Thursday, July 31, 2014

A Lesson on Vietnamese Food

I did not post anything last night because I was too busy cooking up some yummy Vietnamese food with my mom at a Sur La Table cooking class. It was one of my birthday presents, and I am so glad my mom gave me the opportunity to go. I had never been to a cooking class before, and did not know what to expect. Not only did our lead chef teach us how to make the recipes, but he also gave us some facts about the culinary culture of Vietnam.



Vietnamese food is very centered around rice. Along with that, there are many other seasonings, vegetables, and meats that are incorporated into every meal. Because it used to be under French control, there are a lot of French influences found in the cooking like coffee and bread, but everything still has a very Asian twist to it. The class was nice to be to be a part of and take advantage of their well stocked exotic panty. Some of the ingredients I would not have been able to get my hands on if I had made these recipes at home. This is another advantage to taking a cooking class. Everything was already laid out for us to cut, chop, mix, and cook.

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The first thing had was Vietnamese iced coffee, or ca phe sua da, that they prepared in front of us and then let us sip on while we listened to the presentation of the class. My dad had this coffee while he was in Vietnam last year, and he loved it. Unfortunately, it is not just plain coffee, but also has sweetened condensed milk in it. This caused my dad to have a gallbladder attack, but why not live on the edge a little? My mom and I were not fans. Neither of us like coffee at all, and we can't handle any caffeine. Vietnamese coffee is different than American coffee. It is lighter, the beans are coarsely ground, and it is brewed individually. The sweeten condensed milk and ice are put in the bottom of a mug, and then the hot water and coffee are poured over the top. You then swirl it all around to stir everything up.

Ca Phe Sua Da
serves 4
2 2/3 cups water
1 1/2 cups dark roasted coarsely ground coffee
1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk

Pour the water into a medium saucepan. Add the coffee and bring to a vigorous simmer (do not boil), stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat and steep for 5 minutes. Pour the coffee through a filter into a heatproof glass jug. Spoon 2 tablespoons of the milk into four glasses. Fill the bottoms with ice cubes, and pour the hot coffee over the top. Stir everything together and serve.


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The first thing we actually prepared (unless you considering swirling coffee around a cup preparation) was some carrot and daikon pickles for our banh mi sandwiches. It was mom's first time having daikon, and she really liked it, even in pickled form. This pickling method is very simple with no hours of waiting or vinegar. Just prepare everything an hour or two ahead of time, let it sit out, and your pickles will be done. It is important not to cover the bowl with a lid or plastic wrap so that the oxygen can get to it. Also, if you decide to refrigerate them, it may take longer for them to be done.

Daikon and Carrot Pickles
1 carrot, peeled and cut into 1/4" thick matchsticks
1 pound daikon radish, peeled and cut into 1/4" thick matchsticks
2 tsp salt
1/2 cup plus 2 tsp sugar
1 1/4 cup distilled white vinegar
1 cup lukewarm water

Put the carrot and daikon in a large bowl. Sprinkle with salt and 2 tsp sugar. Mix with your hands for 3 minutes, or until the daikon is slightly translucent and pliable. Drain the vegetables into a colander, rinse under cold water, and press out any access water. Combine the remaining sugar, vinegar, and water in the bowl. Pour in the drained vegetables. Let them marinate uncovered on the counter for 1 hour before serving.

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Summer rolls are a common occurrence at my house, but it was still fun to make them in the class. My mom had never really rolled them before because I always make them for her. She had some issues with the rice paper tearing, but it was good for her to finally learn how to do it. These summer rolls were more of a light appetizer or side dish than anything else because they had not meat or other source of protein. They did have a variety of herbs and vegetables that made them delicious. I think this was my mom's favorite part of the meal.

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Gio Cuon
makes 16 rolls
2 heads Boston lettuce, lettuce
3 carrots, peeled
4 green onions
1 red bell pepper, seeded
1 cup fresh mint leaves
1 cup fresh cilantro
16 rice paper wrappers
peanut sauce (recipe below)
 
Cut the bell pepper and carrot into 4" long matchsticks. Cut 2" off the top and bottom of the green onions, and then cut them into 4" pieces. Slice each piece in half lengthwise and then slice them in half again. Fill a large pan (about 10” in diameter) with super-hot water and place over low heat. Soak the rice papers one at a time in the water for about 10 seconds until softened. Immediately spread the papers out onto a plastic cutting board. Place a leaf or two of lettuce on the bottom third of the rice paper. Top with some carrot, scallions, and red bell pepper.
then sprinkle on a tablespoon each of the cilantro and mint. Fold one side of the rice paper over the filling, fold the two ends up, and roll it all up to seal with the remaining side. Repeat with the remaining rice papers. Serve immediately or store in the refrigerator covered with a damp towel for up to 3 hours.


