Causa Limeña

Causa LimeñaCausa is the layered potato and seafood salad you see above.  A signature dish from Peru there are endless ways to compose and present this dish.  You can make this as gourmet or as humble as you want.  While we’ve made a simple Causa here, you need only be limited by your imagination.  I’ve seen huge family sized Causa (that you would cut into slices like a cake) to mini ornate appetizer sized Causa – Causa with layers of mashed purple potatoes and any number of different fillings and sauces.  Google Causa for some inspiration and have fun making your own version of this classic Peruvian specialty.

Our take on Causa captures three classic Peruvian ingredients – First – the Peruvian potato – Peru is famous for their hundreds of varieties of potatoes and as a result there are many dishes that revolve around their endless varieties. A classic Causa would use the yellow potato of Peru, but as we couldn’t exactly pick those up at No Frills – we grabbed a bag of mini golden gem potatoes and peeled them to help create a uniform color.

The second essential component in Causa is seafood – while we have simplified (and economized) our Causa with Tuna – this dish is easily adapted to include the best fresh seafood you can find. From fresh crab meat, to baby shrimp or prawns.  Depending on the occasion, you might want to elevate the seafood portion.

The final must-use ingredient is Aji Amarillo (Yellow Pepper). We have used this ingredient in other posts – Papas a la Huancaina and our favorite – Salteñas. We pick ours up at the South China Seas Trading company in the Granville Island Public Market. The yellow pepper has a great flavor and depending on preference you can adjust the amount to create a milder or stronger intensity.

Presentation of this dish is key, so use some sort of a mold. We’ve used tart rings to create our layers but you can also use the tuna can if you remove the bottom of the tin as well (be careful of the edges)

This recipe will make 4-6 Causa 

Ingredients

  • 1 pound bag of yellow fleshed mini potatoes (larger ones if you can find them) peeled, and boiled until you can pierce the potatoes with a fork easily. / 1 libra de papas pueden ser grandes o pequeñas, peladas y hervidas hasta que estén blandas.
  • 2 tbs Aji Amarillo / Yellow pepper
  • 4 tbs Lemon Juice / jugo de limón
  • 2 Cans of Tuna / atún en lata
  • 1 Red pepper / Pimentón rojo
  • 1/2 Onion / cebolla
  • 1/4 cups of mayonnaise / taza de mayonesa
  • 1 Avocado / palta
  • Salt and Pepper to taste / sal y pimienta al gusto
  • Olive Oil / Aceite de oliva

Instructions / Instrucciones

  • Peel and boil potatoes, then rice or mash in a large bowl / Pelar las papas y ponerlas a hervir en una olla grande

Ricing potatoes

  • Mix the potato with the aji amarillo, taste as you go until it is spiced to your liking. Add 2 tbs of lemon juice, salt and pepper and mix everything together.  Add Olive oil as needed until you’ve formed a smooth potato ‘dough’ / Mezclar las papas con el aji amarillo. Agregar 2 cucharadas de jugo de limón y sal y pimienta al gusto.  Agregar aceite de oliva, así será más facil amasar la papa.

Mixing the potato 'dough'

  • Finely dice the red pepper and the onion, add them to a medium bowl and mix together with the canned tuna. Add the remaining lemon juice and the mayonnaise and mix well. / Cortar el pimiento rojo y la cebolla en cuadritos y colocarlos en un recipiente junto al atún, agregar el jugo de limón restante y la mayonesa, mezclar bien.

Tuna salad

  • We assembled our Causa with a base layer of potatoes, topped with a layer of avocado, another layer of potatoes, a layer of tuna, one final layer of potatoes and finished with a spoonful of tuna on top and garnished with an avocado slice / Colocar como base la papa y encima la palta, agregar encima otra capa de papa y en la parte superior colocar el atún y para terminar otra capa más de papa. Puedes colocar una rebanada de palta y un poco de atún encima como decoración.

Assembling the Causa

Enjoy!

