All posts filed under: Peru


Peruvian Quinoa Salad | A gift from the stars

Step out under the sky tonight and scan the heavens. Seek out a star, winking in the darkness, livelier than all the rest. This, my friends, is the proud, playful star-sister who brought quinoa to South America. Legend has it that, long before hip, suburban health food stores stocked this comma-shaped seed, the Aymara people* of the Andes were given the gift of quinoa. It was the Aymara’s first harvest, near Lake Titicaca. While toiling in the fields, the farmers noticed that someone had dug up and stolen some of their potatoes.  Determined to catch the thief red handed, one young man decided to stay up all night and keep watch over the fields. The young man hid behind some bushes and waited. The hours slipped slowly by, leaves rustling in the moonlight, tempting him with sleep. He eyes began to droop, his back began to hunch. Suddenly, the sound of laughter rang out. He bolted up and peered through the brush.  On the far side of the field he saw several young maidens – the star-sisters – come …

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Monday Meal Review: Peru

THE SCENE Ava’s on to us. When we pull up to the dining table on Thursday nights she knows. It’s Global Table Adventure night. In fact, she strung together these words for the first time this week: “”Gwobal” Table Adventure (“can I go there, mama?”). When a three year-old child knows that she is expected to try an unusual meal every week, one of three things can happen. 1. She can go for it wholeheartedly. 2. She can eat with normal interest/disinterest, depending on the day. 3. She can rebel. With tears. Man, that last one’s a doozy. Two and a half years ago, when we started this adventure, Ava simply ate what we gave her. Sure, she spit some of it out (she was a baby after all), but overall she was more open than we were to trying new foods. She had zero preconceived notions. Now that she’s hit the ripe ol’ age of three, Ava is way less accepting than she used to be. While still extremely open minded compared to her peers, she’s …

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Peruvian Tiramisu

Yes. Peruvian Tiramisu. It’s real and it’s happening right now. This is tiramisu exactly as you know it with the addition of one magical ingredient from Peru: lucuma fruit. To me, the brilliant gold flesh of lucuma tastes like a combination of caramel, sweet potato and pumpkin. With a bit of banana leaf undertones. I’m not sure how it came to be that there is a fruit which tastes like caramel, but I’m smitten. I mean, really. This is the perfect dessert to serve with falling leaves, crisp afternoons, and a whisper of frost. (Hello, autumn.) Kelly, the owner of Mi Tierra in Tulsa, tells me that, while lucuma fruit is folded into ice cream, drinks, and more, tiramisu is the “big city” way to enjoy the fruit in Lima. Now… about the fact that they’re eating Tiramisu in Peru… Here’s the deal: the Italian influence in Italy is second only the the Chinese influence. The first wave of Italian immigration to Peru occurred during the period 1840–1866 (the “Guano” Era): not less than 15,000 Italians …

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Chifa Beef Stirfy | Lomo Saltado

Remember the girls who could do Double Dutch jump rope? I loved them. I loved them because I was never coordinated enough to do what they could do. Every day I watched their hair fly, their feet pump like pistons, and ropes slice through the air. Today, I’m not even sure if I can jump regular rope, let alone Double Dutch. It’s been a long, long time since I’ve been on a playground for my own pleasure. But if there’s one thing I can do, it’s eat double carbs. In this case, I might as well be Peruvian. I’m talking about Chifa – a fusion of Peruvian and Chinese food… and it’s not something just a few people love. Chifa is Peru’s heart and soul, considered one of the country’s top favorite dishes. Today’s Lomo Saltado is a simple beef stir-fry, but made with Peruvian peppers, cilantro, and  cumin (of all things). And… this is the important part… Chifa is served with French Fries and rice. Double carb town. Lomo Saltado is the strangest sounding combination, …

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Ginger & Rocoto Ceviche

Last week I spoke with “Kelly,” a short, black-haired Peruvian restaurateur whose father had a thing for Western names (he also named one of her brother’s Kennedy – and, as she admitted with downcast eyes, another brother “Hitler”). If that wasn’t enough to blow my mind, she added in her thick, rolling accent that halibut ceviche is the “Dunkin’ Donuts” of Peru. I asked her twice to repeat herself. Each time her smile grew bigger and her words clearer. Ceviche is the Dunkin Donuts of Peru. Ceviche- Peru’s pride and joy – is light, fresh, and healthy, so I found the comparison strange. Unlike the doughnut, which takes a dip in a bubbling cauldron of oil, the seafood “cooks” in the acid of lime or lemon juice. Nothing could be cleaner. Each bite is bright, flavorful, and often spicy with the addition of the rocoto pepper (although any hot pepper can be used to taste) and a hit of fresh ginger. When I tried Kelly’s ceviche, I was happy to find an assortment of goodies accompanying it. There were the oversize corn kernels …

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Menu: Peru (with $150 Giveaway)

There’s a Peruvian proverb that reads… “Gold, when beaten, shines.” This simply means it takes a little elbow grease to make even gold look good. As with most things in life, the more effort we put in, the better things go. I’ve been trying to teach this important lesson to Ava, especially when the going gets tough. Not everything is as instantaneous as twitter or as fun as facebook. Incidentally, I’ve been using this proverb as I prepare to deliver a speech tonight in front of 350 people at the Global Vision Dinner here in Tulsa, put on by the Tulsa Global Alliance. I’m excited but scared. I’ve never spoken in front of that many people before.  Keep me in your hearts – I’ll need strength to let my message shine. And, now, for the food of Peru, which (thankfully) shines with hardly any effort on our part. Especially that delectable ceviche… …all recipes and the meal review will be posted throughout the week. Ceviche [Recipe] Find out why one Peruvian calls this the dunkin donuts …

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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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