You guys were right

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Dear Greek Yogurt,

You smell great. Have I told you that? Man, you smell great. Whoa. I think I might still be a little tipsy from last night.

Anyway, let’s be straight. It’s not like the girls haven’t told me about you. I mean, you’ve been around, and I’m not an idiot. The bass player, the bartender, the Greek Yogurt, your exploits have become cliché.

So let’s not pretend here, Greek Yogurt. I know you’re all about waking up with a girl every morning (as long as she’s in Greece), and then dropping off the face of the earth the minute her plane lands back home. And whatever, it’s none of my business. I’m on vacation, and here you are.

And here I am.

Why don’t you throw an arm around me, and we’ll hit the beach? You are so soft. Seriously, what is that? It’s unreal.

-M

I’m in Greece because Intel is sponsoring my Mighty Life List. I’m bringing them back some yogurt.

Fun Thing for Saturday: Pear Pomegranate Guacamole

Last weekend Jordan, Paul, and baby Moses came up to the cabin. Jordan was excited because she was about to launch her awesome label shop, Stuck Labels, which went live last week. Go, Jordan!

We planned to cut down our Christmas tree that weekend, but then Jordan told a horrifying story of two friends whose houses exploded with bugs when they got their trees out in the woods instead of at a lot. I’m still in fetal position from the lice incident, so we stayed home and made pomegranate pear guacamole instead.

Friends, this guacamole will end you. Your eyes will roll up into your head, and you will die of deliciousness. I look forward to it every year, because the ingredients are only in season for about 60 seconds, so make it today! Instead of the chiles, try four big cloves of minced garlic.

Ordinarily, Bryan and I would strip and roll around in the unctuous guac, but Jordan was all, “That’s not sanitary.” And since she enlightened us about the exploding tree bugs, we decided she was probably right about this too.

Too bad though, because the photos would have been awesome.

7 Things to Taste in Argentina

As some of you know, we lived in Buenos Aires for a month last December, and I still have lots to tell you. Here’s a primer on some of the more traditional foods you should try if you plan a visit:

Seven Things to Taste in Argentina

Seven Things to Taste in Argentina _ Mighty Girl
Toast spread with dulce de leche.


Churros at the Recoleta fair.

1. Dulce de leche Fresh dulce is practically sexual. You’ll be tempted to pinch a bit to slide between your thumb and forefinger. Instead, may I suggest pouring a gallon or so on the bed sheets and rolling around in it naked? …No? Well, you can also use it on ice cream, fruit, or toast if you’re concerned about the cleaning bill. Be sure to try a slightly crisp panqueque swelling with warm dulce filling. (Miranda’s makes a great one — calle Costa Rica 5644.) Also seek out the fresh, dulce-filled churros dipped in chocolate, which are available at the Recoleta fair on Saturdays and Sundays.


Matambre

2. Matambre is a stuffed flank steak often served cold as an appetizer. The one we cooked was prepared and wrapped by our neighborhood butcher. It was rolled around carrots, onions, potatoes, a few hard-boiled eggs. Consequently, it looked like a severed limb wrapped tightly in plastic (for freshness!). The flavor was similar to corned beef, but with a more dense texture. Try it after midnight, when you wake up ravenous and still a bit fuzzy from the wine you had in lieu of dinner. One slice straight from the fridge is an excellent restorative.


Alfajores with various tea pastries.

3. Alfajores These small sandwich cookies taste nostalgic, like a part of your childhood you don’t quite remember. The fresh ones collapse in your mouth, giving you more time to ponder the slightly chewy dulce center. Each one is a small moment of peace, so have a cup of tea handy. Buy a few from the bakery on the corner of Santa Fe and Oro.


Mate gourd.

4. Maté A traditional warm beverage made by steeping dried yerba maté leaves. In the afternoons, Argentines gather on balconies and lawn sipping shared cups of maté through bombillas (straws with filters on the ends). I found it bitter and grassy, but soldiered on anyway. Mate is the national drink, and these are the things tourists must do. We are also duty-bound to attend an overwrought tango shows wearing white sneakers, but I digress.

5. Chorizo Stop at every corner carnecería and ask for a bit chorizo. Every butcher has a different take on this deep red pork sausage colored with peppers. For breakfast, fry it with some cubed potato, or add it to an omelet. You’ll find yourself reconsidering your blind allegiance to bacon. If you don’t have a stove, or the inclination to cook for yourself while you’re on vacation, the house chorizo at Don Julio is excellent.

