Archive for the South American Category

Tallarines Verdes, Dessert, and A Light Box!

Posted in South American with tags , , , , , , , , , on September 16, 2010 by Cooking For Mark

Wow, where do I begin.  Let’s start with the light box. What is a light box, you might ask? Well, here is the beautiful light box Mark built for me….

It’s purpose? To provide a place to photograph food when natural lighting is unavailable.  I know, I am a huge nerd, but this thing is absolutely necessary here in Seattle.  I took the sun for granted this summer, as it was perfectly sunny and the sun didn’t set until 9:30 PM.  If you look back at my pictures almost all of them where taken outside, it was fantastic!! And now the sun has said goodbye only making slight appearances in the days it is not raining and not cloudy, but only between the hours of 1-3. That’s a two hour window 2-3 days a week!! Obviously, I have been unable to take pictures these last couple of weeks, which made me sulky and glossy eyed.  In an attempt to make me happy once again Mark took several trips to Home Depo and came up with my solution.  It’s no natural light, but it will definitively do. Now all I need is a fancy camera!

And now, for the main course: Peruvian Tallarines Verdes, or Pasta with a creamy spinach basil sauce….

It’s similar to pesto sauce, but it’s much creamier and milder. I blended the spinach and basil with coconut milk, walnuts, feta cheese, cream cheese and parmesan (if pistachios weren’t so expensive I would have replaced them with the walnuts).  I also added some beautiful ribbons of zucchini.  This was my first time tasting Tallarines Verdes and I loved it!

Tallarines Verdes (Adapted from…but i’m sure this one is better 😉 )

  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 shallot

Directions: Saute butter, garlic, and shallot and blend with following ingredients:

  • 1/2 c. coconut milk or evaporated milk
  • 1/4 c. feta cheese
  • 1/4 c. cream cheese (Note: you can replace both cheeses with 1/2 c. queso fresco)
  • 1/4 c. parmesan cheese (plus more for garnish)
  • 1 entire bunch of spinach, thoroughly washed and dried
  • 1/2 – 1 c. fresh basil
  • 1/2 tsp salt, or to taste
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • Juice of 1/2 lime
  • Optional: 1 jalapeno, seeded

Directions: Place everything in blender and blend until creamy. Place in saucepan and slowly heat through, without letting it boil.

  • 1/2 package fettuccine, or pasta of your choice, cooked al dente
  • 2 large zucchinis, sliced lengthwise with vegetable peeler

Directions: When pasta is cooked, add a bit of olive oil to prevent sticking.  Place sliced zucchini in largo bowl and squirt a bit of lime and salt and pepper. Add hot noodles and cover with warm sauce. The heat of the noodles with slightly cook the zucchini.  You don’t want them too cooked though or else they will be limp. Serve and top with a bit of parmesan cheese. You can serve this as a main course, or as a side with grilled chicken or meat.

And now, for dessert: Lacquered Peach from The Cilantropist.

This delicious peach was baked in an apricot caramel glaze. The result is a soft, delicate sweet and juicy peach.  All of it’s peachy flavors are intensified…and when you pair the warm peach with ice cream…

Well it’s just heavenly!  I am sad to say Mark didn’t enjoy is as I did.  But to his defense, he said he wasn’t into “hot fruits”.  And to be fair, Mark is not really into desserts unless it has chocolate or it’s cheesecake.

But I posted this dessert specially for my Mom and Dad.  I know, without a doubt, they will absolutely love this dessert. Let me know if i’m right Mami (this is a test to see if she actually reads my posts).

Click here for the recipe


Plantain Arepas

Posted in South American with tags , , , , on August 21, 2010 by Cooking For Mark

Arepas are the staple street food in Venezuela and Colombia.  They are super easy to make and super delicious.  They are made using Masarepa, a precooked cornmeal (different than Mexican Maza). The taste is similar to a Mexican gordita, but it has a smoother consistency, and they are stuffed with your favorite ingredients.  Stuffing these babies are so much fun…the possibilities are endless.  So far I have only made plantain arepas and cheese arepas–both delicious.  But you can stuff these with shredded meat, chicken, veggies, or seafood. You could also try making a sweet version…I think that’s what I will attempt next time.



  • 2 1/2 c. warm water
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 c. White Masarepa PAN brand (found in latin american store)

Arepa Directions:

  1. Place 2 1/2 c. warm water in bowl
  2. Add 1 tsp salt, 1 tbsp oil, and 1 egg and mix
  3. Slowly add approx. 2 c masarepa until it comes together into a smooth ball
  4. Form gordita-like disks about the size of your hand (you want them thick enough to cut through the middle to stuff)
  5. Cook on low/med heat in buttered pan about 6 minutes on each side
  6. Cut in half and stuff


  • Fried Green Plantains
  • Black beans
  • Avocado
  • Cotija cheese
  • Sour cream

Plantain Directions:

  1. Slice plantains 1/4 inch thick
  2. Fry plantains until they are cooked through
  3. Remove from oil and smash to flatten
  4. Fry again until golden brown
  5. Sprinkle with salt and cayenne pepper

Note: You can slice the plantains as big/small as you want. I found that the big slices were easier to eat in the arepas, but the smaller ones were easier to make as they broke less often.

Arepas Sandwich Directions:

  1. Cut arepa in the middle and add sour cream to both sides.
  2. Stuff the arepa with black beans, plantains, avocado, and cheese.
  3. Now take a big bite and enjoy!