Plate Tectonics – Argentina (Buenos Aires, Cordoba, The Pampas)

Plate Tectonics – Argentina (Buenos Aires, Cordoba, The Pampas)

It has taken us many weeks to get on this Argentina business.
There were scheduling conflicts, and we had hope that a friend that spent many months there could help us.
Alas, it was not to be.

I had ordered a cookbook some time ago, and had been looking through it.
The recipes are arranged by region, with descriptions of each regions history, and culinary influences.
Probably one of my favorite recipe books thus far!
It’s called “Argentina Cooks!” by Shirley Lomax Brooks.
We’ve decided to make more time for Argentina, as it’s one of the largest countries on Earth..
About 3 million square miles.

On a personal level, I have been fascinated but the culinary practices of Argentina for a long time.
Their beef, for a long long time, was grass-fed.
(all online articles i’ve read talk about this practice being replaced by factory farms. sadface to the max.)
What fascinates me the most about Argentina is the cultural sort of osup-bowl it is.
I also think it’s pretty crazy, what with all the open-door policies for Nazi’s after World War 2.

We picked four recipes from the book, and because I’m a freak who can never get enough, I added one more I found on the internet.
Basically, I thought we didn’t have enough vegetables up in the mix….

.The Dishes.
Beef, Currant, and Almond Empanadas. (from buenos aires)
Cheese Empanadas. (from cordoba)
Asparagus in Mustard Cream. (from cordoba)
Creamed Chayote Squash. (from the pampas)
Avocado, Tomato, and Feta Salad with Chimichurri. (from the internet)

I’m not going to share the recipes.
I like this book to do such a thing.

We made filling for each of the empanadas.
Beef, raisins, onion, garlic, almond, a sliver of hard boiled egg, and one green olive.
For these, we used frozen puff pastry dough.

For the cheese, we used monterey jack, raisins green onions, cayenne, a sliver of hard boiled egg, and also an olive.
For these, Jessica made a homemade dough with LARD. YES, LARD.
I’ve never cooked with it before, but seriously.. I will do it over and over again.

We deep fried them. A lot of times they are baked..
But I got J(me) a deep fryer for Christmas, and well.. Fried things.

The asparagus in mustard cream was just that.
Steamed asparagus, covered with a mustard seasoned heavy whipping cream.. Beaten until just thickened.
It was served cold.
I forgot to serve it with the rest of the meal, so I only have this dumb picture of it.
It didn’t turn out that attractive anyway.

The Chayote squash was the weird component in the meal.
I’d never had this before. We were confused as to how to even cook it.
The recipe said to steam it, then spoon out it’s meat into a bowl.
Apple Squash.
The squash was more like apple than anything else..
And so watery.
We didn’t even add the milk the recipe called for.. I guess, negating the “creamed” factor.
We mixed all of that business with eggs, and stiff-peaked egg whites.
And mace. There was mace in it. Not that big of a fan of mace unless used in very little quantities.
We placed the mixture back in the shells(which were hella soft, fyi) and baked them until they were golden.

The avocado tomato salad was easy, too.
Wedges of tomato, avocado were covered with marinated onions(red wine vinegar, sugar, salt, pepper), topped with feta cheese, and chimichurri.
La Salade.

The chimichurri was made with red onion, garlic, parsley, cilantro, salt, pepper, lemon juice, and hot sauce.
We pulverized it in the food processor, and let it sit for a couple of hours before using.
I thought we may have used too many onions.. Or I should have soaked them in water for a bit.
It was kinda harsh. Good, but harsh.


My other friend Jessica brought a chocolate bar that someone actually brought back from Argentina.
It was almond, currant, and rum. AKA, delicious.

My friend from work, another Kate… (i’m starting to collect kate friends)
Brought a couple different kinds of mate.
It’s a tea-like drink made from the dried leaves of yerba mate.
My friend Kier is actually a bit of an expert on the stuff.
The gourd that this drink is served in is actually the mate, and the drink is yerba.
The straw is called a bombilla.

The yerba collects a bit on the top, and you can’t stir it.
In a mate session, you drink a glass, add more warm water, then pass it.
You only say thank you when you are done with the session..
If you say thank you before, you will be left out on more drink.

I have to say..
The mate got me a little high.
I don’t know how that works from a sobriety standpoint..
But it got Jessica and I feeling all kinds of weird, then tired, then nauseous.

Anyway. Here was lunch.
Chayote, Empanadas, and Avocado Salad.

I can’t tell you enough how delicious the crusty outer dough was on those cheesy ones.
There’s a reason they didn’t last, and that I took a bunch of beef ones to work.
That recipe is a keeper. Though I’d really like to use a stronger cheese next time.
But that’s how I roll.