Van Nuys, CA: Colombian Cuisine at Meson Criollo Grill Restaurant

On a Sunday afternoon, I walked into joy my friends at Meson Criollo Grill Restaurant.  The husband is from El Salvador and his wife a Colombiana.  She would order for me and plate could have been three dinners for me.   We started with these piping hot crisp empanadas.   I would go back for those alone.   Then my hearty meal of steak, egg, rice, beans and plantains were the feast.   When in pseudo Colombia you drink as they do so I order a Colombian soda.

As for the decor, it seem casual.   I was so into my food and company that I barely noticed.  The restaurant is located in a strip mall.

– Crystal Johnson, MCCN Editor

Meson Criollo Food

Central America: The Poinsettia, A Christmas Plant

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For those who celebrate Christmas in frostier places of the
world, our most used plant of the season is the Poinsettia.  You see the image on tablecloths, table runners and so forth.  And if done well, conside putting them on your Christmas table.

Poinsettia plants are native to Central America, especially an area of southern Mexico known as ‘Taxco del Alarcon’ where they flower during the winter.

The shape of the poinsettia flower and leaves are sometimes thought as a symbol of the Star of Bethlehem which led the Wise Men to Jesus. The red colored leaves symbolize the blood of Christ. The white leaves represent his purity.

poinsettia

Cuban Influence on Miami

Image from http://www.etraveltrips.com/

written by Catrina Sally

The influx of Miami’s Cuban population began in the 1950’s. Following the rise of Fidel Castro, many Cuban refugees fled to Florida. Over 150,000 Immigrants travelled by plane and by boat to Miami. Welcomed into the city with opened arms, the refugees morphed Miami into “Little Havana.”

The cultural effect of the Cuban population is readily visible in Miami.  The people of Cuba have influenced the clothing, music, architecture, and food of the Florida city.  You can see, hear, and taste their influence in everything from the funky salsa music to the mint and rum laden Mojito.

Like most cultures, food is an important aspect of the Cuban Community. Cuban food is characterized by its heavy use of rice. Popular dishes include arroz con pollo (chicken and rice), pan con bistec (steak sandwich), platanos maduros (sweet plantains), and lechon asado (pork).

Watch People Try Cuban Food For the First Time:

Check out some the Cuban Recipes we have hear at MCCN

https://multiculturalcookingnetwork.wordpress.com/category/latino-foodcomida/cuban/

Or Visit

Visit http://icuban.com/

Ceviche Recipe

Ceviche 2 michelle

Ceviche.  Almost anyone that’s ever been to a Latin country will tell you they’ve had it.  For those of you that don’t know what Ceviche is let me give you a teeny bit of  back ground on it… it is basically raw seafood or shellfish that is “cooked” in lime, lemon, orange or even grapefruit juice.  It’s typically thought of as a Peruvian dish but it’s prevalent in most Latin American countries and each one has their own twist on it.  From Mexico to Ecuador, Philippines to Panama…. everyone’s got their own spin on this fresh fish dish.

I have issues with Ceviche though.  It’s sort of a love hate kinda thing.  I absolutely love the idea of raw seafood being cooked or macerated in lime juice, but can’t stand cilantro!  Yes, I know… It’s an absurd thing not to like, but I’m not alone in my distain for cilantro, or so I’d like to think! And well, most ceviche is made with it.  So I’ve got a fair compromise… I don’t order it in restaurants and make it myself and make just my portion with out it.  My husband tells me every time I’m not getting the “true” ceviche experience but hell, I’m ok with that!

I’m not quite sure where or what region you’d say mine is from… I take a little bit from here and a little bit from there, but I do know one thing… it’s YUM! (even with out cilantro!) For the sake of argument today, I made mine with cilantro! So ceviche enthusiasts there you have it!

I hope you enjoy this recipe!

 

Ingredients

  • 1 pound of firm fresh red snapper
  • (cut into small ½ inch pieces)
  • ½ pound bay shrimp
  • ½ pound bay scallops
  • ½ cup fresh squeezed lime juice
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • ½ of each-red & yellow bell pepper finely diced
  • ½ red onion finely diced
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • ½  jalapeno finely diced
  • ½ bunch cilantro chopped
  • Pinch of Cayenne or Tabasco

Directions

In a glass pyrex bowl (do not use aluminum, it is reactive and will discolor the fish as it’s macerating) place the all the ingredients together and give it a gentle mix.  Cover and place in the refrigerator and allow to sit for at least one hour.  Remove after an hour give it a more through stir and put it back into the fridge for at least another hour or two…. the longer the fish is exposed to the citrus acid, the tastier it’s going to be and it will absorb the all of the flavors.

**sidenote**

The fish will turn color while it’s marinating.  It will start off as a pink raw looking color and slowly turn into a white opaque color.

ceviche photo by Michelle

It can sit for up to 24 hours before serving!

