The last couple of weeks I’ve been indulging in early Saturday market runs. Loaded down with corn, currants, peaches and herbs, I head home with my haul, spread it out then have a moment of what now. As inspring as the weekend farmer’s market can be, sometimes the summer goes to my head and I overbuy (or just haven’t found a gooseberry recipe to love). That’s partly why I was so happy to make this grilled corn and quinoa salad, the first recipe I’ve tried from Lourdes Castro’s new book, Latin Grilling. Read more
Posts from the ‘Salads’ Category
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
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.
While I always feel a little sad to see the weekend slip away, I like the hard reset of Mondays. With new resolutions in place and wanting to have more vegetables, I tried chayotes for the first time. A cross between a squash, cucumber and melon that are available year round, I’d see them in the grocery store but never thought to try them. Consulting Diana Kennedy’s The Art of Mexican Cooking, I julienned and sauteed them with Serrano peppers in safflower oil and cooked them covered till they were al dente, then added a little cilantro and sea alt to taste. An easy preparation for a fresh start.
I was curious when I read Katie Workman’s post in The Daily Beast about the rivalry between Peru and Chile over the potato’s origin. I asked my aunt, who has lived in Lima enough decades to put down her own roots, if it was true. When I received an all caps email from my usually soft spoken aunt, I knew not only was it true, it was serious. I could see why countries would fight over it. Comforting and generous, potatoes lend themselves to almost everything. Regardless of its origin, I was curious to know what Peruvians did with them. She directed me to a friend’s website, Yanuq, an extensive source for traditional and contemporary Peruvian recipes and ingredients. I started looking at recipes for causas, mashed yellow potatoes seasoned with aji amarillo, lime juice, and oil and then stuffed with anything from octopus in olive sauce to chicken and beets. Deciding to start picnic simple, I chose the causa de atún, a jelly roll or brazo gitano style loaf filled with tuna, tomatoes, and avocados. Despite a wide market search, I wasn’t able to find the Peruvian aji amarillo but followed a suggestion on eGullet to use habaneros soaked in milk as a substitute. Still, my market search did bear fruit since I found fresh chirimoyas instead with the sticker declaring them the product of Chile. I wonder what Peru thinks of that? Read more