Archive for the ‘food’ Category

A Spring Thanksgiving

November 28, 2009

Sometime last week I realized that Thanksgiving was this week, and started thinking maybe I should have some people over to celebrate. I thought back to the big potluck we did last year at my friend Cheryl’s house here in Buenos Aires, and it was a lot of fun and a great mix of expats, travelers, and locals, sharing traditions and food and conversation.

So I sent out a bilingual invitation on Monday of Thanksgiving week to about 20 people, assuming many of them wouldn’t be able to come. I wasn’t picky about getting people to bring any of the traditional turkey-day foods, but I did ask people to bring something homemade if possible.

The more I got thinking about it, and as I explained Thanksgiving and my family’s traditions to Argentine friends, I decided I really wanted mashed potatoes (and even called a family friend to get her recipe). And I wanted to replicate my mom’s pecan pie (ended up making pecan pie bars, a little easier, and super tasty). An American friend got really excited and decided she’d make stuffing. And cornbread. Another friend set out to find a turkey – and dug up two cans of cranberries (a really special treat!) that she’d gotten from an expat leaving town a while back. Even some of my disorganized Argentine friends, from whom I honestly didn’t expect very much, rose to the challenge and made some great salads, sides, and dessert.

I also invited a couple Couchsurfers who’d contacted me but who I couldn’t host (I had a German couple arriving the next day), and suddenly the guest list had at least 20 people on it! I tried not to panic about having not really thought all this through, and on Thursday morning I went out to buy more plates and cups, called a friend to bring a ton of extra silverware, and thankfully found all of the ingredients to make the pecan pie bars. My friend Cate came over to help with the turkey and potatoes and everything else, and we sweated it out in the kitchen all afternoon and early evening (all that heavy, baked food is really not meant for hot-weather consumption, but we made it happen!).

So I think we had 21 people here total, some of whom had never celebrated Thanksgiving. Nations represented: US, Canada, Argentina, Italy, Ecuador, England, France, Spain… In true Argentine fashion, I said we’d start “around 9 pm” and I think we finally ate around 10:30 or so. It was a great night, with a beautiful clear sky so we could enjoy the terrace, and just enough space for everyone. It was wonderful to have a house full of people – it made it much less difficult to be away from home. I can’t wait to do it again sometime!


El Día del Trabajador

May 1, 2009

How did I celebrate May Day (Worker’s Day)? I slept in, then headed out into the super-quiet city for lunch and happened upon a neighborhood restaurant serving up big bowls of locro (it’s that time of year again). Not the best I’ve ever had – no chorizo, lots of fat, no beans – and served with a salsa picante that hardly pica (“bites”), but enjoyable nonetheless. Sat in the warm fall sun and soaked up some rays… then it was time to get to work, which will carry me late into the night – no holiday for me!

Hot Spot

April 27, 2009

Today I went with two friends to a fancy Scandinavian restaurant that is supposed to serve a good brunch (a real rarity in this city). It did turn out to be quite tasty, with bagel-shaped bread even (they were good, but I’m not quite sure I can call them real bagels!), and yummy cocktails – I had a dill martini, particularly special in a city that doesn’t seem too big on martinis, and where it’s difficult to find fresh dill as well. On top of all that, I spotted Argentine-American musician Kevin Johansen there while we were waiting. I’ve seen him play a number of times and was sure it was him right away, even before I noticed the Argentines murmuring about him. He’s shorter and not as cute up close (isn’t that always the way?) and my friend noted how poorly behaved his daughter was, running around the tables and such – in general Argentines don’t seem to keep as tight a leash on their kids in restaurants and the like.

Organic Bonanza

March 17, 2009

I ordered a box of organic fruits and veggies from El Rincón Orgánico, and just spent a few hours washing and prepping all the produce that’s overflowing my kitchen right now. It’s a LOT for one person, but my recent diet revamp means I’m also eating a lot more of this stuff than I used to (and not a lot of other things) so it should go okay. I haven’t decided yet if I’m going to make it a weekly thing or not.

Meanwhile, I have stuff on hand I’ve never cooked with before, like dandelion greens (and other greens that are unidentifiable), beetroot, purple basil, leeks… if anyone has any favorite recipes (that don’t involve dairy or wheat, especially) with any of this stuff, please pass them my way!


February 23, 2008

It’s Day 6 of the 13-day summer cleanse I’m doing, and things have ramped up quickly. The last two days I could eat only raw fruit and vegetables and seeds and nuts. Today the seeds and nuts have to go, and all the fruit and veg has to be pureed. To make it easier to digest, maybe? Who knows. I also have to drink warm water with lemon every two hours. I’m currently on my third cup of lemon tea, and am starting to think about my third smoothie of the day. I know why they say Days 6 and 7 should be on the weekend (and luckily for once I’m not working on the weekend!): I definitely feel lower energy today. But on the upside, my fridge has never looked healthier, which presumably means good things for me, too:


Here’s some before and afters of the Powerful Woman Smoothie I made for lunch:


A close-up of the lettuce, spirulina, and ground flaxseed:


And the pretty tasty end result:


Time to go chop some veggies for a raw-veggie “soup”!


November 9, 2007

I know I’ve been absent without blogging for a while… There’s just so much going on, it’s hard to focus on one thing to write about! I promise more substantive posts soon.

For now, here’s a recap of the last few weeks:

I took my first two tango classes ever, plus a “rock” (swing) class—so much fun! Hope to do more of that.

