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Peruvian Anticuchos (Peruvian Style BBQ)

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This is probably the most exotic dish there is in Peru(well, not the most but the only one that I’ve found outside Peru). It’s a well-known BBQ dish with cow hearts(It may sound a bit weird but it’s like regular meat, but tastier). People I have given this to have totally loved it. Perfect for a Sunday BBQ or for whenever you want to taste this amazing flavour. It’s been categorized as one of the best Peruvian dishes according to some magazines and blogs so if popular opinion likes it, it should mean it’s really good.

 INGREDIENTS

  • 2-3 tbsp of Panca hot pepper paste
  • 1/2 cup of white vinegar
  • 1/2kg(1lb)of beef hearts, cut into big cubes
  • 2 big cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp of cumin
  • Salt and pepper

Anticuchos

 PREPARATION

1- Wash the heart cubes with salt and dry them. Season with vinegar, Panca hot pepper, cumin, garlic and salt and pepper. Anticuchos2- Let it marinate for at least 3 hours.Anticuchos3- Insert them into skewers or BBQ sticks.Anticuchos4- Put them on a high temperature grill so they are crunchy outside and soft inside.Anticuchos5- Serve with potatoes, salad and corn if desired.Anticuchos

NOTES

* I usually let it marinate overnight.

* I also marinate them and then put them in the freezer for whenever I have an Anticuchos craving.

* If there’s no BBQ available, you could fry them without the skewers in a frying pan(I must warn that it gets a bit spitty).

* You can marinate any meat the same way.

Good, simple and cheap: Thai Country Kitchen

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This cozy restaurant is located in the heart of Downtown Toronto, in between Chinatown and Kensington Market. Very easy to find.

We were celebrating a birthday on a Wednesday night but we didn’t need to book a table. There were some tables taken and still found a big empty table for us. Staff was very welcoming since we arrived, especially the owner, who I asked for a spot on her fridge to put the birthday pie I brought for my friend and she didn’t even hesitate to do it. Always with a friendly smile.

Food was served fast. Prices were also very reasonable. I ordered stir-fry items this time and they came with soup and steamed rice.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

My main dish was Stir Fry with Basil Sauce, which was only $7.95 and came with a Thai Spring roll and dipping sauce. Yummy. Some people might say it’s not the best Thai food in town but it’s worth for its price.

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My second dish was Stir Fry with Oyster Sauce, which was also only $7.95 and, as the plate was too small for all the stir fry food, they served the steamed rice separately.

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And finally, when I went to the kitchen and asked the owner for the pie, she gives me a candle because I forgot to bring one. But also, she comes up with this magical Thai style Ice cream as a treat for my friend’s birthday. We were all so surprised, especially the birthday girl, who couldn’t be happier.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The owner even agreed to take a photo with us (left side, only lady wearing glasses). We were so in love with her and the place, we would definitely go back and recommend the place to everyone who’s looking for a cheap and good Thai restaurant to go to.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Peruvian Ceviche

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My summer dream is called Ceviche: Fresh fish marinated in pure lime zest and seasoned with the Peruvian flavor. Served with a mix of flavors that go perfectly together: Sweet potato balancing the citrus of the overall plate, fresh corn bringing a more neutral something, lettuce balancing the salt and Spanish style roasted corn bringing the dryness portion to this juicy delicacy. In other words: Perfection!

It’s so easy to make that it only takes 7 steps and can be ready in less than 20 minutes. There’s nothing unhealthy about this dish and it doesn’t cost much money to make(I’d say between $12 to $15) and restaurants in Toronto usually charge more than $20 for half of what this recipe is good for. This is totally perfect for dieting as it doesn’t have many calories, it’s nutritious and the flavor is amazing! (And perfect to eat it while drinking a very cold beer!)

