The laws of cooking

Peruvian Lomo Saltado Stir-fry with Potatoes and Mexican Hot Chocolate Pudding

Editorial Note

As sung in my favorite movie “The Sound of Music,” I leave and heave a sigh and say goodbye, the time has come for me to say goodbye. I’ve been writing this column now for two years and I love it and hate it at the same time. I love expressing myself through the written word and sharing my love of cooking with all of you, but at the same time I feel so much pressure to outdo the column before and to write or make the perfect recipes that will be loved by all of our readers. I know this is an impossible feat, and yet, every single month, I do the same thing. It is literally insanity. Well, I’m getting off the crazy train, graduating with my B.A. in Jurisprudence, and if all goes as planned, heading to law school in the fall—destination unknown. But, that means that if someone out there has a flair for writing and loves to cook, and is a student at UB, of course, I will gladly bequeath my column in your capable hands.

Okay, let’s get into the reason that you’re actually reading my column in the first place—the food! This month, as promised last month, I am reviewing Plated. Plated is a meal box subscription that sends weekly meals, you can skip whatever weeks you want for any reason in your personal dashboard. Ordering is easy—simply review the menu for the upcoming weeks (usually they have four weeks available) and make your selections. Once added to your cart, you check out and pay, and just wait for your box to arrive. Two of the best things about Plated is their fantastic customer service and the fact that they offer desserts.

The few times I have had to contact customer service, they have been expeditious, helpful, and have more than made up for any issue that I might have had. I walked away with the unfortunately rare nowadays positive customer service experience feeling like, “yeah, I am the customer and I’m always right,” but without the arrogance and entitlement that often goes along with it.

When checking out, you must spend $50.00 in order to get free shipping (shipping is $6.00 otherwise). That’s not a hard task. They have fantastic menu items and lots of choices. Each menu item has to be ordered for a minimum of two plates and cost $12.00 per plate (yeah, they’re a little pricier than some of the others). They also offer two specialty meals that are usually between $18.00 and $30.00 per plate and include items like scallops or lamb chops. So, if you order two regular menu items ($12.00 each) x two people, you end up at $48.00, press checkout and BAM, you’re taken to the checkout screen which offers…desserts! Desserts run $4.00 per plate with a minimum of two plates per item. There’s your free shipping.

This month, I figured since UB Denit Honors students went to Nicaragua, we would have a Latin American flair in our menu. We are making Lomo Saltado, a Peruvian steak stir-fry dish and Mexican Hot Chocolate Pudding.

*Note: It’s important to mention that Plated reached out to its customers this week to notify us that the soy sauce which was included in our box was intended to be gluten free, but in fact, the wrong soy sauce was included and it is not gluten free. For those of you like me who do not have Celiac’s Disease, or not gluten intolerant, or simply not “off” gluten, this is not an issue.

Bon Appétit!

Peruvian Lomo Saltado Stir-fry with Potatoes

Makes 2 servings
Roughly 530 calories per serving

Screen Shot 2015-03-31 at 12.28.08 PM


8 ounces Yukon Gold potatoes

10 ounces inside round steak

1 packet spice mix

11⁄2 teaspoons ground cumin

1⁄2 teaspoon ground coriander

11⁄2 teaspoons ají amarillo

1 red onion

1 green bell pepper

2 plum tomatoes

1/6 bunch cilantro

2 cloves garlic

1⁄4 cup red wine
1 packet soy sauce (gluten-free)

*See note above
3 tablespoons canola oil Kosher salt
Black pepper


Boil Potatoes:

Cut potatoes into 1⁄2-inch pieces. Place in a medium pot and cover with cold water. Add a generous pinch salt and bring to a boil over high heat. Cook until mostly tender when pierced with the tip of a knife, about 5 minutes. Drain and set aside.

Marinate Steak:

While potatoes boil, rinse steak and pat dry with paper towel. Cut against the grain into 1⁄4-inch slices. Season with spice mix and ají amarillo and set aside to marinate at room temperature for at least 10 minutes or up to 1 hour.

Prepare Ingredients:

While steak marinates, peel onion, halve, and thinly slice. Rinse bell pepper, halve lengthwise, and discard seeds. Cut into 1⁄4-inch slices. Rinse tomatoes and cut into 1⁄2-inch pieces. Pick cilantro leaves, discarding stems. Smash garlic using the flat side of a knife.

Cook steak:

Heat 1 tablespoon canola oil in a large pan over medium-heat. Season steak on both sides with salt and pepper. When oil is shimmering, add steak in a single layer and cook until browned, about 1 minute per side. Remove from pan and set aside.

Sauté Vegetables:

Add 2 tablespoons canola oil to pan from steak over medium-high heat. When oil is shimmering, add potato, onion, bell pepper, and garlic.

Sauté until bell pepper and onion are softening and potato is beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Add tomato and cook until beginning to soften, about 2 minutes more. Return steak to pan and stir to combine.

Plate Stir-Fry:

Add red wine and soy sauce to pan with steak, scraping up any browned bits from bottom. Simmer until reduced by half, about 1 minute. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed. Divide stir-fry evenly between 2 plates, garnish with cilantro, and serve.

Lomo saltado, ready to eat.
Lomo saltado, ready to eat.

 Mexican Hot Chocolate Pudding

Makes 2 Servings (actually made a lot more for me)
About 240 calories per serving


Screen Shot 2015-03-31 at 12.38.47 PM

1 cup whole milk
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1⁄2 teaspoon vanilla extract ( I used my own that I picked up in Mexico in January of this year)

2 tablespoons flour
1 packet spice mix
1⁄2 teaspoon chili powder
1⁄2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons semisweet chocolate

1 egg yolk


Make Pudding Base:

Add milk and 1 egg yolk to a small pot over medium heat. Whisk continuously until milk begins to thicken, 2-3 minutes.

Cook Pudding:

Add granulated sugar, vanilla extract, flour, spice mix, and a pinch of salt to pot with milk and whisk to combine. Continue whisking until pudding is bubbling, about 5 minutes more.

Melt Chocolate:

Remove pot from heat and add chocolate chips. Stir until melted.

Plate Pudding:

Divide pudding evenly between 2 bowls or glasses and serve warm.

Screen Shot 2015-03-31 at 12.36.15 PM

All photos courtesy of Jessica Greenstein.

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