Simmering potatoes in heavily salted water until the water runs completely dry imparts them with a crystallized salt crust. This is the potato recipe for the salt-lover.
Traditional huevos rancheros with refried black beans and a green salsa.
With a rich pastry crust wrapped around salty queso blanco, these Venezuelan cheese sticks put their mozzarella brethren to shame.
The classic fresh Mexican condiment made with tomatoes, onions, and chilies. Ours gets an added flavor boost with a bit of pre-salting and draining. Perfect on tacos, fajitas, and burritos.
The frita is a classic regional American burger created by Cuban immigrants in South Florida. While the standard is a thin, griddled patty with a spiced ketchup-based sauce, my take on it is a slightly larger version designed for the backyard grill with a boldly seasoned pork and beef patty, a creamier sauce, and more vegetables. The crisp shoestring potatoes that are the hallmark of a traditional frita remain the same.
My aunt-in-law introduced me to this ultra-simple dessert of roasted sweet plantains enriched with a touch of cream and a sprinkle of cinnamon and sugar. As it roasts, it turns custardy soft, taking on an almost pudding-like texture.
This Colombian take on a cottage pie is flavored with tomatoes and onions and topped with creamy mashed yuca.
A rich and hearty four ingredient Colombian soup made with fried plantains flavored with onions and cilantro.
Huevos rancheros—ranch-style eggs—are one of Mexico's most instantly recognizable breakfast dishes: a pair of fried eggs topped with a thick layer of spicy tomato sauce. It sounds rather simple, and it is. However, as with all recipes made with only a handful of ingredients, the treatment of each one is important.
Warm, rich, and luxuriously thick, champurrado is Mexican hot chocolate with an unexpected secret ingredient: corn masa.
A traditional dish from the mountainous region near Bogotá, boiled potatoes are covered in a creamy, cheesy, tomato and onion-based hogao.
Forget chicken noodle soup, and matzoh for that matter. This Latin American soup has corn masa-based chicken meatballs spiked with culantro and mint. Once you go Latin...
Fried yuca is like the crispier, creamier version of french fries. Ours is served with a sweet, hot, and tangy mayo for dipping.
Deeply flavored and rich, these refried beans are cooked slowly and with care. The results are a big step up from those bland restaurant versions.
This Mexican classic features corn tortillas smothered in a velvety bean sauce, topped with crumbled cheese and onions.
The best part of the steak is always the fatty, crispy bits near the bones. Here's a secret: You don't have to eat the steak first. This recipe for Colombian-style beef rib barbecue delivers the goods. Fat will render. Connective tissue will soften. Bark will be formed. Dinner will be had.
Salpicón is a traditional dish in Nicaragua, simply made by simmering cubes of lean beef in water with onions, green bell peppers, garlic, salt, and black peppercorns. Once cooked through, the vegetables are tossed out with the broth and the beef is finely chopped with fresh onions and bell peppers, then finished off with a squeeze of lime juice. It's a rather healthy dish, especially when compared to many of our other national favorites that just love being submerged in sizzling lard or oil.
These index finger-sized pastries are rolled and filled with firm, salty, white cheese that oozes as the churros fry.
At its core, a meal of frijoles needs nothing more than cooked seasoned red beans and rice, but from there it can grow in many directions. The greatest bean dinner is a fast-worthy plate called the bandeja paisa, and it reminds me of a full British breakfast in its makeup and extensive application of fried foods. Beans, rice, arepas, fried green or black plantains, avocado, a thin slice of grilled steak, deep fried pork rinds (known as chicharrones), a chorizo or two, a side of ají to sauce everything up, and a fried egg to top it off.
A quick and easy lobster ceviche. The ultimate refreshing summer appetizer.