Month: March 2010


Menu: Armenia

Nom, nom. I’m in the grazing mood. Solution? An Armenian Meza buffet for this weekend’s Global Table. Meza buffets are typically served cold or room temperature. Most of the dishes can be wrapped up or dipped in flatbread, making Meza great picnic food. This meal is vegetarian; add seasoned grilled chicken, beef, or lamb, if desired. Lavash Armenian flatbread Spiced Feta [Recipe] Feta seasoned with paprika, tarragon, oregano, and sumakh (tart berry powder available at middle eastern stores) Jajik (Cucumber Yogurt Dip) [Recipe] A refreshing blend of cucumbers, yogurt, mint and garlic Yalanchi Sarma (Stuffed Grape Leaves) [Recipe] Grape leaves stuffed with rice, onion, currants, pine nuts, and parsley Lupia Plaki (Stewed White Beans) [Recipe] Great Northern Beans  stewed with carrots, celery, onion, tomato, and garlic. Seasoned with Hungarian paprika and fresh parsley Itch (Bulgur Pilaf Salad) [Recipe] Bulgur with bell pepper, onion, scallions, fresh parsley, and lemon juice Revani (Hazelnut Cake in Honey Syrup) [Recipe] A sponge cake made with ground hazelnut and walnut soaks overnight in honey-brandy-cinnamon syrup.

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About Armenian Food: where friendships are… salty?

Sayings stab the truth right in the eye – with just a few simple words they gracefully reveal local culture. For example, when an Armenian is in the company of good friends they say “We have bread and salt among us.” Why? Bread is an Armenian staple. The most popular flatbread is lavash, while the most popular leavened bread is Pideh. Comparing friendship to bread shows how both are basic sustenance to Armenians. Salt is an essential part of all diets because it is required for basic body function. “Without sodium, which the body cannot manufacture, the body would be unable to transport nutrients or oxygen, transmit nerve impulses, or move muscles, including the heart.” – Kurlansky, Salt On top of this, getting sea salt was historically challenging in landlocked Armenia.  Thus, comparing a friendship to salt is a high honor in Armenia. Ok. Let’s talk Armenian food. Armenians are known for lush markets filled with endless supplies of dried fruits, vegetables, olives, nuts, spices, and meats (check out the wonderful photos at Uncornered Market). Traditional meals include a healthy balance of fruit, vegetables, and meats, however tourists often don’t stray beyond the popular meat …

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Monday Meal Review: Argentina

This is meal #7 in my personal challenge to eat one meal from every country in the world. This week I used my Great Aunt’s dishes for the first time. Her name was Caterina, but we called her Lulla Rina. Lulla Rina made two of my favorite childhood treats: spaghetti tossed with boiled potatoes and marinara, and braided challah with whole eggs baked inside. She’s been gone a long time now but I still smile when I think of those unusual treats. The day of our Argentine feast, I carefully unpacked the dishes. Many were missing or chipped, but I pulled out what I could and rinsed them under hot, soapy water. My fingers traced along the hundreds of harmless fractures that spidered across the old china, telltale signs of decades of use. She must have served thousands of meals on those beautiful dishes. I drank Yerba Mate tea from a teacup she’d once drank from and my heart was with her. Roasted Seasonal Pumpkin Salad with Arugula and Chevre [Recipe] What I like most about this dish: Imagine, if you will… aged goat cheese melts like butter into steaming roasted squash. Baby arugula …

