Ladies Winter Lunch

imageIt was a cougar-licious lunch last Sunday! I spent the afternoon with my mother and her group of fellow single and over 65 girlfriends.

This was no sewing circle or bridge game affair, these grandmas’ are living large. Aside from the never ending flow of red wine and delicious food these former Mrs’ entertained with discussions of their past and future world travels, their grandchildren, politics and a bit of naughty stories about recent boyfriends and one night stands.

I had an amazing time and the menu was nothing less.

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Everyone was greeted with a glass of beaujolais and Argentine-style empanadas. A flaky pastry filled with spicy ground beef. Although the dough can be made it’s easier and just as tasty to purchase. Just, be sure to purchase the “flaky / for oven” style.

empanada filling:

lean ground sirloin, onions, garlic, a can of chopped tomatoes minus the juice, olives and hard boiled eggs sauteed to perfection.

The next course was a simple and fresh Caprese Salad. A great dish to follow the meaty taste of the empanadas. The salad was a traditional caprese consisting of sliced beefsteak tomatoes topped with buffalo mozzarella, chopped basil, extra virgin olive oil and red wine vinegar.

A few more glasses of vino and it was time to eat our main dishes. Served buffet style I filled my plate with Argentine-inspired Turkey, Pork Shoulder, Potato Salad and Vegetable rice. Delicious!

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 Argentine inspired turkey was not only the star of this menu but is also my mother’s speciality. 40 years ago as an Argentine immigrant my mother had no clue how to cook a turkey but raising a family in the US meant a big thanksgiving turkey feast so she improvised and created a one of a kind recipe that has become a family tradition. This recipe is incredibly simple and makes for one juicy bird. First, you need a fresh bird none of this frozen business. Those turkeys are not fresh or farm raised. I know it’s more expensive but if this is the one time of the year you’re serving turkey spring for a natural country bird. You can pre-order your bird at your local grocer, a food co-op or a local farm all which can be found through a quick google search. I order mine from http://www.anniesbuyingclub.com which services South Florida (Calculate about a pound and a half per guest). A day before you plan on serving your bird you’ll need to marinate. The turkey should marinate overnight (10-12 hours in the fridge). The Argentine element is all in the preparation, my mother marinates her bird in lemons, oranges and chimichurri sauce (an Argentine pesto-type bbq sauce usually served with steak).

Chimichurri sauce: chopped oregano, parsley, garlic, red pepper flakes, red wine vinegar and olive oil. It should look like a pesto.

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 The following morning after your turkey has sat in the incredibly yummy chimi marinade all night it’s ready to cook. Place it in an oven dish, cover with parchment paper and bake at 225 for 6 hours, basting every hour then cook for 4 hours at 350. You’ll thank me for introducing you to the moistest and tastiest bird you’ll ever make.

Pork Shoulder, another easy and tasty dish.

2 days before you’ll need to rub your pork in salt and let it sit overnight. The next day you’ll marinate it in beer. I prefer dark beer but any will do. You should marinate at least a day then pat dry and cook at 350 for 4 hours.

Side dishes:

Potato Salad, a basic blend of boiled then chopped Idaho potatoes with olive oil, mayonnaise and salt. A great balance to the salty pork and seasoned turkey.

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Vegetable Rice, Just a few modifications to your basic rice recipe. Instead of water use chicken stock, add a pinch of saffron to your liquid mixture, a bag of frozen vegetable mix and cook as usual then voila! A tasty side dish.

The afternoon concluded with some store bought pastries, cheesecake, more red wine and a few sexy stories involving my mother that I could have lived my entire life without knowing.

Thanks for the food, recipes and yummy food ladies!

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