[Sca-cooks] Treasures of the New World Feast - details - long

Kingstaste kingstaste at comcast.net
Sat May 2 09:35:48 PDT 2009

Deirdre O'Bardon drooled: 
Ok.  I'm really hungry now.  Recipes please?

>Christianna wrote:

>The menu consisted of foods from North America - Pecans; Wild Rice with
>Blueberries, Cranberries, and Pumpkin Seeds; Buffalo Stew ... and Corn
>Cakes with Maple Syrup; and from South America - Sunflower Seeds and
>Pumpkin Seeds; Green Chili with turkey, tomatillos, green pepper, green
>onion, yucca; 3 Sisters Salad with squash, pinto beans, corn and >tomatoes;
Peruvian Roots - roasted purple and white fingerling potatoes; >sliced fresh
Mango and Avocado, and Xocolatl - hot cocoa drink with hot >water, cinnamon,
vanilla, annatto, and sugar. I had bits of the Dagoba >Xocolatl Dark
Chocolate with Chilis and Nibs bar cut up for them to taste >as well.

Well, this one was really more about selecting food well than actual
recipes.  The ages for the kids in my class range from 6-14 (and there are
18 of them).  I did things simply so that the actual food was featured, and
I used very little in the way of additional seasoning or complicated
techniques.  Since I am nursing a fractured foot bone I took a few
additional shortcuts this time.  

The pecans were intact halves.  They were on a bowl on the table when they
came in (tables set with black cloths and sunflower-patterned gold cloths in
the center).  The sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds were shelled and placed
on the table at the start of the South America course. 

I got long grain (fancy) wild rice and cooked it with water, a handful each
of dried blueberries and cranberries, and some sea salt.  At the end of the
cooking process, I threw in a handful of pumpkin seeds so they would still
have some crunch.  In the past I have used fresh cranberries and added a
little maple syrup to it, but these were sweetened already.  

The buffalo stew - sigh.  It is the one thing I put any chilis in (they are
New World, but I don't like them, and these are little kids) this had one
ground up chipotle pepper and about half of an ancho pepper.  Not enough
heat to burn, but enough to know it was there and provide a lovely smoky
flavor.  Buffalo meat, red beans, corn, chopped tomatoes, salt.  Cooked it
for hours.  It was so good.  And then I left it sitting on the counter
overnight.  DRAT.  The dogs loved it :(

I have made corn griddle cakes for this menu before, but I was running short
on time this go-round.  I mixed corn meal and corn flour and a couple of
eggs and some sea salt, some corn oil, put them into mini muffin cups and
baked them until they were done.  Served them warm with a drizzle of maple

The green chili was one large boneless turkey thigh cut into large cubes,
large-diced green bell pepper, green onion stalks (a little larger than
scallions, I had bought the onions and eaten them last week), chunks of
yucca, large-diced tomatillos, sea salt and water.  In the past I have added
Salsa Verde to it, but the tomatillos were very tart this time and it was
sour enough.  I have also added green chilis to this in the past, but didn't
this time (thinking I had one dish with chilis in it already, which didn't
end up making it there).  Sometimes I use potato as well.  The yucca and
potato thicken this and make it stew-y.  It is on the hot and sour side, and
goes really well with the corn cakes and wild rice and 3 sisters.  

For the 3 Sisters Salad, I had a large squash, almost a pumpkin - green
skinned and orange fleshed.  I peeled it and chunked it and steamed the
chunks.  I took fresh ears of corn and grilled them on my stovetop grill,
then cut the nibs off the cob.  I cooked them in the leftover water from
steaming the squash with a can of pinto beans for a while, then added that
to the steamed squash chunks.  This is always good like this, but it is
pretty bland.  I had some rather sour cherry tomatoes and while I have
hesitated to add them in the past (thinking it would have a 4th 'sister' at
that point) I went ahead and did it this time and it ROCKED.  The tomatoes
made the dish, and I'm not sorry I put them in.  I even had confirmed
squash-haters saying that it was their favorite dish.  I've served it hot in
the past, but with the tomatoes and served as a cold salad, I liked it much

For the Peruvian Roots, I always try to get some purple potatoes.  I also
found some tiny white fingerling potatoes (the size of one knuckle segment
of your pinky finger) and then got small purple potatoes that I cut into
wedges to be close to the same size.  I tossed them in corn oil and roasted
them in the oven, and tossed them with kosher salt when I was done.  What's
not to love?  Many of the kids had never seen purples before, and one of my
older students that has been in cooking classes with me kept trying to get
me to tell her how I had dyed them purple!  LOL

I passed a platter of fresh mango and avocado slices.  The mango was
something many of the kids would eat when they had merely pushed everything
else around on their plates.  (Just a note: I'm ok with it if all they do is
push the new foods around their plates.  This is a class about introducing
new foods from a specific area, not lunch or a snack.  If they don't eat
anything, I'm not worried about sending them away hungry - they have lunch
coming up.  I feel that even if all they do is stare at it and think "I'm
not gonna eat that!" at least they have seen it, smelled it, and started to
become familiar with it.  I tell them they don't have to eat it or like it,
but they have to try it, and most will.  I also tell them that when eating
at a strange chieftain's table, saying you don't like something could get
you killed, and the polite thing to do is say "I would love to, but I am so
full already!".  This makes for amusing table manner antics throughout the

For the Xocolatl, I tell them about Christopher Columbus seeing cacao beans
being used for currency, and the Aztec hot, bitter, spicy drink, and that
Spanish Colonials thought it would be better with sugar.  So I serve a
Spanish Colonial version.  I have tried this with Hershey's Special Dark
Cocoa Powder and didn't like it as well (that stuff has very specific uses
and isn't good for everything, and I love dark chocolate!).  So taking
regular Hershey's Cocoa Powder, or Dagoba or Ghiradhelli or whoever's
chocolate you prefer, add it directly to hot water, with fresh ground
cinnamon, annatto, split whole vanilla beans, and sugar.  Heat to boiling,
then let steep.  I strained twice to get all the bits out. One benefit to
using the regular cocoa powder as opposed to the special dark is that the
annatto does make a difference; the drink is more noticeably red.  When I
have the time, I talk about the moilinillo that makes the froth, and I even
had one with me, but was running short on time and just served it up with no
froth (don't tell the molecular gastronomists).  Since I have no chilis in
the drink, I get the Xocolatl Dagoba bars and let them sample small bits of
that with the chilis in the chocolate.  Some like it, some don't, some snarf
it up.  

I give them handouts that include a Pre-Columbian Food Pyramid and the
following 'recipes': 
Aztec Warrior Rations: ground cacao, masa, annatto, chili
Colonial Spanish Version: ground cacao, annatto, sugar, cinnamon, vanilla,
ground almonds (I don't usually thicken with the nuts, I find it is pretty
thick with just the cocoa powder, and have had various nut allergies in the
class in years past)

So that's it, a learning experience for everyone involved, and even if the
kids don't try everything, it is something they never forget.  And there are
rarely any leftovers :)

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