20 Sept 2008

Foodbuzz 24, 24, 24 : From matambre to empanadas an argentine dinner

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  24 , 24 24 . Is a amazing world wide live blogging event organized by Foodbuzz, a food blogger’s community , for their official launch. I am so proud to be one of the chosen for participate in this wonderful event among 24 others world food bloggers . 

 First of all, let me tell you something, for most Argentine people the best food is home- made among friends and relatives. But, don’t misunderstand me .They like going out and eating in good restaurants because here there are very good ones. Anyway, home is the best choice. If you are thinking about having a great feast for argentines you have two usual options: The first one is asado (Barbecue), which is more than a simple meal, it is mostly a social meeting.

 Many Argentine families have in their own grill in the backyard of their homes (called parrillas), where they meet on the weekends for a meal together with friends and relatives to have a good moment , chatting drinking beer or wine and enjoy the sun ; or a great lunch or dinner in an old fashion way style. There is a huge table where everybody sits around it, talking, eating, drinking, sharing personal experiences and having fun. To have dinner in an old fashion way with close friends and relatives was my choice

diner grande
  The key to have a good dinner party is always a good conversation, drinks, and try the guests be as comfortable as possible. You should cook something that gives you time to talk with your guests and enjoy yourself. Pasta is a good choice, because all you need is a good salad, bread, and good wine. But in a country mostly meat-eating, beef is an integral part of the culture.

 Million of Argentine people enjoy it nearly every day. So, I added a meat dish too. As the ever-popular empanadas, and cheese for hors d'oeuvres Argentine’s cheeses are great. Many cheeses are made in here based upon European style such as Cheddar, Gruyere, Parmesan, and Emmenthal, among others. Some of the best Argentine cheeses I've heard about include: Reggianito (similar to Italian Parmigiano Reggiano), Sardo (made from cow's milk instead of sheep's milk), and Goat Feta I always prepare my dinner parties the day before, visiting the grocery and butchers. Fresh flowers and candles are welcome and checked, as well, table linen, glasses and wine. 

To host my friends and relatives I set the table and prepare a good cheese selection, I like to present it on a large wooden cutting board; all cheeses must be in room temperature. I also served Empanadas in medium wooden bowls. There are many ways to make empanadas, baked, fried, “criollas” (The word criollo usually means native-born, as in the sons of the Europeans in that case means native cuisine) or in puff pastry. The favorite ones in our home are baked crusty-puff pastry. 

You can fill empanadas with almost anything I chose Roquefort (blue cheese) celery and walnuts, because everybody loves them. I let you know our best favorite recipe.

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dinner enpanadas

  12 puff pastry circles approximately 5 inches in diameter. Or use this: “Criolla” dough recipe
  • 500 g flour
  • 1 large egg,
  • Salt,
  • 125 g. "grasa de pella" (Sort of veal fat)
  • ½ cup Water
Combine flour and salt in a bowl. Pour in melted "grasa de pella”, the egg and water until combined. Turn out on a floured surface and knead until smooth. Leave rest (about 20 minutes) covered with moisten dishtowel. Roll on the dough stretching until 3 millimetres thick. Cut circles approximately 5 inches in diameter.

  • 150 g blue cheese
  • 150 g cheese (I used mozzarella or Argentine Port salut )
  • 50 g celery cute in dice
  • 100g coarsely chopped walnuts
In a food processor, process the cheese Add the celery and walnuts.. Place a teaspoon of fill in the centre of the dough circle. Lightly brush the edges with water. Fold the dough over the filling. Crimp the edges pressing them with a fork or overlapped small folds along the line of union of the edges as a sort of seam called here "repulgue".(I can’t do this, it is so hard for me, even training, it never seems perfect as argentines do it) Make sure it is perfectly closed .I give to empanadas a sort of cappelletti shape . So, then wrap the half moons around your little finger, giving them a half-twist to turn up one pair of corners and pressing the other pair together to make little rings.It is easier and looks beautiful Pre heat the oven (356,00°F). Put the empanadas on a buttered cookie sheet. Brush the tops lightly with egg yolk or butter and bake until they’re light brown

  dinner matambre

 Matambre, is another typical dish and another favorite meal among Argentine people, that I include in my dinner If you have never heard about it,

 Matambre is a meat roll stuffed with eggs, herbs and vegetables, that is then boiled or oven-roasted and pressed for hours. The literally translation of this word is “Hunger killer”.

Only in Argentina you’ll find that all butchers know how to get the right and delicate cut from the cow. Matambre is one of the muscles of the abdomen; it's underneath the skin of the belly. You can use flank steak, but really, it is not the same thing. Matambre is served cold and in thin and delicate slices .It was my choice to starter
dinner wines

  For this particular dinner I chose to serve wine, water and soft drinks .We launched with a simple sparkling wine.for the salad We also chose only red young Argentine Malbec as the perfect option for the meat (Chakana 2006) with hints of sweet vanilla, milk chocolate, and toast, was the perfect combination also forr the pasta dish. But as I love white wine, we opened my favourite Chardonnay too. .

Lindaflor ,from Monteviejo winery. Incredible buttery nose with fresh subtle exotic fruits. Smooth with touch of oak, not too overwhelming, is a full bodied chard. My advice is decanted for one hour before serve and half hour hours for the red one.

 After the matambre we started our dinner with a fresh smoked salmon, avocato, icing lettuce salad. That I served in verrines with vibrant colors plastic forks. Garnish with salt, pepper, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar. The next dish was my famous rolled filet mignon (of course) stuffed with ham, bondiola (pork shoulder) and Roquefort (blue cheese).
dinner carne
  Let me make a hiatus here and explain. Most blue cheeses here are called Roquefort by the people. In fact, Roquefort falls under the 'protected designation of origin' (PDO) provided by the European Union Law.

