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Ana Alfaro

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    Panama City, Panama
  1. Can someone give me the recipe for the P. Herme chocolate ice cream? I'm frankly curious. Also, a couple of suggestions: 1. Pear and syrah sherbet. You boil the syrah down with the pears, do the sherbet without milk, use egg whites. 2. Burnt caramel ice cream. Use egg yolks, burn yor caramel as if for flan, and at the end add crushed macaroons or amaretti. 3. Orange-ginger ice cream. Infuse milk with ginger and orange peel.
  2. I call the chopped parsley green sneeze when it's all over the edges of the dish. It's like someone with a really bad cold sneezed on it.
  3. Hi, I¡m new to this topic. I recently read somebody using sous vide and cryovac as if they were synonimous. It does not sound right, since sous vide only implies a vacuum, and cryovac implies sub-zero temperatures, I believe. Anybody willing to enlighten me? Regards, Ana
  4. I'm still alive, guys. Was just swamped with work, combined with a little trip to California and another to Japan. First: the "canastitas" DFong recalls and Jaymes can't remember, they are usually used at private parties, or when ceviche is served either as a hors d'ouevre or as part of a cocktail buffet. Restaurants tend to use the individually wrapped (1 portion of 4,etc) saltine crackers. The fish: Ceviche, seviche, sebiche or cebiche (all four spellings are allowed by the Diccionario de la Real Academia de la Lengua) is usually allowed to spend several days in its lime brine, specially at supermarkets, restaurants, etc. as long as it is properly refrigerated. However, this tends to toughen up the flesh --you'd think it would make it fall apart, but no--and ends up tasting, well, fishy. IMHO, seviche is at its best when eaten within three hours of mixing, and I have developed a marked preference for the Peruvian style of seviche-making. As a matter of fact, I just had lunch at a Peruvian seafood place which I am reviewing, and it was absolutely delightful. They serve it with choclo, the wonderful big fat white corn of the Andes, with red onions and cilantro, and add a generous chunk of boiled yam or sweet potato to offset the acidity and heat of the lime and scotch bonnet peppers we use around here. Fish doneness: The smaller the morsels, the faster they will "cook"; therefore I find them tastier when they are left a little larger, in 3/4 inch chunks. The lime/lemon. In Panama we have the bad habit of calling Key limes "lemons", but they are way more effective than, e.g, Meyer lemons, which taste more like some of our sour oranges. Ecuadorians are quite fond of making seviche with sour oranges, and a touch of ketchup. It works pretty well, specially with shrimp. And of course you can also make seviche with chicken breasts, boiled and chopped in pieces.
  5. To my understanding, and based on what Panamanian chefs are doing, Nuevo Latino is a reappraisal of the ingredients and techniques used in traditional Latin American foods and their adaptation with new techniques. For example, last December, the Asociación Culinaria de Panamá held a contest for young talents: there were two categories, savory and sweet. The winning entry, savory, was "Pollo Salteado-Escalfado con Chorizo y Calamares, Tamal de Platano, Morrones Grillados y Aire de Maiz", Sauteed-stewed chicken stuffed with chorizo and calamari, a plantain tamal, grilled red peppers and a corn "air", a la Ferran Adria. The winning desert was "Golosinas de mi Tierra, Versión Moderna", which was quite inventive. It consisted of four miniatures, reworking of traditional sweets: a ginger sno-cone, molasses and coconut mousse, flan and an arroz con leche mousse with molasses-ginger honey. In other words, going back to indigenous ingredients and reworking them to suit the demands of modern diners: leg of pork with guava barbecue sauce, corvina in a plantain crust, etc. In other countries like Peru and Mexico, there are strong currents trying to reinstate traditional staples which the Spaniards tried to eradicate due to their great religious -sociopolitical connotations, etc., such as quinoa and amaranth seed, which have tremendous nutritional value and have proven to be far more valuable than, e.g, wheat and corn. And emphasis is also being placed on the importance of certain food combinations such as beans and corn, which eaten together provide valuable nutrients, and on the preservation of cookery techniques such as tamal making, etc.
  6. Sorry I missed Jaymes' last post. requesting a fish substitute. I believe the main issues here are: white flesh and fat content. Go for fish from warmer water, since corvina averages only about 4 pct fat. Mahi mahi, dolphin, red snapper, sea bass are all good bets.
  7. The Japanese and Chinese have a tinned dessert: almond jelly with tangerine slices, sort of their version of fruit cocktail. It is light, refreshing and delicious. Or try a tangerine poppyseed cake, or a tangerine banana nut bread, with a bit of chinese five-spice thrown in for a nice twist.
