Menu of the Week: Latin America’s Gifts to World Cuisine

Corn, Roasted Summer Squash and Green Cauliflower Salad, Carrot Salad with Toasted Cumin and Coriander, Quinoa-Rice Potato Croquette with Chipotle-Lime Mayo

Corn, quinoa, potatoes and pumpkins are a few of the many foods which the rich culture of Latin America has given to the world. That’s the theme, if there is one, of this eclectic menu.  I started this meal with a soup modeled after a delicious soup I ate recently at Greens Restaurant which features the unusual sweet and tart flavor of tamarind. Full menu with descriptions of ingredients and cooking methods after the jump…

MENU FOR AUGUST 2nd–GOURMET VEGETARIAN DINNERS IN PALO ALTO

Tamarind-Lentil-Summer Veggie Soup–Because we were cooking a lot of corn for another dish, I used the cobs, with some other vegetable cuttings and several long pieces of peeled, whole tamarind (read more about tamarind here) tossed in, to make a flavorful stock. I cooked the regular green lentils in a generous amount of water, along with a piece of kombu. Separately, I sautéed diced onions, carrots, sweet potato and celery. Later I combined the strained stock, the lentils and the vegetables. It was seasoned with coconut milk, tamarind paste, miso, soy sauce and umeboshi vinegar, all whizzed in a blender, and garnished with chopped cilantro.  

Quinoa-Rice-Potato Croquette with Chipotle-Lime Mayo Topping– We cooked long grain brown rice and sweet brown rice, longer and with a little extra water, so it would be sticky. Same with the quinoa (rice to quinoa ratio was about 2 to 1). We diced Yukon Gold potatoes, tossed them with olive oil, cumin, garlic, soy sauce and salt and pepper and roasted them about and hour, until well caramelized. We sautéed onions, carrots and celery until very well cooked. In addition, we added toasted pumpkin seeds tossed in umeboshi vinegar. Everything was combined and part of the mixture puréed in a food processor, to ensure that the mix was sticky.  We formed this into 3-inch croquettes and fried them in canola oil, 8-10 minutes on each side. The soy-based “mayo” topping we made similar to this recipe, except, we subsituted a little Mexican chipotle in adobo (this is very spicy–use carefully) for the herbs, and lime juice for the lemon juice.  

Corn and Roasted Summer Squash Salad with Green Cauliflower–Fresh sweet corn was shucked, boiled and cut from the cob. Zucchinis and sunburst squash were diced, tossed with olive oil, garlic and salt and pepper and roasted in a 400ºF oven. Green Cauliflower was cut into flowerettes and blanched.  I made a dressing of diced red onions cooked briefly in umeboshi vinegar, mirin, lemon juice and salt and pepper.  Everything was combined and seasoned, adding a little olive oil and umeboshi vinegar.

Carrot Salad with Cilantro and Toasted Cumin and Coriander–Carrots were coarsely grated in a food processor and tossed with lemon juice for flavor and to preserve the color. Whole cumin and coriander were toasted in a cast iron pan, then coarsely ground.  These were combined with the carrots along with chopped cilantro and a little salt.  Very simple.

Mixed Green Salad with Creamy Avocado Dressing–James made a dressing from avocado, siken tofu, apple juice, canola oil, ginger, lemon juice and salt and pepper which he tossed with a spring salad mix.

Plum Crunch Cake recipe is here.

Samantha dices potatoes for the croquettes.

Fumi shapes the croquettes while James seasons the carrot salad.

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