Argentine Tango Elegante: Video of Newest Step by da-AL

Khashayar and da-AL learning a new step. Khashayar and da-AL learning a new step.

It’s no coincidence that my soon-to-be self-published novels have to do with dance! Here are my husband and me practicing a step we just learned at the end of class (and here’s more and some more and more and a quick clip and the first time I posted a video of our dancing about the style of Argentine tango that we dance that’s taught by these outstanding teachers)…

Here’s a masterfully fun tango clip of “Lost in Paris,” a marvelous film I recently discovered by French film burlesque style due Canadian Fiona Gordon and Belgian Dominique Abel…

And another from the same movie — that’s choreographed by them (and danced?)…

What’s your favorite dance film?…

Happy 2019 New Year from 1919 by da-AL

vintage photo from Argentina of a New Year's celebration
1919 New Year’s, my grandmother celebrating with friends and family. Abuela sits in the middle with flowers in her hair.

A lovely cousin recently gave me a copy of this photo of my grandmother, Julia Vaccaro who was an Italian-Argentine of Buenos Aires — ringing in 1919 with family and friends! Like the United States and so many other places, Argentina is a country of immigrants.

My grandmother's mother, dressed in a dark dress, stands in the middle.
My grandmother’s mother, Rosa, dressed in a dark dress, stands in the middle.

It fascinates me to see such an old photo where everyone appears relaxed and candid. The man who’s wearing pajamas in the tree — did he just wake from a nap in what could be a hammock to his left? Is the woman below worried he’ll fall or does she think he’s crazy? At the bottom, the man toasting looks comfy in his socks. That young boy who seems to have skinned his face is my cousin’s dad. The large woman in the dark dress is my great grandmother. Whatever the woman told the flapper in the middle, it’s given her pause for thought…

Close-up of my grandmother, 1919 New Year's celebration.
Close-up of my grandmother, 1919 New Year’s celebration.

Wishing each of you, dear readers, a New Year filled with joy, vibrancy, love, and good fortune!

With optimism and love,

da-Al

Tango Elegante Video: “El Día Que Me Quieras” by da-AL

da-AL dances Argentine Tango with her honey

Each year, a dear friend opens her home to her dance-loving friends. We share great food and either perform or just enjoy watching.

My love of dance is great — that’s why one of my upcoming novels is titled, “Flamenco & the Sitting Cat”! The style of Argentine tango that my husband I dance is called Tango Elegante, taught by these outstanding teachers.

Our friend’s daughter kindly shot this video of my honey and me…

What’s your favorite dance?…

Dear Cousin Diana’s Tiramisu by da-AL

Crunchy + Soft + Airy + Bitter + Creamy + Sweet = Diana’s Tiramisu Bliss

If angels exist in everyday life, my cousin Diana was one. Her life was far too short, but such is the case with angels.

Cousin Diana
I’m fortunate to have known her.

These photos are generously provided by Stefano Ruberti, my first cousin and Diana’s son. She was born in Argentina. Recipes are a wonderful way to remember good times with loved ones.

Recipes are wonderful memories.

From Diana’s teens on, she resided in Italy with her family. Then with her husband and their three children.

When my husband and I visited some years ago, she made a fantastic multi-course meal that ended with the amazing tiramisu here. As soon as my husband tasted the dessert, he asked Diana to teach me how to replicate it.

Making tiramisu is as much art as it is technique. It took several phone calls to work out the variances of ingredients across the seas and much trial and error to get it just right.

Tiramisu Recipe

  • Makes 9-12 servings
  • 8” x 8” x 2” pan
  • 3 eggs: Find the freshest ones, keep them cold, and use them quickly.
  • 2 cups strong coffee: regular or decaf, lukewarm or cold. Instant works great.
  • 1/2 teaspoon instant coffee granules to stir into pudding
  • 24 regular-sized ladyfingers: Experiment with finding the perfect ones, neither too stiff nor too soggy. I tried making my own but had no luck. A box of Trader Joes’ works magic for me. The local grocery chain (which is as known for its quality and great prices as it is for its fair treatment of employees) carries them only during the winter holidays, so I stock up for the year.
  • 8 ounce mascarpone
  • 3.5 ounce bittersweet chocolate bits: Anywhere from 72% to 99%. Graters and food processors work fine. I prefer the uneven chunkiness from chopping it with a knife or putting the squares into a bag and whacking them with a wooden mallet until they’re a mouth-pleasing combination of small chunks and powder.

