July 6, 2010

7/2-3: Quarter Finals Feast

As we move into the final round, we're changing things up a bit and preparing pan-country feast to celebrate each final. You can choose which game to prepare the entire feast for, or just munch on a single dish for each game. We plan on celebrating a Spanish win by cooking up the entire array of dishes on Saturday.
Our theme for the Quarter Finals Feast? Street Food!
The Netherlands v Brazil
All that cycling and harsh weather make for a hungry people, who snack all day and still find the stomach for a hearty dinner. Often overlooked on the culinary scene, the cosmopolitan city of Amsterdam offers a diverse array of street food from the Indonesian stalls to the ubiquitous pancake houses. The Dutch are passionate about their french fries and a heaping cone of frites can be purchased on nearly every street corner. Vleminckx is renowned for frying up the best selection, serving them with onions, frietsaus (essentially mayonnaise) or a peanut sauce called "oorlog," which is Dutch for war - see, I told you they were serious about their fries! Our version serves them alongside an exotic Brazilian hot sauce. 

Brazilian street vendors offer all the usual hot dogs and hamburgers alongside regional specialties such as Pão de queijo (similar to the Paraguayan Chipa), salgadinhos (savory pastries), Iced Mate and queijo coalho grilled cheese kababs in Rio, and acarajé (black eyed pea fritters) and cocada (coconut candies) in Bahia. Whatever you buy, if it is savory, it is sure to come with Molho de Malagueta hot sauce. Known as "grains of paradise," malagueta peppers were one of the original exotic spices that lead Portuguese explorers to discover Brazil. A close relative of the serrano, these peppers are dangerously spicy. If you can't find the peppers, you can order the sauce from Rio's of Austin
Molho de Malagueta
1/4 cup palm oil
1 C vinegar
1 small yellow onion, chopped
7 malagueta peppers
1 tsp. fresh ginger, grated
1 tsp. salt
Heat the oil over low heat in a small skillet. Add the onion and sautee until it's translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the peppers, stir and cook until they are very mushy, about 15 minutes. Add the ginger and cook for another minute. Add the salt and stir. 
Belgian Frites
3-4 C frying oil
2 lbs Idaho/Gold/baking potatoes, peeled and sliced into 1/4 in wide sticks
The streets of Amsterdam sell authentic Belgian-style frites, characterized by a crunchiness achieved only through skill and double frying. The first time they are fried, they are cooked until tender. The second time, often done hours later, they are transformed into golden and deliciously crisp frites.
Heat the oil to 325°F. Divide the potato sticks into batches of 1 C each. Fry 4-5 min. per batch until lightly colored but not browned. At this point the fries can rest for several hours at room temperature until you are ready to serve. Repeat the frying process and then salt to taste. 
Serve with Molho de Malagueta. If it is too spicy, try whisking some into mayonnaise for an authentic Dutch Frites experience. 

Uruguay v Ghana
Uruguay street food includes the usual South American options of hot dogs piled high with every imaginable topping for less than a $1,  endless varieties of empanadas and churros, along with regional favorites such as chivitos, milanesas and tortas fritas (fried biscuits). 
Street food in Ghana is available from travelling pedestrian vendors, stalls, and ubiquitous "chop bars". Traditional African dishes, such as fufu, kenkey, banku, fried yams, and bushmeat kebabs are popular across the country while regional varieties use local ingredients such as fresh seafood along the coastline and fried cheese in Northern. Kenkey are steamed balls of fermented corn dough that come wrapped in corn husks or banana leaves. The dough is allowed to ferment for several days to take on sour flavors. If that doesn't appeal to you, and I can see why it may not, we'll go ahead and just eat ours fresh sans-sour. Classic accompaniments for kenkey include seasoned fried fish ( kyenam) or a fresh hot pepper sauce. Our menu uses kenkey as a base for Uruguay's best loved dish, Chivito. 
Ghanian Chivitos
Prepare the kenkey:
3 C fine corn flour
1 T corn starch
2 1/2 C warm water
Corn husks
Knead the dough until smooth. Then prepare the "aflata," which is a part of the dough cooked with water and added to the uncooked dough. Mix 2 C water with 1 tsp salt and half the dough, then cook over medium heat 10 min, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir in the uncooked dough. Form the dough into balls and wrap each ball in corn husks. Steam for 1 hour.
Assemble the Chivitos:
Tope each kenkey with a slice of thin grilled steak or ham, pancetta, mozzarella and a fried egg. 

