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Monday, November 18, 2013

Cooking Up Some Peruvian Flavor. Part 1.

After I had such a great time with Lisa, my tour buddy from  A Wander in Barranco, I decided to do do an activity with her the next day as well.  She had booked a cooking lesson, again through Haku Tours, for Friday.  I had been told about it the previous week, but it was going to be a vegetarian class and I honestly couldn't really think of any Vegetarian Peruvian dishes.  So I was hesitant.  But I thought what the hell!  And I am really glad I decided to.  We made a couple delicious dishes and had a fantastic time.

The day started a little late... well over an hour late, but that is nothing new in Peru.  To be honest I expect it, so I got ready and laid down on my couch to watch TV and wait.  I almost fell asleep by the time they finally pulled up.  But I know that it is often unavoidable, due to traffic and just crazy, random stuff happening all over the place.  I was excited to see Omar, I had met him back in June on the Shanty Town Tour and he seemed like he would be an awesome guide, as well as Lisa, my new favorite stereotypical California girl.  She is a vegetarian,  owns a vintage VW Bug convertible and is in Peru with her husband who is talking at an avocado convention.  Seriously, how amazingly Cali is that?

We again were in a cab, and headed to Mercado Dos in Surquillo, a district of Lima about a 20 minute cab ride from Miraflores.  I had never been to this market before, although it is similar to Mercado Uno, which I have went to a few times.  Creative names for the markets, right?  (That is Market one and two for you non- Spanish folk)  It was pretty much what I expected.  Lots of people, with huge piles of fruits and veggies, knockoff DVDs and cloths and very fresh, head still on, seafood still moving, meat.  I actually love these places, they just seem so honest, and fresh and down to earth.  We met Chef David here, the one that would be conducting our lesson, and went about picking out our produce.

 getting our raisins and pecans.  Honestly I wanted those gummy bears in the jar so bad.

Chicha Morada.  Purple corn used in a lot of dishes here but mostly for the amazing and traditional drink of the same name.

blind cat watching over the veggies, and a Sofia Loren look alike helping us.

cutting the artichokes

Seafood lady holding up an Octopus.  I gagged a little, I am not picky but probably two of the only foods I don't like are octopus and squid.  Some of the crabs here were still a little alive.  Not going to lie, my animal lover side kicked in when I saw them just squirming a little bit and I wanted to buy them and take them back to the ocean.

The sauces that seriously make Peruvian food so amazing.

When we finished at the market, we headed back to Miraflores to a youth hostel that I Had walked by lots of times.  Very close to the Bioferia I go to on Saturdays.  I am always amazed how lovely the hostels are here.  Nicer than some of the hotels I had seen.  We were greeted by Dylan, the largest black lab I have ever seem.  Such a sweetie.

Some of the ladies at the hostel were putting up Christmas lights when we walked outside.  Cute.

We walked outside to our "kitchen" and chef David already had our ingredients washed and our table set.  Luckily he had included a fruit platter for us to snack on, due to our late start I was already famished!  There was an old brick oven beside the kitchen and the whole thing has open air, covered in gorgeous bougenvilia with stone tile counters.  

Our first job was to roast a pepper so that we could take the skin off and then smash it up and make a sauce from it.  Then we started cutting up the veggies.  I guess my years of cooking came in handy, because the chef was shockingly impressed at how good I was at this.  We also started roasting the camote (sweet potato) in these amazing clay pots.  It required no water and gave the sweet potato the most amazing flavor. 

We started working on our appetizer salad, called Solterito.  I have decided to include a list of ingredients for everything we made.  I don't have exact recipes since they are creations of chef David, but I will do my best!

  • Corn (we used Peruvian Maiz, but regular corn would work
  • Tomato (seeds removed and chopped)
  • onion chopped
  • Broad beans or lima beans
  • Queso Fresco (feta would be the closest equivelent at home)
  • cilantro, chopped
  • parsley chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • lime juice
  • drizzle of olive oil
lightly cook the corn and beans, let cool.  Mix everything together and enjoy!

Our next step was to make the start of the filling for the stuffed peppers.
  • Carrot, cubed
  • green beans chopped
  • peas
  • raisins (we used blonde and dark) finely chopped
  • pecans, chopped
  • bread crumbs (we used a grater and a piece of toast but premade bread crumbs would be fine)
  • salt and pepper
  • slice of queso fresco (mozzarella would work)
  • reserved vegetable water
  • 4 red peppers, top cut off and insides removed.
cook carrots, peas and  green beans.  Reserve about 1 cup of the leftover water.  Put the beans, peas and carrots into another pot and add about half a cup of bread crumbs and the raisins and pecans.  Stir and add in about a cup of the reserved veggie water.  simmer for a minute until everything is combined into a fairly thick mixture.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Fill the peppers with the filling and tightly pack. Place a slice of cheese on top and put the lid back on.  Put into

The next thing we did was start the sauce for the peppers.  By this point the red pepper was completely blackened, so I peeled the skin off the mashed it up.  Here are the rest of the ingredients for the sauce.

Salsa Pimento (Pepper Sauce)
  • Roasted Red pepper (blended)
  • garlic
  •  lightly cooked blended onion
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • sprig of rosemary
  •  half a cup of water (could use reserved vegetable water)
Roast garlic in a pot until starting to brown.  Add the blended onion and stir until everything is cooked.  Add in blended red pepper and stir.  Add a drizzle of olive oil and salt and pepper and the sprig of rosemary. Also add in the reserved water.  Simmer on low heat for about 10 minutes.

Once the sauce is ready, put the stuffed peppers into the pot with the sauce and cook on low for about 10 minutes, until the peppers are cooked but still firm, and the cheese is melted, about 15 minutes.

This little bird also showed up to eat our crumbs.

In the meantime, we sliced up the avocado, and sweet potato that we had cooked at the start.  We also made one of my favorite garnishes in Peru, the Salsa criollo.

Salsa Criollo
  • Hot pepper
  • cilantro
  • salt and pepper
  • lime juice
  • olive oil
  • apple cider vinegar
chopped everything finely and add a drizzle of olive oil and apple cider vinegar.  Squeeze the juice from the lime (we actually use key limes here so half a lime would be fine) and salt and pepper to taste.

Once everything was ready, we started plating our main course!  Chef David did his first, but we could do ours as we wished!  They turned out beautifully.

Once again it was amazing day, and since there was food it made it even better!  Thanks to Chef David and Omar from Haku Tours once again!