Chocotorta

Desserts

 (Torta de Chocolinas)

Chocotorta, pedazo

This is a very typical Argentine dessert made out of 100% deliciousness. Admittedly, it is a very simple, quick, no-bake dessert. Nonetheless, it is heaven…layers of chocolate cookies and creamy dulce de leche…In one Word: Yum. Unfortunately, it may be somewhat hard to find the ingredients in other countries. However, any store that sells Argentine products will most likely have them.

Ingredients:

  • 48 Chocolina cookies (2 170-gram packets)
  • 250 g sour cream
  • 250 g dulce de leche
  • ½ cup milk, more if needed

Chocotorta

Directions:

  1. Mix together the sour cream and dulce de leche in a bowl.
  2. Pour the milk into a bowl. Dip the Chocolinas, one by one, in the milk and place on the bottom of an 8×8-inch square baking dish. You should be able to fit 12 cookies.
  3. With a spatula, spread a layer of the dulce de leche mixture over the cookies.
  4. Top with 12 more soaked cookies.
  5. Repeat this procedure until you have 4 layers of cookies and 4 layers of the dulce de leche mixture. Refrigerate.
  6. To serve, cut rectangular pieces by following the shape of the cookie.

 

Comments: Like I said before, very easy. This may quite possibly be one of my favorite desserts. It’s perfect for the summer, but you don’t need an excuse to eat it year-round. My favorite brand of dulce de leche is La Salamandra. Unfortunately, they have recently stopped producing it. Other well-known brands are San Ignacio, Havanna, La Serenísima and Verónica. A very common brand is La Lechera but it is really bad and NOT ARGENTINE. I beg of you, if possible, use the real thing.

Chocotorta, pedazo 2

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Koshari

Vegan

Koshari c: salsa

Adapted from http://www.food.com

I first tried this dish at the university dining commons and loved it. It is the national dish of Egypt. It basically consists of lentils, rice and orzo with a spicy tomato sauce. It is very easy to make and cheap. The recipe says it serves 6 people but I’d say it serves 6 VERY hungry people. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup brown lentils
  • 1 cup basmati rice
  • 1 cup uncooked orzo
  • 2 large onions, diced
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 (400 g) can chopped tomatoes
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red chili pepper flakes
  • Salt, to taste
  • Black pepper, to taste

Directions:

  1. Cook the lentils in just over a liter of salted water.
  2. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for 15-30 minutes, depending on the type of lentils you are using.
  3. When the lentils are tender, add the rice to the lentils and continue to simmer until the rice is cooked. Add water if necessary.
  4. In a separate pot, cook the orzo.
  5. Rinse and strain when done.
  6. Meanwhile, sauté the inions in the oil until golden.
  7. Add the tomatoes, chili flakes, salt and pepper and let it bubble for 10-20 minutes or until thickened.
  8. Mix the lentils, rice and orzo together in one pot.
  9. Place some of the lentil mixture on each plate and top with the tomato sauce.

 

The Spicy Tomato Sauce

The Spicy Tomato Sauce

Comments:

The original recipe calls for basmati rice but I used RiceSelect’s Royal Blend that includes white, brown, red and wild rice to include some whole grains. I also used whole grain orzo. The original recipe on food.com actually says to use elbow macaroni or small shells; I chose orzo because the one I had at the university was made with orzo and other recipes I looked at also used orzo. The original recipe also says to sauté the onions with 4 cloves of garlic, which I omitted because of my mom. When I made this dish, I restricted myself with the amount of chili pepper I added because my mom is not very tolerant of spicy foods; however, I recommend adding a lot of it to give the dish a good boost of flavor. (My mom agreed.)

Koshari

Pommes de Terre Savoyarde

Side Dishes

(Scalloped Potatoes Savoyarde)

Coq au Vin avec des Pommes de Terre Savoyarde

Coq au Vin avec des Pommes de Terre Savoyarde

Adapted from Julia’s Kitchen Wisdom by Julia Child

These potatoes are great for any meat dish: Coq au Vin, boeuf bourguignon, boeuf au poivre…you name it. They are flavorful, cheesy, crusty and soft…simply delicious.

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs boiling potatoes
  • 3 cups thinly sliced onions
  • 1½ cups grated Gruyère cheese
  • 2 cups chicken stock

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 425F (218C).
  2. Peel the potatoes one at a time. Cut them into ¼-inch thick slices and drop them into cold water.
  3. Sauté the onions in some vegetable oil.
  4. After draining and drying the potato slices, layer the bottom of a baking dish with them. Top the potatoes with the onions and then the cheese.
  5. Pour the chicken stock over the potatoes to cover by three-quarters.
  6. Bake in the preheated oven for about 40 minutes, basting several times until the liquid is absorbed and the potatoes are nicely browned.

 

Comments: This is not a complex side dish. They do bake for a while so they are perfect if you need to finish making the main course. I made them with the Coq au Vin and it was a very satisfying meal.

