Waking up this morning my neck didn’t hurt as much as it did yesterday - a win! Sergio on the other hand, was not doing so hot. He was extremely sniffly and had a sore throat. Work went smoothly in the morning and over lunch I decided to go to the burger and smoothie place.
I had 40 minutes to go get food and get back before my meeting and I made it with 5 minutes to spare. The smoothie was delicious and the burger was okay. At a couple places we’ve eaten at, the same person who takes your order also makes your food. The same was true here, so even getting a burger and smoothie to-go takes awhile! The rest of the day was uneventful, and we had to head out at 14:30 for our cooking class.
This was my first time going to the market, Sergio and Haisting had been there before, but our cooking class was to start there to buy all our ingredients for our meal.
On our way there we walked through the main square, and it was my first time getting to see the main square in the sunshine. I love cities that have main squares, it’s such a great place to hang out and meet people.
Poor Sergio was not feeling well and was doing all that he could to take care of himself. As we walked in the sunshine, I got pretty warm and my head started to throb from the lack of oxygen. That has always been my first symptom, second to my legs feeling tired, and lastly my heart.
This was really my first time walking through the streets of Cusco in the daylight. It’s fun to see the Spanish influence and similarities to Puerto Rico. The main floor is more traditional Inca and the top floors were added by the Spanish.
We met our guide and chef, Jesus, outside the market, and to our surprise, we were the only three in the class! He gave us a tour of the entire market. There are sections for EVERYTHING. There’s a whole section for potatoes, cheese, herbs and powders, vegetables, soup, etc.
We learned so much about all the different things within the market. Jesus was a great teacher. There are three types of quinoa: white, red, and black. The flavor is all the same, but the cook time gets longer with the darker colors. We also learned about yellow, red, and black maca. Yellow maca is for everyone, red for women, and black is for men. We learned about a ton of different fruits that are Peruvian.
Aguaymanto is like a tomatillo, it’s got a shell around it, and is a bright orange color.
Chirimoya is also known as a custard apple. It has white soft fruit, with several black seeds.
Pepino Dulce translates to sweet cucumber, and is just like that. It has a yellow skin and pink-ish stripes.
There are three types of passionfruit. Granadilla is known as the sweet passionfruit and is less acidic.
Maracuyá is the main (more sour) passionfruit.
Tuna is a prickly pear cactus, you peel off the outer layer to get to the edible fruit on the inside.
Lúcuma is Jesus’ favorite and can have a caramel / dulce de leche flavor.
After we finished shopping, we headed to the studio to prepare our food.
We started our class by making Pisco sours - the most popular drink in Peru. We made passionfruit pisco sours. It was made with Pisco, which is basically distilled wine, simple syrup, maracuya juice, and egg whites (to add frothiness). After shaking and serving it, you add three drops of bitters.
Our next thing to prepare was three different types of ceviche: traditional, passionfruit, and nikkei (Asian fusion - there’s a lot of Japanese and Chinese influence in Peru). We learned that lime juice, or wasabi in sushi, is used to kill any bacteria on the raw fish. When squeezing a lime, lemon, orange, etc. you are only meant to squuze it in the strainer twice, and not hard. This way you get the juice, but not anything from the pores of the skin. The ceviche was the highlight for the three of us.
About this time is when my stomach started to get rumbly, and I realized that my burger from lunch must not have agreed with my stomach. Will we ever make it through a day where none of us have any health ailments? To top it off, on my way to the bathroom, I hit my head on the low doorway, not very hard, but it started bleeding, which was the cherry on top of the whole situation - sorry if it’s TMI but trying to keep it real!
You’ll notice on Haisting’s plate there are what we call in the US corn nuts, although I think these are much better. They are served as a side, similar to peanuts being served at a bar, except they are served at restaurants. In this case, we used them as a palate cleanser between the different types of ceviche. One thing about the ceviche that surprised me was how much juice was in the bowl. At the end, when you’re done eating the ceviche, the remaining juice is called “leche de tigre” or tiger’s milk. They use this term to refer to any citrus-based marinade used to cure raw fish, and is usually spicy.
Our second course was pastel de papas, which is the peruvian equivalent to scalloped potatoes. Potatoes are originally from Peru. Yes, Peru, not Ireland. Tomatoes also are from Peru, not Italy. There are ~3,000 types of potatoes in Peru. We used Andean cheese between layers of potato with a drizzle of egg and cooked that in a small muffin tin sat in a larger pan of water to allow humidity to help melt the cheese nicely. It was served with a cheesy, potato-sauce and topped with alfalfa sprouts.
There are bull carvings like the one on the shelf all over in Cusco. I want to learn more about them. From our Airbnb, I can see several houses with pairs of them on the middle of their roofs. According to Haisting, they bring good luck.
Our final course was a quinoa risotto, with a cheesy heavy cream sauce with onion and red peppers called locoto, or aji peppers, that had been flambéed in pisco for added flavor and smokiness. By this point in the evening, we were starting to fill up.
This desert was probably the most phenomenal desert I’ve ever had in my life, and it was 90% fruit, with a bit a whipped cream and sugar. The whipped cream was mixed with the chirimoya, the lúcuma was puréed at the bottom, the pepino dulce was sliced and placed along the top, with granadilla, tuna, and aguaymanto along the sides. Trying so many new fruits all at once was an incredible experience.
The cooking class in total was four hours and the most amazing experience. This is the company we went through:
Daily Cooking Classes
Choose the date for an unforgettable culinary experience Every day, from 9 am to 1 pm (Lunch Class) and from 3 pm to 7 pm (Dinner Class), you will have the opportunity to join our Culinary Cooking Experience and learn more about Peruvian cuisine.
We got home and Sergio went straight to bed. Haisting and I stayed up a bit longer. I worked on Pericle for a bit, and tried to journal for a bit, and then got ready for bed a bit early as I started getting tired while trying to focus on my journal. Here’s to hoping we feel better tomorrow.20220421: Another Day of Delicious Food (and sickness too)