Sunday, May 6, 2007

"El morrón es más caro que el asado"

(Bell peppers are more expensive than meat.) - El Observador, May 5th

A few months ago I put up a post on "Uruguayan Adventure" bragging how I could come home from the market with armfuls of groceries without much damage to the pocket book.
Things have changed slightly.
While some vegetables are still very affordable, others are sky-rocketing in price due to heavy rains and the change of seasons - that is, the lapse between growing produce in the south of Uruguay and the harvesting in the north.

The prices have risen 151% for carrots, 38.69% for tomatoes, 37% for lettuce, and 33% for potatoes. A kilo of bell peppers (about two pounds) is $93 pesos while a kilo of meat for asado is $69 pesos. The paper also pointed out that the price of one kilo is equal to that of a men's haircut or a ticket to the movies.

They are hoping the prices will go back down in about 50 days.

Anyone on the Atkins diet? Now it is not only more convenient to eat meat...but also more affordable.

Saturday, May 5, 2007

Mexican Food

Happy Cinco de Mayo! And thank you so much to the Southron for hosting such a lovely party with great company and delicious food.

The food was catered by Hacienda Las Palomas which has two locations. A small version is located in Punta Carretas shopping, while the restaurant is in Carrasco. Everyone was commenting on how tasty the food was and wonderful it was to eat comida mexicana!!! We sampled beef and chicken tacos, cheese quesadillas, black bean dip, and various salsas. From the flavors we enjoyed tonight it seems a visit to the restuaraunt is worth the trek out to Carrasco. There was also a couple delicious homemade salsas from our friends over at A Girl and Guy in Uruguay.

We have had mixed results from the food court location in Punta Carretas Shopping. At times the fajitas are very salty or the meat is over cooked. But I have always liked the "Cruji" which is a hard shell taco with a layer of black beans, a generous portion of chicken, some lettuce, and a cheesy sauce (very similar to a tostada). For $23 pesos or so, it is a good snack or light meal. My husband loves the fact he can get a Mexican beer, and always opts for this choice over water or soda. Who can blame him?

Click on the following link for a review on another Mexican Restaurant
La Lupitas

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Shout out to a reader

Thank you mysterious "la vieja" for the recipe you left on FALL PEARS. I made it last night when I had guests for dinner and it was enjoyed by all!
Two changes on the version you sent:
I plated one pear half. I served it cold, and instead of putting it over ice cream I melted a dark chocolate bar and a shot of chocolate liquor over low heat on the stove. I drizzled that over the pear and more on the plate.
Second, (and going along with the chocolate theme) I crushed up Ferror Rocher chocolates and sprinkled that on top in replacement of biscotti cookies.

Can you tell I love chocolate?

Qué aproveche!

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Looking for Organic?

Here is some long awaited information that many people have requested from me. I must give the credit to my lovely Canadian friend, who tipped me to the location.

Ecotienda is located in El Centro and also has a weekly stand at the Sunday feria in Parque Rodó. At the store you will find fresh produce, cheeses, the most delicious yogurt, ice cream, fresh ricota, and dulce de leche - all organic. Ecotienda sells honey, honey studded with almonds and dried fruit, olive oil, jams, preserved vegetables, and some other jarred items. They also have a few baked goods - including scones, tartas, breads, and crackers. Seaweed, eggs, rabbit and "setan" milanesas are some of the more unique items. Best to go on Weds, when a new batch of delivered products arrives at the store.

For those looking for non-toxic cleaning products they also sell alternatives to bleach and other strong cleaning agents.

The staff is friendly and very helpful. If you join as a socio for a mere 100 pesos/month you receive a discount on every purchase.

And here is some great news. In contrary to the United States, the organic products at Ecotienda are either the same price as the grocery store and ferias or less expensive.

How can you go wrong?

Mon, Weds, and Fridays they will deliver to your home. Just call before 1:00pm to make your order. (In my experience don't order eggs....they have come to broken twice!)

Have fun!


Teléfono: (02) 900 65 60
Santiago de Chile 1183 - Montevideo

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

And they deliver?