The real Roquefort cheese is made with only Lacaune ewe (a kind of sheep) milk and blue cheese here are made with identical techniques, but made with cow milk. Argentine people refuse calling it blue cheese, they prefer the name Roquefort. I participated in many discussions about this topic. Back to the theme Previously, the meat was overnight marinated in white wine, shallots, salt, pepper, parsley and powdered red pepper.

diner sobremesa
dinner sob colher

The next and last dish was squash green ravioli in cream, sage, white wine and cheese sauce. The dessert was a simple orange flan (custard) with dulce de leche sauce (known in USA as caramel). Orange Flan with dulce de leche Ingredients
  • 1 cup sugar caramelized
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 can condensed milk
  • Same can measure orange juice
Method Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Pour 1 cup sugar in a warm pan over medium heat. Constantly stir sugar until it browns and becomes caramel. Immediately pour approximately 2-3 tablespoons of the caramel into each ramekin, tilting the ramekins to swirl the caramel around the sides. You may reheat the caramel if it starts to harden. In a blender blend the eggs together then slowly mix in the condensed milk followed by the orange juice, blending smooth after each ingredient is added. Pour the flan mixture into caramel lined ramekins. Place ramekins in a ceramic baking dish and fill the dish with 1-2 inches of hot water. Bake for 45 minutes in the water bath and check with a knife off to the side of center. If knife comes out clean, they are done. Remove from water bath and let cool. Let each ramekin cool in refrigerator for 1 hour. Invert each ramekin onto a small plate, letting the caramel sauce flow over the flan. Spoon the top
with dulce de leche and serve

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  Coffee, petit fours and a pleasant conversation at the end of the meal. I enjoyed a lot this dinner; it was lovely, full of joy and funny things. And this is one of the ways Argentine families enjoy themselves and have a good time.


Ivy said...

Wow, Sylvia, most exceptional. You are going to make them drooling over at Foodbuzz. Good work and lovely photos.

Marija said...

What a feast! Wonderful post and photos Sylvia!

Lori Lynn said...

Bravo Sylvia! How absolutely fabulous. I know this is rude but If I am ever in Buenos Aires can I come to one of your dinner parties? Happy to help cook and do dishes! When you are in LA , don't forget to look me up! I think we could have a wild time cooking together.
I will be on the look-out for those wines, maybe they are exported to the US?
Yours is the first 24 24 24 I read, and what a smashing success.
I just loaded Jimmy Buffett's Creola to listen to while I comment. Inspired by your empanadas. Do you know it?

Manggy said...

Wow, Sylvia! Everything looks so good! Dessert especially :) Looks like everyone did have a good time!

Peter M said...

Congratulations on your 24,24,24 entry and reprensenting Argentina in a splendid way.

Where shall I sit?

Anonymous said...

I also made my meal at home! It is the most special for me too. I love your menu, it sounds delicious. I would love to try goat feta and the matambre.

Núria said...

Good lord, Sylvia.... what do I have to do to be your guest? YOur menu is exceptional and you seem to be the perfect host... The Mary Poppins of the kitchens/lunch rooms!!!!
Bravo for you♥

Anonymous said...

Wow, what a meal! I so much want to visit Argentina one day. And you are right to believe that the host should be able to spend time with the guests...

Laurie said...

Sylvia.. Brava!!!!!!! This is by far the most beautiful 24, 24, 24 post I have seen yet! It is so Gourmet, Bon Appetit Quality and deserves full front page coverage!:)
I knew you would share some wonderful recipes and I am so exited to see what you came up with. I love your empenada's.. My empenada is a combo of my grandfathers recipe from Argentina and my Mother in laws from Spain. Yours looks so crisp and delicate! And my husband and I drooled over your flan with dulce de lece sauce!! WOW.. :)

Thistlemoon said...

Wow Sylvia! What a great meal and what a wonderful way to share it with friends and family. Everything looks wonderful! :)

I have never seen or heard of Matambre, which is a shame because it looks remarkable!

Anonymous said...

Oh, wow! Everything looks so delicious! I'd love to come to one of your dinner parties. ;-)

Congrats on your participation at Foodbuzz!


Anonymous said...

What a great intro & insight into Argentine cuisine, and a wonderful dinner! All the good food is making me really hungry ;)

Anonymous said...

Congratulations on a delicious meal!

I've never had Matambre before - but am dying to try it now. It's such a beautiful presentation with the colourful vegetables and egg.

ZenKimchi said...

This 24, 24, 24 thing has been so cruel. I have been enjoying what everyone has been posting.

Now I need to go to Argentina! Your food and photography were amazing.

Dee said...

Congratulations on being one of the 24 :) Your pictures are straight-out-of-a-magazine stunning!

Sylvia, your blog is truly an inspiration. I've bookmarked the flan recipe and I know it'll be amazing, even if nowhere as pretty as yours.

FOODalogue said...

Muy buen hecho! I wish I was at that dinner party.

Giff said...

Thank you for sharing this -- I found it really interesting and learned so many things I didn't know about Argentina. It looked like a great feast. Congrats!

Anonymous said...

Ya no escribes en español y eso es una mala noticia.
La fotografía perfecta, mejorada incluso.
Saludos españoles.

Darius T. Williams said...

Wow - this is what I'm talking about. I'm loving. It's my first time here - definitely won't be my last!


maybelles mom said...

congratulations. the photographs are amazing!

HuggingtheCoast.Com said...

I have always wanted to take a food tour of Argentina and your post only confirms me more.

Your photos are wonderfully composed and your food looks sinfully delicious!

Tony said...

Now I'm upset! You always have amazing photos ... but these are the best I've seen yet! How do you do it? What equipment do you use? And lense?