As cooking endeavors go, this is my favorite way to cook: go to the market and buy what's fresh. I had settled on seafood and bought two types of octopus, a whole fresh fish, mussels and tiger prawns. Other ingredients that tickled my fancy made the meal. So off I went to Exito here in Cali, Colombia where I am working on my next cookbook, bought quality fresh ingredients, invited three others to join me and cooked up a storm. There was no idea in advance how I would combine these ingredients. All spur of the moment though based on innate sense of taste to pair these items in such way as to create a dish that surprises the palate.
Baked Mussels with a Herb Corn Polenta Grit Stuffing
Shrimp and Fish Ceviche with Pitaya
Pan Fried Mojarra (the fish) in an Onion, Chili and Coconut Sauce
Lettuce and Mango Wraps Stuffed with Sautéed Lime Marinated Octopus with Grilled Andean Corn.,
Ceviche of Tiger Prawn with Red Onion, Cilantro and Tomato
Baby Octopus Ceviche Marinated in Passionfruit Juice and Lime
As a beverage, I served an Aguapanela-based punch. Panela is unrefined whole cane sugar in a brick form. It is is a solid form of sucrose derived from the boiling and evaporation of sugarcane juice. To make aguapanela one dissolves the solid brick in water. Since my version is an aromatic one, I boil the panela with naranjo (orange leaves), lemongrass, mint and cloves. Once brought to a boil, I turn off the heat and add lime juice. The mixture is allowed to cool. To make the punch, one combines two parts aguapanela, one part fresh squeezed mandarin juice and one part ginger ale. Served in a hi-boy over ice and macerated mint with a lime slice. The non-virgin version adds a generous shot of dark Colombian rum.
Mojarra Encebollada con Ají en Salsa de Coco
Baked Mussels with an Herbed Corn Grit
Ceviche de Camarón y Mojarra a la Pitaya
Envueltos de Pulpo Salteado con Mango y Choclo
Baby Octopus Ceviche de Maracuyá
Ceviche Sencillo de Camarón