Causa… provecho!

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Spring Garden Cake

Spring Garden CakeThis is a great dessert to make around this time of year when you have a special dinner AND either a weekend to dedicate to it or several evenings after work (with a little help from some friends)

I’ve been meaning to make this cake since we started the blog – which is almost 2 years ago now – and finally, for a spring dinner last week I made it with the help of my über talented friend Megan.

The Spring Garden cake first appeared in a Martha Stewart magazine probably 20 years ago. My mom had a collection of Martha Stewart books and magazines and one Easter when I was young we attempted a version of this cake. The result of our efforts was a little less refined then my second attempt, as shown above, but all that mattered was I had so much fun making all of the marzipan vegetables with my mom. I enjoyed making the vegetables just as much this time, 20 years later as an adult. My friend Megan and I spent close to 5 hours dying the marzipan, rolling it out and marking it up to make the tray of fruits and vegetables you see below.

5 hours of work

One tip – think small. The amount of marzipan you need for a single carrot is very little and radishes and cabbage leaves need even less. Take less than you think you will need and add to it if necessary.

A Carrot cake works well as a base for this spring garden cake and the version we have included here is one we have been making for years.  I first started making this carrot cake several years ago when I was in Bolivia.  With coconut, pineapple and plenty of grated carrot, this is a moist and sweet carrot cake that tastes incredible covered in cream cheese frosting. The crushed cookies and marzipan vegetables are a delicious bonus.

Spring Garden Cake

This cake would make a great centerpiece at an Easter dinner and while this is certainly a weekend project – it works best if you make the different components over a few days – the most fun will come when the cake is made, the cookies are crushed, the frosting is whipped, the fence has been cut, the vegetables have been molded (Yes… this cake really is this much work) and you finally get to assemble it all together and present it to family and friends. Like most great food and dessert – this is one to share.

Enjoy! and Happy Easter!

Ingredients / Ingredientes

Carrot cake with Pineapple and coconut / Torta de Zanahoria con Piña y Coco

  • 3 cups flour / tazas de harina
  • 3 tsp baking soda / cucharillas de bicarbonato de soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder / cucharillas de levadura en polvo
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt / cucharillas de sal
  • 3 tsp cinnamon / cucharillas de canela
  • 1/2 tsp grated nutmeg / cucharillas de nuez moscada
  • 1 cup brown sugar / taza de azúcar morena
  • 1 cup white sugar / taza de azúcar
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable oil / tazas de aceite vegetal
  • 4 eggs plus one yolk / huevos y una yema
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla / cucharillas de vainilla
  • 3 cups grated carrots / tazas de zanahoria rayada
  • 1 1/2 cups pineapple / tazas de piña
  • 3/4 cup coconut / taza de coco

Cream Cheese Frosting / Glaseado de Queso Crema

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened / taza de mantequilla a temperatura ambiente
  • 8 ounce package of cream cheese, softened / onzas de queso crema a temperatura ambiente
  • 4 cups powdered sugar / tazas de azúcar impalpable
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract / cucharilla de vainilla

Mix butter and cream cheese in a stand mixer until combined, add powdered sugar and vanilla and mix into a thick frosting / mezclar mantequilla y queso crema en una batidora de pie, agregar azúcar impalpable y vainilla hasta que el glaseado este listo a su gusto.

Pastillage Ingredients / Pastillaje Ingredientes

  • 4 cups powdered sugar sifted / tazas de azúcar impalpable colada
  • 6 tbsp corn starch / cucharadas de almidón de maíz
  • 2 tbsp water / cucharadas de agua
  • 1 packet gelatin / paquete de gelatina
  • 1 egg white / clara de huevo
  • 1 tbsp water / cucharada de agua

The Martha Stewart website has a great video outlining how to make the pastillage as well as precise measurements regarding how to cut the fence / Puedes ver este video de Martha Stewart para hacer la cerca

Marzipan / Mazapán

  • SEE ‘Battenburg cake’ recipe – you will use approximately half of this amount of marzipan to make enough fruits and veggies to cover a 10 inch cake. / Ver nuestra receta de la Torta Battenburg – debes usar apróximadamente la mitad de esta receta.

