Tag Archives: fish

Copacabana and Isla del Sol


One long (rainy) journey later, we made our way into Bolivia, boarding crossing and all.

Copacabana is a small, waterfront town. Bolivia was drastically different in that everything was dirt cheap, and the city was much more run down than anywhere we had been in Peru. It was lovely walking around town, exploring, but it was clear Bolivians struggle to make enough for the basics. But the views of Lake Titicaca were breathing taking  and the trout, or trucha,  rocked.

After a day in Copacabana, we booked a boat for Isla del Sol to spend the night. Isla del Sol is famous as the mythological, origin site for the I can creation story. It has over 80 ancient Incans ruins along with gorgeous lake views.

It takes 3 hours to walk around the island, but its worth the journey.

We made some new friends on our walk and found a nice hostel with a spectacular view to spend the night. Next day, is was back to Copacabana then off to La Paz!

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Friends and Fish! Sunday Dinner Party


Well. It’s been almost 7 months now here in Chile, and I think right now I’m the happiest I’ve been. I like my job, I like the people at my job, I like my students, the weather is good, life is good. Currently, I scheming a birthday trip in November to Buenos Aires and Mendoza, Argentina and I am very excited (PS. all advice and tips welcome on that….). I havn’t left Santiago since I got here, and it’s time for a change of scenery, ya know?

Speaking of fellow employees, I had a great time going to the Vega with Isabel and Mike last Sunday. The plan was to give Mike a cooking lesson, who currently has been living off rice and pasta. We pursued the market, and finally came home with reineta, spinach, mushrooms, and potatoes. Using, I dunno, about 3  entire heads of garlic, we put together some thin sliced, roasted garlic potatoes (potatoes, garlic, olive oil, lemon, baked for an hour at 400), creamed spinach with mushrooms, and baked fish with lemon and garlic and cherry tomatoes. We may have  repulsed all vampires within 20 miles, but the food was so tasty! The fish was extra fresh because we got it at the Fish Market.

We had some ensalada de porotos (white bean salad with onion and cilantro, comes in a bag at La Vega) as a starter…

Cooking is really only as hard as you want it to be. Most of the time, all you need to do is stick stuff in the oven for a long time with salt. SEriously.

Monday was payday, and to reward myself, I bought myself a pan! It’s bright, bright green. I love it. All ym cooking equipment blows and its been difficult to cook with bad knifes and terrible pans.

Happy Humpday Everyone.

Til next time!

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Cooking Experiments and Peruvian Food


Good Morning Internet!

By some random, weird combination of events, both bad and good, I have NO class today. I blame this on a combination of winter break and cancelling privates. So, I can either whine about being poor and how this is not good for my income-OR-I can take a legit day off and enjoy it. Doing the latter while pumping some Pipettes.

The last few weeks I’ve done  few experiments in the kitchen. Some turned out fabulous, other failed….miserably.

The first cooking adventure was buying fresh fish at the local market up the street. I bought reineta (pomfret) because Amanda recommended it as a good, local fish. It looks like this:

They skinned and de-boned it right at the cart counter and I took my prize home, wrapped in newspaper. Unfamiliar with the fish, I made a safe bet that it would be good with lemon. So, I did a quick and fast cornmeal crust with cornmeal, salt, oregano, and pepper and baked it for about 20-40 minutes at 350. When it was done, I squeezed a generous amount of lemon on top, and served with with sauteed spinach and tomatoes, and put it over a bed of rice. It was delicious, but I’d love some more yummy reineta recipe recommendations!

For my next experiment, I tried to create a sort of eggplant lasagna situation. It looked beautiful, but tasted awful!

Confusing.

I simply sliced eggplant and layered it with tomatoes, spinach and cheese and topped with with olive oil and balsamic and baked it.

So what went wrong?

The eggplant wasn’t totally cooked, no matter what I did, and tasted bitter. It just wasn’t right! Should I soak the eggplant? Cook it longer? Not stack it like that?

Dunno.

Frustrated with my own cooking efforts, I decided to “GASP” go out to eat! I went with Amanda to my favorite Peruvian restaurant across the street called Casa del Chef.

Yeah, I’ll admit it, Peruvian food rules. Chile has some culinary contributions, but Peruvian food hits it home with the SAUCES. For example, in my favorite dish, Aji de Gallina (shredded chicken in a sweet and savory walnut, cream, spice sauce)

It is served with rice or papas fritas.

