Sunday, June 21, 2015

My Hispanic Kitchen

I'm a long way from MY KITCHEN IN SPAIN this week. I'm visiting family and friends in the US. I've had some tipico Americano food--steak on the grill, corn on the cob, pizza with the grandkids. But, surprisingly perhaps for Atlanta, Georgia, most of the meals I've enjoyed had a Latin flavor.

I made gazpacho and paella for 20 on the occasion of the Venezuela-Colombia game. At a Hispanic market, I found good seafood and vegetables--but not the proper round-grain rice for Spanish paella. I packed the saffron and olive oil from Spain in my luggage. 

Watching the soccer match on TV. Colombian friends are wearing yellow.  The Venezuelans, La Vino Tinto, as the team is known, the red-wine colored shirts. Much jubilation when Venezuela unexpectedly won!

My Venezuelan daughter-in-law, Eli Searl, makes arepas for Sunday breakfast.  Arepas are griddle cakes made from a special corn meal. Split open, they are filled with cheese and scrambled eggs, or braised meat.  

Another Latin breakfast in the home of Columbian friends. These are bunuelos (uh-oh--how do I get the tilda over the 'n' on this Americano keyboard?)  They are quite different from the bunuelos in Spain, which are made with wheat flour. These have cornstarch and cassava (yuca) flour in the batter.

Recipe for bunuelos, using a pre-mixed flour. 

Besides bunuelos, we had huevos pericos--eggs scrambled with a sofrito of onion and tomato--plus queso fresco, fresh white cheese, bread, fruits and, of course, Colombian coffee. Plus, a bottle of Spanish cava to mix with fresh orange juice. Quite a brunch!

Martha Lucia Estrada from Colombia cooked the bunuelos. Her daughter, Milena Rodriguez made the huevos pericos. Milena's two sons, Dani and Andres, play soccer with my grandsons, Lucas and Nico.

Another evening, we are invited to supper at the home of Atlanta-based Mexican artistas--dancer and musician--Lizbeth Cardenas and Antonio Rodriguez. ( Here, guacamole (avocado dip) with an assortment of tortilla chips, nuts, and other crunchies.

I hang out in the kitchen with Liz to learn a little about the cooking of Veracruz.  Here she prepares  camarones, a shrimp cocktail. The dressing has a secret ingredient--orange Fanta, which adds a citric tang, sweetness and a little fizz. 

Shrimp cocktail, garnished with cilantro, is served in glass cups.

Liz makes tortillas from masa harina, pressing the dough in a tortilla press, then grills them on a plancha. She dips the tortillas in a sauce made from tomatillos, a tangy green-husked fruit, then rolls them up with cheese.

Out on the porch, Antonio grills chicken and beef strips to go with the meal.

Enchiladas with tomatillo salsa, queso fresco and avocados.

Musician, Ivan Velasco, pours the horchata, a sweet cold drink made from ground rice. (In Spain, horchata is made from chufas, a kind of tuber.)

The evening ends with a performance by Ivan, a renowned harpist. 


  1. Everything sounds wonderful!

  2. Wow, not your average trip to Atlanta!

  3. Not certain previous comment went through so....
    The camarones dish looks delish. Could you publish a recipe using the orange drink. Our family loves anything with shrimp and this would add interest to our list of dishes we like to prepare

    1. Martha: Cooked shrimp were mixed with chopped onion, tomato, chile (optional), ketchup, orange soda and topped with chopped avocado and cilantro. I don't recall if there was any oil added--I don't think so.