Friday, August 31, 2007

Five For BlogDay 2007

Blog Day 2007

Here are five blogs I've found for this year's edition of BlogDay:

Lujo y Asco: : As its header says: imágenes robadas - desviaciones - miscelánea.

los angeles city nerd: All about Los Angeles, as seen by a nerd.

The View From Fez: All about Fez, Morocco

Miscellaneous, Nonsensical & Unnecessary Ramblings: Multilingual view of the world from Argentina.

Woza Mark: One man's view of history in South Africa.

Happy Blog Day!

Link: BlogDay 2007 at Technorati

Click here for the Peru Food main page.

TAGS: Peru, Peruvian, food, cooking, cuisine, cocina, comida, gastronomía, peruana

Thursday, August 30, 2007

August 30: Feast Of Saint Rose Of Lima

August 30 is the Feast Day of St. Rose of Lima, the first Catholic saint of the Americas. In Spanish, she is known as Santa Rosa de Lima.

She was born Isabel Flores de Oliva on April 20, 1586. Her father, Gaspar Flores, was a Spanish soldier; her mother, Maria de Oliva, had Inca and Spanish blood.

As a child she was possessed with a deep veneration for every aspect of religion and spent hours with her attention fixed upon the image of the Madonna and Child. She gave her entire life to prayer and the most extreme self-mortification. The Catholic Encyclopedia observed, "She was scrupulously obedient and of untiring industry, making rapid progress by earnest attention to her parents' instruction, to her studies, and to her domestic work, especially with her needle."

In emulation of St. Catherine of Siena, she fasted three times a week with secret severe penances, including cutting off her hair against the objections of her friends and her family.

St. Rose began to tell of visions, revelations, visitations and voices as her parents deplored her penitential practices more than ever.

Many hours were spent contemplating the Blessed Sacrament which she received daily. She determined to take a vow of virginity in opposition to her parents who wished her to marry.

Daily fasting turned to perpetual abstinence from meat. Her days were filled with acts of charity and industry. St. Rose helped the sick and hungry around her community. She would bring them home and take care of them. St. Rose sold her fine needlework, grew beautiful flowers and would take them to market to help her family. Her exquisite lace and embroidery helped to support her home, while her nights were devoted to prayer and penance in a little grotto which she had built. She became a recluse leaving the grotto only for her visits to the Blessed Sacrament.

She took the name of Rose at her confirmation in 1597. By the time she was 20, she had attracted the attention of the Dominican Order and was permitted to enter a Dominican convent in 1602 without payment of the usual dowry. She donned the habit and took a vow of perpetual virginity. "Thereafter she redoubled the severity and variety of her penances to a heroic degree, wearing constantly a metal spiked crown, concealed by roses, and an iron chain about her waist. Days passed without food, save a draught of gall mixed with bitter herbs. When she could no longer stand, she sought repose on a bed constructed by herself, of broken glass, stone, potsherds, and thorns. She admitted that the thought of lying down on it made her tremble with dread."

For fourteen years, this self-martyrdom continued without relaxation, with intervals of ecstasy until she died on August 24, 1617 at the age of 31.

Her funeral was attended by all the public authorities of Lima, and the archbishop pronounced her eulogy in the cathedral, August 26, 1617.

She was beatified by Pope Clement IX in 1667, and canonized in 1671 by Pope Clement X as the first Catholic saint in the Western Hemisphere. Her shrine, alongside those of her friend St. Martin de Porres, is located inside the convent of Santo Domingo just a few steps from Lima's Plaza de Armas.

Her liturgical feast was initially celebrated on August 30, because 24 August was the feast of the apostle Bartholomew, but the calendar reform of Vatican II moved her feast day closer to the anniversary of her death. She is now remembered liturgically on August 23, except in Peru and other Latin American countries where her feast is kept as a public holiday on the traditional date of August 30.

She is the Patroness of Lima, the Americas, and the Philippines.

Source: Wikipedia

Click here for the Peru Food main page.

TAGS: Peru, Peruvian, food, cooking, cuisine, cocina, comida, gastronomía, peruana

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

August 31: BlogDay Is Coming!

Blog Day 2007

BlogDay 2007 is almost here!

I've already posted about BlogDay, but since it is this Friday, I thought I'd go ahead and make another post about this international blog event.

Bloggers, start hunting the global blogsphere to find new and interesting blogs you don't normally read, and post about them on Friday, August 31. If you don't know where to start, you might want to visit Global Voices.