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Chimichurri Sauce

Serves 4 Chimichurri sauce is traditionally served with Beef Empanadas in Argentina. The bold garlic flavor also goes well with any grilled beef. Ingredients: 3/4 cup chopped fresh parsley 1/4 cup chopped fresh oregano 1/2 cup olive oil 1/4 cup chopped red onion 1/4 cup red wine vinegar 2 Tbsp water 5 garlic cloves, crushed 1 tsp salt 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes 1/4 tsp pepper Method: 1. Combine all ingredients in a food processor or blender. Process until a loose salsa consistency is achieved. 2. Let stand at room temperature for flavors to meld, at least 30 minutes. Chimichurri can be refrigerated for a day or two. Serve at room temperature. Votes: 0 Rating: 0 You: Rate this recipe! Print Recipe Chimichurri sauce is traditionally served with Beef Empanadas in Argentina. The bold garlic flavor also goes well with any grilled beef.Chimichurri Sauce CourseAppetizers & Snacks LifestyleGluten-Free, Potluck Friendly, Vegan, Vegetarian Food TypeSauces & Dressings Servings Prep Time 4people 10minutes Passive Time 30minutes Servings Prep Time 4people 10minutes Passive Time 30minutes Ingredients 3/4cup parsley, chopped (fresh) 1/4cup oregano, …

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Potato and Corn Casserole | Pastel de papa con eliote

Makes one 8×8 casserole Even the pickiest eater will enjoy this simple casserole. What’s better than mashed potatoes and corn?  NOTE: Recipe updated November 2011 to make it richer and more epic. Depending on the size of your potatoes, you may need more or less milk/butter. Ingredients: 5 russet potatoes (3 lbs), peeled and boiled 1- 1 1/2 cups whole milk (or as needed to make potatoes fluffy) 3/4 cup melted butter 2 tsp garlic salt pepper salt 2 cups frozen corn, thawed 2 Tbsp minced parsley Method: 1. Preheat oven to 425F. In the hot pot you cooked the potatoes, add the drained potatoes. Let steam dry a few minutes (this allows even more milky goodness to get into them). Then add 1/2 cup melted butter (reserve the rest for the corn topping), garlic powder, pepper, and salt. Mash together, adding milk in small amounts until fluffy. 2. Put potato mixture in a buttered casserole dish. 3. Puree thawed corn with remaining melted butter until creamy. If your blender has trouble, add a bit of milk …

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Crepes with Milk Fudge | Panqueques de Dulce de Leche

Serves 4 Got a sweet tooth? Argentine crepes with dulce de leche will satisfy. The creamy carmel like filling makes this dessert date night material. Ingredients: For the crepes: 1 cup flour 1 cup milk 2 eggs 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract butter For the dulce de leche: Recipe Method: For the crepes: 1. In a medium bowl, whisk all ingredients together. Set in refrigerator overnight. This important step removes all lumps and makes for a great texture. 2. Heat a frying pan over medium heat. Add a bit of butter. When pan is hot, add about a 1/4 cup of crepe batter to the pan and swirl it around to spread into a disc shape. When the surface of the crepe no longer changes from looking wet to looking dry, turn over and cook for about 1 minute longer. There should be only light browning on the crepe. 3. Remove crepe from pan and spread with dulce de leche. Roll up and serve immediately. If serving later, line several rolled crepes in a casserole dish. Reheat …

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Roasted Acorn Squash Salad with Arugula and Chevre

Serves 4 I first heard of making a salad inside a hot, roasted pumpkin from the Argentine chef, Francis Mallmann. My version of this unusual salad is streamlined for the home cook. Enjoy this wonderful comfort food on a cold day. Makes enough for a light meal, or use it as an impressive starter in a larger feast. Ingredients: 2 acorn squash (or pumpkin – whatever is in season) olive oil salt pepper For the vinaigrette: 1 1/2 Tbsp chopped fresh mint 1 1/2 Tbsp chopped fresh oregano 1/4 cup red wine vinegar 1/2 cup olive oil 1 tsp salt 1/2 tsp pepper bunch baby arugula 8 ounces Bucheron goat cheese (this is aged goat cheese – regular goat cheese is a fine substitute) Method: 1. Preheat the oven to 400F. 2. Cut pumpkins in half and remove seeds and strings. Brush cut ends liberally with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. 3. Roast for 45 min-1 hour, or until a fork pierces the flesh with no resistance. 4. Meanwhile, whisk together ingredients for the vinaigrette in a small bowl. …

