Papa a la Huancaina Sunday

It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything here. I’ve been out of town and rather busy, but alas things have slowed down a bit and I was up to some leisure activities this weekend. Sundays are dedicated to cooking at our house. Today we had a Peruvian feast featuring one of my favorite Peruvian dishes, Papa a la Huancaina or “Papa a la Wank” for short. It’s a dish featuring a velvety, yellow spicy cheese sauce poured over potatoes. In short, YUM.

Here is a quick recipe and some pictures I took of the Papa a la Wank-making process. Please note that having watched this made over the years by my mother-in-law and and having made it myself, I don’t have any exact measurements. I will try my best to put some in, but it’s been all instinctual up until this point. A splash of this, a dash of that. That’s how we roll. . .

You will need:

  • a blender
  • potatoes (about six)
  • one yellow bell pepper
  • one orange bell pepper
  • about four yellow aji peppers (from Peru). You can substitute with another hot pepper if you don’t have access to Peruvian aji.
  • one tablespoon olive oil
  • one quarter of a red or white onion
  • four gloves of garlic
  • a few dashes of turmeric
  • one package of queso fresco (white cheese)
  • 4 or 5 Saltine crackers
  • about 1/4 cup of milk
  • salt and pepper to taste
*This dish is traditionally served garnished on a bed of lettuce with black olives and hard boiled eggs halved and placed around the potatoes. If you are going to serve it this way, be sure to boil some eggs ahead of time.
  1. Boil the potatoes
  2. Quarter both bell peppers and poil in another pot
  3. In a small saucepan,saute garlic, onion, aji peppers, and turmeric.
  4. After bell peppers are soft (about 15 minutes) add them to saucepan and continue to sauté until everything is mixed and soft.
  5. In a blender, add queso fresco, the contents of the saucepan, milk, and crackers.
  6. Blend until smooth.
  7. Peel potatoes and slice.
  8. Pour sauce over potatoes and garnish with lettuce, black olives, and hardboiled eggs.


Making the a la Wank

Mmmm, yellow. . .

I was so caught up in eating, I forgot to take a picture of the finished product! This is what it looks like when done (not my photo):

Papa a la Huancaina


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Buttoned Up

As a jewelry designer, Martha Stewart’s button necklace tutorial caught my eye. It looks rather simple and the outcome is a pretty necklace that would go with just about any color outfit. You could, of course, mix it up and make it bright or however you wanted depending on the buttons you use.

In the comments section below the tutorial, one commenter wrote that you can get a bag of 60 abalone-shell buttons at JoAnn Fabrics for $3.50.

buttoned up

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Art Inspired by Literature

As a book lover, I’ve been taking notice of a lot of book art on the web lately.  There have been pieces cropping up including sculpture and jewelry.  Here are a few of the pieces that have caught my eye and my interest.

Rich Neeley Designs on Etsy sells Iphone chargers made from classics. I want one of these! Here’s my favorite made from The Great Gatsby:

Great Gatsby Iphone charger

Daily Danny has a lovely little birdhouse made from classic children’s books and also a tutorial from the Today Show on how to make it. It actually looks fairly easy, but then again a lot of these tutorials squeezed in-between commercials on morning talk shows always look like a slap-dash good time. The tutorial also has instructions on how to make a book clock!

For bookish birds

Paper Statement on Etsy is a shop that sells sculptures and jewelry made from books. One sculpture that really caught my eye is called “Double Book Sculpture“. It would look good on the fireplace mantel.

Book statement piece

This piece by book sculptor Guy Laramee is pretty incredible. It’s a book carved with a nature scene in the middle, proving there really is a whole world inside each book.  The detail in this piece is unbelievable. Be sure to check out his other pieces on his webpage.

A world inside of each book

There’s a tutorial over at Mandipity on how to make this lovely book page necklace. It’s certainly giving me some great ideas!

Wear the words around your neck

And last but not least is the trendy book purse. Here’s one of the brightest and most fun examples I’ve seen in a while: The Chicago Manual of Style by Rebound Designs.

Grammar on the go

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Todd Oldham’s Kid Made Modern Hits Target

Designer, Todd Oldham has brought his new kid’s craft line called  Kid Made Modern to Target. But because they’re from Todd Oldham, they’re not your usual crayons and drawing paper. Instead, they’re unusually fun and quirky, making them very appealing to grownups, too. There’s something called a “crazy crayon”, which boasts 64 colors in one ten inch stick.  Other highlights include a sew-it-yourself elephant pillow, duct tape art projects, a space stone jewelry kit,  and a comic book making kit that includes markers, stamps, and stencils. Lucky for me, I live about a block from Target. I’m going to go check it out for my five year old, of course. Uh yeah, definitely for my five year old.

Todd Oldham for Kid Made Modern

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Do You Have Baggage?

Repurposed vintage suitcases have been all the rage lately. Here are a collection of the best redos I’ve seen.

The first one is a love seat whose base and back are made from an old suitcase. It even has wheels! The makers are junktion and their other repurposed peices are truly incredible. You can check them out here.

suitcase love seat

roll away love seat


Next up on my list is this vintage suitcase boom box from The BoomCase Store. They have a large array of boom boxes made from vintage suitcases that are pretty jaw-dropping. This one is called “The Titanic II”.

The Titanic II

The Titanic II


This next piece is an ottoman made by a blogger named Meghan. In her post, she writes that it only took her an hour and a half to create. She gives a tutorial on her site if you’re interested in making one like it.

suitcase footrest


The next find is a pet bed made from a relic suitcase by Salvage Shack on Etsy. It looks like this particular bed is no longer available, but the owner now has a cute dog bed posted made from salvaged wood.

purrrfictly suitable for any kitty cat

purrfectly suitable for any kitty cat


While I was visiting the Salvage Shack shop, I noticed this cute table for sale.

luggage end table


And last, but certainly not least, is this stand-up bass made from vintage baggage. It’s made by a guy whose blog has a post on his “bass project”. In it, he shows exactly how he made this fantastically creative piece.

suitcase bass

suitcase bass

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Wisdom Wear

I recently came across this fantastic ring on Craft. It was made by jewelry designer Shannon Larratt for his fiance, Caitlin for her birthday. She gave him permission to use her wisdom teeth after she had them yanked and he did just that, welding a ring that holds one of her teeth as well as two moonstones. You can read more about how he designed this toothy ring on his blog. He is also the owner of Zentastic Art and Custom Jewelry.


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Food Fit for Barbie

I’ve never had a small appetite, but these tiny food sculptures leave a big time impression. Tel Aviv-based artist Shay Aaron is responsible for the lovely little snacks pictures below.  I can’t imagine how he makes these tiny delights and would love to see or read about his process. You can find his creations on Etsy (I love the Sunny-side Up Ring!) and see more photos of his work on Flikr.

(All photos by Shay Aaron)

Good morning, sunshine.

Very Wayne Thiebauld

Bitty dish

Bitty dish

Oysters, anyone?

Barbie would love this.

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