Fainá – Chickpea Flatbread

montevideo-2-7-28Another wonderful FOOD FIND…Fainá. It is chickpea flatbread prepared here in Uruguay.  We walked across the street to the Tres Fuegos Restaurant for a quiet lunch early one afternoon and ordered Muzzarella and Fainá.  The Fainá is thin, light and delicious. Some restaurants even top their pizza with it.  Not sure if we will try that. But alone it is wonderful. The muzzarella was a type of pizza made with a sweet tomato sauce topped with a ton of mozzarella cheese. FYI pizza does not come automatically with cheese here.

I may have to try the fainá at home….really good.

My Little Garden

Okay, I know I am in an apartment on the 9th floor but I just cannot live anywhere without having a herb garden. So our apartment for three months in Montevideo is no different from any other home we have had.

3-1-2017-montevideo-9 From left to right: thyme, basil, sage and mint.  What I really want is cilantro as I miss that so much and of course oregano. I have figured out buying the live plants is so much more economical than buying fresh-cut herbs each week.  And picking from the plant well you can’t get much fresher.

Joe has found two spice stores for me one is only about five blocks from the apartment.  They even sell vanilla pods, what a find.  I will need to stock up on those for sure.

I am having a grand time cooking with all the spices and herbs I have available to me.

An Evening in Montevideo Uruguay

We could not figure out what was going on earlier this week. So I took a video and waited until someone on Uruguay Expats on Facebook posted the explanation.

It seems that the Uruguayan President made a speech and if the citizens do not like what he said they take their pots and pans and go out into the street and bang them around.  Then the buses and cars got into the act with horn blowing.  This lasted a good 30 minutes, with more and more folks coming out on their balconies and more and more cars and buses joining in.

Caceroleo – is a form of protest in which the protesters make known their discontent by means of dined noise (typically beating pans ), be it at an agreed time in advance or spontaneously. Demonstrators can participate from their own homes and without the need to concentrate on a particular place, peering at windows and balconies or in the antejardins of houses, and rhythmically brandishing the objects they have at hand (commonly pots, pans and other household utensils; Hence its name), thus being able to reach the protest a high degree of adhesion and participation. Like other types of demonstrations, a cacerolazo can be autoconvocado by a group of people, or responding to the call of a political force or another type of organization , generally against a government or certain governmental decisions or policies, and more Rarely for a cause.  Translated from Wikipedia from Spanish to English.

cacerolas cacerolazo ct4v7orxgaan-2l file_20118112376Fun learning about the culture in a new country.

Alfajores – A National Obsession?

We read so much about the infamous alfajor that the first day we were in town we were in a small market store (called an almacen here) and asked the young woman behind the counter, which is your favorite?…she was kind of shy and I guess I was kind of forward but she went over and pointed to two. Standing at the counter checking out was a beautiful young woman and Joe saw that she was dying to add her choices, so we asked her and she gave us two more to try.  Honestly every one we have tried, and I will tell you we have tried many, were wonderful. The supermarket has an entire section filled from top to bottom with all different types. You can buy them in a box, not sure how many to a box but I had to have great willpower to keep from buying an entire box. Walk away Nancy, walk away.

They are sort of similar to a Moon Pie when you look at them, but that is where the similarity ends.  Inside you are hit in the face with the most delicate caramel (dulce de leche) – it is not what I have had in the past, Uruguayan dulce de leche is lighter, less sweet and soft. The base is either two crunchy cookies or a soft and chewy cake to hold it all together…Most are covered in some type of good quality chocolate could be milk could be dark, some have a topping of coconut, some have a mousse filling along with the dulce de leche. And I know we will be adding new ones to our “we need more” list.  Below are just a few of the empty wrappers.  YES, YES, YES, they were all wonderful…My favorite of these was the Coco Late and the Mousse…but that could change with the next selection, hee hee

montevideo-2-9-17The confiteria (pastry shops) are up another level when it comes to alfajores.  I am sad to say that they do not last very long once we bring them into the apartment and as of now I do not have pictures to show you.  But when I say they up their game to another level entirely, I am not pulling your leg. Some are wrapped with a coating of coconut around the edges, while others have chopped almonds.  Some have a heart-shaped cut out in the center filled with a cherry or strawberry gel. Others have a macaroon topping that is slightly charred. They make them in bite sized little treats up to a full-sized and bigger beauty that Joe and I must share.  Actually every one of these pastries we cut in half and share with our mid-day meal. And not every day or I would be the size of a house in a few months.

montevideo-2-14-11montevideo-2-14-10montevideo-2-14-9montevideo-2-14-8

The above are just from one store in the Punta Carretas Shopping mall.

