Our first dinner, Viva Argentina!, was warmly received by our test audience this past Saturday evening. Thanks to our enthusiastic guests for their feedback and suggestions, and thanks to our humble servants, Will and Travis, for keeping everyone's glasses filled, plates cleared, and steaks cooked to order.
As promised, we are providing the links to the recipes we used for the evening.
For our Argentinian aperitif, we mixed white rum with lime juice, sparkling water, jamaica (hibiscus) tea, and a dash of "bitter sugar," which is a reduced simple syrup infused with limes, lemons, hibiscus flowers, tamarind, cardamon, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg.
We started with meat and vegetarian empanadas. Because we were fearful of rolling dough for 40 empanadas, we bought the empanada shells pre-made from Casa Lucas Market. Incidentally, empanadas can be baked or fried, and if the package of empanada shells says "Para freir!" then those are best used for frying (although baking them seems to work just fine). The less-than-stellar yerba mate was purchased there as well. If anyone knows a good source for yerba mate, let us know.
Chorizo and potato empanadas
Plantain and black bean empanadas
We found the golden and chiogga beets to be prettier and more flavorful than the red ones. This recipe is from the Cesar cookbook. The key is simply to roast the beets for an hour in olive oil, garlic, and fennel seed.
Beet salad with goat cheese, fennel oil, and minzuna
We made the chimichurri sauce a day in advance, adding the parsley an hour before serving the grilled steaks.
Tres Leches cake with dulce de leche and sorbet duo (strawberry and jamaica)
The Argentinian wines were from Arlequin Wine Merchant, a great shop in Hayes Valley.
Zolo Torrontes '05
La Posta Malbec '04
El Felino Malbec '04
Joffre Grand Cabernet Sauvignon '04
Stay tuned for our next dinner: Paella en Patio! (tentative date July 8th)