Gaucho Steak with Chimichurri Sauce and Chocotarte

I once again do not have pictures of this meal but I have a pretty good excuse: we had company and I was too busy enjoying them and the food to remember to take pictures. Also, booze. So much booze. Like three bottles of wine and two six packs of beer. It was worth it!

The day started out not so awesome. My plan was to make gaucho steak, marinated eggplant, roasted potatoes, and chocotarte for desert. As I was prepping the eggplant, I read the last sentence “Let marinate for at least two days in the refrigerator for best results.” People always ask what I learned from the project. Well, this was week forty something and I still hadn’t learned how to read the entire recipe! So the marinated eggplant turned into roasted eggplant. Then something else happened with the potatoes but I don’t remember what…I ended up scrapping that recipe and making Raviv’s Potatoes. Raviv was our neighbor in Houston and he would always make these awesome roasted potatoes for barbecues. It’s a super simple recipe: make a spice mixture of cumin, paprika, cayenne pepper, and S&P, dice potatoes, toss in oil and spice mixture, bake in the oven at 350 for forty minutes. At this point I was irritated with myself and the clock was ticking!

Another setback was the steak prep. I had planned on grilling the steak outdoors but then it decided to be really cold and rainy that night so I had to improvise and use the broiler in our oven. The problem with that was I didn’t have a baking sheet wide enough to fit all two and half pounds of flank steak so I had to divy it up onto two pans and then rotate the pans every few minutes so the meat would get the direct heat from the broiler. It wouldn’t have been so bad had we not already had our guests and their four kids over. Trying to talk to people and going back and forth from the kitchen is not fun.

But anyway, we finally got the kids down, gave them pizza, and then sat down ourselves to enjoy our dinner. It was good but it was meh. The thing was I’d had my roasted eggplant and Raviv’s potatoes before so there was nothing surprising there. The steak was decent but a little boring. I don’t think the chili water made all that big of a difference in the flavor. Everyone else said it was great but I was unimpressed.

What did impress me, however, was the chocotarte. I had made it earlier in the day and was a little skeptical about it. I had to soak chocolate wafers in milk and then make layers of wafers and a mixture of cream cheese and carmelized milk. I was just worried it was going to be really thin because wafers are thin. Well I guess that milk really worked its magic because those things puffed up! It ended up having the consistency of a cake; yeah, it was that puffy! I loved it and I typically don’t like caramel but I think the cream cheese dulled the sweetness and made it just a little tart.

That was the end of Argentine week. The food wasn’t that great but the company more than made up for it. Now that I think about it, I’ll have to have those friends over again and make them a better meal. I think they were just being kind.

Recipe, Recipe

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Choripan

So, I don’t have a picture for this meal. I apparently only took a pic for my Instagram account and for some reason my phone didn’t save the original picture. It’s not even in my Google Photos so either there was a interwebs fail or a phone fail. Clearly there was not a fail on my part because I’m perfect. If you want to see what I’m talking about, you can visit the Eat 52 Weeks Instagram account.

This was by far the easiest meal I’d made all year. At least I think it was, I made a lot of food and my memory is not good. But really, this could not have been easier. I’m still going to link the recipe but I’m also going to post it here because it will take me a minute:

– Heat buns

– Slice sausage

– Carmelize onions

– Put sausage and onions in buns

– Add chimichurri sauce

– Eat

To be honest, the chimichurri sauce took a bit of time but not that much. So if you want a quick, awesome, delicious meal, make choripan.

It gets its name from two of its ingredients: chorizo (sausage) and pan (bread). It’s one of the most popular meals eaten in Argentina and is considered a street food. Sidenote: I made a lot of street food last year and my question is, why doesn’t the US have all this awesome street food? You know what we have in Austin? Hot dogs. You can argue we have a lot more due to the ridiculous amounts of food trucks we have but no, you would be wrong. Street food is served from a cart, not a truck, and is not gentrified.

We loved it! Yeah I forgot to make sides so all we had that night was the choripan but we were okay with it. The girls didn’t like the chimichurri sauce but the baby kept asking for more sausage. And the four year old kept asking for more bread. Of course. I will make this during the summer and probably pair it with the Korean potato salad because awesome deserves to be surrounded by awesome.

Recipe

Fugazzeta

Day two of Argentina week and I think James was really excited about this meal because it involved a pizza. We love pizza (who doesn’t????) so when we’ve had opportunities to eat different versions of pizza, like during Turkish week with the pide, we jump at it. This meal involved me coming into contact with my frenemy, yeast, so I not super excited it about it. I was looking forward to trying something new but knowing my frenemy would be there did dampen my enthusiasm. I did some yoga that day and tried to get centered and peaceful before dealing with it. It was like drinking a beer before going to happy hour with your frenemy because you know you’re going to need some additional help in getting through it but you don’t want them to see you need the help.

