Thursday, January 30, 2014

Simple & Pillowy Pavlova

Pavlova is incredibly simple to make but can easily turn into a catastrophe. The trick is knowing your oven and keeping the temperature consistent throughout the cooking time. I've adjusted this perfect recipe (originally from Donna Hay) to make a pavlova of optimal ratios (to serve about 5-6 people).

  • 3 egg whites
  • 3/4 cup sugar (superfine recommended - I use regular sugar)
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons white vinegar
  • Few drops of vanilla extract
  • 200 ml (3/4+ cup) cream, whipped with a Tablespoon of sugar and drop of vanilla extract
  • Fruit - acidic fruits best complement the sweetness and creaminess (Here, I've used about 1-2 passionfruit, 2 kiwis, 2 peaches and a handful of strawberries)
Preheat oven to 150C / 300F.

Whisk whites until they hold soft peaks. Gradually add sugar and continue whisking (about medium speed) until stiff peaks form. You also want the sugar to be completely dissolved - check by rubbing the whites between your thumb and forefinger, if grainy, keep whisking. However, it never fully dissolves for me (using regular sugar) and that's fine.

Add cornstarch (sprinkle evenly oven mixture) and vinegar and vanilla and whisk until just combined (some prefer to fold these in).

Turn out onto Silpat or parchment lined baking sheet and shape into 7 inch circle. 

Decrease oven heat to 120C / 250F and bake for 1 hour 20 minutes. (If you have a gas oven, this will be the hardest part of making this! I usually have to carefully monitor the temperature and crack the oven door to maintain it.) You can insert a knife to be sure it's cooked. Turn oven off, leave the door open a bit and allow pavlova to cool completely in the oven (it will most definitely crack).

Top cooled pavlova with slightly sweetened whipped cream and fruit. I love using passionfruit for this, but if it's not available, I make a simple fruit sauce (raspberry or strawberry) to mix with the fruit. In Rosario, you can find passionfruit (maracuya) frozen from the verduleria on Mendoza, between Espana and Roca (100 grams is enough).

Oh, and eat it immediately, as the cream will start to break down the merengue, so don't assemble it until the last minute before serving.

Friday, September 13, 2013

La Vaca Negra

Illy coffee? Check. Coffee cocktails? Check. Pet-Friendly? Check!!! If you need me, you know where I'll be.

By day...

Or by night...
Hot & cold in the same glass!

Cocktail with Cointreau and vodka

Complete with coffee art. Come. on.

La Vaca Negra is on Bajada Sargento Cabral. It usually looks like this because I'm always there:

Monday, March 11, 2013

La Receta Famosa de Brownie (por fin!)

Finalmente, traduje la receta que uso siempre para hacer un brownie rico. Me pregunto si es una buena idea, porque tengo la sensación que no me van a invitar a las cenas si pueden hacerlo sin mi! Pero, bueno, acá está la receta más pedida de mi cocina:

El Brownie Más Rico
  • 1 1/3 taza (170 gramos) harina (0000)
  • 1/2 cucharita (2.3 g) polvo para hornear
  • 1/4 cucharita (1.42 g) sal
  • 150 gramos manteca
  • 3/4 taza (88.5 g) cacao amargo en polvo (no de Nesquik, tiene que ser de buena calidad)
  • 2 cucharas de sopa de espresso o cafe fuerte
  • 1 2/3 taza (335 g) azúcar
  • 2 huevos
  • 2 cucharitas de esencia de vainilla
  • 3/4 taza (85 g) nueces, picados en trozos
  • 42.5 gr. chocolate semi-amargo, picado en trozos 
Enmantecar y harinar una bandeja de 20 x 30 cm. Combinar la harina, polvo para hornear y sal - dejar a un lado. En un baño maria, derretir la manteca y agregar el cacao en polvo y el café. Revolver para combinar y removerlo del calor para que enfrie un poco. En un bowl grande, batir los huevos con el azúcar y agregar la vainilla. Agregar lentamente la mezcla de manteca/cacao. Incorporar la mezcla de harina y después las nueces (guardando un puñado para poner arriba). Poner la masa (si, es un poco pesada) en la bandeja preparada, untándola con una espátula. Salpicar con las nueces y el chocolate picado. Hornear a 175º C por 25-30 minutos, o hasta que un cuchillo salga limpio.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Ice Cream Festival & More Love For San Remo

This past weekend was the first annual artesian ice cream festival in Rosario. Fitting for the Argentine city with the highest ice cream production per citizen -- there are around 70 ice cream factories for Rosarinos who consume between 8 and 9 liters annually. And perhaps more impressive is the quality of Rosario's ice cream, which is actually more like Italian gelato - with impressive creaminess and flavor.

And so, over 30 heladerías participated in the festival, which was postponed a week due to rain. You had to buy tickets for scoops - this year it was 5 pesos per scoop - and then you went around getting scoops from your favorite brands. It was super fun but it was also a 'get in and get out' kind of event. Thus, no photos.

This longest line was for Gelateria Italiana San Remo (the San Remo with locations on Buenos Aires and on Pte. Peron, which I blogged about here).

What's really impressive are their unconventional flavors like Tomato Jam swirl, Roquefort and an assortment of floral flavors. Since the line was so long at the festival, we went to their shop on Buenos Aires and brought home a kilo of gustos!

