Thursday, February 25, 2010

Argentina, Chile & Uruguay

Gauchos galore!

This week in Latin we made food from these three countries: Argentina, Chile and Uruguay. Our menu consisted of the following: Pebre Chileno (Chilean Salsa) - featuring a grain which has been used for 5000 years in the Andean Region (Quinoa); Matambre; Tamales de Espinacas (Spinach Tamales); Empanadas Criollas and Cheese; Chimichurri Sauce; Mango Mousse.

Pebre Chileno uses one of the most powerful grains in the world - Quinoa. Quinoa is full of protein and essential amino acids; NASA uses quinoa for the production of astronaut food. You wash the quinoa till clear and boil it for 15 minutes in slightly salted water to cook it. While you are chilling the qunioa you small dice white onion, rough chop cilantro, mince garlic and small dice a concasse tomato. Add a minced serrano pepper, vegetable oil and wine vinegar to the prior mixture of tomato, onion, etc. Incorporate all of the above ingredients, add salt to taste and bang! This salsa is not only tasty, but also packed with amino acids and protein.

Maria made the meat and cheese empanadas. The dough consists of lard, all purpose flour, egg yolk, egg, milk and salt. After combining the ingredients and adding the milk a little at the time; let it rest for 30 minutes. While it is resting prepare the fillings...the meat filling consists of ground veal, white onion, garlic, red bell pepper, oregano, thyme, paprika, olives and boiled egg. The Cheese filling consists of cream cheese, parmesan cheese, mashed potatoes, scallions, parsley, salt & white pepper. After the dough has rested you cut out disks and fill with the appropriate fillings. pinch them closed and bake at 375 degrees until golden brown. Chef said our salsa was good but need more salt...go figure. As for the Empanadas they were very good but could've stayed in the oven a little longer to brown them.

Our Chimichurri was very good! It had body, courtesy of the large amount of parsley and the flavor was spot on. Chimichurri consists of garlic, parsley, slat, black pepper, oregano, red pepper flakes, extra virgin olive oil, red wine vinegar and a little water. If you want it spicier add more red pepper flakes.

The matambre was a mission! Mike worked with Loida to finish this masterpiece of MEAT! You take a flank steak and butterfly it to make it thinner...and you thought that was you beat it with a mallet to make it even thinner! Then you rub it down with oregano, garlic, salt, pepper, vinegar and oil. Fill the meat in rows with egg, olives, peppers, carrots, asparagus, etc...then roll up the flank steak; truss and braise in a rondo pot with veal stock. Simmer the meat for two hours and make sure to turn after 1 hour. Make sure the meat rests for 10 minutes before serving; take off the twine, etc and cut into 1/2 inch thick slices. Pour the stock over them and serve! Chef said it was very good and just needed a little more salt.

Loida made the mango mousse and it was awesome! Talk about refreshing...this mousse consisted of mango puree, gelatin and orange juice mixed into soft heavy whip mixture. Then of course chilled and served immediately. Overall we all did a great job, and I think I ace'd my midterm as well...We'll see!

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