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Carnes al Disco


Well, I´ve been on a bit of a hiatus because there have been some changes in the last few months. The biggest being I am going to move to South Korea this August to teach English. Signed, sealed, delivered. It´s happening: contract, flight and all. Therefore, I´ve been dedicating my remaining time to being with friends and soaking up my last few months in Chile.

Last weekend, I went to Algorrobo with my housemates to do a little bonding. Unfortunately, the weather gods were not on our side and it was rainy and windy the whole time. At one point, the power went out too. So, we decided to make the best of the situation and started a fire, poured some wine, and started cooking.

One of my favorite aspects of Chilean cuisine is that the majority of the food and cooking is a social process. Whether it is a weekend asado or a long Sunday almuerzo, Chileans like to take their time and chat while the food slowly simmers. One of the best examples of this type of food is cooking in a disco which is similar to an Asian wok, except not concave. The legged, deep pan is put directly over the fire and the food cooks for hours to build flavor. Typically, Chileans will make this dish with seafood (mariscos al disco) but sometimes they just stick to meat, which is what we did in Algorrobo.

And it was absolutely delicious. We put in potatoes, onion, 6 cloves of garlic, wine, salt, chicken, sausage, carrot and green pepper and let it do its thing, stirring occasionally.

The chicken and sausage got nice and tender and the juices from the onion and meat mixed beautifully with the soft potatoes. Be sure to dip your bread in the juice!

Unfortunately, many of us do not have an open fire or a disco at our disposal, so I came up with a way to replicate this dish without the special equipment. And, maybe it wash´t exactly the same but it was really delicious nonetheless.

Grace´s Carnes al Disco sin Disco

INGREDIENTS:

4-6 small chorizo sausages

1 whole chicken cut into pieces or 4 thighs, bone in

2 large onion, sliced thinly

6 cloves of garlic, minced

2 large carrots, sliced thinly (I used a peeler)

1 large green pepper, sliced

4 tablespoons of salt

1 pinch of tarragon

1 pinch of pepper

1 pinch of merken (optional)

5 large potatoes, peeled and sliced like french fries

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/2 cup of wine

DIRECTIONS:

Put in the onion, garlic, potatoes, chicken and sausage and put on medium high with a little bit of olive oil. After about ten minutes add the wine and carrots. After about 10 minutes add all the spices. Now, all you have to do is stir occasionally, and let this puppy simmer for about an hour, or as long as possible, until the onions are caramelized and the potatoes soft. Add a cup of water about halfway through. The chicken should be fall off the bone soft and the potatoes nice and soft.

Buen Provecho!

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Ensalada Chilena and Despedidas


Hello! Feliz Domingo a todos

This weekend there were three different despedidas (or goodbye parties) for gringos happening. I was only able to go to two of them, both on Saturday. The first was for my housemate who only recently returned from here month-long vacation, so I only got to meet her briefly. My housemates decided to have a lunch party, and I volunteered to cook. I ended up making a lot of food.

Some of it was not very interesting (deviled eggs, cole slaw, pasta salad) but I did make my first ensalada chilena as well as my first, whole roasted chicken.

The ensalada chilena turned out well. The truth is, this is one of those chilean dishes that’s so simple it’s almost not a dish, but there are a few secrets to make it turn out just right. It’s a lovely side dish for any type of grilled meat and is really lovely with humitas or pastel de choclo.

Ensalada Chilena

4-6 large whole tomatoes, peeled and soaked in chilled water.

1 large white onion, sliced into very thin pieces (almost shaved with the knife) and soaked in a little vinegar, sugar and water.

1/4 cup cilantro leaves, minced

2 tablespoons of olive oil

sea salt

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

DIRECTIONS:

Slice the tomatoes in half, then cut them into thin half moons and arrange on your serving plate. Drain the milky water from the onions, and plop the onion on top the tomatoes. Sprinkle the cilantro on top, and drizzle the olive oil, vinegar, and salt to finish.

The chicken turned out nice as well. I can’t say I had any type of exact recipe, but below is a good base recipe that you can play with. Pick any spices you like! Any and all taste delicious…

Grace’s Whole Roasted Chicken

1 whole chicken, bones in

1 tablespoon of butter

3 tablespoons of olive oil

oregano

black pepper

salt

red pepper

rosemary

thyme

DIRECTIONS:

Heat oven to 400.