They can be addictive.

Milanesa, Another Great Culinary Treat In Uruguay

montevideo-2-19This milanesa is a pounded chicken breast. We have found that every food store, day market called a feria and even small tiendas called almacens have these tasty meats available.  In Tienda Inglesia you can find them breaded ready to cook or already cooked and ready to eat.  We found these above at our Sunday market all ready to be cooked.  The first time we went to this market day so many of the older women were buying up packets of these – must have been for Sunday lunch with family. They looked like pretty experienced cooks so we decided to follow suit and buy a few for our Sunday lunch.  Well they were wonderful, flavored bread crumbs or cracker crumbs on a thin piece of chicken breast, heat a bit of oil in a pan and sauté and you are ready to eat.

I would definitely buy these again. I covered mine in Bolognese sauce and some mozzarella cheese and Joe’s in Caruso sauce which is very popular here.  Caruso sauce was first created in the 1950s in Uruguay by Raymundo Monti of the restaurant ‘Mario and Alberto’, located at the intersection of Constituyente and Tacuarembó Streets in Montevideo. Monti wanted to create a new recipe following the current traditions of Italian Cuisine. The dish was named in honor of the famous Neapolitan tenor Enrico Caruso (1873–1921) who was a popular figure in South America during his tours of the 1910s. It is a rich cream sauce with mushrooms and ham, it became known as Caruso sauce and is sold fresh in the refrigerator section of most grocery stores here.

A Small Act of Kindness, In The Big City

Montevideo is a pretty big city having a population of over 1.3 million people and many of those people have dogs.  Here you will not likely see dog poo on the sidewalks or streets.  We have not seen dogs roaming free, all are on leashes and someone is walking them. And we have seen the people around our apartment using baggies to clean up after their pets.

While walking on one of the side streets just a block or so from our apartment, I saw an empty large gallon water container tied to a tree. I could not figure out what the purpose was until on another walk further away I spotted this.

montevideo-2-7-27Yes, you got it. Someone filled this empty jug with supermarket bags. Just the right size to pick up your pets poo. For a large city, it is pretty well maintained and I was happy to see the pro-active folks trying to keep their city clean.

Little Joe, The Latest Addition to Cindy’s Little Farm

Our niece Cindy lives in Texas. She has a little spread – really don’t know what to call it because she is really not farming it, raising cattle or anything so grand.  She has a beautiful horse named Spanx, two mature burros or maybe they are donkeys honestly I am not sure and one foal. And her constant companion Samson, a German Shepard.

For the past several months she has watched Uma as she grew into this huge bellied beauty. Uma was really waddling around for the past weeks and Cindy was waiting on the birth.

umaToday at 6:30am a new foal was added to her family, Little Joe.

little-joe-3 little-joe-2little-joe-4 little-joe-5

I asked Cindy for clarification on what exactly Uma is and this is what she had to say:

Uma is A donkey n Little Joe has markings of Jerusalem donkey!!!  
Interesting. I believe Uma is called an Andalusian donkey! Joe has
the markings of cross along his back n down shoulders n legend 
is Jesus rode the Christian or Jesus or Jerusalem??  
Donkey in Passover !!!!

I had never heard this story so I found it on-line and added it below:

Have you heard the legend of the Christian donkeys? This is the story that has been told about the little donkey who was Jesus’ mount on Palm Sunday.

It is said that a donkey carried Mary to Bethlehem and is also referred to as a Nativity Donkey.   The Nubian burro has a cross on its back because it is believed that these donkeys carried Jesus to Jerusalem on Palm Sunday.

To ride on a donkey signified coming in peace, this symbolic event served to reinforce what Jesus had told the people of Israel: “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he [is] just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon a donkey, and upon a colt the foal of a donkey.”(Zachariah 9:9 KJV)

little-joe-and-samson-6Looks like Samson is going to take on the roll of daddy over this little one.

little-joe-7 Nice to see Cindy’s dreams coming true.