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The peanut dipping sauce for the summer rolls was delicious. You can take down the heat by reducing the amount of pepper, but I liked it spicy. My mom loved it too, and had to control herself from licking the bowl clean.
 
Spicy Peanut Dipping Sauce
makes 2 cups
1/4 cup plus 1 tbsp. dry roasted peanuts
1 tbsp. peanut oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbsp. fermented soy bean paste
1/2 cup water
2 tsp sugar
1 bird chili, minced
1 tbsp. lime juice
 
Process the peanuts in a food processor until they make a course flour. Heat the oil in a pan over a high heat. Once the oil shimmers, add the garlic and cook for 15 seconds until the garlic starts to brown. Add the soy bean paste, stirring to blend. Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the water and all but 1 tablespoon of the peanuts. Stir in the sugar, chili, and lime juice. Remove the sauce to a serving bowl and garnish with the remaining peanuts.
 




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I had never had a Vietnamese Crepe (Banh Xeo) before. A reflection of the French culture blending with the native Vietnamese, these crepes are made out of rice flour. They are a little chewy in the center with crispy edges. They are filled with mung bean sprouts and then topped with a variety of herbs. To eat them, you wrap them up in a piece of lettuce and then dip them in a fish sauce.  My mom and I loved the crepes. She liked the dipping sauce, but it was too sweet and fishy for me. I was the first in our group to make the crepes, so mine was the guinea pig. I think it turned out well. You just have be patient to wait for the edges to brown before removing the crepe from the pan.

Banh Xeo
serves 6
1 cup rice flour
1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp turmeric
1 cup coconut milk
1/2 cup water
3 tbsp. canola oil
8 ounces mung bean sprouts
dipping sauce (recipe below)
1 head green leaf lettuce
2 cups fresh cilantro
1 cup fresh mint

Whisk the rice flour, sugar, salt, and turmeric together. Make a well in the center of the flour and pour in the coconut milk and water. Mix until everything is just combined. Set aside to rest for 30 minutes.

Heat 1 tbsp. of oil in a 10" pan over medium high heat. Add in 4 ounces of batter and swirl it around to coat the bottom of the pan. Sprinkle on the mung beans. Once the edges are browned and the center is no longer gummy, flip half of the crepe over and slide it onto a plate.

Serve with the lettuce, herbs, and dipping sauce.


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Banh Xeo Dipping Sauce

1/4 cup water
1/4 cup fish sauce
3 tbsp. lime juice
2 tbsp. rice vinegar
2 tbsp. sugar
1 clove garlic, minced
1 bird chili, minced
1-2" pieces of carrot, peeled and sliced into matchsticks
 
Whisk the water, fish sauce, lime juice, vinegar, and sugar together. Add in the garlic, chili, and carrot. Let sit refrigerated for at least 30 minutes before serving.
 


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Once the vegetables were done pickling, it was time to make the banh mi sandwiches. These have gained a lot of popularity lately, and I do not have trouble seeing why. This is street food at its very best. You can fill them with a variety of ingredients and then dig in!

Banh Mi
serves 2
1 baguette, sliced in half lengthways
2 tbsp. mayonnaise
2 tsp soy sauce
8 ounces deli meat turkey, ham, or beef
4 ounces Vietnamese pate (gio lua) or tofu, sliced into 1/2" slices
1/2 seeded cucumber, cut into strips
4 tbsp. chopped cilantro
1 jalapeno, thinly sliced
daikon and carrot pickles (recipe above)

Hollow out the inside of the bread. Spread on the mayonnaise and soy sauce. Layer on the fillings. Close the sandwich, cut in half, and serve.




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Last of all was our pho. My dad LOVED the pho when he went to Vietnam, so we were eager to try this dish. It is typically a breakfast dish, but because of the noodles and meat, it can easily be eaten for lunch or dinner. Both my mom and I thought it was okay. It was fun to add all the individual ingredients to the soup ourselves to alter the flavor and composition. The noodles were not our thing, and the broth had a very unique flavor. My mom was freaked out that her meat was not all the way done, but I thought it was fine. I did find a new love for Thai basil. (I was just eating it straight.) It's a lot different than your typical basil, and has a distinct flavor that you will just have to try for yourself.



