Posts Tagged With: South America

The Traveling Foody – Peru

Welcome travelers and Traveling Foody fans.  We are very excited about this feature on Peru.  Our friend Phil just returned from a 3 week adventure to Peru and we had a wonderful conversation with him about his excursion into Peruvian country, culture, and food.

First of all, what’s all the hubbub with Peru?  Okay, so they have llamas and their wool makes for wonderful material.  What makes Peru a destination?  Is it food? Is it the culture? Is it the topography?  We believe it’s all the above and much more.

Get with it and see what Phil had to say about Peru.

TTF: What was it about Peru that attracted you to travel there?

PHIL: I’ve always wanted to visit Machu Picchu since I was a kid, so I jumped at the chance to get on this hike.

TTF: What parts of Peru did you visit?

PHIL: Cuzco and the Sacred Valley.

TTF: Like many countries, various cultures migrate to them.  What other types of nationalities are living in Peru?

PHIL: Many Chinese immigrated there in the 1900’s for good paying labor.  Germans & Israelis came here in the 1950’s.  Canadians, U.S. Americans and to a lesser part, British also are here.

TTF: What was your favorite meal in Peru?

PHIL: So many great places to eat and so many dishes!  My favorite restaurant was El Encuentro.  It was a vegan joint with meat analogs. 

Spaghetti El Diablo

Spaghetti El Diablo

I ate here a lot while I was on my own, and frequently while the carnivores were doing their own things.

Best meal was probably a potato & cheese dish. 

Potatoes and Cheese with Cilantro sauce  and Quinoa

Potatoes and Cheese with Cilantro sauce and Quinoa

Many, many dishes had a sauce of cilantro. This dish had that plus clove.  The cheese was fresh guinea pig cheese.

The Peruvians have over 300 varieties of potatoes; from blue to purple to red. Black & white are common as well.

TTF: What was your fondest memory visiting Peru?

PHIL: Climbing Wayna Picchu (the mountain behind all the ‘postcard’ shots’ of Machu Picchu) and looking down on Machu Picchu.  A very memorable time.  It was hard to be alone up there, but the vibes were pretty intense.

Moray. An ancient Inkan laboratory for plant hybridization

Moray. An ancient Inkan laboratory for plant hybridization

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TTF: Was it easy to get around?

PHIL: Yep, even though my Spanish was close to non-existent, mini-buses & taxis were easy to use and get to where you were going.  Cheap too!

TTF: Would you visit again?

PHIL: Visit? Hell I’m thinking of moving there!

 

Thank you very much Phil for your input and time with us. 

Phil has been a traveler for most of his life and a great friend of the Traveling Foody family for many years.  We can’t wait to see what adventures he will experience next and wish him safe travels and to eat well.

Some of Phil’s adventures were in the Cuzco area, which is the old capital of Peru.  What about the newer capital?  Well, the current capital is Lima and is located on the central coast of Peru.  Compared to other cities in the country, Lima is by far the largest city with more than one quarter of the entire population of Peru living there.  For our fellow beach goers, the Miraflores district presents the traveler with wonderful views of rocks and tides.  One of the highlights for the museum enthusiast will be the Museo Larco.  This Museum is known globally for its Erotic Gallery.  The gallery is dedicated to erotic sculpture art which date over a thousand years old.  And to let you in on how popular Erotic Art in Peru is, you will find reproductions of the art all around Peru. 

Quick tip time: Cash is defiantly the king compared to card.  The currency in Peru is called “Nuevo Sol.”  Even though, shops might have an old credit card sign in the window does not mean they are still accepting them.  So bring your cash.  Preferably carry smaller bills for those bargains.  Another tip is keeping your bills clean and wrinkles free.  Like many South American countries, some places will take your cash.  But if it is ripped or old they might think it’s fake.

Let’s talk food and drink. 

When in Rome you do as the Romans.  When in Peru it’s all about Pico! Pico is a brandy which is made from the grape and is appreciated all over the Peruvian coast.  There are those who believe that the neighboring coastal country of Chile was the true birthplace of the nectar of the gods.  Guess what?  We don’t care where the origins of this particular nectar originated from.  What we care about is that it’s good and good for your spirits.  When we talk about Chile, we will say it’s from their country because that’s what the locals will tell us.  The most popular cocktail on the South American Pacific is Pisco Sours.  If you are not into the spirit of things, you might want to have a local brew.  Cusqueña is where you want to direct your brew thirst.