The couchsurfing crew in BA is awesome—a few weeks ago we had a picnic in the park by my house and I think 40 people showed up. This past weekend, we had a halloween party at a bar/club, with another fabulous turnout (I think estimates are way over 100 guests, between local couchsurfers, travelers, and friends)—what a night!

Last Friday I rocked out to one of the best live shows I’ve seen in a long time: The Killers. If you have a chance to see them live, you won’t regret it. For the first time in years, I was right up in the middle of the action, jumping up and down and singing along with all the Argentines (some of whom I could tell didn’t really know the words, but just mimicked the noises, like I sometimes do with songs in Spanish!). The last show I remember with so much energy was my brother’s band Marathon‘s last show in Syracuse a few years ago.

I’ve also been to a few excellent dinners with a friend who’s writing an article about slow food in Buenos Aires. So many restaurants to explore here!

Oh yeah, Argentina also elected a new president—the first woman elected president here, and the wife of the current president. I’m honestly not sure when she takes office—if I was reading the newspaper like I told my Spanish teacher I wanted to, I’d probably know that! Speaking of Spanish, I had a test last week after two months of taking classes (2 classes a week, 2 hours each) and I did a lot better than I expected—looks like I’m finally making some progress!

Taking classes in Spanish is tricky but I’m giving it a go—yesterday was bandoneón (much more on this soon!), and today body pump at the gym I just joined! OW. I don’t think I’ll be able to walk tomorrow. To treat ourselves after three days in a row at the gym, my friend Emily and I are headed out for a tasty dinner tonight!

There’s also just a handful of new pictures on Flickr, check them out via the link on the right!

Empanadas and More

September 22, 2007

The main reason I went to Tucumán Province last week was the Fiesta Nacional de la Empanada, which sounded like an only-in-Argentina kind of experience, and a chance to see another part of the country. Different regions of Argentina (and other countries) have their own versions of empanadas (similar to pasties and other savory pastries of dough surrounding filling). In Tucumán, traditional empanadas have only these ingredients: beef (cut with a knife, not ground), hard-boiled eggs, white onions, green onions, and specific spices (I’m not sure what all of them are, but I saw some kind of non-spicy ground red pepper, and salt and pepper). The empanada festival featured lots of different ranchos, pavilions run by different social groups in Famaillá, the town where the festival was held. Each rancho sets up tables and chairs and serves empanadas, maybe one or two other food items, and drinks. They also each sponsor one person who will compete in the empanada cooking competition, held the last day of the festival. The first two days the festival takes place only in the evening, when people come to visit the different food and drink stalls, shop the artisan and not-so-artisan stands, and hear live folkloric music in the amphitheater. On all three days, the decibel level is incredible, with each rancho and stall blasting its own music on a speaker about ready to burst. At one point I stood still and thought I counted music coming from six different sources.



July 3, 2007

My blog hasn’t been very active lately, but I have! Since I wrote last, the winter (not a typo!) solstice has come and gone, and I’ve gone out for tasty regional Argentine food (from the northwest) and Mexican (spicy, tasty, but expensive); done laundry in my new apartment; spent SAE volunteer day painting a family activity center in the province; won the SAE pub quiz night (it was in English) with my teammates from Italy, England, and Ireland (rematch next week); went to a party sponsored by Club Europeo at the beautiful Palacio Paz at Círculo Militar (the room with this beautiful domed ceiling was the dark, smoky, disco ball–decorated dance floor and bar); started and finished knitting a pair of fingerless gloves for myself; stayed out late; worked about 70 hours; and went away for the weekend. The weekend probably makes for the most interesting (or at least most current) story. (more…)

La Choza

June 11, 2007

Okay, you smart asses, I didn’t spend last weekend at church, or at the mall. I was at Fundación La Choza, an organic farm about 40 km from the city that’s connected to the Waldorf schools in the area. The previous weekend, I was at the clubhouse for a movie, and a middle-aged Argentine man saw the sign out front and stopped in, then stayed for the movie. Turns out Bernardo is the director (?) of the farm, and we spent quite a bit of time talking to him about it. And it turns out Virginia, the Argentine girlfriend of one of the guys who volunteers at the clubhouse, even used to work in a Waldorf school, and had been to the farm before—the students visit the farm as part of their education. Mia, who’s in charge of volunteer opportunities for club members, also wondered if it might be possible for SAE people to help out there and wanted to check it out.

Bernardo invited us to come visit anytime, saying they have a huge old house with plenty of beds, five dollars a person a night, etc. We were sold—and immediately started planning a trip out there for the next weekend. Virginia offered the use of her car, and the five of us (me, Mia, Virginia’s boyfriend Brian, and James, who was also at the clubhouse that day) met in San Telmo to head off for el campo. (more…)

Pancha 24 hs.

June 8, 2007

After searching valiantly for a proper bar that wasn’t too expensive nor empty, tonight around 11:30 an Aussie friend and I stumbled upon a place that’s open 24 hours, where you stand at the white formica counter and drink a beer, eat a hot dog… A few hours before it had been packed with guys standing around watching the football (soccer) game, but we hadn’t given it much thought except to peek in to catch the score. If I hadn’t already had way too much gnocchi an hour before I totally would’ve gone for one of the AR$1.75 superpancho hot dogs—not for the dog so much as all these amazing-looking homemade (I think) sauces that you could load it up with. But for tonight we just split a big bottle of Brahma Chopp (Brazilian beer) and watched some strange dance competition game show on TV and talked about strange travelers we’ve encountered around the world. Then I ran to catch the bus, crowded with people at 12:15. Gotta love this city.