A Taste of Latin America: Culinary Traditions and Classic Recipes from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Mexico, Peru, Puerto Rico & Venezuela

A Taste of Latin America: Culinary Traditions and Classic Recipes from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Mexico, Peru, Puerto Rico & Venezuela

by Patricia Cartin
A Taste of Latin America: Culinary Traditions and Classic Recipes from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Mexico, Peru, Puerto Rico & Venezuela

A Taste of Latin America: Culinary Traditions and Classic Recipes from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Mexico, Peru, Puerto Rico & Venezuela

by Patricia Cartin


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Latin American food is steeped in history and tradition. From Peru's spicy and citrusy ceviche to hearty Colombian beef, pork, and seafood stews to Argentina's silky, sweet dulce le leche desserts, cooks of all skill levels are invited to discover what make this region's cuisine incomparable.  Complete with four-color photographs, expertly crafted recipes and additional insight on the background and customs of each country featured, budding chefs and seasoned experts alike will be enticed by this authentic and unique compilation.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781623545215
Publisher: Charlesbridge
Publication date: 10/03/2017
Pages: 176
Sales rank: 457,486
Product dimensions: 8.10(w) x 10.00(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Patricia Cartin knows of which she cooks. A native Costa Rican, she immigrated to the United States in 2007, experiencing the flavors of the South, Southwest, and New England before settling in New York, where she attended the International Culinary Center. She now shares these cooking and baking techniques with her own students and teaches workshops including 'Tapas from Spain', 'Costa Rican Food at Home', 'Just Finger Food',  'Latin American Food' and 'Amazing Cakes'. Patricia has cooked for the President of Costa Rica at University receptions, and caters for the Permanent Mission of Costa Rica to the United Nations. She travels extensively, visiting and tasting with family members living throughout Latin America. These experiences allowed Patricia to hone her knowledge of the unique ingredients and flavors found in each Latin American nation. Patricia currently resides in King's Point, New York, with her husband and favorite food taster, Juan Jose Leon. A Taste of Latin America is her second cookbook.

Read an Excerpt

It is easy to view Latin America as one homogenous block of nations. All, with the exception of Brazil, speak Spanish. Nearly all were conquered during one of Christopher Columbus's explorations of the New World. All have benefitted from the influences of immigrants from other nations. Yet each Latin American country is distinction its own right—particularly where its unique flavors of food is concerned.

The West Indies islands of Cuba and Puerto Rico are both surrounded by the Caribbean Sea. They are both tropical. Yet, their meals contrast greatly. While Cuban food is generally mild, relying on its omnipresent "mojo" sauce for its unique flavor, Puerto Rican food can be wildly spicy. Cuba's culinary roots reflect both its African and Spanish heritage; its Haitian influence as much as the French who colonized Haiti. Puerto Rico's cuisine also demonstrates African and Spanish origins, with the American influence being undeniable.
Mexican cuisine is likely most familiar to our palettes in the US, although its true variety is often lost on Americans who view it as little more than "fast food." In truth, this Latin American nation offers a fusion of foods from cultures thousands of years old. The Mayans and Aztecs not only cultivated the corn now essential to so many Mexican dishes, they also harvested chocolate, chili peppers, and wonderfully exotic at the time delicacies like the avocado. All of these ingredients remain modern staples.
Despite its small size, Central America's Costa Rica enjoys an amazing diversity of climates ranging from rainforests to mountain ranges. Its northern Caribbean coast is one of the world's largest producers of bananas. Nearer the middle of the country, sugarcane and coffee plants spread to nearly every empty plot, no matter how small. Along the Pacific Coast, one’s menu depends upon the abundance of the sea. There are simply no generalities when it comes to Costa Rican cooking.
Perhaps it is South America that holds the most surprises. Fourth in size after North America, this continent is one of geographic extremes. While Venezuelan coastal cities regularly deal with temperatures in the hundreds, its mountain peaks are sub-zero year round. Here, fresh produce is always in season and the Italian influence is obvious in Venezuela's "Latin Americanized" versions of lasagne and other pasta dishes.
Colombian meals are hearty affairs, relying heavily on beef, pork, and seafood. Soups and stews are particular favorites, regardless of the weather forecast. Spanish mainstays like rice and beans are go-to meals, while coffee and chocolate beverages are enjoyed from morning to evening.
Brazil was not colonized by Spain but rather Portugal. Like the US, it has a substantial immigrant population comprised of Germans, Japanese, Middle Easterners, and others. The cuisine is a broad, bold representation of all of these cultures. To Brazil's south lies Argentina. Like Brazil, Argentina's acceptance of settlers from other lands adds to its cuisine's diversity. But, Argentina places a uniquely delicious focus on beef. The centuries-old gaucho tradition of open-air barbecuing is alive and well, as evidenced by the fact that Argentines consume twice as much beef per person per year than North Americans. But don't be mislead into thinking this is a one-ingredient nation. The ocean provides a bountiful selection of seafood like salmon and shellfish, and its fertile vineyards produce some of the world's finest wines. Desserts are expected, not neglected in Argentina—many of them served with the silky, sweet sauce known as Dulce le Leche.
Peru, once the home of the Incas, mastered agricultural techniques several millennia before other civilizations. The ancestors of nearly all potatoes cultivated worldwide were born here, as were lima beans, sweet potatoes, maize, squashes, and other produce. Like Mexicans—whose chili peppers Peru's farmers adopted and cross-pollinated with their own native species—Peruvians prefer their food both spicy and citrusy. Ceviche, literally "cooking" fish in the acid of lemon or lime juice, is a flagship of Peruvian cuisine. A large Chinese population in Peru has popularized "chifa." Although these menu items are prepared using traditional Asian cooking methods, typical Asian ingredients are scarce in Peru. They are therefore swapped out for indigenous selections. The result is a delicious integration of two powerful flavor profiles. Chile is a ribbon of land on South America's Pacific Coast. While the sea yields a multitude of edible delicacies, the significant German population introduced the pork dishes and pastry desserts that have become synonymous with the Chilean culinary scene. The foods of the indigenous peoples are still cooked and served much like they were in that bygone era. Every bit of an ear of corn is utilized, from its kernels to its husk, and beans appear in nearly every hearty bowl of seafood stew or vegetable soup.

