Tag Archives: Latin America

Learn to Make Peruvian Food

Dishing up CausaPeru has earned a reputation for having one of the best cuisines in South America and this weekend I learned that for myself.

On the invitation of family members, I visited a lovely woman who lived in Lima, Peru with her husband and three small daughters for five years during the 1960s while her husband worked on a nutrition project. During her time in Peru, Mrs. Placko learned how to prepare many dishes that have come to be favorites in her family.

In this short clip, Mrs. Placko is assisted by a KidCulture chef in preparing lomo saltado, a beef stir fry that is eaten throughout Peru.

In addition, Mrs. Placko made delicious potatoes that accompany most Peruvian meals as well as a fantastic salad known as causa. Causa resembles the French salade nicoise but it is topped with an olive oil and onion dressing that is unlike anything I’d ever eaten. Causa is also well-loved for its mashed potato balls.

For dessert, we feasted on flan and alfajores (you might remember them from our Christmas Cookie extravaganza).

Here are some pictures to make your mouth water. 

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Cookies 16: Alfajores

alfajoresAlfajores are a sandwich-style cookie that originated in Spain. Its name comes from the Arabic word for stuffed.

There are many variations on alfajores, including a recipe from Peru and another from Argentina.

These Latin American versions of the cookie are very different from those made in Spain.

This alfajores recipe, from AllRecipes.com, is from Argentina.

Alfajores (Argentinean style)

Ingredients

  • 1 2/3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 cups cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla rum
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon extract
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • 1 (11.5 ounce) jar dulce de leche
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Whisk together the flour, cornstarch, baking soda, and baking powder; set aside.
  2. Beat the butter and sugar with an electric mixer in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Add the egg yolks one at a time, allowing each yolk to blend into the butter mixture before adding the next. Beat in the vanilla rum, vanilla extract, lemon extract, and lemon zest with the last egg. Gently fold in the flour mixture with a spoon, making a crumbly dough. When the dough becomes cohesive enough, press it together into a ball with your hands. Wrap with plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
  3. Roll out the dough, using as little flour as possible, about 1/4 inch thick. The dough will have an unusual consistency. Cut with a small round cookie cutter. Continue pressing the dough together, rolling it out, and cutting until you have used it all. Place cookies 1/2 inch apart on the prepared cookie sheets.
  4. Bake in the preheated oven until set but not browned, 7 to 10 minutes. Remove the cookies immediately to cool on a wire rack.
  5. Spread the underside of a cooled cookie with a teaspoon of dulce de leche, then sandwich together with another cookie until the caramel oozes out the sides. Roll the sides in the shredded coconut.

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