6. Chimichurri This sauce is usually served alongside steak. It’s a mixture of parsley, oregano, garlic, peppers, and vinegar, and is best if prepared fresh. However, many restaurants simply add oil to a dried spice mix. Should you encounter the latter, politely scrape it from your tongue with the side of a fork.

7. Steak As you may already know, the cows in Argentina are grass fed, and their flesh is rich with the happiness of grazing on open hillsides. The steak here is so savory that it connects with the base of your brain, releasing a hormone that makes you instantly indifferent to the plight of cows. Argentine steak is the very best reason to have teeth.

Matambre

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Bryan is adventurous about most things, and especially food. Wherever we go in the world, he tries the sausage. Good idea in Germany, but Malaysia? Anyway, lately, he’s taken to trying meat of all sorts, which is how we ended up preparing Matambre for Christmas. Turns out it’s a very typical Argentine dish, and you should know how to make it, because it’s awesome.

It all started when Bryan dragged me into the butcher shop around the corner, and then pointed to stuff while I tried to translate. The conversation with the butcher went like this:

Bryan: What is that?
Me: What is that?
Butcher: Matambre.
Me: What is matambre?
Butcher: Meat and things.
Bryan: I want one of those.
Me: Uh. OK. How do you prepare it?
Butcher: You put it in boiling water for two hours, then freeze it.
Me: In the freezer?
Butcher: No.
Me: Freeze it?
Butcher: No! You freeze it with the post in the sink.
Me: You make it cold?
Him: Yes.
Me: OK. Do you cook it in the plastic and everything?
Him: Yes, yes! Then you break it with the sink.

In answer to my utter confusion, the butcher mimed preparation of the meat, which ended with us putting the roast in the sink and whacking it hard with the bottom of the pan.

Apparently, a lot of people serve it cold as an appetizer, though they don’t put it in the freezer to get it that way. It’s crazy tasty, and a lot like corned beef, except the vegetables are already rolled up inside with a couple of boiled eggs for good measure. That’s why it looks sort of like a severed arm when you first open it up. Delicious.

I Heart Menu Planning

I love to cook, but don’t have a ton of time. When I can, I like to spend a whole Sunday putting up a bunch of frozen dinners. I try to plan our grocery buying so that nothing’s wasted by making mostly frozen stuff, and then having fresh stuff on hand for nights when we have more time to prepare a meal.

Anyway, last weekend the girls were talking about how they hate meal planning, and I mentioned how much I love it. We decided I should share my menus. Most recipes are from Bill Granger cookbooks because those are the cookbooks I’m working though right now.

I’ve linked out to recipes where I can find them, but I don’t have the energy to type in the recipes I couldn’t find online. Buy the cookbooks! They’re excellent and have quality, shiny photos.

FRESH FOOD
This is stuff we’ll keep in the fridge for snacking and super quick meals.

Crudite
-celery
-broccoli
-sliced jicama or turnips
-baby carrots
-hummus
Mixed salad to have as sides with dinner
6 hard boiled eggs
Fruit salad with honey and rum

Smoothies (frozen fruit, condensed OJ, plain yogurt, psyllium husks)
Turkey sandwich ingredients

FROZEN FOOD
These are the meals I spend one whole day making so we have stuff to eat when we’re too exhausted to cook.

chicken with summer vegetables (red pepper, zucchini, yellow squash, basil and chicken stock)
Bill’s Spring Vegetable Soup
spiced zucchini soup
coconut bread
Bill’s corn ginger soup
Bill’s lentil soup with parm toasts

FRESH DINNERS
These are the foods I’ll make the week after I’ve put up frozen dinners. They’re things that don’t freeze well and have fresh ingredients.

thai fried rice
crab spaghetti
carrot avocado salad (via Chocolate and Zucchini)

WILL KEEP
These are the meals I’ll make about a week later because they don’t have many ingredients that will spoil quickly.

open-faced omelette
udon noodles (this is a cleanup recipe involving udon noodles, chicken stock, some fish sauce, and whatever veggies you have left over from the crudite or other recipes)

TIPS
-When I get home, I put the eggs on to boil, then prep crudite and fruit salad.
-I prepare the meals that I need to freeze, starting with those that will take longest to cook.
-I make a list of any fresh food that we should eat first, and post it on the fridge.
-I prep fresh meals whenever you have time in the week to come, and move on to “Will Keep” meals, using any leftover veggies from crudite or other meals to make Udon noodles.
-I have a Manhattan.