Today is the final day of Olympic Cooking 2018 and I am not sad about it.  I am sort of sad the games are coming to a close though.  I enjoy watching sports I wouldn't normally see and cheering for athletes from around the world. 

For our final day, we celebrated Puerto Rico.   Puerto Rico had one athlete who competed in the Men's Giant Slalom. The territory has not competed in the Winter Olympics since 2002, but received a temporary membership to the Winter Sports Federation, allowing them to compete in these games.

My original meal plan consisted of Monfongo (recipe from Savvy Mujer),  Chicharonnes de Pollo (recipe from The Noshery), and Helado de Coco (recipe from La Casa de Sweets).  Having quite a bit of cucumber left over from yesterday and realizing the need for a vegetable with our meal, I found a recipe for a cucumber salad (Ensalada de Pepino) from ABCdeSavilla and translated it from Spanish using google.  It turned out pretty 
good!   








The Verdict:  We enjoyed the flavors of the various dishes today.  The Monfongo was good, the chicken was the perfect combination of crispy and juicy, and the helado de coco was a great finale!  The ensalada de pepino was tasty, but since the recipe didn't specify amounts of ingredients to add, I had to wing it and the yogurt sauce wasn't as good as I'd hoped it would be.  It was still good, but the cucumbers without the sauce were better than with it.







Mofongo


Ingredients

4 large green plantains
2 cups of canola oil (for frying)
2 cups chicken broth
4 cloves of garlic, peeled
4 slices of bacon, cooked and crumbled
¼ cup olive oil
½ teaspoon kosher salt

Instructions

Peel the plantains and cut in rounds of about 1 inch.

Fry the plantains in hot oil. It will take about 5-7 minutes to get them golden.

Drain on paper towels.

In a big bowl or mortar, crush the garlic cloves

Add the plantains and bacon, olive oil and crush them. Mash or beat until it forms a “lumpy mash potato” consistency.

Add chicken stock to moisten the mixture as needed.

Use a small bowl to form and pack the mofongo.

 
Note:  I made one mofongo without the bacon for my daughter who doesn't eat meat.  She said it tasted good, but I noticed it was definitely more bland.





Chicharrones de Pollo 



Ingredients

Seasoning
1 tsp olive oil
1/2 tsp vinegar
2 tsp orange or lime juice
1 tsp oregano
1 3/4 tsp salt
2 peppercorns
4 garlic cloves
Chicken
3 lbs bone-in skin on, chicken thighs
2 cups all purpose flour
1 envelope sazon
1/4 tsp pepper
vegetable oil for frying

Directions

Combine all the seasoning ingredients and mash it all together, set aside.

Trim off any excess skin from the chicken, but do not remove the skin. Lay the chicken in a glass dish (do not use metal as it could react with the vinegar) and pour seasoning over the chicken, massage the seasoning evenly into the chicken. Cover and refrigerate for 4 hours.

When ready to prepare chicken, heat enough oil to cover chicken in a dutch oven to 400 degrees.

While the oil heats combine flour, sazon and pepper in a large ziploc bag, and shake to combine ingredients. In batches, place chicken in flour bag and shake until well coated.

Shake off excess flour and place on baking grid until all chicken pieces are coated.

When oil reaches 400 degrees, fry chicken pieces in batches for 3 minutes.

Remove from oil and drain on a plate lined with paper towels. Lower the heat of the oil to 300 degrees and place all chicken back in the pot, cover and fry for 10 minutes. Remove chicken from oil and drain in paper towel lined plate.

Raise the heat again to 400 degrees and fry the chicken in batches until they turn a dark golden brown, without burning. Remove the chicken from oil and drain on a paper towel lined plate.





Ensalada Refrescante de Pepino



Ingredients



2 cucumbers
Rice Vinegar
Soy Sauce
Sesame Seeds
Natural Yogurt
Dried Mint Leaves
Dried Basil
Lemon Juice
1 TBSP Sugar
Salt
Olive Oil
Chopped Walnuts


Directions


Use a mandolin to cut the cucumber into very thin slices. Combine a small amount of water, rice vinegar, a few drops of soy sauce, and a spoonful of sugar. Add to sliced cucumbers and marinate in the fridge for a few hours.

Meanwhile, prepare the yogurt sauce. Mix together the yogurt with a few drops of lemon, a drizzle of olive oil, and a handful of chopped mint and basil.

To serve, arrange the cucumber slices in a dish with a little of the marinade liquid. Sprinkle with a few sesame seeds. Place a spoonful of the yogurt sauce and top with a small amount of the chopped walnuts.