Does your food run the house or do you run around your food?  That’s right.  We are speaking of the traditional dish of cuy.  In many regions of the world, cuy is referred to as guinea pig.  That’s right.  Guinea pig.  Cuy is usually prepared whole, roasted or grilled, with the head on.

Cuy

Cuy

Like many South American coastal regions, ceviche is a big deal and almost on everyone’s plate. 

We heard Phil talking about the many varieties of potato that grow in and around Peru.  But, Peru also has very large avocado and they are not afraid to use them.  These two ingredients make up a traditional casserole dish called Causa and is served cold. 

Phil also talked about the Chinese immigrants.  The Chinese settlers created a dish called Lomo Saltado,which is a stir-fry consisting of beef, tomatoes, peppers, and onions mixed in with potatoes and soy sauce served over rice.  The Chinese culinary influence can also be found in a very popular dish called Pollo a la Brasa which is a Peruvian style roasted chicken using soy sauces marinade that have been infused with peppers, garlic, and cumin for a salty – smoky taste.

For those who love their meats, peruvians dish it up…more like skewer it up.   Anticuchos are marinated skewers of meat grilled to perfection.  You can find them in many locations from restaurants to street carts.

Speaking of meat, how about some alpaca?  That’s right.  Like many other animals, these are not only used for their wool.   We have never tried the alpaca llama but we understand that it’s similar to buffalo or grass fed beef that’s more on a gamier side.

Let’s not forget that Peruvians have a sweet tooth.  One of the favorites in the country is the lúcuma.  Lúcuma is a fruit that resembles the mango.  Its custardy flavor is comparable to maple syrup.  Many recipes call for the fruit for flavoring a dessert. Yum!

 

We would like to leave you with some Peruvian recipes:

The Potato cheese dish Phil was talking about is called Papa a la Huancaína – Potatoes in Spicy Cheese Sauce.

Huancaína Sauce:

Ingredients:

  • 4 Tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/2 Cup chopped onion
  • 3-4 Yellow aji amarillo chile peppers
  • 2 Cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 Cups white farmer’s cheese (queso freso)
  • 4 Saltine crackers
  • 3/4 Cup evaporated milk
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Remove seeds from yellow chile peppers and chop into 1 inch pieces.  Sauté onion, garlic, and chile peppers in the oil until onion is softened, about 3-5 minutes.  Remove from heat and let cool. 

Place onion/chile mixture in a food processor or blender.  Add evaporated milk and blend.  Add cheese and crackers and blend until smooth.  Sauce should be fairly thick.  Thicken sauce with more saltines or thin sauce with milk if necessary.  Season with salt and pepper to taste. 

Potato Preparation and Serving the dish:

Ingredients:

  • 8 yellow or while potatoes
  • Huancaína sauce
  • Lettuce leaves
  • 2 hard-boiled eggs
  • 8 large black olives, halved

Directions:

Heat a large pot of salted water to boiling and add the potatoes.  Boil potatoes until tender when pierced with a fork.  Drain water from potatoes and let cool.  Slice potatoes and arrange on top of the lettuce leaves. 

Pour huancaína sauce over potatoes, and garnish with slices of hard-boiled egg and black olive halves.

 

Another dish we would like to share with you is Anticuchos de Carne – Grilled Beef Anticuchos

Ingredients:

  • 12 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1/4 cup mild chile pepper paste (aji panca, if available)
  • 1/2 cup vinegar, divided
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground pepper
  • 2-3 pounds steak (sirloin, tenderloin)
  • Wooden skewers

Directions:

Cut beef into 2 inch chunks and place in a nonreactive bowl or dish.  Mash the garlic with a rock, or with a mortar and pestle. 

Make the marinade: in a bowl, mix the crushed garlic, ¼ cup of the vinegar, ¼ cup chile pepper paste, 1 tablespoon cumin, 1 tablespoon salt, and 2 teaspoons freshly ground pepper.

Pour the marinade over the beef and mix well.  Marinade beef overnight in the refrigerator.

