Monday, November 5, 2012

MY BEAUTIFUL COUNTRY PERU



Machu Picchu stands 2,430 m above sea-level, in the middle of a tropical mountain forest, in an extraordinarily beautiful setting. It was probably the most amazing urban creation of the Inca Empire at its height; its giant walls, terraces and ramps seem as if they have been cut naturally in the continuous rock escarpments. The natural setting, on the eastern slopes of the Andes, encompasses the upper Amazon basin with its rich diversity of flora and fauna.


It was a hard to climb. We had to stop a lot to rest. But the views were amazing at every stop. It took us one hour 20 minutes to get to the top. Felt like an accomplishment when I reached the top. Then - what a view! AMAZING! So glad we did it.



If you have the opportunity to do this do not miss out.

It's a steep and tough track to the top but it's so worth it. Be sure to wear good shoes and lots of sunscreen and don't carry much as you need both your hands for climbing.
You'll think it's tough but when you get to the top it will all be worth it.

"LA FORTALEZA DE SACSA HUAMAN"


This fortress formed the Puma’s head that made up the inner city of Cusco. It was an impressive construction that stood on the highest point of a steep-sided hill overlooking the city. The Inca’s engineering skills were tested in the building of this magnificent structure. Its zigzag walls were made of enormous stone blocks that weighed 90 to 120 tons each. Without the use of a mortar they were able to interlock the stones.

Walking around Cusco you will be able to see many Inca walls, where you can admire the skills they had, to build such walls with such perfection, and in fact without using any mortar. In most cases (unless the wall has been damaged due to an earthquake for example) you can't even fit a paper in between the stones, so you can get an idea of how perfectly they fit.


One of the most important examples of these skills can be found on the Calle Hatunrumiyoc, where you will find the walls of what used to be an Inca palace, and nowadays is the Archbishop's palace. There you will find the famous 12 angle stone, but you can also try to find the 13 and 14 angle stones, which are not as perfect, but also very interesting!

THE COLCA CANYON




I was so pleased that we went on a day,
I am a nature lover and the canyon views plus the condors are simply overwhelming. Also you can check one archaeological which has graves of a pre-incan culture site near the canyon


tour to Colca Canyon. It is definitely something to not miss if you like the outdoors. The scenery on the way out to Chivay was beautiful. It was fantastic to be standing in snow at the high point of the drive (4,910 M).
The canyon is home to the Andean Condor, a species that has seen worldwide effort to preserve it. The condors can be seen at close range as they fly past the canyon walls. I Love the Colca Canyon and I am so proud to be from Arequipa City. Please visit my Country you will love it.
MY SWEET DAUGHTER BELLE WITH HER NUSTA DRESS SHE IS 2 YEARS OLD IN THIS PICTURE.

Peruvian Causa-Aji de Gallina and Dulce de Leche cake


CAUSA DE POLLO

My family and friends love this dish so simple to make.


* 2 lbs yellow potatoes , peeled and boiled
* 1 cup of yellow chili pepper (aji amarillo) ,previously blended with salt. You can find this sauce at the Peruvian store
* 1 lemon
* vegetable oil (if needed)
* 1 teaspoon salt
* 2 skinless chicken breasts , cooked and shredded (10-12 ounces)you can also use tuna or turkey
* 1 red onion , chopped (you can use salary as well)
* 1 cup reduced-calorie mayonnaise
* olives
* parsley



Mash the potatoes. Allow potatoes to cool until they are comfortable to handle.(not too cold)

Mix the mash potatoes with the yellow peppers sauce, salt and juice from half a lemon. Knead until it forms a smooth paste. If the potatoes don’t stick together well, add a trickle of vegetable oil and continue kneading until it sticks.

In a separate container, season the chopped onion or celery with salt and juice from half a lemon.

In another container, shred the chicken and mix it with half the mayonnaise.

Separate the potato and chili mixture into portions. For a simple presentation, form into a flat mound on a salad plate. For a more elaborate causa, use a round metal spring mold (or a soup can with both ends cut out).


Cover with a layer of the onion mixture and the chicken.



