Tag Archives: cookies

What to buy when traveling to Peru…

31 Jul

As you know, to me the best kind of souvenirs are edible souvenirs… something to eat and reminisce about the place I am traveling in.

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In Peru, these are my recommendations on what to bring home to remember your trip by:

Perurisimas Lays

Lay’s Perurísimas Potato Chips  – Peru prides itself for having 1,000+ potato varieties. We had the chance to taste some of them during our dinners. But for munchies, the best potato chips I’ve had in a while are Lay’s Perurísimas. These are similar to a Terra chip, but made with several varieties of Peruvian potatoes. With a very light sea salt touch. De-li-cious!!! I wanted to bring back several bags of these… I will be campaigning for Lay’s to distribute these in the US and Puerto Rico.

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Maras Salt, the Peruvian Pink Salt – Near Cusco there’s a place called Salineras, where Sal de Maras is harvested. Sal de Maras is a pink, very flavorful salt only available in Peru. You can buy it in any supermarket in the area. And I suggest you do so, because if you decide at the airport, you’ll be paying a hefty premium for forgetting it while you were buying your Perurísimas chips.

Sal de Maras Airport

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Maca – Lately, I’ve been hearing about all these add-ons you can add to your morning smoothies to make them more nutritious. Among these add-ons is maca powder. Maca is a Peruvian root, similar to a radish, which has been cultivated for many, many years. It is many times eaten as a cooked vegetable but for us outside of Peru, is more convenient to have it as a powder. Maca is said to help with anemia, boost energy, improve athletic performance and memory and even help with the symptoms of menopause. It’s also used for weak bones, depression, boost the immune system, erectile dysfunction and even to arouse sexual desire.

When I went to buy this at Whole Foods and saw it was a Peruvian thing… I waited to purchase it during our trip. I was lucky enough to find organic maca. I tried it first in a blended juice drink where they added maca to it. The taste is a tad bitter, but that may be a factor of the amount of maca they added to the drink. I only plan to add a tablespoon to my morning smoothie. Will report about the effects of it later on… OK??

Selva Naranja

Selva Brand Orange JuiceI have told you about my love for Orangina… so imagine this Selva Orange Juice is like Orangina, but without the fizz. It’s sweet and tart at the same time. It’s light and delicious. We bought a few bottles along the trip to have in our room to snack or to have for breakfast. I wish I could’ve brought a few bottles home with me. I would have if I had brought with me the super large Ziploc bags to make sure there wasn’t any spillage in my suitcase.

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Oatmeal Cookies from La Gran FrutaI’ve told you about La Gran Fruta… and these cookies make the best gifts for friends at home. Have them taste a little piece of Lima thru these cookies. They might crack into pieces, but no-one will care after they taste their deliciousness.

Ají Amarillo – My friend Mara is from Peru… and she urged me to bring home some ají amarillo, the one used to make salsa huancaína to serve with potatoes or sweet potatoes. I did not get a lot of time at the supermarket right before returning home, so I bought a packet of Ají Mirasol. I hope I bought the right thing. But in the near future I will ask my other Peruvian friend, Lucy, to share with me her papas a la huancaína recipe. We had a chance to have it at her Lima home and it was THE BEST papas a la huancaína we had the whole trip.

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And in a completely unrelated to food topic… I also bought myself a nice little knitted hat made from alpaca wool. It’s the Peruvian wool of choice. I bought it in a little town called Chincheros from the nicest and funniest Peruvian lady ever. She should have her own stand-up comedy show… so I do sometimes buy stuff that is not edible. Just so you know…  😉

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Have you been to Peru also?? What did you bring as a souvenir?

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La Gran Fruta – Great fruit franchise in Lima, Peru

15 Jul

I love finding hidden gems… and in Lima, Peru I think there is one.

If you love fruits salads, natural juices and smoothies look no further than La Gran Fruta. They are a fruit based establishment that offer great alternatives for vegetarians. It’s not a vegetarian place, but we had some wonderful breakfasts thanks to them.

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La Gran Fruta offers various sizes of fruit salads, all accompanied by yogurt, granola and honey.

La Gran Fruta - Fruit Salad

Some of us were more adventurous than others. I ordered the largest salad only because I wanted to try a few new fruits I was not familiar with (and hey, I shared with my mom and a few others who also wanted to try):

  • Granadilla – very similar to a passion fruit in texture, but the taste is sweet and not tart like a passion fruit.
  • Chirimoya – very similar to a soursop but much creamier and sweeter. My friends went bonkers for cherimoyas and were seeking them out everywhere we went.
  • Lúcuma – this fruit is very similar in taste and texture to a mamey or sapote. It’s dense in texture and a tad bit grainy. Makes a wonderful juice but I think it would make an even better milkshake or smoothie.

Lucuma Juice

New fruits to me

In this plate you also see soursop… this one I was familiar with, but this one was super tart… in my opinion, it needed a few extra days to fully ripen.

At La Gran Fruta, they not only make awesome fruit salads and juices… they also have these awesome cookies made with only a few ingredients – oatmeal, sugar and fruit pulp. My favorites were the ones made with passion fruit. Imagine a tart and sweet cookie?? I am telling you it’s something to taste to believe… They also have them with apples, figs, mango, strawberry and a combination of several fruits. These cookies are gluten-free and egg-free… perfectly vegetarian!!!!

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Because we went in wintertime, we did not get to try something everyone was recommending – Raspadillas. I am sure this is something very similar to our piraguas, shaved ice doused in pureed fruit pulp. Yum… something definitely to look forward to in the Summer, no?

La Gran Fruta has several locations throughout Lima… check them out if you’re ever in Perú.

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Veggie Bites of Wisdom #24

22 Dec

Cherry Carob Cookies

11 Jan

I started my cooking adventures mainly by making Martha Stewart’s cookie recipes.  Most of them are easy and super delicious.

My favorite cookie by far are these Cherry Carob Cookies… they’re an adapted version of Martha’s Torie’s Cherry Chocolate Chunk Cookies.  I have made these cookies, the original recipe and the new adapted version, to give as gifts for Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, Xmas, and even Birthdays.  I always get requests for them.  This time around I made them for my dear friend Choy, who makes the most awesome vegetarian egg-less cheesecake.

Hope you enjoy them as much as we all do…

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CHERRY CAROB COOKIES

2 1/4 cup organic whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 sticks of unsalted butter
1 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla powder
equivalent of 2 eggs from egg replacer
1 cup carob chips
1 cup dried cherries
1 cup toffee chips
 
  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a bowl whisk together the flour and baking soda.  Set aside.
  3. In another bowl, beat together the butter and the sugar with an electric mixer on medium speed, until light and fluffy.
  4. Mix in the salt, vanilla and egg replacer.
  5. Add flour mixture in 3-4 batches.  Mix until just combined.
  6. Stir in the carob chips, cherries and toffee chips.
  7. Drop heaping tablespoon-size balls of dough 2 inches apart in a cookie sheet lined with a silplat or unbleached parchment paper.
  8. Bake until golden around the edges. about 10 -12 minutes.
  9. Remove from oven and let them cool on the baking sheet.  After a few minutes, transfer warm cookies to a cooling rack to  cool completely.
  10. Store cookies in the fridge for up to 1 week in a tightly sealed container.

But don’t worry, they will not last long.  They are eaten best with a tall cold glass of milk.

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