Sunday, January 9, 2011

Week 4

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Have you ever gotten to Friday and realized you haven't gone anywhere all week, or done anything, or taken any pictures for Project 365? This was that kind of week. So in the interest of full disclosure, my midweek photos are actually Sunday morning photos but they represent my week (I did think long and hard -- at least five minutes -- about what to shoot this morning that was indicative of the week).

Sunday was the all-day trip back from Mendoza. When we stopped for gas in San Luis, I was fascinated by this beautiful mural.
Especially in cities, the vast majority of homes are surrounded by fences and while most have the decorative metal kind, some folks are a little more security conscious and erect these huge block walls. But I had never seen one where the owner painted it in such a lovely manner. (Did you notice the razor wire on top, too?)

We broke up the trip with one stop besides lunch (and the necessary potty breaks) by visiting a small olive oil factory. I use the word factory loosely. It's an orchard in Villa de Las Rosas, an area famous for their olives and olive oil. [Side note: this is where we tried to take our anniversary trip last year which was cut short when the hotel didn't have sufficient heat.] Doesn't look like much from the outside, does it? Sort of like a regular house almost.
Can you see the machinery at the far end of the porch? The olives are picked and immediately cleaned in that contraption before being sent inside for processing. Quite fascinating (for a foodie, anyway) to hear how they extract the oil. The young lady who showed us around and explained the process was very patient and obviously excited about what they do.
They use the cold press (centrifugal extraction) method which, according to Lynne Rossetto Kasper from The Splendid Table, is the best. Bigger processors take the pulp waste and run it through an additional heat treatment to extract even more, but inferior, oil. This place just collects the pulp and uses it for fertilizer. These smaller places are referred to as being artesanal (in the U.S. they're called artisanal). We bought several bottles to try and I have to say it is the best olive oil I've ever had. So delicious! My favorite is the basil infused oil.
Oh my word, I could just drink it from the bottle. But since it's not a very big bottle and I want it to last as long as possible, I use it sparingly on salads. I really wish I could share this with you because it's the kind of thing you try and then want everyone else to try too.

As wonderful as our time in Mendoza was, we were all happy to get home (especially after that killer drive). Here's what you see from my front gate. My geraniums are going crazy now that the rains have returned, and the oleander is blooming like crazy too. Not sure what happened to the little patch of grass beneath the tree though; looks like the rain came too late to save it.
Most of the week you could find Tina in this very same spot.
(My couch looks very comfy, doesn't it?)

Our garden is flourishing. We've begun harvesting lettuce, swiss chard and green onions. The beans are going great guns but it'll be a while before they're ready. Same with the squash and peppers.
Friday Tina and I spent the day shopping in Cordoba. Well, she shopped and I had fun going along. My girl is a bargain-hunting, deal-finding, super shopper and I love to watch her in action :-)  We also enjoyed afternoon merienda at a restaurant in the mall. It was too late in the day for me to indulge in coffee but Tina thoroughly enjoyed her cappuccino. The chocolate cake was quite yummy too!
We stayed there a looooooong time because it was quiet, cool and peaceful. The perfect ending to a busy day spent mostly on hot, noisy city streets crowded with thousands of pedestrians.

A photographical update on the project next door:
Is there any wonder I can't keep my house clean with all the dust flying around?!

That wraps up the week for me. Head over to Sara's for more Project 365!

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