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Pho Bo
serves 6-8
For the broth:
1 yellow onion, whole and unpeeled
1- 1 1/2" piece ginger, unpeeled
4 pounds beef bones
1 tbsp. palm sugar
2 tsp salt
4 quarts water
1/2 tsp white pepper
1- 1 1/2" piece Chinese cinnamon
1/2 star anise pod
1 whole clove

To serve:
1 pound flat rice noodles (banh pho), softened in warm water for 20 minutes, rinsed and drained
3/4 pound boneless beef top round, trimmed and sliced thinly against the grain
1/2 cup finely chopped green onion
1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves
2 jalapeno chilies, thinly sliced
3 cups bean sprouts
2 cups Thai basil leaves
2 limes, each cut into 6 wedges
1/4 cup Hoisin sauce
1/4 cup Sriracha sauce
1/4 cup Fish sauce

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Roast the onion and ginger in the oven for 45 minutes, or until the onion is soft. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Peel the onion and cut it in half. Slice the ginger into 1/4 inch rounds.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the bones and boil for 3 minutes. Drain the contents of the pot into a colander and rinse with cold water. Return the bones to the pot. Add the onion, ginger, sugar, salt, and water to the pot. Bring to a boil, skimming off any scum that comes to the top. Lower the heat to a simmer and cook for 4 hours, continuing to skim off any scum.

Add the white pepper, cinnamon, star anise, and clove. Cook for another hour. Remove the pot from the heat. Remove the bones, vegetables, and spices. Strain the broth through a fine mesh sieve. Allow it to sit overnight in the refrigerator. Skim off any fat that comes to the top.

Bring the broth back to a boil. Divide the noodles between serving bowls and top with broth. Serve with all the accompaniments, allowing the hot broth to cook the beef.


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Overall, the cooking class was a great experience as was trying out the food of Vietnam. We are already planning on taking future classes. It was a great way to introduce the cuisine and culture of Vietnam to us in a kitchen setting. Now I know why my dad loved the food in Vietnam so much!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Pop Up 2 Sided Box Card

I am enjoying the fact that I have time to craft a little now at the end of my summer break. I found some great card tutorials that I have been trying out. I found today's card at http://juliedavison.blogspot.com/2009/08/pop-up-card-tutorial.html.


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It looks like a regular card on the outside, but when you open it up, the inside pops out to be like a two sided box.
 
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The structure of the card is very simple to make. Once you have the basic dimensions, you can start making these awesome cards left and right.
 
 

Monday, July 28, 2014

The Biggest Zucchini EVER!!

I found this mammoth hiding in my garden under the leaves of a zucchini plant. I could not believe that I had not seen it before and let it grow to be this massive. It was well camouflaged. I put my glasses next to it in the picture as a scale to how massive it was.

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I know you are probably craving zucchini now, so here is a delicious recipe for a raw Thai flavored zucchini and carrot salad. It's beautiful and delicious.

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Spiralized Zucchini and Carrot Salad with a Peanut Butter Coconut Dressing
2 medium zucchini, spiralized
2 carrots, peeled and grated
1 large shallot, chopped
1/2 cup coconut milk
1/4 cup peanut butter
1/2 tbsp. soy sauce
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 tsp oil
1/4 cup peanuts

Heat the oil in a small pan over medium heat. Add the shallot and garlic, and cook until tender, about 7 minutes. In a high speed blender or food processor, blend the shallot, garlic, soy sauce, peanut butter, and coconut milk together until creamy. Toss the carrots, zucchini, and peanuts together with the dressing.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Mancala

Harper has found a love of playing the game of mancala. We made a homemade board out of an old egg carton. She decorated all the holes, and we used popcorn kernels for the chips. Later on we subbed dried beans for the popcorn kernels. they were bigger and worked better.

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If you are unfamiliar with the rules of mancala, you can find them at http://www.mancalarules.com/.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Baked Pistachio Doughnuts!!

