Queso Helado–starring Paticita y Lola

SDC19842We had a lovely afternoon with Paty’s familia. I had asked her a while back to teach me her ways in the queso helado world. She kindly obliged, and went all the way by inviting the McKinzie fam over for lunch and dessert. So delicious. I could have taken lessons on preparing her “Soltero de Queso,” another dish that I need to learn, but we enjoyed the time of visiting and eating delicious food. Afterward, Greg returned to our home with the the two littles, and Ana and I stayed for our ice cream lesson.

Queso Helado is a famous homemade ice cream served all over the city on a hot day. The women will wear the traditional Arequipa outfit and scoop the portions from large wooden vats of the ice cream. We love queso helado. It literally means “cheese ice cream,” but there is no cheese to be found in the ingredient list. The ice cream usually comes out with a yellowish tint that is similar to the color of cheese. Coconut is a main ingredient in the icy treat, and the portion is always sprinkled with ground cinnamon. My family’s Christmas tradition is to serve boiled custard over a piece of coconut cake. I think that is why I like this ice cream so much. Minus the cinnamon, the flavor could be titled, “Boiled Custard over Coconut Cake.”

a while back. Hanging out in the Plaza de Yanahuara where they always serve Queso Helado.
a while back. Hanging out in the Plaza de Yanahuara where they always serve Queso Helado.

Queso Helado










  • 1 liter of whole milk
  • 1 stick of cinnamon
  • 8 eggs
  • 100 g of shredded coconut
  • 1.5 c of sugar
  • 1 can or small bag of evaporated milk
  • ground cinnamon


  1. Echar un litro de leche, 100 g coco rallado, una rama de canela, 1.5 T azucar en una olla (medio fuego). Combine the milk, coconut, cinnamon stick, sugar in a small pot on medium heat.DSC_0266DSC_0267DSC_0269DSC_0272
  2. Separar 8 huevos clara de yema. Separate the eggs, yolk from whites.DSC_0274
  3. Mezclar yemas. Mix the yolks.DSC_0275
  4. Cuando liquido hierva, apagar el fuego. Colar la mezcla para eliminar el coco del liquido. When the mixture begins to boil, turn down the flame. Strain the liquid in order to remove the coconut pieces from the liquid.DSC_0273DSC_0276DSC_0278DSC_0280
  5. Agregar leche evaporada a liquido. Add the evaporated milk to the liquid.DSC_0282
  6. Enfriar el liquido (10-15 minutos). Allow the mixture to cool.
  7. Agregar las yemas. Add the yolks, but temp the yolks with a little bit of the hot mixture first.DSC_0283
  8. Echar en un fuente. Cubrir con plastico. Pour into a 9×13 pan and cover with plastic or a top.DSC_0284DSC_0285
  9. Congelar de una noche. Freeze over night.DSC_0286
  10. Servir con canela molida. Serve sprinkled with ground cinnamon.SDC19842

    Ana and Lola
    Ana and Lola
Queso Helado–starring Paticita y Lola

Papa a la Huancaína–starring Etelvina

On my reentry bucket list in these last months is to learn some recipes that my family loves. I have learned many recipes in my time here, mostly from Manuela. But today, Etelvina made a special trip to our home to show me her ways in Ocopa (a creamy spicy, yellow sauce). Ocopa is used in a dish called “Papa a la Huancaína.” You can read the origin of the plate at this link. Arequipa has its own twist on the dish. It is typically served as a starter, but when using big potatoes (which is what I used today), it is very filling. When I say that my family loves this dish, ALL of us ask for more sauce. At the end of the meal, the kids are always drinking up their extra ocopa like they would the milk from a bowl of cereal.

Etelvina brought all the ingredients for the ocopa (the sauce), and I had to provide the rest. The rest includes boiled potatoes, boiled eggs, lettuce leaves, sliced tomatoes, and purple olives. I bought all of my ingredients in the bodega one block from my home for under 2 dollars. Man, I love Peruvian bodegas. 🙂

So… I give you the step by step directions for making Ocopa and then how to assemble a plate of Papa a la Huancaína.



