Tag Archives: cheese

The Search for Rennet

At last, at last, I’ve finally found it: rennet!

Believe me when I say I have been looking eeeeeverywhere for this elusive bacteria. It is in fact the final ingredient I need to make real cheese. I picked up the citric acid, another vital ingredient, at Parkside Farmers Market for like $2 and then will stop by Rainbow Grocery tomorrow to buy the liquid rennet ($7.99). I gave them a call today; apparently you have to ask them at the cheese counter for it: “We don’t have it lying around on the shelves,” I was told. Okay, so what I’ve actually found is vegetable rennet, which is kind of a misnomer considering that rennet specifically refers to the bacteria found in cow stomach. In any case, I’ve checked it out–veggie rennet works for cheese-making too!

Yes, I realize I could’ve bought bacteria online. But I don’t want to. They charge like $25 for a kit, which I don’t need. Cheese is milk and bacteria—I refuse to pay an arm and a leg, plus shipping and handling, for bacteria.

Oh my goodness, I don’t know how long I’ve been trying to make real cheese. Years. Since college. It’s like making a dream into actual reality! So what’s on first on the agenda this week? Homemade mozzarella. Oh, the possibilities! What can’t you do with a ball of fresh mozzarella?

To be continued…

Heart Healthy Salad for Dinner

See—Little Baker does healthy too 🙂

Fast and good for your heart.

Enjoy!

Two Heart Healthy Salads (recipe by me)

printable recipe

Serves 1.

Broccoli-Tuna Salad

2 tbsp dijon mustard

splash balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil

1/4 cup red onion, finely chopped

1- 6 oz can tuna, drained

1/2 cup frozen broccoli florets, defrosted (or fresh)

small handful raisins

salt and pepper to taste

Tomato-Jarlsberg Salad

1/2 medium tomato, sliced (4 slices)

4 small slices Jarlsberg cheese

splash balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

METHOD

For Broccoli-Tuna Salad

  1. In a small bowl, mix together mustard, onion, balsamic vinegar and olive oil.
  2. Stir in tuna, followed by broccoli and raisins. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Adjust flavor to taste by adding more mustard, vinegar, salt, etc. Serve along side tomato-cheese salad.

For Tomato-Jarlsberg Salad

  1. Spiral out tomato and cheese in alternating layers on a plate. Splash balsamic vinegar and olive oil over the top. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Torta della Nonna (Italian Grandmother’s Ricotta Tart)

This is bad, and I mean real bad. Because it is too good—too good for New Year resolutions, too good to for a nondescript name like “Grandma’s Pie” and seriously too good to resist.

My 2011 began with such promise. After proclaiming it The Year of the rabbit Me, I made goals like “no more yogurt and cereal for dinner”, “cut back on sugar” and “say ‘yes’ to people and activities that make me happy and ‘no’ to those that don’t.  I am proud to say that breakfast for dinner is no longer a part of my daily life; I also started learning Japanese taiko drumming (this city is seriously the best; you can do/find everything here), I’m joining a choir again, I’m volunteering more in the arts, and I even left the city last weekend to visit a friend. Yes, I crossed to the other side of the bay (very Sex & The City girls go to the Hamptons—too funny since I’m not sure East Bay really counts as a weekend retreat.) Anyway, that’s all good stuff. But sugar. Sugar, sugar, sugar. No gold star for me there.

I knew what I was doing when I made the ricotta cheese; it was for this tart. Very bad. I also knew what I was doing when the next evening I decided to make oatmeal raisin cookies with coconut and walnuts. Again, very bad. (Recipe to follow shortly, of course). I’ve resolved to be better. Starting this week. After my cookie post I have a healthy oven-braised chicken recipe to share.

Now to the tart. It’s another recipe from someone’s grandma, so you know it’s been tried and tested by an Italian grandma somewhere. The pastry recipe I got from Mario Batali via the Food Network, though I’m not sure it’s really from his Nonna. And the filling recipe I took from Cook Almost Anything, and apparently, it’s from her mother. Regardless of origin, both are fantastic.

