Tuesday, November 30, 2010

steamed artichoke and a dip

I don't know why, but I never made steamed artichoke myself before my trip to Buenos Aires. I don't think it's a staple food there or anything.. but my grandma made it as a snack, and I soaked up as many recipes from her as I could while we lived together. Also.. it was spring there, and artichokes were everywhere. Missouri isn't lucky enough to host artichokes.

Here's how ya do it:

1. Slice about 3/4 inch to an inch off the tip of the artichokes.

2. Pull off any smaller leaves towards the base and on the stem.

3. Cut excess stems, leaving up to an inch on the artichoke.

4. Rinse the artichokes in running cold water.

5. Pour a couple inches of water in a pot. Add the artichokes.. (I put mine in so they would stand up.. but I don't think that's necessary)

6. Juice 1/2 a lemon over the tops of the artichokes and add the juiced lemon to the pot. Pour a tbsp or so of olive oil over the tops of the artichokes. Add a 2-3 cloves of garlic, peeled and smashed. And lastly, add some salt (and any other spices you'd like).

7. Cover. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to simmer. Cook for 25-45 minutes.. the time depends on the size of the artichoke. You can test it by tasting the outer leaves.

I made a simple dip out of olive oil, dried herbs, and a little vinegar.

And if you don't know how to eat an artichoke... youtube it.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

a day in buenos aires

Photo 1: Breakfast of soaked oatmeal with ground flax seeds, cinnamon, and raisins. And yerba maté. I'll do another post soon, to tell you all about maté..

Photos 2 & 3: Getting my feet measured for tango shoes. Yes.. I had some made just for me :)

Photo 4: One of the many ombú trees.. this one's in Recoleta.

Friday, November 19, 2010

restaurant review - la posada

So, there is this restaurant, La Posada.. that was 3 blocks from my apartment in Buenos Aires, and I went there a bunch. I think the kitchen was open til around 1am.. so, as long as you got there before midnight, they'd serve you anything on the menu. Quite the shock I had when landing at the St Louis airport at 11pm and only having 1 option for dinner.. on a Friday night! In a city! (besides fast food anyway.. which.. isn't an option.)

Back to the story. They would start by bringing six little ramekins, each with different appetizers. Sometimes liver
pâté, or a fruit jam, or a cucumber salad, or steamed carrots with garlic, or potatoes.. and I'd always be able to enjoy at least one of them. Don't you love the wooden plates? I have to say.. I miss them.
The food here was delicious. The salad.. the salmon.. the skirt steak..

After dinner, I'd usually leave my family early, and catch a cab to a milonga for a night full of tango dancing. sigh....
Honestly, it's too late for me to be awake (in the United States, anyway. In Buenos Aires, my night would just be beginning) so I'm going to cut this short, and stop blogging for the night.

Buenas noches.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

my family made an asado

An asado is the name of the Argentine barbecue. An asado usually has a typical sequence of meats, served in courses. First are the chorizos, morcillas (black pudding or blood sausage), chinchulines, mollejas (sweetbread), and other organ meats. Then come the costillas or asado de tira (short ribs). And lastly, the vacío (flank steak).

An asado is quite an affair. If you're invited to one, it means you are loved, and should attend. The meat cooks very slowly over coals, for hours and hours before it's served. When going out to restaurants on the trip, I normally ordered fish, as it is easier on my digestive system. But at a family asado, in Buenos Aires, I went to town.

Other food that usually accompanies asados are: different salads (for example: lettuce, onions, and shredded carrots, or just tomatoes and onions with olive oil and lemon juice), bread, roasted and marinated bell peppers, chimichurri, beer, wine, and soda water, and for dessert, a fruit salad... I'll probably think of some more things later - and when I do, I'll update this list.

There was more than one asasdo.. I have a big family :)
I hope I get to go back soon..

getting used to a different kitchen

For the first couple of weeks, my cooking in Buenos Aires was pretty simple. Mostly just sautéed, or steamed veggies pared with leftovers from one of the many restaurants my grandparents and I visited. During the month there, I missed my friends back home.. but when I was in the kitchen, I missed my knives. Maybe I'll travel with them like a real chef next time I go. I see it causing a problem at the airport though...

One day I found rice paper and rice noodles at a Chinese market and decided to make spring rolls! But.. they didn't turn out the way I wanted. So I decided it would be better to try to make new food, as to not let down my expectation-ful taste buds.

restaurant review - spring

My view from Deby's.

After a visit with Deby, my personal guide into milonga* land, I went to lunch at a place she recommended. Spring Restaurante is a vegetarian place in Palermo, Buenos Aires. The food was surprisingly good for a buffet, and the price is 30 pesos for all you can eat. (Including dessert.. which I decided to leave for another trip.) So in dollars.. that's about $7.50 with the current exchange rate. :)

As I was bringing my mountain of food back to the table, (avocado, fresh greens, steamed carrots and mushrooms, hearts of palm, lentil salad, and rice noodles) another couple stopped to look at my plate. "Wow, we should eat like that," they said (in spanish). It was a nice compliment... I didn't even realize that my new-ish healthy eating habits had become second nature.

*Milonga is the term for a place or an event where tango is danced.

restaurant review - pura vida

In the beginning of my 1 month in Argentina, it was a little difficult adjusting to the food situation. Luckily, I stayed in a nice apartment with a usable kitchen. The vegetables all tasted different, of course.. and so did the olive oil, the salt.. and even the different water made me miss the taste of home. I got over it, don't worry :) But when I found this little place downtown during my first week there, I was so excited! I think I missed organic-y people.

PuraVida Juice Bar is on Reconquista, at Tucumán. They serve salads, sandwiches, wraps, muffins, juices, smoothies, and wheatgrass. I enjoyed their Todo Verde Salad: organic mixed greens, avocado, parsley, alfalfa sprouts, green onion, celery, and cucumber, with a tahini based dressing. And, the drink I went back for, a few different times, was the anti-resfrío: made with pineapple, apple, ginger, and wheatgrass.

I'm no scientist - but I'm pretty sure wheatgrass is gluten free. Incase you were wondering.

where have i been?

Hi guys! So I'm back from Buenos Aires.. and I did a real poor job updating my blog while I was there. Too much vacationing, I guess. :) I met so much family and I don't know how many hours I spent tango dancing..
Anyway, I have about 100 pictures of food waiting to be published and written about. The more days that pass without a post, the more daunting the job seems! I'm not sure how long it will take to get all caught up - but I'm starting today.. and that's a good sign. Here we go!