Helado de Coco


Ingredients

2 cups Coconut Milk
2 cups Half-and-half
¾ cups Sugar


Directions


In a large bowl, whisk together the coconut milk, half-and-half, and sugar.

Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and freeze for 1–2 hours, or until the mixture is very cold.

Remove from the freezer and pour into your ice cream machine. Freeze in the ice cream maker for 15–20 minutes, or until the sorbet is nice and creamy.

Scoop the sorbet into a container, and freeze for at least 2–3 more hours or overnight.
Today was Spain day. Spain has won two bronze medals during the games this year, one in men's figure skating and one in snowboarding. My oldest is in her 2nd year of Spanish and was given an extra credit assignment to go to a restaurant and try four tapas. She cleared it with her teacher that we could make the four tapas at home, so this meal was a double whammy! Our Spanish tapas menu consisted of Croquetas de Pollo Con Curcuma, Rollos de Pepino, Pan Con Tomate, and Manchego Dulce de Manzana. The original recipe for theCroquetas de Pollo Con Curcuma and the Rollos de Pepino are found on the Spanish Recipes by Nuria blog, the Pan Con Tomate is from the Mutt and Chops blog and the Manchego Dulce de Manzana recipe is from the Honest Cooking blog.
The Verdict: Honestly, I probably won't make any of them again. The Croquetas de Pollo were rather bland and none of us particularly liked them. They reminded me a lot of the Coxhina from Brazil we made during the last Olympics. We didn't particularly care for those either! The Rollos de Pepino were good, but I'm not a huge salmon fan. I would eat them again, but I'm not sure that I'd make it as a roll versus chopping everything up as a salad. The Pan Con Tomate was pretty good. We enjoyed it, but thought we would enjoy it more if it were crispy on top. Lastly, the dulce de manzana was almost too sweet. It was toned down a little bit by the manchego cheese, but none of us are fancy cheese lovers, so we could live without this. Overall, it was a good experience to try a lot of foods at once like this, but we aren't huge fans of these particular tapas.

Croquetas de Pollo Con Curcuma


Ingredients

chicken breast - either roasted or boiled.
3 TBSP of wheat flour
2 medium size onions
2 cups of milk
ground nutmeg
½ tsp turmeric powder
olive oil
1 egg
breadcrumbs
salt


Instructions

Cut the chicken breast in very small pieces. Peel and dice the onion into small pieces.

Saute the onions in olive oil in a large pan over low heat until translucent, then add the chicken. Stir and cook for about 5 minutes, then add the flour. Stir and cook for another 5 minutes, then slowly add the milk little by little while stirring. Add nutmeg to taste and the turmeric. Stir some more.

When you get a thick dough that doesn't get stick to the pan's wall, it means that it's done. Taste and add some salt, if needed.

Remove from heat, cover with a towel or cloth and allow to cool. Once pan has cooled to touch, place in the fridge and allow to completely cool (this might take up to two hours, depending on how large your pan is).

Once is completely cold, heat olive oil in the bottom of a pan to fry the croquettes.

Put egg in a bowl and beat it. Fill another bowl with breadcrumbs.

Shape the croquettes with your hands, dredge though the egg and then coat in breadcrumbs. Fry until golden, remove from oil and place on paper towel to absorb extra oil. Serve warm.



Ingredients

2 boiled eggs
2 medium kumatos
1 green onion,
1/2 package of smoked salmon
1 green pepper
2 Spanish Cucumbers
some poppy seeds
extra virgin olive oil
balsamic aka modena vinegar
sea salt

Instructions

Dice the vegetables and marinate them with the vinegar and olive oil.  While marinating, dice the eggs. Cut the cucumber into thin strips with a mandolin.  Layer the cucumber, salmon and a spoonful of the vegetables/egg, roll it up and hold in place with a toothpick. Refrigerate until ready to serve.


Pan Con Tomate

Ingredients

1 fresh loaf ciabatta bread
2 large, ripe quality tomatoes 2 TBSP olive oil
1 clove large garlic, cut in half, divided
Salt
Fresh cracked pepper


Instructions

Start by grating two large, ripe tomatoes, cut into halves, into a small-mesh strainer, placed over a bowl for draining. Rotate the tomato halves every so many sweeps while grating, shredding all the flesh down to the skin. Then discard the skin.

Allow the tomato pulp to drain for about 30 minutes or so.

The drainage bowl will collect a relatively large amount of tomato water. About 6-8 ounces. Discard it, reserve it for a different use, or drink it.

Once drained, season the tomato pulp with olive oil, salt, and cracked black pepper to taste.

Add half the garlic to the tomato paste using a microplane.