I went with Mario’s pastry recipe as it required way less fat (as in 3 tbsp each butter and olive oil vs almost 1 cup butter). It was simple to put together and when finished reminded me of pasta dough. As for the filling, I particularly liked the addition of semolina and lemon zest. I added raisins to the mix and the additional handful almonds for topping, but otherwise left the recipe alone. Assembly and baking are pretty standard. The tart will rise a bit while in the oven, especially in my case since my dough was still a bit raw after 35 minutes and I had to bake for an additional 10. One thing worth noting about the dough is that it is not supposed to be too golden, so don’t keep the pie in for too long waiting for the right color because you’ll just over-bake it and end up with a dry custard. In hindsight, I probably should have baked for only an extra 5 minutes as I think my custard would have been a smidgen creamier. Oh well, next time. Overall, though, I’m happy with my efforts! And by the way. I baked it Thursday, and it was gone Sunday night. (And yes, I did share 😛 )

Enjoy!

Torta della Nonna

printable recipe

INGREDIENTS

Pastry (adapted from Mario Batali recipe via Food Network)

2 cups all purpose flour

1 large egg plus 2 egg yolks

1/2 cup sugar

3 tbsp sweet butter plus 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, melted together

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Filling (adapted from Cook Almost Anything)

1 1/4 cup whole milk

scant 1/2 cup semolina

1 lemon, zested and juiced

1 1/4 cups whole milk ricotta cheese

2 large eggs

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup raisins, optional

handful almond flakes, optional

confectioner’s sugar, optional

METHOD

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F.

For the pastry

  1. To make the pastry, make a well in the flour, and place egg, yolks, sugar, butter and olive oil mixture in the center and proceed as you would with fresh pasta, i.e. bring flour in bit by bit until the liquid in the well is thick enough to bring together with your hand. Knead until the dough is smooth, then allow to rest 10 minutes.

For the Filling

  1. Heat the milk in a saucepan until just warm – rain in the semolina, stirring as you do to stop any lumps forming. Add the lemon zest and continue to stir until the mixture thickens and comes away from the side of the pan. Take it off the heat to cool.
  2. Push the ricotta through a fine sieve – this just helps to lighten the mixture. (Skipped this step…no fine sieve.) Place the sieved ricotta into a large bowl, add the eggs, sugar, lemon juice and cooled semolina mixture and using an electric mixer, beat until thoroughly mixed. If using, stir in the raisins now.
  3. Prepare the pastry case: Divide the dough into two—two-thirds for the base and one-third to form the top.
  4. On a well-floured surface, roll the larger piece out to line the base and sides of a loose-bottomed 20 cm/8 inch round pie pan. Make sure the pastry overhangs the lip to make joining the top easier.
  5. Pour the prepared filling into the case, smoothing it out to level the surface. It will rise when it cooks so don’t worry if it doesn’t reach the top of your pie case.
  6. Roll the smaller piece of pastry to form a circle a little larger than the pie pan.
  7. Brush the lip with a little milk before placing the pastry top – press down to make sure the dough sticks and then trim to size.
  8. Lightly brush the top with the milk, a sprinkle of sugar and, if using, a handful of almonds.
  9. Bake in a preheated 350 F for 30-35 minutes or until the pastry is golden and cooked through. (Mine needed 45 because after 35 the dough was still raw. To prevent burning, I covered the pie with a piece of foil with the center cut out.)
  10. Remove from the oven and let it cool for 5 minutes in the pan before removing it to a wire rack. At this point, you could dust the top generously with confectioner’s sugar. (I chose not to.)


Homemade Ricotta Cheese: It Can Be Done! (Even in the Microwave)

Whole Foods makes me mad sometimes. How do they get away with charging people $5.99 for 16 oz of ricotta cheese? It’s just milk heated with a little vinegar. Sheesh! Well, I can do that.

