When we have a yen for something American in Buenos Aires, here are some of our standbys:
American Breakfast. First, go to a butcher or a deli and ask for panceta, it will cook up reasonably close to what we would consider to be bacon. Next, a trip to the Jumbo is in order so that you can spend an absolute fortune on some real maple syrup. (When Tom purchased it there, the check out clerk scanned it, looked at the price and then studied the bottle closely, trying to figure out why the stupid gringo was willing to pay a zillion dollars for the small bottle of mysterious liquid!) Stop at the frutería and buy some tropical fruit, pictured here we have mango and pineapple! Lastly, cook up some eggs and french toast/pancakes and stuff yourself silly.
Pork Chops and Apple Sauce. You can get Granny Smith Apples throughout the year here. Buy a bunch, peel and core them, and then pop ‘em in a big pot. Since the manzanas are often pretty bland, be willing to throw in some lemon juice, a smidge of sugar, and some cinnamon to liven them up a bit. Pork chops are almost always available at the Avicar chain of butcher shops.
Chicken Pot Pie and Beef Stew. Comfort food, baby. Pretty much anything you need to make these dishes is available at the grocery store. The weather is getting a tad warm for beef stew, but when it cools off again, keep it in your back pocket. Add some frozen peas for a little green! Also, the cut you want for the stew meat is from the aguja roast. In terms of the pot pie, we’ve found that even without any measuring cups, the biscuit dough is pretty forgiving. Just go for it! (Read a previous post on chicken pot pie.)
Chinese Dumplings. Okay, not exactly American, but we like to make big batches of these from scratch and put a bunch in the freezer for later when we’re craving a little ethnic food for lunch. (These are so amazing when you make them yourself.) You can buy the wrappers, Napa cabbage, and items for the dipping sauce in Barrio Chino. The hurdle here can be finding ground pork. We’ve discovered that many butchers only have one grinder in house, which they generally reserve for carne exclusively. To make your own chicken or pork picada, we recommend buying a small food processor, or an immersion blender with the food processor attachment. (I wrote about how important the blender and attachments have been in our lives here. If you are going to be living in Argentina for a while, buy one!) Pictured above are some pot stickers ready for freezing!
Chocolate Cream Pie. One of the beautiful features of this yummy dessert is that all of the ingredients are easy to find; in fact, you could probably find them all at a maxikiosco or a chino. The crust for this classic North American confection is literally just mashed Oreos and melted butter. (We put the Oreos in a Ziploc and let the kids beat the crap out of them until they are crumbs.) After that, you only need make a simple chocolate custard. Lastly, whip up a few cups of the delicious heavy cream available in Baires. The total ingredient list is butter, cornstarch, eggs, milk/cream, sugar, chocolate, vanilla, Oreos and a pinch of salt. Also, we were able to find a glass tart (pie) pan at the Coto grocery store.
Chocolate Cookies. Do you notice a theme here? Dulce de leche reins supreme in Argentina, and it’s good, don’t get me wrong. But, sometimes, we crave rich chocolate, which is harder to find. Aside from the aforementioned incredibly rich chocloate cream pie, we like making these uber chocolate cookies when the mood strikes. (We bought our cocoa powder at the spice and condiment store, El Viejo Molino on Soldado de la Independencia 1193.) You can also get parchment paper at the Coto (you can tell we spend a lot of time there)! The biggest challenge with these gems is not eating them all in one day. (Does it count against you if you just eat cookies and milk but nothing else for a 24 hour period?)