Thursday, January 21, 2010

Week 1 Latin Cuisine

PICTURE: Chicken Pibil, Sopa de Lima, Panucho, Pickled Red Onion, Tamulada Sauce, Arroz con Verduras, Jericayas

First week in Latin class was full of information. We began to learn about all of the nuances of Mexico & Latin America. How the Mayans would barter with other tribes and were responsible for sending cacao throughout the Americas. Latin America was responsible for introducing beans, cacao, maize to the rest of the world.

When European influences weren't introduced to Latin America yet they relied on what was around them. Instead of goats and cattle the natives would eat turkeys, other birds, grasshoppers and hairless dogs such as the xoloitzcuintli.

We also discussed how the Europeans such as Christopher Columbus influenced the Latin American people; which at the time weren't Latin at all and had no Religion. The natives such as the Mayans, Aztecs & Incas relied on the food around them and worshiped the sun, moon, etc.

In our first class we made dishes relative to Southern Mexico...the menu consisted of chicken baked in banana leaves (Chicken Pibil); Lime Soup (Sopa de Lima); Pickled Red Onion; Tamulada Sauce (Habanero & Sour Orange juice); Corn Tortillas; Panuchos (tortillas filled with beans and fish mixture); Jericayas (vanilla custard).

Our chicken was good but needed a little more salt; something I need to work on...I am always too worried about over salting my food. I remade the chicken at home and it came out beautifully. In fact the leftovers were shredded and pan fried to be used as tacos with queso blanco and pickled red onion.

Mike did a great job with the corn tortillas and Maria as usual made great rice. Our vanilla custard was a hit and everyone in the class including chef loved the way it tasted; it also had the perfect consistency.
Mike did another home run with the Panuchos and the fish was perfect. Henry made a great soup and it was the right color, consistency & taste. However, chef felt we needed again more salt. We will work on the salting of food but I hate to over salt my food.

I made the Pickled Red Onion and Tamulada Sauce...they both came out great! The tamulada sauce was however made with scotch bonnet peppers instead of habaneros. The taste was great, peppers were finely diced perfectly and seasoned properly with salt and sour orange juice.
The Pickled Red Onion could have sat in the Sour Orange juice a little longer and it would have been perfect!!! A picture of our work is posted above...

Overall a great success in the first week of class and next week we are focusing on Central Mexico...although I don't think we are cooking any hairless dogs...

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