So I did. And it’s so simple! I googled around for recipes for a few minutes until coming across this article and recipe from Serious Eats, which claim you can make homemade ricotta cheese in 5 minutes! I liked this recipe in particular because, first of all, it only takes 5 minutes; second, it didn’t require me to buy any extras like buttermilk, cheesecloth and/or special strainers; and lastly, it has microwave directions! Cheese-making in the microwave? Crazy, I know. But it actually worked!

I used whole milk this time, but I suppose you could use any kind of cow or goat milk. Non-dairy wouldn’t work, however; it has something to do with the whey that comes from animal milk, which reacts when combined with an acidic substance like vinegar or lemon juice. On that note, regarding the acid to add, I saw recipes, which called for buttermilk, lemon and distilled white vinegar. I would have used distilled white or lemon, but all I have here at home is apple cider vinegar. Guess what, it turned out fine. The recipe also says to microwave from 2 to 4 minutes; I needed the full 4, but it will depend on your microwave. You’ll know when it’s done because the milk will have completely curdled.

One more thing, the article discusses drainage time and how long you want to allow the cheese to strain before using it. It depends on what you want to do with the cheese. If you want to eat it right away, i.e. as a dessert or appetizer spread, then 5 minutes will suffice. For use as a filling, like in ravioli or manicotti, then 15-20 minutes. And for baking, like for use in pastries or pancakes, it’s best to strain for at least 2 hours or even overnight. I let mine sit overnight since I plan on baking with it. (I’m planning on making Torta della Nonna, Italian Grandmother’s Ricotta Tart, with it today.)

Doesn’t the picture LOOK like ricotta? It tastes and feels like it too! It does have a slight vinegary tang to it, but I don’t think it will be noticeable once baked. If I wasn’t going to bake with it, I think I’d pour some olive oil over the top, sprinkle over some sea salt and fresh ground black pepper and then slather it over toasted baguette slices. Yum!

Enjoy!

Homemade Ricotta Cheese (recipe from Serious Eats)

printable recipe

Recipe makes 1/2 cup (and  is easily doubled)

INGREDIENTS

2 cups whole milk

1/4 tsp table salt

2 tbsp distilled white vinegar or lemon juice (I used apple cider vinegar because that’s all I had)

METHOD

  1. Line colander with four layers of cheesecloth or 2 layers of food-safe paper towels and set over large bowl. Combine milk, salt, and vinegar or lemon juice in microwave-safe glass 1-quart liquid measure. Microwave on high heat until lightly bubbling around edges, 2 to 4 minutes (milk should register about 165°F on an instant-read thermometer). Remove from microwave, and stir gently for 5 seconds. Milk should separate into solid white curds and translucent liquid whey. If not, microwave for 30 seconds longer. Repeat until fully separated.
  2. Using slotted spoon or wire skimmer, transfer curds to prepared colander, cover exposed top with plastic wrap, and allow to drain until desired texture is reached. Store in covered container in refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Taste Testing

My friend Elizabeth is a brilliant chef in the making. And as it is her dream to one day open her own Peruvian restaurant, she’s decided to hold monthly dinners to test-run dishes and drinks for friends. Taste testing? I’m happy to lend my taste-buds to the cause! (^_^)

Last week was the first of the dinners. My favorite (surprise, surprise) was the lucuma cheesecake. Elizabeth gave me the recipe, which I hope to try soon (lucuma’s already in the freezer 😛 )!

The Menu


Steamed Mussles with Pico de Gallo


Fried Potato Croquette Filled with Sweet Ground Beef and

Topped with an Onion Salsa and Fresh Yellow Chili Sauce

Peruvian-style Creamy Seafood Chowder

Lucuma Cheesecake Topped with Bittersweet Chocolate Sauce and Served with Lucuma Ice Cream


Cotton Soft Japanese Cheesecake

Calling this a cheesecake is a bit misleading. It’s really more like a cream cheese pound cake in flavor and somewhere in between pound cake and angel food cake in texture.

