Bolivian, Dinner, Lunch

SilpanchoAs is customary in many Latin cultures, at noon during the week my family would get together for ‘almuerzo’ (lunch).  The almuerzo would be our main meal of the day, and we would all come home from school or work to share it together.  One of the dishes that was always welcome was Silpancho.  Silpancho is a popular Bolivian dish that comes from the Cochabamba region of the country.  While Silpancho is a regional specialty, you can easily find restaurants that serve Silpancho almost anywhere in Bolivia.  

Silpancho consists of rice, fried sliced potato, a fried piece of pounded steak, coated in breadcrumbs, a tomato salsa and is always finished with a fried egg.  A heavy meal by all accounts (and certainly not for carb watchers) but as it is generally eaten mid day we normally have all day to work it off.  

If you have the opportunity to visit Bolivia, you will see that the meat portion is so large that it will almost be spilling over the sides of the plate.  Since we were having ours for dinner we made a smaller portion as you can see.  Make the portions as large or as small as you like but you will find that even a little bit of meat will go a long way – as you pound it, you will notice that a simple steak grows fast, and can be used to serve several people dinner.  We hope you enjoy it.  

Ingredients / Ingredientes

For the meat / Para la carne

  • 2 Steaks, preferable thin cuts  / filetes de carne bien delgados
  • 150 grams bread crumbs / harina de pan
  • Salt and pepper to taste / sal y pimienta al gusto
  • 2 Tbs canola oil / cucharadas de aceite
  • 2 Eggs / huevos

Rice and potatoes / Arroz y papas

  • 1 Cup white rice / taza de arroz
  • 1 Tbs. olive oil / cucharada de aceite de oliva
  • 1 Garlic / ajo
  • 2 Cups of water / tazas de agua
  • Pinch of salt / pizca de sal
  • 1 Potato / papa
  • 1/2 cup of canola oil / taza de aceite


  • 1 Tomato / tomate
  • 1/2 Red onion / cebolla
  • 1 Jalapeño / jalapeños o locotos picantes
  • 1/2 Tbs olive oil / cucharada de aceite de oliva
  • 1/2 Tbs white vinegar / cucharada de vinagre
  • Pinch of salt / pizca de sal

Instructions / Instrucciones

  • For the salsa that accompanies the Silpancho dice the tomato, onion and jalapeño, mix together in a bowl with the olive oil, vinegar and pinch of salt.  Set aside in the fridge while preparing the rest of the meal. / Para la ensalada que va a estar encima del Silpancho tienes que cortar finamente el tomate, cebolla y jalapeño. Poner en un recipiente y mezclar agregando la sal, aceite de oliva y vinagre. Poner al refrigerador mientras preparas lo demás.

Silpancho, pounding the steak

  • Place a sheet of parchment paper over a flat surface and place the meat on top of the parchment. Cover the entire steak with some bread crumbs and salt and pepper.  Place another sheet of parchment paper over the meat and start pounding the steak as much as you can, you will want the meat the be as thin and large as possible. Turn the meat to the other side, add more bread crumbs and salt and pepper and keep pounding. this will take about 15 to 20 minutes. The bread crumbs will keep the meat from breaking apart so keep adding bread crumbs as you go.  When the steak is at your preferred thickness, set aside. / Colocar papel pergamino sobre una superficie plana y poner la carne encima con la harina de pan, sal y pimienta. Poner encima otro papel pergamino y comienza a golpear la carne hasta que esté bien delgada y haya crecido. Volcar la carne y agregar harina de pan, sal y pimienta y continuar golpeando la carne. En todo momento agregar más harina de pan ya que así la carne no se romperá en pedazos. Poner a un lado cuando esté listo.
  • To cook the rice add some olive oil to a pan over medium heat, once the oil is heated, add the minced garlic and cook for about 10 seconds. Add the rice and let it cook with the garlic and olive oil until it gets toasted – continue to stir the rice to avoid burning.  moving the rice around the pan should change the color to a light brown – this will take between 3 and 4 minutes.  Add the water and let it cook uncovered until done. / Para cocinar el arroz poner en la olla el aceite de oliva y cuando esté caliente agregar el ajo molido o cortado finamente y cocinar por 10 segundos. Poner el arroz y cocinarlo junto al aceite y ajo por 3 a 4 minutos, batiendolo constantemente para no quemarlo. Podrás ver que el arroz cambia de color, agregar el agua y dejar cocinar hasta que esté listo.