(For simple presentation, use one layer of each component. For elaborate presentation, use multiple thinner layers, ending with potato on the top.).

Chill before serving. Garnish with the rest of the mayonnaise, lettuce, olives or parsley.

EMPANADAS DE CARNE (BEEF EMPANADAS)


If I am the Peruvian Mom I know for sure how to make delicious Empanadas de Carne.
Lovely flaky pastry that is flavoured with cumin and red chili peppers , surrounding moist beef! Can't get any better than that! My friends and family ask me to make these all the time!


Ingredients:
Pastry


* 4 cups all-purpose flour
* 4 teaspoons baking powder
* 1 teaspoon salt
* 1 1/3 cups shortening
* 1/2 cup butter
* 1 cup cold water
Filling

* 2 tablespoons olive oil
* 2 medium onions , finely chopped
* 2 garlic cloves , minced
* 2 lbs ground beef
* Aji Colorado Chile pod paste or one small can of tomato paste
* 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
* 1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil, parsley or oregano
* 1 teaspoon black pepper
* 1 teaspoon of cumin.


Aji colorado Paste
10 dry California red chili pods 3 cloves of garlic 1 teaspoon of cumin 1/2 cup of water
To make the pastry: In a large bowl, stir the flour, baking powder, curry, salt and turmeric. Cut in the butter and shortening until the mix resembles fine crumbs. Pour water in and make a soft dough. Gather the dough into a ball and wrap in wax paper. Chill for 1 hour.

To make the filling: In a large pan, heat the oil over medium heat. Cook the onions and garlic until soft. Place in a small bowl and set aside. Increase the heat to high. In the same pan, cook the beef until it is no longer pink. Drain the fat and stir in the onion mix, red chili pod paste, salt, oregano, black peppers. Cook over medium heat for 3 minutes.

Assembly: Divide pastry in half and roll 2 long sausage shapes. Slice each roll crosswise into roughly 12 equal pieces. Roll each piece out into a 6" circle. Spoon some filling into the circle. Wet the edges of the circle with a little water and fold in half, making sure the edges meet. Trim into a neat half moon shape and imprint the edges with fork prongs.


Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 28 minutes or until the pastry is lightly brown.



AJI DE GALLINA


Aji de gallina is a delicious Peruvian traditional dish, slightly spicy and bright yellow from the famous aji amarillo peppers, and rich from the unusual cream sauce made with ground walnuts. This dish is traditionally served over white rice, with boiled yellow potatoes, hard eggs and black olives. You can buy frozen yellow aji peppers (they often look more orange than yellow) at Latin food markets. You can also find aji amarillo paste, which works well too. If you can't find aji amarillo peppers, then substitute another hot chile pepper and add a yellow bell pepper for color.

you are going to need:

Ingredients:

1 1/2 pounds chicken breast
4 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup olive oil and 1 teaspoon of black mint
3 aji yellow peppers (you can buy this peppers at the latin markets
2 gloves garlic, minced
2 large onion, finely chopped
3 tablespoons chopped walnuts
3 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
4 slices white bread
3/4 cup evaporated milk
4 yellow potatoes
2 hard boiled egg and black olives


1. Cook the yellow potatoes in salted water until tender when pierced with a fork. Let cool, peel, cut into quarters, and set aside.

2. Place the bread in a small bowl and pour the evaporated milk over it to soak. Set aside.

3. Place the chicken breasts in a pot with the chicken stock and 2 heads of garlic, and bring to a simmer. Cook for 10-15 minutes, until chicken is just barely cooked through.

4. Set chicken aside to cool. Strain broth and reserve 2 cups.

5. Remove stems and seeds from the peppers **warning** is spicy you better wear gloves.

6. Sauté the garlic, nuts and onions with the yellow aji peppers and oil and black mint, until the onions are soft and golden. Remove from heat and let cool.

7. Shred the cooled chicken into bite-size pieces.

8. In a blender or food processor, process the saute garlic, onions and aji peppers add evaporated milk and bread mixture with the parmesean cheese until smooth.

