Saturday, July 3, 2010

World Cup Supper

I'll admit it, I've got World Cup fever. Not a serious case of it - but I'm surprised at the amount of soccer I have willingly watched over the past few weeks. I'm notorious for my hatred of sports, and those vuvuzelas were frickin' annoying at the beginning, but something won me over. Perhaps it was Ronaldo Cristiano, perhaps not, we'll never know for sure. All the teams I was cheering for have been eliminated, but considering how little I know about the sport and its players, my allegiance to any particular team is fairly wishy-washy. I cheered for Mexico because I used to live there. I cheered for whoever was playing against the USA, because that's what Canadians usually do. I cheered for Portugal for reasons that were previously mentioned. And I cheered for Ghana because they just wanted it so. darn. badly. But now that the four semi-finalists have been chosen, I thought it would be fitting to prepare a meal that features food or beverages that represent each country. Here's what I came up with:
GAZPACHO (Spain) - The first (and probably only) time I had gazpacho was at my friend Isabelle's mother's farm in Quebec. I always thought cold tomato soup would be so disgusting, but her recipe was fantastic and I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to make it again.
2 tomatoes, diced
1/2 orange bell pepper, diced
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
1/2 yellow bell pepper, diced
1/2 cucumber, diced
1/2 red onion, diced
1 garlic clove, minced
2 c. V8 or tomato juice
1/4 c. olive oil
1 tbsp. White Balsamic Vinegar (or red wine vinegar)
1 1/2 tsp. lemon juice
1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. hot sauce
1/4 tsp. Greek Oregano
1/4 tsp. basil

Purée everything and pour into bowls. You can garnish with a bit of green onions and season with pepper if you like.
HUTSPOT (Netherlands) - My friends Wybo and Glenna suggested a few different options for Dutch food, one of which was mashed potatoes with various other veggies added to it. It can be served with beef or sausage on the side, but we've had so many hotdogs and sausages lately, so I think we'll keep this a vegetarian meal. I did find one version that suggested adding cheese to it, so I thought I'd get some Edam or Gouda and give that a try, just to make it Dutchier.

4 potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 onion, chopped (I didn't have an onion, so I used 1 tbsp. 3 Onion Dip Mix instead and stirred it in before mashing)
3 carrots, peeled and chopped
salt & pepper
1/2 c. Edam or Gouda cheese, grated

Bring salted water to a boil and add potatoes, onion, and carrots. Cook for about 15 minutes or until soft but not mushy. Drain and add milk, butter, salt, and pepper. Mash everything together and serve with grated cheese on top. (I also made some gravy to go with it.)
ALFAJORES (Uruguay) - I wasn't sure what to pick for Uruguayan food, but when I saw this recipe I knew it was perfect. It's basically two shortbread cookies stuck together with dulce de leche. There was no question, these would be good!

1/2 c. butter
1 c. sugar
1 egg + 2 egg yolks
1 tsp. vanilla
2 tsp. lemon rind
1 1/2 c. cornstarch
1/2 c. flour
1/4 tsp. salt
dulce de leche (you can buy this at the store)

Cream butter and sugar, and then add eggs one at a time. Add vanilla and lemon rind and mix well. Sift together dry ingredients and gradually add to butter mixture. Drop by spoonfuls onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake at 350 F for 15 minutes. Once they cool off, sandwich them together with dulce de leche.
REISLING (Germany) - Okay, to be honest I was getting tired of looking through recipe websites, and I didn't want to spend all day in the kitchen making this meal. So I took the easy way out, and decided to choose a German wine to represent the fourth semi-finalist country. Reisling is my favourite type of wine, so why mess with a good thing? (Turns out I forgot to go buy the Reisling, but we had a German sparkling wine in the wine rack, so did the trick!)
Of course the kids hated the gazpacho, but the hustpot was a hit, and so were the cookies. The sparkling wine was disgusting, but I promise I'll drink some Reisling soon to make up for it.

Now I'm going to leave you with the soundtrack of our household for the past three weeks: Geneviève's favourite World Cup song is "Waka Waka", and William loves "Wavin' Flag" - both of which we listen to at least 10 times a day! (I must admit, I love the songs just as much as the kids do!)

Leave a comment and let me know who you think will win the World Cup!
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