More information below.

Para los lectores en español, la información sobre BlogDay aparece después del texto en inglés.

What is BlogDay?

BlogDay was created with the belief that bloggers should have one day dedicated to getting to know other bloggers from other countries and areas of interest. On that day Bloggers will recommend other blogs to their blog visitors.

With the goal in mind, on this day every blogger will post a recommendation of 5 new blogs. This way, all blog readers will find themselves leaping around and discovering new, previously unknown blogs.

What will happen on BlogDay?

One long moment on August 31st, bloggers from all over the world will post recommendations of 5 new Blogs, preferably Blogs that are different from their own culture, point of view and attitude. On this day, blog readers will find themselves leaping around and discovering new, unknown Blogs, celebrating the discovery of new people and new bloggers.

BlogDay posting instructions:

1. Find 5 new Blogs that you find interesting
2. Notify the 5 bloggers that you are recommending them as part of BlogDay 2007
3. Write a short description of the Blogs and place a link to the recommended Blogs
4. Post the BlogDay Post (on August 31st) and
5. Add the BlogDay tag using these links:

link to the BlogDay web site at:

¿Qué es el BlogDay?

El Blog Day es el día de los blogueros, ha sido creado para que los blogueros conozcan otros blogueros, de otros países y de otros centros de interés. El 31 de agosto es el día en el que los blogueros dan a conocer otros autores. ¡Así de sencillo!

¿Qué ocurrirá durante el BlogDay?

Toda la jornada del 31 de agosto, los blogueros en el mundo entero postearán un artículo recomendando 5 nuevos blogs, preferentemente blogs diferentes a su propia cultura, punto de vista y posición. Así, ese día, el 31 de agosto, los lectores descubrirán otros autores alejados de su entorno habitual. Es un día para descubrir nuevos blogueros y nuevas experiencias.

Las instrucciones del BlogDay:

1. Encontrar 5 nuevos blogs que consideras interesantes.
2. Informar o advertir a los autores seleccionados tu recomendación para el BlogDay.
3. Escribir una descripción corta de cada blog y enlazarlos.
4. Publicar una entrada el 31 de agosto, el BlogDay, mencionando los 5 blogs que recomiendas
5. Agregar los tags BlogDay de Technorati:

y un enlace al sitio BlogDay:

Click here for the Peru Food main page.

TAGS: Peru, Peruvian, food, cooking, cuisine, cocina, comida, gastronomía, peruana

Monday, August 27, 2007

Algarrobo's Gifts: Shade, Syrup, And Smoke By Maricel E. Presilla

There are many different types of cocktails prepared in Peru.

While the pisco sour is the most famous one, a close second is the coctél de algarrobina, or algarrobina cocktail, a creamy drink similar to a brandy Alexander.

It is one of my favorite after-lunch or after-dinner drinks, akin to a very potent milkshake. But, what is it? And, where does it originate?

The following article by Maricel E. Presilla provides insight, and a recipe, for this unique Peruvian cocktail.

Maricel E. Presilla

Culinary historian Maricel E. Presilla, who specialize in the foods of Latin America and Spain, is the chef and co-owner of the pan-Latin cuisine restaurants Cucharamama and Zafra in Hoboken, New Jersey. In addition, she is the Our Cocina columnist for the Miami Herald.

Holding a doctorate in medieval Spanish history from New York University, she writes extensively about the culinary history of Latin America. In particular, she has conducted considerable research on Latin American agriculture, with special emphasis on tropical crops, such as cacao and vanilla, and chocolate production.

Clearly, a woman with many culinary interests, she is also the president of Gran Cacao Company, a food research and marketing company that specializes in the sale of premium cacao beans from Latin America.

Her latest book is The New Taste of Chocolate: A Cultural and Natural History of Cacao with Recipes.

Dr. Presilla has very kindly allowed me to republish an article she wrote about the algarrobo, the essential ingredient for this unique Peruvian cocktail, which was originally published in the Miami Herald.

Algarrobo's Gifts: Shade, Syrup, And Smoke by Maricel E. Presilla, originally published in the Miami Herald

On a noontime walk last spring not far from the town of San Pedro de Lloc in northern Peru, I found refuge from the sweltering sun in an algarrobo grove. In this desolate landscape where the wind sweeps the coastal sand against rocky hills to form gigantic dunes, these lovely trees provide the only splashes of green.

