Monday, March 14, 2011

¡Me Encanta Perú! - Ceviche and Papas Rellenas

So, just like in the previous challenge we needed to grab our thermometer and common sense for a part of this challenge.

Two things that we've never made before, but one we have eaten.

Cheviche de Pescado

We normally get a little upset when we're trying something new and then given options "firm white fish (scallops or other seafood may be substituted)" - if it's new, we really like all the coaching we can get and next time we might mix it up a little.  But having had a couple of variations in the past we sucked it up and hit the local store (actually, 2 of the same brand because the first didn't have our preferred Sea Bass) that has helped us out with great seafood before.  We ended up with Sea Bass, Scallops (Bay and Sea) and Squid.

We must have had double extra quadruple juicy limes - we got more than a cup from just 6.  Then it was easy enough to get the Seafood into bite size pieces, chop up the Onion, Cilantro and Pepper (we went mild and easy because one of us cries like a baby if it gets too hot) and get it all into the pool.

Again, another choice for beginners...  'Cook' for 10 minutes, or 24 hours?  Hmm...  We certainly weren't going to wait 24 hours - we were hungry.  We ended up splitting everything into 2 batches.  The first we did for 10 minutes, the second for an hour.  We certainly could see the extra 'cooking' in the second batch but we don't think it needed it.  We didn't detect any difference in the flavors from the Lime mixture between the 2 batches.  It's good to know we can aim for quick, but have a good bit of wiggle room if we get distracted and still end up with the same dish we were aiming for.

We opened a J. Christopher Sauvignon Blanc and we think it paired up ok.  We probably didn't need the side of Sweet Potato and Corn but enjoyed them.  They certainly provided some color to the plate.  Perhaps the contrast of cold and hot 'confused' us a little?  Not the worst things we could match up with our Ceviche by any way you keep score, and really, we don't have any suggestions for anything more appropriate.


We couldn't see any glaring difference to any Ceviche we've been served before - that's a good thing indeed, and we're very pleased with our results! 

The Sea Bass was the star, it 'cooked' up just right.  We didn't notice any difference between the Bay and Sea Scallops so next time we'll just get the Bay because then we don't need to do any cutting up (and they're a little bit cheaper...).  The Squid was different.  At first not so good different because it was a lot firmer than the Bass and Scallops, but when we thought about it a bit harder we actually decided we liked the contrast in texture.  So, in the end, good different.

We have no idea why we were not brave enough to try a Ceviche before.  It was easy and tasty and we've seen it at least a hundred times on Top Chef, Iron Chef and the likes!  It will be shown to friends very very soon (technically before you read this article...), proudly and confidently.

Papas Rellenas

This is a dish for an Alton Brown quote 'Your patience will be rewarded!'  There's a good bit of waiting around.  Mash up some potatoes, let them cool down.  Mix up a filling (we went meat), let it cool down.  Boil up a couple of eggs, let them cool down.  Then you get to put it all together - thanks great pictures!  It's hard to imagine what we would have come up with out pictures.

We didn't feel the urge to change anything, although we did go light on the chili (for the same baby you met earlier in this article...).  And best of all, we didn't have to make any choices...

Definitely hands on, and messy hands during the putting together part but practice does make perfect because the 2nd one was better looking than the 1st and the 4th much much better.

Remember how we said to bring your thermometer and your common sense? Well, we need to change that to say bring a working thermometer and your common sense.  We did two batches and the second browned up a whole lot more a whole lot quicker.  We noticed a small gap in the mercury, but didn't really think much of it until we saw the difference in browning.  Turns out, big difference.  We have no idea what temperature we had the oil bubbling away at, but after all was done we boiled up some water and our (now in the trash) thermometer was convinced that water boils at about 160° (of the F scale!). Oops!  Common sense tells us not to leave the room anyway so if something really bad had have happened, we would have been there to see it...

The same bottle of J. Christopher continued to keep us company and perhaps worked a little less well with this dish than the Ceviche , but only just and perhaps only because it had warmed up a little by this time.


They kind of looked lonely on the plate, but it's not like you need any more food.  At first thought we kind of feel like it needed a sauce but when we turned our brains fully on we think there's no point as the sauce is already on the inside.

We actually preferred the 'high risk' batch that we cooked up, so next time we'll use the correct temperature oil but leave them in a little longer.

We had more filling that we needed for our potatoes so we saved it and served it up as part of our every-other-week-home-made-nachos.  Worked out really quite nicely, although making up a batch of the 'filling' just for our nachos is probably a bit much.  If we ever thought to serve up nachos to our friend, perhaps...

We do know why we've never been brave enough to deep fried mashed potatoes - we're just not clever enough to think of something like that on our own.  We probably won't serve it up to friends as a complete dish because of the challenges of being sociable and having a pot of oil warming up in a different room but we will absolutely treat ourselves to this again.  The filling could turn up for friends, perhaps served with mashed potato rather than in?

Recipes & Destructions Instructions



2 Winners!  Thanks Kathlyn!


Kathlyn of Bake Like a Ninja was our Daring Cooks’ March 2011 hostess. Kathlyn challenges us to make two classic Peruvian dishes: Ceviche de Pescado from “Peruvian Cooking – Basic Recipes” by Annik Franco Barreau. And Papas Rellenas adapted from a home recipe by Kathlyn’s Spanish teacher, Mayra.

Comments pre Blog Platform Change

Lou responded:
Well firstly I am so glad to hear that you like to follow the recipe. When given a new recipe, I, too, want to make it exactly as stated the first time. And usually for these challenges I don't have time to make multiple versions of the challenge. So, I have been feeling that my attempts have all been so very boring. Especially when compared with someone like Audax - ha ha.
Secondly, interested to hear that the sea bass was your favourite. I didn't think there would be anything better than scallops for this recipe so I will need to try it with the sea bass. The ceviche is one I can try lots of versions of quite quickly with it being so quick and easy to prepare.
And whoever of you is the "baby" - I am exactly the same and wish I had gone easier on the chilli!

SaminaCooks responded:
I love your write up. I agree, when I try new foods/recipes, I always follow instructions exactly. (Especially, when I don't know what it will taste like) Once I get a hang of the recipe, I mix it up.

blepharisma responded:
I know what you mean about frying up papas not being a great social activity, hahaha. My kitchen is integrated with my dining and living areas, so the smell alone would be a bit of a turn-off!!

Great job!

Audax Artifex responded:
I love your postings for me a blog with no pictures seems to make my mind create mental images of your results. Wonderful that you liked both images so much. Yes I can understand for a totally new recipe you want definite instructions. Lovely work on this challenge.

Cheers from Audax in Sydney Australia.

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