A Taste of Latin America is not only a cookbook—although the recipes are flavorsome examples of what make this region's cuisine incomparable. It is also a journey through the history and daily lives of the people of Latin America. Come along and experience this world as few ever will. Buen provecho!

Table of Contents

Introduction 6

Argentina 10

Medialunas (Croissants) 12

Chimichurri (Green sauce) 14

Choripán (Sandwich with chorizo sausage) 14

Locro (Stew of meat and vegetables, also vegetarian option) 16

Empanadas (Meat patties) 18

Humitas (Fresh corn dough wrapped in corn husks) 20

Alfajores (Sugar cookie sandwich) 22

Brazil 24

Farofa (Fried cassava flour with eggs and bacon) 26

Pao de Queijo (Cheesy bread) 28

Feijoada (Black bean chili) 30

Coxinhas (Fried cheese and chicken balls) 32

Moqueca de Camarão (Shrimp stew with coconut milk) 34

Vatapá (Spicy cream of seafood soup in peanut sauce) 36

Bolinho de Chuva (Cinnamon doughnut holes) 38

Brigadeiro (Chocolate truffles) 38

Chile 40

Empanadas de Pino (Meat patties with vegetables) 42

Curanto (Shellfish, meat, and vegetables) 44

Paila Marina (Shellfish soup) 46

Charquicán (Chilean beef stew) 48

Sopaipillas (Fried pastry made with mashed pumpkin) 50

Calzones Rotos (Dough twists with powdered sugar) 52

Manjar (Caramel spread) 54

Colombia 56

Sopa de Habas y Cebada (Barley and fava bean soup) 58

Arroz con Coco (Rice with coconut) 60

Arepa con Polio Adobado (Tortilla-style bread with marinated chicken) 62

Almojábanas (Cheesy bread) 64

Crema de Aguacate (Creamy avocado soup) 64

Sancocho Trifásico (Three meat soup) 66

Dulce de Leche (Caramel) 68

Plátanos Asados con Bocadillo y Queso (Plantains with cheese) 68

Costa Rica 70

Gallo Pinto (Rice and beans) 72

Ceviche de Corvina (Raw fish with lime) 74

Yuca Frita (Fried cassava) 74

Tamales (Steamed corn cakes in banana leaves) 76

Garbanzos con Cerdo (Chickpeas and pork) 78

Arroz con Polio (Rice and chicken) 80

Sopa Negra (Black Bean and boiled egg soup) 82

Pudín de Pan (Bread pudding) 82

Flan de Coco (Coconut custard) 84

Cuba 86

Ropa Vieja (Shredded steak) 88

Croquetas de Jamón (Ham croquettes) 90

Frijoles Cubanos (Cuban beans) 92

Chuleta de Puerco (Grilled pork chops) 94

Salsa de Mojo Roja (Red Cuban sauce) 96

Sandwich Cubano (Cuban sandwich) 96

Frituras de Yuca (Yucca doughnuts) 98

Mexico 100

Huevos Rancheros (Mexican-style eggs) 102

Enchilada de Queso (Corn tortillas with sauce and cheese) 104

Fajitas de Pollo (Chicken marinated with onions and peppers) 106

Flautas de Pollo con Salsa de Aguacate (Rolled tortilla stuffed with shredded chicken) 108

Nachos (Tortilla chips with toppings) 110

Guacamole (Avocado dip) 112

Mole (Traditional Mexican sauce) 114

Crepa de Cajeta (Crepe with caramel) 116

Peru 118

Papas a la Huancaína (Peruvian potatoes with spicy sauce) 120

Ceviche Peruano (Raw fish bits cooked in lemon and spices) 122

Chupe de Camarones (Shrimp soup) 124

Causa Limena (Potato, avocado, tuna and hard-boiled egg in layers) 126

Lomo Salteado (Stir-fry beef with soy sauce and fried potatoes) 128

Anticuchos (Skewers of grilled marinated meat) 130

Lúcuma (Lúcuma fruit smoothie) 132

Puerto Rico 134

Mojo Isleño (Puerto Rican sauce) 136

Tostones (Fried plantains) 136

Jueyes Hervidos (Crab stew) 138

Lechón Asado (Roast pork) 140

Pollo al Jerez (Chicken in sherry) 142

Nisperos de Batata (Sweet potato balls with coconut, cloves and cinnamon) 144

Arroz con Leche (Rice pudding) 144

Venezuela 146

Cachapas (Thick pancake-like corn cakes) 148

Perico (Scrambled eggs with onion, tomato, and pepper) 150

Arepas (Griddle-fried corn cakes made from masarepa) 152

Bollo Picante Vegetariano (Steamed spicy vegetarian cornmeal roll) 154

Pastel de Chucho (Fish lasagna) 156

Ponche Crema (Egg nog) 158

Besitos de Coco (Coconut "kisses") 160

Appendix 162

Index 163

Photo Credits 168

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