Sometimes you just need things spicy

IMG_2326I’ve been trying to step back more and reflect on my life here in Argentina, especially because I don’t know exactly how much longer I’ll be living here. Most days I get so caught up in my To Do list and the small everyday things that I forget how insanely awesome it is to be living in another country. I feel so privileged to be welcomed here by strangers, to be greeted by my neighbors, and to have people patiently listen to me while I piece together a sentence in Spanish. Sometimes Mendoza is just a city to me and other days I am able to step back and see how beautiful the tree-lined streets are and be greatful that I’ve gotten to know this little corner of the world. To anyone who has the chance to live in another country…do it!

Things have been relatively low key the past few days. One of my English students has left to go spend some time working in France and she won’t be back for a month. I was seeing her a couple of times a week so my schedule has definitely freed up a bit but I still have a lot to do for the tourism project we are a part of. Yesterday was fully of meetings but it was productive and nice being out of the house for most of the day.

Food hasn’t been the most interesting over here. Two nights ago I cooked this big pot of red sauce:

IMG_3616Just kidding. That was from the Italian festival in Plaza Italia about a week ago. Love those big pots! What I’ve actually been craving and cooking is Mexican food. The other night this happened:

IMG_3668Spicy salsa and guacamole. Mateo actually made this guacamole. I prefer my mine a bit chunkier with tomato and onion in it but he likes his pretty simple. Which do you prefer? No complaints though, it was delicious and approximately 100x better than any ‘Mexican’ food you can find here. We paired these babies with some quesadillas. Charred corn, pepper, and cheese for me and chicken and cheese for him.

About three weeks ago I went to a fruit and vegetable stand about a block from my house and inquired about hot peppers. Argentines do not have a high spice tolerance. In fact, it seems like a little sprinkle of black pepper is just about all they can take but I thought this guy might have some connections. Turns out I was right. They didn’t have any at the moment (because who the heck would buy them?!) but the owner told me he could bring me some the next day. I asked for half a kilo because I wanted to make hot sauce, and because I have trouble envisioning how much that is, but when I went to pick them up the next day he was holding a giant bag the size of my head. One whole kilo’s worth of hot, and I mean, hot peppers! The price was basically the same for a whole kilo and a half so I couldn’t really complain but, wow, it was a lot. One large batch of hot sauce later and we still have peppers to last us for months!

IMG_3660Breakfasts have been good lately and I’ve been perfecting the poached egg. This photo shows a pretty typical meal. Mateo makes bomb home fries ( small cubes of potatoes that you crisp up with olive oil and butter is the key) and I’m usually in charge of the eggs. Fyi, the dollop on top of is the homemade hot sauce. Picante! I should probably time the eggs because sometime they don’t come out as runny as I’d like but I’m the least precise cook ever. It’s pretty funny because we get a lot of comments about our breakfasts. In Argentina breakfast equals a small bread called a torta with a tiny coffee or mate but I cannot shake the egg habit. About two weeks ago we cooked our roommate, Mariana, a traditional American breakfast and she was loving it. She’s already requested another one so I think we might have converted her!


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