Sometimes in life you may find yourself having to adapt to a new food land, so to speak. Some examples of this could be cooking while on vacation, moving to a new town, or like in my case; living abroad. Today, I want to share with you how I turned a chorizo fail into a weekly meal staple.
This happened a few months back when I was still trying to find my footing with cooking in Argentina. La tienda hardly has any spices or components that I am used to working with. For example, they don’t have ranch or taco seasoning packets. No cream of anything. There are only a few prepared sauces such as chimichurri (which I now adore) or pimenta blanca. I have found some really good cheese here but no cheddar which I use with almost every meal back home. So, my approach was to piece together familiar dishes with available ingredients.
My first venture was spaghetti. The grocery store has a good variety of spaghetti sauces, thanks to that Italian heritage, but it took about three tries to find one that tasted like my preferred brand back home. They also come in small pouches, so you have to buy two to cover a pound of beef and noodles. Also, I can’t find garlic powder but they have crushed garlic. No tomato paste but they have tomato purée. No ground pepper but you can buy a pepper grinder. You see where I’m going with this? After a few trials, the final outcome tasted pretty good, so I officially added this dish into the rotation. Verdict= a solid pass and baby approved. 🍝🧒✅
My next home style dish was lemon chicken and rice. I boiled some white rice after a quick google refresher on how to use the metric system. I baked three chicken breasts with lemon slices, olive oil and an unidentified herb from the windowsill of my rental home that closely resembles rosemary. I found it to be sufficient and nourishing. My husband’s verdict = nothing to write home about.😕 So back to the drawing board, or for me, Pinterest board. I start researching recipes using local ingredients and came up with an idea for a chorizo hobo dinner for the oven. It was partially inspired by a pin that I had saved a while back by the Tasty Apron featuring sausage links, potatoes and banana peppers.
I sourced the ingredients during our next grocery trip to include chorizo, aji dulces (sweet peppers), baking potatoes and an onion. I couldn’t wait to get home and try it out. However, I had a surprise in store when I opened the package of chorizo. I was expecting smoked sausage that I could just brown up in the pan but, to my dismay, I saw that the links were raw and had a literal string running through them. 👀 I used my handy translator app to interpret the instructions which literally read as follows: “Cook to strong fire 40 minutes until no pink juices running.” Um…..I don’t really do fire. The “grill” here is this huge outdoor contraption and as a wise woman once said, “ain’t nobody got time for that!” 🤦♀️🚫 ⏰
Current mood= perplexed but determined. I proceeded to have a heated consultation with my husband. We devised a plan to slice the links into coins and pan fry them. I’m still getting used to managing, i.e. guessing, the temperature on a gas stove. Thus, some pieces turned out quite crispy while others were still a bit on the pink side. We each had a bite and hubby abandoned ship and went for a PB & J (so did baby just to be safe). Despite this mutiny, I forged ahead and found the sausage to be delicious. However, let’s just say I didn’t feel like my best self the next day so for now chorizo=1; me=0.
Now let’s get to the juicy part! I still have the other ingredients for the potato hobo bake and decide to just prepare them as a side dish without the sausage. We had some ojo de bife (ribeye) in the fridge that I decided to marinate in a pouch of chimichurri sauce. We’ve already established that grilling was not an option for me so I cut the steak into strips and fried them as I would fajita meat. I served the completed meal to my husband who was quick to inform me that this is the best meal he’s had since we arrived in Argentina (our pants have become a bit looser around the waist). He also requested that I make this every week from now on. So, consider this an illustration on how you can turn a kitchen fail into a weekly staple no matter where you are cooking. Emotional state: 😋🥳🙌
Thanks for stopping by and please stay tuned for more #mealvolutions. ✌️💜🍴
Potato bake ingredients: 2 whole sweet peppers, half a medium yellow onion, 3 large baking potatoes, 3-4 tablespoons of olive oil, 1 tablespoon of Aji (chili pepper), salt and pepper to taste.
Directions: Cut peppers and onion into matchsticks. Peel potatoes, slice into thin disks and then halve. Toss ingredients in enough olive oil to coat. Season with aji and salt and pepper to taste. Distribute evenly onto baking sheet. Bake at 200 degrees Celsius (about 400 in Fahrenheit) for 35-40 minutes rotating halfway through so potatoes won’t stick.
Note: You can use a mandolin for more consistent potato slices. I don’t have one here so some pieces turned into potato chips which was a pleasant surprise. 😉
To prepare steak: Marinate 3 ribeye steaks for at least 5 hours in enough chimichurri sauce to cover them. Slice into 1 inch strips along the width of the steak. Pan fry about five minutes per side on medium heat if going for medium well. Enjoy!
Mood Ring Kitchen
I’m a self teaching home cook and aspiring foodie entrepreneur. I enjoy coming up with creative ways to prepare flavorful food such as snacks, desserts and everything in between. Cooking is a way for me to challenge myself and satisfy curiosities about different ingredients.
The hope is to produce something thoughtful, memorable or every once in a while maybe even wonderful. I enjoy following my “gut” and exploring new recipes that can be comforting, exciting and nourishing. Above all else, I enjoy exploring the emotions surrounding food and writing about those experiences. 😝👩🍳👩💻