Travel Tuesday: Desfile de las Mil Polleras [1,000 polleras parade]

Video from Panama’s Tourism Board for the 2014 parade.

The 1,000 polleras parade has been held yearly in Panama since 2003. The “pollera” is the national dress of Panama. It typically consists of a petticoat, a blouse, a skirt, and is accessorized by “tembleques” and “peinetas” (the head-dress), and traditional jewelry. The very first time it was held, 1,000 ladies wearing the national dress participated. The number of participants has long surpassed one thousand. The latest count was upwards of 20,000 participants.

Chairs are placed along the streets, and porches are lined with all available rocking chairs.

Chairs

Chairs

Rocking chairs

Rocking chairs

I had the opportunity of visiting the small town of Las Tablas a few years ago when the parade was taking place. Here are a few photographs of Panamanian ladies getting ready for the event. I’m so thankful to them for letting me get a behind the scenes glimpse at the long preparations. A team of expert stylists arrived early in the morning at the house to help everyone get ready.

Polleras can take up to two years to make. Every component is hand-made. The total cost can be upwards of $20,000 when factoring in jewelry and head-dress pieces.

Several different necklaces are worn. Traditionally these are made of gold.

Several different necklaces are worn. Traditionally these are made of gold.

Each necklace is pinned to the blouse to ensure that it remains in the correct position.

Each necklace is pinned to the blouse to ensure that it remains in the correct position.

Hair spray is used in abundance.

Hair spray is used in abundance.

Make up is carefully coordinated according to the colors of the pollera

Make up is carefully coordinated according to the colors of the pollera

Tembleques are secured in place with hairpins

Tembleques are secured in place with hairpins

Traditional tembleques are made out of pearls or fish scales. Nowadays more colorful ones are made out of beads.

Traditional tembleques are made out of pearls or fish scales. Nowadays, more colorful ones are made out of beads.

Getting ready can take 1-2 hours

Getting ready can take 1-2 hours

Example of an intricate petticoat. The skirt is not worn until the very end. This pollera displays embroidered hummingbirds, can you spot one?

Example of an intricate petticoat. The skirt is not worn until the very end. This pollera displays embroidered hummingbirds, can you spot one?

Ready!

Ready!

Time to get out on the parade route and dance!

Time to get out on the parade route and dance!

It was a once in a lifetime experience that I really enjoyed. I could not believe that so many women showed up in their handcrafted polleras and danced, rain or shine. Hope you enjoyed these photos! Next year’s parade is scheduled for January 10th. Accommodations are limited in Las Tablas, so make sure to book in advance. Of course, there was great Panamanian food to be had, but more on that another time.

About these ads

Simple Open Faced Tomato Sandwich and Peach & Butter Lettuce Salad

Penn Quarter Fresh Farm Market

Penn Quarter Fresh Farm Market

Who doesn’t love farmers’ markets during the summer? There is an abundance of fruits and vegetables at their peak. Here’s a peek at what’s currently available at one of my local farmer’s market here in DC, the Penn Quarter Fresh Farms Market.

Heirloom Tomatoes

Heirloom Tomatoes

Sour Cherries

Sour Cherries

Bloody Sorrel

Bloody Sorrel

Fried Cheese Curds

Fried Cheese Curds

I brought some tomatoes, peaches, red butter lettuce, and sour cherries to make Cherry Bounce–a recommendation from Mrs. Wheelbarrow who is canner extraordinaire & cocktail connoisseur. I also got a gorgeous loaf of roasted garlic Italian bread from Old World Breads, and squeaky fresh cheese curds from Coulter Farms.

Cheese Curds from Coulter Farms

Cheese Curds from Coulter Farms

Now, what to make with all this gorgeous produce? The answer is tomato sandwiches and peach salad. This is really a non-recipe. For the sandwich: slather some toasted bread with home-made mayonnaise, top with sliced ripe tomatoes, and sprinkle with sea salt. For the salad: cut a ripe peach into wedges and toss with 2 teaspoons of honey, set aside. Tear a few leaves of butter lettuce, toss with lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Toss the greens with the peaches. You are done.

What are your favorite farmers’ market finds?

Hope you are enjoying the summer!

Peach and Butter Lettuce Salad with Open Faced Tomato Sandwich

Peach and Butter Lettuce Salad with Open Faced Tomato Sandwich

Gazpacho

Gazpacho

I just returned from a 10 day vacation to Italy, where I indulged in pizza, pasta, wine, and gelato. I’m back in DC, and the summer heat and Italian food overindulgence has me craving light fresh foods.

One of the great things about summer is the availability of delicious, local tomatoes. In the winter, when tomatoes are not in season, I typically roast them to deepen their flavor. During the summer, I just want to enjoy them raw with a sprinkle of flaky salt and a drizzle of fruity olive oil.