Put the butter in the bottom on the pan and place the  whole chicken on top. Mix the olive oil and the spices in a small bowl, and brush over the top of the chicken. Make sure to get the rub mix into all the little crevices. Cover the pan with tin foil and put into the oven for about a half an hour. Take the bird out of the oven after 30 minutes, and flip it so it is breast down. Baste the bird in its juices, then put in back in the oven for another half hour or so, until the skin is nice and golden, and there is no red by the bone. Remove from the oven, baste it in its juices, and let it rest for 20 minutes.

The despedida lunch was a nice way for my friends to meet my housemates and to send off my housemate back to Germany.

A lot of gringos have left recently, which has been a little hard. It makes me homesick and also has reduced my group of friends over the last few months. However, I’m excited to travel soon, and the good thing about living in Santiago is you meet new people all the time.

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5 Step Peruvian Ceviche


Happy weekend everyone!

I was really excited to get done with classes on Friday because I was going to make a dish I absolutely adore but have never made: ceviche. This was my first attempt at it and I thought it went fabulous. There are many many types of ceviche, and not all ceviche use raw fish. Some ceviches use cooked shrimp and octopus, and some use fruit like mango and avocado.

While every and all ceviches are winners in my book, Peruvian ceviche takes the cake.

Maybe that’s because ceviche was originated in Peru, or so says Wikipedia:

“The origin of ceviche is disputed. Possible origin sites for the dish include the western coast of north-central South America,[1] or in Central America.[3][4] Other coastal societies such as the Polynesian islands of thesouth Pacific are also attributed the invention of the plate.[13] The Spanish, who brought from Europe citrus fruits such as lime,[14] could have also originated the plate with roots in Moorish cuisine.[11] However, the most likely origin of the plate lies in the area of present-day Peru.[2

Interesting.

Throughout South American, ceviche recipes differ by region. Chilean ceviche  uses sea bass and heavy amounts of cilantro, and occationally even grapefruit juice. Peruvian ceviche comes in all varieties, and sometimes includes aji amarillo, garlic, lemon juice, corvina (white fish), shrimp, and the liquid is typically removed  (this has to do with the Japanese “sashimi” style influence on the country). Ecuadorian ceviche has the unusual addition of ketchup and sometimes mustard and some kind of chunky side, like tostados (South American corn nut). In Mexico, the ceviche sometimes has avocado and tomato.

The recipe I found for my version came from Laylita’s fabulous South American cooking blog. This recipe was awesome and I loved the addition of the hot pepper.

So on Friday afternoon I made a trip down to Mercado Central to buy my fish. Unfortunately, the corvina was like 10,000 luca (20 dollars) so I went with reineta instead. I do think a little higher quality, more expensive fish would have been better, but honestly the recipe was still delicious and overall, a definite success.

WORD TO THE WISE: Ceviche has to “cook” in lime juice for a few hours, so make sure you plan ahead!

White Fish Ceviche

Ingredients:

15 small limes, juiced

sea salt

olive oil

1 bunch of cilantro

1/2-1lb of boneless white fish (halibut, sea bass, or red snapper are good picks)

2 small red onions, sliced very thinly

2 cloves of garlic, smashed

2 hot peppers (I used these aji amarillos I found at the market, but I think thai chili peppers would be good, or any hot pepper really)

DIRECTIONS:

First: Cut the fish into small cubes and soak in salt water for 30 minutes in the fridge. the reason you must do this is to kill any bacteria and parasites. Gross, I know.

Second: Juice your limes! This takes a while. Not the most fun part.

Three: Cut your onions and soak them in salt water with a little vinegar if you have it. This will make the onions sweeter.

Four: Remove the salt water from the fish, and put the fish in a glass container (baking pan will work) with the lime juice, the hot peppers sliced diagonally, the garlic, and a few springs of cilantro. Put the container, covered, in the fridge for 2.5-3 hours, until the fish looks whitish and firm. This is the “cooking” process and it is important that all the raw fish is covered in lime juice so that it cooked properly.

Four: Remove the peppers, and garlic, and add the onions (water removed) and cilantro. Add a few drizzles of olive oil and a generous pinch of sea salt. Put in the fridge for another 30 minutes.

Five: Finally, serve in a glass dish, with liquid or without. I like personally like somewhere in between.

