Green BA: Mish-Mash of Events in March 2013

Green Film Festival, Green Market and Green St. Paddy’s Day

This  weekend and upcoming week is probably one of the greenest we will all see in BA for a while–and I am pretty sure someone must have planned this.

I grew up with environmental parents which means I love to stare a rocks and trees have a natural draw to green things. Thats why I was very excited to hear about all three green events this next week.

This post may be semi-misleading, however. I bet you are thinking that I will be talking about thre environmental events next week. That is two-thirds true. First, next week is the beginning of a BA Environmental Film Festival (though small, kids; nothing to get too worked up about). Second, its the return of the Buenos Aires Market, which shows off some of the city’s best organic, environmentally conscience and/or just healthy thangs in the beautiful setting of the Bosque de Palermo parking lot.

The third, is a bit of a different case: ITS SAINT PATRICKS DAY.

Admittedly, I am not Irish (but my friends do tell me I may as well be for my skin tone). But I have found that living away from the US of A has made me increasingly homesick on these certain, over the top, tradition-stealing holidays (see Cinco de Mayo for another example). That is exactly why I had an Oscars Party and expected some effort from the man on Valentines Day. I know its cheesy, but now its what reminds me of home.

Which is all to say one of the technically greenist holidays ever is upon us so it gets included here.

Check it:

Environmental Film Festivalcineambiental

When: March Wednesday 12 (oops!), Friday 14 (oops!), Thuesday 19, Thursday 21; films start at 7:30 PM, talks before hand starting at 6:30 PM

Where: Jardin Botanico de Palermo

What: Outdoor screening of five films

Why: Raise awareness of environmental issues via film. Enjoy some movies in ze nature.

Buenos Aires Market

When: Saturday 16 and Sunday 17bamarket

Where: Bosque de Palermo, parking lot in front of the Rosedale

What: a pseudo farmers market/healthy food  market/veggie burger market (check Planeta Joy’s facebook page for more photos and info).

Why:  lots of interesting free workshops like free yoga class at noon both days! Also a workshop on the wonders of wheatgrass and healthy baking…mmmm. Foods to munch, sammies with which to lunch…and I am desperate to understand exactly what is black garlic and how I can put it in my food.

BA Style St. Patrick’s (Paddy’s) Day

When: March 17

Where: All over the city. For a little more wholesome fun, check out the parade put on by the City of BA and the Irish embassy. It will start at Arroyo and Suipacha at 7 PM and end in the Plaza San Martin with an Irish dance show. Everyone cross your fingers that its the Irish dancing phenom River Dance (JAZZ HANDS).

There will also be a Celtic Fair in Belgrano with dancing and food, if you’d rather keep it tranqui without traveling downtown for the parade.

The traditional drinking fest (as traditional as you can get at least) is on Reconquista, where they block the streets and pen you in like wild, green animals. Woooo!! Any and all Irish pub will be, of course, capitalizing too. Check this list for bars with events/promotions, emphasis being on promotions. And don’t forget to wear green so you don’t get pinched! 

What: I think its pretty clear, right?

Why: why else!? To celebrate this wonderful, green holiday. If I were home I would be eating corned beef and cabbage, Irish soda bread (which apparently is just not called that in Ireland…oops) and a guinness chocolate cake. Since I can’t do that (makes a girl miss her mommy!), I’ll just have to drown my tears in pure guinness and pat myself on the back.

Verdict? Anybody who is anybody will be getting green this week. Join in!

Free Pumpkin Pie (Recipe) !!

Making (and Eating) Pumpkin Pie in Buenos Aires has sort of become a tradition.

I realize that this post is geared to a certain group of people (the fatties of the USA!). But I couldn’t help myself because today is one of my favorite holidays !

Its Turkey Day, baby. 

I love that there is an actual holiday that is entirely organized around what and when you are going to eat. None of the usual holiday shenanigans–just food.

But living in Buenos Aires complicates this holiday. First, I am not with my family and missing a meal cooked by my mother is practically sacrilegious. And second, Argentina does not  celebrate the wonderful day when the pilgrims and the native (north)americans sat down at a lovely long table filled with gourds as decoration in order to share a meticulously thought out, warm meal and go around the table saying what they were thankful for (pilgrims mostly, because they didn’t die from hypothermia and instead got pumpkin pie). Believe me, this is all factual and accurate.

