Archive for August, 2010

Causa with Pulpo (Octopus)

August 31, 2010

Although all dishes were very good and all attendees liked them at my last event Peruvian Food Tasting  & Wine Pairing, I think I got the best comments for the Causa de Pulpo. This uniquely Peruvian dish is delicious, tangy and mildly spicy and easy, easy to make. Here the recipe.

Please note this is right off my mind so amounts will not be exact. However, I have prepared this so many times that I am sure it will be pretty close.

Potato mash (Causa proper)

Boil two pounds of white or yellow potatoes. Peel and mash while still warm. Set aside in bowl. Squeeze one fat lime over mash, a 4 spoonfuls of olive oil (the entry level one not the xtra virgin) and IDEALLY 2 spoonfuls of Peruvian Yellow Aji Pepper paste. You can buy this at different Latino markets in Metro Vancouver. If don’t feel like going all the way there you can try a couple teaspoonfuls of turmeric for color and a pinch or more of chili flakes. Knead well until paste is uniform.

Sauce: blend half a small jar of mayonaisse with 10 pitted kalamata olives, a good dash of olive oil and the juice of a lime.

Octopus: Buy pre-cooked and then just thaw and cut in small pieces or buy baby octopus and steam them for 10 minuts until they turn red and tender. Cut in pieces.

You can make a small bun with the Causa paste or you can use a mold, like a small cup to make a cake. Set on dish and slather the mayo on top with very thin celery slivers. Put octopus on top and on the sides, together with a piece of avocado.

Bon appetit!

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Peruvian Cuisine Tasting: Burnaby Heights

August 18, 2010

Want to try the real Peruvian Ceviche and other delicious national dishes like Causa, Potatoes Huancaina, Anticuchos and more? How about having them paired with awesome wines? Your host Ivan Loyola and the staff at Rustic Llama Peruvian Cafe invite you to join us for a celebration of Peruvian cuisine, this time in Burnaby Heights.

We will open the evening with a Pisco Sour and a short presentation on what makes Peruvian cuisine so unique and the current darling of international foodies.

Peruvian Food Tasting & Wine Pairing

Rustic Llama Peruvian Cafe

August 25, 2010

A Selection of Typical Peruvian Dishes

v Ceviche de Pescado. A Peruvian classic. Minimalist use of ingredients to allow the fish to shine. Paired with Errazuriz Sauvignon Blanc

v Causa de Pulpo. Exclusively found in Peruvian Cuisine, a cold, tangy, mildly spicy mash potato cake topped with olive mayo and octopus. Paired with Olivares Rose

v Pollo a la Brasa. Rotisserie chicken is found everywhere but it is hard to beat this spice driven, bronze skinned, moist Peruvian rendition. Paired with Ferrandiere Marselan

v Arroz con Pollo. The Peruvian version offers a cilantro flavored dish with mild spice. Paired with Primitivo Salvalai

v Anticucho. Of African origin and sold mostly by street vendors, an incomparable skewer of beautiful texture and mouthwatering flavor.  Paired with Caliterra Tributo Carmenere

v Alfajor. Traditional pastry stuffed with sweetened,  browned milk. Paired with El Escondido Late Harvest Semillon

Wine List

Errazuriz Sauvignon Blanc 2009. $13.99. 90 points by Robert Parker! Herbal nose, citrus flavors and minerality interplay in a framework of impeccable acidity.

Available at: Everything Wine

Olivares Rose (Monastrell & Syrah) 2009. $13.99. 90 points by me. Firm fruit, a touch of spice and surprisingly elegant for a wine at this price.

Available at: Everything Wine

Caliterra Tributo Carmenere. $18.99-20.99. 92 pts by Natalie McLean. Smoky vanilla and plum galore in this full bodied version of Chile’s flagship grape.

Available at: Central City, Surrey. Divino Quayside New Westminster.

Cantine  Salvalai  Primitivo Flaio 2007. $12.95. Ripe fruit, juicy and spicy, ideal for barbequed meats, East Indian and many meat based Peruvian dishes.

Available at : LDB

El Escondido Late Harvest Semillon 2005. 18.99. Deliciously viscous, with ripe fruit flavors underpinned by precise acidity.