I can't say enough good things about Las Delicias ice cream. All the flavors I have tried (and, yes...I have tried many) are exceptional in quality, taste, texture. I have had the good fortune to taste ice cream in many parts of the world, and I have to say that Las Delicias may even surpass the best gelato I ate in Italy. In fact, the ice cream reminds me more of gelato, with its creamy texture and unmistakable flavors, than ice cream. Our recent house guest couldn't get over the exceptional taste of the banana split flavor. Is this not the BEST ice cream you have ever eaten???, she asked us.
Banana ice cream, chocolate chips, and swirls of dulce de leche. Yes, in fact it might be the best ice cream ever.

Other extraordinary flavors include:
Las Delicias (tastes just like a ferrer rocher candy crushed in chocolate ice cream)
Bariloche (pure chocolate)
Bariloche Amargo
Café Oriental
Coco biscuit

Oh ya...and just like the well known ice cream palors in Buenos Aires, whose motorbikes are pictured below, Las Delicias will deliver right to your door.* Now if you ask me , that brings ordering in to a whole new level!

Las Delicias
21 de septiembre, esq. José Ellauri
(other locations in Carrasco and the Geant store)

Prices vary
single scoops start at $38 pesos
about $27/pesos per 100 grams

*call to inquire if delivery includes your neighborhood

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Fall Pears

I wasn't impressed with this summer's peach crop (just as a reminder for our north american friends we already had our first summer). On the other hand, the fall pears have been amazing. I love sweet cold pears with lemon squeezed on them. Oh, come on...just try it.

However, we tasted true pear delight our last night in Salto when we ordered peras al vino blanco. They were drizzled with a fresh blueberry sauce (the farm is just a few kilometers away), topped with pralines, and served with ice cream.


This delicacy actually seems simple enough to make. For those of you handy in the kitchen, here is a recipe by one of my favourite food performers:

Vanilla Poached Pears
Recipe courtesy Alton Brown, 2005
1 (750-ml) bottle white wine, Riesling or Viognier
1 cup water
5 ounces vanilla sugar, approximately 3/4 cup
1 whole vanilla bean, split and scraped
4 firm Bartlett, Anjou or Bosc pears, peeled leaving the stem intact
Place the white wine, water, sugar and vanilla bean and pulp into a 4-quart saucepan over medium-high heat and bring to a boil.

Core the pears from the bottom. Decrease the heat to medium low and place the pears into the liquid, cover and cook for 30 minutes or until the pears are tender but not falling apart. Maintain a gentle simmer. Remove the pears to a serving dish, standing them upright, and place in the refrigerator.

Remove the vanilla bean from the saucepan, increase the heat to high and reduce the syrup to approximately 1 cup of liquid, approximately 20 to 25 minutes. Do not allow the syrup to turn brown. Place the syrup in a heatproof container and place in the refrigerator until cool, approximately 1 hour.

Remove the pears from the refrigerator, spoon the sauce over the pears and serve.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Fresh Farm Eggs

Most of the outside influence of cuisine in Uruguay has its roots in Italy. However, tortilla española, a quintessential Spanish dish of potatoes, eggs, and sausage, is often on the list of minutas at your local restaurant. Minutas are entrees that can be prepared in minutes and also include milanesas, chivitos, hamburgers and panchos.

I would love to find a good tortilla española in Montevideo. The one pictured above was part of a delicious meal I enjoyed in Salto, located in the the northwest of Uruguay. We stayed at a Posada, a inn complete with private hot springs, spa services, and a great restaurant -OKKO. Each night the three of us dined at the restaurant, ordering 2-3 entrees, a salad, wine or beer, and 1 or 2 desserts. We shared everything so as to enjoy the different flavors and textures of the meal. After every meal we left happy and satisfied, but not too full, and amazed at how affordable our dinner was.

This tortilla was one of my favourite dishes we tried. The eggs were so fresh and delicious that I have no doubt they were gathered that morning from fresh, free range organic chickens.