Sunday, October 17, 2010

Viva Vegan: Peru! Part 2

So yesterday I mentioned hosting a Peruvian dinner for some friends, but really it was an excuse for making some goodies for myself. Here's the menu and some photos of the dishes. I'm not going to post the recipes, you can find all of them in Terry Hope Romero's Viva Vegan cookbook, which I highly recommend you purchase.

My Peruvian Dinner Menu

Mixed Mushroom Ceviche

Peruvian Seitan and Potato Skewers (aka Seitan Anticuchos)
Yellow Chile Grilled Tempeh (with Ají Amarillo)
Peruvian Potatoes with Spicy "Cheezy" Sauce
Peruvian Red Chile-Corn Salad with Limas and Cherry Tomatoes

So Good, So Green Dipping Sauce (Green Ají Sauce)

Chocolate Orange Spice Cake with Dulce de Batata (Sweet Potato Sweet Mash)


I neglected to get a photo of the Mixed Mushroom Ceviche, but just picture juicy oyster, cremini, and white mushrooms in a thin yellow sauce. I don't like mushrooms, so this one was made purely for my guests. One of my friends said she is not a big fan of mushrooms either, but she liked how it was prepared. I used the ají amarillo paste in this one and it definitely gave a nice kick. I also 'only' made the mushrooms, not the sweet potato and corn garnish that tends to accompany it.

I didn't get a photo of the So Good, So Green Dipping Sauce either, but it's basically the color of light green lettuce with darker green leafy flecks. And it was a big hit. Very tasty and easy to make. I'd love to use it on tacos.

Yellow Chile Grilled Tempeh (with Ají Amarillo) 

I really wanted more sauce on the tempeh, cause even after marinading them it didn't seem to absorb as much as I would have liked. I wanted it dripping! I think next time I'd cut the tempeh into smaller pieces. I'd really like to try this sauce with seitan because I much prefer seitan to tempeh. I like tempeh these days, but it definitely has been an acquired taste for me. Topped with the So Good, So Green Dipping Sauce, this was pretty tasty.

Peruvian Red Chile-Corn Salad with Limas and Cherry Tomatoes

I actually made  this one with choclos (large Peruvian corn kernels) and Campari tomatoes (because they looked gorgeous and they didn't have any cherry tomatoes that looked right for the dish). This salad was ok. I'm not really a corn person, and I only like lima beans a little. The sauce and tomatoes were good. I know some of the others really liked the salad.

 Peruvian Potatoes with Spicy "Cheezy" Sauce

I was little bit disappointed with this one. Of course, I went into this with certain expectations; I wanted it to taste just like the Papas a la Huancaína I used to get at a Peruvian restaurant and it didn't. I added the huacatay to the sauce, which was optional for the recipe, and I think, to me, it had a really weird flavor. I'm going to try this dish again without the huacatay and see if it makes a difference. Or it could have been that because I was stuck on options, I used French Vanilla Coconut Milk Creamer for the heavy cream substitute throwing the flavor off, though I really didn't taste the vanilla or coconut. My friends seemed to like this one, there were almost no leftovers. I'm determined to make this one work for me!

 Peruvian Seitan and Potato Skewers (aka Seitan Anticuchos)

I started out trying to make this dish as grilled skewers, but I grew impatient with threading the ingredients onto sticks and with how it cooked. So I pretty much pan fried these in a cast iron grill pan. This was easily my favorite dish. So good! I am now a big fan of the ají panca paste. Loved the sauce. I'll be making this one again, for dern sure.

Chocolate Orange Spice Cake with Dulce de Batata (Sweet Potato Sweet Mash)

Normally I don't like chocolate cake. At all. Nor do I particularly care for sweet potato-based desserts. But this cake was pretty good. And it got even better after being in the fridge for a couple hours, too. I think the orange-spice flavors merging with the chocolate flavor is what made it work for me. And the sweet potato paste gave it a nice non-frosting sweetness without making it too rich. Very moist. Good stuff. Also, a short cut on this recipe is to use the bags of frozen, already-diced sweet potatoes which you can find at Whole Foods and Fry's Marketplace.

Speaking of ingredient tips, I've already mentioned the special import ingredients in Part 1, the only other "special" ingredients were seitan, vegan mayonaise (Vegenaise), agave, cake tempeh, garbanzo flour, nutritional yeast, soy creamer (watch out for some of these that are labeled non-dairy but still have dairy ingredients), and almond milk. You can find all of these at Whole Foods. The seitan and nutritional yeast are the only things that are super hard to find at other stores. Sprouts carries most of the other ingredients, and Fry's Marketplace carries a few things too. You might have to look for garbanzo flour in the gluten-free section.

Tomorrow, I will post a few other resources for vegan Peruvian food. Mmmmm. But right now, I need a piece of that cake!


Missantrhopics said...

That looks freakin amazing! That seitan is making drool.

Kenike said...

It was So. Good.

Imaginista said...

So. Very. Good. :) Lots of love for the Peruvian feast.

Kenike said...

Next up, Colombia!