Monday, May 30, 2011


Best steak in Barrio Norte
Let's go over this again, it's been a while. Chimichurri. What is it? Chimichurri is a condiment that hails from Argentina. Contrary to popular American opinion chimichurri is not green, it is orange. The header for this blog is a close up of chimichurri.

I don't know why chimichurri this or chimichurri that is on all the menus in American restaurants these days. I don't know why they sell bottles of green gunk in grocery stores either. Why is the Patagonian tooth fish known as Sea Bass? It's all marketing I suppose.

If you go to Argentina and you eat somewhere that isn't a tourist hangout, like around Recoleta cemetery is, you will not see chimichurri on all of the tables and you will not see Portenos slathering it on everything they eat. Chimichurri is a condiment. I ate many steaks in Buenos Aires and I was never asked if I wanted chimichurri with my steak.

Argentineans put chimichurri on choripan.  A choripan is a grilled chorizo sausage sandwich. Chimichurri usually contains garlic so some Argentineans don't like to eat it but every once in a while. Around Calle Florida in the busy city central in B.A. there some places that make choripan and other sandwiches daily. They are usually small with a few high top table and some counter top space.

On the tables you will see styrofoam cups sitting out with a plastic spoon sticking up out of the cup. This is chimichurri and you add as much as you like when you get your choripan. It is very thick and the oil usually separates out of it so it needs stirring. It isn't spicy. Argentinean food isn't very spicy.  It's for the bread. It's the wet component for the dry bread. Like we put ketchup and mustard on hotdogs, yes it's for the taste but it is also easier to eat versus a plain weeny on a bun. And imagine the bun being a baguette.

Someone once said to me they were making chimichurri rice. Can you imagine someone saying they are making mustard rice or ketchup rice. You'd think they were crazy. That's how Argentineans think about Americans that have suddenly begun putting what isn't even real chimichurri on everything and calling it Argentinean inspired.

I think we've gotten to the point where we no longer think that those U shaped crispy yellow taco shells that your mom used to serve ground beef  in are tacos. Now we need to get educated on what chimichurri is and what it is used for as well.

Buen provecho!

Chimichurri ingredients just before going to the blender.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Memorial Day

Lime, cilantro and jalapeño marinade

I got this recipe recently from the head chef at Haven, Stephen Herman at a fundraiser that was held there earlier in the week. He was cooking quail. I substituted chicken for the quail.

Start by juicing about 3-4 limes. Chop up one bunch of cilantro and one jalapeño. Add salt and pepper. Toss chicken wings or small drumsticks in the marinade. I grilled this chicken over a hot grill using direct heat for about 25 minutes.

Peach, bacon chutney with fresh thyme

At the same benefit I learned a new recipe from Chef Matt, of Valenza

Start with about 6-8 peaches and cut into a dice. While cutting the peaches, render 4 pieces of bacon in a large casserole dish or pan over high heat. 

After cutting the peaches, dice one onion. When the bacon is rendered remove it from the pan to a towel lined plate. In the same pot add in the diced onion and sweat them down on medium heat. They need to be really well cooked so the starches will turn to sugar. This will take about 10-15 minutes. 

After the onions have finished sweating, add in the peaches. Stir them in thoroughly and place the lid on the pot. Let the peaches simmer over low heat for about 20 minutes. They should release most of their juice. Add the bacon back in and stir. Take off the heat and stir in some freshly chopped thyme. 

This chutney is a terrific compliment to the grilled chicken and if you have quail it is even better!

Grilled bacon wrapped asparagus

This was another one of the recipes from the fundraiser that was held at Valenza Restaurant earlier in the week. 

This one doesn't need much explaining, simply wrap fresh asparagus in bacon and it's ready to go! I covered the grill with aluminum foil to cook the asparagus which really did a nice job. 

Chef Stephen Herman, Haven and Chef Matt Swickerath, Valenza

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

FDA figures out what we already knew

Where's my pork chop!?
The FDA has announced that it is now safe to eat pork that is cooked to a temperature of 145 degrees. They previously recommended incinerating it up to160 degrees. They state that if the pork is a little pink that it is okay to eat. If you try to eat a pork chop that is totally white, good luck! It will chew and taste like shoe leather.

Anyone who's ever spent any amount of time at all cooking pork already new this, and we were becoming extremely tired of being berated that our meat was not cooked. The fear of everything that pervades this country is infuriating. I cannot remember how many times I've served perfectly grilled meat off of the grill only to have some idiot complain that it wasn't burnt to a cinder. Now that someone from the FDA has apparently read Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking, perhaps we can now begin to enjoy some moist, succulent pork chops for a change!