INGREDIENTSPeruvian Ceviche

  • 1/2 kg or a pound of fresh Tilapia fish
  • 5 limes (or to taste)
  • 1 big red onion, sliced a la Julienne
  • 1 tsp of Yellow hot pepper
  • 1 1/2 tbsp of cilantro, chopped
  • 1-2 fresh corns, boiled and sliced(2cm or an inch)
  • 1 sweet potato, sliced (2cm or an inch)
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • Half of a red pepper, cubed
  • Lettuce

PREPARATION

1- Wash the fish with salt and water. Drain the water.Peruvian Ceviche2. Wash the onion with salt and water. Drain the water.Peruvian Ceviche3. Put both in a big bowl.Peruvian Ceviche4. Add lime juice, cilantro, garlic, red pepper, yellow hot pepper, salt and pepper to taste. Mix gently.Peruvian Ceviche5.Let it seat for at least 10 minutes.Peruvian Ceviche6. It’s ready when you notice the fish changed the color to a white cooked color.Peruvian Ceviche7. Serve with sweet potato, fresh corn, lettuce and roasted corn.Peruvian Ceviche

NOTES

* I add red pepper because I can’t get the fresh yellow hot pepper in Toronto but if you do, add yellow hot pepper instead.

* Amount of onions and cilantro can change to taste.

* You can replace the sweet potato for potato.

* You can replace the fish for seafood and it’d be a Seafood Ceviche(recipe coming soon).

* Keep refrigerated if it’s not going to be serve immediately.

Alfajores (Cornstarch cookies filled with caramel)

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Alfajores is one of my guilty pleasures. They are originally from Argentina but they have them in most of the countries in South America. I’ve tried many many different versions of Alfajores but this one is my favorite as I love covering everything with chocolate.

You can surprise your guests and co-workers with this cookies as they are treated as en exotic dessert and can only be found in Latino markets or restaurants. Soft and sweet, they make the perfect dessert (or snack) and they are not hard to make, just have to admit it’s a messy recipe but, again, totally worth making!

INGREDIENTS

Ingredients for Alfajores

  • 1/2 cup of flour
  • 1 1/4 cup of cornstarch
  • 3/4 cup of butter, whipped
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 tsp of orange or lemon zest
  • 1 tsp of vanilla
  • 1/4 cup of confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 tsp of baking powder
  • 2 tbs of milk
  • 1 cup of Manjarblanco(Dulce de Leche or caramel)
  • Chocolate chips(optional)

PREPARATION

1. Mix the flour, cornstarch and baking powder together. In a separate bowl, whip the butter with sugar.Peruvian Alfajores2. Add the yolks and beat.Peruvian Alfajores3. Add the orange or lemon zest, milk and the vanilla.Peruvian Alfajores4. Add the cornstarch, baking powder and flour mix.Peruvian Alfajores5. Knead and make a dough.Peruvian Alfajores6. Let it seat in the fridge for 20-30 min. Cover with a plastic sheet or a cloth to prevent drying the dough. Pre-heat oven 350° F/ 175°C.Peruvian Alfajores7. Roll the dough and cut in circles(or any shape, as desired). About 3 mm or 1/8 inch thick.Peruvian Alfajores8. Transfer the cookie dough cuts to a greased and floured oven resistant tray (you can use tin foil or parchment paper instead of greasing and flouring it) and bake them for about half an hour. Let them cool.Peruvian Alfajores9. Fill the cookies with Manjarblanco/Dulce de leche/Caramel making a cookie sandwich(these are the original Alfajores, all the steps after this one are optional)Peruvian Alfajores

Peruvian Alfajores10. Put the chocolate chips in a microwave resistant container.Peruvian Alfajores11. Melt the chocolate. Start with 20 seconds(It depends on every microwave)Peruvian Alfajores12. Dip it in the chocolate or use a spoon, the are no rules for decoration, use your free imagination.Peruvian Alfajores13. Decorate them as desired.Peruvian Alfajores14. You can put them in the freezer for 5 min or until chocolate gets hard and enjoy!Peruvian AlfajoresPeruvian Alfajores

NOTES

* I used a glass as a cutter, it can be any shape or size you want.

* I added 1 1/2 tbs of orange zest as I love the orange scent in my cookies.

*If the dough is too dry add milk, if it’s to sticky add cornstarch or flour.

* Cookies’ color should always remain light, be careful of burning or over cooking them.

* I’ll be posting the recipe of Manjarblanco soon.