My first Thanksgiving here was actually a great success. It may have been because I was surrounded by people just as enthusiastic about this holiday as I am, but nonetheless it all worked! We even took a door off of its hinges to make an extra long table. It was glorious.

However, although fun and delicious, it was not easy. There are so many T-giving supplies you can’t get here for obvious reasons. We even had a visitor smuggle in bags of marshmellows and cans of cranberry sauce in his suitcase !

And I was determined to make a pumpkin pie even if it too me weeks. I started my quest two weeks in advance, researching recipes and looking for ingredients. I realized a couple of key things:

1) pumpkin puree in a can is uncommon and, if it even exsits, almost impossible to get a hold of.

2) evaporated milk is also uncommon and, though available, expensive (17 pesos for a can?!).

3) food processors make your life so much easier in pumpkin pie endevors.

Taking all of these things into account I patched together this “pumpkin” pie recipe that is actually incredibly good. It tasted like a traditional pumpkin pie, and a damn good one at that.

So in honor of this very, very special day and of not spending god knows how much on importing or actually buying the smuggled-in ingredients to take the easy route, I am giving you my special Argentina pumpkin pie recipe, dubbed “Pumpkin Pie Remix”. Take good care of it!

Pumpkin Pie Remix Recipe

Ingredients:

Pie Crust, makes top/bottom or two pies (from Smitten Kitchen):
315 grams (2 1/2 cups) All-purpose flour
225 grams (1 cup) butter (cut into 1/2 inch slices and left to chill in the fridge at least 15 minutes, up to an hour)
1 tsp salt, if your butter is unsalted, otherwise forget it (use a real teaspoon)
1 Tbsp sugar (again, use a real tablespoon)
6-8 Tbsp ice water (ditto)

Filling:
15 ounces (2-2.5 cups) fresh Butternut Squash, peeled and cubed
120 grams (little over 1/2 cup packed Brown Sugar or 3/4 cup White Sugar)
1 Tbsp (15 grams) Corn starch
1 egg
8 ounces evaporated milk (ie. 145 grams (a little less than a cup) dry milk and 170 grams of water)
Pumpkin pie spices (1 tsp. cinnamon, pinch each of allspice, nutmeg, clove, and ginger. Or just do cinnamon and grate some nutmeg; that should do it)

Crust:
1. In a food processor combine flour, (salt), and sugar. Pulse to mix. Add butter and pulse 6 to 8 times (until pea sized). Add ice water 1 Tbsp. at a time, pulsing until mixture just begins to clump into fine sand like bits. Dump into plastic bag and squish into a ball in one or two movements. Do not over kead! Place in fridge for at least an hour and up to two days.

   If doing by hand, mix dry ingredients first and then use a force or fingers to work the finly chopped, cold butter  in until pea sized bits. Mix in 5 Tbsp ice water with a spatula until big lumps are formed and then quickly knead (no more than 3-4 times) into a ball. Do not over knead! Place in fridge for at least an hour and up to two days.

3. When ready to make the pie, cut the dough in half (recipe makes two pies or a top and bottom if you want to get fancy with a lattice) and begin to roll out. DO NOT OVER ROLL or the dough will be tough. Roll into a round-ish shape (no need to make it perfect) and lift carefully over the pie tin. Gently press into tin and cut off over-hanging edges with a knife. Fill a small bowl with cold water, dip a fork into the water, and press the edges of the dough onto the edge of the pan lightly.

Filling:
1. Either boil the cubed squash in a pot or bake at 200C (400F), either way until tender. Cool. If you do not have a food processor, mash by hand until it is a very fine puree.
2. Preheat oven to 175C (350F).
3. Combine water and powdered milk by sprinkling a little powder into the water and whisking and repeating until incorporated without clumps. Whisk egg in a separate bowl.
4. In the food processor or large bowl combine squash, brown sugar, cornstarch, egg, milk, and spices. Process or stir until smooth. Pour into pie crust.
5. Bake for 50 minutes (or 40 minutes and 20 minutes at a lower temperature to avoid a burnt crust). (Watch this part! My oven was so hot it probably took a combined 40 minutes to cook, and all at the same around “350F” temperature. I also left it in the turned off oven for another 10 minutes for good measure).