Back to Perricone… Day 3.

I was oh so productive at work today, and I think it’s because I cleaned and organized yesterday. I dusted, I vacuumed, I even chopped all my chop-able vegetables in preparation for the week. So at work, I was ready to take on each and every little task that was thrown at me. It was a good day, for sure.

I was disciplined today, too – I walked five miles total, despite the fact that my legs are still aching from yesterday. I think (I hope) it’s the residual effect of my ever-fading illness and not that I somehow got completely out of shape in the two weeks I was on vacation. Either way, I’m getting back on the proverbial horse, one day at a time. Didn’t hurt that the sun was out this afternoon and I was out absorbing some much-needed vitamin D.

Breakfast… 2 slices turkey bacon; 1 cup low-fat yogurt with Splenda and orange extract and 1/2 cup strawberries; 3 almonds.

Lunch… 3 ounce can of tuna with a little light mayo and pepper; 1 cup tomatoes and cucumbers; 1/2 cup four bean salad.

Afternoon Snack… 2 ounces sliced turkey breast; 1 pear; 4 almonds.

Dinner… 4 ounces baked salmon; spinach salad with red onion, mushrooms, and 2 tablespoons four-bean salad, dressed with olive oil, lemon juice and balsamic vinegar and topped with 1/4 cup unintentionally super-crispy green beans that were supposed to be not burned. I do, however, really enjoy crispy things on my salads, so it worked out.

Bedtime Snack… 2 ounces grilled chicken strips and 1/4 cup ikra.

I did get a little snappish with my mom when I talked to her in the evening, but I think it was more due to work stressing me out than my diet. Either way, it was annoying and I hope tomorrow is better.

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Back to Perricone… Day 2.

Ah, Memorial Day. I know I’m supposed to either be barbecuing or going to a barbecue, but to be quite honest, I am terrified of fire, so I tend to stay away from things with open flames. Even contained flames. I didn’t use my fireplace for a year, and it’s controlled by a switch on the wall. True story.

Anyway, it ended up being a very productive day. I went for a long walk in the morning and ran some errands in the afternoon. I know that sounds mundane, but I love accomplishing these little tasks – it makes me feel like a grown-up. I also walked a total of six miles.

And now for the food…

Breakfast… Omelette with 3 egg whites and 1 yolk, a bit of goat cheese, and a few slices of tomato; 1/2 cup blueberries.

Lunch… 3 ounces leftover salmon; green salad with cucumbers, tomatoes, onions, and 2 tablespoons four-bean salad, tossed with olive oil, lemon juice, and a little balsamic vinegar.

Afternoon Snack… 1/2 cup cottage cheese with cinnamon and Splenda; 1/4 cup ikra.

Dinner… 3 ounces panko-breaded cod; 1 cup chicken-vegetable soup; romaine salad with tomato, avocado, green onion, and celery, dressed with olive oil, lemon juice and balsamic vinegar.

Bedtime snack… 2 ounces sliced turkey breast; 1 apple; 6 almonds.

Well-fed and ready to start the workweek. I do love three-day weekends.

Back to Perricone… Day 1.

When most people get sick and suddenly lose the ability to taste food properly, I would imagine the last thing they would want to do is eat. Not this foodie. I brought back a nasty cold from Argentina and tried unsuccessfully to go right into the Perricone meals again, but quickly abandoned it in favor of eating everything in my apartment – mostly frozen cottage cheese and gluten-free pizza. And then there was the chocolate. Oh, the chocolate.

But it’s Sunday and I’m almost completely recovered from my cold, so I’m feeling motivated to once again organize my eating habits (not to mention my messy, messy apartment). Since I’ve done this before, I’m just going to post pictures and little captions this time… I don’t want to spend my entire day on this like I did last time, especially since good things may be happening at work and I need to focus my energy on gearing up for these good things.

Without further ado…

Breakfast

2 ounces salmon; 1/4 cup steel-cut oats with 2 tablespoons blueberries; 4 cinnamon almonds.

