Recipe: Chunky Warm Peanut & Achiote Salsa from Ecuador (Salsa de Maní)


Warm salsa is a novelty to me, but not to lovely Ecuador. They love spooning this nutty, oniony mixture over potatoes, but it is also enjoyed with anything from chicken to guinea pig. For a more fluid salsa, add extra milk and puree to desired consistency. Adapted from Latin & Caribbean Grocery Stores Demystified by Linda Bladholm. Makes 2 cups Ingredients: Oil 1 Tbsp whole Achiote/annato (available whole or ground) 1/2 tsp cumin 1 small onion, chopped 1 cup unsalted … [Read more...]

Recipe: Vanilla-Shallot Dipping Butter


makes 1/2 cup This rich dipping butter has warm vanilla undertones, mellow onion/garlic flavor from the shallot, and a bright acid note from the white wine. Recipe inspired by the New York Times. Ingredients: 1 stick (8 Tbsp) butter 1 shallot, minced (about 1/4 cup) 1/3 cup white wine 1/2 vanilla bean, split salt pepper Serve with Boiled Lobster Method: Melt a tab or two of butter over medium heat. Add shallots and cook. Shallots are incredible. I don't think I've … [Read more...]

Recipe: Creamy Avocado Dressing (Vinagreta de Aguacate)


Makes about 1 cup Thick and rich, this dressing will add South American flavor to any salad. Also, try it as a dip. Ingredients: 2 avocados 2 limes, juiced 2 Tbsp white wine vinegar 1/2 cup olive oil (or to taste) salt pepper 1 Tbsp chopped cilantro Method: Scoop the flesh of two ripe avocados into a blender. These ones were so ripe, they were buttery-good. Add the juice of of two limes. There's no substitute for the tart zing of lime juice. And a healthy pinch … [Read more...]

Recipe: Dulce de Leche


Makes 14 oz Ingredients: 1 can Sweetened Condensed Milk Method: Remove label from can of sweetened condensed milk and pierce with two holes on the top. Note that my label is still on the can. This becomes a mess later and I wouldn't recommend it. Place can in a small pot and fill with water. Bring to a gentle simmer and maintain water level about 1″ below top of the can at all times. Simmer for about 3 hours. Let cool before handling, eating, or touching. Here is a light … [Read more...]

Recipe: Egusi Sauce


Makes about 2 cups Raw seeds give Egusi sauce grassy flavor and a little bit of texture. The sauce is popular in central Africa, and can be served over vegetables, meats, and fish. Ingredients: 1 small onion 1 tomato 1 chili pepper (I used a poblano from my garden, but you can go as spicy as you want with this recipe) salt red chili powder, to taste 1 1/2 cups ground egusi 1/2 cup water (or as needed) Method: Hunt down some ground melon seeds. I found these at our local … [Read more...]

Recipe: West African Peanut Sauce


Makes 3/4 cup Mild heat with a nutty blast, this West African inspired peanut sauce is straightforward. This recipe lacks the bright flavor acquired from a splash of vinegar you might find in Asian peanut sauces. Vegetarian/vegan Ingredients: 1/2 cup peanut butter (natural, not sweet) 1 Tbsp tomato paste 3/4 cup water pinch of cayenne pepper red palm oil Method: Heat oil over medium. Add a pinch of cayenne pepper. You can always add more at the end, if you can handle … [Read more...]

Technique Thursday: Recipe: Pili-Pili hot sauce


Pili-Pili (also called Piripiri) is the kind of hot sauce that puts hair on a man's chest. And, possibly, even a woman's. This basic African condiment was introduced by the Portuguese in the 1500's. To give you an idea of how intense pili-pili is, imagine this true story: Positioned just outside the second room, where we would shake the president's hand, sat a vast array of spicy delicacies, accompanied by bowls of pili-pili sauce for dipping. For the uninitiated, Pili-pili (pronounced … [Read more...]

Technique Thursday: Recipe and information about Llajua (Bolivian Hot Sauce)


If you want to eat like a Bolivian, I highly recommend you try Llajua.  Bolivians happily splash this liquid fire over their meals as casually as Americans use ketchup - perhaps even more profusely. The stuff goes on everything - from soup to grilled meat, boiled vegetables, savory pies (like the Salteña), and more. The heat originates from the locato pepper, rated between 30k and 100k on the Scoville Unit. From what I gather, the locoto is like a mild habanero. Ha. Mild. Habenero. What an … [Read more...]