All posts filed under: South America

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About the food of Peru

The dream was born in seventh grade geography class; I had to feel the sunrise in  Machu Picchu. One photo of that misty, lush mountain topped with ancient Inca ruins was all I needed. I was in love. Sure, there were snow capped mountains, modern cities, sashaying rivers, and lush, green jungles to explore… but I wanted to teleport straight into the incredible mountain city that’d been mysteriously abandoned so many years ago. All these years later and I still haven’t reached Peru. Thank goodness for stovetop travel; this week’s Global Table will pacify me a little longer. The funny thing is, for all my passionate dreaming as a child, Machu Picchu didn’t come up during my initial research. My exploration of this ocean-front South American country started rather simply with a restaurant here in Tulsa, Oklahoma called Mia Tierra recommended by long time reader Brian Schwartz. It was in this little restaurant that I got a first hand sampling of authentic dishes from a Peruvian woman. She insisted we try ceviche [Recipe], a natural dish found on Peru’s long coastline. …

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Monday Meal Review: Paraguay

“Here at last,” I think, as we pull up to our cabin at Beaver’s Bend State Park. I gaze up at the tall, skinny trees and then down to the sturdy stilts which keep the cabin from falling into the river below. They are the same circumference. A familiar smile curls my lips and I look back at Ava. She’s staring out the window in awe. Here is our little house on the water. A space to listen to the birds, feel the breeze, and watch the seasons change. For four days, at least, until the next family comes to call it home. The cabin reminds me so much of the house we almost bought two years ago. The house that “got away” from us (due to failed inspections). They look nothing alike, but feel the same. The spirit of a house on the water is so different from a landlocked house; the water sliding past your window can easily trick you into thinking you’re continually traveling, exploring, moving. I’m still entranced by the view when …

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Paraguayan Cheesy Cornbread | Sopa Paraguaya

Rumor has it, no meal is complete in Paraguay without a slice of warm, cheesy cornbread. While sopa means soup in Spanish, this is definitely bread and… traditionally, all mixed up with a happy bundle of homemade cheese. One of our readers – Emily – says everyone in Paraguay makes their own cheese so that this would be no big deal to a local. I read up on the origins of this bread… there are two main versions. In the first version, Don Carlos ( President of Paraguay from 1842-62) requested his favorite white soup for dinner – one made with cheese, egg, corn flour, and loads of milk. One day the chef put too much corn flour in the soup and decided to bake it up as bread in cast iron. The new dish became a hit and Don Carlos dubbed it Sopa Paraguaya. Here’s the second story, from Wikipedia: In ancient times, this food was made with fresh corn and cooked in the “ñaúpyvú” (clay pot), not in the oven “modern” inherited from the …

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Barbecued Meat | Carne Asada

Last chances only come once. Last chance to tell that boy you like him. Last chance to wear hypercolor. Last chance to wear a micro-mini. Because, guess what? The 90’s are over, and they’re not coming back. (not that I’m bitter) (well, maybe about the mini skirt thing). Take a look outside. This might be your last chance to fire up the grill in 2012. Come December, when the Mayan’s pop in to say hello, you might wish you took the opportunity. Especially when it comes with so much DIY goodness. I’m a big fan of DIY meals. (Remember when we made “Foe” (similar to Pho)? No one’s bowl looked the same. Yet they were all major Yum Town). Today we’re exploring the popular South American DIY called Carne Asada, a.k.a. the most lovely barbecued meat you’ll ever nibble. Carne Asada can be found all over  – from Mexico (hey, there’s those Mayas again), to the fine countries of South America. It is an especially fond part of the Paraguayan Global Table…and so here we …

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Dulce de Leche Stuffed Cookies | Alfajores

Sometimes we need a do over. A chance to get it right. And a little forgiveness. Because in every mishap is a silver lining. Especially when it comes to sweet, crumbly dulce de leche filled alfajores – the popular South American cookie. One bite instantly dissolves on the tongue into a cloud of tender lemon zest deliciousness. Divine. But back to forgiveness. Specifically, I need to forgive my sweet, bumbling husband for being so thoughtful as to fill up the cooler with ice for our 3 1/2 hour road trip, yet being so forgetful as to overlook returning the cookie dough to the cooler. I need to let go of the grief that the cookie dough rode in the bed of our pickup truck, saran wrap in the wind, balanced precariously on top of my red suitcase, all the way to our family vacation in Beaver’s Bend. And I need to accept that, because it was 100F and sunny, the cookie dough could never be cooked. In situations like this, it’s all about the silver …

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Menu: Paraguay (& Giveaway)

Let’s talk enlightenment. When it comes to packing up the family, driving deep into the woods, and taking a little time to “get away from it all,” there’s still good reason to set a Global Table. In fact, when there’s nothing but you, trees, and a few muffin tins worth of family members, it’s the perfect time to try out something new. That’s what we did this week, when we ate Paraguay … in Beaver’s Bend State Park (way, way Southeast Oklahoma). There aren’t as many distractions when you’re stuck in the woods. There is definitely no safety net… your snacks and zappable meals will be nowhere in sight. Call it a captive audience, if you will. Perfect for picky eaters. What sounds good to you? All recipes and the meal review will be posted throughout the week. Barbecued Meat | Carne Asada [Recipe] Finger-licking grilled meat, seasoned with bright lime juice, garlic powder, oregano, salt, and pepper. Delicioso. Paraguayan Cheesy Cornbread | Sopa Paraguaya [Recipe] This cornbread is so filled with goodies, it is practically a …