Sometimes, I’m greedy and buy more than I can eat immediately. Whenever I have some tomatoes that are too ripe to slice, I make a quick gazpacho. It is refreshing, and surprisingly filling when paired with some diced avocado.

The next time I make this, I will be using some of the olive oil I brought back with me from Italy. And I might even experiment with a fun Tuscan cherry vinegar in place of the red wine vinegar that the recipe calls for. I hope you are enjoying your summer!

Gazpacho
(Adapted from Saveur)
Ingredients:
1 slice baguette, about 2 inches thick, crust removed
2 baby cucumbers peeled, and chopped
1 lb. ripe orange tomatoes, seeded and chopped
½ of a small garlic clove, peeled and chopped
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
¼ cup olive oil
Salt

Garnishes:
1 baby cucumber, diced
½ avocado, peeled and diced
¼ of a lemon
Aleppo pepper

Procedure:
1. Place the bread in a bowl, and cover with water. Soak the bread for 15 minutes, then squeeze out the moisture with your hands.
2. Add the bread, cucumber, tomatoes, garlic, vinegar, olive oil, and ½ cup water to a blender, and blend until very smooth.
3. Season with salt.
4. Chill in the refrigerator for 1 hour. Divide into two bowls, top with cucumber and avocado, drizzle with a few drops of lemon juice, sprinkle with Aleppo pepper, and drizzle with olive oil. Serves two.

Spaghetti with Tomatoes, Anchovy-Garlic Butter, and Burrata

Spaghetti with Tomatoes and Anchovy Butter

Spaghetti with Tomatoes and Anchovy Butter

The first tomatoes are becoming available at farmers’markets. These may not be perfect mid & late season tomatoes, but they are still delicious. I couldn’t help getting a few gorgeous and perfectly ripe orange and yellow tomatoes which I planned on eating with just flakes of sea salt & olive oil.

That plan changed when I found this recipe, while reading through the June issue of Bon Appetit Magazine. It is a super simple recipe for Spaghetti with Tomatoes and Anchovy Butter that perfectly showcases tomatoes. Can’t wait to make this one again!

Spaghetti with Tomatoes and Anchovy Garlic Butter for Two
(Adapted from Bon Appetit Magazine)

Ingredients:
• 4 ounces spaghetti
• 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
• 2 anchovy fillets, chopped down to a paste
• 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
• 1 pound tomatoes, cut into wedges
• ¼ cup tarragon and basil, chopped
• 4 ounce ball of burrata
• Salt and pepper
• Olive oil

Procedure:
1. Cook spaghetti according to package directions. Make sure to save about ¼ cup of pasta water before you drain your pasta.
2. Meanwhile, in a medium skillet, over medium heat, heat butter, anchovy fillets, and garlic. Cook for 4 minutes. Add the tomatoes, and cook for about 8 minutes, until the tomatoes start falling apart.
3. Add pasta to the skillet, along with the ¼ cup reserved pasta water. Toss well, and simmer for 3 minutes. Sprinkle with the herbs.
4. Plate the pasta in bowls. Tear pieces off the burrata and place on top. Sprinkle burrata with salt and pepper, and a few drops of olive oil.

Nutty Crunch Hazelnut Butter Cookies

BA Nutty Crunch Chookies-3

Sometimes I feel like making a quick batch of cookies with ingredients I have on hand. This recipe is just the thing to make. These cookies are nutty and crunchy and buttery. They also keep remarkably well for about a week.

Nutty Crunch Cookies
(Slightly Adapted from Bon Appetit March 2014)

1 cup blanched hazelnuts
1/2 cup unsalted roasted almonds
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cup flour
1 cup (2 sticks) chilled unsalted butter cut into 1 inch pieces
flaky sea salt for sprinkling

1. Preheat oven to 350F degrees.
2. Place hazelnuts on a baking sheet, and place in the oven for 8-10 minutes. Watch them closely to make sure they don’t burn. Remove from the oven and let cool.
3. In a food processor, combine the almonds, brown sugar, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, 1/2 cup of the hazelnuts, and the seeds from the vanilla bean. Pulse until finely ground. Add in flour, and pulse to combine. Add the butter, and pulse until the dough comes together. At this point, I like to put the dough in the refrigerator for about 10 minutes for it to firm up.
4. Coarsely chop the remaining hazelnuts and set a side.
5. Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Using a 1 tablespoon scoop, scoop balls of dough and flatten to 1/2 inch thick. Space cookies 2 inch apart. Sprinkle with the hazelnuts, and press them gently on to the cookies. Sprinkle the cookies with flaky sea salt.
6. Bake 15-18 minutes, rotating cookie sheets half way through baking time. Let them cool completely. The cookies can be stored in an air tight container for about a week.

BA Nutty Crunch Chookies-2