If you found the term adobo to be a confusing catchall, then wait until you learn about sofrito. Generally speaking, the word describes a combination of aromatics that have been sautéed slowly in cooking oil to make a flavorful sauce. This is used to enhance everything from soups to meat dishes. But despite the fact that the cooking term is widely employed in Latin and Caribbean countries, its specific meaning can differ substantially from one nation's cuisine to another. To understand sofrito's regional differences, read more.
Holiday feasts with the family call for large, important roasts — that's something I learned long ago from the late cookbook author Sheila Lukins. Make it something succulent and impressively large, like a beef Wellington or a rack of lamb, which can be shared and passed around the table.
If you're not an expert at roasts, don't dish out valuable dollars on a piece of beef tenderloin that you'll risk overcooking. Instead, stick to a more basic (and affordable) cut like pork loin. This Latin-inflected citrus, cumin, and cilantro recipe serves up to eight and will leave guests reaching for seconds — but it won't set you back more than $25. For the recipe, read more.
Like small-scale supermarkets and savory oatmeal, fusion food is going to make a statement in 2011. No, not that kind of fusion food. Put aside notions of Pacific Rim specialties like miso-glazed butterfish and sesame tuna tartare. Think another take on East-West fusion: the combination of Indian and Latin cuisines.
Last Fall, Texas restaurant pioneer Stephan Pyles opened up Samar, a small-plates restaurant that serves the spices of south India alongside the specialties of Spain, and features desserts like coconut rice pudding with saffron and cardamom. Chef Maneet Chauhan, who's gained recent attention as a competitor on The Next Iron Chef, is perhaps the biggest poster child for Latin-Indian fusion, offering creations such as amchur- and ancho-crusted chicken at her New York restaurant, Vermilion. And Lisa Fain, who writes the popular Tex-Mex blog Homesick Texan, has professed her love of saag paneer enchiladas.
It'll be interesting to find out whether this new culinary direction has the legs to catch on, as opposed to other floundering fusion concepts like Chinese-Cuban. Does Indian-Latin have mainstream potential?
Source: Flickr User thebradsblog
Empanadas would make the ideal stranded-on-a-desert-island staple. They freeze well, are great for using up leftovers, and are as suited to the beginner as they are the expert. But best of all, they can be filled with just about anything, so they shouldn't be overlooked as both a convenient finger food and an unexpected dessert.Make the cleanup easier than ever for your next fiesta by serving up fried beef-and-egg empanadas to whet your guests' appetites — then creating a baked banana version to close out the night. There'll be no forks or spoons necessary! Want either (or both) recipes? Just read more.
My latest transfixion is ceviche, and my favorite part of the dish is what's known as leche de tigre.
Leche de tigre, or tiger's milk, is the Peruvian term for the citrus-based marinade that cures the seafood in a ceviche. Also known as leche de pantera, this leftover fish runoff usually contains lime juice, sliced onion, chiles, salt, and pepper — along with a bit of fish juice.
In Peru, the invigorating potion is often served alongside ceviche in a small glass and believed to be both a hangover cure as well as an aphrodisiac.
Source: Flickr User Carlos Varela
I've always found the term "adobo" to be perplexing. After all, it sounds confusingly like adobe, the building material, and the word is a common denominator used in everything from canned Mexican chipotles to Filipino chicken over rice. Since I'm certain that I'm not the only person disoriented by this phrase, I've decided to set the record straight. Spanish for "marinade," adobo refers to a sauce or a seasoning. It's used in many different types of Latin-influenced cooking, including Spanish, Southwestern, Caribbean, and Filipino cuisines, where it goes by the same name but refers to completely different flavors. Learn about it when you read more.
I've had Mexican food on the brain all week, as I've been early to celebrate Cinco de Mayo. This weekend, I served tortilla chips with queso, although I considered offering ceviche. Ultimately, I decided against it; I've made ceviche at home before, but for some inexplicable reason, the idea of preparing and serving myself (and guests) partially raw fish takes some enjoyment away from the experience. What about you? Do you make ceviche?