Prepare the grill.  Place the beef onto the skewers (about 4 pieces of beef on each skewer).  Make a basting mixture of ½ cup vegetable oil, ¼ cup vinegar, and a pinch of cumin. 

Grill the skewers for about 5 minutes on each side, or to desired finish. Baste beef several times during cooking.

Thanks again Phil for your time and invigorating conversation.  Thank you to all the readers of the Traveling Foody.  Remember to keep you minds and stomachs open and your.  Keep on exploring and we will see you soon.  We leave you with a few more photos from our good friend Phil.

Pan y marmalade breakfast

Pan y marmalade breakfast

Roasting Chocolate Beans

Roasting Chocolate Beans

Cuy

Cuy

Coca leaves

Coca leaves

Eggs with Cilantro Sauce

Eggs with Cilantro Sauce

-The Traveling Foody

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Love your Avocado!

Welcome back travelers and foodie lovers to this week’s blog.  Seeing that we recently have been traveling in and out of South America and México I figure we would talk about one of my favorite fruits which is the avocado.

The state of Puebla, México is noted for originating the avocado.   Scientists have found avocado growth evidence in Puebla dated back to 10,000 BC.  The agricultural development of the fruit has a long history in South America as well.  One of the more interesting particulars of an avocado is the harvesting of the fruit.  Did you know that avocados do not soften while maturing on the tree?   Crazy right?  The tree in which the avocado grows on can act as a better storage unit than your fridge.  That’s right!  The fruit can actually be stored better on the tree for many months past maturing than the fridge or just sitting around.

Many think an avocado is a vegetable but it is not, it’s a fruit which is related to the berry family.  The avocado is also referred to as the alligator pear due to its green and rough exterior.  Another interesting topic about avocados is the name.  The Aztecs name for the fruit was “ahuacatl” meaning “testicle,” due to the shape of the fruit.  When the Spanish explores came and could not pronounce the Aztec word for the fruit they named it aguacate.  The later, well known term, “avocado” was formed by the Spanish which was formed from the Nahuatl origin of the word of the fruit.  The Spanish have other terms that they obscured from the Nahuatl that coincide with the usage of the fruit such as guacamole.  The Nahuatl term that the Spanish transitioned was ahuacamolli.

Some other fun facts:

  • Spaniards found they could use the juice from the seed for ink.
  • In 1519, Cortez had seen that the avocado was a staple in the native diet.
  • In 1554, Francisco Salazar mentions in his book the New Spain, the avocado being sold in the market place.
  • Seamen in the 1700’s would spread the fruit on their biscuits and call it midshipman’s butter.
  • In 1833 the first avocado tree in Florida was planted.

I like to leave you this week with a couple of wonderful recipes that The Traveling Foody family love to make.  One is an Avocado Fries side dish and the other is an Avocado and Black Bean Salsa.

Also, visit our facebook page https://www.facebook.com/TravelingFoody and our wonderful website at www.thetravelingfoody.com for more information and some of our merchandise. Your support sustains the Traveling Foody and all that we stand for and it is greatly appreciated!

Avocado Fries

Ingredients

  • Canola oil for frying
  • ¼ Cup all purpose flour
  • ¼ teaspoon salt plus a bit more for taste
  • 2 Large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 ½ Cups panko breadcrumbs
  • 2 Firm avocados, cut into ½ inch wedges

Directions

Pour the oil to a depth of 1 ½ inches into a medium sauce pan.  Heat the oil to 275°F.  Combine flour and salt into shallow plate.  Put eggs and panko in separate shallow plates.  Dip the avocado wedges in flour, shaking off the excess.  Dip in the egg, and dredge in panko to coat.

Fry avocado wedges in batches, 35 – 60 seconds until golden brown.   Drain on paper towel.  For large batches, place previous fried wedges on baking sheet and place in oven at 200°F until the rest of batch is done.  Sprinkle wedges with additional salt to taste.

Avocado Black Bean Salsa

Ingredients

  • 1 Can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 Cup corn, thawed
  • 1 Can fire roasted diced tomatoes, with juice
  • 2 Garlic cloves minced
  • ¼ Cup packed cilantro, chopped
  • 3 Tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 2 Tablespoons light olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon minced canned chipotles in adobo sauce
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 avocados diced

Directions

Combined all ingredients except avocados.  Blend well.  Fold in the avocado and serve with chips.

