Saveur Nomination and Spring Fever
First of all, I am thrilled to announce that Hungry Sofia was nominated by SAVEUR as one of this year’s best blogs in the category of Best Regional Cuisine! I am so proud to be included in a fantastic group of bloggers and can’t thank everyone enough for putting my name into the mix. I’ve discovered amazing new sites among the nominees, so I hope you’ll take a moment to jump over to Saveur. Voting is open from now until April 26. Registration is painless and you can do it here then vote here!
My excitement over the nomination has dovetailed with the beautiful weather that keeps my head spinning. I feel like I should be piling up on jewel-toned berries and frying green tomatoes all day. Heading to the market this weekend, I was faced with the same exhausted potatoes and turnips that have been with us all winter. Looking for ways to bring the beautiful pinks and purples I see on the trees into the kitchen, I remembered the bag of purple corn I’d picked up a few weeks ago and decided to make the Peruvian chicha morada.
Made from purple corn set to simmer with spices and fruit peels then blended with lime juice and sweetened with sugar, its credited with anti-inflammatory and anti-oxident properties apart from being incredibly refreshing. Focusing on what I had on hand instead of what was coming, I stocked up on bright red Rome apples and picked up a pineapple. I’d heard from few sources that pineapple rind was a good source of Vitamin C but had never found a palatable way to use it until now. Setting it in a pot, I watched it go deep purple. I wasn’t sure what to expect but the blend of warm spices like cinnamon and clove with bright citrus was wonderful – the flavors getting stronger and deeper as it chilled. If I couldn’t eat spring just yet, at least I could drink it.
Cicha refers to a variety of fermented and un-fermented drinks made mostly from corn but also other tubers and starches throughout South America. Purple corn can be found in markets with large Latin American selections and online at sources like Amazonas Imports and Tu Bodeguita.
15-ounces purple corn*
Peels from 4 large cooking apples (about 2 pounds)
Peel from 1 large pineapple
Juice of 1 lemon
3 whole cinnamon sticks
4 whole cloves
1/2-3/4 cups sugar
4 key limes, juiced
In a large heavy saucepan, combine corn, apple and pineapple peels, lemon juice, cinnamon, and cloves with 3 litres of water. Bring to a steady simmer and boil for 1 hour.
Allow to cool and strain. Discard solids. Refrigerate until well chilled. Just before serving, blend in sugar and lime juice to taste. Serve with cubed apple or pineapple.