Photo: Wiki

A New World native, the coastal Peruvian algarrobo (Prosopis pallida) is similar in shape to the acacia and prospers in many arid regions of Latin America. I picked a couple of its long, yellowish pods and had a taste of the sticky pulp that covered the hard beans within. They were pleasantly sweet with the subtle, tangy bitterness I have come to appreciate in algarrobina syrup.

A trademark of northern Peru, this sweet, aromatic syrup the color of tar and the consistency of molasses has a touch of bitterness and acidity and a beany quality that reminds me of hoisin sauce. Used in cocktails and desserts, it is an assertive ingredient, and its distinctive flavor lingers in your mouth.

I first tasted it in a Peruvian pisco cocktail (cóctel de algarrobina) that is cross between a milk punch and a brandy Alexander. In typical Latin fashion, it mixes condensed and evaporated milks, eggs and algarrobina syrup (known in Spanish as jarabe de algarrobina). The syrup lends backbone that cuts though the sweetness and blends seamlessly with the pisco. I fell in love with this ingredient, and began developing algarrobina flans, puddings and ice creams for my restaurant Cucharamama.

The algarrobina sold in U.S. Latin markets has an English label that incorrectly describes it as carob syrup. (They share some similarities, but carob is the pod of an Old World plant.)

Algarrobo seeds have been found in archaeological sites dating from the Moche period (200 to 800 A.D.) along with the seed remains of other edible plants like peppers, beans, corn, and squash.

Today, in parts of Peru like Piura, which is close to the Ecuadorean border, algarrobo is a regional industry. The pods, produced twice a year, are harvested when they fall to the ground, boiled in water and pressed, and the resulting liquid is strained and then condensed through evaporation to make syrup. In another process, the pods are dried and ground into a flour that is used for desserts (harina de algarrobina) or toasted to make a substitute for coffee.

Photo: Wiki

A relative of the North American mesquite, the Peruvian algarrobo makes excellent charcoal, and in rural regions where most people depend on wood or charcoal for cooking, algarrobo groves are being cut down for fuel, contributing to soil erosion and habitat destruction.

Photo: Wiki

I heard the sound of trees being cut down while I rested in that grove. A Peruvian friend who is a conservationist predicts that despite of strict government regulation, the indiscriminate lumbering of the algarrobo will continue.

I felt a profound sadness, for solutions are not simple in this case. The algarrobo is a useful plants that protects the environment, providing food and shelter for people and animals in a land where wind erosion extracts a heavy toll. But the traditional cooking of this part of Peru also owes part of its terrific flavor to the aroma of the algarrobo wood and charcoal. Without it, the food will no longer taste the same.

Perhaps, the solution is in conservation and propagation, in reaching a balance that will allow cooks to enjoy the algarrobo in all its goodness.

Recipe: Algarrobina Cocktail

The traditional version of this Peruvian cocktail calls for egg yolks, but I find that the syrup and milk add enough creaminess.

2 ounces pisco quebranta
1 ounce (2 tablespoons) algarrobina (sold as carob syrup in Latin markets)
1 ounce (2 tablespoons) condensed milk
2 ounces ( 1/4 cup) evaporated milk
4 or 5 ice cubes
Ground cinnamon
Place all the ingredient in a blender and mix at high speed until frothy. Sprinkle with cinnamon and serve in an old-fashioned glass. Makes 1 serving.

Article and recipe: Maricel E. Presilla

Click here for the Peru Food main page.

TAGS: Peru, Peruvian, food, cooking, cuisine, cocina, comida, gastronomía, peruana

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Book: Los Vinos Del Perú

René Landsman is a Belgian whose heart is in Peru and whose passion is wine. His blog Perú Vinicola is always an excellent source of the latest information about wine and pisco production in Peru. During these difficult times, since the pisco and wine industry of the Ica region is currently paralyzed, it is good to report that his latest project is a book in Spanish titled, Los Vinos del Perú, in which he details all aspects of wine production in Peru. The prologue is written by Peruvian food critic María Elena Cornejo. Currently, the book is available in Peru via this link, but if you are interested and send him an e-mail, I am sure he will find a way to send it to you.

Click here for the Peru Food main page.

TAGS: Peru, Peruvian, food, cooking, cuisine, cocina, comida, gastronomía, peruana

Video: Chabuca Granda Sings To Peru, The Sleeping Beauty

Before I return to blogging about Peruvian food after the tragic events of August 15, I want to post this musical video, a song by one of Peru's most beloved composers.

