Sunday, May 13, 2012


Today is Mother’s Day, and I am cooking food from Argentina. My husband told me, “Why go out when you cook better than a restaurant?”  Well, I suppose he may be right on that one (even though I had been craving jerk chicken for almost a month now). And you certainly couldn’t buy this meal in a restaurant for as cheap as it was for me to make it myself.

The ingredients for this were pretty easy to find for the most part. It was finding the recipes that gave me some trouble. I was immediately drawn to this bread called chimichurri bread. It was full of spices and other good things, and I just HAD to make it. However, almost every recipe had these directions: “Put it in a bread machine and press ‘Start.’”  That’s lazy. The whole point of this was to make bread by hand, and besides, I don’t even own a bread machine. But I did end up finding a quasi-by-hand recipe that I had to improvise off of. The first part of the recipe still called for the dough to be processed in a bread machine on dough cycle, which I still had no idea what that meant. So what I did was mix everything together, let it rest for an hour, then lightly kneaded it before put it in a loaf pan to bake.

This dough rested like a baby, you know, for only an hour and woke up without much change as before. 
It seemed kind of thick and didn’t really rise at all, and I did have to keep it in the oven longer than indicated (which it probably could’ve stayed in a tad bit longer). But it was good though, especially with the melted smoked provolone on it (based on a provoleta recipe I found) that melted way more than it was supposed to.  It’s probably because I cut the pieces too thin, but I never claimed to be the world’s best cheese slicer. In fact, I didn’t even make the Sweet 16. I’ve learned to get over it, though.

The finished product. See how I learned to score. (The bread. Where was YOUR mind?) 
The main dish I made was beef empanadas. I did a couple things new in this recipe that I’ve not done before. It had me pour boiling water on the ground beef to partially cook it (but it didn’t say how much boiling water I had to use. I ended up using about 6 cups). I also wasn’t really sure about the pastry sheets – the only thing I could find was fillo sheets. I used one of my soup bowls as a stencil and a paring knife to cut out the circle shape. Because the fillo sheets were so thin, I doubled them up. But they turned out really good. I know they were good because my kids each ate two.

Just looking at this picture makes me want to go get another one. Hold on just a second...
And the plus in all of this for me was that I found Quilmes beer from Argentina to accompany our meal (well, mine anyway). Two weeks ago when I was looking for conch at this fish market, I took a look around. And surprisingly they carried several different kinds of beer from various Central and South America. It’s actually not a bad beer; I kind of like it. The bottle claims it’s Argentina’s favorite beer. I can see that, even though I’m pretty sure I should probably go to Argentina and try them all and see for myself. You know, truth in advertising.

Quilmes is Spanish for "Just let me enjoy this without anyone bothering me, please." 
The whole meal was simple, yet filling, even though I was a little hesitant about putting raisins and green olives in with my beef.  But like I keep insisting to my husband, flavors mix when together and create new flavors. Actually, I tasted the Spanish smoked paprika more than anything. I’m glad that I did this meal. It brought my family together, and that’s really all I wanted for Mother’s Day. (Ok, that, and to have my new stereo installed into my vehicle by my incredibly gifted husband. That’s all really.)

Up next: Armenia


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