Tag Archives: wine

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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Echinuca: Celebrating Chilean Cuisine


Over the weekend, in Vitacura, there was a three-day food and wine festival called Echinuca. The purpose of the event was to celebrate  the best of Chilean cuisine and to promote Chile’s national dishes in order to push for more global attention in the culinary world. Amanda and I went Saturday afternoon excited to check it out.

The event consisted of a large, tented outdoor area filled with lots of individual vendor booths selling everything from artisan goat cheese, sea salts, olive oil, jams, spreads, ham, and much more. Most of the products were locally made and we had a great time going around sampling products.

Some of the larger stands served food like mussels, pastel de choclo, chorillana, etc. I ordered some oysters for about 4 dollars, which were okay. Not great. But I really enjoy eating oysters anyway.

There was also an outdoor grilling area with some seriously impressive meat displays and one larger than life paella bubbling in the corner.

Amanda and I both loved all the spicy jams and came home with two stellar picks. I got the smokey merkén flavored jam (merken is all the rage, don’t you know) and she got the rocoto jam (rocoto is a spicy peruvian pepper). Can’t wait to spread it on some crackers with crema de queso!

I ended up getting a little excited and spending too much money (I can’t live without artisan jam and a locally brewed beer! Whoa is me) , but it was basically like being in a little Grace heaven. The artisan goat cheeses  (there was one made with ají that was AWESOME) were especially mind-boggling.

I’m off to the beach in Viña to relax and enjoy my Sunday.

¡Hasta Luego!

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Friends and Fish! Sunday Dinner Party


Well. It’s been almost 7 months now here in Chile, and I think right now I’m the happiest I’ve been. I like my job, I like the people at my job, I like my students, the weather is good, life is good. Currently, I scheming a birthday trip in November to Buenos Aires and Mendoza, Argentina and I am very excited (PS. all advice and tips welcome on that….). I havn’t left Santiago since I got here, and it’s time for a change of scenery, ya know?

Speaking of fellow employees, I had a great time going to the Vega with Isabel and Mike last Sunday. The plan was to give Mike a cooking lesson, who currently has been living off rice and pasta. We pursued the market, and finally came home with reineta, spinach, mushrooms, and potatoes. Using, I dunno, about 3  entire heads of garlic, we put together some thin sliced, roasted garlic potatoes (potatoes, garlic, olive oil, lemon, baked for an hour at 400), creamed spinach with mushrooms, and baked fish with lemon and garlic and cherry tomatoes. We may have  repulsed all vampires within 20 miles, but the food was so tasty! The fish was extra fresh because we got it at the Fish Market.

We had some ensalada de porotos (white bean salad with onion and cilantro, comes in a bag at La Vega) as a starter…

Cooking is really only as hard as you want it to be. Most of the time, all you need to do is stick stuff in the oven for a long time with salt. SEriously.

Monday was payday, and to reward myself, I bought myself a pan! It’s bright, bright green. I love it. All ym cooking equipment blows and its been difficult to cook with bad knifes and terrible pans.

Happy Humpday Everyone.

Til next time!

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Chilean Wines 101: Concha y Toro


Finally a little sun here in Santiago! Yesterday was raining and gloomy and I needed a little sun this morning to bring back my faith in humanity.

Despite the drizzle, Saturday morning my fellow wine tasting companions (winos) Katie, Tali and Nathan and I set out down the green line at 9am to investigate one of Chile most famous wineries, Concha y Toro. Even though my feet were cold, the drizzle actually made for a pretty tour. Felt a bit like we were in Ireland.

Yeah yeah, okay, the absolute best time to go would be a sunny, warm Fall day when the leaves on the vines are changing colors, but why not go again? There are many wineries in Chile to visit and I think it is an essential part of my education that I investigate them all in the hope that if I hear about wines over and over, maybe some of it will subconsciously enter my brain. Essential. 🙂

Because, the truth is, although I think I’ve made some heavy strides in the food writing world, and collected some dorky, Seattle-focused foodie vocabulary (you got lightly seared, flambé, grass-fed, foie gras, reduction, al fresco, resto, blah blah blah) I’m totally lost in the world of wine. I blame this on my parent’s lack of alcoholism. Curse you! (I kid, I kid…)

The one time I got  little wine knowledge happening in my brain is when I did some fact checking at Seattle mag on wine labels, but that was about it. I also remember being really nervous because I had to call the winery and pronounce French words. It was interesting.