Lunch Buffet at Pioneer Cruises

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The cruise was meant to leave at 12pm on a sunny Sunday but as we know the Toronto traffic it took us forever to get there and the cruisers understood that and we shipped at 12:30pm.

Everybody working on board treated us nicely and they were playing retro music all the time, started out with The Beatles and after dinner, they started playing disco retro music.

Dinner was served like one hour after departing so in the meantime we decided to enjoy the bar upstairs and get some beers. Price was $6.5 per can 355 ml of Coors light, if you compare it to its real price it’s much more expensive but let’s keep in mind that it’s a cruise. And yes, I drink beer with a straw.

Beers at Pioner cruises

We lined up for getting our meal. They had Caesar’s salad, tomato sauce pasta, some kind of BBQ chicken and buns. You could eat more than once, probably until you get full. Salad was OK but needed a bit of salt for my taste, BBQ chicken was good, pasta was too simple, I was kinda expecting something a bit more sofisticated and bread was good, bread is usually good if you spread a lot of butter on it, which I did.This is what my plate looked like:

Dinner buffet at Pioneer cruisesAlmost on our way back, they served cake and coffee(or tea, or both). Again, self-served and you could eat more than once. Cake wasn’t bad but wasn’t too fancy either. I would say a 5 out of 10, maybe even 4(my mom really spoiled me with good baking during my childhood so I believe I could have higher standards than many people).

Cake time at Pioneer cruisesI would recommend going on this cruises keeping in mind the main thing is to be on board a cruise and enjoy 3 hours sailing in the Ontario Lake near the Islands, while eating and drinking, more than the food itself. Also had plenty of time to get nice photos. Probably the view was the best part of my experience. Oh! and also having an excuse to dress kinda fancy, not that you have to but, again, having an excuse.

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Peruvian Cilantro rice with chicken (Arroz con Pollo)

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This is another Top 10 dish within the Peruvian cuisine. Main flavor is cilantro, which is also called coriander, so if you are a cilantro lover, you are totally going to love this dish.

It’s rice cooked in a cilantro, stout and broth mix, which makes it so tasty. As in Lima I used to eat it very often, I never appreciated this dish until I moved to Toronto and noticed it was some kind of exotic over here and could not find it anywhere. It’s not hard to make but it takes a long time to be cooked. Anyways, I highly recommend giving it a try.

INGREDIENTS

Ingredients for Cilantro rice

  • 8 chicken legs/thighs(or 4 legs with thighs)
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 3 big cloves of garlic
  • 3 tbs of Yellow hot pepper
  • 1 cup of cilantro, grounded
  • 2 peppers, one chopped and one sliced
  • 3 cups of rice
  • 1 cup of peas
  • 1/2 cup of corn, shelled
  • 2 1/2 cup of hot chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup of beer(stout)
  • 1/2 cup of oil

PREPARATION

1. Put the cilantro in a blender with the smallest amount of water possible. Blend until smooth.

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2. Season the chicken with salt and pepper.

cilantro chicken

3.  Fry the chicken with little oil until brown. They don’t have to be crispy.

cilantro chicken

4. Put them in a separate bowl or plate.

cilantro chicken

5. In the same oil, fry the garlic, onion, Yellow pepper and cilantro.

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6. Return the chicken to the pan, add the beer(stout) and let it cook until the chicken is done. Put the chicken in a separate bowl.

cilantro chicken

cilantro chicken

7. Add the rice, peas, corn and pepper. Mix.

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8. Add the chicken broth and boil. Switch to low temperature and let it simmer until the rice is cooked(about 45min)

cilantro chicken

9. Serve the rice with the chicken and decorate with pepper. Also it’s tradition to serve it with Salsa Criolla but it’s optional(Check the link below for the recipe)

Cilantro rice with chicken

Cilantro rice with chicken

NOTES

* I usually use stout as it tastes so much better but I’ve also used regular beer before.

* I usually let the chicken cook in the chicken broth before putting it aside.

*I usually use mixed frozen vegetables for peas and corn portions, which also have carrots.

*  Recipe for Salsa Criolla: https://soniawantstomarryfood.wordpress.com/2014/06/14/salsa-criolla/