Now that I’ve been home for a day or so, I’ve really been able to reflect on my tour to South America with Beyonce. I have to say, it was really rough! Not a lot of sleep, lots of traveling, the life of a musician. Fortunately, the pros outweighed the cons! Just the people alone that I met in Brazil, Venezuela, Colombia, Mexico, and Puerto Rico were so beautiful and incredibly inspiring! I just wanted to say THANK YOU to everyone that I came across! You have a place in my heart forever and I’m so grateful for all of you! Here’s a little video after our last show in Puerto Rico:
One of the things that I was looking forward to most in New York (besides seeing my family of course) was the fall time! These 2 weeks will be the only fall I experience this year since we’ll be heading to Australia and New Zealand next! So the next 2 weeks are all about me making my favorite fall dishes! First one’s up!
Roasted Butternut Squash Soup
Yield: serves 2
What you need:
- 1 medium butternut squash peeled, deseeded, cubed (the smaller you cube it the faster it roasts)
- 2 shallots halved
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup pine nuts toasted
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 2 tbsp plain green yogurt (with extra for garnishing)
- 1/2 tsp cardamom powder
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Season squash and shallots generously with salt and pepper. Toss in olive oil until coated evenly. Spread squash and shallots out evenly on a cookie sheet and bake until tender all the way through (30-45 minutes) flipping every once in a while. Meanwhile, toast the pine nuts in a small skillet over med heat (watching carefully to not burn the nuts!). Once squash is tender put in a blender with 2 cups chicken stock and blend until it reaches a smooth consistency. Remove from blender and pour into a stock pot over medium heat. Stir in cardamom powder and greek yogurt. Pour into bowls and garnish with toasted pine nuts and a dollop of yogurt. Serve with a toasted baguette.
- Try toasted almond slices instead of pine nuts
- You can use heavy cream instead of greek yogurt
- Try roasting root vegetables like parsnips or carrots as the soup base
This recipe is so warm and comforting. Perfect for the autumnal season in New York! All we need left is that air outside to get a little colder and crisper! (why does it still feel like summer, NY?!) The perfect song to go with this recipe is none other than, “Autumn in New York” performed by Joe Lovano and the Juilliard Jazz Orchestra (this is a throw back to my Jailyard days.. that’s me on baritone)
The first stop in Mexico was Monterrey. A whole bunch of us went out for Mexican food and we got some serious guacamole, churros, and tacos. Guacamole was the number one on my list. Mmm mmm mmm was it good!
After an amazing show last night we packed up and got up for another very early lobby call this morning and took the one hour flight to Mexico City!
While waiting for our rooms to be ready, Crystal and I headed across the street to get some more tacos and guac. You know, I really do learn something new everyday on the road. It's a beautiful thing. While we were sitting there eating lunch a woman came up to us asking us for pesos.. Me being the New Yorker that I am habitually just said "no, lo siento".. Crystal looked at me and asked if I'd be alright with letting her sit with us for a meal.. So I said… "Well.. okay". Turns out, I made a new friend today, thanks to Crystal.
Her name is Juana. She is 58 years old and has 10 children, 7 still living and 2 died from leukemia, and 1 from asthma. She's only been in Mexico City for 20 days staying with her uncle, just walking around the streets asking for change, because she actually makes more money doing that than actually doing her job back in the town that she's from which is in the countryside outside of Mexico City. She said that her family actually doesn't speak spanish, but rather they speak Mystico (spelling). She says she comes from an indigenous people that live in the country side, and more than anything she would like to come to the states and work there, doing laundry, cleaning houses, or something of that nature. Then I realized how difficult it is for a person in her position to get papers to move to the states, without having to actually marry an American. Then it really made me think, how many other people are in her position? A position in which they are between a rock and a hard place, living in a rough neighborhood, not really able to make enough money to even survive off of never the less try to save up enough money to somehow get to the states.
It really makes you think. I’m grateful to have met Juana today and grateful for my very gracious friend, Crystal for that opportunity.
On a not so heavy note.. Since coming to Mexico City, Mr. Bear has made a friend (I found him in the hotel room) and his name is Panchito.
