Tag Archives: Argentina

The Longest Party in the World

Although Carnival, the traditional festivities celebrated by Christians around the world before Lent begins, has already come and gone, one country has the distinction of hosting the longest Carnival celebrations of any other nation.

The people of Uruguay, a South American country located on the Atlantic coast and nestled between Brazil and Argentina, celebrates Carnival for 40 days!

Although the Carnival celebrations in Brazil gain more attention, Uruguay’s Carnival has religious, cultural, social, and political meaning.

Like most countries, Uruguay hosts parades as part of their Carnival celebrations. The Desfile de Carnaval, which means the Carnival Parade, and the Desfile de Llamadas, the “Calls Parade”, which is a re-enactment of colonial times.

In addition, Uruguay has a strong musical and comedy tradition. Street performances, called murga, mix music, acting, and comedy and are used to amuse and entertain children while offering biting political satire for grown-ups.

Judges visit the murga in different neighborhoods and award prizes for the best.

Although Carnival in Uruguay ended on Ash Wednesday, there’s plenty of time to make plans to visit Uruguay for Carnival 2013!

 

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Puchero

PucheroPuchero, an Argentinean beef stew, has been eaten for centuries and enjoyed by the rich and the poor alike.

It’s an easy recipe to modify depending on your budget.

If you’re feeling flush with funds, spring for a slightly more expensive cut of beef.

Scrimping and saving? Grab what’s on sale and stew the heck out of it.

This recipe is from a cool little book – again, found at the library (as you can see, I’m on a budget) – called Cooking the South American Way.

There’s a whole series of these little books from different parts of the world. Although they were shelved in the kids’ section, I was thrilled to stumble upon them and I spent a lot of interesting hours of my holiday break poring over them and choosing recipes to try.

The book did not include many pictures, but I found a really beautiful shot of Puchero from this website.

Puchero (Argentinean Beef Stew)

1 ½ lb. beef

1 tbsp. vegetable oil

6 c. water

2 tsp. salt

½ tsp. pepper

4 small, whole potatoes, peeled

3 carrots, peeled and cut into 6 pieces

8 pearl onions

½ lb. whole green beans, tips and strings removed

2 stalks celery, cut into bite-sized pieces

6 sprigs parsley or cilantro

Cut meat into bite-sized pieces. In a large saucepan, brown meat lightly in oil. Add water, salt, and pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 1 ½ hours or until meat is tender.

Add vegetables, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes. Serve.

 

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Cookies 16: Alfajores

alfajoresAlfajores are a sandwich-style cookie that originated in Spain. Its name comes from the Arabic word for stuffed.

There are many variations on alfajores, including a recipe from Peru and another from Argentina.

These Latin American versions of the cookie are very different from those made in Spain.

This alfajores recipe, from AllRecipes.com, is from Argentina.

Alfajores (Argentinean style)

Ingredients

  • 1 2/3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 cups cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla rum
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon extract
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • 1 (11.5 ounce) jar dulce de leche
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Whisk together the flour, cornstarch, baking soda, and baking powder; set aside.
  2. Beat the butter and sugar with an electric mixer in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Add the egg yolks one at a time, allowing each yolk to blend into the butter mixture before adding the next. Beat in the vanilla rum, vanilla extract, lemon extract, and lemon zest with the last egg. Gently fold in the flour mixture with a spoon, making a crumbly dough. When the dough becomes cohesive enough, press it together into a ball with your hands. Wrap with plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
  3. Roll out the dough, using as little flour as possible, about 1/4 inch thick. The dough will have an unusual consistency. Cut with a small round cookie cutter. Continue pressing the dough together, rolling it out, and cutting until you have used it all. Place cookies 1/2 inch apart on the prepared cookie sheets.
  4. Bake in the preheated oven until set but not browned, 7 to 10 minutes. Remove the cookies immediately to cool on a wire rack.
  5. Spread the underside of a cooled cookie with a teaspoon of dulce de leche, then sandwich together with another cookie until the caramel oozes out the sides. Roll the sides in the shredded coconut.

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Flag Day Fun!

imagesSo I was wondering, do other countries celebrate a “flag day”?  Apparently, they do:

In Argentina, Flag Day (or Dia de la Bandera Nacional) is celebrated on June 20 to honor the flag’s creator, Manuel Belgrano.  

Australia celebrates National Flag Day on September 3.  It was only formally proclaimed in 1996.  Several people are credited with designing the Australian flag, including a school boy!

The Flag Day of Romania has been celebrated on June 26 since 1998.  

Haitian Flag Day occurs on May 18.  Even Haitians living outside the country carry the Haitian flag around to commemorate the day.  

So how do you celebrate Flag Day?  Do you celebrate any other countries’ flag days?

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