Thursday, March 4, 2010

Peru, Colombia and Venezuela


This week we made arepas, ceviche, quinoa chowder, Pabellon Criollo, tostones, chifles, avocado cream and Tapioca with chocolate couscous. Mike made two different arepas; arepas con queso and arepas dulces. The arepas con queso are made with arepa flour, hot water and salt for the dough; then you incorporate one egg yolk, softened butter and shredded mozzarella. There are many ways to cook these yummy pastries. You can either pan fry them, deep fry them or bake them. We took the fatty route and deep fried these cheesy pouches. The sweet arepas are made with arepa flour, salt, brown sugar, ground anise and mozzarella cheese shredded. You make the dough and then add the anise with the cheese. Shape into disks and fry baby fry! These arepas were very good...and chef said they turned out great.

The ceviche was made by me and the plating was spot on. You can see the picture below...I used a chifle; (which is a thin sliced plantain fried) and made a ring. I then stuffed it with ceviche; lined it with roccotto paste and sweet potatoes. The traditional way to eat ceviche is with boiled sweet potatoes. I boiled this sweet potato in the fume I poached the seafood in; after poaching the seafood in the fume I placed them in ice water and then transfered to a bowl. In the same bowl I fine diced concassed tomato, onion, serrano pepper, habanero pepper, green pepper, cilantro, parsley, salt, lemon juice and lime juice. This was all placed in the fridge to chill and the chifles/tostones were made in the interim. I used the deli slicer to make thin slices of plantains; I then made a plate out of chifles and Loida made tostones. The remaining chifles I cut out shapes for plating and used them in all of our dishes.

The quinoa chowder was a special starts with clean quinoa. You then saute onion, garlic paste, cumin, paprika and red pepper. Add water to the saute and cook the quinoa, potatoes, until potatoes are tender. You then add milk, corn, peas, cheese, eggs and cook. You don't want the soup to get too thick so you have to add some stock to counter the stiffness. Serve with avocado and cilantro for garnish. This soup was ok...chef said it had good flavor but we needed to use less salt and not so thick.

Loida made the Pabellon Criollo or Venezuelan Shredded Beef...its braised/slow cooked flank steak. This beef is seasoned with annatto, chopped onions, garlic, bell pepper, tomatoes, salt and black pepper. The tomatoes are cooked until a sauce is formed and if the beef starts to get dry just add a little more stock to the meat. The dish was served on top of the chifle plate I made and a few sticks of plantain shaped into flames. Chef thought it was way too salty and needed less salt, but overall a very good job and incredible planning.

Avocado cream was made by mike who did I think a great job to hide the taste of the avocado. It is made with pitted mashed avocados; with confectioners sugar, lemon juice and folded whipped cream. This is very easy to make and refrigerated; then topped with crystallized ginger and whipped cream. Chef thought ours tasted good but needed to be lighter.

Maria took the attempt to make the tapioca with chocolate and did a great job. Unsweetened coconut milk, milk, sugar, salt, coconut grated and tapioca. It's got a weird texture but the flavor is great! Take a look at our pictures below...

Scavenger Hunt: "Colombian cuisine consists largely of chicken, pork, potato, rice, beans and soup. Interesting regional dishes include: ajiaco (soup made with chicken and potato which is a Bogotano speciality); hormiga culona (a sophisticated dish, unique to Santander, consisting largely of fried ants); and lechona (whole suckling pig, spit-roasted and stuffed with rice, which is a speciality of Tolima). The variety of fruit is astounding, the coffee and beer more than adequate and the wine execrable." (Reference:

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