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eat the cup 2014, part two

as i mentioned yesterday, for quite possibly the first time ever, i managed to guess the result of the opening match spot on. as the tournament's worn on, however, my predicative ability has worn off. i'm still faring not so terribly badly, but pretty much anyone can guess moderately well just by choosing the favourite to win every match. sadly, that's a pretty safe strategy. except when it isn't.

for day two, here's how i lined up against the cold, hard truth:

mexico vs cameroon
i said :: mex 2, cmr 1
actual result :: mex 1, cmr 0

chile vs australia
i said :: chi 2, aus 0
actual result :: chl 3, aus 0

spain vs netherlands
i said :: esp 1, ned 0
actual result :: ned 5, esp 1

so i was doing fairly well, except for that one bit where i was completely, totally, hysterically wrong. i'm willing to bet robin van persie's mom had about the same numbers as i on her bracket, because no one saw that scoreline coming. not the biggest dutch fan in the world.

ok, maybe these guys did
i decided that i had to own up to my wrongness and feature holland in the second instalment of "eat the cup", but i also wanted to incorporate elements from the other winners. i had given myself an out clause that if i were absolutely desperate, i could do just two of the three, provided one of them was the netherlands.

my problem is that i actually ended up cooking a lot of treats from the dutch oven [sorry, i couldn't help myself] in 2010. so that meant that i was sort of stuck for something that i hadn't made before, which seemed like cheating this early on, and that was quintessentially dutch.

consulting google chef, i did come across something very dutch and very strangely not part of past eat the cup challenges: the stamppot. as it turns out, making a stamppot is just about as easy as saying it. it's just mashed up potatoes and greens, generally served with sausage. in fact, it sounded a little too simple, which is why i felt the need to think about it more. which led me to a few conclusions:

1. it needed cheese. dutch cheeses are wonderful and their recipes don't take full advantage of this. so i decided that gouda must be incorporated.

2. the mashed up potatoes and greens, along with cheese, would make an outstanding filling for burritos. see? it's not that difficult to mix cultures after all! so dinner would have dutch elements, wrapped in a mexican cloak.

3. the netherlands has a distinct lack of foods that are orange. honestly, most northern european foods generally fall into the brown/ beige camp, but in holland, that's a particular shame because of the country's identification with the colour orange. their football team wears it. the team is called "the oranje" for crying out loud. their fans wear it. although the colour is nowhere on their flag, there is perhaps no greater example of the identification of a country with a single colour than holland with orange [unless it's ireland and green].

the history of the dutch love of orange comes from their royal family, the house of oranje, whose founder, known as "william the silent", kick-started the creation of an independent dutch state by leading a successful rebellion against their spanish overlords. no, seriously. the orange of modern day netherlands' football uniforms is there specifically to commemorate the first dutch guy to stick it to the spanish "national team".

in the interests of being orange, then, i decided to swap out regular potatoes with sweet potatoes, which have no place in traditional dutch cuisine, but isn't the netherlands known for being a progressive, modern culture nowadays?

modernity, in potato form
after i'd come to those decisions, i realised that i had opened up a possibility to actually include all three winners, because one of the best known parts of chilean cuisine is pebre, a fresh sauce made with cilantro, onions, olive oil, garlic and peppers. i didn't have the correct ajì peppers, so instead i used hot sauce. i went a bit hotter than the recipe dictates, but it's one of those recipes that is likely to never be the same twice.

look at all the happy pebre colours!
so there you have it: a mashed sweet potato and greens [kale is most common, but my grocery store didn't have any, so i used arugula, which also isn't right, but isn't it the thought that counts?] burrito with gouda cheese and pebre sauce. a perfect trifecta of day two winners.

what's even better? well i don't mean to toot my own horn but... toot toot! dom gave the official call and i have to say i concur: this was the greatest creation in eat the cup history. the flavours mixed shockingly well, more so than i'd realised they would, because the sweet potatoes have enough flavour to stand up to the bright sauce and the cheese brings a homey sort of warmth that anchors everything. this is a super-easy thing to prepare and what you need is exactly what i mention above and virtually nothing else.

i mixed the sauce ingredients before preparing anything else, to give the flavours time to blend. per the instructions i found online, it's best to layer the ingredients in one at a time, blend each one thoroughly and then add the next, because it affects the final taste. who am i to argue? i went with a fair-sized bunch of cilantro, a couple of tomatoes, 2-3 green onions, one small white onion and did the oil, garlic, hot sauce and a little red wine vinegar to taste.

i boiled the sweet potatoes about twenty minutes and threw the arugula right in on top of the pot for the last five. then i quickly drained everything and mashed 'em together with a fork. i did add a little butter to smooth things over, but it's not strictly speaking necessary.

getting there...
then i moved to final assembly: add a couple of spoonfuls of potato mix to a burrito wrapper, put a bit of gouda on top [how much is your business], repeat until you have enough burritos, or until you run out of something. pop the burritos in the oven for about ten minutes at 325 degrees, remove, top with the pebre and serve!

tah-dah!!!!
i also thought that it was worth introducing a new feature to this, since i never post eat the cup desserts, and we all need a little something sweet. so, ladies and gents, i present:

mancandy of the match

the winner for day two, in this category, although he's probably not feeling like a winner at the moment, is spanish keeper iker casillas.





the swarthy complexion, the piercing eyes, that perpetually perfect scruff... i'm pretty sure that in the romantic fantasy of being swept away by pirates, casillas is pretty close to every girl's vision of the pirate king. [do men dream about being swept away by gay pirates? you totally should.]

unfortunately, this pirate was forced off the plank by a relentless dutch offense and could probably do with some cheering up right now...

the amount of leftovers i have dictates that i can't do eat the cup every day from now until the 13th of july unless i plan to feed a small army of dutch revolutionaries or spanish pirates, so i don't know when i'll next be able to get three countries for the price of one, but i promise i'll keep trying. and you should too! feel free to try your own recipes or make suggestions for me!

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