sour cream, smoked hams, real gruyere, rhubarb

#1
I would like to get my hands on some sour cream so that I can make my favourite rabbit dish. You mix sour cream with loads of garlic, coat the rabbit and bake, then use more sour cream with the pan drippings. It is really really good but with regular cream it is just not the same. Also a good way to do chicken.

Ham; is there such a thing here as a smoked ham? I really love picnic shoulders for big parties; they have different kinds of lighter and darker meat and are succulent. Not so interested in the 'better' types of ham b/c they have too little fat. I wash and simmer the ham, reserving the stock for pea soup along with the bone, then bake ... so tender and with a lot of the fat rendered out. I've made pea soup successfully with a chunk of panceta but would love to get my hands on a piece of ham that can be sliced and served for dinner.

Does anyone know where to get a real Swiss gruyere?

How about rhubarb?
 
#3
It seems that you are trying to cook the way you would back in French Canada where you apparently come from. That isn't going to be easy here. Lots of ingredients are simply not available. Cheese tends to be the long life Dutch kind, not much French style cheese. The few French imports, mostly under the brand name PRESIDENT, cost about double the price for the same imports in North America. Your best bet is to cook simpler dishes. Look around and find what decent ingredients you CAN get, without having to run all over town for this and that which should be easily obtainable in the same area, then work out a cooking plan that suits these obtainable ingredients. Bottom line is that the local diet is limited, almost completely the same from Salta to Ushuaia, heavy on fried food (fried potatoes, milanesas) and short on vegetables - some vegetables seem unknown here. If you approach your cooking this way you may be less frustrated.
 
#4
Masalsur
Exotic food for a Argentinian is A Chicken sandwich with mayonaise. I have never seen in all the world such a limited scope on food like here . The typical housewife cooks a Pasta with a simple tomato sauce or a Deep Fried Milanesa with chips. Steaks are common of course served with cardboard style bread and if you are lucky a green salad with a few tomatoes thrown in.
 

nikad

Registered
#5
"ramon" said:
Masalsur
Exotic food for a Argentinian is A Chicken sandwich with mayonaise. I have never seen in all the world such a limited scope on food like here . The typical housewife cooks a Pasta with a simple tomato sauce or a Deep Fried Milanesa with chips. Steaks are common of course served with cardboard style bread and if you are lucky a green salad with a few tomatoes thrown in.
Well, these are the equivalent to your mac and cheese in the US.
 
#6
Sorry Nikad but there is tremendous variety in the US. Fast food is certainly ubiquitous in the US, especially because it is cheap and Americans are affluent and can buy it whenever they want. Just as in Argentina, most Americans are not gourmets however there are some who ARE and they have MANY, MANY more options than food lovers in Argentina. For one, American suprmarkets have tremendous vatiety, lots of fresh produce and prices that are nowadays often cheaper than Argentina. In addition there are farmers markets that bring in organic and other natural food. Lots of fish, every variety that you can imagine, is available. Wine from all over the world is sold at competitive prices. I doubt very much that many Argentines who visit the US eat in good restaurants, especially since the devaluation. Restaurants are just too expensive so they wind up with McDonalds and other junk and then come back complaining about poor American food. Food in Argentina can be good but there is poor variety, a bland national uniformity and a shocking lack of good and varied produce (vegetables) and fish.
 

nikad

Registered
#7
"sergio" said:
Sorry Nikad but there is tremendous variety in the US. Fast food is certainly ubiquitous in the US, especially because it is cheap and Americans are affluent and can buy it whenever they want. Just as in Argentina, most Americans are not gourmets however there are some who ARE and they have MANY, MANY more options than food lovers in Argentina. For one, American suprmarkets have tremendous vatiety, lots of fresh produce and prices that are nowadays often cheaper than Argentina. In addition there are farmers markets that bring in organic and other natural food. Lots of fish, every variety that you can imagine, is available. Wine from all over the world is sold at competitive prices. I doubt very much that many Argentines who visit the US eat in good restaurants, especially since the devaluation. Restaurants are just too expensive so they wind up with McDonalds and other junk and then come back complaining about poor American food. Food in Argentina can be good but there is poor variety, a bland national uniformity and a shocking lack of good and varied produce (vegetables) and fish.
I have been to the Us several times ( and not as a tourist ) and I know there is a large variety of food and products. However the average american diet is not very varied and most people do not like ( or do not have the time to ) cook. The variety here may not be as large as the US ( right now due to imports restrictions and the fact that producers are exporting as much as they can ) but trust me, there is a lot more than steak and chips out there ;) I always ate very well while in the US ( never been to a McDonalds or BK there though ) When I visited some supermarkets, I saw a huge variety of processed and pre cooked stuff, actually impossible to remember for me! but the fresh produce, meat, veggies, fruits, bread, pasta is about the same you can get if you shop wisely ie: do not expect a large variety at Coto, or Disco : you have to go to the baker store, the butchers´shop, and so on. You can also buy directly from farmers here just not in the city!
 
#8
I have been in supermarkets in the US where they have lobsters in tanks! Large displays of cheese from Europe and the US, all high quality and at prices way below those in Argentina. I also know places in the US where you can find farmers markets in central urban areas. I don't know where they are around BA but I don't have the time or the energy to drive all over the Province of Buenos Aires looking for farm fresh goods that should be sold in the city! As for what the average American eats, I really can't say but when I see the diet of professionals in big cities in the US it is a lot more varied and interesting than what I see eaten by people of the same socio-economic group in BA.
 
#9
Lots of interesting reactions, but I'm not going to give up. Back home in Toronto some of my friends also wonder why I "waste" my time looking for weird ingredients. Cooking is my hobby, and I like a lot of variety for health and interest reasons. When I'm really busy in Toronto I keep going to the same grocery store but then get bored and go hunting for more interesting stuff. In my first 4 months I've done quite well with what is generally available, but now I'd like to eat rabbit in a mustard and sour cream sauce because it's delicious and it's not the usual fare. I WOULD go running around the region looking for things if I knew they were out there somewhere. For example, last year I made a haggis for Robbie Burns Day, and learned that although you can buy sheep's stomach in certain butcher shops (e.g. at a Greek butcher shop on Pape south of the Danforth), you can't buy lung anywhere, so my haggis wasn't quite authentic, and that has to do with federal inspection rules. That's the kind of info I'm looking for. I'm not criticizing local fare; I'm looking what what are considered exotic ingredients here to do what I like to do with food.
masalsur
 
#10
"sergio" said:
I also know places in the US where you can find farmers markets in central urban areas. I don't know where they are around BA but I don't have the time or the energy to drive all over the Province of Buenos Aires looking for farm fresh goods that should be sold in the city!
If you haven't found these places in the city of Buenos Aires, you are either incredibly lazy or simply not opening your eyes and ears. I can think of four nice ones right off the top of my head, and I've heard of a few more that I simply haven't gotten around to checking out yet.