It’s light and airy like a souffle and modest in sweetness and cream cheese flavor. Quick to put together too! I’ve noted all my “tips” below 😛 I also only made half the recipe. Unfortunately, I realized too late that my brother still has my little springform bottom, so I had to use the full-size springform, which is why my cake looks so squat. Despite appearances, it came out perrrrfectly!

Enjoy!

Cotton Soft Japanese Cheesecake (Recipe adapted from The Little Teochew)

INGREDIENTS

140 g superfine sugar

6 egg whites

6 egg yolks

1/4 tsp cream of tartar

50 g unsalted butter

250 g cream cheese

100 ml milk (I used non-fat)

1 tbsp lemon juice (I skipped this)

60 g cake flour (I shouldn’t have, but I did—I used all-purpose, sifted 3 times, and it was fine. P.S. I bought cake flour today 😛)

20 g cornstarch

1/4 tsp salt

8-inch cake pan or springform, lightly greased and bottom and sides lined with parchment paper

large baking tray (for the bain marie/water bath)

METHOD

  1. Melt the cream cheese, butter and milk over a double boiler; set aside. Once cooled, fold in the flour, corn starch, egg yolks, salt, and lemon juice until combined.
  2. Using a handmixer, whisk the egg whites until just foamy; add the cream of tartar and continue mixing for another 10 or so seconds. While mixing, gradually add in the sugar. Mix until soft peaks form. (Be careful not to overmix. Too stiff peaks will weigh down the batter and may cause your cake to collapse more during baking.)
  3. Pre-heat the oven to 325 C (160 C).
  4. With a rubber spatula, gently fold 1/3 of the egg whites into the cheese batter. (This will bring the batter consistency closer to that of the egg whites and result in less air loss.) Gently and quickly fold in the remaining egg whites until completely combined. Pour the batter into your prepared cake pan/springform. (If using a springform, rap the base of your cake tin with aluminium foil to prevent seepage.)
  5. Bake the cheesecake in the center of your oven in a water bath for 1 hour 10 minutes or until set and golden brown.
  6. Leave to cool in the oven with the door ajar for about 1 hour. (Sudden changes in temperature may cause the cake to cool too quickly and collapse.)

Hello, Spring! Frittata with Radish-Red Cabbage Salad

Yay—Spring has come to San Francisco at last. And so has my first CSA box. (There are a lot of things I could write about CSA, but I’m too lazy to get into it right now. OK, I’m testing it out for a month. I know it’s good for the environment, good for the farmer, good for my body, blah, blah. But can I afford it? If I can and I actually enjoy the food and don’t have to eat celery sticks, I’ll keep doing it.)

Anyway, to celebrate my first Bay Area Spring, the blooming cherry blossoms and my CSA, I made this happy, little swiss chard frittata and radish-red cabbage salad.

I’m not sure I’ve ever had swiss chard before—I’ve definitely never cooked it. If I end up hating CSA, at least I’ll have learned one thing: I LOVE swiss chard: it has crunch, major flavor and serious BITE. And it tasted incredible in my little ode-to-Spring omelet with sauteed garlic, onion, cauliflower, raisins and shredded sharp white cheddar. For the side salad, I sliced up some radishes and red cabbage and tossed them in a simple lemon-olive oil vinaigrette (because balsamic would’ve been too much).

Happy Spring!

Swiss Chard, Raisin and White Cheddar Frittata with Radish and Red Cabbage Salad

A Little Baker SF recipe

Serves 1

INGREDIENTS

Frittata

1 clove garlic, chopped

1/4 cup red onion, chopped

2 leaves Swiss chard, washed, trimmed and sliced thinly

1/2 cup cauliflower florets, broken into bite-size pieces

olive oil

1 tbsp raisins

salt and pepper, to taste

1 egg, plus a generous splash of non-fat milk, whisked

1 oz. sharp white cheddar cheese, shredded

Salad

3 radishes, washed, trimmed and sliced thinly

1/2 cup red cabbage, washed, trimmed and sliced thinly

juice of 1/4 lemon

1-2 tsp extra virgin olive oil

a pinch of evaporated cane sugar (or whatever sugar you have)

