The Clare Cosi coffeehouse mystery series by Cleo Coyle is one of my favorites and one I buy often for gifts for other people. I also like the authors' Haunted Bookshop series! In addition to series that stay strong title after title with tight and interesting plots, delicious recipes and characters keep readers hungry for more. And I don't even drink coffee! Molly and I were delighted Cleo was able to join us for our celebration this month. We really appreciate how she made the dish and took a special picture just for this blog!-AA
A “Food Trance” Trip with Cleo Coyle
Moving to New York opened up our culinary world even more. Our research for the Coffeehouse Mysteries also brought us wonderful foodie finds from coffee-producing countries of South and Central America, Africa, and Southeast Asia, among others.
When Amy asked if we had a flaming (or spicy) dish to celebrate the publication of Molly MacRae’s Lawn Order (congrats Molly!), I immediately thought of an amazing Peruvian comfort-food dish, one featured in Espresso Shot, a popular entry in our Coffeehouse series.
The instant our amateur sleuth, coffeehouse manager Clare Cosi, eats this dish at a pre-wedding bash for her ex-husband (a globetrotting coffee buyer for their shop) she slips into a “food trance.” It’s exactly what happens to me when I eat it, too. There are so many flavors coming at you in this baby your mind shuts down to simply enjoy the gastronomic moment.
Lomo Saltado is not a complicated dish, and the ingredients are far from exotic. It’s the Peruvian version of meat and potatoes, a real “mom and pop” kind of meal with versions served in most restaurants and homes in Peru. Like spaghetti sauce, meatloaf, Mulligan stew, or shepherd’s pie, lomo saltado is a dish in which every family tends to put their own unique spin on the basic recipe.
Natives of Peru in our Queens neighborhood made this dish for us. We loved it so much we adapted their recipe to make at home. It’s perfect for a cold winter night, and (as far as the “heat” issue goes), you can make it mild, spicy, or call-the-fire-department hot by adjusting the amount of jalapeño pepper up or down. We like our version best, because the heat is subtle and well balanced with the other flavors.
To complete your “virtual” trip to Peru, tune in to Peruvian radio as you eat! Just click this link and then click on the icon to listen to music from the Andes: Link courtesy of combat knife-maker (I kid you not) Newt Livesay.
To drink? Enjoy an authentic Peruvian cocktail—the Pisco Sour. Click here to watch a Peruvian bartender whip it up for you. By the end of the dinner, I swear you’ll be seeing Machu Picchu!
CLEO COYLE’S PERUVIAN DINNER:
Approximately 6 servings
Boneless beef steaks, approximately two pounds (*See note on cuts)
2–3 russet potatoes (or use frozen French fries)
4 tablespoons vegetable or canola oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 yellow onions, chopped
2 red onions, chopped
2 red peppers, chopped