Wednesday, August 10, 2011

First Time Canning Peaches - Update

 Update:  I had a taste this morning with some slices of canned peaches on waffles.  They were very delicious.  Only thing I would change is making a medium syrup next time.  I tried light and I think it would have even been better if the peaches were a tad sweeter.

There was a very good sale on yellow peaches today.  I decided that even though they would make very good fruit for eating, I would attempt canning fresh peaches.  I followed the instructions that I found in the Better Homes and Garden cookbook as well as a few tips on the internet.  I used Vitamin C crystals to keep the fruit from browning.  They came out looking a beautiful yellow with pinkish syrup.  But the really test will be the taste.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Pesto - Red Shiso and Sweet Basil

Red Shiso plant in the foreground
One of my good friends gave me a Red Shiso plant which grew very nicely. The plant, although still very young, had large leaves ready for harvesting. I had never tasted this herb prior to today. The taste is very pleasant, like a combination basil and mint. I understand the red shiso leaves are used to give umeboshi its distinct color and flavor.

Red Shiso leaves

Italian Sweet Basil leaves

I planned on making pesto today. Since learning more about the shiso plant, I knew that the leaves needed to be harvested before it is too late. I thought it may be a welcome addition to my regular pesto sauce, usually made with sweet basil leaves. So today, I just added the shiso leaves I picked along with the basil leaves.
Pesto Sauce with Basil and Red Shiso

The taste was very good! I hope to try other recipes for red shiso, like pesto without the basil to see how that will turn out. But for today, I thought I would play it safe and just introduce a few leaves into the pesto sauce. I also made fresh pasta today and I think that will go very well with this new pesto sauce.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Papa a la Huancaina

Papa a la Huancaina is a typical Peruvian dish and it is usually served as an appetizer. It just happens to be one of my husband's favorite Peruvian foods...and he doesn't have a drop of Peruvian blood in him.

There are many recipes for this dish. Even in my own family, my mom and my aunt make it differently. I usually make it my mom's method using a touch of Turmeric for color and health reasons. The last time I made it though, I used my aunt's method. Her recipe is very simple.

1 boiled Yukon Gold (or any other salad potato) per person
1 boiled egg per person
3 Peruvian olives per person (similar to a Kalamata Olive but larger, tangier and in my opinion, much more tastier).
1 large lettuce leave per person

Huancaina Sauce:

1 large container of small curd cottage cheese
1 tbsp. (or less depending on how hot you want it) of Aji Amarillo
1 yellow onion, minced
Salt to taste

Blend together. If you want the sauce to be very creamy, you can put it in a blender until smooth.

Serve as in the photo above.