Available at : LDB. Note : when purchased by the case of six the price is 13.99

Draw prize : Wine courtesy of Everything Wine. 998 Marine Drive, North Vancouver.

When: Thursday August 26th, 2010.

Time: 700 pm – 830pm

Where: Rustic Llama Café. 3675 E. Hastings at Boundary (NW corner), Burnaby, BC

Private event. Confirm your reservation. Limited seating.

Call 778 322 7701 or email winecouver@gmail.com

Cellaring on a Budget

August 4, 2010

Contrary to what most people believe, you don’t have to spend large sums of money to get a wine cellar started. In fact –according to expert Michaela Morris– if you have only one or two bottles that you are reserving for future drinking, you already have a cellar. Michaela and Michelle Bouffard are the owners of house wine, a business dedicated to wine education and consulting. In an informative and fun session at the Listel Hotel, they quenched the audience’s thirst for wine tips.

The first thing you should know before you start a cellar is how you like your wines. If you like them fruity and fresh then perhaps cellaring is not a good idea. If you like to taste past those vibrant fresh fruit tones and discover strokes of barn, forest floor and earthy minerality, then ageing wine is for you. Once you decide to start cellaring wines, you need to find a place where the temperature will be relatively stable and unlikely to get too hot. Usually this place could be a basement or if you live in an apartment, a closet which door should be kept shut to fend off temperature variation. Ideally the temperature should be around 12-15C. Lights should be kept off as much as possible and a humidifier comes in handy if the natural air moisture is low.

The Housewine experts xplained that wines you choose to cellar must be the ones you like. Once that point is checked you need to taste the wine and ponder three qualities: acidity, tannin and fruit. If the wine lacks acidity then is not a good candidate for long term cellaring. This is because acidity underpins the fruit flavors of the wine and with low acidity the wine will taste flat and will lack freshness. Tannin is the other element to consider, especially when picking red wines. Tannins are compounds found in the grapes’ skins as well as in seeds and other woody tissues. Tannins have an antiseptic role as well as an anti-oxidative one. These qualities will allow the fruit to remain free of oxidation, showing its flavor through time.

As for the number of bottles you need to purchase to start your cellar,  Michaela recommend to buy three as a minimum. The first one you can open after a couple of years. This is a testing time also, since the wine will show its capacity to age. If it still maintains good level of fruit and acidity and tastes better than the original product, you can keep the other two bottles and open one at year four or three and the last one at year five. However, if the flavors already start to decline it is the moment to drink. Further ageing will disappoint you with lack of flavor and sluggish acidity. Finally, when assessing wines to age, acidity is the main indicator for whites and tannin for reds. In both cases time will turn the color towards brown. Red wine will have a brick red hue; white will become golden or even amber.

Wine Recommendations

Good white varieties to age, due to their natural high acidity include Riesling and Semillon. The first one will develop a diesel-like aroma, with fruit going from the green apple initial to riper apple, stone fruit or even tropical notes. Semillon is known to age well for decades due to its unflagging acidity and develops deliciously toasty flavors. Good choices include Nederburg (12.99), Hattenheimer (22.99) or Markus Molitor Himmelreich (53.99) for Rieslings. Excellent candidates for Semillon or Semillon-Sauvignon Blanc blends are Poacher’s Blend (12.99), Brokenwood (22.99), Black Hills Alibi (36.99) and Bordeaux’ Chateau Mirambeau (43.99).

Tannic load, as mentioned before, will increase the capacity of a red wine to age gracefully. Little known Xinomavro grape is one of the best Greek varieties for this purpose. Boutari Naoussa Reserve (21.99) will improve greatly with five years in the cellar, enhancing its natural dry cherry and fig flavors. Italy’s Nebbiolo grape always benefits from ageing. Barbaresco by Produttori (42.99) is a great option. Also from Italy, but this time in the south, the Aglianico grape with its fiery tannins gets only better after a few years of rest. Red Cello (14.99) will see its fruit shine and its tannins soften up. Other reds to put away for a couple of years include Volteo Cabernet Tempranillo (19.99), Morande Pionero Pinot Noir (15.99) and Agua de Piedra Cabernet Sauvignon (13.99).

You don’t need to be rich to start a cellar. In a few years you will be more than happy you did.