Friday, June 20, 2008

Latin Lunch...with a little mediterranean thrown in =)

So I had a little lunch party yesterday with the girls - one birthday and one return from a viaje en Nicaragua. I decided on a Latin main course with a Spanish soup to start and an Italian dessert to finish. I have usually cooked mostly Afghan food for friends since it's my specialty, but I was tired of it, and wanted to test my versatility. So here we go - all new recipes to me, followed quite closely.

topped with a chiffonade of basil, and served with the usual toppings.

This was the only dish thatI think came out somewhat weak - I realized halfway through that I hadn't a clue what it was supposed to taste like - I'd never had it before! Not bad, but not great. Learned a lot though! Next time: no multigrain bread in it...

Next up we have the main course - a nice twist on tacos. Maya brought Masa Harina (cornmeal) and we attempted to make fresh corn tortillas to eat with everything below. I actually liked them quite a bit, despite some texture difficulties. Ha.

Churrasco marinated in Chimichurri
served with fresh corn tortillas, grilled zucchini & squash, chimichurri, and on a bed of spicy greens

This was my favorite, even though I couldn't find the right cut of beef (skirt steak). The spicy greens were brought by Amy, and were actually a delicious addition, as well as beautiful, especially the edible flowers like the one garnishing the steak.

Parsley, Cilantro, and Mint Chimichurri

This is the shit. It's like emerald crack. I'm not even bragging - it's a recipe. The Argentines and Nicaraguans know their stuff - very similar, but even better than chutney. That's all I'm going to say.

Black Beans pureed with Garlic and zest of Lime
topped with caramelized onions and fresh mint

This was my own creation, inspired by the delicious black beans at Agua Verde. I would have topped it with cotija cheese, but I was already spending so much on everything else I chose onions instead. It was delicious, and I will definitely be making it again. and again. Especially when I revert back to a starving student come September...

Grilled Wild Alaskan Sockeye Salmon marinated in a Citrus Recado
served with more of the citrus recado, and the same veggies as the steak

I was a big fan of the citrus recado - I failed to take a picture of it, but as you can kind of see on the salmon, it was a beautiful rainbow of colors - orange, yellow, green, all mixed into one. It had the zest and juice of a lime, a lemon, and an orange, as well as garlic, cilantro, oregano, and touch of hot pepper. The oregano was fresh from our garden, but I didn't taste it over the intense citrus kick. Delicious though! Great recipe - pick up this book if you're at all interested in marinades.

Cantaloupe and Mint Granita
topped with mangos and peaches tossed in lime zest and a fresh mint leaf

Oh my. I have a new favorite dessert. Granita is so healthy! Yet delicious! It's actually quite easy to make: puree the fruit, strain the solids if necessary (not needed for this one), mix in a sugar syrup (this can easily be left out with ripe and sweet summer fruits), and freeze in a shallow pan. Break up the ice with a fork every half hour or so, and bam! An exciting and refreshing dessert - one i can actually make too!

But of course, no meal is complete without my number one customer, who ate like a queen as I was cooking all this up:

served with warm feet under a table

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