ANYWAY. The tour was lovely albeit cold and the wine was fabulous. I’m not a great listener or very mature, so I didn’t learn very much, but here’s the very barebones information I gathered:

1. The wine is called Castillero de Diablo because originally the owner of the winery found out locals were stealing his precious wine!! Oh no! Preying on their suspicious, ignorant ways, he decided to dress up like the devil to scare them off! Shaking in fear, the local them deemed his house the house of the devil. What a sweet story!

oooohhh!!

2. To be called a reserve wine, the wine must be aged for a minimum of 8 months and can be aged up to two years.

3. Red wines are aged in oak barrels, but most wine whites are not. They are aged in stainless steel barrels. This does not reduce quality, but it simply better for the white wines. Particularly Malbecs.

4. Most Chilean red wines are grown near Santiago, where the weather gets very hot and very cool during the year. This combined with the type of soil (terroir), fresh clean Andes water, and the barrier created by the mountains creates the perfect atmosphere for reds.

4. Chilean white wines are grown near Valparaiso, nearer the ocean. The white wines need less extremes in temperature and the cool ocean air is good for the grapes.

5. When tasting wines, they may ask you to look for “acidity” “dryness” “earthy undertones” or even “fruity hints” in additional to smell and body. You may or may not taste/notice any of these depending on how much wine you’ve had. Wines with a strong acidity go well with pasta. Noted.

6. Do not drink the whole glass of wine before your tour guide describes it and says “salud”. It makes you look dumb. Cough. Again, noted.

7. Wines go through a cycle! This is my very simplified version A) Add yeast to the juice  B)Yeast turns sugar into alcohol C)Some other stuff happens D)They put it in barrels for a long time.

8. Finally, do not go on a wine tour without eating. You’ll feel dizzy and super hungry and probably buy a churro.

After the tour, we pooled together our meager teacher earning and purchased one bottle of Carmenere for the road. And on the way to Tali and Nat’s we stocked up on cheese, bread, and ham (obvio) and went to town! A perfect way to spend a rainy Saturday. Inside, eating wine and cheese.

Until next time…

DRINK, EAT, BE HAPPY!

Cheese Tray

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Homecooking and my new Chilean I.D.!


Happy Friday everyone!

Tonight,  I’m taking a night off from the 24/7 party that is Chile. I taught a night class and then came home, put on my comfy slippers, poured some wine, and here I am.

But, I muss confess, I’ve failed you. Once again, I’ve been struggling to make Chilean food as apart of my normal routine. This is mostly due to do my very low income ( rice and lentils, repeat) and also because I can’t seem to fight the urge to make my own version of comfort food.

For example, last week I made Asian Noodle Salad which always reminds me of home and  my mom.

Then a few nights ago I made sauteed purple cabbage with apples, sugar, and vinegar. I served it with mashed potatoes, sauerkraut, sausages, and a little dijon mustard. Quick fix German food. The only thing vaguely Chilean here is the sauerkraut (chucrut)

It may not look that gourmet, but the flavors are lovely! This is an easy, cheap dish to make at home.

Then today, I decided to make some egg salad and it turned out fabulous. I mixed the eggs with mayo, a little dijon, curry powder, salt, pepper and cayenne. It hit the spot. I always forget about egg salad, and I tend resort to tuna for a quick sandwich (it’s a little less maintenance), but this was an awesome alternative.

We had a brunch last weekend at my house where I made these potatoes, and I even took a stab at making kimchi with purple cabbage!

I soaked the cabbage in salt water overnight, then added ginger, red pepper, carrot, green onion, and vinegar and let it ferment for four days. It was not bad! I’d probably prefer napa cabbage next time though…

Made for some excellent make shift bi bim bap! (fried rice with spinach, sauerkraut, kimchi and a fried egg with hot sauce).

So, as you can see, I definitely was cooking, just not Chilean things. Hopefully you at least got some inspiration for some quick, easy, and cheap meals to make at home.

But, good news my fellow foodies, this weekend I’m going on a wine tour and I’m also going skiing! Doesn’t get more Chilean than that. And, in anticipation, I bought a hat..

And, even more exciting, I’m now an official, temporary resident of Chile! (sorry the photo is backwards)

Wooohoo!

I’ve now been in Chile just a little over four months and despite the nasty cold winter, it’s been absolutely incredible. When I think back to my first few weeks, I’m amazed at how far I’ve come in such a short time.

Stay tuned for a wine and skiing post, and maybe even an empanada experiment! (I’ve been promising that for a while now….)

Ciao! Nos Vemos!

P.S. (See a trend in all these recipes? Ingredients? This is the definition of making your groceries last, purple cabbage (3 meals), dijon (egg salad, sausage))

Kimchi

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