Silpancho, toasted rice, salsa

  • Peel the potato and boil it whole for 10 minutes, remove the potato from the boiling water and slice into pieces a quarter of an inch thick. You will see that the potato is not completely cooked through but don’t you worry because you will cook it more later. / Cortar la papa y ponerla a hervir por 10 minutos, sacarla del agua y cortarla en rebanadas, puedes ver que la papa aún está un poco cruda pero no te preocupes porque la cocinarás más luego.
  • Add the oil to a fry pan and set over medium heat, when hot add the potatoes and fry them until golden brown. Transfer the potatoes to paper towels to drain excess oil / Freir las papas hasta que estén doradas y poner a un lado sobre toallas de papel.
  • To cook the meat you won’t need a lot of oil.  You can reuse some of the oil from the potatoes. I would say 2 Tbs oil of will be perfect but you can use less, as long as you can cook the meat with it. / Para cocinar el Silpancho no necesitas mucho aceite, puedes reutilizar el aceite en el cual freistes las papas y si es mucho puedes sacar y dejar sólo dos cucharadas de aceite.
  • Fry the Silpancho until golden brown. Don’t forget that it will cook fast, there’s not much meat and it is thin. When ready remove from the pan and place onto paper towels to drain any excess oil / Freir el Silpancho hasta que esté dorado. No te olvides de que cocinará super rápido debido a que la carne es delgada. Cuando esté listo colocar sobre papel toalla.
  • Fry the eggs over easy with a little bit of olive oil / Freir los huevos.
  • This recipe serves two people but if you will like to serve more people just add more steaks and eggs depending of the number of persons you are having. / Esta receta es para dos personas pero si quieres para más personas solo aumenta más carne y huevos a la receta.

Plating Silpancho

  • To serve your Silpancho, start the plate off with a mound of rice, add the sliced potatoes, the meat, the eggs and top it all off with a spoonful of the salsa. Serve immediately… and enjoy! /  Poner arroz en el plato, encima las papas, la carne el huevo y el ensalada . Servir caliente, Provecho!

Silpancho... provecho!



Dessert, French, Snack

CaneléWe are back… after a summer of no posting, we are looking forward to getting back into a regular schedule of updating the blog, and today we are starting off with an at home re-creation of one of my favorite French pastries – the Canelé.  

Soon after our trip to Paris last fall, a coworker of mine showed me an article in a local Vancouver magazine that was all about Canelé.  The history, the notorious difficulty in making them correctly, and also their resurgence as a newly trendy dessert for bakeries… 

I had never heard of Canelé before, and while I kicked myself for missing out on trying them in their homeland, I was right away intrigued to learn how to make them myself.  Canelé are small rum and vanilla cakes that are quite similar in texture and flavor to a Crème Brûlée.  The outside of a Canelé is deeply caramelized and the interior is light and custardy – it is a Crème Brûlée you can eat on the go… I knew this would be my kind of dessert.  

Canelé interior

I first tried the versions available at Thierry, French Made Baking and Faubourg and they were all excellent.  I found individual aluminum Canelé molds at Gourmet Warehouse (they were $3-4 each) and after a pastry chef friend of mine assured me that the beeswax step is not absolutely necessary I made my first batch.  

The recipe I have adapted here is from the website Chez Pim which itself has been adapted from a recipe by Pierre Hermé.  The recipe cleverly uses a fine sift to strain the ingredients and later the batter instead of whisking – all to avoid incorporating unnecessary air which can cause the cakes to rise over the molds.  This step, which may seem time consuming is key.  This recipe will turn out incredible Canelé – provided you follow the steps below you will be rewarded… Provecho!


  • 500 grams whole milk / gramos de leche
  • 50 grams butter / gramos de mantequilla
  • 1 vanilla bean / vainilla
  • 100 grams flour / gramos de harina
  • 250 grams powdered sugar / gramos de azúcar en polvo o impalpable
  • 1 tsp salt / cucharilla de sal
  • 2 large eggs / huevos
  • 2 large egg yolks / yemas de huevos
  • 1/4 cup rum / taza de ron


  • Place milk, butter and vanilla bean (with seeds already scraped out and added to the mixture) in a pot over medium heat and bring to a boil.  Remove from the heat and set aside while you measure and prepare the other ingredients / Poner la leche, mantequilla y vainilla (también las semillas raspadas de la vainilla dentro de la mezcla) en un recipiente a fuego medio hasta que esté hirviendo. Sacar del fuego y dejar a un lado, prearar los otros ingredientes.

