Friday, June 25, 2010

Going into the Round of 16

Today was the final of the group stages and we have the Round of 16 participants, which kick off tomorrow.  Needless to say, I'm stoked for US v. Ghana.  Ghana plays a super-defensive game, but they've never scored more than 1 goal in a World Cup Match, so the first point is incredibly important for the US to score.  If we can score one, we can win.

That being said, I promised photos, and here they are:

Oh, soba noodles.  I do love you, especially with sesame dressing, fried tofu, cilantro and cucumbers.  What a delicious summertime meal.  Thank you, Japan, for soba.

For Japan's dessert, green tea mochi ice cream.  I've fallen in love with mochi, and I'm stoked that I can get it right down the street at Dong-A-Market.  The taro ones are delicious, but the green tea ones are beyond belief good.

Argentines are infamous carnivores, and chimichurri is probably the best way to dress up a good steak.  We'll see them pound the Mexicans on Sunday.

This is actually the remnants of Cliff's homage to Italy. That bottle of Sangiovese was wonderful with rigatoni and rich Italian sausage.  Consider this photo representative of Italy's current World Cup status: DONE.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Update: 9 countries down...

Looks like I'm not the only one using food as a comparison in this World Cup.  "Danish pastry or Sushi?" asks

Italy and France are out.  I'd say that makes it a pretty good shot that someone else can win the World Cup this year since two of the seven countries who've won the title in the past aren't even going to be competing the Round of 16 knock-out phase.  I'm looking forward to an underdog victory - Japan? Portugal? - I'm into it.  I can't wait for the US to play Ghana on Saturday.  I wonder what I'll make...

That being said, I haven't updated with my pictures so far (I'll do it tonight).  I've cooked from:

1. Germany
2. United States
3. Japan
4. Italy (actually, my Cliff cooked this one)
5. Argentina
6. Chile
7. Mexico
8. Korea (North & South count together, but only here, not in history)

I think that's it.  I'll post the pictures tonight, but this has to be one of the most fun experiments I've done.  I don't think I'll make it to 32 countries, but I'll keep on trying until the Final.  Bon appetit, world!  Go USA!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Die Mannschaft Decides Our Dinner: Germany v. Australia

I've gotta hand it to Germany, they served up Australia on the barbie last night, 4-0.  It was a bloody bloodstained blood bath, it was.  A little sad for the team with the most ridiculous nickname: The Socceroos.

I'm going to have to get over my feelings about Germany.  In my head, WWII has stained the country forever as a fascist, racist place.  Their players have names like Schweinsteiger (Gestapo, anyone?).  They're called Die Mannschaft.  I mean really.  They sound evil.  But they did kick ass yesterday, playing better than anyone I've seen so far. 

In their honor (my prediction is that we see Germany in the final; I have spoken), instead of serving Vegemite sandwiches for dinner, I cooked up a good, hearty German feast.

Pork weiner schnitzel, homemade spaetzle (little German dumplings) and braised red cabbage with apples.  I've heard that you can buy a spaetzle maker, but really.  How many more times am I going to make spaetzle, I thought.  I'll just sweat to death over this boiling pot of water and force the dough with a spoon through the tiny holes of a colander.  No problem.

I had no idea it would be my Cliff's favorite part of the meal.  Maybe I'll go buy a spaetzle maker.

For dessert, a cherry galette.  From fresh cherries.  That I pitted myself.  Without a pitter.

Das dinner.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

THE Game: USA v. England

Not many people would characterise me as an ultra-patriot.  I'm a Democratic Socialist, a Francophile and an advocate for free information and health care for all.  But when the US plays those bloody blokes, I'm proud to be an American.

For all our faults (picking fights with countries we have no business invading, FOX News and Texas), I think I'd like to live no where else.  America is for idealists, and I'm a repeat offender.  :)

For our get-together on Saturday, we grilled outside and made some killer tri-colored cupcakes.  How much more American can you get?

I'm happy with the 1-1 draw.  It might as well have been a win after all that trash talking the English did.  I think the US deserves come good respect, even if the issue was goalie Green's butterfingers.

Have I mentioned how much I love frilly, sparkly toothpicks?  Thank you, Jo-Ann etc., for having a 50% off sale on patriotic toothpicks.

Coming up: Germany v. Australia.  I don't think they carry Vegemite at our local grocer, so we're going to go German - schnitzel, herb spaetzle, braised cabbage and apples.  There might be some cherry turnover in never know.

UPDATE:  Ghana just beat Serbia, 1-0.  Definitely the most exciting game so far.

Friday, June 11, 2010

World Cup Game 1 Breakfast: Mexico vs. South Africa

I have to admit, I got a little choked up during the opening announcement of the World Cup.  Africa has so many problems that the world just ignores  most of the time.  It's unbelievable that for one month, all eyes will be on Africa.  I hope that the World Cup brings to light how much Africa needs the rest of the world.

I'm excited to explore food from all over the world during the next month, creating a dish from a World Cup Country every day.  I hope you'll join me and celebrate this amazing event.

As the game wraps up (we're at the 93rd minute as I'm typing), I have been really impressed with the 83rd ranked South African national team in this game against Mexico.  It'll end in a 1-1 draw, but the fact that S.A. scored on 17th ranked Mexico was enough for me.

The game started at 9:30am on Friday, so it was only proper that I make a breakfast to celebrate.  I'm no El Tri fan by any means, but I couldn't think of any South African breakfast. I'll work on that.

 But for breakfast, huevo rancheros it was.