After the tomato pulp is seasoned, cut the ciabatta loaf into two long halves and place it on a grill or in the oven in broiler mode. Grill until the bread achieves a beautifully charred look, without developing a black, burned aspect. About 1 minute or so under the broiler.

Then brush one half of the garlic over the grilled top of the bread halves, covering the entire surfaces.

Spread the seasoned tomato paste over the garlic-rubbed grilled bread.

Cut it into 2-inch or so strips, garnish with fresh chopped Italian parsley and serve immediately.



Manchego Dulce de Manzana

Ingredients

1.25 lbs apples (tart or tangy variety to offset sweetness of sugar)
1 lemon
0.4 cup apple cider
1 lb sugar
manchego cheese


Instructions


Peel the lemon and get rid of as much pith as you can. Cut in half and extract the pips. Juice the lemon.

Peel and core the apples. Cut into large chunks and sprinkle with some of the lemon juice to prevent them from browning. Add the cider and sugar, stir to mix. Process the mixture in a food processor until smooth.

Put the pureed fruit in a heavy saucepan. Turn on the heat to low and simmer 35-40 minutes uncovered, stirring often.

To determine if it is done, take a teaspoonful of the mixture and drop it on a plate. Wait until it's cold. If the drop is firm enough to the touch and detaches from the plate in one piece when pushed with your finger (a lot more solid than jam consistency), then it's done. If the pureé is too soft, just proceed with the simmering 2-5 minutes longer or as long as needed.

When it is ready, pour the paste into a shallow container large or small enough to form it into the shape of a thin ingot and let it cool completely. We cooled it overnight.

Slice the cheese and slice similarly sized pieces of the apple paste. Top the cheese with the dulce de manzana.



Today we experienced a bit of Bosnian cuisine. First off, Bosnia is short for Bosnia-Herzegovina, and it gained its independence from Yugoslavia in 1992. Bosnia has four athletes, one male and one female competing in Alpine Skiing and another male and female participating in cross country skiing.
Our menu for the day was Chicken Paprikash served with boiled, mashed potatoes and Cupavci for dessert. The recipe for the chicken came from That's All Jas blog, which is a recipe blog written by a Bosnia expat.  The recipe for the Cupavci came from Baking With Sibella blog, also written by a Bosnia expat.

So I knew we had a busy day today and decided to get a start on the food preparation yesterday.  I began the process of making the cupavci, following along to the directions I had copied from the blog to a google document where I store all the International recipes I use for the Olympics.  Thus began another cooking misadventure...  Issue one, I didn't read the directions all the way through to fully understand what to do before I started.  Issue two, I attempted to translate the recipe into US measurements/temperatures, apparently not overly successfully.  The cake seemed done after 25 minutes baking at 385F, but once it had fully cooled, I realized that the center was not finished. 




I tried to put it back in the oven to continue baking, but that didn't work.  Issue three, I didn't refer back to the original blog, which had pictures, to clarify what to do.  When the recipe said to cut the cake horizontally, I cut it down the center, not the correct way (see above photo).  Anyway, even with all the craziness and my inability to read/follow directions, the cake turned out okay.  While it doesn't look like the original poster's pictures, the flavors were good.  Anyway, please use the link above to access the recipe.  I'll link to it below, but will let you go to the original post to see the step-by-step pictures if you want to make it yourself.




The Verdict:  We liked the Chicken Paprikash, although the youngest thought it was a little spicy.  The cupavci was good, too, although I don't particularly care for chocolate.  It tasted very rich to me, but the coconut was a good foil for the chocolate flavor. 



Chicken Paprikash

Ingredients


4 chicken breasts
2 large onion, chopped
2 green bell pepper sliced
2 red bell pepper, sliced
2 clove garlic, diced
2 TBSP paprika, preferably Hungarian
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
2 (8 oz) cans tomato sauce
2 cups chicken broth
2 TBSP sour cream
2 TBSP flour
2 TBSP dried basil
3-4 TBSP oil
Vegeta (salt) and black pepper to taste

Directions

Cut chicken into strips. 

Heat the oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add chopped onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent for 3-4 minutes.


Place chicken strips in the pan with onions and season with Vegeta, pepper, and paprika. Let the chicken cook until done, about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add garlic and sliced peppers. Cook 10 minutes or until peppers are softened but not overcooked.
Sprinkle the chicken and peppers with flour and stir to combine. Add tomato sauce, broth, basil, and red pepper flakes. Simmer on low heat for 10 minutes or until sauce thickens. Stir in sour cream.

Serve over mashed potatoes.


Čupavci

please visit Baking with Sibella to get the recipe and see the photos of the right way to prepare it!

Today we wanted to explore a bit of our Norse heritage. There are a lot of Norwegians competing in the Winter Olympics this year. If you are watching any of the coverage, I'm sure you've seen some of them, particularly in skiing events.