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Beef Empanadas

Serves 4-8 Spicy and hearty, beef empanadas are great party food. Serve with Chimichurri dipping sauce for a garlicky kick. Ingredients: 2 batches empanada dough For the Filling: 1 Tbsp butter 1 onion, minced 1 1/2 Tbsp tomato paste 3 cloves garlic, crushed 1/2 tsp dried oregano 1 tsp cumin 1/4 tsp cayenne 1/2 lb ground hamburger, 85% lean 3/4 cup low sodium beef broth 1/2 cup shredded Monterey Jack 1 hard-boiled egg, chopped 1-2 green onions chopped salt pepper Method: First, prepare the empanada dough. For the empanada filling: 1. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add butter and melt. Add onion and cook until softened and translucent. Add tomato paste, garlic, cumin, oregano, and cayenne. Stir thoroughly to combine and cook for about 2 minutes. 2. Add ground beef and cook until the seasonings mix in and meat is just cooked through. Add beef broth and simmer over low until most of the moisture evaporates and meat just looks wet. 3. Turn off heat. Stir in cheese, egg, and green onion. Cool filling …

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More on Argentinian Empanadas and Dulce de Leche (poll)

Uggg. Empanadas are hard to make. Well, to be specific, they’re hard to “repulgue.” Watching the videos in yesterday’s post made me think “Wow, this is going to be a breeze.” So naive. So VERY naive. The videos made it look easy breezy because those people had probably repulgued (can you say that?) thousands of empanadas. When you have made zero, repulging (probably can’t say that) is not easy at all. So, I hope you’ll cut me some slack when you see what I made for this weekend. At least I didn’t resort to the fork (although I thought about it). Although the empanadas look like the product of a kindergarten craft project, lots of love and effort went into their making. My friend and I spent the better part of the day making dough, cooking the filling, cooling the filling, filling the filling into the filling… huh? what? Sorry, I had some sangria in there somewhere, too. Now that you’ve been updated, let’s talk dulce de leche. Dulce de leche is made by cooking sweetened condensed milk for several hours until …

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How to “repulgue” an empanada

“You just might do it wrong,” said the little squeaky voice inside my head. I looked up from the Empanadas recipe and frowned. “I’ve made little filled pastries before.” I replied, “Just cut circles, fill with meat, fold in half, and seal the edges with a fork. Easy!” “There’s probably a proper way to make empanadas,” said the voice, a little louder. “You should find out, before you make a fool out of yourself.” The voice inside my head became louder still, chattering on until I admitted defeat. The voice was right – I needed to find out once and for all. Fast forward through several google searches and YouTube videos (seeing as my cookbook was no help in this area). Wouldn’t you know, there actually IS a proper way to shape empanadas and it does NOT include sealing the edges with a fork. The method is to “repulgue,” or roll the edges to make the appearance of a two strand braid. As fate would have it, an Argentinian blogger living in Paris just happened to blog about this very technique 12 days ago! Huzzah! …

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Menu: Argentina

I am sitting at the dining room table with a cup of tea and cookbooks strewn about me. This is a normal Tuesday night. I spend as much time looking at random recipes as I do Argentinian recipes. I realize I am happy. Thank you, Food, for all your incarnations. Roasted Pumpkin Salad with Arugula and Chevre [Recipe] The cavity of a steaming, roasted pumpkin is filled with goat cheese, arugula and mint vinaigrette. Any pumpkin variety is acceptable, depending on seasonal availability. Beef Empanadas [Recipe] A savory beef filling is wrapped in pastry and baked. Traditional recipes include hard-boiled egg and green onion. Chimichurri Dipping Sauce [Recipe] This garlicky dipping sauce made with fresh parsley has the consistency of a loose salsa. Pastel de Papa con Elote (Potato and Corn Pie) [Recipe] Mashed potatoes topped with pureed corn and baked. Crepes with Dulce de Leche [Recipe] Crepes are spread with a thin layer of milk fudge, rolled, and served warm from the oven.

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