The Flavors of Latin America
Latin food has gone mainstream, from guacamole and tacos to empanadas and dulce de leche. We have seen a variety of tasty dishes from Latin America become a part of American cuisine. For Latinos, food is at the center of every celebration. It is what connects us to our family traditions and how we show our love.
In celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month, check out these three easy recipes from North, Central and South America.
From the North – Tacos
Mexican food has been one of Americans’ favorites for years, with tacos being one of the most popular dishes.
Follow this easy recipe when making steak tacos:
2 lb. of flank steak
1 white onion (finely chopped)
1 chile jalapeño (seeded, deveined and chopped)
Salsa or pico de gallo
Juice of 1 lime
Cilantro leaves (chopped)
Trim the flank steak to remove excess fat. Season with lime juice, salt and pepper. Add half the jalapeño and half the onion on top of the meat. Leave it marinating in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
Grill the meat until it’s cooked to taste, transfer it onto a plate and cut it in strips, preserving all the juices.
Warm up your tortilla for 30 seconds in a hot pan or on the grill. Place a serving of the meat in the center of your warmed tortilla, and add a tablespoon of salsa or pico de gallo, some chopped onions and chopped cilantro. ¡Qué viva México!
From Central America and the Caribbean – Flan
The Romans created flan and it was later adopted by the Spanish, who brought it to Latin America. Creamy, rich and delicious, this dessert is available in coconut, orange, chocolate or vanilla flavor. Follow this recipe when making an ovenless flan:
2 cups of sugar
½ cup of water
1 can of condensed milk
1 can of evaporated milk
1 tsp. of vanilla extract
Blend or whisk eggs, both milks and vanilla extract and set aside.
Place sugar, water and lime juice in a saucepan and cook on low heat until the mixture thickens and takes on a caramel color, stirring occasionally.
Pour the caramel into the cake mold, covering the bottom completely, and then add flan mix.
Half fill a large pan with water and place the mold into the water. Make sure the mold fits securely in that pan and that it is easy to remove. Cover the mold with aluminum foil.
Cook on the stove for 30 minutes on medium heat.
To remove the flan, let it cool and run a knife around the edge of the mold. Give it a gentle shake before turning onto a plate.
From South America – Alfajores
A favorite South American dessert, alfajores are delicate buttery pastries stuffed with dulce de leche (manjarblanco, cajeta, arequipe).
Follow this recipe to enjoy these delicious alfajores:
3 cups of flour
2 sticks/200 grams of butter (cut into pieces)
3 tbsp. of iced water or iced milk
3 tbsp. of powdered sugar and more to dust
1 can of dulce de leche
Mix the flour and butter using a fork. Add the milk or water and combine until the mix has the appearance of oatmeal flakes.
Use your hands to create a ball of dough and let it rest for a couple of minutes.
Sprinkle your workspace with flour and roll the dough using a rolling pin. With a glass or cookie cutter, cut 2-inch circles and place them on a cookie sheet, on a single layer.
Bake in a 350F oven for 15 minutes or until the edges start to brown.
Let them cool down and create a little sandwich by spreading the dulce de leche between two pieces of pastry. Dust some powder sugar on top. Enjoy!
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