Our menu today is Kalruletter and Sot Suppe. Kalruletter is a meat-filled cabbage roll with gravy, served with boiled potatoes and carrots and sot suppe (literally translated: sweet soup) is a fruit dish. The recipe for the Kalruletter is primarily from Arctic Grub blog with the cabbage prep parts and baking directions taken from the Thanks for the Food blog. I had originally planned on following the later recipe, but when I googled Kalruletter for an image search, most had a white or brown gravy and not a tomato topping. So, this morning I switched gears and decided to follow the Arctic Grub recipe, except for the cabbage part, which I had already done. The Sot Suppe recipe came from Cheap Recipe Blog.


The Verdict:  The Kalruletter (cabbage rolls) was a success!  Chip even commented how much the filling tasted like the meatballs he had years ago at the Norway pavilion at Disney World - and that was without him knowing we were having Norwegian food today.  (He got home right as we were sitting down to eat and had missed the introduction.)  While we enjoyed the rolls, by the time we got to our 3rd kalruletter, the cabbage was a bit much.  Therefore, I would say that I would make this again, but only put about 1/2 the meat mixture into the cabbage and cook the other half as meatballs.  The dill gravy was a nice compliment to the flavor of the meat.  The Sot Suppe was a favorite for my youngest and I thought it was tasty, but the other two girls thought it was too sweet and Chip didn't like the flavors of the fruit.  It was thicker than I anticipated, and Ebabe kept saying it looked like fruit slime... and it was sort of true!


Kålruletter

Ingredients

1 lb ground turkey (you can use pork, beef, or chicken instead, if you prefer)
2 tsp salt
1 egg
2 TBSP fresh parsley, chopped fine
1 tsp fresh ground pepper
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground ginger
2 TBSP cornstarch or potato starch
about 1/2 cup heavy cream or milk
1 onion, peeled and diced
2 TBSP butter for sauteing onion
2 heads of cabbage
water
salt for water


Directions

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add in salt. You will want to add in about 1 tablespoon per 2 liters (about 8 cups) of water. Once the water is boiling, add one whole head of cabbage and allow it to boil for 5-7 minutes, or until the outer layers turn slightly transparent.

Remove the entire head of cabbage from the water and allow it to cool off on a baking sheet until cool enough to handle. Repeat the same process for each head of cabbage.

Once the cabbage had cooled off enough to touch with your bare hands, remove the leaves from the core. They should be quite flexible and easily malleable, but if you get some resistance from the vein of the cabbage leaf when you try to bend it, shave it down with a paring knife. You should be able to get 16-20 leaves of cabbage.

Saute the onions over medium heat with the 2 tbsp of butter, plenty of salt and a dash of sugar. They should be caramelized and browned, adjust heat and avoid stirring too much but don’t let them burn. It will take about 15 minutes or so.

Combine the ground turkey with the sauteed onion, egg, salt, pepper, spices, parsley, cornstarch and cream/milk, either by hand or pulse in a food processor.

Next, add a lump of filling into the middle of the leaf, and wrap the edges of the leaf around the meat as to form a parcel or mini-burrito. Repeat this process until all the meat and leaves have been used. I made 20, using about 2-3 TBSP of meat mixture per leaf.

Place all of your cabbage parcels into a baking dish. Bake in an oven pre-heated to 375F for 35-40 minutes.

Serve the kålruletter with boiled potatoes and carrots and white gravy (recipe below).

White Gravy with Dill Recipe
2 cups milk
3 tbsp flour
3 tbsp butter
1-2 tbsp freshly chopped dill
salt, pepper, freshly ground nutmeg

In a small sauce pot over medium heat, pour in the milk and heat up until warm.

Place the butter into a shallow sauce pan over medium heat, as soon as it has melted add in the flour and whisk until combined.

Gradually add in the warm milk, while constantly whisking until smooth and a bit thick or until it has the consistency you want from the gravy (add more milk if it gets too thick).

Season with dill, salt, pepper and ground nutmeg.




Norwegian Sot Suppe

Ingredients

5 cups water
1/4 cup large pearl tapioca
1 cup chopped prunes
1/2 cup raisins
1 cup mixed dried fruit, chopped (we used cherries, pears, nectarines,
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Zest from a lemon
1 TBSP lemon juice

Directions

Soak tapioca in a pot with the water overnight.

In the morning, add fruit, sugar, cinnamon, and lemon zest to the pot of tapioca.

Cook over medium-high heat in a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan until tapioca is clear and the fruit is tender, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and add lemon juice. Allow to cool. Store in refrigerator