Friday, January 28, 2011

latino brunch and a photo shoot

when i heard that the studio was lit, the only thing that made sense to do was cook and document! friend/colleague mel was generous enough to host and shoot this shindig. and what a shindig it was. i was *pleasantly* surprised to be introduced to this social network that resides in jersey city. as i cooked, a number of friends drifted in and out and soon enough the 6 of us were sitting down to a feast. the feast was a combination of the impressively vast amount of food mel had on supply and a few supplemental materials we picked up at the local deli. on the menu: arepas, guacamole, pico de gallo, eggs, bloody marys and flourless chocolate cake.

let's talk about flours. you've got to have arepa flour, not cornmeal or other corn based flour substances. look at your local latino market or the latino section of large supermarkets. it's pretty common.

arepas with eggs, guacamole and pico

make the
  • once you have arepa flour, just follow the directions on the package. it will be a simple mix of the flour, pinch of salt and warm water. i suggest adding some grated cheese at this point...
  • flatten a small handful of dough in the palms of your hands, and fry on the stove top in a decent amount of heated oil until browned on both sides.
make the guacamole:
  • 2 avocados
  • 1 small tomato, finely chopped
  • 1/2 small red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno, finely chopped (optional)
  • juice from 1 lime
  • salt and pepper
  • mash the avocados with a fork and add salt to taste
  • add tomatoes, red onion, jalapeno, cilantro and lime juice. mix well.
make the pico de gallo:
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/2 small red onion, finely chopped
  • small handful cilantro, chopped
  • juice from 1-2 limes
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/2 jalapeno, finely chopped
  • combine all ingredients in a bowl, allow to sit for a few minutes. you might want to add a tiny drizzle of olive oil...

once you have the components (arepas, guacamole, pico) i suggest layering them with over easy eggs. and more cheese.

flourless chocolate cake
from epicurious

my general rule: the simpler the recipe, the better. nothing fancy required. it's a little bit of a labor of love but totally worth the effort and will blow everyone away.
  • 12 ozs bittersweet (not unsweetened) or semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 6 large eggs, separated
  • 12 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • preheat oven to 350°F. butter 9-inch-diameter springform pan. line bottom of pan with parchment paper or waxed paper; butter paper. wrap outside of pan with foil.
  • stir chocolate and butter in heavy medium saucepan over low heat until melted and smooth. remove from heat. cool to lukewarm, stirring often.
  • using electric mixer, beat egg yolks and 6 tablespoons sugar in large bowl until mixture is very thick and pale, about 3 minutes.
  • fold lukewarm chocolate mixture into yolk mixture, then fold in vanilla extract.
  • using clean dry beaters, beat egg whites in another large bowl until soft peaks form. gradually add remaining 6 tablespoons sugar, beating until medium-firm peaks form.
  • fold whites into chocolate mixture in 3 additions. pour batter into prepared pan.
  • bake cake until top is puffed and cracked and tester inserted into center comes out with some moist crumbs attached, about 50 minutes. cool cake in pan on rack (cake will fall).
  • using small knife, cut around pan sides to loosen cake. remove pan sides. place 9-inch-diameter tart pan bottom or cardboard round atop cake. invert cake onto tart pan bottom. peel off parchment paper.
or, just make this cake in whatever buttered pan you have. it might not be as beautiful but will be absolutely delicious. and this cake definitely does not require a glaze. i recommend a nice sprinkle of powdered sugar.

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