Archive | August, 2012

Buenos Aires Cookie Club!

27 Aug

Buenos Aires Cookie ClubI’ve said it before, I’m a fan of clubs. Nothing beats getting together with people who share your same passion. For that reason, Juliana from Horneando Algo and myself are organizing the Buenos Aires Cookie Club! The club is a chance for bakers to get together and exchange cookies, recipes and a good conversation.

The Buenos Aires Cookie Club was founded on the idea that many other cookie clubs have had; to bake only one type of cookie (but lots of them) and host a cookie exchange, this way you end up with dozens of delicious types of cookies! This idea orginated at Christmas time, when we don’t have time to bake as much as we’d like, but since we love cookies so much, we decided to host the event every 3 months! Our first event is September 9th at 3pm in Palermo!

Below are some rules and requirements for members of our club:

1) All participating members are asked to pay a $25 membership fee. This fee covers refreshments such as tea and coffee, as well as a recipe book with that event’s cookie recipes, as well as materials to pack and take-away your cookie treats!

2) All participating members are asked to come to the event with at least (X dozen) of the same cookies. The exact quantity will be based on the number of participants.

3) All participating members are asked to send their cookie recipe one week in advance, in order to be included in the quarterly recipe book as well as to avoid cookie repeats!

4) All participants must be ready to eat lots of homemade cookies and of course, share our passion for baking!
To sign up for the September 9th Cookie Club visit our Facebook page!

Afterwork Snack in Microcentro

17 Aug

Cafe Paulin Buenos AiresAfter a long rain-soaked week of working downtown, the only thing you want to do is take the subway home, kick off your shoes and order empanadas. But wait! There’s an awesome bar in microcentro where you can grab a quick beer and tostado while waiting for the rush hour to pass.

I have a secret affection for old bars and restaurants that seem to be stuck in the 1970’s. If the main clientele are old men, even better. Wait, no-I’m not like into old men or anything! I just like the grandpa ambiance…ok, nevermind…ANYWAY.

Cafe Paulin (Sarmiento 653) is supposedly known for having the best sandwiches in Buenos Aires. So being the fan of toasty goodness that I am, I decided to check it out one night after work.
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Whipped White Chocolate and Orange Ganache Recipe

15 Aug

White Chocolate Ganache FrostingOne thing that Argentina doesn’t do well is cake frosting. The idea of buttercream frosting is non-existent on Argentine cakes, and the most home cooks use is a baño de chocolate, melted chocolate or just whipped cream spread thickly on the cake. Most bakeries and restaurants go a little further and pile on layers and layers of swiss or italian meringue, like in the famous tarta rogel, which will most likely send you into cardiac arrest for the amount of sugar it contains.

Luckily for Buenos Aires, I offer an amazingly fluffy cake with buttercream frosting, which you can order for your birthday, tea party or any time you are in the mood for cake.

And although I love buttercream, I wanted to experiment with other types of frosting, one that doesn’t consist solely in butter and sugar, but that was rich enough to compliment a fluffy cake. I did some research on the internet and quickly decided on a white chocolate ganache, but I still wanted that fluffiness you get from a buttercream. With a little bit more research, I found out that you can change the texture of ganache by whipping it when it’s cool. And so was born the Whipped White Chocolate and Orange Ganache, an ultra fluffy, melt in your mouth type of frosting, that’s light in texture but rich in flavor. A perfect topping for cakes and cupcakes.

Whipped White Chocolate Ganache

Adapted from Joy of Baking

8 ounces (227 grams) white chocolate, cut into small pieces

3/4 cup (180 ml) heavy whipping cream

2 tablespoons (28 grams) unsalted butter

2-4 tablespoons of orange marmalade (to taste)

Place white chocolate into a heat-resistent bowl.

Boil cream with butter and then pour over chocolate and stir until smooth.

Let cool a bit and then stir in the orange marmelade.

Chill until firm, but not solid. Whip until fluffy and use immediately!