Argentina v Germany
Germany has a number of Turkish street foods beyond the pan-European shawarma. Döner is similar to shawarma and available everywhere, especially in Berlin. Bavarian Fleischkäse, similar to meatloaf, is generally served with sweet mustard in a roll. Germany, known for its various types of sausage, lines its streets with ample wursts and beer is sold at all sidewalk snack stands.
In Argentina, vendors sell Choripán, a barbequeued sausage wrapped in french bread, or morcipan, the blood sausage (morcilla) version. Street empanadas are usually fried and can be made with beef, fish, ham & cheese or neapolitan. Other local street food includes local versions of the hotdog called pancho, tostados and lomitos. Sweets found in Argentine streets include caramel apple (manzana acaramelada), sweet popcorn (pochoclo) and a local snack called Garrapiñada, made of peanuts, cocoa, vanilla and caramel.
German Choripán
The Argentine choripán consists of a sausage made out of beef and pork, hot off the grill, split down the middle (called mariposa), and served on a roll. 
First, prepare the Chimichurri using our recipe from the game against Nigeria way back in June. Then, chose your wurst. As in Bratwurst, Currywurst or other variety of German sausage. Slice a baguette down the middle, spread each side with Chimichurri and insert the grilled German sausage. 

Paraguay v Spain
Our culinary journey through Paraguay as they've advanced in the Tournament has showcased many of their most popular street foods of sopa, chipa and milanesa. We even took a look at maté during an early Argentina game. In Paraguay, the local infusion of yerba mate is called Tereré and it is served cold, often with herbs such as lemongrass or fruit juices. Workers have a "tereré break" instead of a coffee break. 
Street vendors are uncommon in Spain as snacks are provided by hole in the wall tavernas selling a variety of traditional tapas. In the bigger cities, fast food bocadillo (sandwich) and North African kebab joints can be spotted on many side streets. During ferias and other events, however, the vendors come out of the woodwork hawking everything from ice creams to legs of ham. By far the most predominant street food, the staple of Spanish late night eats, is the churro. While you may have experienced versions filled with dulce de leche or pastry cream throughout Latin America, the notorious fried pastries originated in Spain, where they are dipped in a thick, bitter hot chocolate, most often as club goers head home around sunrise.
In place of the traditional chocolate, we serve our churros with tereré de chocolate. The Republic of Tea sells a Double Dark Chocolate Maté that is fairly easy to find, or you can make your own by stirring dark cocoa powder into maté.

1 C water
2 T brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 C butter
1 C AP Flour
2 eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/4 C sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
Bring water, brown sugar, salt and butter to a boil. Remove from heat and stir in the flour. Add the eggs and vanilla.
Heat ~2 in. of oil in a frying pan or deep fryer to 375F.
Fill a pastry bag with the dough, using a star shaped decorator's tool. In Spain, churros are piped using a churrera, a cookie-press looking contraption with the start nozzle. You can buy one, use a cookie press or a simple pastry bag. The star shape is the key to provide the right look and crunchy texture.
Test your oil to make sure it is hot enough by piping a small amount of dough into it. If the dough bubbles up right away, the oil is hot. One at a time, squeeze a line of dough into the oil. Squeeze out as many as your fryer will hold and cook ~5 min. until golden, turning as needed. Drain excess grease and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.

HEY! We've seen that cuisine before! Cook the foods of today's competing countries using other recipes: From The Netherlands we enjoyed a Stampot of Burning Love and a Dutch Uitsmijter sandwich. Brazil delighted our taste buds with FeijoadaCaipirinhas and passion fruit mousseUruguay found its way on the menu several times since opening day, twice fused with France in Dulce de Leche Crème Brulée and Duck Confi Ravioli. It was the clear winner over Ghana's Jollof rice, although a Ghanian spin on German Black Forest Cake took on one of this year's toughest teams with fury. Less exciting from Germany was their cucumber salad, Gurkensalat, spin on the English tea sandwich, but the Käsespätzle German take on mac 'n cheese will surely grace our kitchens again. Both are severely overshadowed by Argentina's contributions of ChimichurriMalbecDuck confit empanadas and especially, alfajores. If they can stand up equally well on the field we'll be impressed and surprised! Paraguay, with its hearty reflections of Argentina and indigenous cultures, never failed to please with dishes such as Sopa Paragauaychipa, and the fried deliciousness of the Milanesa. Unfortunately for them, their up against intense competition. Spain's cuisine of Manchego and ChorizoPeras al VinoPaellaAjo Blanco and Gambas al Ajillo clearly comes out on top, so much so that we devoted an entire post to discussing their cuisine

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

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