Friday, May 15, 2009

Cooked: MIA2LAX

So my friend Danny... whom I see EVERY Blue moon, & I go back almost 16 years. He moved out to LA a year after I did & we recently reconnected on Facebook. I always post what I've had for dinner on there & we got to chit chatting & he's like make me dinner next Thursday I miss home cooking I was like HELL YEAH! 
Oh did I mention he's a Producer & has a gaggle of shows on MTV. That's it, I had to get to cracking. After my fun field trip to the Argentinian market I couldn't decide what to make as an appetizer. 
It was between Lamb & Drunken Cranberry Empanadas, Salt Cod Fish Balls or Lobster, Shrimp, Pineapple & Avocado Salad with a lime vinaigrette & Shredded Fried Yucca.. couldn't pick one & hell... I don't do small so I made all three!
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Star Studded Cast: Lamb & Drunken Cranberry Empanadas 
Getting the cranberries drunk in Haiti's finest!
Browning with the real "mojito"
the rest of the cast get to join

mashing the garlic, salt & peppercorns (Pink & Black)

The #1 selling empanada dough in Argentina in LA, so cool!
One of the best things I have ever purchased at The 99 Cent Only Store
So light & flaky & Frankie did such a good job on his first night... YAY!
Egg wash substitute... FAB!
Boiling the potato & salt cod
Mashed the cod & the potato, ready for seasoning
breading station, panko & flour
YUM! They were just dancing in my new Sammy Davis, Jr ... I  my Rat Pack!!!
Lime Vinaigrette with Australian Paw Paw Olive Oil
Vinaigrette & salad basics
Grating the Yucca
Frying them

Drying them out
Lobster, Shrimp, lettuce, red onions, cilantro & avocado
The crispy Yucca & Flake Salt
Even though he was looking forward to classic Cuban faire I felt it was important to show my range & add a different take on each dish. I thought Lamb & Cranberries would be an exciting alternative to the common ground beef & raisin ones you find all over Miami, I also felt having something from Argentina would make him feel he was more at home in the streets of Miami than having just all Cuban food. Salt Cod Fish Balls aka Boulette Poisson or Bolinho de Bacalao are a very popular Haitian & Brazilian dish. 

The salad was my take on Nuevo Latino cuisine which is all the rage on South Beach. I used my Stepmom's vinaigrette recipe, had some leftover shellfish in the freezer & thought I can kick up the texture a bit & honestly didn't think about it until I saw the frozen Yucca at the store. I've never had it or made it before & there are absolutely NO words to describe how sensational it was. Every bite had a different surprise, the red onions, pineapple, avocado, lettuce, lobster & crispy yucca I salted with Pink Australian Flake Salt was so refreshing & so satisfying, I can't WAIT to make it again!  

Appetizers... DONE!
He wanted Black Beans & rice so I decided to make it Haitian style & added bacon, dumplings & a habanero. The Palomilla steak I made, I originally wanted to use an Argentine cut they use to make Churrasco but they sold out so the butcher convinced me to use Flap Meat instead & so I had no choice but to settle for the flap... sounds so unsexy, right? 

Yes it was much cheaper but honestly fattier than a skirt or flank steak but I still appreciated the texture & the cut of the meat. For dessert I made Coconut Black Rice Pudding. 

I have to admit this is my very first time I have ever cooked with coconut milk, the consistency is very similar to condensed milk so to thin it out I added fat free evaporated milk. I did make this Caribbean style & not like the Thai Black sticky rice so I should have avoided adding a full cup of sugar to the party. 

Hey, you live & you learn. I loved experimenting with this dish though. I added some Cardamom & almond essence I bought at an Indian market & pie spices, which I have never done before. 

I must have gained 10 lbs from the smell alone in my apartment... heavenly. It tasted fantastic warm, but once I chilled it it just was way too sweet, it wasn't a complete bust... just needs a little tweaking. 

Look, I have a sweet tooth but this was just headache inducing sweet like Paula Deen's Krispy Kreme Bread Pudding... shame on that woman trying to kill everyone!

Star Studded Cast: Palomilla Steak

Marinated overnight
Onion, cilantro, salt & lime to add on top of the Steak, my fave  
Star Studded Cast: Black Beans, Bacon & Dumplings

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Star Studded Cast: Coconut Black Rice Pudding
Star Anise, lemon rind, cinnamon sticks & black rice
added evaporated milk to thin out the coconut milk
Yummy tie dye  
Cuban Malta & Arroz Con Leche

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