Summer seems to be about buying fresh ingredients and getting out of their way – charring and grilling, chilling and serving. Though suitable for the time and the produce available, I still miss getting lost in my kitchen and was looking for a project when I decided to try a variation on Peruvian causa I’d seen on Yanuq. In addition to the usual mashed potatoes, lime juice, and ají amarillo, pureed beets are added to the mix, making it all go pink – a potato salad in Batman technicolor. Read more
Posts from the ‘Peru’ Category
I’m not devoutly superstitious so I have no problem picking and choosing which New Year’s traditions to follow. While 12 grapes at midnight are non-negotiable anywhere Spanish is spoken, for the rest of Latin America it’s pretty much an open field. I’ve written wishes for the coming months (Venezuela) then throw them in the fire so no one could steal them. Unfortunately, I forgot what I’d written before the paper had turned to ash, leaving me with unstarted resolutions. If I lived in Honduras, I’d make an “Año Viejo” doll stuffed with fireworks to set off at midnight if I didn’t find effigies and fireworks equally frightening. I’ve never thrown a bucket of water out of my window to rid myself of evil spirits (Puerto Rico), but a water pipe bursting a few years ago started off one of my favorite New Year’s nights and great year. A Peruvian friend suggested I wander around the block with a suitcase if I wanted to travel in 2011, but I’ve had enough of packing bags and getting nowhere in the last few days. Fortunately, everyone seems to be in agreement on an underwear color scheme for the occassion (red=love, green=money, yellow=luck, white=health). I don’t know if it works, but at the very least it forces you to get your priorities straight before midnight. Read more
I am grounded. So completely grounded. Scheduled to return to New York just after Christmas, my flight was canceled because of the blizzard and I’m still in Miami. Desperate to get back in the sno-globe, I spent hours refreshing the Continental Airlines app to check flights and badgering Ask Alex – the virtual “expert” on their site – with questions. Only getting back canned answers and unhelpful links, she’s become my sworn enemy. Still, there are worse (and colder) places to be stranded and I don’t mind having more time with Christmas leftovers. A couple of weeks ago, I made salsa a la huancaína over yuca frita. With piles of yuca left over from Nochebuena dinner, I thought it would be a good time to post the recipe (now that I suddenly have all the time in the world). Read more
Nothing takes the fear out of making a soufflé like making three in a row. I found a recipe for one combined with amaranth that I couldn’t wait to try. My training for this year’s New York City marathon is nearing the 20-mile mark so I’ve been cooking up batches of amaranth to have on hand for cereal topped with honey and fruit. While adding eggs and cheese may not be the best way to enjoy my vitamin high grain, it sounded wonderful and I’d been so good. Read more
I’ve had one recurring thought since I tasted my first chirimoya a few months ago – there are parts of this world where flan grows on trees. Flan on trees. I’ve been pining for chirimoyas, also known as custard apples, ever since. In response to my previous post where I used them to fill pavlovas, my aunt described an alternative recipe that’s popular in Peru. The chirimoyas are folded into manjarblanco that’s been lightened with whipped cream and chilled, like dulce de leche pots de crème. I went back for more to but it’s been weeks since I’ve seen them. Then suddenly, there they were, looking proud but out of place at the Park Slope Food Coop. I scooped up a pretty heart shaped one and let it ripen on my counter like an avocado. After the whirl of Easter weekend had passed, I finally got down to using them. It was as simple as it seemed and the fresh fruit provided the right balance to the manjarblanco. I don’t know when I’m going to find them again but I’ll always look. From the moment the last scoop was served, I started to miss them.
I’d been looking for a way to use chirimoyas since I came across them a few months ago in a nearby market. Originally found in the Andean region between Peru and Ecuador, they’re also cultivated in small pockets throughout Chile, California, Spain, New Zealand, Australia, and Israel. Heart-shaped and scaly, they could be a dragon’s paw and are almost as rare in my Brooklyn neighborhood, so I was excited when I found them. Also known as custard apples, they’re like everything and like nothing else. The fruit can be likened to strawberry, banana, pineapple, papaya, avocados, mango, ripe pears, and commercial bubble gum while Mark Twain described it more simply as “deliciousness itself.” Read more
I’ve been wanting to try this second causa recipe, stuffed with chicken for awhile. I was finally got my hands on bottled ají amarillo, the Peruvian peppers that are key to so many recipes but are difficult to find in New York. Though usually served cold, roast chicken wrapped in yellow potatoes then slathered with cheese and lightly browned, seemed like the perfect early fall comfort food. I’m always a little skeptical that it’s going to work, but the pureed potatoes combined with oil and peppers become a perfect kind of molding clay so the only difficult part is stopping yourself from playing with it incessantly so it has time to chill.