Lunch

4 ounces roasted chicken; lettuce and tomato; 1/2 cup four-bean salad.

Afternoon Snack

2 ounces sliced turkey breast; 1 peach; 4 pecans.

Dinner

4 ounces herb crusted salmon filet; 1/2 cup sauteed spinach; 1 cup lentil soup; tossed green salad dressed with olive oil and balsamic vinegar and topped with goat cheese.

Bedtime Snack

Deviled egg with 3 olives; 1 pear.

I went for a walk to Whole Foods today and picked up some fruit (along with a few other delicious items). The walk was supposed to be five miles, but the grocery bag was too heavy to walk the entire way back, so it turned out being about three miles. Oh well – at least I exercised for the first time since I’d been back.

All in all, today was a success!

Making empanadas, the jetlagged edition.

It’s raining in Seattle today. I got back yesterday, when it was sunny. It feels like it’s 10 pm right now, but it is definitely not. Confused. Very confused.

However, I did muster the energy last night to make empanadas for my coworkers. I baked them this morning so they’d be fresh (reheated empanadas are just not the same).

I also cheated and smuggled discos into the country, because according to the Googles, they are very difficult to obtain in the greater Seattle area.

Smuggled goods.

They held up surprisingly well through a total of three flights and eighteen-ish hours in my suitcase. I could also use them to make piroshki; my mom just ordered them from here. More expensive than buying them in Argentina, yes, but not when you factor in the airline tickets.

And now, for the recipe.

Empanadas argentinas con carne

Ingredients

1 pound ground beef
2 tablespoons corn oil (I used vegetable oil because it was all I had)
1 tablespoons of butter
1 large yellow onion chopped in small squares
2 hard boiled eggs, finely chopped
1/2 cup green olives, finely chopped
2 tablespoons raisins (I used 3 tablespoons)
¼ cup chopped green onion (only the green part)
1 tablespoon ground hot and sweet paprika (I only had hot, so I added some Splenda to taste)
1 tablespoon ground red dry spicy peppers
1 tablespoon cumin
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Directions

In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter and oil, then saute the onions until transparent. Add the ground beef, then the raisins, spices, salt and pepper to taste and stir to break up the meat. Pour about half a cup of water over the mixture and cook until meat is cooked through.

Once cooked, place in a bowl, cover and place in the refrigerator overnight (or for at least an hour to cool). When the mix has cooled, add the eggs, green onions and green olives.

Filling the empanadas: Fill one half of a disco with the meat mixture and fold along the edge, sealing with a bit of water. Leave enough room at the edge of the dough so you can roll the edge a bit. They should look something like this when you’re done:

You can also brush egg wash over them as well; I was baking them early in the morning and it didn’t seem necessary to me at the time.

Anyway. Bake at 350˚F for about 20 minutes, or until the empanadas are crispy and golden (the dough is similar to puff pastry). Let cool a bit before devouring or you run the risk of burning your mouth.

International travel + grocery delivery = cure for homesickness.

I love Amazon Fresh. I really do. I’m so lucky to live in Seattle, where we have amenities like grocery delivery that utilizes local food sources and offers organic, fresh produce. When I lived in the University District, I used Safeway’s grocery delivery, which wasn’t nearly as good because they’d bring me the oldest produce they had. As someone who doesn’t drive, grocery delivery is kind of a miracle.

In Buenos Aires, there are no real supermarkets. It’s like Russia. There are supermercados, but they are seriously lacking in things like really fresh vegetables and cottage cheese (I really miss cottage cheese). Supermercados just don’t feel the same as supermarkets – something is missing. Cleanliness, maybe, but that may be the general sense of dirtiness here.

So you can imagine my delight as I logged onto Amazon Fresh to peruse the virtual aisles of groceries that awaited me. I started my journey last weekend when I was craving that frozen cottage cheese concoction I created the night before I left home, and I’ve just completed my order and scheduled my groceries to be delivered a few hours after I get home. I’ve saved myself the time and effort of going grocery shopping while jetlagged and exhausted, and I’ve quelled some of my homesickness in the process.