‘Dirt’ / Tierra

  • SEE ‘Homemade Oreos’ recipe / Ver nuestra receta de las galletas de chocolates Oreos.
  • Crush 6 chocolate shortbread cookies in a food processor or blender until fine.Triturar 6 galletas en un procesador de comidas.

Decoration Instructions / Instrucciones

  • Prepare the Marzipan vegetables and Pastillage fence at least one day before you plan to assemble the cake / Preparar los vegetables de mazapán y la cerca de pastillaje por lo menos un día antes de asamblar la torta

Pastillage fence

  • Some useful tools for assembling the marzipan fruits and veggies are shown in the photo below / Algunos instrumentos que te ayudarán a hacer las furtas y vegetables de mazapán están en la foto abajo.

Useful tools...

  • Shortening – for your hands – to keep the marzipan from sticking and drying out as you are working with it. / Manteca – para que tus manos no se pegen al mazapán y para que el mazapán no se seque.
  • Plastic wrap – keep the marzipan wrapped in plastic and only remove what you will be using – marzipan dries out quickly / Plástico – mantener el mazapán envuelto en plástico , sacar lo que necesites y dejar cubierto en plástico pues el mazapán se seca muy rápido.
  • A small paintbrush and water – useful to help adhere leaves to stalks and joining the cabbage/lettuce leaves together if the marzipan is not tacky enough / Un pequeño pincel y agua – útil para adherir las hojas a las lechugas y tambien si es que el mazapán está muy pegajoso.
  • Toothpicks – for applying food coloring and for creating holes and creases in the marzipan / palillos de dientes – para la aplicación de colorante y para la creación de agujeros y grietas en el mazapán.
  • A roller ball tool – for smoothing edges / herramienta de bola rodante – para suavizar los bordes
  • Small scissors – for cutting the leaves of the artichokes / pequeña tijera – para cortar las hojas de las alcachofa

Marzipan carrots

  • Carrots – Mix orange, red and a little brown / Zanahorias – Mezcla de naranja, rojo y un poco de marrón
  • Leaves – Mix leaf green, yellow and a touch of brown / Hojas – Mezclar color hoja verde, amarillo y un toque de color marrón

Marzipan artichokes

  • Artichokes – Green and brown marzipan / Alcachofas -verde con marrón

Rhubarb and tomatoes

  • Rhubarb, Radishes and tomatoes – Mix Red with a touch of black and same leaf green as with the carrots / Rábanos y ruibarbo – Mezclar rojo con un toque de negro y el mismo verde que arriba. 

Marzipan watermelon

  • Watermelon – light green – mix light green with white. Dark green – straight dark green. and pink – mix pink with a touch of red. / Sandía – verde claro – mezclar el color verde claro con blanco. Verde oscuro – verde oscuro puro, sin mezclar con nada más, y Rosado – mezclar rosa con un toque de rojo.

Marzipan cabbage

  • Cauliflower – Leaf green and plain marzipan (no color) / Coliflor – Verde hoja y mazapán sin colorante