  • 5 ají verde (and yes, I know they aren’t green)
  • 2 dientes (teeth) of ajo (garlic)
  • salt
  • oil
  • saltine crackers and animal crackers
  • 1 large onion
  • Huacatay
  • peanuts
  • water

(This recipe is enough for 10 large potatoes)


1. Lavar aji verde. Clean the peppers very well.


2. Sacar semilla de aji. Remove all the seeds and “guts” from the peppers. This removes the spicy.


3. If cooking for people that like spicy food, leave the peppers alone. If cooking for children, rub the halves together very well under water to remove the spicy. Cut away any excess “guts.” Frotándole.


4. Freírlos. Cut the ajís and place them into a hot skillet coated with oil. Add the garlic and huatacay. Fry them until their are golden. Freír hasta se doren (doraditos).


5. While frying, remove shells from peanuts. You only need a half-handful of peanuts.


6. Remove Aji mixture into a bowl. Add peanuts (maní) and crackers (saltine and animal).



7. Cortar cebolla. Cut up the onion and fry in the same pan as the peppers. Allow to get black specks and soften.


8. Poner todo en la liquadora. Put everything in a blender.


9. Add water until all the ingredients are covered. Also add about 1 tsp of salt.


Blend away! The color will go from this…


to this…


Somebody is hungry and happy about Vina’s cookin’…


10. Taste test. If you want it thicker, add more crackers. Add more salt or garlic based on your taste preference.



And now, prepare the Papa a la Huancaína: place a large lettuce leave to the side of a plate. Put the potato down. Pour the ocopa over the potato. Lay the egg halves and olives in front of the potato, and lay a tomato slice on top of potato. Wah-lah!


Finally, enjoy with some Peruvians that you have come to LOVE. We love you so much, Etelvina and Arelí!!!!!!!! We will cherish afternoons like this!



Papa a la Huancaína–starring Etelvina

Palta Rellena


One fresh food that you can find year-round here in AQP is fresh avocado.  In Peruvian Spanish, the avocado is called “palta.”  A dish that I absolutely love, and that I think is absolutely brilliant is stuffed avocados.  It is as simple as cutting a palta in half, removing the skin and seed, and filling it with chicken salad.  Serve it on a bed of greens with fresh tomato and red onion, sprinkle on some seasoning, and you have a delicious, healthy meal.



Palta Rellena

Making Empanadas

left to right: Ann, Katie, Ibon, Emily, Rebecca, Jordan, Taylor, Sean

Today the interns came to the house in order to learn how to make empanadas.  Every Tuesday I go to Paty’s house and study the Book of Mark with her and her sister-in-law, Ibon.  I love Ibon.  She is such a sweet woman who loves to giggle and tell stories.  What I really love about Ibon is her love for cooking and trying new recipes.  She bakes for Cafe Connection, and we decided to take a Tuesday while the interns are here to learn her recipe.  So she arrived to my house this morning around 10:30 and by 12:45 we were eating fresh hot empanadas from my oven.  It was so much fun, and I thought I would share the experience with you all…

Ibon’s Empanadas

Ingredients (for the pastry):

  • 250 g crisco (soften if really hard about 30 seconds in microwave)
  • 225 g margarine
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 K flour (about 6 cups)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 Tbs powdered sugar
  • water to wet dough


  1. First, place all the crisco into a bowl and microwave until it is softened. (about 30 seconds; our crisco can be rock hard here in Peru)
  2. Add all dry ingredients together in a large bowl.
  3. Add crisco and margarine to the dry mixture, and knead the dough with pastry blender until all of the dough resembles tiny pebbles.
  4. Add the water and egg yolk and mix with hand.
  5. Allow the dough to rest for 30 minutes (or if you are using later, place in a ziplock bag to keep in fridge until next day)

Ingredients for filling:

anything you want!  I can’t wait to try my own combinations.  We used what I had on hand which ended up being ham, cheese, and mayo.  But also, you will need:

  • one egg separated
  • 1 Tbs of powdered sugar
We started off with a dough ball that Ibon had already prepared.
Taylor is admiring my gigantoid rolling pin to roll out the dough.
Ibon cutting the dough into quarters.


and those quarters into quarters, and those quarters into quarters. Until we had about 20 little dough balls.