Coq au Vin

Poultry
Coq au Vin avec des Pommes de Terre Savoyarde

Coq au Vin avec des Pommes de Terre Savoyarde

Adapted from Julia’s Kitchen Wisdom by Julia Child

Here is another traditional French dish. My father had once tried it France and loved it, so I decided to make some for it. I won’t say mine was better than the French chef’s but we all really loved it, and my uncle, who was visiting, was super happy I had made it. Make sure you have a lot of time on your hands before attempting this recipe.

Serves about 6 people

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp cooking oil
  • 3 lbs chicken breast, cut into cubes
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 2 cups sliced onions
  • 1 cup sliced carrots
  • 1 bottle red wine (like zinfandel or Chianti)
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup chopped tomatoes
  • Dried parsley, to taste
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Dried thyme, to taste
  • Beurre manié for the sauce: 3 tbsp flour blended to a paste with 2 tbsp butter

Directions:

  1. In a large frying pan, heat the oil and brown the chicken. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and transfer it to a large casserole.
  2. Remove all but a little fat from the pan, add the sliced vegetables and brown them. Add to the meat.
  3. Deglaze the pan with wine, pouring it into the casserole along with enough stock to almost the meat. Stir in the tomatoes and add the herbs. Bring to a simmer, cover and simmer slowly on the stove until the meat is tender. (You can eat a piece or pierce it with a fork to test for tenderness.)
  4. Drain through a colander set over a saucepan and return the chicken to the casserole. Press the juices out of the residue into the cooking liquid. Remove the accumulated fat from the top and boil down the liquid to 3 cups.
  5. Off heat, whisk in the beurre manié. Simmer for 2 minutes as the sauce thickens lightly. Pour the sauce over the meat.
  6. To serve, bring to a simmer, basting meat and vegetables with the sauce for several minutes until thoroughly hot throughout.

 

Comments: This really is a spectacular dish and it is not too hard; it just takes a while. It is perfect for dinner on a cold winter’s night. The side dish I made to go with the coq au vin is Scalloped Potatoes Savoyarde. Other great options would be a gratin dauphinois or pommes Anna (other types of scalloped potatoes).

 

Indian Summer Risotto

Other, Vegetarian

Indian Summer Risotto

 

Adapted from Seriously Simple Parties by Diane Rossen Worthington

 I have always loved risotto. Arborio rice is delicious on its own but the creamy texture of risotto with the add-ins makes a perfect meal. My mom always made a mushroom risotto with some bacon and mushrooms, of course. What I really liked about this recipe was that it was vegetarian and had a great variety of vegetables. Another very successful dinner.

Ingredients:

  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 1 lb yellow and Green zucchini, cut into ½-inch dice
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into ½-inch dice
  • Pinch of salt
  • Black pepper, to taste
  • 5 cups vegetable broth
  • ½ cup white wine
  • 1 ½ cups Arborio rice, uncooked
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped fresh basil
  • ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan

Directions:

  1. In a large sauté pan, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and sauté until softened and lightly browned.
  2. Reduce the heat to medium. Add the zucchini and sauté for about 3 to 5 minutes until the squash is lightly browned and well coated with the oil. Add the bell pepper and sauté for another 3 minutes until slightly softened. Cover and cook for 4 more minutes until the pepper begins to wilt, stirring once or twice. Uncover, increase the heat to medium-high and cook until the liquid has evaporated, about 1 more minute. Season with salt and pepper, remove from the heat and set aside.
  3. Place the broth and wine in a large glass measuring cup or bowl and microwave on high for 2 minutes. You may also place them in a saucepan and bring them to a simmer over medium-high heat.
  4. In a heavy pot, heat the remaining oil over medium heat. Add the rice and stir well, making sure that all the grains are well coated. Pour in ½ cup of the hot broth and sitr, using a wooden spoon, until all the broth is absorbed. Continue adding the broth, ½ cup at a time, making sure the rice has absorbed the broth before adding more, and stirring constantly so the rice doesn’t burn or stick. (It takes about 3 to 5 minutes for the rice to absorb each addition of broth).
  5. When you add the last ½ cup of broth, add the vegetable mixture with it, reduce the heat to low and cook for 2 more minutes. Remove from the heat and add the chopped parsley, the basil and the Parmesan cheese; stir well to blend with the rice.
  6. Serve immediately. Spoon the risotto into shallow serving bowls. You may garnish with parsley and basil leaves and have extra Parmesan available.

 

Comments: What really surprised me, in a good way, was how creamy this risotto turned out. The one my mom always made had some cream, but this one has none. Nonetheless, as you continue to add more broth, the texture of the rice becomes creamier and creamier. My main suggestion is that you have all your ingredients ready to add beforehand. This recipe is not hard, but you do need to be on top of the rice at all times. Therefore, it’s easier to have everything ready. Some other Italian rice types the book suggests are Carnaroli and Vialone Nano. You may also want to test this recipe out with other vegetables, like carrots, Swiss chard and tomatoes, or other cheeses, like Asiago, Manchego or goat cheese.