Monday, November 8, 2010

Week #5: Argentina

You knew that was coming, don't pretend you didn't.

My memories of Argentina...I stared at it once, across the river at Foz do Iguacu national park in Brazil.  The trees directly behind my head are Argentinian. 

I miss those sunglasses.  More on that trip when we get to Brazil, which unfortunately falls on the week of Thanksgiving.  I may have to move that week so I can make more Brazilian food...we'll see.

Anyway, Argentina.  Aside from Evita and a really big waterfall, what do we know?

Besides many of the pasta, sausage and dessert dishes common to continental Europe, Argentines enjoy a wide variety of Indigenous and Criollo creations, which include empanadas (a stuffed pastry), locro (a mixture of corn, beans, meat, bacon, onion, and gourd), humitas and yerba mate, all originally indigenous Amerindian staples, the latter considered Argentina's national beverage. Other popular items include chorizo (a spicy sausage), facturas (Viennese-style pastry) and Dulce de Leche, a sort of milk caramel jam.
An asado with sliced provolone

The Argentine barbecue, asado as well as a parrillada, includes various types of meats, among them chorizo, sweetbread, chitterlings, and morcilla (blood sausage). Thin sandwiches, sandwiches de miga, are also popular. Argentines have the highest consumption of red meat in the world.[123]

The Argentine wine industry, long among the largest outside Europe, has benefited from growing investment since 1992; in 2007, 60% of foreign investment worldwide in viticulture was destined to Argentina.[124] The country is the fifth most important wine producer in the world,[104] with the annual per capita consumption of wine among the highest. Malbec grape, a discardable varietal in France (country of origin), has found in the Province of Mendoza an ideal environment to successfully develop and turn itself into the world's best Malbec.[124] Mendoza accounts for 70% of the country's total wine production. "Wine tourism" is important in Mendoza province, with the impressive landscape of the Cordillera de Los Andes and the highest peak in the Americas, Mount Aconcagua, 6,952 m (22,808 ft) high, providing a very desirable destination for international tourism.

I love seeing how historical events (in this case, European invasion) affect culture in the long run.  I never would have guessed pasta dishes to be common in Argentina.  However, it looks like it's gonna be a meaty week (Nick's rejoicing I'm sure).  I'm looking forward to the wine part of the week.

Chicken and Potatoes
Gnocchi - REALLY cool tradition!  Apparently people get together on the 29th of every month to eat gnocchi together!  It won't be the 29th anytime this week (I checked), but we'll party in spirit.
Marinaded Eggplant - If you don't follow a single other link from this post, you NEED to follow this one.  The story behind the discovery of this recipe (at least from the author's point of view) is fantastic!
Yerba Mate - The national drink of Argentina - the week wouldn't be complete without it, and I swear this time I'll make it to a specialty shop that has what I need!
Grilled Provolone - This might be a side or it might be a quick, light meal for later in the week.  Either way, I can't wait to try it.

I have to say, after reading a few posts on "From Argentina With Love", I'm totally hooked on her blog.

Who's cooking with me this week?  Check out other menus at Menu Plan Monday

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