9. Return onion mixture to pan, and add 1 1/2 cups of the reserved chicken stock. Bring to a low simmer, and stir in the chicken. Heat until warmed through you always add more mix of bread and milk, adding more chicken stock if sauce is too thick.

10. Serve over rice, garnished with the yellow potatoes, slices of hard boiled egg, and black olives.

Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls (Pansito de canela y calabaza)


To tell you the truth I am so happy that finally I found this great recipe because me and yeast never get along.

Dough 6 tablespoons (85 grams) unsalted butter, to be divided
1/2 cup (120 ml) whole milk, warmed (but not over 116 degrees)
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast (from 1 .25-ounce or 7 gram envelope yeast)
3 1/2 cups (440 grams) all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling out
1/4 cup (packed) (50 grams) light or dark brown sugar
1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated sugar
1 teaspoon (6 grams) table salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom (optional)
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
2/3 cups (160 grams) pumpkin puree, canned or homemade
1 large egg
Oil for coating rising bowl
Filling 3/4 cup (packed, 145 grams) light or dark brown sugar
1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated sugar
1/8 teaspoon table salt
2 teaspoons (5 grams) ground cinnamon
Glaze 4 ounces (115 grams) cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons (30 ml) milk or buttermilk
2 cups (240 grams) powdered sugar, sifted
Few drops vanilla extract (optional)
Make your dough: Melt your butter, and hey, if you’re melting it in a little saucepan, you might as well brown it for extra flavor. Once the butter has melted, keep cooking it over medium heat for a few additional minutes. It will become hissy and sizzle a lot, then take on a nutty flavor as golden bits form at the bottom of the pot. Remove from heat and set aside to cool slightly.
Combine your warmed milk and yeast in a small bowl and set aside. After five to seven minutes, it should be a bit foamy. If it’s not, you might have some bad yeast and should start again with a newer packet.
In the bottom of the bowl of an electric mixer combine flour, sugars, salt and spices. Add just 1/4 cup (or two-thirds of; leave the rest for assembly) of your melted/browned butter and stir to combine. Add yeast-milk mixture, pumpkin and egg and mix combined. Switch mixer to a dough hook and run it for 5 minutes on low.
Scrape mixture into a large oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Set aside for 1 hour in a draft-free place; it should just about double.
While it is rising, line the bottom of two 9-inch round cake pans (8-inch round should work too, as does an 8-inch square) with parchment paper and butter the sides of the pan and the paper.
Assemble buns: Scoop dough onto a very well floured surface and flour the top of it well. With a rolling pin, roll the dough to an approximately 16×11-inch rectangle. Brush reserved melted/browned butter over dough. Stir together remaining filling ingredients and sprinkle mixture evenly over dough. Starting on a longer side, roll the dough into a tight spiral. It’s going to make a mess because the dough is crazy soft and some stuff spills off the ends; don’t sweat it. It will all be delicious in the end.
Here’s how to cut cinnamon rolls without squishing their pretty spirals: With a sharp serrated knife, using absolutely no pressure whatsoever (only the weight of the blade should land on the dough) gently saw your log with a back-forth motion into approximately 1-inch sections. When a soft dough like this is rolled, it tends to grow longer, which means that you’ll have the option to either make more buns (say, 18 instead of 16) or just cut them a little larger (in generous inches).
Divide buns between two prepared pans. You can sprinkle any sugar that fell off onto the counter over them. Cover each pan with plastic wrap and let rise for another 45 minutes.
If you’re doing this ahead of time, you can now put them in the fridge overnight. In the morning, leave them out for an hour to warm up and finish rising.
15 minutes before you’re ready to bake them, heat the oven to 350°F. Meanwhile, you can make the glaze. Beat your cream cheese until it is light and fluffy. Add powdered sugar and vanilla. Drizzle in milk until you get the consistency you’re looking for, either thick enough to ice or thin enough to drizzle.
Finish your buns: Remove the plastic and bake buns for 25 minutes, until puffed and golden and the aroma brings all the boys to your yard is like a snickerdoodle. Transfer pans to wire cooling racks and drizzle/schmear with cream cheese glaze, then have at them.