Epicureans of Ottawa – Meet “Los Del Tres”

Epicureans of Ottawa – Meet “Los Del Tres”

Meet Miranda, Mariana and Sylvain, or “Los del Tres” as their friends and neighbors call them. A Lovely family from Ottawa that loves sharing stories and lots of laughter at their dinner table. So it goes without saying, that spending a day in the kitchen with “Los del Tres” was nothing short of a flavorful day filled with the warmth of their stories and passion for food.

Let’s begin with Miranda’s story, the nine-year-old daughter of Mariana and Sylvain, who is wicked with her flavors and has all the makings of a successful chef (a child after my own heart)! A cheese connoisseur at such a young age, Miranda doesn’t believe in the “cheese product” aisle at the grocery store. She prefers Camembert, Brie and parmigiano just to name a few, “it’s my favorite food almost…I love almost all the cheeses.”

Inspired by a quiche she saw on a cooking show, she put together her own recipe to share with us. “Sandwiche à la Campagne”: an open faced breakfast sandwich of scrambled eggs, sausages, a hefty serving of parmigiano and a sprinkle of dried ciboulette (chive). That final sprinkle of dried chives was her way of sprinkling some warm memories of her grandpa’s love for fresh chive, “My grandfather plants ciboulette…he gives me some and I chew it all day!”. Click the link below to listen to Miranda sharing her stories with me.

Next we have Mariana who hails from Mexico City and decided to share with us a tomato broth & potato soup that reminds her of her mother’s cooking! Having moved away from Mexico 11 years ago and after becoming a mother herself, Mariana took to cooking as a way to reconnect with her memories of her mother’s food and the warmth of her childhood home, “…there’s something about tomato, broth & oregano that reminds me of my mom’s cooking.” Mariana began by preparing chicken broth flavored with a little sachet of spices and herbs, a little trick she learned from her mom but never knew that it is actually a classical French technique to flavor broth.

Next she shared stories of the three course meals her mom used to daily prepare for them as children, “every day she would make a soup, main dish and a salad and like fresh fruit juice.” The smell of the broth as it simmered with sautéed potatoes, fresh tomato paste and oregano filled the room and felt like a mama’s hug perfectly complimenting Mariana’s stories of her mom’s cooking. Have a listen to Mariana’s amazing storytelling!

Finally, we end the journey with Sylvain, a French Canadian who met Mariana in Mexico and spent years eating from street vendors around Mexico City. So it was only natural for him, after moving back to Canada, to start making his favorite dishes such as the traditional Salsa à la Mexicana and corn tortillas from scratch as the Mexican food scene in Ottawa wasn’t satisfying his taste for all the textures and flavors he came to love.

“The more I ate the more delicious the food was,” he said as he charred his tomatoes, garlic, onions and jalapeno on an iron cast skillet slowly smoking up the kitchen in a chilli tomato haze. After making his salsa, he quickly whipped up the tortilla dough and was pressing, flipping and making the tortillas adding the final touch to the meal they prepared for us. Don’t miss out on Sylvain’s wild personality. Listen here!

If you want to experience the flavors of “Los Del Tres”, follow the recipes below.

Miranda’s Sandwich à la Campagne Recipe

  • 1 slice Sour Dough Bread
  • 1 egg
  • 2 breakfast sausages
  • A pinch Dried Chives
  • Grated Parmigiano (to taste)
  • Salt & pepper (to taste)

To assemble this country style sandwich, you want to start by heating a cast iron or any non-stick skillet.  Once hot, throw in your breakfast sausages and cook them through making sure you get a good golden brown sear on them. On the meantime, crack the egg in a small bowl, season with salt and pepper. Once the sausages are cooked, remove them from the skillet and add the eggs. The fat from the sausages will flavor your eggs. With a fork, whisk the eggs as they cook. (this technique will give you fluffy scrambled-style eggs). Toast the slice of bread, add the eggs, chopped sausages, dried chives and a good serving of freshly grated parmigiano. 

Mariana’s Potato Tomato Broth Soup Recipe

  • 4 medium sized Russet Potatoes (peeled and cut like home fries)
  • 1 litre Chicken Broth
  • 2 large ripe Tomatoes
  • ¼ Spanish onion 
  • 2 tbsp Dried Oregano
  • 2 tbsp Olive oil
  • Salt & Pepper (to taste)

As written by Mariana herself: In a container, Blend the tomatoes with onion, oregano, salt and pepper. Put aside. In a pot, heat the oil, then put the potatoes in and sauté for a bit, just like a minute or so they get a tiny bit fried (but not fried, you know what I mean? Hahaha.) Then, add the tomato blend carefully because it jumps and stir the potatoes so they get coated. When tomato changes its color, add the broth, stir for a minute and leave to cook. Add salt and pepper as you like. The soup is done when the potatoes are cooked. (It doesn’t take too long) Then I serve it and add fresh lime juice.

Sylvain’s Salsa a la Mexicana Recipe

  • 2 large tomatoes
  • 1 medium sized Spanish onion
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 jalapeno
  • 2 tbsps. chopped Cilantro
  • ½ lime (juiced)

This recipe is perfect for barbeque season! It is fast simple yet so flavorful and the perfect accompaniment to meats or simply as a dip for your tortilla chips! If you are not using a grill, you can preheat a cast iron skillet on high heat. Cut the tomato and onion in half and place all the vegetables in the skillet. You want them to form a charred skin on each side. Beware though! The kitchen will get super smoke-y at one point! So if you’re having people over then definitely make this salsa ahead of time. Once the vegetables char, move them into a bowl and blend them until they resemble a chunky salsa. Add the cilantro and some lime juice. Season with salt and serve! 

Traditional Corn Tortilla Recipe

  • 2 cups masa harina
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1.5 cups warm water

Add 2 cups masa harina and 1/2 teaspoon salt to a mixing bowl. Add 1 cup of the warm water and stir until the water is absorbed.  Add the rest of the water incrementally until the flour melds into a dough. Use your hands to knead the dough into a cohesive ball. (The dough is supposed to feel wet but shouldn’t be tacky) If the dough is sticking to your hands, add a bit of masa harina to dry it out. Separate the dough into golf ball sized chunks, this will make tortillas approximately 4 inches across. Flatten the dough balls using a tortilla press or a flat bottomed pan. Be sure to line each side of the dough ball with plastic or Ziploc pieces. Heat a skillet to medium-high heat. (Lately I use a tad over medium heat and this will have brown spots forming in about 60 seconds.) Add a tortilla and flip after 10 seconds. Press down on the tortilla to help it puff up. Then cook each side for 1-2 minutes or until light brown spots are forming. Continue cooking the rest of the tortillas. Keep the tortilla’s in a tortilla basket covered to avoid them getting dry.

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