Sunday, September 16, 2007

Kathy's Pan-Latin Dinner - results note

Some quick notes on the actual dinner first discussed here. First thing - too many items to pull together at once - especially after having spent the afternoon at a soccer game. We managed to get to some version of everything planned except the salad, but it was a bit rushed. Otherwise, quite good.
Some specifics on what we actually ended up serving:

Arepas - Not assorted, but one variety. Made with chicken stock, stuffed with Lomo and Comte, grilled on the char-broiler. Served with Hogao.

Carnitas - Soccer game considered, no time to do proper carnitas, but instead made "instant carnitas":
Marinate cubed picnic shoulder in Fresh orange juice, garlic, ground ancho, pepper melange, cumin seed, brown sugar, cinnamon, salt. Spread chunks out on baking pans so they have some air around them and roast in a 375 degree convection oven until done and nicely caramelized. Doesn't take long in there. For the record, please note again that this is not a proper carnitas, but it works well enough with all the fixins provided in this menu. And you can do it fast.

Grilled shrimp - simply prepared. On skewers, on char-broiler. Brushed with melted butter containing a crushed garlic clove and some Bay Seasoning.

Mexican Rice - As I said, things became a bit compressed in this plan, so just sautéed a couple of onions and a diced red pepper in olive oil, added (goya) medium grain rice to pan and tossed to coat. Cooked for a couple of minutes until some translucency apparent. Added salt and some of the Hogao prepared to accompany the arepas. And cooked in the open pan, in the manner of risotto, with chicken stock. Ended up whacking it with Hogao again along the way. Pretty tasty.

Salsas - did both. I'll put up a separate post on salsas later.
Guac - did more or less as described here recently. This version included roasted poblanos.

Habichuelas Negras - Again, time compression pushed this to the "instant" version. Goya black beans from can into a pan containing a copious quantity of EVOO in which a crushed garlic clove has been slightly cooked. Add Hogao (the all purpose short-cut this evening), salt to taste, smoked spanish paprika. Practically painless to produce (if you have the Hogao and paprika on hand) and very good.

I guess I'll owe you a post on Hogao down the line too.

Grilled the scallions on the char-broiler and then seasoned with EVOO, Maldon Salt, and an aged balsamic-style moscat glaze.

Drinks were as planned. Didn't have any suitably priced Rioja Tempranillo for the Sangria, so used Gotim Bru (tempranillo, merlot, cabernet). Also, added some cubed fuji apple along with the citrus. OK, this is embarrassing, but I threw in a splash of ginger ale too (maybe 4 oz to a bottle of wine). Not my usual procedure, but it needed something - and it worked.

The cake was very good. Even after Secondo dropped it on the way into the dining room. Even with the white rug. Even with the candles burning. No tears were shed. Rug's fine; most of the cake, and even some of the candles survived.


nika said...

Even tho you say this is abbreviated, it still sounds like quite a meal!

Its awesome that you made the hogao.. (dont know if you had that in your arsenal before).

I remember as a kid having eggs lightly fried in a base of hogao, too delish to say properly :-).

Its interesting how some cultures stuff their arepas. My experience has always been of small unstuffed arepas with a bit of butter, salt, hogao, maybe queso blanco and guava paste on top (not all at once tho). Crispy carbony on the outside, steamy soft on the inside. I think I am going to have to make some today :-).

Dan said...

Hogao was new to me - I only just learned of it from your site ( Not sure if what I produced was legit, (EVOO, onion, tomato, ground ancho, allspice, cinnamon, saffron, salt, pepper if memory serves) but it certainly was tasty and came in handy as a shortcut in producing the rice and bean dishes last night. And as to the textural contrasts within the arepas - yes we noted that last night as well. The smoky, crusty outsides and the creamy interior. Certainly one of the word's great comfort foods.
Thanks for the comment.

nika said...

Dan: chilies are not really a part of Colombian cuisine so you would not find ancho in hogao. You would find cinnamon in the hot chocolate. I have also not seen allspice used. It sounds more exotic and perhaps north african than colombian - I bet it tasted pretty intense! ... people dont usually use saffron because it is expensive, they might use sazon but its not necessary in my experience. The key players are fresh green onions, fresh cilantro, fresh tomatoes, fresh garlic, olive oil and perhaps a bit of butter and lots of cominos.

Yesterday I had an arepa fit and made the arepas de huevos for lunch, just yum-tastic.

I am currently on my second of three days in preparing the batter for dosas, cant wait till tomorrow!

Dan said...

Yah - I guess I was taking the pan-latin thing too far. A bit fusion. It was good, if inauthentic. As far as saffron and cost goes - I buy Spanish saffron by the ounce at my Indian grocery. It's not too bad - used to be about $30/oz. Maybe now it's $40 - I forget. But an ounce of saffron lasts a while. Well worth it - the flavor and aroma are unique. One signal omission in my Hogao, it seemed to me was the cilantro - but it was omitted deliberately as one of our guests was known to be cilantro averse. I included it in only one dish that evening - the green salsa in which it's truly indispensable. The Hogao, doubtless, would have been better and more typical with - but as you've seen in my notes, the Hogao ended up being included in a number of dishes. Hence no cilantro this time.
Rest assured my next attempt at Hogao will stick to tradition. Thanks for your guidance.

Nika Boyce said...

Dan - Wow, cilantro aversive - blows my mind. Such person would go hungry in Colombia. Also, if one can not eat pork, just dont GO to Colombia *winks* because pork is king, queen, and the whole court. Heck, pork is emperor of Colombia.

I dont remember if you mentioned if you tried making "pique", that is also indispensable. It is served with fried things like empanadas and helps to cut through the grease a bit. It too has lots of cilantro.

I think I am addicted to cilantro. I guess things could be worse :-)

re: hogao - you may have invented something fantastic. While its not "authentic" it has merit for being delicious.