Optional Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons cognac or brandy
  • 1 teaspoons grated orange rind
  • unsweetened cocoa powder to dust over the final layer

Before You Begin

  • It takes roughly an hour to assemble, especially when you’re just learning.
  • Add another six to twelve hours for tiramisu to set before serving. I prepare the night before, then serve it the following afternoon. Pairs nicely with milk, coffee, or wine.
  • Review everything entire recipe and visualize the most efficient way to organize everything for yourself. The recipe calls for raw eggs and chocolate melts when it’s manipulated too much, so I like to keep things cold and work relatively fast.
  1. Lay out all ingredients and tools, including bowls, pan, whisk or mixer, whatever you’ll use to grate chocolate, etc. Unwrap ladyfingers and put them into a separate bowl.
  2. Prepare chocolate as described in the ingredients list above.
  3. Crack eggs: egg whites into one bowl, egg yolks into another.
  4. Whip egg whites until stiff.
  5. In a bowl with only yolks: beat in 1/2 teaspoon instant granulated coffee, mascarpone, and sugar. If preferred, now add anything listed under ‘optional ingredients.’
  6. Into the bowl with fluffy egg whites, fold in yolk mixture.
  7. Layering tiramisu into a pan – two layers:
  • 1st Layer: One by one, dip ladyfingers and line bottom of the pan. Careful: dip them too quickly and cookies won’t soften up enough — dip too slow and they’ll make the desert too liquid.
  • Spread half of the egg and mascarpone mixture over the cookie layer.
  • Sprinkle half the grated chocolate over the cookies and pudding.
  • 2nd Layer: dunk and layer another twelve cookies, all in the same direction as the first layer.
  • Fold any loose sugar from the cookies into the egg and mascarpone mixture, then spread mixture over the second cookie layer.
  • Sprinkle what’s left of the chocolate evenly over the top. If desired, add a final dusting of unsweetened chocolate powder to even out any gaps.

Cover and refrigerate at least four hours (longer is better).

Serving

a) The remaining liquid is super yummy. Spoon it over sliced pieces.

b) Raw eggs must be handled carefully. Keep the tiramisu cold and either eat the whole thing within three days or freeze it. It freezes wonderfully and tastes heavenly frozen or thawed too!

* Scroll over photos or tap them. *

Voila!

Diana was a loving mother, wife, and cousin.

Do you have special recipes that remind you of loved ones?

Argentine Tango Elegante: Another brief class video by da-AL

My and my honey dancing Argentine Tango Elegante
My honey and I dancing Argentine Tango Elegante.

Many thanks to our great teachers, Alyssa and Martin. Enjoy …

When’s the last time you danced with your honey?

Cool Art 4 Hot Days at MOLAA by da-AL

On these heat rash inducing days when all I want to do is take showers and more showers, it’s extra nice to look at beautiful things within a cooled museum. Every time I visit the Museum of Latin American Art, I’m rewarded with something new, fun, and thought provoking.

Little Red Riding Hood reinterpreted in plasticine by Mondogo Argentine art collective
Little Red Riding Hood reinterpreted in plasticine by Mondogo Argentine art collective

This time I went for The Portfolio Series: Mondongo Argentine show.

Mondongo Argentine art collective wolves in plasticine clothing
Mondongo Argentine art collective wolves in plasticine clothing

My art-loving mom wanted to see it, especially since she’s from there. Lo and behold, the exhibit somewhat disappointing — great but tiny!

‘Somewhat’ only — because I was delighted to see oodles of other great stuff! Dunno how MOLAA decides to publicize one thing and not another — I’ll show you what I mean.

There’re Ramiro Gómez Jr.’s showy magazine photos cleverly brought up to the reality by the insertion of the workers (hover over or tap photos for titles) …

There’s historical political art …

Sun Mad by Ester Hernandez
Sun Mad by Ester Hernandez

There’s classically gorgeous stuff …

Precisely Here by Javier Marín
Precisely Here by Javier Marín

And then there’s Luis Tapia’s work! How can it be that he’s not given a dedicated calendar event listing when MOLAA’s dedicated an entire room to his work?! Is MOLAA afraid that this little museum, so beloved by all sorts of people, will get all the more popular and they won’t be able to accommodate everyone? (Hover over or tap pix to see titles.)

Who’s your favorite artist?

Argentine Tango Elegante Bridge: dance practice by da-AL

Me and my honey learning a tango bridge. We love our teachers, Martin and Alyssa.

What’s your favorite style of dance?