  8. What part of the US do you live in? Any white fish from warm waters will work nicely. I realize you are in the middle of winter, so you should consider frozen fish, from a reliable provider. Fish tend to increase their fat content in winter, and that will give it a, well, fishy taste. I personally prefer the peruvian way of making ceviche, I think we Panamanians "overcook" it. That is, we let it sit too long in the lime juice. You can go to www.prensa.com, and on the right hand side, under the red Tiempo Libre tag, you will find the Recetario tag. You will find several recipe sections there. Go to the Cuquita recipes, or the Ana Alfaro recipes. Or you can call up "seviche", "sebiche", "ceviche" or "cebiche". since all four forms are accepted (ain't it weird?). That is the most complete website you will find on Panamanian food, anywhere. I am enclosing two recipes: the first is for a Panamanian style seviche and the second, for a Peruvian. The Aji Chombo is a Scotch Bonnet. The Mirasol for the Peruvian recipe you can find in Peruvian markets, or make do with jalapeños, which are milder. If you can, get a jar of the peruvian stuff in paste form, it keeps for a bit in the fridge or freezer. Remember that what we call "limón" is a "lime", as in Key Lime Pie. Panamanian Culantro (optional for the Panamanian seviche) can be substituted by Cilantro. However, in Jamaica, etc., it¡s known as Fitweed. The Naranja Agria is, of course, a Seville orange. Let me know how you fare. Ceviche de corvina al estilo Panameño Por: Anita de de Obaldía del restaurante El Trapiche Ingredientes: 4 lbs. de corvina fresca en filetes 4 tazas de jugo de limón 2 cebollas grandes picadas Sal al gusto Ají chombo picado al gusto Culantro picado al gusto (opcional) Preparación: Cortar los filetes de corvina en cuadritos pequeños. Agregue el jugo de limón, la sal, la cebolla, el ají chombo y el culantro revolviendo con una cuchara de madera. Deje cocinar en el limón durante 12 a 24 horas antes de servir. Ceviche peruano 30 minutos o menos FOTO: credito Yolanda Chang Seviche de corvina al estilo peruano Ana Alfaro Especial para La Prensa revista@prensa.com Rinde 6 porciones Nota: Este seviche lo preparó un reconocido arquitecto peruano en su casa de la playa. Al cierre de esta nota, el individuo andaba “missing in action” así que les estoy dando la receta de lo que recuerdo, pero es uno de los mejores que he probado. Tengo la leve sospecha de que la compañía marcó toda la diferencia en aquella ocasión, así que ya sabes: si no encuentras buena compañía, desiste y ponte en manos de profesionales. Le va de pelas un Pisco sour, o una cervecita fría.. El ají mirasol lo consigues en Mini Max, o en tarro en Château Gourmet de Altos del Golf. Ingredientes 2 libras de corvina bien blanca, impecablemente fresca ½ taza de jugo de limón ½ taza de jugo de naranja agria 1 taza de cebolla morada, cortada en plumas ½ taza de cilantro, cortado y bien empacado ají mirasol Procedimiento Se lava bien la corvina y se seca. Se corta en tuquitos de un centímetro. Se salpimenta y se deja reposar con el ají al gusto. Aparte, enjuagas la cebolla, y la secas bien. Le añades los jugos y el cilantro y al último momento, unos quince minutos antes de servir, mezclas todo. Servir con galletitas saltinas.
  9. Man, you must have been here like in the seventies!! Most of the places you mention are long gone. However, Panamanian gastronomy is really kicking up, and for a small country of three million, there is a lot of diversity --port cities always have diversity of culture. We have Japanese, excellent Chinese --and I do mean excellent--, Thai, tons of Spanish, Fusion, French, Italian --no decent Indian or Vietnamese, alas, and no Northern Italian--and of course, a host of US franchises: from Dunkin Donuts to Tony Roma's, you name it. Plus, local cooking shows, food magazines, a Cordon Bleu joint program with a local university, a new Nouvelle Panamanian cuisine, very nice. So, when were you here? aa.
  10. Esperanza, we do not have that law. We do, however, have some stupid law on slanderring public officials, which is sooo ridiculous, do you know that Panama's corruption index in 2003 topped Mexico's? Thanks for your kind words on my articles. This last week I wrote about this amazing turkey my cousin makes, on the barbecue, and injected full of triple sec. Unfortunately, this year the bird burnt and did not look as engaging as the last time. For Año Nuevo I am going to a friend's place in El Valle De Antón (kind of posh weekend-vacation place a couple of hours from P. City) and we are going to make "lechón en caja china", which I will be posting in January. Will let you know. The funny thing is, the Caja China has nothing chinese about it. The Cubans call "chino" anything quaint, sort of like La China de Puebla, who was actually Indian.
  11. Hello Rachel, Esperanza, Jaymes. I'm so happy to be here with you!!! Jaymes, I really think that you mourn the passing of a lifestyle. The Canal Zone was a funny place. The child of capitalism, it was the perfect communist model (for zonians, that is). ***The Yacht Club. Never went to the upstairs steakhouse. Did go to the downstairs bar, and of course, a lot of my friends had yachts and we would depart for Las Perlas archipelago from there, or for day trips to Melones or Taboga, cool. This place was at the mouth of the Canal, and you would just sit there and lounge and watch the sun set, drinking beer. Now, Jaymes, there is a new visitors' Centre at the Miraflores Locks, including a restaurant on the third floor, where you can dine whilst, ten meters away, these huge ships rise and fall with the waters. Crappy food, lovely spectacle: the technological equivalent (except for the food) of those five star hotels on the Serengeti with dining decks above watering holes. ***Re. Las Americas: No more corvina with almonds, trout amandine now, and corvina with other sauces. Chef Rafa Ciniglio built a fancy restaurant, but the old takeout place still stands.
  12. Maestro: Jacques Pepin said to me once during an interview that the minute you write a recipe, you destroy it. At the same time, I believe that the minute you try to define the ideal, you destroy and demean it. Perhaps in the future, historians will say that the ideal gastronomy of the XXI century was that of Ferran Adria, or of Nobu Matsuhisa, depending on which history they are writing, but for now, we are trying to strive, every day, for an illusion, however tasty. TRADUCCION AL ESPAÑOL****Durante una entrevista, Jacques Pepin me dijo que al momento de plasmar una receta en papel, se destruye. De igual manera, creo que el instante en que se intenta definir lo ideal, se destruye y degrada. Tal vez los historiadores del futuro dirán que la gastronomía ideal del XXI fue la de Adriá o la de Matsuhisa, según la historia que estén contando, pero por el momento, intentamos, cada día, de lograr una ilusión, sin importar cuán sabrosa pueda ser. Salut, i forza al canut.
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