Empanada Experience

On December 21, 2012, Ivan and I went out at 1:20 pm. 

We were doing The Argentine Experience.  The group consisted of a girl from Seattle, 3 Asian couples (2 of them from Sao Paulo, Brazil and one from Canada) and us.  Our teacher was an English man named Richard from Essex, England with help from an Argentinian lady named Maru. 

Richard showed us how to make our own empanadas.  The ingredients were shredded beef, caramelized Malbec onions, ratatouille and cheese.  You put your ingredients in the middle of the pastry sheet and then close it up by putting the two parts of pastries together in the middle first and then all around the edges.  You can use water on the pastry if it’s too dry.

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Richard then showed us how to make the ridges on the edges with our fingers and not cheating with a fork.  You fold it over once and then keep folding over with your thumb.  Everybody in the group got to make two empanadas.  The group were served a nice red wine.

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Next up was the empanada making contest which was based on creativity.  There was 15 minutes to make our empanada.  I started practicing making an empanada and forgot we were doing the contest.  I didn’t know what to make anyway.  Ivan made a cock and balls. 

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I put boobs on my empanada.  The rest of the group were really creative with such things like making a present, flower, hot air balloon and roses. 

It was time to eat our empanada creations. 

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They tasted quite good!  We also were served grilled vegetables and mashed potatoes with another red wine.  Our creative empanadas came out later.  An Asian girl won the empanada contest by making a pretty flower.

Richard and Maru taught us Argentine hand gestures like don’t be a chicken, be careful or why are you breaking my balls?  It was fun trying to guess what the gestures were and then doing them ourselves.

Richard taught us how to make an alfajor which is a popular confection in South America.  We took a wafer and put a good amount of dulce de leche on it and then you put a wafer on top.  The next step was rolling it in coconut and then dipping it in chocolate. 

The group also learned how to make a cup of yerba mate.  The yerba mate is a similar to an herb tea and is a very popular drink in Argentina.  Traditionally, the same cup is shared among friends and drank through a silver metal straw called a bombilla.  If you don’t want to drink any more mate, you say ‘Thank You’.  We got to make the mate in our own colorful cup.

Richard showed us that you fill the yerba mate cup two-thirds full.  Place a hand over the mate cup and shake it like you’re shaking a cocktail shaker.  Do this step a few times to make sure you get rid of some of the dust.  You move the tea down to create a hole and pour in a little hot water. The kettles actually have a setting for yerba mate.  Richard told us you can stick the straw in the hole and push the tea over and the straw won’t move.  Then, pour more hot water and it’s ready to drink.  Don’t stir the straw in the cup.  Yerba Mate has a really bitter taste which I didn’t really like – some people add sugar, honey or a zest of a lemon or orange.

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The alfajores taste good with the mate. 

This class was tons of fun.  It’s always great to learn how to make things and eat your creation. 

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Richard was a great teacher.  I highly recommend The Argentine Experience, if you ever visit Buenos Aires.

Ivan and I went back to the apartment.  Shortly after, we took a really long nap. 

For dinner, we walked around the neighborhood to find a restaurant.  Ivan, Lil Dave and I ate at Voulez Bar.  Lil Dave got a banana stuffed chicken dish.  Ivan and I shared a salad with mushrooms, avocado, smoked salmon and mango, shrimp ceviche and salmon tartare.  It was a very tasty meal.

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