If you want to make it PERUVIAN, it should be served in a lettuce leaf, with a sliced sweet potato, and choclo (large grain corn).

Ceviche is a great appetizer or even main dish for a hot summer day. Serve it it in fun tequila glasses, or glasses with salt lined rims. You can also make fish tacos with your ceviche, or eat it with something crunchy like potato chips.

Happy Fall! Or, Spring here in Chile….

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Snowboarding (Falling) down the Andes


Good evenin’ errbody!

I hope you are less exhausted than me. I find my nightly ritual has become a bit depressing lately-I stumble into wool socks, polar leggings, and then procide to pour myself a generous glass of Chilean vino and MAYBE manage to surf the internet for about an hour before hitting the hay. Working from 7am-8pm will do that to you. Especially when you carry like 10 lbs of books on your back all day and walk everywhere…..Can I get some wine with that whine?

Tonight I decided to pop an Ibuprofen to balance out my wholesome wine and chocolate dinner (Such a woman) because, I’m still FREAKING SORE from last weekend’s glorious ski/snowboard trip.

I had an excellent time with Katie and Rocio last Sunday as we adventured into those glorious white, snow capped mountains. No denying it, I’m not a great skier or snowboarder. I’ve gone….maybe…5 times in my life, and it never really stuck. BUT, I really wanted to go to just get myself  into the mountains and see the Andes for myself, even if that meant just falling down a hill for a few hours. I mean, at least I got really up and personal with the snow??

The drive up was gorgeous:

We even saw some cows.

Katie and I were very excited, especially about the gear. That is, until we found out we had to drag it everywhere….bummer.

Some of us may have had more fun than others when it actually came to skiing. Katie was a beginner beginner, and she spent most of the time frustrated and horizontal. I was able to get down the bunny hill without falling, and even down the big hill behind it, but that was about it. The “lift” or torturous-device-between-your-legs-death-trap, almost killed me. The first time I did it, I was awkwardly  (violently) flung 20 feet and then dragged up the hill. Not cute. Also, as the day went on, I got more and more tired (sucking is difficult) and began falling a lot, harder each time (I had one particularly good face plant). Eventually Katie and I called it quits and hung out in the sun at the resort, but we made sure to get a photo opt. DUH!

 Special shout out to Rocio, our Chilean saint friend, who graciously helped us special gringas through our most trying, ski/snowboard attempts and acted as a guide through uncharted mountain territory. Thanks girl!

Proof I could make it down the bunny hill. Winning.

My lovely companions.

I came home happy, but beat up. Lesson learned, the mountain always wins.

RANDOM TANGENT:

Found two, new, delicious discoveries at my local market (across the street! so awesome!)

1. Beet salad in a bag (only 700 pesos=1.25 dollars) with thin sliced onions and cilantro. Put some balsamic and mustard vinaigrette on that sucker, and BAM. Nom nom beet salad. For another yummy beet salad recipe, see my other blog here

Also, delicious, 300 peso pebre. Equally nom-tastic.

Excited for a relaxing weekend after a long, exhausting, draining week!

Is it summer yet? It is at HOME…sigh.

Hope everyone is healthy and happy, in Chile or otherwise!

Beet Salad With Peppers and Lettuce

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Felíz Cinco de Mayo!


Yes, I realize that it’s a Mexican/American holiday and not a Chilean one, but it’s a great holiday because it involves Mexican food and strong drinks! Two of my favorite things.

To celebrate, I made some of my mom’s awesome Mango Salsa with baked white fish and black beans and a few avocado slices (errr… a whole avocado). The only thing I did different was add some tomatoes, lemon juice (no limes here!) and ají instead of jalapeño

It was a little taste of home away from home. I’ll have to make some huevos rancheros soon to commemorate our annual, Christmas time huevos rancheros parties where Dad and I would do tortillas and eggs made to order. Only one person could eat at a time, but we made sure everyone had a strong margarita to make up for it.

Since I have work tomorrow, I won’t be celebrating drink-o de mayo style but I’ll try and make it up this weekend.

Speaking of celebrations, Happy Anniversary Mom and Dad! Miss you both.

But, why stop with Cinco de Mayo? I would eat Mexican food everyday if I could. Here’s some awesome recipes to get your mexi-fix for the whole week!

Fresh Tortilla Soup Fresh and soothing with a kick of lime.

Chili con Carne Best chili recipe ever.

