Still recovering from the weekend’s excitement. Friday felt like I was in a dream, didn’t seem real. I was shaking visibly, crying at the anthems, grinning like an idiot when South Africa scored, lost my voice from screaming when Mexico did. I was so nervous I forgot to put the chicken in the chilaquiles, forgot to cut up the fruit, and forgot to take photos, but the bobotie was a huge hit – everybody loved it. We drank a fantastic South African sparkling wine, the Graham Beck 2005 Brut, courtesy of Beverage World, along with way lots of Indaba Chenin Blanc. The newest Mexican beer import, Monterrey’s Sierra Madre pilsner, was delicious on its own and made a great michelada.
France and Uruguay almost put us to sleep -which makes me hopeful that Mexico can beat them both- but I was thrilled to eat my friend Eric Pelegrin’s brandade again. The best thing about Saturday was the food, really, cause I was unhappy with all the games and results. My South Korean beef and cucumber stir-fry was spicy and delicious, sure to be added as a summer staple at the house. Sunday was raucous and full of exciting futbol, with Germany’s power machine sinking the Aussies and Ghana winning the first one for Africa. My Aussie friends Bec and Derek brought shrimp skewers and the traditional beverage of Adelaide, sparkling shiraz, refreshing and fruity without being sweet and an excellent summer quaffer (note to self: tequila+sparkling shiraz=huge hangover). Another Aussie mate, Jerome Chladil, shared some great wines with us. Especially well received was the Taltarni Sauv Blanc ($13) a zesty and tropical offering that was delicious with the grilled shrimp with mango lime sauce. Everyone got in the groove and brought something appropriate from both countries. It was fantastic.
A favorite food and futbol combo was Serbia-Ghana, with the return of last cup’s house favorite cevapcici and an amazingly easy and delicious Ghanan dish of avocados stuffed with a smoked fish paste. Both recipes are easy and appropriate for the hot weather, so they will likely be regulars on the menu this summer.
Try this recipe next weekend when Ghana meets Australia. Pair it with a South African Chenin Blanc for a delicious and light African meal.
Avocado with smoked fish (serves 6)
1/2 lb smoked fish (I used trout)
4 eggs, hard-boiled, with whites separated from yolks
1/4 cup milk
2 Tbsp lime juice
1/4 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup light cooking oil
2 Tbsp olive oil
3 large ripe avocados
1 large red bell pepper, or pimentos from a jar
Remove the skin and bones from fish and flake the flesh with a fork. In food processor, blend the egg yolks with the milk until they form a smooth paste. Add sugar, salt, and lime juice. Then beat in the vegetable oil, a teaspoon or so at a time. Add the olive oil in the same gradual manner. Add egg whites and fish, pulsing to combine thoroughly but gently. Just before serving, cut the avocados in half, remove pits, and fill cavities with the fish mixture. Garnish with pepper or pimento and lime wedges to sprinkle on individual servings.
Serbia’s cevapcici is considered the most representative dish from their very interesting and diverse cuisine, and is so easy, economic, and tasty it makes a fantastic party appetizer or light summer meal. They are even tastier when cooked on the grill!
1 lb ground lamb
1 lb ground veal
1 lb ground pork
1 large yellow onion, peeled and grated
3 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
3 tbsp hot Hungarian paprika, or sweet paprika and a little cayenne
2 tbsp freshly ground black pepper
Salt to taste
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
olive oil for basting
Mix all the ingredients, except the oil, thoroughly and roll the mixture into little “cigars” about 1 inch by 3 inches. Rub lightly with olive oil and grill or broil until done.I used a cast iron skillet. Serve with yogurt sauce.
1 pint yogurt
½ cucumber, peeled, grated and drained for an hour
2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
Juice of ½ lemon
Salt and ground white pepper to taste
Pinch of cayenne pepper
Mix together and chill.
More recipes and game summaries tomorrow. I will not comment on today’s games so I don’t spoil anything for those who are recording the games. If you are in Austin, come see me during the week at Justine’s, we have a huge screen, cold AC, and great ambiance!