Archives for posts with tag: Pike’s Place

Wow. Is this really the final recipe of my 30-day March cooking challenge?  How the month flew by (actually, not really)! Despite some ups and downs along the way, the good news is that this challenge ended with a bang – a Peruvian bang, that is. It was also fitting to cook a Peruvian feast on Easter Sunday: you see, last year I lived in Peru and my host family cooked a 12-course potato-based Peruvian Easter feast. It was probably the most… memorable… meal I’ve ever had!

Thus, it was only appropriate to rejoice in being back in the states  commemorate that (now infamous) meal with some Peruvian food on this holiday. With lots of help from Mark, we decided to attempt to make three of our favorite Peruvian dishes: causa, ceviche, and ocopa.

Clockwise from the back - ceviche, causa, and ocopa dip

Clockwise from the back – ceviche, causa, and ocopa dip

The recipes:

  • Causa – this is a sculpted, chilled, yellow aji pepper-flavored mashed potato dish, stuffed with some type of creamy meat salad and topped with any combination of olives, avocados, and hard-boiled eggs. This is the recipe we used as our basis.
The causa without its potato topping

The causa without its potato topping

  • Ceviche – many people are familiar with this raw white fish ‘cooked’ in lime juice dish. The Peruvians serve it with sweet potatoes, corn, red onions, and cilantro over a bed of lettuce. This recipe more or less fit the bill.
This dish involved squeezing about 10 limes

This dish involved squeezing about 10 limes

  • Ocopa – this peanut sauce goes great with potatoes and chicken. It’s made with peanuts, crackers, milk, cheese, tomato, aji, garlic, cilantro, onion, and a Peruvian black mint called huacatay. We made this from memory.

Peru 3

Quick recap: I was THRILLED to find both aji amarillo (yellow spicy pepper) and huacatay (black mint) paste in Pike’s Place’s El Mercado Latino. We used sushi-grade cod for the ceviche — and first soaked it in salt water. For the causa filling, I made a chicken salad with greek yogurt (since I’m not a fan of mayo), mustard, salt and pepper.

Peruvian huacatay or  'black mint'

Peruvian huacatay or ‘black mint’

Peru 7

The verdict: With every bite, I had visions of llamas, alpacas, the high Andes Mountains and lots of potatoes. And I didn’t even need an antacid for this year’s Easter meal! The aji amarillo and the huacatay really made these dishes taste authentic.

From Ethiopian food to falafel to chicken tikka masala, this month has been quite the culinary journey and the Peruvian feast was a GREAT meal to end this challenging month-long cooking challenge!


I have yet to meet a meat-eater who dislikes chicken tikka masala. It is just so delicious! I have to practically force myself to order new dishes when I eat out at Indian restaurants, but I ultimately come back to chicken tikka masala by the time the server comes around. I knew that I couldn’t trust the internet for this challenge – I needed a proven expert. Luckily, I have a friend who makes the best chicken tikka masala — and she was actually willing to share it with me. So, armed with Rosha’s recipe, I decided that there was better time than the present to finally try to make this Indian dish!

Rice, chicken tikka masala, and channa masala

Rice, chicken tikka masala, and channa masala

The recipe: Sorry, in respect for my friend, I’m going to keep this one a secret. If you are dying to know, ask me and I will consider sharing it (with her permission)! She also sent me the recipe for channa masala, an Indian chick pea dish, which I also attempted.

Quick recap: Not surprisingly, there is an UNBELIEVABLE amount of spices in these two dishes. Luckily, I only had to buy fenugreek leaves (thank goodness for Pike Place’s Middle Eastern spice shop, the Souk). Although not particularly complicated if you have the right spices, there are quite a few steps to making these dishes. First you have to marinate the chicken in a yogurt-spice sauce for a few hours, followed by cooking the chicken, and finally, making a creamy, tomato-based, spice-laden gravy for the chicken. The channa masala wasn’t too difficult but I had to whip out the food processor (yet again) to make a tomato/onion paste. Suffice it to say – our apartment smelled like an Indian restaurant on Sunday evening! Not that I’m complaining…

How would I have ever known that this box contained fenugreek leaves?

How would I have ever known that this box contained fenugreek leaves?

The verdict: WOW. The chicken tikka masala was almost as tasty as my friend’s (maybe because I used whole milk instead of heavy cream?). The channa masala was also tasty, but I don’t know how authentic it tasted since I had nothing to compare it to. All in all, I will be making this again — but I need to first go for a run — it is filling stuff!


This post is part of Bunny. Eats. Design.’s “Our Growing Edge” event!


Chai is one of my favorite drinks, but something I had never even considered to make… until this challenge. It’s also the perfect thing to make when you need some caffeine for a weekend road trip (hence the blogging hiatus) and you just don’t feel like baking or cooking!

The recipe: This recipe looked authentic and didn’t call for condensed milk (which I didn’t have).

Quick recap: I got to take advantage of my close proximity to Pike’s Place Market and visit MarketSpice to pick up some cardamom pods (which I hadn’t ever used before Lentil Dahl day). I may have used black peppercorns, more water, and skim milk in my version of the recipe. So much for authenticity!

Some of the spices I used to make the chai.

Some of the spices I used to make the chai.

The verdict: The whole apartment (and car) smelled like a tea shop/foreign land. I like tea shops and foreign lands, so this was a good smell! Now that I have the proper spices, I’ll be making this more often.

This challenge has motivated me to go through all of those dusty cookbooks that have been sitting on my bookshelf since I moved in. I found a recipe that was a little bit of a mystery: I couldn’t figure out if it would come out like a quiche, bread-covered artichoke, or some mix of the two. Sounded like a challenge-worthy, low-key dinner alternative.

The recipe: Listed under the “hot appetizers” section of a community cookbook:

The "artichoke squares" recipe

The “artichoke squares” recipe

Quick recap: I picked up some 99-cent parsley at Pike’s Place Market on the way home. I used parmesan and mozzarella instead of cheddar and added some garlic. I only had one jar of artichokes so I only used three eggs.

Pike's Place Market is not just for tourists

Pike’s Place Market is not just for tourists

The verdict: The nice thing about this recipe is that is is very versatile. Not only can you throw in just about anything you want into the batter, but you can eat it for breakfast, lunch or dinner – or serve it as an appetizer (as the recipe recommends). And the taste verdict is… it tastes like a mix of quiche and bread-covered artichoke!

It looks like a quiche...

It looks like a quiche…

But once I scooped it onto a plate, it seemed more like bread-covered artichoke...

But once I scooped it onto a plate, it seemed more like bread-covered artichoke…