Chopped avocado is fantastic in this dish as well!

Serve individually in martini glasses with some tostada shells on the side!

Recipe contributed by Michelle Karam

Cuban Papas Rellenas Recipe

potato ball

Photo by Crystal Johnson, Multi Cultural Cooking Network.

Cuban Papas Rellenas are filled potato balls. It is often found in Cuban bakeries.  Here in Los Angeles, Porto’s Bakery is the popular spot in which to find this delicious treat.  If you seek to try a winning appetizer recipe then roll up you sleeves and let’s get in the kitchen.

Click to see Recipe

Peru: Chicha Morada Recipe

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Chicha morada is a sweet Peruvian beverage made from purple corn, a variant of Zea mays native to the Peruvian Andes, and spices. Non-alcoholic, it is a type of chicha usually made by boiling the corn with pineapple, cinnamon, clove, and sugar.

Its use and consumption date back to the pre-colonial era of Peru, even prior to the creation of the Inca empire. The traditional preparation of the drink involves boiling the corn in water with pineapple and, after the juices have gotten into the water, letting it cool. Sugar, cinnamon, and clove are often added for extra spice and flavor.

See Recipe

Recipe for Rosca de Reyes(King Cake Recipe)

This bready, donut-shaped cake is decorated with dried fruits and spiked with a non-edible representation of the baby Jesus. Rosca de reyes is traditionally eaten on January 6 to commemorate the biblical story of the arrival of the Three Kings(Also known as the Epiphany) Finding the baby Jesus in your slice of cake is an honor –  See Recipe from the Latinkitchen.com

http://thelatinkitchen.com/recipe/rosca-de-reyes-kings-cake

 

 

Peru: Recipe for Papa a la Huancaína

10262178_744512732293468_1356980109194298924_nPapa a la Huancaína is a Peruvian salad with boiled potatoes in a spicy, creamy sauce. It is an appetizer that I first got an opportunity to taste when my sister(mi hermana) from church brought it one Sunday afternoon and then my second time was at a holiday party.  See the recipe.  -Crystal Johnson, MCCN Editor

Click for Recipe

http://www.pbs.org/food/fresh-tastes/papa-a-la-huancaina/

Receta para Arroz Con Dulce (Recipe)

MCCN’s Erika Holmes shared with us as a  Puerto Rican you can expect to find Arroz Con Dulce on the Christmas Table Spread. We found this recipe on the great web site El Boricua, which should be on list for all things Puerto Rican.

CANDIED COCONUT RICE Ingredients
(Serves 12)

  • 1½ cups rice
  • 4¼ cups coconut milk
  • 1½ teaspoons salt
  • 3 cinnamon sticks
  • 2 ounces ginger
  • 6 whole cloves
  • Pinch of nutmeg-optional
  • 1½ cups sugar
  • ½ cup raisins
  • 3/4 cup coconut milk (reserve to use at the end)

Directions

Wash rice and soak in water to cover, generously, for 2 hours. The rice will soak up the water so use plenty.About twenty minutes before rice is finished soaking combine the 4½ cups of coconut milk, salt, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and nutmeg in a medium size caldero.

Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to moderate, cover and boil for 15 minutes.Drain rice thoroughly and add to caldero. Mix and bring to a boil over moderate heat. Reduce heat to low and cook unitl rice is completely dry, without stirring.Add the sugar and raisins, stir, and bring to a boil over moderate heat. Reduce heat to low and cook for another 15 minutes, without stirring.
Add reserved 3/4 cup coconut milk and stir. Turn heat to moderate and boil for about 30 minutes, or until rice dries again. In this cooking period, turn rice over occasionally and scrape bottom of caldero.

Remove spices. Spoon rice into a flat serving platter. Allow to cool at room temperature.

This is served cold.

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Make a Mexican-Influenced Thanksgiving Meal with a Mole-Roasted Turkey

Ready to take a walk on the wild side this Thanksgiving.  Ready to shun the usual light brown glaze of your turkey in favor mole turkeyof a blackened one. They say the darker the turkey the juicier the meat. Okay, I made that up, however;  prepared properly, Epicurious says, ” This gorgeous bird emerges from the oven nearly black and very deeply flavored.”  Make mole part of your Thanksgiving Day celebration, adding a little Mexican flair to your Thanksgiving menu with this Mole-roasted turkey with chile gravy.

If you are looking at the picture and expecting the turkey to be crispy, it’s not. The mole sauce makes the skin very tender and juicy. Sides are optional, but if you are looking to go all the way with this Mexican-influenced Thanksgiving meal, stuff your bird with masa stuffing. Click the links below to learn more about making this truly unique Thanksgiving meal.  Let us know what you think about the recipes.

Making the Mole:     Mole sauce for turkey

Making the stuffing: Masa stuffing

Making the turkey:   Mole Roasted turkey and Chile Gravy

Recipes from Epicurious.com