It is simply my way of saying that like the Phoenix, Peru will rise again.

María Isabel Granda, best known as Chabuca Granda, composed some of Peru's most emblematic songs, such as José Antonio, Fina Estampa, and La Flor de la Canela.

But, on this occasion, I post this famous vals of hers, The Sleeping Beauty, El Bello Durmiente, which starts off: Te amo Perú, I love you Peru...

Despite the trials and tribulations of man and Nature, Peru will continue to be a great country.

When asked how she came about to compose this song, Chabuca stated, "It was written for my generous country. I composed it many years ago, when a President for whom I did not care was elected. Angry, I went to Europe, and there, I wrote this song. A friend of mine, who read in a newspaper I had written The Sleeping Beauty, asked me, Chabuca, who did you see sleeping?"

The lyrics are moving for all of us who love Peru:

I love you Peru.
If I were to crisscross
All the shades of green that adorn you,
And the grey green blanket of your coast,
That, as you climb the mountains
Turn into a myriad of colors,
I would stand at your highest peak,
And stretch out my arms to embrace you,
And in that solitude, I would ask you humbly
That you kiss me back as I kiss you.

My land is a profusion of love,
It is the child of the Sun,
My Peru
Is a beauty that sleeps amidst its desires,
It is a sleeping beauty that dreams before the heavens.
I love you Peru.

Te amo Perú
Si recorrieras
Toda la gama de verdes que te adornan
Y el griso verde manto de tu costa
Que al subir por los cerros
En colores se tornan
Me empinaría en tu más alta cumbre
Para estirar mis brazos y abrazarte
Y en esa soledad pedirte humilde
Que devuelvas mis besos al yo besarte.

Es un derroche de amor el suelo mío
Y es que es el hijo del sol
El Perú mío
Es un gigante al que arrullan sus anhelos
Bello durmiente que sueña frente al cielo
Te amo Perú

Click here for the Peru Food main page.

TAGS: Peru, Peruvian, food, cooking, cuisine, cocina, comida, gastronomía, peruana

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Peru Earthquake: Remembering Pisco

I'm sorry but I can't blog about Peruvian food this week; my most recent thoughts about Peru still have to do with last week's devastating earthquake. Bear with me.

Prior to the earthquake, the city of Pisco (about two hours south of Lima) was a historic small town, famous for its colonial architecture, its rich fishing and trading history, and the fact it gives its name to the most traditional Peruvian spirit: pisco.

For thousands of years prior to the arrival of the Spanish, the region was home to ancient Peruvians who thrived due to its proximity to abundant sea life. The Spanish founded the colonial city in 1640, and during the Viceregal period, it was an important port for the Peruvian colony. In 1820, Peru's liberator, José de San Martín, disembarked in Pisco and lived there for a short while. The first flag of independent Peru was designed in Pisco.

It is a region long visited by many tourists, both local and foreign, because of its rich agriculture, its wine and pisco producing heritage, and its proximity to some of Peru's most beautiful coastline, located in the National Paracas Reserve, which includes the Ballesta Islands, home to rich marine and bird life.

Now, Pisco has been destroyed. Surely, it will rise again, as it did after the earthquake of 1680, but with 80% of its buildings in ruins, the new Pisco will no longer have the genteel colonial air it once had.

These photos are of a Pisco that is no longer.

Photos: TiggerT

Photos: Steve Burt

Photos: sancho_panza

All photographs shown in this post are under a Creative Commons license.

Click here for the Peru Food main page.

TAGS: Peru, Peruvian, food, cooking, cuisine, cocina, comida, gastronomía, peruana

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Peru Earthquake: A Day Of Mourning

Photos: Flickr

A National Day of Mourning for the victims of the Peruvian earthquake has been declared. There are still aftershocks, as many as 300. Aid is arriving from many sources, thank you to all those who have donated money or goods to assist those affected by this terrible earthquake. Bolivia was the first country to send supplies, but aid has come from all South American countries, as well as Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, the United States, and the European Union, among others. The latest news is that the Andean city of Huancavelica (see map) has had 40% of its buildings collapse, but this poorest and most isolated part of Peru is currently incommunicado.

If you want to send a donation, please see this previous post.

Click here for the Peru Food main page.

TAGS: Peru, Peruvian, food, cooking, cuisine, cocina, comida, gastronomía, peruana