The ceviches at this place rule. Last time, Amanda and I split a delicious ceviche de corvina (sea bass) and this time Amanda ordered tiradito (thinly sliced fish, sort of like sashimi) that came in two exquisite aji sauces (yellow and red). Amazing! I can’t wait to go to Peru and dive into the food scene head first. So. Amazing.

Also, happy 4 month anniversary to me in Chile! Still, here, still alive and with a temporary residency Visa! Woo!

Here’s to more fun-filled Chilean and South American adventures and to taking risks! I’ve found this whole experience has really taught me a lot about adaptability, facing fears, and taking life my the horns. Life doesn’t wait for you. Time is a fickle mistress and if you put off all the fun things til later, they may never happen. The more I travel, I realize the world just isn’t that big and there is a lot to see.

Until next time, here’s to good food and good friends.
Salud!

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Mote con Huesillos y La Vega


Happy Saturday!

It’s yet another, beautiful sunny day here in Santiago. I’d feel bad saying that, but I don’t. Because it was expensive to get down here, so this is my reward.

Yesterday was fun. I got up and went to La Vega with Titus and Katie C (there are now like a thousand Katies in my life). It was awesome. I was a total nerd and kept taking pictures of tomatoes and vegetables like the dorky food blogger I am. I was all, “take a picture with me in front of this fruit!”

Titus was a good sport and helped me out.

La Vega is pretty spectacular. Granted, it is not quite as elegant or as organized as the Market in Barcelona. That market is one of the most amazing places I’ve ever been and the displays are pure art. La Vega is less of a tourist attraction. It is more functional, a place where regular people go to pick up food rather than a big display for foreigners. It is a great place to take your extra pesos at the end of the week and stock up of some fantastic produce. Some of which you can’t find in many places around the city (Black corn, ginger, spices, chilean eggplants, etc).

The market is pretty lively on a Friday morning.

Beautiful colors. Love all the peppers!

Spices, grains, beans..

Across the street a little ways is the fish market. The fish market is incredible, but also incredibly stinky. Unfortunately, I feel a little out of my element here because I really don’t know much about buying fresh seafood (to my dismay), especially not in Spanish, but I’m determined to cook up some mussels or clams at the least. There are a handful of seafood restaurant right inside the market, ranging from very expensive to only sort of expensive. I checked out a menu and it looked phenomenal. Fresh crudo, scallops, mussels, whatever you want. See the octopus in the picture? I won’t be cooking that.

I think I’m not alone is saying that markets like these allow us to transport through time to an idyllic setting before the food industry was destroyed by corporations (rah rah take down The Man!), at least in the United States. Buying tomatoes from your “tomato guy” at the market feels real, tangible, and the way it’s supposed to be. Maybe it’s a fantasy image that we’ve developed from watching too many movies set in Italy, but I think many American’s can agree that we’ve lost this direct interaction and are now fighting to get it back through developing local farmer’s markets and other farm-to-table programs. But, even if we were able to recreate this old world setting, where people walk on cobbled streets, hang dry their clothes, and buy fresh fish at the market everyday, the central and most crucial problem lies in the  physical structure of the States. Everything is too spread out! We can’t suddenly  start having people walk from Bremerton (where they can afford to live) to Pike Place market to get their food everyday. Because this separation between food and people is a tough one to crack, I savor the time I have here in Chile where I can wallow in my market place fantasies and pretend I’m the first gringa to have felt this way.

After strolling around the market, I bought my first mote con huesillos. Huesillos are dried peaches and mote is cooked, husked wheat. Wikipedia takes it from here…

“The huesillos, or dried peaches, are washed and soaked the night prior to preparation in order to rehydrate them. Once hydrated, they are cooked for thirty minutes or more in a sugar and water mixture, optionally with some natural cinnamonsticks. To give the drink its honey hue, sugar is heated in a sauce pan in order to caramelize it and bring it to a rich orange ruby color, which is added to the syrup mixture although this method is not always used. While the huesillos are cooking, the mote, or husked wheat, is cooked in water until tender. Once the mote are cooked, they are drained and added to the sweet huesillos drink, and left to cool. This combination is served chilled, in a tall glass with a tall desert spoon for easy serving.”

There you go. It was yummy and the wheat did make it more filling and sastisfying.

I didn’t buy much this go around, except for some cilantro and a peach, but I will definitely go soon and stock up (once they fix my freaking oven!!…Chileans. Seriously. Now would be great).

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