Grace’s Chicken Mole (That’s right, I’m on Cookus!) Pretty much famous for this one

Chili Rellenos Never tried ’em? You havn’t lived. Awesome for breakfast the next day.

Tacos Three Ways Taco Party!

Mexican Rice Delicious and nutritious. Serve with above dishes.

Cilantro Fish Tacos Baja fresh.

Arroz con Pollo Traditional and filling.

[Addendum: I’m sorry that all my plates have flowers and look cheap. It’s all I have. Cheap plates and a little canon zoom. The photography is severely lacking. However, my roommate happens to be an excellent photography….so..better photos soon? Without shadows? And horrible lighting?]

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Cazuela de Ave and Learning Chilean Spanish


Happy Hump Day everyone!

It’s been a crazy few weeks. Been struggling to get the best schedule/work load to pay the bills and worrying about other useless stuff. A lot of boring things to do, like go and get my temporary RUT (half way to being Chilean!) and cash checks, blah blah.

But, I did have an eventful weekend, so that helps with the boring week. Last Saturday night I met up with some Chileans for a night out. By the time I got home my brain was swimming (for many reasons). Speaking spanish for 12-24 hours is exhausting, especially Chilean spanish. Although, I’m starting to pick it up (whether I like it or not). Thus far, I’d adapted “sipo,” (means yes basically) “cachai” (you know) “como estaí” (Como estas) but have yet to adapt “weon” (dude, sorta) because I’m afraid. All in good time.

Today is a slow day for me, with only one class at 6:30pm. So, what do I do with my spare time? Cook. Of course.

Today I took a stab at making Cazuela de Ave (see older blog post).
I seem to have a strong penchant for soups and anything that can be made in a huge pot. I love stewing, seeping, and simmering. The smell of spices and juices mixing….mmmm mmmm.

Cazuela de Ave is a perfect mix of Spain and Chile, blending native ingredients like pumpkin and corn with more european flavors and ingredients like rice, onion, garlic, and parsley. Traditionally, the soup might have been made with quinoa, red pepper, and local foul or meat. When the Spanish conquerors arrived on the scene, they named these soups “cazuelas” because they were made in large pots/tubs.

Cazuela is fresh, flavorful, hearty, healthy and filling. It is South American’s version of chicken noodle soup and my does it sooth the soul. Moist, soft hunks of pumpkin drenched in freshly made stock, garnished with herbs. What could be better? Serve it on cold winter nights or when your system needs a re-boot.

Cazuela de Ave

INGREDIENTS:

2 chicken legs, skin on (or thigh/leg, breast/leg combo)

6-8 cups of water

4 cloves of garlic, minced

1 hunk of pumpkin of squash, cut into 4-6 large chunks

4 small potatoes, skinned and cubed

1 large onion, chopped

1 large carrot, chopped

1 ear of corn, cut into thirds

1 teaspoon oregano

bouquet garni (click here for explanation)

1 teaspoon cumin

2 tablespoon of salt

1 cube of bouillon (optional)

fresh parsley, minced

black pepper

cilantro, minced

1 cup of  white rice, cooked

thinly sliced green beans/red pepper (Or, I used a frozen veggie mix with peas and carrots)

DIRECTIONS:

Cook a small pot of rice and set aside.

Take you chicken and cover it with half the garlic, salt, and a dash of pepper. Put a few tablespoons of olive oil in a large pot and turn the heat to medium high. Stick the chicken in the pot and brown the skin slightly.

Next, add 6 cups of water, or until pot is a little over 3/4 full. Boil the chicken in the water for about 40 minutes until the liquid has absorbed the chicken flavor and the water looks more yellow and rich. I added bouillon to my broth at this point only because I didn’t have much chicken and the stock seemed a little bland, but in the future, I might not do this. It was a little salty.

Then, remove chicken from the pot and drain liquid through a strainer into a different container and set aside. In your original pot, add a few tablespoons of olive oil, the onion and carrot. Next, add the oregano, cumin, salt, and left over garlic. Stir until fragrant.  Add the potatoes, squash, and corn, green beans/bell pepper, bouquet garni, and the remaining stock and chicken pieces. Gently boil for 40 minutes, or until the potatoes and squash can be pierced with a knife.