Clockwise from the center (12 o'clock): Dulce de leche granizado, Mascarpone with berries, Rose, Tomato jam swirl, Roquefort with walnuts. And there are plenty of other flavors left to try. San Remo is also cheaper than some of the larger chains. 

Monday, September 17, 2012

Pasta Frola (Quince Tart)

Another Argentine recipe? Who am I? I make recipes from home ... not from this place I have lived close to 4 years ... wait. Uh-oh. It occurs to me that, perhaps, maybe, this is my home. And I've come to appreciate the foods I frequently eat. Food that everyone here already loves, so I don't have to insist on them trying my weird foreign food. I'm not sure why I'm such a hold out it took me so long but, inspired by Katie's Argentine Recipe Contest, I gave in. I love pasta frola! I eat this a lot. I want more. Okay, there. I said it.

I did want to make Vivi's recipe with mascarpone, but 2 trips to the supermercado proved useless so I went without it.

Quince Tart (Pasta Frola)
Adapted from David Lebovitz

Note that David's recipe is for a 9 or 10 inch (24 cm) tart pan, though I used a 28 cm pan. I liked the ratio it left me with, but you'll notice less crust atop the tart, plus it was a bit of work to squish and spread the bottom dough out, but it was worth it and I'll do it again. I did use extra quince 'paste' (dulce de membrillo).

  • 1 1/2 cups (190g) flour
  • 1/2 cup (70 g) polenta (cornmeal)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt (I used a little less of fine table salt)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 9 Tablespoons  (110 g) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (100 g) sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1/8 teaspoon almond extract
  • 2 cups (550-600g) quince paste (dulce de membrillo)
  • 2 Tablespoons port
  • 2 Tablespoons raw sugar
Whisk together flour, cornmeal, salt and baking powder - set aside. Beat together butter and sugar, mix in egg, yolk and extract. Slowly add dry ingredients, just until dough comes together. 

Measure out about 325 grams of the dough (about 3/4 of the dough). Pat it into a disk, wrap with plastic wrap and chill. Roll the remaining dough into a log 2-inches in diameter, wrap and chill.

Put quince paste into a bowl with port and mash with a potato masher. Add a splash of hot water if necessary to develop spreadable consistency.

Remove dough from refrigerator and let return to room temp slightly. With the heel of your hand, evenly press into the bottom and sides of an unbuttered removable bottom tart pan. Spread quince evenly over dough. 

Remove log of dough from refrigerator and slice into thin cookies, then lay over the jam. Sprinkle with raw sugar. Bake at 375 F (190 C) for 20-25 minutes, until golden brown. Let cool and serve at room temperature. This is even better the next day.

Make miniature Vigilantes (cheese topped with quince) with any unused membrillo!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Quinotos en Almíbar (Kumquats in Syrup)

I fell in love with quinotos last Christmas in Cordoba. Direct from the tree, they were tangy, sour and sweet in all the best ways. I picked up a kilo recently but I suppose they're out of season so they were a bit rough on the palate. So I decided to add a crapload of sugar to make them candied and syrupy.

For such a simple recipe, I found a variety of cooking techniques. All Argentine recipes required you to let the quinotos sit in salted water for 3 days or boil them with salt, then rinse. None of the recipes written in English mentioned this, but I figured that since I'm here I better not skip the step. Of course, I couldn't be bothered to wait 3 days.

I really wanted to candy them whole (because they're amazing that way) but these had too many too large seeds, so I had to halve the quinotos to remove the seeds (which was a huge pain and made me regret attempting such a sizeable batch). Note that if you do cook them whole, you'll need to poke small holes in them first.

The cooking times also varied widely between 10 minutes and 2 hours. I settled on 20 minutes, but could have removed the quinotos and continued cooking the syrup to make it thicker. Probably a good idea.

Candied Kumquats in Vanilla Syrup  
Inspired by Cooking Light

  • 750 grams kumquats, stems removed and washed
  • Big pinch rock salt
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1/2 vanilla bean (or a super small one like the only ones I can find now), scraped
  • 3 or 4 whole cloves
  • Pinch cinnamon

Boil kumquats in salted water for 8 minutes. Drain, immerse in a bowl of water and scrub lightly with your hands to remove salt. Drain again and rinse well.

Combine sugar and water in a pot and bring to a boil. Once sugar has dissolved, add kumquats, vanilla seeds, cloves and cinnamon. Drop heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes, or until tender and translucent. If thicker syrup is desired, remove the fruit but leave the syrup and continue to boil for another 10-15 minutes, or until it reaches desired consistency. Transfer quinotos and syrup to a large jar (or several small jars) and seal. If you know how to jar, you can let these sit for 2 weeks in the refrigerator to let the flavors develop. I refrigerated mine for only two days before serving.

Candied kumquats are delicious served over ice cream or pavlova (maybe make it pistachio).

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Advances in Graffiti!

Just about 6 months ago I was lamenting the lack of quality graffiti in Rosario. There were plenty of spray painted scribbles and an obscene amount of walls, poles and anything else that could be slapped with paint completely covered with the colors of the city's two rival football teams -- but not a lot of street art. But now, it's getting interesting...

Dorrego entre San Juan y Mendoza

Dorrego entre San Juan y Mendoza
3 de Febrero entre España y Italia

Parque España -- CEC

Moreno entre Cochabamba y Pasco

Boulevard Oroño entre Montevideo y Zeballos

...and I like it!