This was another Italian inspired dish. It’s a stuffed pizza that is most popular in Buenos Aires. Quick little history lesson: the word fugazzeta is derived from “fugassa” which means “focaccia” in the Genoese dialect. An immigrant baker by the name of Agustin Banchero created a fugazza, a onion focaccia with grated cheese on top, and then his son, Juan, created the fugazzeta by stuffing it with mozarella cheese.

I will admit, I did fail in my first attempt to get my yeast bubbly. The recipe said to warm up the milk to 100-105 degrees but it was only a fourth of a cup so mine got very hot, very quick. Very hot liquid kills yeast so I chunked that mess and started over. The second time worked and I’m glad it did because I could already feel the yoga wearing off. After that it was just a matter of waiting an hour or so for the dough to rise and I think I spent that time doingmore yoga.

Yoga saves, y’all.

I thought I would have a harder time with rolling out the dough because I had to wait ten minutes in between each roll for it to relax but it went by pretty quickly. I did pour a little too much olive oil in my skillet so the dough got a little slick after a bit but I was still able to work with it. The hardest part was laying the top over the bottom because dough moves. Yeah, don’t know if you knew that but it’s not a solid object.

Aside from those minor irritations, the result was still fantastic. We were both surprised by how light the pizza was because, hello, it’s a stuffed pizza. Stuffed pizza is never light! But I guess most stuffed pizzas are, you know, stuffed with all sorts of meats and cheeses so that probably contributes to the lead like feeling after eating them. This fugazzeta didn’t have that because it was just stuffed with mozarella and provolone and the topping was very thinly sliced onions. Even with it being baked with lots of olive oil and being topped with onions, there was no heartburn afterwards so that was an added bonus.

We all ate multiple slices and I think there was maybe only one slice leftover. The girls even liked the onions and didn’t pick them off like I expected them. That was a win!

Recipe

Milanesa

Happy New Year!!

Sorry for the very long break. The girls’ Christmas vacation started on the 16th and they just went back to school today. It was iiiiiimpossible to get online and post during those two weeks because my days were filled with training for the half, visits to my Mom, laundry (so.much.laundry), and trying to stay sane. Oh, and of course spending time with family and friends and celebrating blah blah blah. Mostly it was the other stuff.

But I’m back and ready to get tell you all about the last three weeks of my year long food project! The fifth will be my one year anniversary so I’m pushing to be caught up by then. I have nine posts and two days, it will be done.

This milanesa was the start of Argentinian week. Argentinian? Argentine? It occurs to me that I never took the time to find out which is correct and what is the difference. Well, too late now! James actually chose Argentina because he’d read about how great the food was and that it was similar to Peru in its variety. To be honest, I didn’t really care either way, but looking back, I’m very happy we chose to eat Argentinian/Argentine food! I don’t want to spoil it for you though so now you must come back to find out why. Muahaha.

That was a pitiful “Muahaha”

Prior to this, I’d had milanesa but it was made with chicken; this version was made with beef. It was brought to South America by the, you guessed it, Italians during the first Italian diaspora of the 1860s. Based on the name, one can infer that it originated in Milan. It was also originally made with chicken but when the Italians got to Argentina, they quickly learned that chicken was viewed as an inferior meat so they altered the recipe to make it a beef dish. The milanesa I’d eaten before was eaten in a torta, a sandwich, and because I love it so much, I decided to go the same route with the Argentinian version.

At first glance it looks like a sandwich of fried meat but it is so much more than that! In between the fried meat and bread is a layer of super thin, delicious, amazing proscuitto. And on top of that? Cheese (I used Munster). And on top of that? Marinara sauce. AND ON TOP OF THAT?! Pickled peppers. The Mexican version do NOT have all that goodness, it just has fried meat, lettuce, and tomato. In the words of my four year old “That bored” She means “That’s boring” but she hasn’t figured out the whole conjugation thing yet.

I ended up making enough cutlets for about six sandwiches. I ate two that night. And another the next day for lunch. And I didn’t regret it for one minute! To be honest, I didn’t regret it because I had the foresight to take an Alka Seltzer immediately after dinner but still, no RAGRATS. The meat was probably the least interesting part of the whole meal but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t delicious. For as thin and as fried as it was, it was still very succulent, but I think the most flavor came from the saltiness of the proscuitto, the creaminess of the cheese, and the acidity of the sauce and peppers. It was an amalgamation of awesome!

So yes, we were very pleased with the first night of Argentina week. Even the kiddos ate it and it was not bored.

Recipe