-Damien – The Traveling Foody

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South America! Here We Go!

Welcome travelers and foodie lovers to this week’s venture in culture, food and topography.  This week we are visiting various regions in South America and loving every bit.

 

Both North and South America are named after the cartographer and explorer Amerigo Vespucci.  During Christopher Columbus’s exploration, it was Amerigo that thought Columbus ventured to a new world and not Asia.  Following the Feminine names of regions in Europe and Asia, the newly explored area was named America.  Inca, Azteca and Mayan culture were the largest empires in South American history.  The Aztecs were a powerful society until Hernando Cortez, a powerful Spaniard military leader, declared war on them.   The Aztecs were outmatched by the military modernization.  Over 600 years ago the Mayan culture developed until the culture disappeared due to wars and famine.  The Inca built their society high in the Andes Mountains and like the Mayan the Inca battled too many wars, thus over utilizing the supplies of the entire society.  At this point the majority of South America was ruled and occupied by Spain.

 

In the old world, many of the South American natives knew how to grow and harvest a large variety of various plants.  South American land is as diverse as is its culture.  Like Mexico, when European settlers arrived, they incorporated native dishes with their own fare.  Like North America, South America is comfortably nestled between the Pacific and Atlantic oceans.  The numerous fruits and fresh fish are a true staple in the Amazonian region.  The large mass of Argentina and the long coastline of Chile provide the region with lamb, venison and fresh food from the sea.  Peru is known for their llamas and for the over 4,000 varieties of potato and sweet potato.  Feijoada, which is a bean, beef and pork stew and is made all over Brazil.  One can spend a lifetime exploring the various cuisines and culture of South America.  It’s easy to see the love and passion come out in the many cultures and foods of South America.

 

Many people now have heard stories about the cowboys of North America, but very few people and movies have been made about the cowboys of South America.  The Cowboys are named Gauchos and are famous for their horsemanship.  Most of South America is mountainous creating topography hard to travel on land.  Brazil leads plane manufactures in South America in production due to the size and shipping accessibility.  Another great topic is coffee.  Columbia is the largest coffee producer in the world. The beans are dried and roasted to bring us morning and late night coffee pleasure.   One last cultural that is a must when visiting South America is to make your way to Brazil 46 days before Easter.  It’s CARNAVAL!  Carnival, or Carnaval is a celebration in Brazil.  Rio de Janeiro is the capital of the festival, and although we will not be in that area next year we will have our fellow traveling foody reps reporting and photographing next year.

 

I like to leave you this week with yet another recipe from one of my books.  Around the World in 80 Recipes can be purchased on Kindle or Paperback at http://www.amazon.com/Damien-T.-De-Witte/e/B0080YZEU4.

Have a wonderful week and I look forward to exploring with you.

 

Feijoada

Serves 10 to 12

Ingredients

  • 3 strips of raw bacon
  • 2 onions
  • 3 cloves garlic (or 1 teaspoon garlic powder)
  • 1 lb smoked sausage
  • 1 lb boneless beef (any cut of meat)
  • 1 (14-oz) can stewed tomatoes
  • 1 cup hot water
  • 1 Tablespoon yellow mustard
  • 4 cups canned black beans
  • salt and pepper

 

Directions

Cut the bacon strips into big pieces.  Fry them in a large pot over medium-high heat for 3 minutes, stirring often.  Turn the heat down to medium.  Cut the onion in half.  Peel off the skin and outer layer.  Chop both halves into small pieces.  Peel the cloves of garlic. Chop them into small pieces.  Add the onions and garlic to the bacon in the pot.  Stir until the onions are soft, about 3 minutes.  Cut the sausage and beef into 1-inch pieces.  Add them to the onions and garlic.  Cook until the meat is brown on all sides.  Add the stewed tomatoes (with juice), hot water, yellow mustard, and some salt and pepper.  Turn the heat down to simmer.  Cover the pot.

Cook for about 45 minutes, stirring often.  If it looks too thick, add more water, ¼ cup at a time.  Add the black beans (with liquid).  Cover the pot, and cook for 10 more minutes.  Serve in a bowl.

 

-Damien – The Traveling Foody

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