Taste of Argentina...

Sorry folks...no photos. Bummer and lame as well I know. Just imagine the flavors though as I describe them. This post is not so much to entertain but to inspire! We had the great opportunity to cook a wine lunch Friday for a group of folks who were sampling some interesting Argentinian wines and making some comparisons to Napa, Australia etc. I so enjoy the warm, sensuous flavors of Southern Hemisphere cooking, and having dabbled in it a bit in S.A. interpretations in various menus, I went at it gladly and with passion of course! for the first course, I wanted to present an empanada, yet perhaps with a slightly different twist than that of being placed merely under a lamp with some plain dipping sauce. The dish was Roasted Saffron Milky Cap Mushroom & Fork Mashed Sweet Potato Empanada with Smooth Goat Cheese Coulis, Roasted Local Fuji Apples with Thyme, Chives, and a Black Mission Fig Vinaigrette. A couple drops of smoked Paprika Oil finished off the composure. The next course was a meaty yet very tender shoulder cut called a Terres Major. Billed as Chimichurri Brushed Terres Major with Silky Yucca Puree, Malbec Braised Heirloom Garlic, Banana-Jicama Relish, Smooth Date-Sherry Essence, Sea Salt and Crispy Leeks. A slightly tart and unctuous marriage with nuances of headiness and savory. Add a smathering of sweet and a dash of spice~ tasty! The "Last in Line"(pun in honor of one of the late metal gods: Ronnie James Dio's all time fav hits!-a few of my crew should enjoy this)...was a Roasted Pumpkin Sponge Cake with Malbec Poached Local Butter Pears, Candied Pumpkin, Mocha Creme Fraiche, Dark Chocolate "Fudgesickles" (more like Dove Bars they were...freakin tasty as hell though), Pear-Malbec Syrup and a dusting of Toasted Almonds and Ancho Chili finished off the ensemble.

Where this is all heading I do not have a clue. It is really just about sharing and trying to inspire others, just as what is done when cooking for friends and family. To share something that is special and/or personal to one with another is a great thing and a gesture that I try to do often. It is not just about putting any gathering of ingredients together on a plate for the sake of a meal or in my professional case to make money(although this is a business right?) yet about the gift one gives to another. I have always felt that the act to give or the motion of giving itself is a huge part of me and something very wonderful I inherited and/or was passed down from my late mother. For this I am ever grateful for. I really believe this is why I entered into this crazy business, have been as successful as I have...my spiritual calling if you will. Regardless, to make people feel better by preparing a special dish or meal is what I aim to accomplish and only wish more could experience what giving is all about. Sadly...some will never get it.


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