June 21, 2010

6/20: Slovakia v Paraguay, New Zealand v Italy, Brazil v Cote d'Ivoire

Chances are, you spent the morning in the kitchen filling cupcakes to look like Little Debbie snack cakes because they are your dad's favorite treat and then went fishing in the afternoon. No? Regardless, HAPPY FATHER'S DAY and a legit excuse to miss a day of World Cup Food Challenge cooking unless your father is from one of today's competing countries. Luckily, where I'm from in New Mexico, we make a dish very similar to today's Paraguayan recipe (with the addition of locally grown green chile) and tend to grill a la Brazil on special occasions like Father's Day. If that is not for you, we hope you can incorporate a few of today's select recipes or restaurants into your celebration.

Slovakia v Paraguay
One of only two landlocked countries in S. America, Paraguay is called the "Corazón de América." Bordered by Argentina, Brazil and Bolivia, Paraguay's cuisine reflects this deep cultural fusion and is unusual in South American for its lack of seafood. Milanesas and empanadas from Argentina are popular, as well as guarana sodas from Brazil. Dishes such as sopa paraguay and chipa set Paraguayan cuisine apart. As Paraguayans tend to skip breakfast, snack vendors line the streets selling versions of chipa for "merienda." Usually crescent shaped but nothing like a croissant, chipa is made from cornmeal, yucca and cheese or it can be served filled with shredded beef in the form of chipa so'o.
We plan to make chipa later on in the games but have included a recipe for Sopa Paraguay, the country's most well-known dish, for today. The Sopa is typically served with soups or stews and we felt it would make a hearty pairing with Slovak Goulash.
Sopa Paraguay
1 large onion, chopped
1 C queso fresco
1 C mild cheddar, grated
2 C cornmeal
2 C corn kernels
1 tsp salt
1 C milk
6 eggs, separated
Oven: 400F. 
Sauté the onions in oil until golden. Whisk together the cheeses, cornmeal, corn, salt, milk and yolks. Add the onions.
Whip the whites until soft peaks and fold them into the batter.
Pour the batter into a greased 10x13 in pan and bake ~40 min. until set.

Slovak Goulash
1 lb of beef or pork, diced
4 potatoes, diced
1 onion, diced
1 T Hungarian paprika
2 carrots, diced
In a large pot, sauté the onions until golden. Add the paprika and simmer a minute until fragrant. Add the meat and brown. Season with salt and pepper. Add the carrots, cover with water and simmer 15 min. Add the potatoes, salt and pepper to taste, cover with water and simmer ~35 min. until potatoes are soft.

Italy v New Zealand
Dessert represents Italy today with a simple yet decadent traditional Zabaglione, a custard that must be mastered as a basic of Italian cooking. We're tossing in New Zealand into the dessert with a kiwi sauce, as Zabaglione is typically accompanied by a coulis or fresh fruits.
If you were an undying fan of our Pavlova and would like to stick with New Zealand for dessert, try the recipe for traditional Anzac biscuits our friend posted over at EmuisEmo.
Kiwi Zabaglione

1 C cream, whipped to stiff peaks and chilled
1/4 C sugar
1/4 C vin santo or marsala
1 T aged balsamic
3 kiwis, peeled and sliced
1 T fresh lime juice
1 T honey
Sprig of fresh mint
Whisk the yolks with sugar, wine and balsamic over a saucepan of simmering water. Whisk vigorously until thick and foamy. Remove from heat and whisk until completely cool (an ice bath helps if your arms tire). Gently fold the whipped cream into the custard and chill ~20 min.
While the Zabaglione chills, prepare the sauce by covering the kiwis with juice, honey and mint. To serve, place the kiwis at the bottom of a martini glass and spoon the Zabaglione over them. Photo: www.chefspencil.com

Prefer to eat out instead? Our Dining Guide tells you where and why.

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