salt and pepper, to taste

METHOD

  1. In  a small, non-stick pan on medium-low heat, saute the swiss chard, garlic, onion and cauliflower in a little olive oil (ca. 5 minutes). Once the vegetables have softened a bit, add in the raisins, salt and pepper. Stir and allow to brown slightly.
  2. Reduce the heat to low. Pour in the whisked egg-milk mixture and evenly distribute it in the pan. Cover and allow to cook/steam for 3-5 minutes (or until the egg is half-set).
  3. While the frittata is cooking, prepare the salad: In a small salad bowl, mix together the lemon juice, olive oil, sugar, salt and pepper. Toss in the sliced radishes and shredded red cabbage. Mix and set aside.
  4. Check on the frittata: If the egg is half-set, remove the cover, sprinkle the shredded cheddar over the top. Cover again and cook until the egg is set and the cheese is melted (ca. 3 minutes).
  5. Sprinkle a little more salt and pepper and a squeeze of lemon juice over the top. Serve.


Coconut Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Normally, when I think “cupcakes”, I think about those gross, flavorless, diabetes II-inducing sugar bombs you get from Safeway. I’ve eaten my fair share of them at friend’s birthday parties growing up and as an adult had pretty much decided to avoid them altogether.

That is, until I tried these…Martha Stewart’s dreamy, creamy Coconut Cupcakes. It’s the coconut milk in the batter—it makes the cake soooo rich and smooth and weaves this light, tropical nutty flavor throughout. Seriously, these are unlike any cupcake I have ever eaten before.

Martha’s original recipe calls for Seven-Minute Frosting, but I decided to go with a cream cheese frosting instead. And I am so glad I did. Cream cheese and coconut just work together.

These were also for the PAL event last weekend. Not surprisingly, they were the bestseller.

Can’t wait to make these again. Oh—why do bad things have to taste sooo good???

Enjoy!

Coconut Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Makes 21.

INGREDIENTS

Cupcake Batter (recipe adapted from Martha Stewart)

1 3/4 cups (245 g) all purpose flour

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 cup (45 g) packed sweetened shredded coconut (I used unsweetened.)

6 oz (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened

1 1/3 cups sugar

2 large eggs, plus 2 large egg whites

3/4 cup (180 ml) unsweetened coconut milk

1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract

1 1/3 cups (125 g) unsweetened shredded coconut

Cream Cheese Frosting (recipe adapted from Simply Recipes)

4 oz (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened

8 oz cream cheese, softened

2-3 cups confectioners’ sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

METHOD

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners.
  2. Whisk dry ingredients in a large bowl. Cream butter and sugar with a mixer until light and fluffy. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating after each addition.
  3. Reduce speed to low. Mix in the coconut milk and vanilla extract. Add dry ingredients to the wet mixture in 3 additions, alternating with wet ingredients and ending with dry. Scrape sides of bowl. Divide batter among muffin cups, filling each 2/3 full.
  4. Bake cupcakes until testers inserted into centers come out clean, about 20 minutes. Let cool in tins on wire racks. Cupcakes will keep, covered, for up to 3 days, unless otherwise noted.
  5. While the cupcakes cool, prepare the frosting: With an electric mixer, mix the butter and cream cheese together, about 3 minutes on medium speed until very smooth. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl to ensure even mixing.
  6. Add the vanilla extract and mix. Slowly add the confectioners’ sugar. Keep adding until you get to desired sweetness and thickness.
  7. Spread the frosting onto the cooled cupcakes with a blunt knife or spatula. Sprinkle with unsweetened coconut. Serve immediately.