We’ll see how I feel when I get back next week, but right now, I’m thinking I’ll make empanadas for my coworkers. I don’t think it would be that much work. Kind of like kulebiaka, but even easier.

I miss my kitchen…

Nothing like homemade empanadas.

Our housekeeper, Eva, has been exceedingly sweet to us over the course of our stay in the house in San Telmo – she took us on a tour of La Boca on our first day, she was really patient with us when the power went out and Mom accidentally blew out the pilot light on one of the heaters in the house, she tolerates our feeble attempts at Spanish. She stopped by to change our sheets and towels yesterday and brought all the makings for what turned out to be the most wonderful empanadas, like, ever.

We just had them for dinner for the second night in a row. And we still have all these in the freezer…

We emailed her for the recipe, but she seems to have conveniently ignored the question. She does, however, want to go to dinner with us on Saturday, so perhaps the recipe is so top-secret that passing it on through email leaves too much of a trail and she needs to pass it on via word of mouth. Yes, I am convinced she is Argentina’s sole keeper of the Best Empanada Recipe Ever.

They have green olives in them. Olives! And I saw some raisins, too. I’ll post the recipe if we can squeeze it out of her. I think it’s something like this one.

She also made us some spicy chimichurri sauce (much spicier than the parrilla we all went to served). Eva can cook, that’s for sure.

Today, we went on a walking tour with an American expat named Jessica who also lives in San Telmo. Among many other things, she explained the various roles of women in this country. The men are… well, macho, which we’ve noticed. They’re not averse to staring (and I do mean staring) at women and generally being obvious when they think a woman is attractive. However, that also means that chivalry isn’t dead here, which is a relief – they open doors, they’ll get up on the bus or the subway to let a woman sit down – things men don’t do in America, for the most part. A woman can still do very well in business, can even get ahead faster if she’s attractive, whereas women in America can’t really do that as overtly. But the traditional roles still apply. The president of Argentina is a woman, but, Jessica explained, she wouldn’t be surprised if the president was still cooking and cleaning for her husband while in office.

In Seattle, I know more men that cook than women. In fact, the only women I know who actually cook are not in my generation. I didn’t even like to cook until I started getting into eating healthy and realized I had very little idea what I was getting when I was ordering food from restaurants.

Interesting how different the two cultures are when it comes to gender roles and expectations, isn’t it? And for an otherwise progressive city, it’s funny how those traditional roles are still in place here.

Ice cream Sunday!

Once again, we overslept this morning – we may or may not still be on West Coast time. We weren’t super adventurous with our food today, but we did finally check out the helado situation this afternoon. The place we stopped at had quite the selection to choose from:

It was a tough decision. Like the Sophie’s Choice of ice cream.

This was what I had – that’s flan with dulce de leche on top, and chocolate with bombones (candies) on the bottom. It was deeee-licious.

Mom had crema de rusa (top) and pistachio. She was pleased with hers as well.

The cafe boasted some of the best ice cream in Buenos Aires, and I will definitely back that up, despite the fact that we have not and probably will not be sampling any other helado (to avoid the whole not-fitting-into-our-jeans problem that would arise shortly thereafter).

I think we will have to eat empanadas for the rest of our trip. Fortunately, we found the bakery where we got our favorite empanadas a few days ago – they’re AR $2/US $0.50 apiece, so we will be non-broke and well-fed. My skinny jeans still fit me today, so I’m still good for the time being, despite all the bread. You know what I miss, though? Salmon. And cooking in general.

Oh, before I left Seattle, I had the brilliant idea of freezing cottage cheese like I had with the yogurt. Turns out it’s even better than frozen yogurt, because it doesn’t harden the same way and I like the texture better. I’m looking forward to getting back and making more. One more week…