Sunday, November 13, 2011

Un fin de semana rey lindo

Sabado el 12 de noviembre – día 118
Today I woke up at 7:30 then again at 7:45, and again at 8:00, at which point I decided trying to sleep was pointless.  I got up, watched some tv, had breakfast, and got ready to go to my cooking class!  I wanted to learn how to make some of the food I’ve fallen in love with here, so I did a google search of cooking classes in Buenos Aires.  I found one by a woman named Norma who was recommended by Lonely Planet and had a ton of positive reviews, so I signed up a few weeks ago.

I took the subte to Belgrano, which is a neighborhood I’d never really been to before.  Now don’t get me wrong, I love living in Palermo because there always places to eat, store to shop (or in my case, window show) at, and things to do, but Belgrano was an absolutely beautiful, and had a real neighborhood feel, with houses and apartment complexes, but not much else.  It was also clean (no dog poop on the sidewalks) and quiet, and just all around peaceful.  I was early (as usual here) so I walked around the neighborhood before going to Norma’s apartment building at 11:00.

When I got there another woman was waiting for the class as well, she was visiting from Northern Ireland.  We both went up to Norma’s Apartment it was absolutely beautiful, very sunny and homey.
View from the living room

The class was composed of six women (and one man who showed up 15 minutes late), plus Norma.  We all had a seat at the table and looked over our recipe booklet as Norma explained how the class would work then we headed into the kitchen.

Norma in Lonely Planet

View from the kitchen

Food magnets

The ingredients we used

First Norma’s assistant took a group picture, then we got to work chopping the ingredients for the empanadas and the guiso (a lentil stew) and preparing them.  There were pans of simmering onion and garlic, and chorizo and bacon.  The kitchen smelled absolutely amazing!


After the stew ingredients were all in the pot and the empanada filling was made Norma showed us all how to fill and shape the empanada shells (I was kind of disappointed we didn’t actually make the empanada dough, although our recipe booklet does have a recipe for empanada dough) which was a lot harder than it looked.

Norma showing us the pinching technique

My first empanada - not so pretty

My second empanada - much better!

Egg wash

Ready for the oven!

 With the stew simmering and the empanadas baking we made the dough for the alfajores de dulce de leche.  It was a fairly simple dough to make, but it had to chill in the fridge for half an hour.  Norma had already prepared some cookies, so we set to work making sandwiches with dulce de leche filling, then rolling them in coconut.

My first alfajor!

Meanwhile, Norma took the empanadas out of the oven, and they looked scrumptious!

When we finished preparing our alfajores we sat down to enjoy our meal.  Norma served us some salad with a delicious vinegar dressing, her assistant brought us each a cute little bowl of guiso, and we all helped ourselves to the hot empanadas, oh, and we also had some delicious wine to wash it all down.  After everyone had eaten there fill Norma brought out our alfajores, which were oh so good, I can’t even describe the deliciousness to you!

As we were finishing our meal Norma presented us each with a certificate as well as a cookie cutter for alfajores.

After everyone finished we headed back into the kitchen to learn how to roll out the alfajores.

When we finished rolling and cutting the alfajores we said our goodbyes and headed out in our own directions.

I showed the man who came late how to get to the subte station and told him which stop he needed to get off at and how to get back to his hotel, then made my way home.

I got home and decided to go to the park and read because it was such a gorgeous day out.  When I got there I discovered there was quite a lively party going on, so I watched that for a bit before finding a bench where I could read.

I headed home after about an hour and a half.  Clarisa had emailed me some information on la noche de los museos, which is when the museums in the city are open until around 3 AM and entrance is free (colectivos are also free with a pass you can pick up at any of the museums).  Since most of my friends were at Creamfields (an electronic music festival I had no interest in going to) I decided to go out and see some museums on my own. 

My first stop was the zoo!  When I got there 10 minutes before opening I found a huge line, so I waited for about half an hour before I got to go in.  It wasn’t a bad line though, since the weather was nice and there was an adorable little girl and her brother in front of me who kept me entertained.  This is a complete side note (and is also somewhat disturbing), but it smelled very faintly of manure outside of the zoo, which oddly enough made me miss home.  Yep folks, the smell of animal dung makes me think of home... I guess that's what happens when you live in the middle of nowhere south central Pennsylvania (or maybe I'm just strange).

We were let into the zoo about 50 people at a time, and we had a guided tour of part of the zoo.  The tour was nice, but I wish it would have been longer, although I understand that would have been difficult with the large number of people there.  The tour lasted about 40 minutes, but we didn’t get to see much of the zoo, which is a pretty decent size, and seems like a nice zoo. Also, there was a little boy there who reminded me so much of Jared, every time the guide would ask a question, he knew the answer and was so excited to be at the zoo.
Can you spot the two birds?

Giraffe house


Hippos that you can't really see in the picture


Library and some man's head

Only 4 days old!

These little guys were running wild all over the zoo!

My guide

After my tour was over I decided to go to the Museo Metroplitano, which is where I have my castellano class.  When I got there it was absolutely packed, and La Chicago Jazz Band (which was great) was playing.  I waited a little, and when the band took a break the crowd cleared out and I got to see the art.

When I had seen everything I decided to head out and try and find some other museums in the area, specifically El Museo de Arte Popular Jóse Hernández.  On my way I chanced upon El Centro Cultural Coreano.  The center was interesting, there were people dressed in traditional Korean clothing, there were some neat paintings, and they had a really cool display, that was a bunch of newspapers with the Argentine sun painted on them that were hanging up.  I also got my name written in Korean! 

After browsing around for awhile I set out to find El Museo de Arte Popular Jóse Hernández, which turned out to be pretty much right around the corner.  The museum had a lot of traditional Argentine things, like basket makers set up outside, silver wares (I don’t really know what a better way to say things made out of silver), and gaucho paraphernalia, they also had live music (guitar quartet), along with art exhibits.  My favorite exhibit they had was called “Cardones con alma,” which means “cacti with soul.”

Same design as the bracelet I got in Areco!

I stayed at the museum for awhile listening to the music after I had looked at the art, then I headed home via free colectivo ride.  When I got home I skyped with Jess and then got ready for bed.  Unfortunately for me there was a spider on my bed when I came back from brushing my teeth, which I had to kill, and then I was petrified to go to bed.  After thoroughly searching every inch of my bed and room I decided it was safe to lay down and go to bed, but I still wasn’t happy about it.

Domingo el 13 de noviembre
Today I got up around 10 and had some breakfast.  I tried to do some reading but couldn’t concentrate so I decided to go for a walk.  After about an hour walking around I went to sit in the park, and then I went to go buy some groceries. 

I got home and had some lunch, then wrote an essay describing my final video project for my UCA class, then worked on an informe for castellano.

I skyped with the fam then made myself some dinner (eggs and potatoes – a delicious American breakfast para cena en Argentina).

After dinner I finished my informe and got ready for bed.  I skyped with Alyssa and then went to sleep.

Un beso,

Random Photo(s):

Statue at Sarmiento and Libertador at night

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