I travel … a lot. So I’ve gotten really good at packing light. Doesn’t matter how long I travel for, unless I’m bringing my knives, I can always get away with not checking a bag. I never leave home without my Kaenon sunglasses (I’m especially loving the hand-painted ones right now). These glasses work overtime, I even wear them on the plane to help block out light so I can sleep. I also always have my laptop, my House of Marley headphones, and a really comfortable hoodie or sweatpants for long flights. And my prayer beads, I always travel with them.
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I recently took a trip to Mendoza, which was an incredible experience. I went with a group from Terrazas and they showed me all the vineyards where the wine is harvested, fermented, etc. The spirit and energy of Argentinian culture is so inspiring and the food was amazing. I love the way they grill: over wood fires, nice and slow so the flavors really develop. It inspired me to create a recipe using some of the techniques I used there.
Traveling is one of my favorite hobbies and I think it’s really important as a chef to go experience new cuisines and visit different markets and farms. It helps to keep you inspired.
CHURRASCO WITH CREAMY PAPAS CON RAJAS
Pair with Terrazas Reserva Malbec
WHAT YOU NEED
6 tablespoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 medium onion, halved and sliced
2 roasted poblano peppers, stemmed, seeded, and sliced
2 baked potatoes, broken into small pieces
½ cup crema mexicana
¼ cup chihuahua cheese, shredded
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Four 8-ounce pieces beef tenderloin or skirt steak
¼ cup Aarón’s Adobo (see below)
2 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh cilantro leaves
WHAT YOU DO
Preheat the oven at 350°F, place potatoes in baking sheet and bake for about an hour, until tender. Remove potatoes from oven and let cool at room temperature. Once cooled break potatoes by hand into small bite size pieces and set aside.
Roast peppers on open flame on the grill or stove top until skin gets black and charred, transfer chiles to plastic bag and let the peppers steam in it so the skin gets loose for about 10 minutes. Peel the skin off and remove most of the seeds. Slice the peppers and set aside.
Combine 3 tablespoons of olive oil, onions and garlic in a small skillet and set the pan over medium low heat. Cook, stirring often, until brown and caramelized, about 15 minutes. Take the pan off the heat and put the garlic and onions in a bowl. Using the same pan, over high heat, heat the rest of the olive oil. Once hot, carefully add the potatoes, cook until brown and crispy, turning only once. When the potatoes are crispy add the garlic, onions, and poblano peppers to the pan and cook for 3 minutes then add the cheese, crema and combine until cheese is fully melted and becomes creamy. Season to taste with salt and pepper and reserve warm.
Preheat a grill to high. Season each steak with salt and 1 tablespoon of Aarón’s Adobo. Grill the meat for 4 to 5 minutes per side for medium-rare.
Transfer the steaks to a platter to rest. Slice the meat once rested, put the meat on serving plate and spoon the potatoes on the side, sprinkle with the fresh cilantro. Serve right away.
Makes approximately 1 ½ cups
WHAT YOU NEED
¼ cup cumin seeds
¼ cup coriander seeds
¼ cup fennel seeds
¼ cup yellow mustard seeds
2 pasilla chiles, stemmed, seeded, deveined, and torn into small pieces
2 ancho chiles, stemmed, seeded, deveined, and torn into small pieces
½ cup dried whole oregano (preferably Mexican)
2 tablespoons onion powder
2 tablespoons garlic powder
¼ cup Spanish paprika (pimento), preferably sweet or hot
WHAT YOU DO
Heat a dry skillet over medium-low heat. Pour in the cumin, coriander, fennel, and mustard seeds along with the pieces of pasilla and ancho chiles. Toast, stirring constantly, until it’s very aromatic and just beings to smoke, about 3 minutes. Dump the mixture onto a plate and let it cool to room temperature. Grind it to a fine powder in a spice grinder or clean coffee grinder. Put the powder in a large bowl and add the oregano, onion powder, garlic powder, and paprika. Stir them really well to combine. Store the adobo in an airtight container or resealable plastic bag in a cool, dark place for up to a month.