Instructions / Instrucciones

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F / Calentar el horno a 350 grados
  • Butter the bottom and edges of a 10 inch cake pan. We are using a springform pan (because that is the only circular pan we have) Cut a round of parchment and place on the bottom of the pan and butter it as well. / Poner mantequilla alrededor de el molde donde vas a hornear la torta, cortar papel pergamino y colocarlo en la parte inferior del molde, agregar encima del papel un poco de mantequilla.
  • Mix the dry ingredients together in a medium bowl (flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg) / Mezclar los ingredientes secos en un recipiente ( hariana, levadura en polvo, bicarbonato de soda, sal, canela, nuez moscada)
  • Mix the eggs, brown sugar, white sugar, oil, and vanilla in the bowl of a stand mixer and blend until well combined. / Mezclar los huevos, azúcar morena, azúcar, aceite y vainilla en una batidora de pie hasta que estén bien mezclados.
  • Grate Carrots, dice pineapple, and measure out coconut. / Rayar las zanahorias, cortar la piña en cuadritos y medir el coco.
  • Add the dry ingredients to the egg, sugar, oil mixture in two additions, mixing until just combined between additions. / Agregar los ingredientes secos a la mezcla de huevos, azúcar y aceite en dos adiciones, es decir primero agregar la mitad de la mezcla y mezclar bien en la batidora hsta que este todo incorporado y después agregar la otra mitad.

Carrot cake

  • Add the carrots, diced pineapple and coconut and fold together with a spatula until evenly distributed. / Agregar las zanahorias, piña y coco y mezclar todo con una espátula hasta que esté todo bien incorporado.
  • Pour into the cake pan and bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes – or until a cake tester comes out clean. / Poner la mezcla al molde y hornear la torta por 1 hora y 15 minutos o hasta que esté lista.
  • Cool on a rack for a few minutes then turn out and allow to cool completely. / Sacar la torta del molde y dejar enfriar completamente.
  • Wrap in plastic and freeze. This will make torting the cake (slicing off the irregular top) and dividing the cake in half much easier. / Envolver la torta en plástico y colocar en el congelador. Esto hará más fácil el cortar la torta por la mitad.

Assembling the spring garden cake

  • Assemble the cake with cream cheese frosting in between the layers as well as over the top and sides. / Montar el pastel con glaseado de queso crema entre las capas y también sobre la parte superior y los lados.
  • Mound about 1/2 cup of ground chocolate wafers onto the center of the cake once it has been frosted and gently spread to the outer layers of the cake – taking care not to push the crumbs down the sides of the cake. / Colocar alreadedor de 1/2 taza de las galletas de chocolate trituradas encima de la torta, con mucho cuidado.
  • Divide the plot into quarters and ‘rake’ with a fork in alternating directions / Dividir la parte superior de la torta en cuatro lados y con un tenedor, como si fuera un rastrillo mover en direcciones alternas

Planting the garden...

  • ‘Plant’ the garden with the pre-made marzipan fruits and vegetables / Agregar las furtas y vegetales de mazapán.

Pastillage fence

  • Apply pastillage fence to the outer layer of the cake – use the pre made 1/4 plots as a guide. Each quarter of the cake will have 8 pieces of fence and be divided by a fence post / Agregar la cerca hecha de pastillaje (como el la foto). Cada cuarto de la torta tendrá 8 piezas de la cerca

The cake is finished

  • Distribute Candy rocks around the outside and the cake is ready to serve or present at the table. / Colocar piedras o rocas de chocolates alrededor de la tora para una presentación increíble.
  • Enjoy! / A disfrutar!

Spring garden cake… Provecho!

 

Pistachio Cream Cheese Brownies

Pistachio Cream Cheese BrowniesEarlier this year, I was looking for a pistachio brownie online when I found this recipe on the blog What a Dish!, originally from Taste of Beirut.  I wanted to make a brownie that would pack well on a trip to the beach, but also a brownie that was a little different from the standard chocolate.  After the first batch turned out so well, we ended up making these several more times for nights out in the summer – One night we brought these to a picnic in Vanier park to watch the English Bay fireworks and another night they served as the perfect movie snack during an outdoor showing of ‘The Breakfast Club’ in Stanley Park.  

The combination of pistachio and chocolate is a great pairing, and while these certainly make a great summertime picnic dessert – with the bright green color of the pistachio layer cutting through the traditional chocolate brownie the presentation will also work very well during the rapidly approaching Christmas season.  