Lucuma Cheesecake

I made this amazing cheesecake TWO WEEKS AGO, but never got around to posting the recipe. Why? Because my life has been crazy (not fun-crazy; I mean, crazy-crazy). I was moving out, then I wasn’t. Now I moving out for sure, which means I have to find a sub-letter my roommate and her boyfriend approve of AND find a new home. Actually, I’m OK with the situation now. I’ve decided that I have a choice: sink or swim. So I’m swimming/doggy-paddling through this whole upheaval of hearth and home, and seriously, this decision has made all the difference. I think I’m going to be OK!

Anyway, this cheesecake is not just any cheesecake, it’s LUCUMA (my new favorite fruit—forever and ever)

Lucuma is a sub-tropical fruit native to Peru and is known for it’s sweet potato-like flesh and caramel/maple syrup-reminiscent flavor. It is now grown in other South American countries, but it is definitely not available here in San Francisco. Mission Market (Mission and 22nd) carries it in frozen form apparently, but only occasionally. (Not right now—just checked and was told that it wouldn’t arrive until April)

Photo courtesy of http://www.elportalperu.com

The recipe is from Yanuq, a website I mentioned in a previous post as being a great source for Peruvian recipes. I wasn’t all too pleased with ingredient amounts or method. (I’ve made cheesecake many times before, so this time I know it wasn’t me.) Despite following the instructions to a tee, my crust was glued stuck to the cake pan bottom, which made it nearly impossible to slice. Then again, there wasn’t much slicing going on, rather, a lot of scooping. As soon as I removed the springpan form, the filling starting oozing and collapsing. I blame it on the gelatin; it totally failed me. The next time I make this, I will use a butter-based graham cracker crust rather than egg-white. I will also investigate other no-bake cheesecake recipes for filling ingredients and amounts.

I wish I had a beautiful picture to show you, but I don’t. First, because I was so busy playing hostess that I forgot to take a picture. And second, because it wouldn’t have been worth it anyway—too ugly. Oh well, at least it tasted good. No, it tasted out-of-this-world incredible—creamy, smooth and tangy from the cream cheese and rich and caramelly from the lucuma. It was like eating a great, big piece of Peru. Yum!

Enjoy!

Lucuma Cheesecake (adapted from Yanuq – Cooking in Peru)

INGREDIENTS

Crust

3 egg whites

1 tsp baking powder

1 cup sugar

1 cup ground pecans or almonds

1 cup graham crackers, crushed

1 tsp vanilla extract

Filling

4 lucumas, halved, pit removed and flesh scooped out

1 can evaporated milk

1 cup sugar

10 1/2 oz. (300 g) cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup heavy cream

2 tbsp confectioners’ sugar

1 sachet unflavored gelatin

1/4 cup water

METHOD

Crust

  1. Whip egg whites until stiff in mixer. Add baking powder.
  2. Add rest of ingredients folding carefully with spoon or spatula.
  3. Transfer mixture to a 10-inch (20 cm) removable bottom cake pan, previously buttered and floured. Bake in a preheated oven 350° F (175° C) for 30 minutes.
  4. Remove from oven and separate borders from pan with a knife. Cool. Leave in pan.

Filling

  1. Process lucumas with evaporated milk until thick and creamy.
  2. Add gelatin diluted in 1/4 cup water.
  3. Beat cream cheese with sugar and fold into lucuma mixture.
  4. Whip the cream with confectioners sugar until thick and add to lucuma mixture.
  5. Pour cream on top of pecan crust. Cool in refrigerator until cheesecake sets.
  6. Remove sides of pan and decorate with chocolate shavings and cream. Serve with a light chocolate sauce.

Peruvian Style Arroz con Mariscos with Papas a la Huancaina y Salsa de Cebolla Peruana

Traditional arroz con pollo is made with chicken—duh— but I adapted it for my two hungry Pescatarian girls at our monthly roommate dinner.

I have Dennis’ mom, Ana, to thank for the recipes and mi Guapito to thank for the translations!

For more Peruvian recipes, Yanuq is a great source. I found the recipe for the onion salsa there.