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About the food of Paraguay

Paraguay (pronounced parag-why) is the first landlocked country we’ve cooked in a long, long while. To celebrate, we’re going to hang out in a local swamp. Appropriately dubbed “The Great Swamp,” this wet expanse stretches through Brazil, Paraguay, and Bolivia, and is home to more than 10,000 species of birds, reptiles, fish, and invertebrates, according to Environmental Graffiti. It’s gigantic. P.S. The Great Swamp is considered by Environmental Graffiti to be one of the top ten swamps in the world. So there’s that. While there, let’s sip on yerba mate – a bitter, hyper-caffienated tea served in a “mate” container and drunk through a bombilla (a straw with a built-in strainer. Brilliant invention, right?). In the summer, try chilled yerba tea mixed with herbs. This is called terere, a wildly popular Paraguayan drink. Speaking of summer – if the sun gets in your eyes, feel free to throw on a a carved leather hat – something local artisans produce (you might find them tucked away between pottery, jewelry, and wooden sculpture vendors). When hunger strikes, there’s everything from carne …

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Monday Meal Review: Guyana

THE SCENE From across the store I could see them – orange habaneros, piled high, glowing like the summer sun. They were small and tender in appearance but, I knew all too well, scary hot on the inside.  Like a crab, I sidestepped across the room, handling several cases of produce before I made my way to the peppers. “Ouch,” I thought, thinking of the meal to come. “This is gonna hurt.” I scooped up three small beauties, reasoning that if they can eat six in Guyana, surely I can stretch myself to try three. By the time I got home, I’d lost my resolve. I’d try one, maybe two habaneros in the Caribbean Green Seasoning. I cut up the celery, onions, garlic, and herbs – tossed them into the blender, and plugged the machine in. No more avoiding it. Time for the peppers. I split a habanero down the middle, taking care to avoid the hot juices, and threw one half in. I didn’t so much look at the second half. So much for bravery. …

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Curried Caribbean Chicken Kabobs

Serves 4 Guyanese love a good curry. Since we’re in the middle of intense summer, I’ve adapted a traditional curry recipe for the grill. Instead of stewing the chicken with the curried Green Seasoning, I simply marinated the chicken in it and threw it on the grill. An easy way to get the heat out of the kitchen, although you’ll still feel it in your mouth. Big time. P.S. To eat this like you’re in Guyana, serve with Chow Mein. Seriously. Ingredients: 4 chicken breasts, sliced into strips 1 cup Caribbean Green Seasoning 1 heaping Tbsp homemade curry powder salt & pepper to taste Method: Ask your butcher for four chicken breasts. The friendship between a woman and her butcher is a thing of beauty. Make friends with your butcher and they’ll give you all the good cuts. I promise. Slice the chicken into strips and place on skewers. The best way to do this is to cut the breast diagonally. If you don’t feel like messing with it, feel free to just marinate the …

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Caribbean Green Seasoning

Makes about 1 1/2 cups Ouch and yum. This seasoning blend should feel like molten lava as it slides down your throat; Guyanese use up to six habaneros in a recipe like this one. However, if you don’t have Caribbean friends coming over for dinner – or the time to replace your throat – feel free to make a mild version. For example, mine (certainly laughable to Caribbeans), uses only a 1/4 of a habanero. In my defense I have a two year-old. Call me crazy, but I don’t have the heart to feed her a paste made with six scorching habaneros, even if she does like a little spice from time to time. Plus, I’m pretty wimpy, myself. So whether you like it hot, or not, just be sure to whip up a batch – you can use it on almost anything, from curries, to stews to grill marinades. Totally flexible and totally tasty – this is the Caribbean’s take on the French mirepoix or the Dominican sazon (a.k.a. sofrito). Makes a really nice …

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Chilled Coco-Mango Soup

Serves 4 Hello summer, nice to see you again. This year let’s stay cool, no overheating, no frustration, no sweaty t-shirts. I have to admit I don’t think you’re playing fair – soaring above 100F in June, but I’ll take drastic measures to keep the peace, if need be. I can curl up in an ice bath. Thankfully, however, there’s something better and tastier: cold soup. Inspired by the Guyanese in South America and their love of Caribbean flavors, today’s special is mango and coconut-tastic. I’m ready to do laps in this chill goodness. The flavor is light – thanks to the coconut water – silky, even. This is high class – good for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Eat it by itself or eat it as a starter or eat it as dessert. Just eat it. Ingredients: 4 medium ripe mangoes (about 3.5 cups chopped) 1 1/3 cup coconut water (1 can) 1 cup yogurt 1/2 cup coconut milk 1/2 cup milk 1 Tbsp rum (white or dark) honey, if necessary ( I didn’t use …

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Guyana for the win (w/ poll)

For a long time now I’ve wanted live with goats. But it doesn’t end there. I want to eat thick, hearty cheese sandwiches made with rustic, country bread. I want to eat them every day. All day. While smelling wildflowers and wearing a frock. It all started when I read Heidi, the story of a little girl who does, well, almost exactly that. Enter Guyana. They do it. They eat cheddar-cheesy bread sandwiches for snacks. For dinner. Whenever, really. Winning. Just imagine this after school snack: … visions of a warm, hearty Tennis Roll, sliced in half and protecting thick slices of cheddar cheese … To wash it down, an ice-cold glass of cream soda made creamy with carnation milk. Ooo la la! Childhood memories of this after school snack thrilled me. Cynthia Nelson, Starbroek News. I’m thinking I can somehow combine my Heidi daydream with these tennis rolls for an outrageously awesome fantasy. And in this daydream my frock will never get too small because I ate too much cheese and bread. So what …

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