Baked doughnuts are the best. They are easy to make and taste amazing. You don't have to mess around with sizzling oil or worry about burning yourself. They are healthy, and still taste great. I LOVE pistachios, so I decided to incorporate them into these doughnuts. You will find the delicious nut tucked away into the doughnuts as well as blended into the batter for a double pistachio whammy. Enjoy!

pistachio doughnuts (4)
 
Pistachio Doughnuts
makes 15
1 cup rolled oats
1 ½ cups roasted pistachios
½ tsp salt
1 tbsp baking powder
¼ cup ground flaxseed
½ cup sugar
1 egg
2 ripe bananas
½ cup Greek yogurt
 
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees, and oil a doughnut pan. Blend the oats and 1 cup pistachios up into a flour. Mix all the dry ingredients together in a bowl. Add the wet ingredients to the blender. Blend until creamy. Mix the wet and dry ingredients together, adding in the remaining pistachios. Divide the batter between the doughnut pan holes. Bake for 9-11 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let them sit for 5 minutes before removing from the pan.
 

Friday, July 25, 2014

Pop Out Box Card

I found the inspiration for this birthday card here on a blog that I found via pinterest. There is a video tutorial that leads you through the process. I chose to make mine into a birthday card.


The little belt with a cupcake comes off so that you can open up the card. (The girl I gave it to could not figure that out, so I had to remove it for her. She was afraid that she was going to break it.)


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It's called a box card because the inside folds out to make a box.

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I will definitely be trying out this type of card again for different occasions. Make your own by following these instructions.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Chicken Salad Summer Rolls

I found some leftover rice paper wrappers in the pantry today, and decided to try out a new recipe idea. These summer rolls are like East meets West, using the ingredients for a chicken salad or sandwich to make summer rolls. I though they were fun and delicious.


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Chicken Noodle Summer Rolls
serves 1
4 rice paper wrappers
4 slices deli meat chicken
1 julienned carrot
1 cup shredded lettuce

ranch, for dipping (optional)

Prepare all of the ingredients, and lay them out on a large cutting board. Fill a large pan (about 10” in diameter) with super-hot water and place over low heat. Soak the rice papers one at a time in the water for about 10 seconds until softened. Immediately spread the papers out onto a plastic cutting board. Place the fillings in the center of the paper. Fold one side of the rice paper over the filling, fold the two ends up, and roll it all up to seal with the remaining side. Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Hidden Avocados

I am not an avocado fan, but I cannot handle seeing one go bad on our counter. (They are sometimes $2 a piece!!) Whenever there is an avocado on the verge of spoiling, I try to figure out something to do with them.

Enter my (strange yet tasty) pancake combination. It sounds weird, but they taste good. As an added bonus, those avocados give your breakfast a creamy protein boost.


Be warned, this recipe makes a lot. They are good enough to freeze for later so you can have avocado pancakes every morning!


Bananacado Pancakes (2)
 
 
Bananacado Pancakes
Makes about 25
1 cup oat flour
2/3 cup whole wheat flour
1/3 cup cornmeal
2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
1 ½ Hass avocados
3 ripe bananas
1 cup buttermilk
2 large eggs
1 tbsp melted butter
Mix together the first seven dry ingredients. In a blender, combine the remaining ingredients. Blend until creamy. Whisk together the wet and dry ingredients. Preheat a nonstick pancake pan over medium heat. Drop about 3 tablespoons of batter onto the pan at a time. Spread the lumps out a bit with the back of a rubber spatula. Cook each side of the pancakes for a couple of minutes until lightly browned. Serve warm.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Disney Review: Chefs de France

Sydney's restaurant choice in Disney World was Chefs de France located in France's Epcot pavilion. It was an obvious choice for her as she really wants to visit France and loves good food. In my opinion, this restaurant is one of the nicest that you can get on the regular dining plan for one table service credit. We all really enjoyed it. From the very French atmosphere inside, to the gourmet menu and the multi lingual (beautiful) French waiters, this restaurant really measures up.

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Here is our French bread. Not quite as good as it was in France, but still tasty.


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I will start off with the kid's menu. Harper was served a three course meal including an appetizer, entrée, and dessert. She chose Friand au fromage - Cheese puff pastry- for starters.


 
 
Harper's entrée of choice was chicken nuggets (of course) and pasta. I really don't remember seeing either of these in France. I guess we were still in Disney.


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Her dessert was chocolate ice cream to round out the meal.
 
