Sunday, January 24, 2010

Project 365, Week 4

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Have you ever gotten to Friday and realized you haven't gone anywhere all week, or done anything, or taken any pictures for Project 365? This was that kind of week. So in the interest of full disclosure, my midweek photos are actually Sunday morning photos but they represent my week (I did think long and hard -- at least five minutes -- about what to shoot this morning that was indicative of the week).

Sunday was the all-day trip back from Mendoza. When we stopped for gas in San Luis, I was fascinated by this beautiful mural.

Especially in cities, the vast majority of homes are surrounded by fences and while most have the decorative metal kind, some folks are a little more security conscious and erect these huge block walls. But I had never seen one where the owner painted it in such a lovely manner. (Did you notice the razor wire on top, too?)

We broke up the trip with one stop besides lunch (and the necessary potty breaks) by visiting a small olive oil factory. I use the word factory loosely. It's an orchard in Villa de Las Rosas, an area famous for their olives and olive oil. [Side note: this is where we tried to take our anniversary trip last year which was cut short when the hotel didn't have sufficient heat.] Doesn't look like much from the outside, does it? Sort of like a regular house almost.

Can you see the machinery at the far end of the porch? The olives are picked and immediately cleaned in that contraption before being sent inside for processing. Quite fascinating (for a foodie, anyway) to hear how they extract the oil. The young lady who showed us around and explained the process was very patient and obviously excited about what they do.

They use the cold press (centrifugal extraction) method which, according to Lynne Rossetto Kasper from The Splendid Table, is the best. Bigger processors take the pulp waste and run it through an additional heat treatment to extract even more, but inferior, oil. This place just collects the pulp and uses it for fertilizer. These smaller places are referred to as being artesanal (in the U.S. they're called artisanal). We bought several bottles to try and I have to say it is the best olive oil I've ever had. So delicious! My favorite is the basil infused oil.

Oh my word, I could just drink it from the bottle. But since it's not a very big bottle and I want it to last as long as possible, I use it sparingly on salads. I really wish I could share this with you because it's the kind of thing you try and then want everyone else to try too.

As wonderful as our time in Mendoza was, we were all happy to get home (especially after that killer drive). Here's what you see from my front gate. My geraniums are going crazy now that the rains have returned, and the oleander is blooming like crazy too. Not sure what happened to the little patch of grass beneath the tree though; looks like the rain came too late to save it.

Most of the week you could find Tina in this very same spot.

(My couch looks very comfy, doesn't it?)

Our garden is flourishing. We've begun harvesting lettuce, swiss chard and green onions. The beans are going great guns but it'll be a while before they're ready. Same with the squash and peppers.

Friday Tina and I spent the day shopping in Cordoba. Well, she shopped and I had fun going along. My girl is a bargain-hunting, deal-finding, super shopper and I love to watch her in action :-)  We also enjoyed afternoon merienda at a restaurant in the mall. It was too late in the day for me to indulge in coffee but Tina thoroughly enjoyed her cappuccino. The chocolate cake was quite yummy too!

We stayed there a looooooong time because it was quiet, cool and peaceful. The perfect ending to a busy day spent mostly on hot, noisy city streets crowded with thousands of pedestrians.

A photographical update on the project next door:

Is there any wonder I can't keep my house clean with all the dust flying around?!

That wraps up the week for me. Head over to Sara's for more Project 365!


sara said...

that mural is beautiful...but the razor wire just sort of kills it. they must really want to keep people out...makes me wonder what they are doin' in there....

I got to go to an olive oil factory in cool. I wish I could taste yours too!!

Ok, that chocolate cake looks divine!!!

Cristina Elizabeth said...

You pulled off a great week 4, considering we took almost no pictures I am quite impressed!

H-Mama said...

That mural is very unique. You have quite a green thumb! And that cake? Oh... I'm trying to be good... and you tempt me. ;)

Betty said...

This was very interesting for me. I love getting to know your world a little bit better. What are they building next door? A house, or apartment?

Mari said...

You did good with your photos this week. I love the mural and the visit to the olive oil factory looks interesting.

Melissa said...

I decided to follow your blog after seeing these AMAZING photos. I think it will be really interesting to follow because of the whole culture aspects. YAY! Thanks for this opportunity.I can't wait to see what next week holds!

rita said...

Bien hecho! Y, sin fotos? ja!
I always think 'representative' also and am loving the discipline of looking back and noticing themes, patterns, habits, events, seasons, surprises that characterize each week.

I so envy your garden. Our indoor hanging one has not taken off yet. Still working out the bugs.

Love the couch.

Too true about desks. Maybe i should include an updated photo each week to motivate me to keep it clean!
Good idea to share what i'm learning to help me process the material as well, and get helpful feedback.

Enjoy your day!

Tori said...

That cake looks amazing!

beckyjomama said...

That mural is amazing! Love your little garden too - beautiful!

Elizabeth said...

I would love to try some of that olive oil... I bet it tastes delicious!

That chocolate cake makes me so hungry right now...

Amy said...

You take such beautiful pictures and such a great place to be. I love good olive oil what a great find. Tina has the greatest smile!!

Thanks for sharing.


He & Me + 3 said...

Your pictures are great. Love all the things you captured. That cake looks so delicious too.
i popped over from Sara's blog.

Rebecca Jo said...

Wonderful pictures... but my mind just keeps focusing in on that HUGE chocolate cake... WOW!!! :)

skoots1mom said...

been there...wait til you read mine this week :/

good for you for representing your week
love me some OLIVES...yum!

I miss color in my yard.

aaahhh, fresh squash and peppers will be wonderful.

would love to shop with ya'll...
and eat desserts :)

Cathy said...

That mural is pretty awesome and the chocolate cake does too.

Robin @ Be Still and Know said...

I am totally jealouse, when we went to Nappa there were a few Olive Groves and some even offered tastings of the olive oil but we had so litle time and lots of wineries we wanted to get to so I had to decide to forgo making a stop.

Enjoy that olive oild, really good oil makes the dish I think!!!

Great 365


Lisa said...

Well, I think you did a great job improvising! I'm catching a distinct shopping theme these last couple weeks your daughter has been around. :)

Your flowers are beautiful and a welcome site to us up here, as you know.

I cook only with olive oil, but I don't think I'd be cooking with that bottle. Def reserved for salads!

SmallTownRunner said...

Oh, that basil-infused olive oil sounds wonderful. And I'm really envying your garden. I just looked outside: snow. It will be a while before the fresh, local fruits & veggies are available here again!

The Bug said...

Great pictures! I'm enjoying seeing your warm weather while I sit here shivering. The chocolate cake picture made me break out my chocolate rice cakes. Sigh.

Lori at The Davidson Den said...

Yummmmmm...olive oil.
Your garden looks great!!

Marice said...

wow what a series of a week of great photos! love that murals too :) thanks for sharing!

u may view mine here

Hi, I'm Angie! said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog. I love the sharing between the Project 365 participants!

The olive oil looks divine! Wish you COULD share it with us.

Love each of your pictures. I have a college daughter that lives on my couch when she comes home too. It does look comfy!