We made it to South America! What’s up, Fortaleza?! Well, I’ve had a pleasant day and a half so far, since it’s been practically a vacation! We had to get here and wait around for the stage and everything to be built. So i’ve just been getting work done, going to the gym, hangin by the pool, running on these beautiful beaches (I did see a guy get chased down and tasered though on that little adventure) and NETFLIX works here! (I’m in the 5th season of MadMen)
Tonight we had a little rehearsal at the stadium here and it’s HUGE! I think they said it holds 50,000 people or so? I don’t know about you, but when I see a big open space like that, I just really want to run around.. but at the expense of having the crew and everyone think i’m completely nuts I settled for strapping my horn around my neck and walking around while warming up. (After traveling for so long and being away from my horn I start to get that practice itch.. You musicians know what I mean.)
Yesterday we went out to lunch at Coco Bambu and had the freshed seafood! It was so yummy. Of course, placing the order with the waiter was a little difficult, seeing as I only know one word of Portuguese.. and I guess it’s really nothing like Spanish because Kat even had a difficult time. I really wish I got on video her trying to order honey.. “You know.. miele… bee zzzz zzz zzz” (flutters her hands in the air like a bee) It was a good attempt, and kind of fun playing a real life game of charades.. Meanwhile the waiter looks at us like we’re nuts. Ah well, It was a perfectly balanced lunch with fresh ingredients, that I was so grateful for after the airplane food. (Preservative central, right?)Oh, I left out a key detail.. those mashed potatoes with the crust on top.. bombdotcom!
The breakfast at the hotel was delicious too! Those little buns with the guava jelly in the middle are dangerous! Guava is one of my favorite flavors. Mmm mmm mmm! They eat fruit like it’s candy here. I can really dig that, however I’ve really been eyeing up that Twix in my mini bar. (aye yaye yayee..) I wonder how long it’s been sitting there.. lol
Here’s some shots from rehearsal:
Today is also Brazil’s Independence Day. Happy birthday Brazil!! I’m glad I could share it with you, and I’m so looking forward to playing here in Fortaleza tomorrow night!
P.s.- Let me know how you all like my new “Where’s waldo” shirt. I’m enjoying it quite much :).
My goal by the end of this world tour is to be able to pack my suit case within 15 minutes flat or less. I’ve literally been packing all day, and I don’t know why I just don’t bring sweats and ‘Mrs Carter Show’ tees because there’s a little voice in my head saying.. “everyday you are just going to be inside of a chilly arena.. it doesn’t matter how warm it is outside, because most of the time you’ll be in the venue or trying to catch up on sleep” But yet my suitcase is bursting open at the weight of 50.4 lbs. I really hope I get a nice baggage person who lets that .4 lbs slide (ya hear me?.. because Mr Bear is coming with me.)
Anywho, all this packing and preparing for a month in South America with Beyonce has made me hungry.
Introducing (dun da da dun gun gaaaahhhhhh!)…
My Afternoon Packing Snack: Mango spears dipped in lime juice and chili powder
This is my version of mango (or papaya) on a stick.. something you might find in Mexico, or S. America, or some Asian countries. It’s the perfect blend of sweet, spicy, sour, and salty.. Your taste buds won’t even know what to think. For one specific part of my audience (who i’m thinking of..) I know you’re saying, “She’s nuts. This isn’t a thing”. Well, open your minds folks and give it a try. You might like something new. 🙂 I say that with love, of course.
It’s quite simple.
What you need:
- 1 mango peeled and cut into spears
- Juice of 1 lime
- chili powder (I like ancho, and the spicy stuff)
- pinch of salt
I like to go heavy on the chili powder so I literally sprinkle the mango spears with a tiny bit of sea salt, dip one end into lime juice then dip it into chili powder. If you aren’t “Adventure Ad” over here and you want to ease into it.. Sprinkle the mango with salt and chili powder, and drizzle with lime juice.
Back to work. See you soon, Brasil!
Yield: 4 servings
What you need:
- 1 lb fresh grouper (or monkfish, or red snapper) cut into bite size pieces
- 2 limes squeezed
- 1 grapefruit squeezed
- 1/2 cup orange juice
- 1 serrano pepper deseeded and finely chopped
- 1/2 red onion chopped
- 1 handful cilantro chopped
- pinch salt/pepper
- pinch of sugar
- 1 mango diced
- 2 avocados diced
- tortilla chips for serving
Combine all of the ingredients except for mango and avocado. Marinate in refrigerator for 3-4 hours, until all of the fish has turned opaque white. After marination, add mango and avocado.
- Try a different kind of fish
- Use different citrus juices, like lemon
- try different herbs or seasonings
Be sure to stay tuned for Part 2 and Part 3!!!