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I thought that Syd would go for the three cheese mac and cheese, but she wanted to try something new. She ordered the Canard aux cerises (Duck Breast with Cherries) - Duck breast and leg confit with cherries, sweet potato puree and patty pan squash. It was her first time having duck outside of the nasty duck skin we were served in China. She LOVED it except for the rum soaked cherries.
 
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Since it was her "birthday" night, the waiters came out to sing to her in French and gave her this delicious dessert of chocolate mousse and pound cake.
 
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She also got the crème brulee for dessert. It was her birthday, after all. :)
 
 
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My mom got the three course meal option. For starters, she got lobster bisque. Carson loved it, and scarfed it all down.
 
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Her entrée (which Carson also loved) was Filet de saumon, aux lentilles (Broiled Salmon) - with braised lentils and bacon.                  
 
 
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Dessert was the Profiteroles au chocolat - Puff choux with vanilla ice cream topped with chocolate sauce.
 
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My entrée was the Demi poulet fermier rôti (All-Natural Half-roasted Chicken)  with broccoli. Who would have guessed that I would choose chicken and broccoli? It was very good.
 
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My dad and I both started off with the house salad with a light vinaigrette dressing. Mine was tomato free.
 
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My dad ordered the Plat de côtes de boeuf au Cabernet (Beef Short Ribs) - braised in Cabernet with polenta. He must have scarfed down the carrots because I don't even remember seeing them. He loved the ribs, but was not a fan of the polenta. His dessert was the Fraisier sur coulis de framboise, sorbet fraise - Fresh strawberry and cream cake, raspberry sauce and strawberry sorbet.
 
 
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I definitely recommend Chefs de France while in Disney world. It's a lovely restaurant with lovely food. It is hard to find a restaurant that everyone in my family likes, and Chefs de France fit the bill.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Banana Bread Ice Cream

You have probably heard of banana bread muffins. I’m sure you’ve had a slice of actual bread. You might have even sampled a banana bread granola bar. I am pretty certain that you have never tried banana bread ice cream.



 
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How does this delicious treat even work? Similar to cake batter ice cream, banana bread ice cream uses crumbled banana muffins in its mix. This is the perfect fix for anyone desiring some delicious banana bread in the heat of the summer where a warm slice of carbs is often passed by for a cooler treat. Now you can have your banana bread and stay cool too.



 

 

Banana Bread Ice Cream
makes 1 quart
2 ½ cups milk
6 banana muffins
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tbsp. vanilla extract
½ cup sugar
2 tbsp melted butter
2 tbsp maple syrup
¼ tsp salt

Make the muffins, and allow them to cool. In a blender, blend together four of the muffins, the vanilla, maple syrup, butter, salt, sugar, milk, and cinnamon. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours.

Crumble the remaining two muffins into chocolate chip sized pieces. Spread out onto a plate and freeze for 1-2 hours.

Take out the frozen muffin bits to thaw slightly. Using an ice cream machine (mine is Cuisinart), pour the milk mixture into the frozen attachment bowl for the machine. Run the machine for 15 minutes. Sprinkle the muffin pieces into the ice cream, and run the machine for another minute or so. Put in a sealed container and freeze for 3 hours. Thaw for 15 minutes before serving.
 
 

Sunday, July 20, 2014

An Arrow Card

Everybody seems to be using random arrows on their cards, so I decided to try one out for myself. The arrows point to a alphabet stamp with "hi" highlighted. I think the randomness of the patterns and colors of the arrows makes it fun.


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Friday, July 18, 2014

A Summer Salad

A fresh, crispy salad is a perfect lunch or side dish on a hot summer day. Bright yellow corn atop leafy greens and fresh cilantro coated with a homemade black bean dressing make a great summer time meal. A good portion of cheese helps to cut the heat from the spicy dressing. Serve this salad on its own or with some grilled chicken or steak, and I promise that you won't be sorry.

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Corn and Black Bean Salad
1 head green leaf lettuce
1 head iceberg lettuce
1- 15 ounce can black beans, drained
¼ cup reserved bean liquid
¼ cup plus 3 tbsp cilantro
1 small onion, finely sliced
½ bell pepper, finely sliced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tsp oil
3 tbsp canned jalapeno peppers
1 tsp ground cumin
¼ tsp cayenne pepper powder
¾ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
2 ½ cups cooked corn off the cob
 
Heat the oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add the onion, bell pepper, and garlic. Cook for about 10 minutes until lightly browned, stirring occasionally. In a high speed blender or food processor, combine the beans, bean liquid, ¼ cup cilantro, onion and pepper mixture, jalapenos, cumin, and cayenne pepper. Blend until creamy. Refrigerate for 2 hours. Before serving, wash and dry the two heads of lettuce. Cut them up into bite size pieces. Toss the lettuce with the corn, cheese, and remaining 3 tablespoons of cilantro. Pour the dressing over top and stir to coat.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

A Peruvian Dinner

Two and a half years ago I took a mission trip down to Lima, Peru. We worked in two different neighborhoods to run a Vacation Bible School, and we spent one day cleaning up and working on an orphanage.



