For Argentina, I ended up doing something a little different. Several months ago, I received one of those global food subscription boxes. I ended up canceling - it was insanely expensive for small amounts of ingredients I can already find pretty easily in Queens - but I had a bottle of chimichurri and jar of olive tapenade left over from the Argentina box. So I decided to do a fairly simple recipe: hanger steaks marinated in the chimichurri and roasted potatoes with olive tapenade. That would then free up my time to make these beauties:
The alfajores were amazing - they're cookies made with an entire stick of butter and dulce de leche, how could they not be? I don't own any cookie cutters, let alone a two-inch round one, so I used a three-inch drinking glass. The cookies, once assembled, therefore came out as gigantic, monster cookies half the size of my kid's head. We had no problems with this in the Chakraborty household.
The recipes are below. As mentioned, I might be slowing down on this project (ironically enough, to return to my original city of brass :) Ramadan is also coming up, and I think I want to focus more on some holiday recipes from around the Islamic world during that time. We'll see; exciting times ahead!
- 1 cup cornstarch
- 3/4 cup flour, plus more for rolling out
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- zest of half a lemon
- 1 stick (8 tbs) butter, softened not melted
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 3 egg yolks**
- 1/2 tsp vanilla or scraped seeds of about half a vanilla pod
- about 1 1/2 cups dulce de leche
- Whisk together cornstarch, flour, baking powder, salt, and zest.
- In a separate bowl, use either a stand mixer or egg beater to beat together the sugar and butter until light and fluffy, about three minutes. Add eggs and vanilla, mix for another minute. Add flour, stir a bit (I do this so I don't end up with a flour explosion in my face), then mix together with the mixer on a lower speed for about 30 seconds or until there's no visible white spots.
- Remove dough from mixer, pat into a flat disk, wrap in cling wrap, and refrigerate a couple hours.
- Preheat oven to 350.
- On a floured surface, roll out dough to about 1/4 inch. It will crack - that's okay; it easily patches up. Press out cookies and place on parchment paper-lined cookie sheet, leaving some space in between each one. Re-roll dough, rinse and repeat until it's all used up. Bake 10-15 minutes, until firm and pale brown on bottom.
- Transfer to wire rack to cool completely (Note: I have never actually done this - baked goods are meant to be consumed messily and promptly). I found the cookies easiest to assemble while still a bit warm - the dulce de leche spread easier. Use about two tbs per sandwich.
Hanger Steaks with Chimichurri
- 1 1/2 - 2 lbs hanger steak
- 1-2 cups prepared chimichurri (sold bottled or easily made from about 1000 recipes online)
- 1 tbs butter
- 1 tbs olive oil
- Marinate steaks in chimichurri sauce for a few hours in the refrigerator. Take out and bring to room temperature.
- Pre-heat a cast-iron pan or good, heavy-bottomed skillet on high heat. Add butter and olive oil, let it get pretty browned, and then add steaks. Cook on medium-high heat for about 3-5 minutes on each side. Remove from pan and let rest before slicing across grain to serve.
Roasted Potatoes with Olive Tapenade
I don't think these even warrant a real recipe. Quarter a bunch of small red or yellow potatoes. Roast with some olive oil at 350, stirring a couple times, until browned. Mix in a couple spoonfuls of olive tapenade, or even just some chopped olives and garlic. Cook a few more minutes. Done.