roll out the dough ball until it is this sizef
Place the filling in the middle of the dough.
brushing egg white around the edges of the inside of the pastry before folding up


fold over and cut off any major excess for smooth looking edges


flute the edges with a fork


Sean getting in on the action. Look at that face. 🙂
sift about a Tbs of powdered sugar into an egg yolk
brush the mixture onto all of the empanadas (oh, and the oven has preheated to 350 degrees)
aren't they beautiful?! We put 2 pans in and they took around 45 minutes to bake.
and Nadia, Ibon, and me finished them up...


and Jordan finished the last one for us. Single ladies, this man can make fresh, hot empanadas! 😉

We had fun learning.  Can I just say that I love this group of interns.

Making Empanadas

Lomo Saltado

Lomo Saltado is one of the most popular dishes in all of Peru. It is very similar to a beef stir-fry, and honestly, I used to not think a whole lot of it. I liked it, but I have had plenty of good beef stir-fry in my life. Until… I ate Manuela’s. You may be sick of me saying this, but she really is a superb cook, and I have definitely been learning from the best. The flavor if her Lomo Saltado is out of this world, and I learned today that it is the easiest, quickest, and easiest-to-make-in-the-states Peruvian dish I have come across. Because it is beef steak, Peruvians usually serve it for special occasions–visitors, holidays.

Lomo Saltado (for 6-7 people)



2 lbs thin beef steak, cut into short strips (like fajita meat)
6 large Roma tomatoes, julienned
2 large red onions, julienned
1/2 cup vegetable oil
one piece “tooth” of garlic
a mixture of 2 tsp pepper, 1 tsp MSG, 1 tsp salt
1 heaping tsp of sugar
one large spoonful of red vinegar
one large spoonful of soy sauce
a generous handful of chopped cilantro, optional
3 cups prepared rice
2 lbs of potatoes for french fries

1. Prepare steak, tomatoes, and onion. Keep separated.


2. In a large pot, heat oil until very hot. Add minced garlic and allow to turn golden. When garlic turns golden, add the steak strips and 2 tsp of salt. Put on lid to conserve the juices. Cook and stir after 3-5 minutes.

3. Blend the spices (pepper, MSG, and salt–you can add more salt later if it is lacking).

4. Allow beef to brown on all sides. While browning, prepare the rice.

5. Add onion and spice blend to the pot. Also add vinegar and soy sauce. Cook and continue to stir every so often. After about 10 minutes, add 1 heaping tsp of sugar (Manuela says that any recipe with vinegar and tomatoes needs a little sugar).

6. Continue cooking for 5 minutes more and add the tomatoes.

7. Finely chop the cilantro (one of the big reasons I love Manuela’s recipe).


8. Allow the pot to simmer for about 10 minutes. When you are ready to serve, add the cilantro and turn off the heat. Meanwhile, you should have been preparing the french fries (I have already explained Manuela’s technique for this in the Atomatada recipe).


9. Serve Lomo Saltado over rice with a heaping serving of french fries, and if you grew up with green veges like me, serve with a side of beautiful Peruvian steamed asparagus (doesn’t that look good?!).


Lomo Saltado

Aji de Gallina

This dish is one of my personal favorites. The creamy chicken sauce has a little spice and reminds us of enchilada sauce. The sauce is served over rice typically with a boiled potato and boiled egg on the side. We normally do without the potato and egg and add a green vegetable. Either way, it is delicious!


Aji de Gallina

1. Place 5 peices of the “common bread” in water to soak. (common bread here is course and not sweetened)

2. Boil one large breast (bone-in) of chicken.

3. Boil 3 aji amarillos until soft.

4. Dice 2 large white onions very finely.

5. Remove bread from water.

6. Tear chicken into bite-sized pieces.

7. Squeeze water from bread using your hands.

8. in blender: blend bread and cream, place in separate bowl

in blender: blend aji and garlic and a little bit of cumin

9. Warm large pot with 1/4 c oil. Once it is very hot, cook onion until tender and translucent (add a little salt). Add aji mixture and bread mixture. Add pepper. Stir until creamy and thickened.

10. Add chicken. Add a little MSG for some added flavor. Serve over rice.

Aji de Gallina