Really, I have to say that by far the best thing about writing this blog has been the connections I have made with people. There's been lots of media commentary on the power of the internet and how it's changing how we communicate and create interpersonal relationships, about how we're losing our ability to connect face-to-face, or that we are firing off thoughts at warp speed. And while I think it's grand when I get an actual hand-written note in the mail along with the pile of bills, I also count myself lucky to have been able to connect with people from all over the world who love Argentina via the power of technology.
I get emails from people who have traveled to Argentina, lived in Argentina, are living there now, are Argentinean and have either married someone from elsewhere and moved away, or moved away as kids, or are just happy to see their culture celebrated. So many have shared with me that finding a certain recipe here triggers long-forgotten memories that somehow surround food. I get emails requesting travel recommendations, where to find a certain product, lots of recipe requests, and many that share special memories of Argentina. (Not to mention the incredible bloggers I've connected with!)
Some people who write even become friends! Like Jim in Texas, who backpacked through Argentina in the 1970s for over a year, and sentme pdfs of his amazing journal, which contained detailed accounts of the mate drinking ritual. (If you're reading this, you really need to publish it as a book, ok?) Jim invited us to a friend's fabulous party for 'Lights in the Heights' when we were in Houston. Or Larry, a photographer who sent me his wonderful photos of people and markets in Buenos Aires and has become my favorite companion to check out markets with.
I really want to let readers know that getting their emails means so much to me (and I try to respond to all of them). I love the recipe requests, even when it means some detective work, and I especially love hearing your travel stories and memories. I am so honored that my little old blog helps you remember wonderful things or transports you to Argentina.
Today's recipe was requested by Rachel, who served a church mission in Argentina. She also met her husband there, so they have many happy memories of the time they spent together. She has been craving this Milanesa de Soja, which was a new recipe for me. Rachel wrote "I wish I had all the money in the world to return at least two or three times a year to visit and relish in the beauty of my home away from home!"
For you, Rachel, may you relish this yummy recipe!
Milanesa de Soja
Breaded Soy Schnitzel
Milanesa is a common dish in Argentina, a thin beef cutlet breaded and fried, usually alongside french fries and a green salad, and always a slice of lemon. This version is vegetarian, and might be nice with the addition of fresh herbs, like thyme or even toasted pine nuts. Some people roll the dough out and cut into rounds using a biscuit cutter, I chose to shape mine by hand, to give it the look of a 'real' cutlet.
I served mine with a green salad and roasted sweet potatoes from The Cooking Adventures of Chef Paz. One note about cooking the milanesas--it helps the flavor if the frying oil is pretty hot. That way the breading instantly forms a nice crust, rather than having the oil soaking into the patty, which is not so tasty.
2 cups soy flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/3 cup wheat germ
3 tablespoons parsley
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons salt
pepper to taste
1/2 cup milk
2 tablespoons olive oil (again)
2 tablespoons water, as needed
oil for frying
In a medium bowl, mix together the soy flour, the whole wheat flour, wheat germ, 1 teaspoon of the salt, pepper, and parsley. Heat the olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat, add the onions and garlic and saute until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the other teaspoon of salt to the onion/garlic mixture.
When cooked, add the onion to the flour mixture and stir to combine. In a small bowl, beat 2 of the eggs, milk and olive oil together. Add to the flour mixture and combine until a sticky dough is formed. If needed, add the water for moisture. the dough will be lumpy but together. Refrigerate for up to 1 hour.
Form the dough into milanesa patties with your hands. Beat the third egg in a bowl, and set out a pile of bread crumbs on a plate. Heat the oil (about 1/2 inch) in the skillet you will use for frying over medium-high heat. To bread, dip each patty on both sides in the egg, and then coat in bread crumbs.
Place the milanesa into the hot frying pan, and let cook until a golden crust forms, about 2 minutes. Flip using a spatula and do the same for the other side. Serve very hot with a slice of lemon.
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