To serve, put a tablespoon of rice at the bottom of a deep soup bowl with some of the vegetables. Next, add a piece of corn, a hunk of squash, potatoes, carrots, and a chicken leg (or piece of chicken). Garnish with fresh parsley and cilantro.

Serve with some warm fluffy pan del día and butter, and  nice big glass of red, Chilean wine. You’ll thank me.

Serves 2-4 (depending on how many pieces of chicken you use). I had tons of leftovers.

Simple, fresh, and satisfying, this dish a winner in my book, and might be the new, improved chicken noodle soup for years to come.

Has anyone else made cazuela and made it differently?

Stay tuned for more Chilean adventures. Until next time, ciao!

Grace Geiger

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Pebre para siempre and my first Chilean Seder


Good afternoon everybody.

It’s a bit cold and cloudy here in Santiago today. It seems Fall has arrived whether I like it or not. Mostly not a fan, but cold here is like June in Seattle soo…its all good.

Last Monday I went with my housemate Amanda to my first ever Seder meal. I’ve been to a few bat and bar mitzvahs in my day, but never a Seder. Going to Catholic high school probably didn’t help my chances  of getting invited to one either.

It was quite the adventure to say the least. We had to go way out to Lo Barnecheo which meant going to the end of the red line on the metro and taking a 15 minute cab ride. When we got there, we had to go through security just to get in the building, and once we got through, I understood why. The building was beautiful!

The synagogue itself has beautiful stained glass windows:

After the service, we went downstairs for the Seder meal. We had a little bit of a mix up with the dinner because Amanda has tried to call and reserve a spot, but they hadn’t answered, but we eventually got a spot at a table with a nice family of Chileans. I may or may not have just pretended to be Jewish because I didn’t feel like explaining I was just there for the experience. Spanish makes me awkward. I just followed along with Amanda and prayed I wouldn’t have to read Hebrew. When everybody was singing, I just sort of mumbled some Hebrew sounding things.

The whole service and meal were quite lovely I really enjoyed learning about the symbolism of each part of the meal.

I also really enjoy how much wine drinking is involved in a Seder. And singing. Excellent.

mmmmmm matzoh ball soup!

My lovely housemate/Seder assistant Amanda!

Since we were unable to score a ride home, it was a bit of  cold, late night bus adventure to get  back, but worth it in the end.

Mid-week, Amanda both got the cooking bug and went out for some supplies. My trip brought back all the ingredients to recreate my favorite Chilean side—Pebre!

When Katie and I went to Valpo, we spent all of our meals scarfing bread and pebre. First, because we were starved and it comes out before the food, but also because pebre rocks!

I’m not gonna sit here and lie to you. Pebre is essentially glorified pico de gallo. There is nothing particularly different about it except it has a bit more olive oil and garlic. But, what is new for me is putting salsa on bread instead of chips. At first, I was a little turned off. Bread? Really? But over time I’ve gone from luke warm to addicted to the stuff. Nothing is better than the vinegar tomato juice soaking the fresh fluffy bread and the bite of ají and garlic with cilantro to finish.

Pebre is traditionally served before the meal, just like chips and salsa, or is served as a topping for grilled meat.

I knew I had to make this for myself. And make a lot. the recipe below is for a reasonable sized portion. Double it if you want leftovers.

Pebre

Ingredients:

3 or 4 ripe tomatoes, minced

1 green onion, minced

1 aji pepper, or jalapeño minced

2 cloves of garlic, minced

4-5 tablespoons of olive oil

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1/4 cup of cilantro, chopped

1/4 cup parsley, chopped

A squeeze of lemon juice

salt

pepper

This recipe doesn’t really involve directions. Just mix the ingredients together. This recipe ain’t exactly rocket science either. Don’t like cilantro? skip it! No vinegar, your choice!

Om nom nom.

Delicious. Yes, you can eat this with tortilla chips, if you really must.

I was not the only one cooking up a storm. My housemate Amanda is the desert queen. She does the sweet, I do the savory. It’s a cooking match made in heaven. We don’t even compete for the same utensils! You want the mixer? Great! Give me the fry pan.

Amanda made a killer desert the other day. She also has been leaving it out just to torture me.

I’d never seen this before, but it’s a matzoh desert (Happy Passover!) called Matzoh Buttercrunch. It’s amazing. She also made some charoset (apples, nuts, cinnamon, honey/sugar).

Awesome.

Have a great weekend and Happy Easter!

Chilean Pebre

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