Note: The aji amarillo chiles used in these recipes are Peruvian yellow chiles. They should be pretty easy to find frozen in any Latin American grocery store. As for the choclo (large-grained white corn), I couldn’t find it fresh, but did find it dried. Worked OK here, but obviously fresh is best.

Arroz con Mariscos (Mixed Seafood Rice)

Recipes courtesy of Ana / Translated by Dennis

Serves 6.

INGREDIENTS

1 1/2 lbs mixed seafood (I had tilapia and shrimp at home, so that’s what I used.)

3 cups rice

1 large red onion

1 large clove garlic

6 aji amarillo chiles, deseeded, deveined and minced, divided

1 red bell pepper

1 large carrot, peeled

1 ear large-grained white maize (Peruvian corn / “choclo”), husk removed and kernels sliced off the cob

1/2 cup green peas, frozen or fresh

3 bunches fresh cilantro

3 1/2 cups water, divided

1 dark beer

salt and pepper, to taste

1 bay leaf

olive oil

4 limes (2 for juice, 2 sliced into wedges for serving)

METHOD

  1. Drain the seafood well and pat lightly with a paper towel to dry. Sprinkle salt and pepper on top. And then in a hot skillet, lightly fry in a little olive oil until no longer translucent (about 1 minute). Remove to a bowl and set aside.
  2. Dice the onion, pepper and carrots into roughly the same sized square pieces. Wash the rice. Set aside.
  3. In a blender, combine the cilantro, water and 1/2 the minced aji amarillo chiles. Mix until completely blended.
  4. In the same pot used to fry the seafood, fry the onions, garlic, remaining chiles and a little salt and pepper in olive oil. Pour in the cilantro mixture and allow to cook down for a few minutes before adding the entire bottle of beer.
  5. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat, allowing the alcohol to evaporate.
  6. Add the seafood and a little more salt and pepper to the pot. Cover and cook for about 2 minutes (be careful not to overcook). The liquid should be a little salty.
  7. Once the seafood is just cooked through, remove it and in the same pot, add the rice, fried vegetables, corn and peas, plus 2 1/2 cups water.
  8. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes or until the rice is tender.
  9. Squeeze in the lime juice. Serve with onion-lime salsa and huancaina sauce.

Papa a la Huancaina

Papa a la Huancaina Sauce (Potatoes with Aji Amarillo-Cheese Sauce)

Recipes courtesy of Ana Yi / Translated by Dennis Yi

Serves 6.

6 medium potatoes, scrubbed

6 aji amarillo chiles, deseeded, deveined and chopped finely

200 g queso fresco (Latin American fresh cheese), crumbled

1 medium purple onion

1 clove garlic

1/2 pkg saltine crackers

1/2 can evaporated milk

1/3 cup oil (I used olive oil)

salt and pepper to taste

the juice of 1 lime

boiled eggs, sliced into wedges, to serve

METHOD
  1. Boil the potatoes, skin on.
  2. While the potatoes are cooking, fry the chiles, onion and garlic in a little oil until golden. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.
  3. Put the cooled pan contents into a blender, along with the oil. Blend.
  4. With the mixer turned on, gradually add in the cheese and evaporated milk. Once combined, add in the saltines, salt and pepper and lime juice. Blend until thoroughly mixed. If too thick, add a little more milk.
  5. Peel the hot, cooked potatoes and then cut into thick slices. Place into serving dish and pour the sauce on top. Serve with sliced boiled eggs and fresh onion-lime salsa (see recipe below).


Fresh Onion Salsa (from Yanuq – Cooking in Peru)

INGREDIENTS

1 medium onion

1 tbsp vegetable oil

1 aji amarillo, deseeded, deveined and minced finely

juice of 1/2 lime (or more, according to your taste)

salt

pepper

1/2 tbsp parsley, chopped

METHOD

  1. Finely slice the onion and quickly rinse with water.
  2. Put the onion in a bowl and combine with the remaining ingredients.