NOLA in Buenos Aires

7 Aug

NOLA Puerta Cerrada

I first fell in love with New Orleans cuisine while working as a waitress at Thanksgiving in Paris. The owner and cook, Judith Bluysen, is a native New Jerseyian (although she’ll tell you New York) who fell in love with New Orleans and decided to open a restaurant dedicated to cajun cooking. I couldn’t have asked for a better boss. Judith is one of those cooks who just makes everything she touches taste a-ma-zing. She’s also one of those cooks who does pastry just as good as salty. Bitch.

Every Saturday and Sunday after brunch, we’d sit down to a staff meal: spicy potato gratin, jambalaya, pecan pancakes…I got fat and I liked it.

Then I moved to Buenos Aires, the land of no spice, and felt lost. Until I met Liza Puglia one fine spring day. Liza is a good person to befriend. She loves food, good food, and she’s got a positive energy that just makes you feel good. So, Liza is indeed the perfect owner for a puerta cerrada.

Liza’s been making waves in Buenos Aires with her New Orleans and Mexican pop-up nights. But she’s also been planning for several months to open up a closed-door restaurant with her Argentine boyfriend who is currently studying wines at a local institute.

I’ll be honest here. I’ve never been to a closed-door restaurant before. Something about having dinner with a group of strangers makes me start sweating. I am, by nature, an incredibly shy person. But, I called up a friend and we decided to face the awkwardness together.

NOLA Buenos Aires

The night started with a glass of champagne and a bit of chit-chat with our fellow diners. NOLA seats 8 diners (for now, as they plan on doubling their capacity in the near future), so the atmosphere is quite intimate and friendly. Luckily, the other guests that night were fellow lovers of food (and wine) and the night absolutely flew by as we all got to know each other and enjoy the dinner.

Liza prepares a 4 course menu with New Orleans and Mexican-inspired flavors and her boyfriend pairs and serves the wine.

The first course was a warming chorizo, crab and shrimp gumbo. This was by far my favorite dish of the night. The flavors were complex, the shrimp was cooked perfectly and the chorizo provided just the right amount of spice. The Torrontes was paired beautifully with this spicy dish.

For the second course an endive, hazelnut and haricots verts salad with a creole mustard sauce was served to freshen and cool our palettes. The vegetables were crisp, perfectly seasoned and most importantly- the endive was delicious…I’ve never had good endive in Buenos Aires. The salad was served with a fruity shiraz, perfection.NOLA Salad

The third course was a slow-roasted pork served with a creamy polenta and a smoky chili ancho sauce. The wine was…red. Hey, I had already have a glass of champagne and two glasses of wine by this point!

The dessert (my favorite) was a classic Bourbon Pecan Pie, served warmed and with a dollop of whipped cream. The crust was absolutely divine: flaky, buttery and tender. The pie was served with a sweet, but not too sweet, white wine.

NOLA Pecan PieAll in all, the night was the perfect combination of elements: great company, amazing food and wine and all in a beautiful, intimate dining space. I’ll definitely be coming back, and so should you.

Make your reservations for NOLA here.

45-minute cupcake challenge

1 Aug

Chocolate fudge cupcakes

The other night I was laying around watching some old episodes of Master Chef, putting off getting dressed for a special dinner date with the husband, when all of a sudden -whaaattt– one of the challenges on Master Chef was to create an incredible, unique cupcake in 45 minutes!

Pfff, I thought…how are they supposed to bake, cool and decorate a cupcake in just 45 minutes?? I mean, whenever I bake, sure I always say, “ok, I’ll be done with this in one hour”, but then there’s facebook, the cat’s meowing, the phone rings, I get hungry etc. But then it got me thinking…could it be done? I looked at the clock…I had 1 hour to shower, get dressed and be out the door to meet the husband….I’d have to shower while the cakes were baking…but…it could be done!

Considering that I was seriously craving chocolate, I decided to make a Chocolate Bomba Cupcake. Continue reading

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