Sifted flour, eggs

  • Sift the flour, powdered sugar and salt into a large bowl. / Colar o filtrar la harina, azúcar en polvo y sal en un recipiente grande.
  • Place a Large sifter over the dry ingredients and strain the eggs and egg yolks through.  (at the end there may be some egg white that just doesn’t flow through – you can just tip it in afterwards) / Encima de los ingredientes secos (harina, azúcar y sal) colocar un colador y colar o filtrar los huevos y las yemas.
  • Once the milk mixture has cooled to approximately 120F Remove the vanilla bean and add to another medium sized bowl. / Cuando la mezlca de la leche esté un poco más fria, aproximadamente a 120F sacar la vainilla y trasportar la mezcla hacia otro recipiente de tamaño mediano
  • Add the milk, butter mixture to the dry ingredients along with the eggs and mix together with a wooden spoon or spatula. / Agregar la mezcla de la leche con la mezcla de la harina y huevos y mezclar todo junto con una cuchara de madera o una espátula.
  • Place the large sifter over the medium sized bowl (that now contains the vanilla bean) and strain the batter into the bowl through the sifter – this will remove any lumps without having to mix too much.  You want to consciously avoid overmixing as the more air that is trapped in the batter will affect the outcome of the candle.  Add the rum and give the mixture one final stir / Colar la mezcla de leche y harina con huevos en otro recipiente, esto ayuda a eliminar bultos sin mezlcar tanto. La razón por la cual no debemos de mezclar mucho es porque queremos que la masa no contenga mucho aire, afectando el resultado del candle.  Añadir el ron y batir hasta que este incorporada.
  • Cover the mixture with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 full days.  After one day, give the mixture a stir, incorporating the heavier ingredients that have settled on the bottom so that it is a uniform consistency. / Cubrir la masa con plástico y colocar en el refrigerador por 2 días. Despues del primer día mezclar un poco la masa para mejor resultado.
  • Preheat oven to 475F / Calentar el horno a 475F
  • I have used metal canele molds (I found them at gourmet warehouse) but there are silicone molds available as well. / Estamos usando moldes de canele de metal, pero también hay moldes de silicona.

Canele molds

  • Whichever molds you end up using, they should have a lining of butter which will help caramelize the outside of the cakes and allow the cakes to fall out easily once they are cooked. / Los moldes deben estar cubiertos por dentro con mantequilla, esto ayudará a caramelizar el canele y para que el momento de sacarlo del molde sea más facil.
  • I keep the canele molds in the freezer, and take one out at a time and brush with melted butter, then place back in the freezer on a wax paper llined tray upside down, so any extra melted butter will fall out instead of pooling at the bottom of the mold.  / Los moldes de canele los conservo en el congelador, cuando los estoy a punto de utilizar los saco del congelador y les pongo matequilla derretida, luego los pongo al revéz sobre papel encerado al congelador. De esta manera la extra mantequilla caerá sobre el papel y así no habrá mucha mantequilla sobre el canele.
  • Once the oven is preheated, Line a pan with aluminum foil, and distribute the chilled, butter lined molds evenly.  / Cuando el horno este caliente colocar los moldes fríos en una bandeja sobre papel aluminio.
  • Give the mixture a final stir, and transfer to a measuring cup, to allow for easier distribution.  / Dar una mezcla a la masa antes de transferirla a los moldes. Puedes utilizar una taza para medir para mejor distribución.

filling the molds

  • Fill the Canele molds about 1/4 inch or 1 cm from the top – the Canele will rise as they bake, and you don’t want to overfill them as this could cause the cakes to spill over the edge before solidifying. / Llenar los moldes con la masa, dando un espacio de 1 cm antes de la parte superior ya que la masa crecerá en en horno.
  • Place the tray in the oven and decrease the heat to 450F / Colocar la bandejar al horno y disminuir el horno a 450F
  • The Canelé will cook for approximately 1 hour.  After 15 minutes, turn the heat down to 375F and rotate the tray.  Continue to rotate the tray every 15 minutes until they are finished.  / Cocinar por 1 hora, después de 15 minutos disminuir el horno a 375F y girar la bandeja. Hacer esto cada 15 minutos hasta que esté listo.
  • After 1 hour, the Canele should be a rich dark caramelized brown, not burnt, but dark brown.  / Después de 1 hora el canele debe tener un color acaramelado oscuro, no quemado pero café oscuro.

finished Canele

  • After you remove the pan from the oven, invert the canelé onto a cooling rack and remove the mold.  Allow to cool completely. / Después de sacar la bandeja del horno, colocar los canele sobre una bandeja para enfriar y sacarlos del molde. Dejar de enfriar completaménte.
  • The Canelé will have a crunchy exterior which complements the custard interior so well for a few hours.  They will still taste great for the next day or two, and it is just that crunchy outside that softens.  / El canele tendra una textura crujiente por fuera y suave por dentro. Puedes comerlos despues de dos días y aún el sabor estará delicioso solo que por afuera no estará crujiente.

Canelé... Provecho!