Thursday, November 13, 2008

Savor The Flavor

Laundry and baking banana bread, that's what I'm up to this morning. The third load is in the washer and the banana bread is still slightly warm. Couldn't wait for it to cool completely so we've already had a slice with coffee during Spanish class and I sent some home with my tutor for her girls.

And now I'm heating up leftover pizza for lunch. Have I told you what pizza is like here? The crust is pretty much the same but they use very little tomato sauce and rather than chunks of meat and vegetables you're more likely to see slices of lunchmeat and cheese spread out to (mostly) cover the crust, usually with a couple of olives placed near the center.

You can buy pre-made pizza crust in any store but I prefer my own. Not that it's anything super special but I can make it as thick or thin as I like. And pizza sauce is readily available so I slathered it on and shredded the cheese in typical American fashion. If we were having company I would have prepared it Argentine style.

One of those things that's neither good or bad, just different. Missionaries encounter a lot of those :-)

I really like the food here. With the huge Italian influence, pasta is an integral part of the cuisine and it's really easy to find pasta fresca (fresh pasta) in the stores. You have not lived until you've had fresh pasta! Light, not doughy, filled with a variety of good things. The other night we picked up ravioli stuffed with ricotta, mozzarella, tomato and basil. Oh.My.Word. I didn't want to overwhelm the wonderful flavor of the fresh pasta so I made a light alfredo sauce for it.

And such a variety of salads! Our old stand-by is a typical green salad with oil and vinegar dressing, but we're trying others on occasion and I've liked them all. One constant is the oil and vinegar dressing, though. But you can totally mix it up with a variety of oils (olive, sesame, grape seed...) and vinegars (wine, balsamic, infused...).

Then of course there's the pan. You can now buy gummy white sliced bread in bags with twisty ties, just like the States. But why would you want to?! When the traditional bread is baked fresh throughout the day so that no matter what time you go in, you can pretty much count on getting some still warm from the oven? No preservatives, just good plain hearty bread. You can get your bread fat and round, long and skinny, as well as many other shapes and sizes.

Most women don't do much baking these days (which might explain why I've had such a hard time finding vegetable shortening and cocoa powder in the stores) but prefer to leave that to the numerous little bakeries you find all over. I may have mentioned the torta de ricotta (ricotta cake) that is to die for yummy. I, however, like baking and once I find a good recipe, I'll share it with y'all so you can savor the flavor of torta de ricotta yourself.

Everyone has their favorite shops...favorite bakery, meat store, vegetable store... although big grocery store chains do a brisk business, too. I haven't settled on any yet since I'm still pondering my choices :-)

In spite of all the great food I have lost weight. Considerable weight. Which I could afford to lose since I was (and still am) too heavy. [But I wouldn't recommend anyone else get sick and stay sick for two weeks; there are healthier ways to lose it.] I'm finding my pants are sagging, some almost falling off. Methinks my stomach did some shrinking because I can't put the food away as I used to do either.

And I'm just now getting my chocolate back on, because for about ten days no chocolate passed my lips. Shocking, isn't it? Those who know me well might doubt the veracity of this tale, but 'tis true, 'tis true! But once again I am able to savor the flavor of chocolate in all its glory. So you just know that banana bread has chocolate chips in it :-)


Elizabeth said...

you are making me so hungry... nothing like some good hot bread from Argentina...
Well today I am still working on making apple sauce and apple butter... it has been 3 straight days of working on it and I will probably still have apples left to do more tomorrow. I bought 3 bushels of apples at an orchard. I think next year I will either buy less apples or have my Mom come over to help me :-)

rita said...

Mmmmmmm...¡qué rico!
I have begun to add chocolate chips to more goodies as well!

Debbie said...

Well, I'm starving now. And the pasta does sound fabulous. And the bread, yum!