I use semi-sweet Callebeaut chocolate and a dutch processed cocoa to get the richest color and flavor for the brownie portion.  Most recently I’ve used a 100% Valrhona cocoa (available at Gourmet Warehouse) and it improves the brownies considerably.

Give these a try… I’m sure you’ll enjoy them

Ingredients / Ingredientes

  • 4 ounces unsalted butter / onzas de mantequilla sin sal
  • 4 ounces semi sweet chocolate / onzas de chocolate semi dulce
  • 3/4 cup flour / taza de harina
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder / cucharilla de levadura en polvo
  • pinch of salt / pizca de sal
  • 1 Tbsp cocoa powder / cucharilla de cocoa en polvo
  • 2 eggs / huevos
  • 3/4 cup sugar / taza de azúcar
  • 1 tsp vanilla / cucharilla de vainilla
  • 4 1/2 ounces pistachio paste / onzas de pasta de pistacho
  • 3 ounces cream cheese / onzas de queso crema
  • 1 egg / huevo

Pistachio paste / Pasta de Pistacho

  • 2 cups peeled pistachios / tazas de pistachos pelados
  • 1/2 cup almond flour / taza de harina de almendra
  • 1/2 cup sugar syrup (2 to 1 ratio of sugar to water brought to a boil to dissolve the sugar) / taza de jarabe de azúcar (azúcar disuelta en agua)
  • 1/4 cup grapeseed oil / taza de aceite de semilla de uva
  • green food coloring (optional) / colorante verde (opcional)
Shelled pistachios - skin on

Shelled pistachios – skin on

  • To remove the pistachio skin – pour boiling water over the shelled pistachios and allow to cool completely, the skin should slide off when the pistachios are rubbed between your fingers  – a bit tedious – yes – but it will make for a brighter coloured pistachio paste / Para remover la cáscara de los pistachos tienes que remojarlos en agua caliente y dejar a un lado hasta que estén frío. La cáscara debe salir cuando agarres los pistachos con los dedos. De esta manera los pistachos tendrán un color más verdes.
  • Blend everything together in a food processor until it forms a paste / Licuar los ingredientes en un procesador de comidas hasta que se forme una pasta.

Brownie Instructions / Instrucciones

  • Melt the butter and the chocolate together over a double broiler (aka a metal bowl over a simmering pot of water) / Derretir la mantequilla con el chocolate en baño maria a fuego lento.
  • Mix the flour, baking powder, salt and cocoa powder together and set aside / Mezclar la harina, levadura en polvo, sal y cocoa en un recipiente, poner a un lado.
  • In a stand mixer beat the eggs and sugar until thick and pale. / En una batidora de pie batir los huevos y azúcar hasta que la mezcla esté espesa y pálida.
  • Add the chocolate/butter, and vanilla and mix together. / Agregar el chocolate-mantequilla, la vainilla y mezclar todo junto.
  • Add the flour mixture until just combined / Agregar la mezcla de harina hasta que estén bien mezclados.
  • In a food processor blend the cream cheese, pistachio paste and egg until completely blended / En un precesador de alimentos colocar la crema de queso, pasta de pistacho y huevo y licuar bien.

layers of brownie batter and pistachio cream

  • Pour half of the brownie mixture into an 8 inch square pan lined with parchment / Colocar la mitad de la mezcla de brownie en una bandeja para hornear cuadrada (nosotros usamos una de 8 pulgadas) forrada con papel pergamino .
  • Top the brownie mix with the pistachio/cream cheese/egg mixture and finish with the rest of the brownie batter / Encima colocar la mezcla de pistacho y queso crema y después colocar  la otra mitad de la mezcla de brownie encima.
  • Bake in a 350 degree oven for 20-25 minutes until it passes the cake test with a toothpick or skewer / Poner al horno a 350 grados por 20 a 25 minutos o hasta que esté listo
  • Cool completely, cut into squares and serve / Dejar enfriar, cortar en cuadrados y servir.

Pistachio cream cheese browniesPistachio cream cheese brownies… Provecho!