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Archive for 'argentina'

December 13, 2011

After driving for six hours past Esquel in the middle of the desert in Chubut, Argentina, we wondered how there could be any cool lakes and rivers. Paved roads turned into rocky rental car killing dirt roads as we gradually climbed into the mountains. Not seeing any other cars or houses along the way, we knew this place was as remote as it gets. We finally arrive at the head of Rio Sengur to see a massive white capped lake. There is no way to explain how windy it was; all I can say is the wind will rip your face off your face.

Our map didn’t have this road, so we were driving for 2 hours on the word of the guy at the gas station in the last town we passed. We were completely confused how we were on the wrong side of the lake. Luckily we found a gaucho that told us we took the wrong road. Crap! That means we either gotta drive back around for 4 hours, or we find a river here. We search around and find a sweet zone at the head of the lake. Here we meet the only other people we see camping Nydia and Edwardo. They were the sweetest elderly couple that ended up inviting us to eat with them our entire 4 days camping there. She had a full-on kitchen setup in a tent where she prepared food, and it was our little refuge from the face numbing wind and rain. She made the best food for us every day. we talked, laughed, and ate late into the night everyday. I love how food is an international language, and even though I could barely speak Spanish we can still communicate through the food.

On the final day they went to a local Gaucho and scored a beautiful 2 kilo leg of lamb. They slow cooked it for 3 hours over open flame until it was perfectly colored on the outside and blushing on the inside. One huge thing I learned was how to determine the best temp for slow cooking meat over coals. You should be able to hold your hand over the heat for seven seconds until your hand feels like its melting. The meat should sizzle and color perfectly, but it should NEVER turn black and burn. Dark brown only. Plus add more salt than you think necessary.

After we were stuffed to the brim with lamb and tomato salad, Nydia brought out a jar of figs that said 2006 on it. After talking for a while in Spanish, Clint finally had a chance to translate for me. He said she canned this jar of sweet figs in 2006, and they haven’t had company large enough to finish the entire jar, so she’s been waiting for the right company. She kept loading them on our plate until the jar was finished.

The other day, I finally cracked open a jar of figs Clint’s mom gave me about a year ago. They tasted so similar that it brought me back to our Argentina trip. It’s crazy how tasting something can bring back so many memories. Canning fruits and vegetables is super fun and easy to do – just get the Ball Blue Book Guide to Preserving to make sure you do it safely.

 

 

  • nate says:

    What an inspiring article to go out and meet people and cook good food. I love how food brings people together and creates a commonality no matter where you are in the world. Food is great!