Thanksgiving 2013

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Paco and I hosted Thanksgiving for both of our families at our house. We decided on a turkey-less Thanksgiving meal, with bacon-wrapped pork tenderloin roast as the main course. Also on the menu were a mango-chutney glazed ham, stuffed mushrooms, apple herb dressing, roasted squash with brown sugar, goat cheese chive mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, and gravy.

My brother Doug took the pictures below; he is the real photographer in the family!

I tied two pork tenderloins together and wrapped them in bacon after rubbing them with the mustard marinade.  I followed Claire Robinson’s recipe, but since I roasted the pork loins together, I roasted them for about 50 minutes, until they reached an internal temperature of 145 degrees. I also brined them overnight to ensure that they would be juicy.

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Here’s Lando waiting for me to drop a morsel of pork.

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A few of the finished dishes.

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For other recipes that I used to inspire this meal, please see:

Happy holidays!

Buenos Aires and Iguazu Falls, Argentina

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I am writing this from Puerto Iguazu, Argentina. I was in Buenos Aires for a week for a conference, and tagged on a weekend trip to the Brazilian/Paraguayan/Argentine border so to visit Las Cataratas de Iguazu (Iguazu Falls).

This was my fourth trip to Buenos Aires, but I hadn’t been here since 2006, when Paco and I spent 3 months there.

In many ways, there has been very little change:

  • Argentine men still love tying sweaters around their shoulders.
  • Tourists and expats still love The Kilkenny. Warsteiners all around!
  • Cabana las Lilas is still very popular with visiting Americans. I didn’t go there on this trip (I think I was the only person at the conference who didn’t!), but I was pleasantly surprised to visit several of the restaurants that I’d been to previously, and see that they’re doing well.
  • Beef is still king, although I’ve had some good seafood and good bread on this trip.

Differences I’ve noticed:

  • It is much more expensive than it was years ago. When I visited (2003-2006), the Argentine economy was not doing well.  The peso had fallen dramatically, and prices hadn’t adjusted, so it was very cheap for Americans. The exchange rate is even less favorable for the peso now, but prices have gone up. (This as a positive thing.)
  • There is a secondary market for U.S. dollars. Suddenly everyone is running a casa de cambio (currency exchange). Banks, hotels, and other large establishments use the official rate (about 6 pesos to 1 dollar), but many restaurants and stores will give you a much better rate (9.5 pesos to 1 dollar). Had I known this I would have brought more dollars!

Iguazu Falls are incredible.  I haven’t traveled alone in years, so I was unsure as to whether this side trip would be worth it. It absolutely was. Here are a few pictures of the falls.

From the Paseo Inferior (lower trail):

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La Garganta de Diablo (Devil’s Throat) – There is a kilometer-long bridge that walks across the river so that you can see the top of the biggest waterfall close up:

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A rainbow at La Garganta de Diablo – There are rainbows everywhere! I even saw a double rainbow:

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I am spending one last night in Buenos Aires tonight before heading back to L.A., just in time to start preparing for Thanksgiving!

Happy Labor Day! Summer Recipe Recap

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It’s been the hottest weekend of the year in L.A., and although Labor Day traditionally marks the “end” of summer, it still feels like it’s in full swing here.

It’s been a busy summer, and this poor blog has been sadly neglected. Even though I haven’t managed to post along the way, we’ve made some delicious summer meals and I have to share a few pictures/links:

Grilled Bacon Salad with Arugula and Balsamic, courtesy of Smitten Kitchen:

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Vietnamese Summer Rolls:

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Beef Lettuce Wraps, courtesy of The Steamy Kitchen Cookbook:

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Biscuits and Gravy (not exactly summery but we used chicken sausage to lighten it up):

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An Argentine-inspired parrillada, with grilled chicken, sausage, vegetables, and chimichurri:

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Here’s to a memorable summer and an even more delightful fall!

 

Pizza Party

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We have really enjoyed making pizza lately. There is something so relaxing about making homemade pizza, drinking wine, and watching a movie (or catching up on one-hour dramas) on a lazy Saturday evening. Last weekend we went to Las Vegas for our anniversary, so it’s especially nice to have some down time this weekend!

I use the Pioneer Woman’s pizza crust recipe, because it rises really well for me.  Once you have your dough of choice, preheat the oven to 500 degrees. Roll out your dough to be very thin, then brush with olive oil and place on a baking tray (or pizza stone).  Use a very light hand with your toppings so that the dough can crisp up without being weighed down. Bake for 10-13 minutes. Enjoy!

Here are some of the variations we’ve tried:

Calabrese, mushroom, and red onion:

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Roasted eggplant, cherry tomato, and mozzarella, from the Pioneer Woman:

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Calabrese, pineapple, and jalapeno:

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