Saturday, September 18, 2010

More San Pedro Market photos

Well, I think I've figured out how to add 5 photos at a time. I'll try to add more... but you can see a lot of my photo albums of Peru and other places I've visited at my Noshwalks page on Facebook. In fact, this blog is really just complementary and lets me write endless copy when what you really should do is see the photos of the market.

The first photo shows a girl holding up a "cocona." I didn't know what it was until my last full day in Peru, when I was in Lima and wandered through "Vivenda," a 24-hour produce market in the Miraflores neighborhood, near my hotel, which seemed modeled on Whole Foods. Cocona looked like no fruit (or vegetable) I'd ever seen - lighter in color than any tomatoes iI was familiar with but looking a bit like a tomato; more oblong than round. I bought one, successfully got it through customs, put in my refrigerator and then - alas - got back to it too late. By then it had shriveled up. I'm embarrassed to confess this, because I never got around to tasting it! From what I've read - and there's not much about it on line - it's cultivated in Peru, tastes somewhat like a cross between a tomato and lime (interesting!) and is used by some Peruvian Indians to treat headlice. Maybe that's better than all the gunk I had to use when my daughter had it in 2nd grade!

In the next picture, a woman at a small bakery near the market is holding up a plate containing a slice of causa, a delicious potato pie with an avocado filling. This is not a difficult dish to make - you mash yellow potatoes, flavor with lime and Peruvian pepper paste, and when cool, you prepare one layer (about a 4" square, about1 1/2 " high, add a filling that can be tuna fish, chicken, avocado, shrimp, whatever, and top it off with a second layer of potato. Garnish it with parsley, olives, whatever... This is the ultimate comfort food!

The company I used to arrange my tour, Southern Crossings ( arranged for an amazing guide, Rich Achante, to take me through San Pedro. I'd already wandered through it on my own the day before, but Rich was able to explain certain foods I wouldn't have thought even to ask about. One is lucuma, the fruit that the woman in the picture is holding. She operates a natural juice bar, making juices and shakes of all sorts of local fruits and vegetables - the type of thing you see all over Latin America - and in the Caribbean and Latin American neighborhoods of New York City. Lucuma has a soft, pasty texture, and Rich described as almost like a caramel pumpkin pudding or - and it looks like that when it's cut open. He said he's so addicted to it that he has to have some lucuma every day - and usually buys it in the form of an ice cream pop purchased from a street vendor!

So much of the produce looks just so gorgeous and tasty. This barrel of peppers, limes, tomatoes and ginger just exudes flavor!

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