On a South American Wonder

Water is the driving force of all nature. (Leonardo da Vinci)

I love the sounds and the power of pounding water, whether it is the waves or a waterfall. (Mike May)

The point is that when I see a sunset or a waterfall or something, for a split second it’s so great, because for a little bit I’m out of my brain, and it’s got nothing to do with me. I’m not trying to figure it out, you know what I mean? And I wonder if I can somehow find a way to maintain that mind stillness. (Chris Evans)

There is a hidden message in every waterfall. It says, if you are flexible, falling will not hurt you! (Mehmet Murat ildan)

Just as a waterfall grows slower and more lightly suspended as it plunges down, so the great man of action tends to act with greater calmness than his tempestuous desires prior to the deed would lead one to expect. (Friedrich Nietzsche)

One will never find in the waterfall of sights anything else than the Illusion of Life, which falls in torrents on the granite rocks of the souls. (Sorin Cerin)

Friends of ours just returned from an Argentina-to-Chile cruise. The day before boarding the ship, they took a tour of a place I didn’t know along the border of Argentina and Brazil. Once I saw this video, I knew this was a fitting post for us to explore … and the music is a perfect match for the scenery.

Have you heard of these? Have you been there? Which of the quotes stuck you?

On Malbec

Malbec is a Bordeaux grape, but interestingly, their winemakers shun Malbec in favor of blending Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and Merlot. Actually, not that much Malbec currently grows in France. Never fear though – Malbec has found a welcome home in Argentina.

Thriving in the dry, hot wine regions of Argentina, Malbec is a full-bodied, dark wine delivering many flavors for red wine enthusiasts as bold, dry, intense, complex, some tannin, rustic, and fruit. In other words, Malbec is a wonderful wine for dishes featuring red meat or barbecue!

Although buyers can find Malbec wines from Chile, France, and California, Argentine Malbecs are the most readily available, tasty, and found in a wide price range. The following brands provide good options in the $8-12 range: Alamos, Norton, Trapiche, Altos, and Don Gascon; but Ocaso is my absolute favorite in this price range. (Tim, a must for you to try.)

I encourage anyone desiring a hearty red win to start trying different Malbecs to find the one that delivers the taste that pleases their palate. Since numerous choices are also available for anyone desiring to go higher in price, I suggest doing your research or talk to a knowledgeable wine merchant.

Cheers … and enjoy not only this glorious fruit of the wine, but also the video below about touring the Mendoza region of Argentina. It’s an ad, but fun to see for those enjoying travel. Besides, the tango music is a plus.

On Argentine Chili

Everybody knows Texas Chili, which looks and tastes completely different from Midwestern chili. Some say that Cincinnati chili isn’t chili at all, but don’t tell that to Cincinnatians who swear by their four or five-way delights.

Earlier this spring (for lunch), I attended an international food event. Being that I appreciate different cultures, this event was awesome. Although other sights and sounds were also associated with the event, food was front and center.

A chili-like soup from Argentina (properly called Locro) caught my attention. Fortunately, I had only a one-person separation with one of the Argentines – so I got a recipe. Unfortunately, the recipe could serve a neighborhood party, but the wonders of the Internet allowed me to track down some portions to substitute for “add seasonings to taste.”

Our church has a long-running wine-tasting group. With Argentina and Chile the theme, the event gave me an excellent opportunity to try this Argentine Chili. (Did you get the play on words?) I will say that it was a hit as the group of 25 polished off the entire crockpot! So, here’s my gift to you.

Ingredients

  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 6 slices of bacon (chopped)
  • ½ to ¾ lb. stew meat (thinly sliced, cubes)
  • 2 links of chorizo sausage (substitute: hot Italian sausage)
  • 2 medium onions (chopped)
  • 2 cloves garlic (chopped)
  • 1 can hominy
  • 2 cans cannellini beans (or Great Northern)
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 2 bay leaves
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 cups of water
  • 1 med-to-lg sweet potato (cut in small cubes)
  • 1 ½ cups yellow squash (sliced)

Directions

  1. In a stewpot, add the olive oil and sauté the meats until brown on med-high heat.
  2. Add onions and the garlic.
  3. Continue sautéing until onions are translucent.
  4. Add the hominy, bean (including juices), and the spices.
  5. Stir, lower heat, and cook for 10 minutes.
  6. Add sweet potatoes and the squash.
  7. Add 2 cups of water, and mix.
  8. Bring to boil, and then reduce heat to low for simmering.
  9. Simmer for 90 minutes. Stir frequently to avoid sticking.
  10. With a potato masher, apply 3-4 mashes to breakup some of the vegetables.
  11. Simmer for 30 minutes (or more) to thicken.
  12. Serve hot and enjoy!