Argentina and Tango

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Dear Subscribers:
Tango anyone? Bienvenidos to another edition of Amalia’s Recipe of the Month and so much more! This recipe comes from Argentina and it is an easy raw sauce and a great complement to grilled meats. Because it is so flavorful and colorful, you could laddle it on pan-fried fish or baked/grilled chicken too. The pictures that you see here and below were taken during my trip to Argentina a few weeks ago. At the Pampas, or Gaucho Country (my son is pictured with a Gaucho right next to grilling meats), my family and I enjoyed the typical asado Argentino, —-grilled meat the Argentinean way. We were treated to Picadas y Entradas (appetizers) and a variety of grilled traditional cuts of meat and byproducts, chorizo (fresh sausage) and morcilla (spiced blood sausage), along a wide array of traditional sauces and side dishes, and Mate, a traditional herbal drink that is truly a social statement, drank from a gourd and a bombilla, a special straw, and typically shared amongst friends and family.

Argentina is located in the southern cone of South America (2nd largest) and with about 40 million inhabitants and a high literacy rate, she is famous for world-class beef and extraordinary Malbec wines. Despite her sheer size, most of the population is concentrated in a few areas of the country (1/3 lives in Buenos Aires). Because of the large Italian-descent population, fantastic Italian cuisine is also a great part of their food scene. The look and feel of the country contrasts the old and the modern with a relaxed and bohemian lifestyle. The ambiance is that of a European country, with a Latin influence. The Argentinean Spanish is very unique because besides the nuances of the language, they place a heavy emphasis on how they pronounce the Y or LL, like a very strong “J” in English. This is not typical of the rest of Latin America (other Latin countries have different and lesser accents) and this makes them very unique. The older generation dresses in an elegant and conservative way and when you see them in the streets, they remind you of a truly great bygone era. Argentina is definitely a great country to visit and there’s much more to see and talk about (Evita, the Pink Stone, Mafalda, Patagonia and the Andes!!). Hopefully this entices you to travel to Argentina sometime soon!

Once again, thank you for subscribing and for your support. It is a true pleasure sharing some of my travel experiences with you because I know that you appreciate them. Please feel free to pass this newsletter along to anyone who might be interested in our recipes and culture, or take the time to subscribe them to our Recipe of the Month through our website at www.cookparty.com.

Muchos Saludos, Amalia.

P.S. We have added new pages and information to our website (Galeria Culinaria and News and Media). Please continue to check our Upcoming Events Page from time to time as we will be adding NEW classes and events through almost the end of the year soon. Also, below you will find our upcoming events for the remainder of April and the month of May.

RECIPE OF THE MONTH

Salsa Criolla
This picture shows three typical sauces from Argentina (front, Provencal; right, Criolla; and top left, Chimichurri). All of these sauces accompany grilled meats in Argentina most of the time. Argentina’s culture is heavily influenced by Spanish and Italian cultures and flavors, combined with the native traditional foods. There are other influences there too, such as French and other European to a lesser extent. Criolla means Creole and this name is representative of the marriage of two cultures, in this case, the European (namely Spanish) and the native born in the New World. Enjoy!

Serves 6-8
3 bell peppers (yellow, red, and green), cored, and finely diced
1/2 cup red onion, finely diced
1/2 cup roma tomatoes, seeded, finely diced
1 cup flat leaf parsley leaves, finely chopped
4-5 (or more!) garlic cloves, minced
1/4 to 1/2 Red wine vinegar
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Combine all ingredientes in a non-reactive bowl (glass or plastic okay) and mix well. Season and taste. Adjust seasonings, if necessary. Allow flavors to blend, about 1 hour or more before serving. Serve at room temperature.

UPCOMING EVENTS 2008
APRIL 2008
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Saturday, April 5, 2008, 6-midnight SAVE THE DATE! 
Treasures of the Caribbean
The International School of Minnesota Annual Social Event at the Landscape Arboretum in Chaska.
Enjoy the flavors of the Caribbean and dance the night away to hot live music.
Register at : International School of Minnesota
6385 Beach Road, Eden Prairie (952) 918-1800

Saturday, April 19, 2008, 6:30-9 p.m. 
Latin & Spanish Tapas
Cooking Show Dinner in your Own Casa
Chef Amalia prepares a four-course dinner for eight at the home of a very special guest. During the hot cooking fiesta, attendees pick up on professional cooking techniques and participate in a cultural discussion.
Private Event

Wednesday, April 30, 2008, 6-9 p.m. 

The Spice is Right
Spice up your life! Join us for a night of “sinsational” cooking as we discuss the basics of Spanish and Latin cuisine and prepare scrumptious Tapas sure to delight your palate. Sizzling Prawns (shrimp in spicy garlic sauce flambéed with cognac); Almejas al Horno (mussels with saffron-wine-sofrito steamed in banana leaves); Pinchos Moruños (grilled spiced pork skewers); Latin Ratatouille (roasted steamed vegetables with chile pepper sofrito); Crema Catalana (Spanish Crème Brûlée).
Register at: Cooks of Crocus Hill, Edina 
3925 West 50th Street Edina, MN: (952) 285-1903

MAY 2008
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Monday, May 5, 2008, 6-9 p.m.

¡Viva Frida !
Savor this culinary tribute to Frida Kahlo, the painter whose art was heavily influenced by the indigenous cultures of her native Mexico. You’ll celebrate Cinco de Mayo in style as you enjoy traditional dishes as vibrant and colorful as Kahlo’s works. Pico de Gallo Salad (Jicama, prickly pears, orange and piquin chile powder); Manchamanteles (pork stew with vegetables, fruits and dried chile peppers); Arroz con Limón (Lime rice); and Merenguitos (puffed egg whites with vanilla bean).
Register at: Cooks of Crocus Hill, St. Paul 
877 Grand Avenue St. Paul MN: (651) 228-1333

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