I have had to adapt and grow as a cook here. Life in Washington, DC, lent itself to lukewarm, microwaved burritos at 9:00 at night as we both returned too exhausted to cook anything elaborate. That was a pity, as we ordered the Washington’s Green Grocer organic box each week, full of leafy greens, mangos, bananas, potatoes, and garlic, to name a few. Our weekends usually consisted of cooking soups, curries, and omelets with the greens.
Here, I’ve had to step up to the plate and devise meals. It just doesn’t make sense to order out for every meal. Our furnished apartment is geared toward occupants who order-in, as the kitchen utensils are meager. I’ve had to purchase a grater and fine strainer. I’m considering purchasing a decent knife, though I hate buying supplies for a home that’s not my own. More than anything, I miss a baking pan. I can’t make my favorite banana bread and raisin scones.
For our meals, rather than buying cans of soft beans, I soak dried beans and then cook them down with garlic, onions, and hot sauce. For a fresh salad, I boil and slice eggs and add lentils which have simmered with vegetable broth. I found wraps in the bread section not long after I arrived. Though burrito wraps are essential to Mexican and Tex-Mex style cooking, they aren’t utilized in Argentine cooking.
I miss a good pizza almost as much as I miss Mexican food. We finally found an excellent pizza at Ristorante Albamonte, a favorite of locals. The crust is thin and crisp–almost Roman style.
Diet stores here offer a decent assortment of spices, including black pepper and curry, which aren’t used often in traditional Argentine cooking. My next purchases will include coriander seeds and garam masala. Diet stores also offer soft and flavored tofus, which we use for quick snacks.
My friend’s Peruvian housekeeper is going to teach me to cook some spicy dishes with pimenta caliente–chile pepper. As in every new place, I am challenged by the ingredients that will allow me to grow as a cook.