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Peru is a geographically diverse country. There are miles and miles of beautiful coasts (filled with chicken coops for some reason), mountains, dessert, and rain forest. I was able to experience the ocean and dessert on my trip. It was beautiful.
 
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The Peruvian people are friendly and welcoming. I was so excited to try out my Spanish because this was my first time in a Spanish speaking country. Looking back, Peruvian Spanish was so much easier to understand than Dominican Spanish.

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My trip to Peru was an amazing experience that I will never forget. My only regret was eating the chicken that led to me having an awful bacterial infection. I was sick for weeks, and the effects lasted for months. Let's just say I will never eat any chicken from Peru again. My fear of getting another piece of infected chicken did not prevent me from trying a Peruvian chicken recipe, though. In my own kitchen I was able to make sure it was cooked thoroughly.


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Because Peru is so geographically diverse, the food is very diverse too. The popular fish dish called ceviche can be found near the coast, cuy (guinea pig) is a specialty in the Andes, and the rainforest yields a variety of produce. Potatoes and rice are staples, and aji peppers are used frequently to spice things up.
 
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This chicken stew is called seco de pollo (dry chicken) because you brown the meat first without any liquid and then later add in the broth. It was not bad, and was all of our favorite part of the meal.
 
Seco de Pollo
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 large golden potatoes, cut into chunks
2 large carrots, cut into 1” cubes
3 aji amarillo peppers, chopped
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 cup frozen peas
3 cups chicken broth
½ green bell pepper, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
½ cup cilantro, plus more for garnish
1 tbsp oil
salt and pepper, to taste
 
Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the chicken and brown both sides. Remove the chicken from the pan, cut each breast in half, and add the onions. Cook until golden, about 7 minutes. Stir the bell pepper, garlic, and aji peppers to the pan. Cook for another 5 minutes before pouring in the chicken broth. Bring the broth to a simmer with the cilantro, carrots, and potatoes. Cover and cook for 10 minutes. Add the chicken and cook for another 15-20 minutes, or until the chicken has cooked through and the carrots and potatoes are tender. Stir in the peas and cook for 5 minutes. Serve garnished with cilantro and seasoned to taste.
 
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Peruvian rice is made by sautéing garlic in a little oil before adding in the water and rice. Harper loved it, but Syd was not a fan of the garlicky flavor.
 
Arroz
2 cups rice
4 cups water
¼ cup oil
2 cloves of garlic
salt and pepper, to taste
Heat the oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and sauté until golden. Pour in the water, cover, and bring it to a boil. Add the rice, reduce the mixture to a simmer, and cook for 15 minutes with the lid on or until all the water is absorbed. Season to taste and fluff with a fork.


 
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These boiled potatoes served with a cold cheese sauce are very popular in Peru. I remember seeing them in restaurants, and Sydney even ate the sauce once. They were not awful, but the fact that the dish is served cold threw us all off a bit.
 
Papa a la Huancaína
1 cup evaporated milk
16 ounces queso fresco
½ tsp turmeric
6 saltine crackers
3 aji amarillo peppers, seeded and diced
3 tbsp oil
6-8 small golden potatoes
1 leaf lettuce
black olives
1 boiled egg, peeled and halved
salt and pepper, to taste
Combine the milk and peppers into a high speed blender. Blend until creamy. Add the queso fresco, turmeric, oil, and saltine crackers. Blend until creamy. Cover the potatoes in a pot of cold water. Bring the water to a boil and cook until the potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes. Allow the potatoes to cool and then peel them. Cut the potatoes in half and place them on top of the leaf of lettuce. Pour the sauce over top, and garnish with the olives and egg. Season to taste.
 
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None of us left our Peruvian table hungry, but I will not be cooking any of these recipes again. At least I can assure you that it was pretty authentic since we ate similar things in Peru.