Well, last month I didn’t cook one bite of food but boy did I make up for it! Since we moved home I hadn’t had the opportunity to cook with all my besties here in St. John’s, so for August’s Around the World in 12 Plates challenge I was determined to get the gang together!
We spent an overcast Sunday afternoon cooking up a Peruvian feast. From ceviche to dulce de leche, we devoured it all in half the time it took us to make it, but we spent hours talking and laughing around my dinner table. This is the reason Adam and I moved home: to spend time cooking and laughing with our lifelong friends.
Around the World in 12 Plates: Peru
The first recipe we prepared was ceviche from Laylita’s Recipes. Laylita is an Educadorian blogger who cooks up all things Latin American so when I found this recipe for Peruvian Ceviche, on her site I realized it was perfect. Prepared with lots of fresh lime juice, red onion and habanero pepper, it was a fresh addition to the menu. And it looks freaking impressive too!
The recipe called for a high quality fish, and I was aiming for halibut, but our visit to The Seafood Shop dictated otherwise. The fish monger informed us there was no halibut, but fresh-off-the-boat cod was in abundance. So, being in Newfoundland we decided to embrace local and go with cod. It turned out amazing! Having Mark around for this dish was super handy — his past experience working in restaurant kitchens worked in our favour and he concocted a crudo-like dish in addition to the ceviche. While the ingredients were the same, it tasted so different!
French fries for everybody?
For the main I chose Lomo Saltado, a typical (and popular) Peruvian dish with an interesting history. This stir-fry dish is part of a Peruvian Chinese cuisine called chifa. In the 19th century there was a large influx of Chinese migrant workers who established this foodway.
We cooked the 196 Flavors recipe for Lomo Saltado. In addition to its interesting history, the dish has an odd ingredient: french fries! I tried researching why fries were added to the dish, but came up empty-handed. Regardless, the fries were amazing, accompanied by striploin beef, tomatoes and sauce made with soy sauce, red wine vinegar and garlic. The dish also required aji amarillo paste which we we couldn’t in St. John’s, so we substituted a Peruvian hot red pepper paste we found at Food for Thought, a specialty store downtown.
I read about street corn in Peru and the smells of street corn vendors in Turkey came washing over me, so I knew it was a must have for Around the World in 12 Plates: Peru. We didn’t use a specific recipe, but added lots of cilantro for Peruvian flavour and Five Brothers smoked cheese for a Newfoundland twist.
Dulce de delicious
For dessert, we made Alfajores from Peru Delights, a website dedicated to Peruvian cooking. Alfajores are shortbread-like cornstarch cookies with dulce de leche sandwiched in the middle. I was nervous about making dulce de leche as the recipe called for it and we’d have trouble finding it in Newfoundland. Then I discovered how easy it is to make: just boil a can of sweetened evaporated milk for a few hours! I used these directions from Serious Eats.
The cookies didn’t last long. I won’t tell you how many dozen we made, but we ate every single one sitting at the table. I didn’t include any photos of us eating the remaining dulce de leche directly out of the can like Winnie the Pooh devours honey right from the jar…
Friends that horde dulce de leche together, stay together.
Around the world in 12 Plates: Peru
As we round out the eighth month of challenging culinary adventuring, we have a new intrepid! Evelyne from CulturEatz joins the ranks amongst some awesome food this month!