the Foundation Mriame, Barbara Asenjo said: "Tara's life and her work provides us an excellent example that may bring about changes in our education, so we will become truly inclusive. For that to occur requires a joint effort between the various levels and above all, the belief that children with special needs can and should be in the regular system. "

An example of life

Tara Flood, 44 years old was born in England with a physical disability. Since childhood, she lived the experience of discrimination and was separated from her family. Even today, in England, many children with disabilities are sent to separate schools.

At the University she studied economics, social sciences and issues related to disability. In 1992 she participated in the Paralympic World Cup, awarded a gold medal in swiming-50 m.

5 years ago she joined ALLFIE, an NGO promoting inclusive practices in schools and fighting for the rights of those who have a disability of any kind. Many people who work there have a disability. For them, it is essential that all initiatives have a participatory component and that people with disabilities have a say in matters that concern them.

ALLFIE continues to struggle for school inclusion of all children, without distinction. They are important civil society activists, and seek to intervene at all levels, especially in public policy.